Yoga for every body
Renu Kashyap – stylist & author
Dutch-born stylist and author of best-selling coffee table book Ibiza Bohemia (Assouline) Renu Kashyap relocated to the white isle with her husband and young daughter in 2012, seeking a place where she could find a healthy work life balance. A self-confessed perfectionist, she knew there had to be a better way to live however over time, and as she began the production of her book – a lifelong dream – her old workaholic habits started creeping into her new life once again. In October 2016, she first stepped foot into the Hot Yoga Ibiza studios and discovered the practice that would change her life for the better…
What was it that first attracted you to Hot Yoga Ibiza?
You know, I’d done a yoga class here and there, but when I was making my book I started to notice my head was always full. I’d go to bed with so many thoughts and from the minute I woke up, my head was spinning with all the things I had to do and I felt like there should be another way to live. It was the hot classes that originally attracted me to Hot Yoga Ibiza as I’d tried Bikram before and I knew that to do those classes you have to empty your mind, focus and really devote yourself to the class. It was hard…
Did starting a new practice help you to calm your mind?
I feel much more in the moment and that’s a big improvement. I used to have this monkey mind that would just be all over the place and after a certain amount of practicing, I started to notice that I could meditate at the end of the class. That just changed everything. Not just in relation to work, but I feel with anything I can achieve the same results with less stress. Yoga has become like a gift to myself.
Tell us a little about your current practice?
I now go to class five times a week. It’s like a mantra to me. I don’t even think about it, I just go. I found that five days of hot yoga wasn’t for me, so now I do a mixture of Bikram, Ashtanga and CORE 40. I like the variation but I still love Bikram – I make sure I never miss that. I also combine my practice with some sessions with a personal trainer or rope jumping at home – I like to work out a lot. But it’s the spiritual side to yoga that makes it so much more than just a workout. There’s always something in the class that makes you develop your self-reflection or awareness and these are things I feel that I need to work on since I came to Ibiza, so yoga really helps me with that.
What were the biggest challenges as you started this new practice?
I had lower back problems and I wasn’t flexible. I didn’t have any strength in my arms. But the nice thing is, now I see the difference that has been made in just 11 months… it’s very motivating to keep going.
Tell us about the physical benefits of your practice?
My back is a lot straighter and I’m starting to get a lot more flexible. Sebastien always says a happy spine is a happy life and he’s right. I’m always standing a lot in the studio due to my work, or carrying lots of bags of shoes and clothes and now it’s amazing not to have lower back issues. You also see the difference in your body’s tone – Sebastien also says you don’t go to yoga to lose weight but to find god, though you might do both and when you do it every day, your body shows you the difference. It’s one and a half hours every day, using all your own strength.
Have you noticed any health benefits?
Definitely. I can’t imagine my life without it now. You start needing it, it’s like an urge you feel to do yoga. It’s so good for your health. Before, when I was so fast-paced, I didn’t even breathe properly. I was breathing from my chest and now I think, ‘what was I doing all those years?’ I don’t even think about breathing right now, I just do it, which is an amazing improvement and I don’t suffer from headaches anymore.
Have you noticed any changes in the mind?
It took me a while to reach the meditative state after class, maybe seven months or so, but now I have a calm mind instead of a jumping mind which is such a gift. I think yoga is a lifestyle and a state of mind. It’s about self-reflection and awareness. You don’t have to be doing every position perfectly to be a good person or a good yogi.
How has your practice benefitted you off the mat?
People have noticed my energy levels. I always had energy but now I’m more present and calm. I’m more focused – I’m very passionate about everything I do, and I always used to try and do and organise a lot of things at once work wise, but now I’m more focused it is just a lot easier. I’m also now a lot less of a perfectionist, and less strict on myself… though I do try and go every day!
What happens if you don’t practice?
I feel a little bit guilty. I know I shouldn’t but I just like it so much, when I don’t practice I wish I could.
How much do you know about the yogic philosophies?
I’m half Indian, so I feel a real connection to my roots through yoga. Learning about the philosophy is the next step. I’m going to India in February and would love to learn more. Now when I go on holiday, I always try and find places that have a good connection to yoga so I can practice while I’m away. The best thing would be if I could take Sebas with me!
How do you describe Sebastien’s teaching style?
He’s my favourite teacher for a reason. He’s very devoted and he has a lot of patience with his students. He has a lot of knowledge and he’s very focused and serious about yoga, but at the same time he’s funny. He knows everyone’s names and he sees everything in class – every centimetre of every foot and hand in the whole class.
How would you describe your relationship with Sebastien?
I feel a connection with him because I see him five days a week – that’s more than I see some of my best friends. I really appreciate his teachings – I always feel like he is seeing and watching everything I do and he always asks me afterwards how the class was for me. I don’t find that level of personal attention with other teachers. He’s really important to me. I recently did an interview on prime time French TV about my book and they wanted to film my real life, but they wanted to shoot yoga in nature so I called Sebas and asked him to come and teach me on the rocks at Punta Galera. It’s not what we normally do of course, but it had to be with him because I didn’t want it to be totally fake. He’s the best.
Where do you see your practice going in the future?
I have so much to learn. Hopefully in the future I will be able to remember the Sanskrit names of the poses and maybe do some self-practice at home. I’d also like to do a Vispassna retreat one day. But right now, it’s just a really big part of my life and makes me a better person so I want to continue. I have seen such a transformation and I’m devoted to the practice now.