Luca: Thank you Lara for finding the time for my blog interview. I know you are always very busy, having just returned from teaching a weekend workshop in Colombo, to a feverish toddler. I hope Jaego gets well very soon!
It is literally years since we last talked. I have to admit, it had mainly to do with my suffered choice to abandon the practice.
Let’s start trying to define together your Quantum Yoga (QUANTUM YOGA) the way you would explain it to your children or to someone who never approached yoga before. I remember the word quantum is evocative of Einstein’s Relativity Theory. In what way Einstein and the ancient Ayurvedic principles; also a fundemantal part of your teachings; are comprised in QUANTUM YOGA?
Lara: Ok, If I wanted to explain Quantum Yoga to a kid I would say that it is about doing the practice which is right for you: simple! Everybody is different, and moreover we change all the time. Therefore, it is about how to recognise which practice suits you and also how to vary this practice from day to day in accordance with your changing requirements.
In slightly more sophisticated words, I would say Quantum Yoga is a method of personal practice optimisation. According to this method I advocate vinyasa; which is breath-synchronised movement; as the primary mode of practice although there are times where a more static approach is appropriate: restorative, menstrual or pregnancy practice.
I have tried many different types of practices and I find that vinyasa is the most effective in bringing together the three main existential qualities of the human condition: the breathing, the moving-through-space and the fact that we have busy minds. If you synchronise the movement and the breathing the effect is that the mind becomes more clear and focused. “Yogash Chitta Vritti Nirodaha”: with these words sage Patanjali defines Yoga in his Sutras (3rd century CE) meaning the “Cessation of the fluctuations in consciousness” or, more simply, the “stopping of the turning around of thoughts in your mind”… As you should you remember well from your teacher training! (laughs). Besides, since you are working with deep and steady breath (ujjayi pranayama) you are also increasing the life force in your body (prana) and your lung capacity, feeling more energised. Finally, by moving dynamically, you are toning muscles, increasing bone density etc, in short strengthening the body.
Fundamentally, Quantum Yoga is a listening practice: which means establishing a dialogue between body and mind with a loving intention and responding intelligently to the reactions you observe happening in yourself. Quantum Physics has proven that any activity, when done with consciousness, bears a great transformative potential for the simple reason that when there is awareness your cells vibrate in a different frequency, and again, especially when the intention is positive. There are so many cross-overs between science and ancient spiritual teachings. The most obvious one is that energy is far more substantial than matter: the latter being just empty spaces held together by energy. When you practice yoga to a more intense level you can experience this firsthand. There are processes that happen in your body that are beyond mere muscles and bones. There is an experience of energetic shifts that can consequently affect your mental state.
Anyhow, the great lesson that I learned from this as a yogi could be summarised by these words: “work with awareness, pay attention, adjust your practice to yourself and your needs!”. As you can imagine this is a very different approach compared to other schools of Yoga which are based on the repetition of the same sequence over and over.