Who am I?
Before I start on a series of monthly blogs, it occurred to me that first I should introduce myself. My name is Sebastien Carincotte and I am the owner and founder of Hot Yoga Ibiza. I was born in Paris, and have been visiting the island since I was little boy of just six years old with my parents, so I always felt a connection to Ibiza.
My connection to yoga is a little different. I was a problematic student for my theatre teacher when I was 16 – it wasn’t only me, we were all troubled at that young age, we felt a lot of issues – and so she started to introduce the concept of yoga into our classes. Just breathing exercises, to make us feel calm, help us relax, and connect to the body – because acting isn’t about saying the words, it’s about expressing something with your words and your actions at the same time. We were always laughing in class – it was like a silly game to us. Haha, we’re doing yoga! I couldn’t imagine that around 10 years later, I would embark on the yogic path again.
I moved to the Mediterranean island of Ibiza permanently when I was 26. I was tired of working in clubs in Paris, and I had connections in Ibiza so I knew I could easily get work. I was working in restaurants… but unhappy. It was not what I wanted to do with my life. But you have to pay the bills!
A friend told me about a ‘weird thing’ she had tried, and invited me along to a Bikram Yoga class. I was intrigued. It was the heat that initially attracted me, and in that very first class, something happened inside me. I felt connected to the practice. I hadn’t done any sports for about eight years – when you’re young, you think your body doesn’t need any kind of training – and then I started going to class about three times a week, and after four months of practice, the teacher asked me if I was interested in doing a teacher training course.
It was a fast transition, from the first class to the teacher training (normally you should practice for at least six months beforehand, but I thought why not?), which was nine weeks with Bikram Choudhury in Hawaii. Really, I knew NOTHING about yoga. And I wanted to die. I think I spent the first two weeks just lying on the floor wanting to go home. But your ego… it won’t let you. It told me, just lay down and try to manage the situation. Don’t give up. You will learn.
This was the most difficult experience of my life – and I’ve been through a lot! There were so many times when I wondered what I was doing there, and thought it was too tough, too difficult, too stressful, too hot in a humid room full of 300 sweaty people… I was out of my comfort zone but this is how I learned, and how I learned how to teach. I learned Yoga is not just about practicing asanas. It’s about raising your awareness, your consciousness. The union of body, mind and spirit that brings you towards the discovery of the truth – this is something I would continue to keep learning (and still do today) and to keep feeling.
When I came back to Ibiza, I took two weeks off, without practicing any yoga to see what would happen. Then I returned to the studio where I had been practicing and started to teach, but a seed had been planted in my mind while I was at training that I wanted to open my own studio. I came past the spot where the studio is today, and every day I thought, that is the spot, that will be mine, I can do it one day. In 2009, I listened to my spirit and made it happen and opened Hot Yoga Ibiza.
After a while, I still felt frustrated from my lack of knowledge, I was reading a lot about yoga, and I didn’t understand why different schools were saying different things. Why was Ashtanga so different to Bikram? Isn’t yoga just yoga? It confused me, and took me years to understand this, and so I did an Ashtanga teacher training to deepen my knowledge and practice, did another shorter course with Bikram in Barcelona. In 2013, I heard of the new CORE 40 practice, with Tony Sanchez, who had been a pupil of Bikram and this resonated with me. I studied with Tony in Mexico, and I felt I had found my guru. I needed guidance, as in Ibiza I had been practicing alone and I felt Tony gave me the key to move forward and bring something new to my own yoga studio.
When I came home, I really felt the union of the mind, body and spirit. I felt totally inspired. Tony helped me to understand you can teach yoga in different ways, it doesn’t have to always be the same dialogue – you can adapt your classes to suit the students in the class, and you can have fun with the poses.
Now, in 2015 I teach yoga every single day. I practice yoga every single day. And I hope to see you in one of my classes one day soon!