The Inspiration Download interview series features different people who are bringing ideas to life and sharing something with the world that they are passionate about, whether it's through teaching yoga, creating a business, doing work in their community, creating art, hosting events, bringing to life new wellness products, or more.
These interviews highlight real people who have brought ideas to life and give real-life insight and inspiration on their processes and journey.
This session is with Sandra Bracy-Toscani, a Berlin, Germany based yoga teacher.
Sandra's Bio: My journey began in chaos. I was insecure with talking in front of people, I oftentimes had panic attacks & not to mention, an issue with self-love and self-esteem. Better to say I never experienced high self-esteem and self-love.
I, always being attached to men, subconsciously put them in front of me. A position I should have held for myself. Until one day I decided I wanted more from my life, and so my story began. I began to stand up for ME. I began to connect with ME.
I then started my Yoga Teacher Trainings, my Dance Therapy Education, studied about Self Love, different techniques on self-care, and the inner workings of myself.
Because SELF LOVE is a never-ending journey; I know that it will never end, from day to day I will learn more about me, and with each day I will grow in strength.
So, with all that I have uncovered within the field of self-love and personal compassion. My mission at present is to assist in the unfolding of those women that find themselves crumbled. To do my best as my clients and I journey hand in hand, to retrieve those aspects of themselves that have been forgotten.
What are you passionate about sharing with the world and how does this inspire you?
I’m working a lot with movement, from yoga, to dance, traumatic release, to Women's Circles about self-love through movement. This is my way of healing. So my passion to share is, connecting with people, sharing what I have learned in the past years and giving this as a gift to others. You do not have to be a professional in anything. So I try to remind my students, friends, and movers all the time to look inside, express, and distance themselves from any shame society teaches them.
It inspires me because each of us is an individual. So with all the classes I teach, you can see something new; new expressions, new smiles, new processes, which lead to growth.
How does your at-home yoga practice benefit you?
I can finally follow classes from friends and teachers all over the world. It unites us through different styles of teaching and practices. Secondly, it gives me the feeling of traveling. I had so many workshops online, with friends from all over the world, which makes for the feeling of connecting internationally.
Why do you think it can be hard for people to show up to yoga regularly?
I think many people do not see yoga as a lifestyle, more as a sports program that they can change anytime. Instead of going deeper and deeper with their practice and seeing themselves growing from inside through their practice.
How would you encourage someone to stay consistent in their yoga practice?
Learn more about the history of yoga & more connection of breathing and movement.
What do you think about the current yoga culture?
I think many people use the word Yoga for advertisement rather than a lifestyle.
What brought you to teaching yoga?
Yoga helped me a lot through my panic attacks in the past. So I started to learn more and more. I am interested in giving this feeling of healing to others.
How has teaching evolved for you as you continue to teach? Do you stay consistent in your style of teaching or does it change?
I started planning my classes with a certain topic. I listen more to my intuition. My practice has changed completely if I compare it to the beginning. I now really love Yin classes, but also my Vinyasa Flow classes changed completely. I try to always practice different styles and take the most beneficial parts and implement them into my classes.
What are the qualities of an excellent yoga teacher for you?
To be creative, and have the ability to give students the ability to forget about the outside world. I like it when teachers try new things.
How have other teachers helped you as both a student and as a teacher?
It is like going to school. From each class, you can learn something new. For instance new cues, new adjustments. But also as a student new styles of teaching.
What is one of your favorite postures and why?
Half-moon (Ardha Chandrasana) is my absolute favorite. Why - because it takes a lot of discipline and forces you to focus on your breath, to activate your Uddiyana bandha, and stay present.
What are some books or podcasts you recommend?
My favorite books are: Attached by Amir Levine, Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith, Healing the shame that binds you by John Bradshaw.
What keeps you motivated?
Joining different classes & also different activities. I am attempting to diversify more instead of doing one thing.
Why are rituals or practices important in modern life?
I think that ritual keeps you present. For example, I have a morning and evening gratitude practice, or a yoga and dance class and it allows me to forget my surroundings and brings me back to now.
What is the key to feeling balanced for you?
Moving my body.
Where are you from?
How do you think where you are from or where you live has shaped you?
I lived for a while in Koh Phangan, Thailand. I lived there in a huge spiritual community which opened my eyes.
How do you have good relationships in your life and why is connection important to you?
I would say, open communication is the goal. Always communicate your boundaries and your needs. Do not feel ashamed to say out loud what is going on in yourself.
Do you like to have a regular schedule?
I do not like maintaining a regular schedule. I love to plan each week from the beginning and have different structures of appointments. It makes me feel free.
What is one of your biggest blessings?
I love to help people and be there for others.
What helps you in your life?
Again, movement helps me a lot, but I’ve learned to first take a moment to listen inside before making decisions.
What is one of your wildest dreams?
To open a hostel on the beach next to the ocean. Where I can combine yoga, nutrition, and movement altogether and still maintain the feeling of traveling.
What keeps you grounded?
What are you grateful for?
To be able to feel love, having a healthy body, and access to healthy food.
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