An American yoga teacher decided in the middle of the economical crisis to move in Greece. And if you’ re wondering why; The reason is simple, as she says, she had a sense that she needed to be in Athens! And her sense came true!
Lynn teaches yoga in the center of Athens and specifically on the roof of a lovely apartment overlooking the Acropolis! The kind of yoga she teaches is Kundalini Yoga, which, according to Lynn, is “the yoga for all”. As she claims everyone who breathes can do yoga!
Lynn is a person who deserves your attention and we’ re pretty sure that after reading this interview, you’ ll decide to be in her next yoga class overlooking the Acropolis!
- Who are you and when did you started teaching yoga?
- I’m an American Kundalini Yoga instructor who started teaching Kundalini Yoga in 2009. I first started practicing Kundalini Yoga in 2007 when I was going through a difficult relationship break up. Then in 2008 I took teacher training just to learn more since I was curious about this practice that had been so helpful to me. And then when the training ended in 2009, I felt like I had learned so much helpful information, I should share it with others so I started teaching.
- Ηow long have you been in Greece and why did you choose our country as a place to stay?
- I moved to Greece in 2012 and the only way I can describe my choice to move here is that it felt like a calling. I’m not Greek by heritage, there was no Greek man in the picture, and I didn’t have a job in Greece. I just had very clear sense that I needed to be in Athens. I had a comfortable life in San Francisco, and I wasn’t looking for places to move to. It was more like the thoughts to come to Greece approached me. That said, my intuition was right because Greece 100% feels like my home.
- What differences have you found in yoga in Greece compared to U.S.?
- In San Francisco, yoga is very popular, the yoga market is saturated, and most people I know there have at least tried a yoga class or two. Here, I find people are open and curious about it but often don’t have any direct yoga experience. In Greece, I get lots of absolute beginners in my class, which I really love. I even had a 67-year old retired electrician who had never done a single yoga class come to one of my yoga weeks in Sifnos. And he did great!
- What exactly is Kundalini Yoga and what is Enneagram?
- Kundalini Yoga is the called “the yoga of awareness,” and it is a technology of energy management that places a large emphasis on the breath. I call it the “yoga for people who think they can’t do yoga” because anyone who can breathe can do Kundalini Yoga. I’ve taught people in wheelchairs with lung cancer, people who were very ill, and people couldn’t leave their bed. They all could do Kundalini Yoga because we always start with the breath and work from there.The Enneagram is a system of psychology that helps explain why people behave the way they do. I think of it as a tool for compassion. The Enneagram suggests that your experience in life is largely influence by where you attention goes, and it goes to one of nine basic places. One you understand your “habit of attention” your own behavior starts to make more sense. And when you understand someone else’s “habit of attention,” their behavior makes more sense too.
- How important is meditation to your yoga practice?
- Mediation is at the center of Kundalini Yoga. We do physical exercises to prepare the body to hold a pose in a relaxed state, we do a deep relaxation to help the body heal, and all of this is a lead up to the meditation at the end, which is really the heart of Kundalini Yoga. The meditations for an all-levels class are usually 3-7 minutes and often include focused breathwork.
- You don’t have a fixed price for many of your yoga classes but instead offer them on a donation basis. How did you decide this?
- I think of Kundalini Yoga as medicine, and it is important to me that everyone has access to this medicine. A lot of people are struggling right now, and everyone has a different financial situation. I wanted to remove as many barriers as possible so more people could participate and experience the benefits of Kundalini Yoga themselves. I love the donation based classes because I think it sets the right tone—all are welcome.
Thank you to everyone who joined us tonight for the Vinyasa Flow class with Elli Zisis! I forgot how nice it is to be…
- What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced as a yoga teacher?
- I started my Kundalini Yoga teaching career at homeless shelters in San Francisco. I really didn’t feel like I was a “teacher” just because I had my teaching certificate so I wanted to get some experience. San Francisco homeless shelters are extremely intense, high drama environments—I had one woman screaming at me that I was the Devil- so everything since then has felt easy.
- How do you build relationships with your students?
- I’m not really trying to build relationship with my students-I am trying to create a space for them to have an experience with themselves. My job is to hold the space, to get out of the way and stay neutral. If a student comes to class and leaves feeling more connected to themselves, that means I did my job. I don’t want them to over-identify with me since it isn’t about me.
- What has helped you improve your classes since you first started teaching?
- Kundalini Yoga is different that a lot of other forms of yoga and at the beginning I was pretty insecure about that. Rather than showcase the differences, I tried to hide them and make it more like “normal” yoga. But as I got more secure myself, I stopped trying to make it conform and really focused on what it is truly amazing at—which is including everyone. Kundalini Yoga is “Yoga for All,” and I teach that with great emphasis these days. We have people of all shapes, sizes and physical abilities, and they all do great. So if you haven’t tried it yourself, I’d like to invite you to a class.