5 Question Interview with Mohara Devi
1.) Tell me about your personal journey with yoga. Why is it important to you?
My yogic journey started when I was 18 years old and had to take a PE class in community college. I am not competitive, and have never been athletic, so I registered for Yoga mainly because I didn’t want to get sweaty at school. It was an accelerated program, pretty much every morning, bright and early and I was blessed to have a teacher that showed me to “compete” with me; to better myself. I really understood the poses and almost instantly, I was in love with Yoga.
That was fifteen years ago and gradually a practice I enjoyed turned into a lifestyle full of many conscious commitments.
My journey with Yoga is important to me, because without it I would be suffering. It’s been a lifesaver in some of my darkest times, but now mainly Yoga helps me to keep up with the times we’re in, to enjoy and experience many lessons and adventures, and to help others. Yoga is infinite, so my journey is endless.
2.) When did you first begin teaching yoga? What made you transition into a leadership position of opening a studio in 2011?
Around 2008 I was taking ‘yoga’ at a gym and the instructor was going to need to take a maternity leave. In preparation for that, she told me “you’re the most flexible person in the class. You teach it.” So I enrolled in an Iyengar Yoga program at UCR, thinking I was ‘flexible’ so I could teach Yoga. That was the incredibly humbling experience, where I learned Yoga has nothing to do with flexibility!
I began to teach at the gym and when the regular teacher came back they kept me on for a few classes; right around the time my human resources career in the spa industry was falling apart and I had just finished my first of now many Yoga teacher trainings. I felt I had so much to share and that I had to share it now (2010). I was up all night noting my divinely inspired ideas for a Yoga Studio, Source Studio, a name that came to me when I was just quiet enough to hear it.
Even though I’d never even been to a yoga studio, I felt I had nothing to lose; no children, enough money, and now that I was unemployed, time to do what I wanted to do.
I ended up losing everything though; a ten year marriage; I walked away from our house and money and on 1/1/11 I opened Source, because, as difficult as it was to go through all of that, it would have been more painful to not follow my path.
3.) What makes your classes and studio unique for your community?
Source Studio developed on its own through God’s grace; I really don’t get to take credit for the place of healing and love that it’s become. We’ve moved locations three times, which taught me that a Studio is not a place, it’s the people. Our community takes care of each other. We raise monarch butterflies at a nearby community garden, we have overnight sound healings, our Guru, Acharya Shree Yogeesh and his teachings, and we’re a place where everyBODY is welcome. We venture out of our space all the time to go on yoga adventures, to teach aerial Yoga at retreats, we tithe monthly, feed the needy weekly and support local charities whenever opportunities to do so come up, which is often! We’re incredibly grateful to have the time, means and energy to get to do these things together.
Our teachings go very deep in subtle, loving ways, encouraging students to evolve on their own pace, as slow and steady wins the race. We teach on the basic concepts of Yoga that sometimes are missed in a Yoga class; Ahimsa, non-violence, veganism. Saucha, cleanliness, being toxin free and Svadhaya, self-study in the many affordable workshops we offer. We hold free Sadhana in the mornings for people to come and commit to themselves and we have fun!
I never wanted to be one of those Studios that have an intimidating feeling when you walk in. We’re there for people to express themselves, to be themselves and most importantly, to love themselves. Somehow, we’ve managed to attract the brightest teachers and students that are ready to awaken and to love. It’s a lot of work, being the earth angels that we are, but it’s a dream come true.
4.) How does music benefit your guidance in a yoga class?
Music, mantra and sound (gong, Tibetan and crystal bowls) raise the energy in our classes and keep students connected to their practice, because often students will ask what we were playing and of course, we’re always sharing. Yogi Bhajan says the mind cannot withstand the gong past three minutes; meaning that after about three minutes in a gong bath, thinking stops and the mind transcends. I can feel this happen in class during peaks in certain songs in class as well. It will be as if the room will collectively exhale, the tension releases and people come back to who they truly are.
Of course the languages used in mantras vibrate at higher levels than English does. I remember when I was just starting my practice and I’d be in Savasana, taking in the beautiful words and sounds of mantras, having no idea what they were saying, but because Yoga is in me, through past lives and is in all of us probably from ancient times, the music resonated so deeply and was very healing.
When we chant for an hour in Sadhana or in Kirtan we’re using our throat chakras which teaches us to use our voices, to say what we need and to know what we believe. I think everyone loves music because it brings up feelings we can all relate to, combined with Yoga it can be inspirational during our practice and raises our thoughts and awareness.
5.) Tell me about your next event and where we can follow you online.
We have Aerial Yoga and special events or trainings almost every weekend, and follow the moon cycles for meditations. Next Sunday, 9/4 I’m grateful and excited to be bringing DTO’s live music to Source Studio! In addition to flowing with the beautiful, conscious music of Nameless Energy, this class will focus on removing fears of the future, to gently blossom into to full potential. Students will have a chance to stay after class and get a photo of their aura taken! sourceyogaca Sept 4, *9am Aerial Yoga *10:30am Yoga+Live Music *12pm Aura Photography Session Mohara Devi Yoga + Live DTO Music
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