It is with great pleasure and respect to introduce my dear friend and author, Victoria Klein. Victoria and I met a few years ago and it was an immediate friendship. Very obvious we were meant to meet! We had the great blessing of being able to work together on a piece for Yoga Journal. Victoria interviewed me for the November 2008 Om section of Yoga Journal. Thanks Victoria and YJ!!!!
Victoria and I share many things in common. We both love New England. I grew up in Connecticut and now she lives there. We love design, photography, writing, California, and yoga. Yoga being what ultimately tied us together. I am so thankful to Victoria for including me in her books special thanks section. Wow, so nice of her, right! Her new book, 27 Things to Know About Yoga, is a great travel sized read accessible to all interested in yoga for the first time or long time practitioners. There are so many Yoga texts out there and it can be intimidating to figure out which ones to read. Victoria's book is friendly, educational, and written in question format with straight forward answers. In addition to 27 Things to Know About Yoga you may also want to check out three more staples for yoga reading, the Bhagavad Gita (Nikhilananda), Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, and Autobiography of a Yogi. And, do not be afraid of any of them especially the long versions. They are texts you will read over an over again. If you read only one verse or page a day you are doing great ; )
I put several questions together for Victoria about yoga and you are sure to find inspiration in her answers.
Take it away Victoria!
"I never get sick of talking about yoga … but I do get sick of being asked the same questions over and over again. Enter: 27 Things to Know About Yoga – my very first book! Just 175 page & an affordable $9.99, 27 Things covers all the basics would-be yogis wonder about and an introduction to advanced concepts many have never heard of (8 limbs of yoga, anyone?).
As part of my blog book tour for 27 Things, I’m overjoyed to be visiting my great friend Tara Hogan here on Ink+Wit. Long-time readers of Ink+Wit might remember my 2 holiday wish list posts from last year. post 1 / post 2. This time, Tara is interviewing me!
What inspired you to practice yoga?
50% curiosity & 50% boredom. I like to try new things, but I also get bored very easily, especially when it comes to staying in shape. A new fitness center has recently been built in the small CT town where I went to high school. My mum had tried a yoga class there & said I should give it a try. One class and I was hooked. Yoga appealed to my desire for variety & personal exploration.
How long have you studied yoga?
That first class was either 2000 or 2001 – that’s nearly 10 years of practice now! It’s very crazy to think back and just how much my life has changed since then, but I’ve always had my yoga.
Who are your inspirations? What books do you look to for guidance?
There is always someone around to inspire me. Family comes first, especially my father. He passed away a month before he turned 49 in 2006, just 2 months before I moved to San Francisco. I never had a chance to introduce him to yoga & how it had helped me. I practice because he can’t; I follow my dreams because he can’t.
My Mum, who first introduced me to yoga, continues to be the coolest Mum anyone could wish for.
My husband, who goes to the Marines Corps boot camp on September 13th, is an obvious inspiration. He’s doing something that I could never imagine doing. I’m a writer, he’s a fighter – somehow, we compliment each other.
Oh wow – books; we could be here chatting for ages about that! I found Georg & Brenda Feuerstein‘s Green Yoga to be very informational & inspiring. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading as many yoga books as I’d like to, but I do have long list of books waiting to be read. A few on the list:
Mindfulness Yoga by Frank Jude Boccio
Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers
Yoga: The Greater Tradition by David Frawley
The Wisdom of Yoga by Stephen Cope
The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide by Nischala Joy Devi
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga by Deepak Chopra
What are some studios you study at/teachers you admire?
I recently returned from a 2-week trip to San Francisco. I lived in SF for 3 years (2006-2009) & worked at Yoga Tree, a local yoga studio for a year. While there, I delved deeply into the world of yoga and met some amazing people, some of which I interviewed for 27 Things.
During my return trip, I had the pleasure of meeting up with two of those amazing folks: Les Leventhal & Peter Guinosso. Ironically, they both teach heated classes – styles I naturally shy away from. In just a year and a half, both of these men have made exceptionally progress in their lives, both personally & professionally, thanks in part to their yoga practice. These fellas were so different from the men I met years ago, yet they were still the same. They both had a new glow & positive energy about them that I’ll never forget. Other teachers that I am drawn to are Cyndi Lee, Catherine Chapman, KK Ledford, Janet Stone, and Elise Lorimer.
As far as studios, I wish I had some to recommend, but I’ve been maintaining my practice at home for nearly 2 years. I very much want to get back into studio classes, but cost & schedule have kept me from that.
Next on my list to try:
Yoga Center of Collinsville
West Hartford Yoga
a retreat at Kripalu
How does yoga help you? It keeps me sane – there’s no other way to put it than that. I’ve suffered from clinical depression, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety for nearly 10 years. I used to take medication, but now I don’t. Why? Yoga. Yoga stills my body and my mind. Yoga helps me put my world into perspective. Yoga slows me down and sets me straight. Yoga grows my confidence and silences my ridiculous fears. All in all, yoga has helped me find out what “me” really is, and with every practice, I am reminded of that person and how she is connected with everyone and everything.
How do you think yoga has changed in the last 10 years?
One word: immensely. Almost every gym has yoga classes now & yoga studios are almost as popular as coffee shops. Living in a small city in “the land of steady habits”, I was surprised to find a practice like yoga. Since then, yoga has become popular with wrestlers and football players, celebrities and groovy grandmas. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of yoga.
Also, there is the business side of yoga. It is a massively popular niche market that is difficult to mix with the actual traditional practice of yoga. That is the major issue for the next 10 years of yoga."
Om Shanti Victoria. Thank you so much and congratulations to you!