Interview with a Hatha Yoga Instructor

42-16347001Interview conducted by Ellen Pucciarelli

Originally published in Energy Arts

Taoist Lineage holder Bruce Frantzis recently taught a weeklong retreat “Longevity Breathing Yoga: Meditation From the Inside Out” in the San Francisco Bay Area. There were a few Hatha yoga instructors who participated in learning these ancient teachings from China, and as I’ve been discussing in recent blogs, Longevity Breathing Yoga allows the practitioner to work from the “inside out”, utilizing a different approach than most forms of Hatha yoga. I had the opportunity to interview one of the yoga instructors in attendance about her experiences and overall impression of the practice.

Interview with San Francisco Bay Area Hatha yoga teacher Susan Galloso, July 11, 2009:

Ellen: What is your background & experience with yoga?

Susan: Besides the basic stretching and exercises done as part of being a varsity swimmer, my first experience with an authentic yoga tradition began when I attended a one month retreat at an ashram. I was so happy with the practice that six months later I returned to the ashram to complete a teacher training program.

Ellen: What motivated you to seek out Longevity Breathing Yoga?

Susan: I was already interested in Taoist Yoga before Energy Arts introduced the name “Longevity Breathing Yoga”. My boyfriend is practicing Taoism and had introduced me to chi gung and ba gua, so when I discovered that Bruce Frantzis was teaching a yoga component to his Taoist practices, I felt compelled to experience the training. Mostly I wanted to see how it was different from Hatha Yoga.

Ellen: Can you tell us something about those differences (between Hatha yoga and Longevity Breathing yoga)?

Susan: I enjoy Longevity Breathing Yoga because it goes deep by working directly with the internal organs and bodily processes. I like this because it gives me a way to make changes inside my body that I did not have the tools to work with using only Hatha Yoga. I also enjoy Longevity Breathing Yoga because of the deep release of tension that I get from practicing it.

Ellen: What do you find the most challenging about the practice?

Susan: I find the most challenging thing about Longevity Breathing Yoga to be the all-encompassing nature of the practice. My previous Hatha Yoga training seems to be more of a muscular stretching exercise, whereas Longevity Breathing requires me to be much more aware of the rest of the inside of my body, from my internal organs to breathing into my extremities, and from my energy centers to my states of mind. There’s a whole lot more going on in Longevity Breathing Yoga, and it’s a challenge.

Ellen: Have you been able to integrate what you learned at the Longevity Breathing Yoga retreat into your personal yoga practice?

Susan: Integrating Longevity Breathing Yoga with my previous Hatha Yoga training has been a challenge. I enjoy practicing Hatha Yoga, but in the months of my training, my teachers taught me hardly anything about the inner workings of it compared to the depth of material I learned in just one week from B.K. Frantzis regarding Longevity Breathing Yoga. So it has been a matter of adjusting my entire practice to this new depth of understanding. Also, many of the Hatha Yoga positions require that you fully stretch into the position, whereas in Longevity Breathing Yoga the method is to release into the position, and that takes time to do well. I do feel that practicing Hatha Yoga made me better prepared to learn Longevity Breathing Yoga, but I think over the long term my practice will shift more towards the later.

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