Ask the yogi: interview with Ana Ganga
It's that time again! Super excited to introduce this amazing woman to you guys: Ana is a Brazilian yoga teacher and dancer and we put your beginners questions to her...
Why did you start yoga?
I have always been a dancer and when I came across yoga I could give meaning to all the feelings of bliss and happiness that I could experience by simply moving my body consciously. I actually started yoga by chance when I stumbled upon a studio near home about 5 years ago. I was in a very dark place in my life and my mind was taking the best of me. When I finally realized I was not my mind – and its sometimes terrible thoughts – it was the most liberating moment of my life.
How did you start your practice? Did you start at home, or in a studio, for example?
I started in a yoga studio with a teacher that was also a psychologist so her approach to yoga was everything that I needed to get me out of that endless spiral of self-destruction I was caught up in.
Do you do any other forms of exercise, or just yoga, and why?
Besides yoga and acroyoga I am currently taking pole dance classes and sometimes go to contemporary dance jams because dance has always been a big part of my life and how I express myself.
How has practising yoga impacted your life?
It saved my life by making me a lighthearted and strong woman – physically and mentally. The impact was so great it made me want to become a teacher three years after so I could be able to spread this blissful practice around.
I believe nothing is external to my practice so in a larger way my life is my practice. Everything is yoga to me. The first sentence of Patajali’s Yoga Sutras says that “now is the time for yoga”. So if we agree that the only real time is the now – since past and future exist only in our heads – every time is time for yoga if you are deeply rooted in the NOW.
Which type of yoga would you recommend to a beginner?
The one that touches your heart and makes you want to become a better person.
What’s your advice for starting a practice?
Do it. Psychologists say that it takes 21 days to create a habit so set your own ritual and commit to it no matter what. If you’re too tired or sick, five minutes of meditation or ten minutes of yoga nidra will actually make you feel better. It doesn’t matter what type of practice you choose just that you remind yourself every day to stay connected to it.
How can I fit yoga into my daily routine? I don’t have time to dedicate to a public class!
You can start private classes with an instructor in the comfort of your own home or take online classes. Once you get the feeling of it you can reproduce some of your practices by yourself or ask your instructor to create a personal practice for you. I strongly advise looking for an instructor who will be aware of your conditions and will set a proper and safe practice for you.
I’m not flexible and I have a short attention span, is yoga for me?
Yoga is for everybody. If you can breathe, you can practice.
What are the benefits of the ‘spiritual’ side of yoga?
One of the translations of the word “yoga” is “union”. The world we live in can make us believe that we are alone and apart from everything which leads us to taking ourselves too seriously and eventually getting sick. It is like we are being constantly robbed of our own presence with our minds always wandering elsewhere in time. Too much future leads to anxiety. Too much past leads to depression. When practicing yoga we heal ourselves by staying rooted to the present and experiencing being rather than doing.
Is there anything I can do at home to prepare for my first yoga class?
I like to tell my students that every yoga class is an appointment with the most important person in your life: you. So just honour that commitment and you should do fine.