Yesim Yuva is a Yoga teacher, Mom, model and presenter. Born in Krefeld, she mainly lives in London, where she is currently engaged with her own Yoga platform. She describes her Yoga style as a mixture of Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga. The content of her classes are primarily based in connecting with one’s higher self and are rounded off with related breathing techniques and meditation exercises. In the following interview, Yesim informs us where she sees chances through the Corona crisis and which tips she would recommend other Yoga teachers to apply during this challenging time.
Dear Yesim, you are a Yoga teacher, an actress, a model and presenter and since last year, you have also become a Mom. How do you manage to unite all these responsibilities?
Being a mother has changed me a lot. I have to manage my time very effectively. Before the birth of my son, I had a very tight schedule with all the assignments demanding my attention. I love to be busy, especially with the projects I'm passionate about, including my Yoga retreats, teaching and my work in front of the camera; the good thing is that they complement each other very well. Due to my Yoga background, I was increasingly booked for modeling, moderating and acting stints. That naturally enriched my work in front of the camera even more.
In fact, when my son was born, I took a full year off to look after my new family. The first year was quite strenuous for me yet wonderful at the same time. However, I missed my work and my “old life” a lot and it took quite an effort until I was able to function as a mother to the best of my ability and to accept this new role gratefully and to be positively motivated. It has been only recently that I am able to manage the new balance in my life between job, motherhood and private time for myself and, of course, not missing out on my daily Yoga practice. I realize that all this would not be possible without my inner will of never losing the intention wanting to constantly grow.
"Yoga is part of my everyday life and for me it is the secret to a fulfilled life."
How important is Yoga in your life?
Yoga is part of my everyday life and the secret of a fulfilled life. However, a spiritual lifestyle can also be exhausting as it requires strong concentration and perseverance until one can achieve any significant progress. Self-realization is not possible without Sadhana, which means spiritual discipline. For me, Yoga not only consists of a healthy diet, Asanas, Pranayama and meditation, but also includes the inner Yoga discipline of self-control, Tapas and purity. And I have to keep reminding myself of that and the morning Yoga practice helps me start the day with a positive motivation.
As a mother, do you still find time for your Yoga practice?
Somehow, I always manage to practice Yoga. Mostly in the evening when the little one is asleep, then I have less pressure, when most of the urgent duties on my To-Do List have been dealt with. In my imagination, I’d love to get up at 5 am, do my Yoga, read a little bit, write in my diary and meditate before the dynamic day starts. Later on in the morning, everything just follows “back to back”. Really, every minute counts. I often eat my lunch standing in the kitchen. But that can't be it either! So I'm currently working on a slowing-down technique so that I can still get everything important done. A balance between Quality Time with the family, a free head for creativity, business and my Yoga classes.
What form of Yoga do you teach and how would you describe your style?
It's a blend of Vinyasa and classic Hatha. Breathing techniques and guided meditations are part of every class. We start each session with the intention of coming very close to real life and each lesson builds up on that. I find it important that with Yoga I can also reach those persons who do not find it easy to look inwardly. Words have great power and language is our gateway to the world. Accordingly, I often accompany the positions with my spoken word so that one can be induced to consciously release those things which we don't need in life. I work a lot with heart openers. I also enjoy explaining the various positions in more detail for attaining the correct physical alignment.
Every moment on the mat is used to build up a deep connection to our inner selves, to become aware that we not only consist through our thoughts, feelings nor through our bodies and our energy, but we are also the observer of all events from the driver’s seat of our consciousness. Our aim is to tune in to the silence within us that enables us to connect with our higher self. All what we are searching for is already within ourselves and practicing Yoga helps us to reach that realm, where we can feel peaceful, free, happy and complete.
Do you believe that Yoga philosophy has an influence on your role as a mother?
Hmm, that's difficult to say since you can’t really know what a type of a mother you would be like without the knowledge of Yoga philosophy. Being a mother has a lot to do with instincts and also your own childhood plays an important role. I can only say that after my Yoga practice, I definitely feel more balanced and that has an impact on my everyday behavior as a mother. Just knowing about the philosophy of Yoga does not bring you much, it really depends upon your regular practice.
You were born in Krefeld and at present you are mainly living in London. Corona is also a big issue in England. How do you experience the Corona Crisis as a Yoga teacher and how do you meet the challenges associated with it?
Every crisis also brings with it also an opportunity. It’s amazing how to see how quickly Yoga schools around the world have switched to digital sessions. For years, I had resisted it, since I just love giving face to face sessions and now, I have already given a lot of retreats, alone for the fact that there simply was no opportunity anymore for releasing Yoga videos online. Now, I realize the great advantages of teaching online and it motivates me to see people from all over the world taking part, especially during our live sessions, it's a wonderful feeling. Currently, I am also working on my own Yoga platform with videos on demand.
Which 5 tips would you give Yoga teachers during this time?
- Applying the dynamic in developing digitalization for reaching more persons.
- Using silence to find yourself again.
- Taking time to develop your ideas.
- Not stopping at one point. Continue growing. Educate yourself.
- Stay healthy.
More and more people are spending their working hours sitting at their desks through home office, meaning that the walk to the subway station or stepping out to the tea kitchen are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Which Asanas do you recommend to those “Sitting A Lot” in order for them to strengthen their health?
Shoulder Expansion for a straighter posture of your spine and strengthening your back.
The Tree for better concentration.
The Shoulder Stand for calming down your nervous system.
The Sun Salutation to activate your blood circulation for a fitter start of your day. Breathing exercises and meditation for clearing your head.
As a Yoga teacher you work with people, esp. on a physical level. Is a person's personality reflected in how she/he practices Yoga?
There are some positions that particularly reveal someone’s emotional and mental state. For example, if you don't have your fingers relaxed when doing Pigeon Pose with your arms outstretched, it could be that you are not able to let go of something and are clinging to it. There are some who find Shavasana is not relaxing and wait for the 10 minutes to be over. They may find it difficult to look inward and to trust that healing will take place without them having to do anything about it.
Is there a Yoga mantra that you can recommend in how to come through this turbulent time and give us its translated meaning?
For years I have been hearing and chanting the Gayatri Mantra, I would say almost every day. I also run through it before my Yoga classes, sometimes even before I go to bed. Above all, the Gayatri Mantra purifies the heart. I like the Miten and Premal version a lot.
Om bhur bhuvaha svaha
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yonah prachodayat
"Om - Praise to the source of all things. It is due to you that we attain true happiness on the planes of earth, astral, causal. It is due to your transcendent nature that you are worthy of being worshipped and adored. Ignite us with your all pervading light."
Thank you very much, dear Yesim, for giving us such an exciting insight into your life and daily responsibilities with your answers. Wishing you all the best!