Meet The Iyengar Yoga Teachers of Blue Osa

Blue Osa is proud to host several yoga teachers every year. Zain, Tessa + Genny Kapuler are three “Iyengar Yoga” teachers we are proud to host.

Name: Yogi Zain
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Favorite Book: This Is It
Favorite Movie: Waking Life

 

What in life has given you the most strength to get through difficult times?

My family, spiritual friends and having faith in a positive future.

 

What has yoga taught you about life?

Yoga has taught me about balance. Through Iyengar Yoga, I learned balancing is an ongoing process that demands continuous calibrating and realigning to any given situation. Yoga brings an awareness to feel a dynamic kind of stillness. Whether posing on my mat or composing myself in the world there is an ongoing vibrancy running through my bloodstream and in my spirit. I feel alive more than ever through my yoga practice.

 

When did you realize that you wanted to help others and make yoga your business and passion?

I am grateful for all the benefits I gain from practicing yoga. Physically it brings vitality to my body. Mentally it brings clarity. Emotionally it brings stability. And spiritually it brings harmony. I wish to share all these gifts with others to help them benefit any aspect of their life whether it be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

 

Do you have one teacher (or more) that you study with? If so, could you describe that relationship?

I have a wonderful local mentor, Heather Haxo, with whom I apprenticed one on one after having completed other teacher trainings. Heather was most resourceful and encouraging in helping me become a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher. I also have other senior teachers with whom I make time to travel and study with regularly: Carrie Owerko, Carolyn Belko, and Lois Steinberg. Through each one of these highly skillful and supremely compassionate teachers I’ve gained a depth of knowledge which has enhanced my practice greatly.

 

 

 

Can you talk a little bit about ​what Iyengar yoga means to you?

To me, Iyengar yoga is an all-encompassing practice. Though it’s systematic, it’s not formulaic. Within the method of practice, there is a lot of creativity and room for endless self-exploration. I find there is never a dull moment in an Iyengar Yoga class. The practice is self-regenerating and a rich source for experiencing a vibrant life and a way to age gracefully.

 

If you had to sum up your retreat in 3 words what would they be?
Rejuvenation
Connection
Adventure

 

 

Name: Tessa Manning
Hometown: Sebastopol, CA
Favorite Book: Think and Grow Rich
Favorite Movie: Harold and Maude

What has yoga taught you about life?
Yoga has taught me to slow down and live from the inside out instead of the outside in. I have learned to overcome fears, to breath and to not react so strongly to outside circumstances. It has taught me that pain comes and goes, and I do not have to get so attached to my present pain.

​W​hen did you realize that you wanted to help others and make yoga your business and passion?
My very first Iyengar Yoga class. I walked into that class with an ego that told me I already knew so much about yoga. That first class changed my life forever. I got into the first headstand of my life, and the teacher also pointed out my scoliosis; which had not been mentioned to me since I was 13! I was blown away by the openness I felt in my chest and back after class. I remember leaving with a feeling of freedom and disbelief that I could feel so good. I told myself in that class, ‘I don’t know what this is, but this is it. I want to teach this and do this forever.’ I spent years practicing deeply and healing my back pain. I couldn’t wait for the moment I could share this practice with others, and it is my deepest passion to do so.

Do you have one teacher (or more) that you study with? If so, could you describe that relationship?
My main teacher is Manouso Manos out of San Francisco. Manouso is such an amazing teacher I almost don’t have the words to describe him. My first experiences with him I thought he had x-ray vision – he could see things in my body that I know I struggled with but I could not even pinpoint, nor any of my other teachers. Manouso teaches in a way that transcends the boundaries of the physical body. I walk out of his classes the same way I experienced my first yoga class; in a state of disbelief of what I am feeling but also a feeling of complete oneness and depth in my body. Manouso has helped me through a bad neck injury and helps me with my other injuries in a way I know I am going to be ok. His teaching brings me so much and I am so grateful to him every single day.

