There is something so exuberant about Chaitanya’s profile photo that it makes me want to take a special trip down to Nelson’s Hot Yoga studio just to take one of his yoga classes.
That and to quizz him on the special technique he learned in order to be able to go from touching his shins to touching his toes within two weeks.
Chaitanya is just one of the many yoga instructors employed by Hot Yoga in their Wellington and Nelson studios, and over the coming months, The Yoga Lunchbox will be profiling a few of them.
So if you’re anywhere near Nelson, maybe passing through on your way to Abel Tasman National Park, or the West Coast, schedule in some time to take a yoga class so you can check out Chaitanaya or one of his fellow teachers in person.
1. What style of yoga do you practice and where do you teach?
I practice and teach Power Vinyasa, Hot Yoga and Yin Yoga
2. How did you come to yoga?
I discovered yoga at the Osho Ashram in Pune India back in ’94’, I had previously practiced Seido Karate and had always found the stretching the most painful part of it.
During my first few classes I remember it being utter hell, and my instructor telling me to “relax my face you don’t do yoga with your face”, I think I had expression of someone really straining to get a poo out!
3. When did the yoga bug really get you?
In 2000 I discovered Astanga Yoga and loved the combination of strength, endurance and flexibility that the flow provided.
Also at that time I had a friend who was an amazing Hatha yoga instructor, who guided me from being able to reach half way down my shins in a forward bend with lots of pain to touching my toes over a two week period, meaning that my experience of yoga was no longer hellish.
4. How has yoga transformed your life?
I can touch my toes and have gone from being very tight to having a lot of flexibility and much less body pain. If I do a sustained period of practicing 4 or more classes per week I find I have a tremendous amount of energy and motivation and it improves my relationship with my wife.
5. What is your home practice like?
As soon as I bend over at home I tend to have two little girls climbing on me, so for me it works much more to practice at the studio where I work.
6. When people ask you, “What is Yoga?”, what do you say?
It depends on the person and the space the question is being asked in, in a nut shell Yoga is the union of the body and the mind through the connection to the breath.
7. What can people expect from one of your classes?
I put a lot of emphasis on the breath and keeping people focused.
I also have a big back ground in meditation and personal development and try to through in some deeper thoughts for people to consider.
8. What do you love most about teaching yoga?
I love it when the whole class moves and breathes in a synchronised harmony.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
That it’s more than just stretching.
10. What role do you see yoga playing in our world?
Since it’s introduction to the west in the 60’s and 70’s it has grown tot he point now where lawyers and other professionals do it and don’t feel or appear too wacky. From here it is going out and influencing more and more people to grow in consciousness thus creating a more loving world for us all to live in.
11. And finally, how do people find you?
I teach and practice therapeutic massage at Hot Yoga of Nelson.