Jill: When did you first fall in love with Svaroopa® Yoga?
Kaya: My love for Svaroopa® yoga was progressive… I was used to being very active, and pushing myself. The first “ah-ha” moment was lying face-down in ardha mandukaasana (half frog pose), about 11 years ago. I “dropped in” to a deep state, completely still on the outside with sparklers happening internally. When I emerged, I realized: “Oh! Something very dynamic happens on the inside, while I’m still on the outside”. It was an experience of total surrender. Then as I embarked on formal study, I found it to be one the most extensive yoga trainings available, so I surrendered even more. I don’t believe Svaroopa® yoga is the only way, but it has been very effective for me, and for the students with whom I work.
Jill: How would you describe Svaroopa® Yoga?
Kaya: Sometimes called “bliss yoga”, we angle into and through the joints, to reach into the spinal muscles and get them to release, which feels wonderful! We use precise & gentle angles, blankets for propping, lots of hands on alignments to make sure the poses are safe and effective for each individual, and adjustments to facilitate deeper release. In particular, we emphasize opening in three main areas called granthis (means “knots”) - located in the base of the spine, the heart, and the skull. As we open the physical body, we are mapping blockages throughout the subtle body & mind as well. We teach from the perspective that you are already whole and complete, you just don’t know it! We simply dissolve the gunk that blocks you from knowing your true Self.
Jill: How is Svaroopa® yoga different than other yoga styles?
Kaya: Svaroopa® yoga emphasizes sharanaagati - which means surrender or letting go. In this approach, you cultivate a capacity to be at ease, abiding in gentle but effective angles that unravel tension and blockages, layer by layer so that you let go on all levels. In Svaroopa® yoga, we teach effortful poses once the student learns to let go, so you can do tapas poses from a place of total inner ease and surrender. Ultimately any true yoga practice must work with both surrender and effort, but the starting point may vary.
Kaya: I experience deeper awareness of my body and an ability to allow my body to BE as it is, a quieting of my mind, an expanded awareness of my minds’ activity & tendencies, an ability to be at ease with myself, as myself – and with others, an ability to give fully without needing anything in return, a freedom from neediness in general, an ability to find ease-fullness within the realities of life and a deepening commitment to the knowledge of the yoga tradition.
Jill: What kind of feedback do you find you receive often from students that stick with the practice?
Kaya: As yoga is progressive, so are the results. Most people start because of physical pain or discomfort – and they report healing - from being “pain free” for the first time in years, sleeping more soundly, getting taller, resolving headaches, dissolving wrinkles, and more. As the physical stuff resolves, students’ also dissolve harmful mental patterns and they report transformation: a letting go of old grief, a blossoming in relationships, ease at work, lifestyle changes, changes in food habits, a feeling that they are more relaxed and the “stuff” that used to make them upset no longer does. They say they feel lighter and more joyful. Then they start experiencing yoga’s capacity for illumination and become interested in yoga philosophy and meditation – or gain a deeper connection to spiritual lineage they were born in to.
Jill: Beautiful! Thank you so much Kaya. See you in class ; )
Kaya: Thank you for your lovely questions!
- Find out more about Kaya Mindlin at: www.yogawithkaya.com.
- Find out more about Jill Bernard at www.ilovewellbeing.com/about.