Aloha! It is such an honor and privilege to be part of yogadownload’s global community. In the current technological age we are afforded the opportunity to share, collaborate and disseminate wisdom in an unparalleled manner that previously was unavailable. I am so happy to share four decades of practice and study in the hopes that my experiences can alleviate some of the avoidable confusion concerning Yoga, and offer Patanjali’s perennial insights into how to make the most of life experience through our personal practices.
1. In your words, what is yoga?
Yoga is a pragmatic embodiment of our highest ideals. It is the art and science of Self realization while exploring the possibilities of human potential both individually and collectively. In the words of Maharishi Patanjali, “Yoga is the means of adopting constructive behaviors with the aim of cultivating sufficient freedom to enjoy the fullness of life.”
2. What inspires your teaching?
Yoga saved my life. Intense pain brought me to the mat. Yoga has provided me with an effective methodology to unwind trauma held in my mind-body complex and psyche. I explore Yoga as a system of self-care in mind, body and heart. It gave me personal sovereignty to overcome my physical crisis, and continues to open me to embrace integration of my inner and outer environments into a deepened experience of love and peace. My greatest joy is to facilitate people in getting pain-free and empower the joyful discovery of their unique selves, gifts and personal dharma.
3. What teachers have impacted you the most?
My first teacher was Baba Hari Das of Haridwar, North India. He was a monk and traditional practitioner of Patanjali’s 8 limbed path of Ashtanga Yoga. Following his council to his younger students, I studied Astanga Vinyasa with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. I made 7 trips to Mysore, India and studied under his tutelage from January 1997 until his death in 2009. My current mentor is Rama Jyoti Vernon who brought Mr B.K.S. Iyengar to the US, and was a student of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga. Rama opened the practical teachings of the Yoga Sutra for me. She is an incredible model of living Yoga in action via peace activism.
4. How do you bring yoga in your day to day life?
I start the day with mantra, pranayama, mudra and meditation, followed by work on my next Yoga Sutra manuscript which requires both study and reflection, and then practice asana. Afterwards, I teach classes at my studio, Yoga Hanalei.
Yoga is about connection. It is a practice of self-reflection on our unique human experience. I strive to recognize the Divine as expressed through individuals and to live a life that is deep and meaningful through service and devotion. I endeavor to maintain this consciousness in my daily interactions and to cultivate a life of quality over quantity.
5. How do you think can yoga help our world?
The current wave of interest in Yoga is very exciting. Millions are exploring the practices. In the West, there is little focus and education on the possibilities of Yoga to transform not only individual consciousness, but also its potential to expand our collective consciousness. It is clear that people are ready to investigate and apply the deeper teachings of Yoga as the technology of consciousness that accelerates evolution.
Ultimately, Yoga is designed to generate resonance with Love beyond the constraints of human emotion. Love is the energetic field that initiates, sustains and resolves all of creation. As expressed through humanity, Love is our willingness to extend our selves into growth. When we integrate the practices with the higher intent, I believe this fosters remembrance of our oneness and to base social, political and legal structures that are solution oriented. We can devise infinite laws, but until we make decisions based on Love through our mutual affection and respect for one another, they will be of no lasting value. I believe we need the full science and art of Yoga now, more than ever!
6. What are some other passions and practices that give you purpose and benefit your well-being?
I am a mother of a beautiful 5 year old boy. He is my greatest teacher of innocence, love, patience, joy and creativity. He inspires me to deepen my psycho-spiritual and emotional growth, and disarm my conditioned defenses and resultant tensions, to open completely to intimacy.
Along with my regular Yoga practice, writing, and study of Yoga’s classical metaphysical teachings, I am a strong advocate of the process of transpersonal psychological therapy. Therapeutic counseling helps me grow emotionally and face the practical challenges of modern daily life. Transpersonal therapies address esoteric mystical states of heightened consciousness. This type of psycho-analysis addresses the nature of our ego-personality complex and help us grow beyond constraints to transcend the limits of earth-based consciousness. It is the awakening of spiritual embodiment through the human experience. I offer this perspective in my book “The Yogi’s Roadmap: The Patanjali Yoga Sutra as a Path to Self Realization” in hopes to inform modern day practitioners of the possibilities of human consciousness that can be accessed via Yoga practices.
I live on a Permaculture farm and nursery with my husband Ray. He is an farmer, educator, and designer that explores functional balance and harmony between humans and the natural environment. We are both committed to our family and living sustainable and eco-conscious lifestyles on Kaua’i for almost 30 years. Ultimately, I believe that Yoga is an attitude that is experienced and expressed through every facet of our lives.
7. What are your favorite places in the world. What do you love about them?
I love my home of Kaua’i in the Hawaiian islands, and of course our farm "Permaculture Kaua’i." The energy of Prakriti (nature) is such a powerful force here that it is a daily reminder of our interdependence and personal responsibility to align to forces that are beyond our individual control. The intense beauty of Kaua’i is an inspiring reminder that we are not separate, but part of nature and to corroborate with it consciously, as it ultimately supports us.
Practice one of Bhavai's insightful classes right now here, and learn about the roots of yoga philosophy with Bhavani's program below!