Homebase: Arizona
Soon after becoming a TriYoga teacher, Gayatri became a mother. TriYoga accompanied her in this journey. She taught prenatal classes while being pregnant herself, and now, being a mom of two beautiful boys, she shares TriYoga with kids.
She features in TriYoga Prenatal and Baby DVD

 

Q: When and how did TriYoga and Kaliji become part of your life?
A: I come from Switzerland and I was introduced to yoga there when I was 15 years old. I had a strong feeling that I needed to find the yoga style that was truly mine, and I kept looking for it. In 1994 I was in Santa Cruz, California and I knew that I was meant to be there for some time. A close friend of mine suggested that we take a yoga class together, and that became my first TriYoga class. From the very first class I realized “This is it! TriYoga is the yoga I want to learn.” It was not Kaliji who taught my first class, but I recognized that it was what I had been looking for immediately.
I got very involved with TriYoga, and I was taking many classes with different teachers (Jasmine, Nandi, Kamala, etc). They were saying that I should meet Kaliji and I should go to her workshop in Aptos. There I went…You know that feeling when you fall in love with somebody? It was the same feeling when I met Kaliji. I saw that beautiful, wonderful being and I could just feel that love. I wanted to learn the flows, to flow like her even more. She was and always is such a great inspiration. When you watch her, all her movements are so effortless. She teaches you not only to flow on the mat but how to live your life in the same way. It is so wonderful to know her and to have her in my life. Whenever there is a difficulty, she always shows you the example of taking a positive attitude and going with the flow.
Q: How did you decide that you want to become a teacher?
A: It was Nandi who kept saying that I would be a wonderful TriYoga teacher, and she encouraged me to attend Teacher Trainings and become certified. Nandi was a great inspiration for me. I finally certified in 1999. In 2000 I moved to San Francisco and that’s where I started to teach. In 2001 I had my first son, Alexander. Before becoming a mother, I was working in a museum and they asked me to teach TriYoga there for the staff members. At that time Kamala was giving TriYoga Teacher Trainings and I often assisted her, which was a great way to progress as a teacher. I loved working with Kamala.
Dr. Patel invited TriYoga to the Yoga Society of San Francisco, So we began teaching there as well.
At the time I became pregnant, I was offering private yoga classes at my apartment. I met a young mother who was interested in yoga, and that’s how I started to teach prenatal TriYoga.
After giving birth to my first son, I also taught baby TriYoga. Actually mother and baby TriYoga, so that mothers can do yoga with their babies. I told Kaliji that it would be great to have a baby yoga DVD, since we already have prenatal TriYoga and it would be a natural continuation.
photo of Gayatri with kidsQ: How did you feel working with Kaliji on TriYoga Prenatal and Baby DVD?
A: It was such an honor. Working with Kaliji and Mercury was such a delight! Besides, I was so pampered by the TriYoga staff, I felt better than at any spa (smiles).  The Prenatal TriYoga DVD was made when I was pregnant with my second son Matys in 2004. Then I went back to do the Baby TriYoga DVD in 2005 when Matys was nine months old.
It is wonderful to flow with TriYoga into all the changes that take place in my life, and of course in my body. It is truly amazing that wherever you are in your life, whether you are a girl, a woman, or a grandmother (I believe), you can always do TriYoga. So now I am teaching TriYoga for kids. Alexander is 7 years old and Matys is 3 years old, and I teach TriYoga classes at both of their schools. Ever since I have had TriYoga in my life, I have stuck with it and TriYoga is naturally incorporated into my lifestyle.
Q: Did TriYoga practice bring any changes into your life?
A: When I practice TriYoga I always feel joyful, light and calm. I stay in a happy mood longer and longer. I feel it after the practice, I feel it when I see Kaliji and then it stays with me throughout daily life. Of course, there are always life challenges and I can get frustrated, feel sad, and feel angry. But I still remember about the breath, and I still have that reference point of joy and light. So TriYoga helps me to live through those moments. I just tell myself “You have a TriYoga practice, so let’s breathe!” It helps me a lot in my life. Another important thing is Kaliji’s influence on my diet. I was vegetarian when I met her, but it was KJI who introduced me to veganism. I am very happy with that choice.
Q: Speaking about your pregnancy, did TriYoga make this experience easier for you than for many women nowadays?
