• Grace Yoga (GY): This month we are exploring yoga sutra 3.2: Meditation (Dhyana) is the continuous flow of consciousness toward an object. What are your thoughts on how this sutra, and meditation, can be incorporated into daily life?

    Andy LeRoux (ALR): Most people find meditation particularly useful at the beginning or end of their day. It doesn’t need to be a long process to make a difference - 5 or 10 minutes can be enough. I usually bring a little meditation at the beginning of my classes, together with a breathing exercise. Each person will have a different way, and I encourage everyone to try what works best. Within the yoga tradition, you approach meditation after the physical practice (when you have reconnected your body and mind), and you withdraw stimulation to the senses, tuning in to yourself. I certainly would recommend this if you have the time after practice, especially if your surroundings are appropriate this can be an extremely powerful experience.

    GY: What is your personal philosophy about maintaining a yoga practice with a busy lifestyle?

    ALR: Maintaining a regular practice is a necessity. The busier or more under pressure you feel, the more a consistent yoga practice will make a difference. Yoga will help you achieve emotional and mental balance and clear “fluctuations of your mind”. At this point in time my practice consists of a few regular sequences a few times a week, exploration of classes by instructors I find interesting, and of course teaching. If possible, I find doing the practices surrounded by nature (a beach is my favorite) is even more beneficial.

    GY: As a teacher and a student of Yoga, you are exposed to so many facets of Yoga as a practice. What is the pure objective of yoga as you currently understand it?

    ALR: This is a big question! First of all, yoga makes you feel good. Unlike most physical activities, when you practice yoga you can feel there is really a mind-body connection that takes place and that feels exhilarating. As I have learned at this point, this connection goes even deeper, yoga being a connection to your “self,” understanding self not in a western individual concept, but as a reflection of the entire collection of things and events that surrounds us. BIG!

    GY: After 18 years as a student of yoga, how has your practice changed since you completed your teacher training in 2016?

    ALR: In a sense it is like night and day. I had reached a point where I felt I needed more than regular classes when I decided to sign up for my teacher training. I completed the 200 hours in 20 days, and was that a challenge! It made an enormous difference in two main aspects: being aware of my own body, and bringing in a lot of information about the non-physical aspect of the yoga practice. I didn’t necessarily intend to teach after the teacher training, but it became obvious my practice had changed as I practiced in different studios. I highly recommend doing the teacher training to anyone when they feel it is right.  

    GY: Please tell us a little about yourself: career, family, background and any other interesting tidbits you’d like to share.

    ALR: Probably the trait that defines me best is curiosity. I really love to try and explore! I have worked in many different fields and lived in many places, having been fortunate to be exposed to many rich languages and cultures. (I realize this is probably the story of many people in the Bay Area). My loving wife is a very creative and smart 5th grade teacher, and I have family in most continents.