Terry Michael continues her look at the difference in yoga instructors and practice to help our readers interested in finding a yoga “home” where they feel comfortable and supported. You can refer to her previous posts featuring Tina Marie Rodriguez and Eva Montalvo. This month, Terry interviews Anya Deva, Ayurvedic Healer, Licensed Massage Therapist, and Kundalini Yoga Instructor. Anya is also the author of the e-book “Centers of the Self.”
Anya, can you tell us a little about your training and practice?
I have studied with many teachers from all over the world and attended Omega Institute years ago. I am also a licensed massage therapist and mostly follow the Ayurvedic system of healing. Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and remains one of the country’s traditional health care systems. Its concepts about health and disease promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique health practices. However, a lot of my knowledge comes from bypassing the mind, from something that lies beyond the mind – the direct connection with the Supreme consciousness.
Chanting mantras helps me to quiet the thinking and analyzing activities, and off I go to the immense Silence in which I can hear all answers. True knowledge is experiential knowledge; it does not come only from books or conversations. This is why Practice is important, because only through practice can one pass from believing to KNOWING. I don’t really believe in anything unless I experienced it myself. I invite you to practice Kundalini Yoga or receive one of my Kundalini Healing sessions, so that you Experience the Bliss of Being in Balance for yourself.
Would you describe one of your classes for us?
During the class and healing sessions we focus on gently arousing the Kundalini energy, the prime energy of Universe, which lies dormant in us, and direct it through Chakras. Chakras are the energetical transformers that exist in our subtle body, and which control all aspects of our being, from physical, to pranic, to mental, to blissful bodies. The goal of the work is to remove impurities from all our bodies and thus achieve the state of perfect health and happiness which is a dynamic state of being.
We learn how to recognize if something is out of balance in our subtle bodies and address it immediately, before it translates into a dis-ease on the physical level. The activated Kundalini (Shakti) energy is purifying the chakras as it moves upward, toward the Crown chakra, the seat of Supreme Consciousness in all of us. We achieve great results using ancient tools like Bija Mantras, Mudras and Pranayama for each Center.
What do you like best about teaching?
I love to inspire people to find the best versions of themselves. Practice of Kundalini Yoga helps one to EXPERIENCE how good it feels to be truly balanced, and thus, to KNOW what it feels like to be in physical, emotional and mental health. Once you have experienced that state of oneness with yourself and the inner peace and love that comes with stillness of the mind, you will always gravitate towards this state of being. If something is off in your health or life, you will immediately notice it, that is, bring your awareness to it, and that is all you need to start the healing process. Kundalini yoga is deeply healing because it aligns our vibrations with the prime elemental vibrations of the Universe, and we are vibrational beings. The motto of my teaching and Ayurvedic healing is: Healing the Planet, one person at a time.
Do you combine yoga with any other exercise or recommend that people do so?
I often combine yoga with light weight lifting, which increases blood flow to the tissues and organs even more, stimulates lymphatic flow and oxygenates blood and tissues through increased inspiration. Pumping blood flow bursts through all the tiny constrictions and blocks in the body, letting the energy flow to all areas of deficiency. Alternating weight lifting with Yoga asanas allows for a deeper stretch, which in turn helps to open up the body even more. Adding conscious breathing into the area of tightness directs the energy flow more precisely, helping you to address and heal even old chronic spasms and pains.
Intensified muscle contractions help one perform bandhas more effectively, thus heating up Kundalini energy so it flows upwards, purifying and energizing every chakra on its way. The entire experience snowballs, resulting in a feeling like a meditation in motion that makes you feel ecstatic. If you felt lazy, bored, sad or depressed before this kind of practice, you will feel inspired, joyful, loving and have complete serenity of the mind and heart after. I recommend combining the styles.
Do you feel that there are certain benefits for a woman over 50 that maybe in your 20s and 30s you don’t get from yoga?
During the younger age, most people tend to focus outwardly in reach of worldly success, recognition and seeking external experiences which help them to grow up. In the more mature age, that focus gradually turns inward due to the repetitiveness of the worldly phenomena and understanding that all answers lie deep within.
It takes practice to dive deep and face all the accumulated fear, grief and resentment – which can make us sick by the time we reach retirement age. With a realization of this, there is more willingness to heal, to spend time in meditation and search for the true treasures of inner abundance of love, peace and joy. Ladies over 50 become so burned out from all their earthly worldly obligations, they do need the healing the most and they absolutely can heal themselves, look younger and feel amazing, using the tools of Kundalini Yoga.
What do you feel are the positive effects of yoga on memory?
Yoga clears the unnecessary thoughts from your mind. During the practice, your brain is not overloaded with useless noise, which consumes a lot of mental energy. After a regular practice of yoga you can use that mental energy to remember the important things, like to say “I love you” to your mother!
To learn how to heal yourself with Kundalini Yoga, please read my latest e-book Centers of the Self. A free download is available here.