A: Oh, yes! I must say that during my first pregnancy, I did not know what to expect, so I followed what the doctor said. I knew that I wanted it all to be natural and to have a natural birth but I did not know how. When the time came, I was not aware of what was happening in the moment. So I was in the hospital and I was exhausted while trying my best. When they finally they told me that I need to take something, I agreed. With the second pregnancy it was completely different. I was so aware, and I was so much in tune with myself and my body. TriYoga was such a huge support. I even told Kaliji that I knew beyond doubt that this time I could have a natural birth. When the time came, I switched on Mercury’s music and embraced the experience of childbirth.  It was wonderful. During the entire experience I could truly feel what it meant to go with the flow. I felt so happy, and I called Kaliji right away. Kaliji told me that she knew and felt the energy.
Everybody is different, but I guess the most important thing is to be in tune with yourself. During the first pregnancy, I did not know what to expect and TriYoga was a major help for me both on the physical and mental level.
Q: How did your practice change during your pregnancy?
A: It changed a little bit but not much. I was not too big and I did not gain a lot of weight, so I felt comfortable doing most of what I would usually do. Of course, I did not do any cobra series, as it just did not feel right. I was even doing my headstand. Everybody would say: “What are you doing?”, but I felt great. Of course I did not hold asanas long and I did not push in any posture, and I had to be easy with the inversions, but most of my TriYoga practice felt great to me even during pregnancy. Crow posture was one on my favorites.
With Matys, on the day of his birth, I took a ballet class and I taught a TriYoga class. I knew that it was the day. So after teaching a class I went to the hospital. It was wonderful.
I did a lot of internal work before the second son; I mean, I was getting ready mentally. Because, once you are ready for this experience in your mind, the body will just follow. TriYoga is so helpful, thanks to it I could be aware and I could be in the moment.
Q: What about the time after the birth?
A: With Alexander, my first son, it took me about two weeks to recover. It was painful. With the second son, Matys, the very next day I told my sister: “Let’s do some yoga”. And we did flows. Of course, it was Basics, like cat and cat rolls, which again shows that TriYoga is so great. You can do it at any time of your life.
Q: Now you teach TriYoga to kids, what do you find most important to inspire them to do it?
A: You have to be creative, very creative (smiles). My son Alexander got me inspired by teaching a Star Wars Yoga class. He came to me and said that he wanted to do some yoga but that it needed to be with the theme of Star Wars. So we started the class with mudras (Force of energy ) and each student acted as a person from Star Wars. Of course Matys wanted to be Obi Wan, Alexander was Anakin and I was Yoda.
Kids who are 3 years old can not stay long without moving. Often we will talk about animals and they do the poses that are named after them. Sometimes I ask them to bring a book with pictures, and we read about an animals, for example, tortoise and then do a tortoise posture, tortoise rolls, etc. That way it is easy for them, since the can relate the postures to something familiar.
We also do a little memory game with the cards that Kaliji gave me. They have photos of the yoga posture and the letter they need to match. For example, one card will have a cobra pose photo and letters “CO”, so they need to match it with “BRA”. Then they are very inspired to do the cobra rolls.
I do songs with them. I have a French song that talks about butterfly. Then we do butterfly posture. Some days we do some dance, and then I stop the music and say: “Now we will do a yoga posture and take three long breaths”. And they love relaxation. They ask: “Can we do the relaxation?” I teach at noon, so they get tired of the morning and they all want to relax. I give them some pillows, I massage them and they massage to each other.
Of course it helps to have experience with your own kids. Matys, who is 3 years old now, always says that he does not like yoga. When I say: “Let’s do some yoga”, he says that he does not like it. But he sees me doing my practice every morning and often he asks if he can sit there and watch. While watching, he often gets inspired to do some postures with me and sing with me “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om”.
I enjoy teaching kids, but of course I am looking forward to even more fun when they are teenagers and then adults.
I miss taking workshops myself. I cannot wait to go back and flow with everyone. But I fully accept where I am right now, and I do what I am meant to be doing. Everybody has a mission in this life, right?
Q: It is great that you inspire kids with your own example. In this way there is a good chance that they will want to do it when they are grown.
A: I hope so. I have a four year old girl in one the classes. It was her second time taking the TriYoga class and I was massaging her a little during relaxation. At that moment she looked at me and said: “When I grow up, I will be like you, I will be a yoga teacher”. It touched me so deeply that I had tears in my eyes. I realized that I reflect something great for them. She saw my tears and kept saying: “Don’t cry, don’t cry” and I said “I am crying because I am very happy”. It is so powerful to share TriYoga, even with kids, and hopefully to inspire them to stay with it for their entire lives. It is very profound and fulfilling.