I am so inspired by what Lara Hedin is doing with her yoga website, Yoga Peeps. Launched in February 2006, Lara interviews yogis from all over the world and shares the results via podcast -sometimes to an audience of over two thousand (and growing).
If you’ve got an iPod (or something similar), you’ve likely already cottoned on to podcasts. As Lara says on her site:
“Podcasts are new and exciting. You can listen while you cook, do the laundry, walk the dog, or commute. It’s also less dense than a blog. It’s more relaxing as well, as you aren’t sitting staring at a screen, but you are active, moving and listening.”
It definitely demonstrates the capability of the internet to deliver relevant media to a targeted audience – just scrolling through the list of yoga interviews, reading the names and seeing the photos is enormously inspiring. You get a sense of being part of the larger yoga community, a gratitude for all the other yogis out there in the world sharing their practice.
It also makes me want to get sorted for podcasting, and that will come in time. But for now, the interviews I do are still in text form. So here’s what Lara had to say:
1. What is your site Yoga Peeps all about?
Bringing Modern day Gurus, Yogis and Yoginis, to the People. To end war, and to spread LOVE.
2. Where did the inspiration come for it?
My feeling to bring more peace to the world.
I was feeling utterly helpless when Bush attacked Iraq, and brought the United States into war, killing thousands of people over oil. I felt that if more people could feel how connected we are, could access the more loving, whole place that yoga brings us to, that wars would end, and LOVE and peace would prevail. So, essentially, it was to spread LOVE and end war. As in the microcosm, so goes the macrocosm.
3. What has been the response from the yoga community?
The response from the Yoga Community has been awesome. Everybody I contact for an interview is happy to share. They seem to love the connection of sharing more yoga with more people around the world. Yoga is such an effective conduit, towards WHOLE-ness, One-ness, and Freedom, that sharing it is just a natural extension of the practice.
4. What has been your best experience yet on the site?
I have had amazing experiences, with awesome people – powerful energy beings like Ana Forrest, whom I dreamed about the night before the interview, and in the dream she told me things she would later say in the interview, to John Evans, from Islington Yoga in London, who is a Master Swordsman, and a true-Jedi Yogi. To anyone who has seen Star Wars, Obi Wan lives on in Islington. Paul Grilley, an Anatomy guru, to Rodney Yee one of my first teachers. All 60 Episodes have been completely riveting to me, and I am eternally grateful to be able to share these incredible life stories with the Peeps.
5. How did you come to yoga?
I was delivering a Maxi Yacht (80ft racing yacht) from Plymouth, UK to Palma de Mallorca, Spain in the Mediterranean, with 5 men, me being the only female. There was heavy weather in some parts, and being at sea for 10 days with only men on a large, and uncomfortable vessel (there are only springboard bunks, and an empty shell down below to keep the weight down, to sail faster in races), was weighing heavily on me.
One afternoon, when I was off watch, I crawled into the forepeak, where all the sails are kept. I crawled into this soft, quiet place, and my body just started moving into these yoga positions, and intuitively my body started breathing more deeply. And, as the breath moved my muscles released, my brain let go, and the sea gently rocked me into a deep peaceful feeling. I had been holding so much tension, for so long, practicing fight or flight my whole life, finally, there was no where else to run. I was in the middle of the ocean, there was nothing to fight, and no where to run and hide. I let go. Into the breath, inward, deeper into the stillness of the vastness these postures opened for me. I felt at peace, and whole. Loved, and infinite, and knew I had stumbled upon a sanctuary and a deep wholeness, and freedom in this life. I’d found Yoga.
Please listen to my interview on YogaPeeps for more.
6. What style do you practice?
I blend styles of Astanga, Anusara, Tantra, and Iyengar. Generally, my practice is about creating heat, opening the heart, strengthening, lengthening, and freedom in my body, mind and soul.
7. How has yoga transformed your life?
I am able to go with the flow more, and have become less controlling and more adaptable to what is. And, biggest of all, more LOVING.
8. When people ask you, ‘What is yoga?’, what do you say?
I say “It’s being – In Union, being One with all that is”. It they get that, I leave it. If not, I explain about asana, and about the eight limbs, about yoga being a practice towards freedom in this life.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
- That the physical poses are just a warm up to meditation
- Yoga is not a religion, Yoga is about LOVE and FREEDOM.
10. What role do you see yoga playing in our world?
I see yoga as being a practice that helps people “remember” that we are One, that we are divine, and to do what we were born to share with this world. To live JOY, to help heal, and spread LOVE, and peace.
11. What future plans to you have for Yoga Peeps?
To continue sharing Yoga with the People, through Video Podcasts, and a Television show, to travel to a yogi’s home, and follow how they live for a week, To share more about a modern day yogic lifestyle, to show there are a million paths to freedom. Not to say “this is how you should live”, but rather, “This is how this person does it, Be Inspired! What is your Path?”
12. Anything else you’d like to say?
I’d like to sing the John Lennon song:
All we need is love, da da datata, All we need is Love, Love, LOVE is all you need…
13. Any promo in particular you’d like to do for your site? (up-coming interviews, great interviews to check out now… 2 or 3 links would be cool)
Plus, the interviews below are some of my top favourite episodes. Endeavor to LISTEN to all 60 of them, and to LISTEN more in Life.
1.) John Evans of Islington Yoga in London
2.) Larry Schultz, Owner of It’s Yoga, in San Francisco: He taught the Grateful Dead musicians, and is is very shamanistic.
3.) Dana Flynn, Owner of Laughing Lotus in New York City and San Francisco: She is a Cosmic Goddess.
4.) Matthew Sweeney of Byron Bay, Australia: He is living la vida Ashtangi.
Peace – Om Shanti. I bow to the divine in you for Listening and for sharing this lovely planet with me, in Love and Gratitude, Namaste.