Andrea Kwiatkowski on Jivamukti Yoga
ANDREA: Yogic practices teach us that we are all interconnected to each other and the source. I have been a vegetarian for over 25 years, long before I was doing yoga and what I now realise is, how we eat and what we eat is a practice as well. I have been vegan on and off in my life especially in my early teenage years when I was quite passionate about my views, then after the Jivamukti teacher training at Omega in upstate New York I began to see how I could be more eloquent about this subject. Our teachers encourage us to think about how our actions contribute to the suffering in the world and whilst I cannot say every Jivamukti teacher is vegan, we shouldn’t judge anyone who isn’t, I know a lot of teachers and students who find our method difficult to understand as we talk about actions and veganism in the classes, but the skill is to teach with compassion. So I don’t judge a student who walks into my Jivamukti class and is a meat eater I just know that they may walk out thinking about how they live and what they do in the world and how it all matters.
Q2: What drew you to Jivamukti practice?
ANDREA: A friend of mine bought me the Jivamukti book after reading an article on Sharon and David. As they were both artists and performers, Sharon was a dancer , he thought I would interested in the style, I read the book and researched where I could do a class. The nearest was NY city so I hopped on a plane and spent some time there! When I walked out of my first class I knew this was the method of yoga I would like to teach, it felt like home -music, flowing asana, meditation and philosophy that was interwoven into everything – this was the method that I had been searching for… and it still is nearly 9 years later.
Q3: If you could give just one piece of advice what would it be?
ANDREA: It’s called a practice because that is what it is, not yoga perfection. Don’t expect too much too soon, think about what you bring to the mat, your attitude, your state of mind, your respect for the teacher, anyone can do wonderful asana but that doesn’t make you a yogi ! I quote Sri K. Pattabhi jois “Practice, Practice and all is coming”. You have to be prepared to spend a long time with no expection and more often than not we aren’t very good at that.
Q4: Please describe your personal practice.
ANDREA: I find it interesting that I am asked this so much, my practice is varied depending on my day with regard to asana I have a selection of asana that keeps my body open and relaxed with kriyas as well, I always do a long inversion usually headstand and forearm balance , I might do some yin poses and pranayama. If I have a workshop I will practice my sequence for the class over a period of time so I am familiar with it and can feel how it fits into my body. My practice can be anything from 15 /20mins restorative to 2 hours vinyasa finishing with pranayama and meditation or chanting. I love sanskrit so I have regular lessons on Vedic chanting. At the moment I am in the middle of a 108 day practice dedicated to someone special in my life. I have been known to stretch my hamstrings in the supermarket! You would be surprised how much you can fit into your daily life if you only take a few minutes.
Q5: What is your favourite yoga book ?
ANDREA: This is difficult – if only one then of course my obvious choice is Jivamukti: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul, but I love Master Patanajli’s Yoga Sutra too. Of course with this text as with all yoga books you need a teacher to describe the teachings to you, they come in many forms these teachers - oh , I can recommend a few at this yoga studio known as Camyoga...
Andrea Kwiatkowski is a former dancer and Advanced Certified Jivamukti instructor. She regularly runs Jivamukti masterclasses at Camyoga. Join her for Yin & Yang Yoga Day on 2nd Feb 2014. Book here