I met Pradeep Teotia in Brussels, in “yyoga” studio last summer. I was supposed to be away for a friend’s wedding in Italy. In the end I could not travel. In the last minute I decided to join the weekend’s yoga workshop recommended by my yoga teacher. And well, I did not know it will put me on a completely new level with how I will feel about yoga. This year, he will come again for workshops in Brussels and I can’t wait for it.
Pradeep Teotia, raised in a small village outside of a New Delhi, has been practicing yoga his entire life. Introduced to the practice by his family, now he is internationally recognized and certified teacher. Based in San Francisco, he travels the world to share his passion. Does the recent yoga fame make him special as a teacher? It’s vice versa. It is the fame coming out of the energy he creates in the class. I’m sure each time he organize workshops around the world, he is getting new fans. What makes him extraordinary? It is a combination of bringing the philosophy of yoga into the joy of physical practice. On his website you read: “He is known for bringing the roots of yoga alive for modern practitioners through the integration of meditation, yoga philosophy, nature’s vitality, spontaneous humour, and joy”.
Did I receive it all? Yes, in a triple amount! What he says, what he shows, what he teaches and what energy he creates in the studio, all is consistent. I sweated liters of toxins out. I reached my physical limit after almost of 4 h of full practice every day, yet I left the studio with big smile on my face. I inhaled lots of good energy and I exhaled lots of heavy thoughts. I never experienced such a joyful yoga with lots of laughing, jokes, and amazing, rhythmical music which let the bodies flow! He has chosen the music that was so well adapted to the movements we were doing. So I let it flow with my breath and it brought me back to the youth years I was dancing. Sometimes the music was very modern, with the strong rhythm, sometimes traditional Indian. And sometimes he would make us laugh and surprised us completely, in the moments when we thought we are not be able to make yet another Vinyasa (“movements between poses in yoga, typically accompanied by regulated breathing”). Who wouldn’t laugh so much to hear “I’m Barbie girl”?
And yet, there were moments with tears, because when you reach certain level of physical challenge, you reach mental and emotional challenges as well. There is no other way. It is the moment when your emotions are opening as well. You know your limits, you know your weakness, and you know your fears. That’s the moment when you need to face it all. And that’s the moment when healing comes.
During the practice, we heard many times from him “Welcome home, my friend, welcome home”. And in that particular moment, when I reached my limit, I faced my fears and self doubt, when the tears were running on my face, I felt I am at home, my own home. My body is my home. I never experienced before so joyful yoga class , yet with such a deep approach and life lessons given every other minute. If I would sit in the corner and wrote down what he said, I would have now a little book of wisdom.
I did learn that yoga can be fun, joy,but yes yoga is extremely challenging for the body and mind.But isn’t what life is like? So I ask him for interview, because I couldn’t stop wonder where this inspiration is coming from?
Wellbelicious: Why yoga can heal the body and the mind?
Pradeep: Because I tried and it works! ;) Show up on your mat, practice and then you’ll know for yourself. Why it does for one person might not be why it does for another. Yoga brings the health in physical body. People come to yoga studio first time, usually because they want to heal their body: get more strength, flexibility, heal the back pain or any other pain. And yoga will help them. There is nothing wrong if somebody is focusing just on physical part. Yoga has thousands years in history, there is a knowledge behind that, there is an anatomy of every posture. So it heals the body. But then usually after some time, as you start to practice breathing, you realize you calm your mind. And on the way to master your body, you start to respect it, love it, you start to love yourself. If you start to love yourself, you will love life and others. You will try to be better person. In all the postures, balance is a key, you need to build the strong core, work on your balance, otherwise it will not work. And then you realize life is similar. So you start to bring those lessons from the mat into your daily world. Body, mind and soul need a balance. This is the cycle. Yoga bring peace in mind and enrich our everyday life!
W:How does it help in your life?
P:I practice yoga since I was as a kid. Now it is my whole life. It made me pay attention more. When you need to focus in practicing Asanas, you bring this focus and attention outside of the mat. It made me kinder. You can’t force your body and mind. You need to learn kind approach. So you became kinder. Through yoga I learn more compassion for myself, so I have it for everyone else. If you practice all the love towards yourself, you will have this love also for life and for the others. It brought the joy in my everyday life!
W: Yes, I experienced also how much joy you add into your teaching. Your classes are physically demanding, the floor is wet from sweating. You make people laugh, you may play a crazy song and create friendly, light atmosphere. But then people leave your class with deep lessons about life and how to transfer yoga from the mat to their daily life. Where do you find your inspiration?
P:I find my inspiration on my Yoga mat, in my everyday practice off the mat and on the mat. I try to start each day as completely new day. Like I would never live before. I do it also with yoga. After so many years of practicing, I just start every day practice from the beginning. You should see what I see when I watch people in my class. When they make their biggest effort, when they stand beautifully in their Asanas, everybody reaching their own level. No competition, just flow with the breath. Mastering the mind and the body in the most gentle way. Yes, this is the inspiration.
W: Can you invite in a few words those of my readers who never tried yoga? Maybe we manage to convince somebody? Just don’t scare them too much ☺
P:Please come and try. There is nothing wrong trying. I know you will find joy, happiness and freedom inside you after the class. For whatever reason you want to try, just do it. If it’s only physical, it’s fine. If you search for balancing and breathing, wonderful. Just try. BE BRAVE. WELCOME HOME
What “healthy” means for you?
Calm mind & healthy body
Yoga is your life but do you practice other physical activities?
I love walking!
What daily rituals you make to take care of your body?
Asana practice (Asana- postures in yoga)
How do you take care of your soul & mind?
Being in the nature
What’s your favourite form of relaxation?
Listening to the music and cooking
Ideal day outside of your work?
Relaxing in home sweet home
Your favourite place in the world?
Home sweet home
Who/what inspires you?
Your favorite nourishing meal/food?
Indian home cooked food
Three advises to live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life?
Do what you love & do it often. Share your passion. Live your dreams.
Thank you Pradeep for dedicating your time!
The workshop took place in a beautiful, contemporary yoga studio: Yyoga