The never-ending journey makes yoga delicious

Carrot Banana Peach Community Member Roxanne De Gouzman tells Yoga Magazine readers about anti-gravity yoga and demonstrates a Fusion Yoga sequence. All of that with a Hawaiian smile!

When did you first start practising yoga?

My mum would bring me to her adult yoga classes when I was four or five. I remember copying the women in class doing asanas like Plow and Trikonasana. The ladies would have a giggle that the little girl was finding her way into poses with ease, while they were forgetting to breathe when attempting deeper extensions in certain asanas.

Who or what is your major inspiration?

Back in 1997 I ended up in Rishikesh, India, where I took part in a private retreat at a magical place called ‘Glass House on the Ganges’. It was located at the confluence of the Rivers Ganges and Yamuna where the Beatles came for a retreat in the 60’s. Here, outside on the grass, we would sit in Sukhasana after having been given a mantra by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Guru, whom the family had practised with for many decades. This was magical to me. Since then, I have visited India 32 more times!Roxanne

Can you tell us about your teaching today?

I teach yoga in Phuket, Thailand at my small home studio when based there for three months of the year. The students that attend are mostly expats – both women and men who have been living on the island many years. The rest of the year, I teach yoga to private clients in New York and sometimes I do workshops in Moscow and in the Asia Pacific region.

What types of yoga do you teach?

My main background is Iyengar Yoga (Dehradun, India). I am also certified in Hatha as well as ‘Anusara-Inspired’, as a student of Desiree Rumbaugh (Thailand and LA).

Roxanne PoseYou also teach anti-gravity yoga – how did you get into that?

When living in Los Angeles, I attended classes at Crunch fitness called ‘Anti-Gravity yoga’ where the tool of a suspended, silk-like yoga hammock was used to support certain yoga postures and we were taught zero-compression inversions similar to Iyengar.

In 2009, Christopher Harrison opened up his Anti-Gravity Aerial yoga teachings as a teacher-training program. I was accepted in the small first group of learning instructors and immediately flew from Thailand to New York to participate in the certification program. Anti-Gravity Aerial Yoga is a fitness fusion technique which blends aerial arts, gymnastics, yoga and Pilates…even ballet barre. This has become my most popular style to teach at my studio when in Asia.

What is your key principle of teaching?

I keep the main principle in mind from Hawaiian dance, which is a sense of personal calm and remember to smile. Giving clear and accurate instructions is key, and my own personal practice is important so that I can demonstrate any asanas to students.

What are your criteria when it comes to choosing the yoga wear?

Comfort first, then style. I love colour, though there are days that I’m feeling a lot of the earthy tones.

Do you have a favourite yoga clothing brand?

Carrot Banana Peach’s roots are comfortable, form-fitting, breathable fabrics by textile experts who practise yoga and focus on movement and total wellness and comfort. Rather than looking like ‘gym-wear’ I prefer Carrot Banana Peach because of the range of styles which I’m comfortable wearing out to tea, whilst shopping and travelling on my busy schedule since the ability to flow in these fabrics is like second skin!

Why yoga?

The never-ending journey makes yoga delicious. Yoga is more than a ‘movement routine’ or a way of fitness. Nowadays there are many fusions of different arts. I believe that it’s important for instructors to really learn the roots of yoga and what they are teaching so there’s a solid foundation, before blending with other movement forms/arts. For students, to simply show up on your mat or your sacred space so you can practise, is the most important thing.