Surya teachers travel to India & rock 18 n 30 challenge!

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Our two teachers Anayra and Marina traveled to the birthplace of yoga - India!

Anayra Calderon, has been teaching at Surya since 2007. Anayra has been rocking this spring's 18 classes in 30 day challenge with all of her fellow students. Even though she stays busy teaching classes, she made time to participate in all the yogi fun!

Anayra also leads Surya’s teacher-training program and has been practicing yoga for the last 16 years, traveled to India to assist her teachers from The Yoga People in their 200-hour Ashtanga vinyasa teacher training in Goa, a state on India's West coast. 

What was the one thing you learned from your trip?

The importance of rituals in the Hindu community is something that was very beautiful to witness and inspiring. 

Was there anything that surprised you about India and their culture?

The huge numbers of people that practice daily rituals of prayer and meditation was surprising.

The history of yoga is said to have started in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. In fact, the word yoga was first mentioned in one of the oldest sacred texts, the Red-Veda, which contained a collection of inspired hymns and mantras to invoke courage, happiness, health, peace, prosperity, success, and wisdom.

Surya instructor, Marina De Lima joined Anayra on her trip to yoga’s native land. 

Marina, teaches at Surya’s Hoboken and Jersey City locations. The Brazilian-born teacher did advanced training with The Yoga People in Thailand and decided to take the journey to India. She completed an intensive training in Ashtanga Primary Series as well as Ashtanga Vinyasa, also known as Rocket Yoga. 

“I had always wanted to go to India and was fascinated with the culture and the people and decided that there was no place I would rather advance my yoga practice then in the birthplace of yoga,” De Lima said.

 What was the one thing you learned from your trip?

 There were so many things I learned from this trip. Not only did I gain knowledge and deeper understanding of the fundamentals of yoga but my physical practice has advanced as well as my meditation practice. 

Was there anything you learned from your trip that you would like to incorporate into your Surya classes?

For me I'm always looking for ways to make the difficult postures and elements of yoga seem fluid and effortless and I would love to be able to translate that into my classes so that each class is more of a moving meditation. I'd also like to teach more of the Ashtanga Vinyasa or Rocket style. 

Was there anything that surprised you about India and their culture?

I was expected to be overwhelmed in India by sounds and cultural overload, and I was overwhelmed, but it was with this feeling of love and deep pride. I love that it is a culture that is deeply rooted in ceremony and tradition and I loved getting to experience that hands on. 

Did you notice any major differences between how yoga is practiced in India versus in the U.S.?

In India there is not a major focus on the physical practice of yoga or the Asanas. The yoga that is practiced in India is based on moral principles, pranayama and breathing techniques, meditation, and kriyas or purification rituals. 

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Lindsay Carlton
Surya Yoga Academy