5 Qs with Gloria Latham: Kundalini yoga, yoga for every body, intensity [vid]
September 21, 2010
Five questions with Gloria Latham, Kundalini yoga supa-stah, and co-founder of Semperviva Yoga.
1. You’re known for your real-life approach to yoga, and making yoga accessible. Can you talk about why this is important to you?
The level of stress in our modern day lives is staggering. We often neglect our physical, emotional, and mental health until we get ill or hit the wall.
Those of us who need yoga most are often not those in peak physical shape. We are individuals who have neglected our well being and need to start the journey back to health. Offering classes that require someone to have had years of gymnastics or dance training to even participate in class isn’t of much value to the public at large. It is definitely fun to challenge ourselves physically, and very rewarding to achieve new postures, but this is just the icing on the cake. Just being in a room with a group of like minded individuals, breathing and moving their way to health, is rewarding enough. Do you have any idea how much stress you can unload just through powerful breath techniques and simple movements? It’s mind blowing.
2. How do life outside the yoga studio, and what you do inside the studio, intersect for you?
Yoga teaches you how to stay calm in challenging situations–which is essentially your entire life, day after day. In class, we put ourselves in uncomfortable positions, and teach ourselves through the breath how to stay calm. Then when you are outside the studio and the pressure is on, your body immediately knows what to do. You instantly fall into your yogic breathing practices, and can rationally handle the most demanding situations with a lot less stress.
The mind follows the breath. Calm the breath and you will calm the mind. You master your mind and thus your destiny.
3. Your teaching style of the Kundalini yoga practice is different than what many people are familiar with: Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bahjan. What are the differences, and why are they there?
I must start by honouring all that Yogi Bhajan brought to the West. I never started teaching with any intention of modifying what I was taught. It happened organically. Many of the practices I was taught were very sedentary and I found that as someone bound to a laptop for several hours a day, I wanted to move more. I started to modify some of the movements so I could do them standing, instead of seated, and it grew from there.
Time is limited for everyone. What I like to offer is a practice that allows people to dance, laugh, sweat, sing, breathe deeply, and meditate, all in an hour and fifteen minutes. If you can have an intense practice on all levels and head for home, loving life again, then we’ve done a great job together.
4. The motto within Semperviva studios is ‘Yoga for Every Body’. Can you expand on this?
People have gotten the impression, through media imagery, that yoga is gymnastics. It’s not! If you can breathe, you can do yoga. Whether you are 5 or 85, there is a practice for you. EVERYONE is welcome to class. There are so many different styles of yoga, and each teacher offers their own unique way of teaching, making yoga accessible to all.
5. If you could tell a room full of 1000 students just one thing, what would it be?
Do yoga every day for the rest of your life!