Meet Persia Juliet. A yoga teacher whose combination of music, story-telling and deeply expressed emotions oozes through her classes. She embodies a certain kind of inspiration that cannot be fully experienced until you meet her in person, but I’m sure this interview will have you wanting to. She is devoted to her students, her kindness is infectious and her softness in the room makes you feel at ease. We got chatting to Persia about how to incorporate more self-care into our yoga practise, and connecting with the environment in the process.
Interview with Persia Juliet
1. It's so easy to brush aside self-care because we are 'too busy'. In your experience as a yoga teacher, how can we start to make simple changes and integrate it into our day to make self-care habitual?
Often when people are "too busy" the first thing to go is the asana practice at studio's as it's a greater time commitment. The best simple change you can implement is meditation. There are wonderful free apps for your phone and you can feel a benefit even from 15mins of sitting per day. With meditation being priority, I find all other self-care habits develop naturally and with more ease. 1 Giant Mind is one of my favorite informative and user friendly apps to download.
2. What does the practise of yoga as a form of self-care mean to you?
Personally the practice of yoga brings my attention into my body. It's a wonderful barometer to check in and feel how I'm honestly doing. On days of high stress or emotion I find the asanas are a wonderful physical release and settling of the mind chatter which is sometimes necessary before meditating. Quite simply when practicing yoga I'm in reverence, awe and respect to the wonders of my body. Therefore I treat myself kinder mentally, softer emotionally and care to nourish physically.
3. Sometimes we can mistake a yoga session in striving for perfectionism especially with our postures, how do you quieten the ego when it get's like this?
If I'm honest I'm personally on the other end of the spectrum. A "take it easy" practitioner rather than a striver. I do see it allot in the yoga rooms though and I would say ask yourself this question. " What's my greater intention practicing yoga?” Any seeking or desire of a spiritual realm will support in the journey of softening ego's drive and rather cultivating a sweetness within the discipline. Seeking the gifts from awareness rather than impatiently contorting your body and potentially hurting yourself because you're trying so hard to get somewhere other than where you are right now.
4. Over a period of time, what noticeable changes have you seen in your students when it comes to practising yoga consistently - no matter if it's a bad day or good day?
The physical benefits are obvious from physical strength, to a more mobile and free moving body. I'm more interested in people's awareness though. Through self study and personal reflection. I feel like people become more honest, accountable and therefore a sense of empowerment is birthed. People start waking up to the concept of what's possible now?
5. Sometimes yoga can be confronting with the emotions that come up, but in terms of self-care, how can we embrace this more?
Yoga isn't always easy and through the practice things we'd rather not look at tend to show up. Cultivate some like minded people in your life that you can share honestly with. Be reflective but also balance that with being social. Trade having wines with a friend at night to taking a ocean walks with a Chai. Go to a teacher's class you really resonate with and then connect with the teacher after class. It's great to share a little and sometimes just a teacher reflecting your experience is common or normal can be of comfort.
6. For the eco-conscious person, how can we use our yoga practise as a way for caring for the environment too?
Well I feel if you practice in a dedicated manner for a period of time you naturally become eco-conscious. The journey often begins with awareness of self, then extends to relationship with others, which then extends to relationship with our environment or nature. Basic tips are look at what mat you are using, is it biodegradable? What clothes are you buying, are you wearing brands produced in sweatshops? Do you buy a plastic water bottle every yoga class or do you come prepare with stainless steel bottle? Even a few questions can start to expand our awareness and when we love and care for ourselves authentically. We surely care about our life, it's quality and our home - The Earth.