It’s brick cold in New York but somehow some way I managed to make it to the end of the 4 line in BX to meet with Librada.Yoga. From time to time the opportunity to meet with the Yogi Selects yogis presents itself! I missed her on the first orbit but was able to make time the second trip to NY. Running late (not usual) but I made it around 5 and the sun was down and the cold was effecting AsiaSol more than me. After a quick plan to explore and find a decent spot we hopped on the bus. An insightful conversation ranging from traveling to the willingness to sacrifice to achieve a goal laid the undertone for our subtle search. Hopped off the wrong right bus sparked a spliff to keep warm and wallllaaaa on the last toke we arrived at the best lit spot the cold could offer! This is the first half of our shoot the next half requires a trip to Puerto Rico!
Yogi Selects: Librada.Yoga How can tradition/ritual be beneficial for a consistent yoga practice? There is such beauty in the stillness of a ritual, just as in yoga. In creating daily and/or weekly rituals, we build consistency. Through the rhythm of repetition I believe we can cultivate peace within. In Ashtanga, we visit the same poses everyday, and this practice allows me unveil the obstacles I often hide from myself. So just like some traditions, there is an information exchange. My practice is often a part of a ritual.Sometimes I begin a dance offering with breath and free movement; this moving meditation definitely feels like yoga to me even if its more informal. When I can feel life getting away from me or I’m burdened, a cleansing ritual or a detoxing yoga flow can always help me get back on track. So if you are already are armed with a spiritual ritual practice, some yoga can strengthen and ground your spirit.Was there a specific point or experience in life that led you to forming a stronger connection with yourself through practice?I definitely acknowledged at a young age the fact that there were/are forces guiding my life. So with that self-awareness, i know that I did not fall into yoga. I was guided over the course of a few years, or maybe like Patanjali said in the Sutras this journey has lasted a few lifetimes. So during high school, my mom met her father and found him sick and living in shambles. She took him in and began to care for him, the financial and emotional burden was overwhelming. I couldn’t find money for university so I dropped out of George Washington University during midterms and went home to find my mom in the hospital at her last rope. She retired early, and we took our little family to St Croix, USVI where I helped take care of my estranged grandfather and took as many classes as I could at a local studio.My grandfathers health deteriorated and we moved to Puerto Rico for better health care where I immediately took a YTT at Ashtanga Yoga Puerto Rico and never looked back. Are there lessons you learn while teaching others? If so what do you find useful from teaching others? Teaching always reminds me how sublime the complexity of life really is; that our bodies have a lot to show us. All the people it took to birth you, their lifetimes live in your skin, your muscles, your bones, down to the synapse of your neurons. There are lots of shitty situations that can leave you feeling broken and purposeless. One thing I believe is we are all God experiencing themself through the wilderness of life in this universe; in moments we spend with each other we can find another face of God meandering through this journey we are all a part of. Only I could have been born, with this skin, soul and body. Whatever I am, I am the energy God decided should be here right now.What was your first memory ever? I think it was singing The Boy is Mine with my Titi Nancy in her car. Whenever I was with her, the space we were in always felt like love & I could feel it in the air. She taught me how to have a good time. I learned to stay true to myself by watching myself die? How can you relate to this quote?I try to not be afraid of failure or destruction. I think there can be beauty in obliteration. For the sake of balance, I can’t be afraid of the ugliness. Sometimes we need to strip ourselves of the things that make our lives “prettier.” On my mat, I bring myself down to the gritty, bare version of myself to see what’s at my core. What’s left when all the bullshit is destroyed? I’m bare-assed and exposed. Alone with myself, I deconstruct what I’ve built to see what truly is. Shit happens and sometimes I’m crushed. I have lost direction and had to start from scratch. I’ve failed, fucked up and had to watch bits of myself die. Like a dead limb threatening to poison me, I’ve cut off bad habits, thoughts, ideas or even goals I’ve set for myself. I’m still young and try to practice courage, so I can be my own true self. I know that more destruction is in my future because I want to create; and the two go hand in hand. In my evolution, there will be several versions of me. Through my practice, I shed, renew and find my truth. Have you had any mystical and metaphysical experiences practicing yoga/meditation? My yoga practice helps me manage my sensitivity. My dedication clears out the excess. If I’m not conscious and present I will carry a lot of things that don’t serve me. With a consistent practice, I see/hear the guidance I need much clearer. I can walk closer to my divine path. So in a sense, yoga helps me handle the metaphysical and mystical parts of my life that otherwise overwhelm me.I noticed you like quotes, reflect on what this one could mean to you? “The moment we realize our imagination is as tangible as our memory experience becomes limitless.” We live in a world of possibilities. Even with the privilege of western living, I forget how much influence I have on my own path. My imagination & past experiences can help shape my present. Whatever future I see for myself, I can bring it to fruition through discipline, dedication and faith. But through non-attachment, I believe we can find even more success. So often life will offer you a path radically different from what we intended; and its probably wilder than our imagination can fathom.How can yoga be a good tool for recovering from the aches and pains that come with skating? While it is obviously great for recovery, I think yoga & maybe more specifically Ashtanga, is the perfect tool for skaters. It offers us muscular and skeletal alignment, to keep the body safe. Skating asks a lot of the body, but there is no limit to your progress if you pair your training with some primary series. The mind/body connection will maximize your potential in the street, on a ramp or in a derby bout. In which ways has your practice taken your mind off of your self and how does that help those around you? In class the discussions are often about “me” “i” “the self”, and while this is really fucking important ( I realize all mental, spiritual or even physical work begins from within), it’s so vital we address our communal responsibilities. A good grounding practice can harness a deeply rooted connection. And when I ground myself, I release my individuality and accept more of the infinite. I realize the inescapable relation between me & everyone/thing. When I’m grounded, I more readily see the beauty & strength in the people around me & try to remind them of it. When my root energy flows I give compliments, I share good energy, I dance, I can love more thoroughly. What has been the most important question you can ask yourself at this point in life? This is tricky. I often ask myself, “What’s next?” But I don’t think its the most important question. Maybe its: “Am I living my truth?”Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers of infocus247.com Something I try to tell myself on the regular: Live fiercely & humbly. Be radically at peace with yourself.