Can you talk a little bit about ​what Iyengar yoga means to you?
Iyengar Yoga is true meditation in action. Iyengar said, “how will you know God, if you do not know your big toe.” I really resonate with that quote. Iyengar Yoga brings me so deeply into my body and myself – I experience God/oneness, I experience connection. I love that you learn something and feel you may have mastered it, and then there is something new, and deeper to learn. It is an endless process, deeper and deeper within.

What is your retreat about? What would you like people to experience?
Our retreat will focus on rejuvenation. Creating space for us by getting away from our busy lives and turning our focus to our yoga practice, nature, and relaxation. I am so excited for people to have the experience of 3-4 hours of yoga a day! That in itself is a transformation. The Osa Peninsula is also my favorite place on earth. It is SO beautiful and ALIVE, there is a chance to truly connect with nature through the jungle, ocean, birds, butterflies, mammals, and much more. There will be time for adventures and lots of time to relax as well!

If you had to sum up your retreat in 3 words what would they be?
Wholeness, Inner peace, and Relaxation.

 

 

Iyengar Yoga

“A teacher helps us thread our attention deeper into our own bodies helping us become more embodied and more graceful in our lives.”

This is Genny Kapuler – Teaching yoga since 1980 and practicing since 71 she brings a wealth of experience to the Yoga studio. Originally a modern dancer Genny found Iyengar yoga and dove completely in. Studying primarily with Mary Dunn she’s also been to India three times to study with the Iyengar family, even studying with Mr. Iyengar himself. I was lucky enough to get to talk to her the other day, so read on and find out more about Genny’s story.

Q – Genny you’ve been teaching yoga for over 30 years now. I’ve got to know how did you get started?
A – I guess it all started in university. I had taken some Hindu art and eastern philosophy courses. I was interested in that world right away. That was in 1965, but I didn’t take my first yoga class until 1971. That was when I first ‘found’ yoga but it didn’t become a bigger part of my life until I started using it to warm-up for my dancing. When it became the anchor to my dancing it became inextricable from my life.

But teaching? Well, I didn’t start teaching yoga till 1980, just after the birth of my son. I wasn’t really performing anymore and so I had started teaching dance. It was actually a friend who approached me and asked me to teach a yoga class since I’d been practicing for so long. So I started giving yoga classes too. For a while, I was teaching both until one day I realized that my yoga classes were actually more full than my dance classes. I kept going from there.

Q – With all the different approaches to yoga why did you stay with Iyengar?
A – At first it was practical as well. Around 1985 an Iyengar studio had opened up in Soho. I started practicing there and it resonated with me so I kept with it. I’ve always been a focused person so I didn’t really feel a need to shop around.

Specifically, though, I love Iyengar yoga’s precision and I love how profound it is. Really any study is profound: art, music, dance or yoga, they’re all bottomless wells of knowledge if you decide to dive in. I dove into Iyengar Yoga.

Q – Dove in maybe putting it a bit lightly. I mean you’ve been to India three times to study with the Iyengar family you’ve even studied with Mr. Iyengar himself. What did you gain through this experience that you would never have gained in North America?
A – Working with him really clarified my commitment to yoga and to understanding his interpretation of yoga. When I went to work with him in 1989 we were only 30 people so it was really an intimate experience. Really, Mr. Iyengar is a genius. It was so fantastic just to watch and listen to him. I remember being so impressed by his intensity and that always stuck with me. Even today I’m trying to be a messenger and share what I understand of his teachings.

Q – Before we go I’ve got to ask. As a teacher with so much experience, what do you think the number one thing holding people back from improving their individual practice is?
A – Distraction. Once you put the mat down and begin your postures the practice has started. It’s time to watch, be alert and be committed to yoga and to transformation. If you can do this, yoga will change you.

Not only your body but as a person as well. Even today I find myself changing more and more. I’m more respectful, I’m able to be more present and create more peace and more calm around me. It all comes down to consciousness. If someone is stiff but more conscious then they will have the greater transformation.

Thanks so much Genny we really look forward to seeing you at Blue Osa in February.
Your welcome Joe, have a great day.