Yoga for every body
Santosh Kaur – Akeso Acupuncture
In the Hot Yoga Ibiza treatment rooms, acupuncturist, Chinese Medicine and massage practitioner Santosh Kaur of Akeso Acupuncture provides healing treatments and therapies to clients who have a variety of medical conditions, sore muscles or those seeking total relaxation. In the studio however, she is an avid student, soaking up the principles of the practice and constantly building on its foundations in addition to being challenged by the poses and focus on the breath. “If we think we know everything, it just goes to show that we know nothing,” she says of her ever-evolving practice.
What was it that first attracted you to yoga?
My first experience with yoga was in 2002, when I travelled to Australia. I lived there for four months, in different places and became acquainted with someone who was practicing Buddhism and that was how I did my first yoga classes. Then over the years I dipped in and out of yoga, but it wasn’t until 2012, when I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to Sebastien through a dear friend of mine, that I started to come to classes regularly. I started doing more yoga then, than I had ever done before.
Was there a specific connection you felt with the style of classes at Hot Yoga Ibiza?
I actually felt a connection directly with Sebastien, and this was also the reason why I elected to work so closely with his studio in Ibiza. Walking into the studio, and watching him sit there quietly, focusing on breathing exercises made me smile internally. I knew there and then that I was working with someone who focuses on the true principles of yoga – focusing on the breath, connecting with your body, and to accumulate inner wisdom and peace. I’ve seen yoga teachers over the years, many of them in abundance, teaching their students fancy poses but coming from a very traditional Indian background, where yoga was in my roots and in my culture, I really enjoyed discovering someone not only teaching his students how to go into the poses, but also to connect with the breath. He inspired me with that.
Tell us a little about your current practice.
I’ve just returned to Ibiza from living in London, where I was practicing every day, but now as I am getting myself set up again, and starting to see clients again, it has gone to about three times a week. But as soon as I am grounded, I intend to come to class every day. I really enjoy Sebastien’s CORE 40 class – it’s a brilliant class that more people should come and try! It’s very beautiful, very calm, very strong and really works on the core. You feel the opportunity to be challenged by the poses, but then to also really focus on your breathing at the end of the class, which is very core to the practice. Hence the name!
What kinds of physical benefits have you seen with a regular practice?
I started seeing, feeling and observing my body opening up more, in my joints, and my hips, attaining more flexibility. I also noticed very nice changes in my lungs, with the openness of my chest. The length of breath starts to get longer as well. I also feel much lighter which is great.
As a medical practitioner, you must be well attuned to changes in your own body?
Being an acupuncturist and a practitioner, you have to be like a detective! So when you can start to tune into your own body as well, by doing this practice of CORE 40 yoga combined with the Ashtanga classes, you become very aware of the changes it creates and you’re able to really witness and understand what’s going on internally.
Have you noticed any changes in the mind?
I always maintain calmness. I’ve spent 15 years trying to make my mind become still, and yoga is a fantastic way of helping with the continuation of that. We can all get distracted at any second of the day, so this is a brilliant exercise to keep that going, and to accumulate that calmness.
How do you find your practice affects your daily life?
When I practice regularly, I always feel like it gives me more to work with. More energy. More strength, I always enjoy having more strength in my muscles, my ligaments, my tendons and my bones. This is also a great benefit of the type of work that I do, which can be very physical.
How do you feel if you miss a practice?
It’s about maintaining the discipline. If I miss a practice, I only have myself to blame. And I make sure that I make myself aware of that and then I miss fewer and fewer and fewer classes. I think it does impact on me for sure, having not practiced, but it’s not always the physical aspects, sometimes it is the mental aspect. Yoga helps to keep you so calm and sometimes that can be impinged if you’re not practicing as regularly as one should!
How much do you know about the yogic philosophies?
I was raised in London but with very traditional Indian roots at home, and from that perspective I know yoga is not just based on coming up with flexible poses and saying ‘I can do this’, because that’s very egoic. It also focuses on the breath, and the focus of the mind. What I like here at Hot Yoga Ibiza is when I feel like I didn’t do the pose right it’s OK. I have tomorrow. These are the very foundations that you can build upon. If you don’t have these foundations you’ll fall over straight away.
Do you feel like you are still learning in class?
Every day. Every single I am learning something different and if we think we know it all, it goes to show we know nothing. I was always taught in my previous years of training in Martial Arts and Qi Gong, if you have to do something a million times, do it. Every single time you do it you’ll learn something new – not only about what you’re doing, but also about yourself. For me, there is no such thing as a boring class because doing the same thing again and again and again… Actually, this is new knowledge, every day.
How do you describe Sebastien’s teaching style?
I really enjoy the way he teaches the different classes (because I’ve tried all of them) and I enjoy the way that he conducts himself as a teacher. It’s always very good to practice what you preach, and a lot of people in our everyday world these days, don’t actually do that all the time, so in terms of what I see in Sebastien is that he’s a living example of what he teaches. I also think the way he is able to slip in and out of all the different styles and types of practices goes to show he has really spent time on detail and learning to teach.
And your personal relationship with him? It must be different to other students given that you also work together.
It’s fantastic. I love him a lot – he’s like my brother.
Where do you see your practice going in the future?
I see my practice going… going, going, going and I don’t see it stopping. I don’t want to stop what it’s taken me so long to start and taken so much energy to keep going. Apparently a yoga practice is like rowing a boat. If you stop, you go back five lengths and then you have to row again. So don’t stop the practice!