Interview with Yoga Teacher, Journalist and Coach Alejandra Vidal
Alejandra Vidal is a journalist, coach and certified yoga teacher. She currently works on different editorial and journalistic projects, while teaching yoga classes, workshops and seminars. Less than a year ago she opened her own yoga studio and therapy centre in Barcelona: Espacio de Yoga. She’s also the creator of Corporate Yoga, a project that combines the corporative and the spiritual and offers yoga classes and relaxation and meditation techniques adapted to the needs of people in business.
ON THE PERSONAL SIDE…
What brought you to yoga initially and when did you first fall in love with it?
Yoga arrived to my life in a very natural and fortunate way. My paternal grandmother was a yoga teacher, who trained directly with Swami Vishnu Devananda. At my family home and ever since I can remember, I recall images of masters, books by Krishnamurti, the Bhavagad Guita, etc. Asanas and meditation were part of my grandmother’s day to day, and she even opened a beautiful yoga hall in our house I used to attend regularly when I was a teenager. But it was much later, after a romantic breakup and a very stressful period of time working as team manager in an advertising multinational, that yoga helped me to stay grounded. I became truly aware of the effectiveness of this millenary technique to handle pressure and stop us from getting lost in busyness, daily demands, and endless working days; it was also a tool to reach a much needed physical, mental, and emotional balance in our lives.
I live in Barcelona, where I have just birthed my latest project: Espacio de Yoga, a beautiful yoga centre I opened last October. I was born in Seville, but I have also lived in Santiago de Chile, Madrid, Dublin, and a few more places. Occasionally, I flirt with going back to Latin America, although Barcelona is the city where I feel I should now be, accompanying Espacio de Yoga as it grows, and nurturing myself with all the wonderful yoga teachings and yoga related events offered here.
What does your personal practice look like?
I’m a dynamic person, and I think my practice reflects this aspect of my personality. Even though the first yoga teachings I learnt were from the Sivananda tradition, as time passed, my practice has evolved towards a fluid Vinyasa, with a strong Ashtanga influence. I like movement, to flow with the breath, and to test myself in each session with advanced poses, arm balances, or handstands.
I met Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi, seven years ago, while doing a long retreat at her ashram in Kerala (India). I immediately felt in love with her pure energy, the great amount of selfless work she does, and her teachings. Ever since, I follow her and feel inspired by her teachings in each one of my projects and important decisions. But my personal altar is shared by other great masters, like Swami Sivananda, Sri Patabhi Jois, Dharma Mittra, B.K.S Iyengar. Every day, I feel deeply grateful for their teachings and all the wonderful things they have brought to the yoga path. In my closest circle, I learn from and enjoy wonderful teachers, like David Lurey, Juliette Campbell, Mariona Royo, Elena Sepúlveda, or Amanda Blackley.
Do you find that there is a question your students tend to ask again and again? If so, which one and what is your answer.
Often, I come across students who get frustrated due to their lack of flexibility and ask me if they will ever be able to reach their feet when bending over or to do poses as you see them in yoga photos. I always tell them that is not the ultimate goal of yoga; it’s not a question of arriving anywhere, but enjoying the path and learning along the way. For sure, if they practice regularly, their bodies will become more flexible little by little. But if they haven’t been paying attention, if they haven’t been opened to learning the more transcendental aspects of yoga, regarding personality, resistances, reactions, etc., they are not doing yoga, but merely a simple physical exercise.