Looking within in search of ourselves, we found each other in a most serendipitous way. Yoga happened when we were learning to live in alignment with our soul’s path. When we first connected with each other in a festival, little did we know that we will be shaping the course of our lives together.
Soon we will be in the fifth edition of the Covelong Point Surf, Music, Yoga Festival. As organizers and facilitators of the Yoga Shala at this unique Festival – we have worked tirelessly to bring healers and yogis from across borders, seas and continents, all together in one space.
Yoga is truly phenomenal. It creates bonds that are beyond race, religion and nations and helps us see beyond the visible forms around us. We have come a long way in our yoga-journey and our yoga family is growing by leaps and bounds. We are delighted to share our experience and learning with yoga. We also take this opportunity to invite all of you to join us in our celebration of Surf, Music and Yoga from August 25th – 27th 2017 in Kovalam, Chennai.
How Yoga found us
Sandra: Yoga gently came to me along with and through a heart full of love – it found me when I found Yotam. He invited me to yoga, and my life was forever changed. I was already in need of a change – running in circles, my head buried in my laptop as an editor working in closed spaces, partying on the weekends to relax.
Yotam was practicing for many years and had started a two year long TTC program. When we met and started spending a little time together, I had no idea what to make of him. What was this guy? A hippie? A weird cult member? All of the above? Putting his hands together and chanting Aum, breathing loud on his mat in impossible positions, always smiling, calm, and tolerant, giving me wise advice on all my various doubts and irrational fears. Observing him doing his morning Sun Salutations, I asked him about it and that’s when I did my first Sun Salutation. Most of all I liked the name, the idea of giving thanks to something I took for granted.
A few days later he gently recommended a Yoga Shala in my neighborhood. When I finally lay down in Shavasana, tears started to roll down my cheeks. I knew I had found what I was looking for all these years.
Yotam: Yoga was a natural transition for me, while on the search for tools that would simplify my life at the time. It was on the corner of Khader Nawaz Khan road in Chennai – a private class in the sweltering heat of South India, unbearable weather conditions and the room had the absolute worst acoustics. Needless to say – it was love at first sight!
How Yoga has transformed us?
Sandra: Since my first yoga class, although I am still struggling with the consistency of the practice, the acceptance, the devotion, the stillness, the non-attachment, the Sanskrit names – pretty much everything in fact – I won the most precious thing: a glimpse of peace of mind. A friend told me a few days ago that she loved being around me because I had a calming effect on her – so I guess what I am learning is already somehow shining through.
The concept I like most in yoga is ahimsa, nonviolence towards yourself and towards others. It is a comforting feeling, the one I love most when I attend a class or find myself in a yoga community. In French we say- la bienveillance, it has beautiful meaning which resonates with me, something similar to how a mother feels for her child by accepting, loving, caring and forgiving the baby unconditionally.
“Ahimsa is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence”. – Mahatma Gandhi
Yotam: For me, there was no transformation per se – I just found a deep and strong tool that I could use to support my life. It was like a gateway, revealing a community of souls that I could connect to. It was all there for me, slowly being revealed every day – one step forward, two steps back.
“If you engage in travel, you will arrive”. Ibn Arabi
How Yoga has helped us move towards our goals
Sandra: In the next few years, I would like to organize festivals and events around yoga and wellness to gather people, giving them opportunities to grow, learn, and get in touch with their inner happiness, to be aware and spread goodness for a better world. That might sound idealistic, but I truly believe yoga can be a tool to make this planet a better place
Yotam: It’s a bit different for me – I don’t really set goals. I am flowing with what life has to offer – Yoga was there, took over my schedule, and offers me so many intrinsic goals 😉
“The song remains the same”.
Tips on Daily Practice
Sandra: It’s up to you to find what you need and what works for you, and to that, you apply consistency and discipline. I don’t yet have a consistent daily practice, but in mornings of high stress, I allow myself to be content with even just the Sun Salutations, the standing postures, or even just 15 minutes of sitting in silence.
Yotam: Have a mat of your own, lay it open when you wake up, and connect with the inner space that is always there – even when you travel. Practice may be anything on this mat, from movement to sitting, whatever it is that your body needs – but do something every day.
“Practice and all is coming!” Sri K Pattabhi Jois
Thoughts on Yoga Teacher Training
Sandra: I completed my TTC in February in Meenakshi Ashram in Madurai. I had an amazing time there – the power of the group of like-minded students, disconnecting from the world for a whole month, the quality of the teachers and the amount of knowledge, the experience of the kula – all this was extraordinary and precious. My fellow students and I started a Whatsapp group to keep a check on our practice once we all returned to our lives, because this was difficult – to continue with the mindful routine we had in the Ashram and apply it to our daily life. But I also like the idea that “Life is full of surprises” – it hints at the overall impermanence of existence.
Yotam: For me it’s very simple – find the right teacher for you, the style is secondary. Anything that you do, do all with Mindfulness, all with Balance and all with Breaking The Balance – like everything else in life.
Yoga Festival Curator, Motion Designer, Yoga Teacher.
Festival Director, Yoga Teacher, Musician and Surfer.