I’m excited to share with you my first interview on my blog!I have been following Sonia’s blog for a while and I was very intrigued by her recent move to India where she continues to pursue her passion for yoga. I thought an interview would be appropriate to learn more about her life story :).
+ Tell me about yourself.
SD: I am a twenty-something year old yoga instructor, passionate about good health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness from within.
+ Why yoga?
SD: Yoga is my life. It continues to heal me, challenge me, transform me, strengthen me from the inside and out, and keep me on my toes, the present.It has given me the power to fearlessly, confidently share and give my entire efforts to the world around me. Yoga makes me incredibly happy inside, gives me amazing sleep, and oh so much energy! Any and every problem I face is solved on my yoga mat.
+ So how did you get into yoga?
SD: When I was about six years old, I used to watch my grandpa do Suryanamaskar (a series of yoga poses that salute the sun) in our playroom every morning. He had this little yellow yoga book with all of the poses that he would often refer to. I would just watch him move through the shapes in the sunlight. Sometimes I would copy him.
I think that is when the yoga seed was planted in me.
In high school, I fell in love with running cross country and track. Then in college at Berkeley, I trained and ran any race I could find, the LA Marathon, all the Nike half marathons, tons of 5Ks. I think I put a groove in running up and down Claremont Ave. I would use yoga as a weekly cross training exercise, but running was my main focus that brought me that adrenaline kick. During my junior year, I ended up injuring my knee. It was devastating. What would I do now? I turned to yoga for healing, and it just stuck.
Sooner than I could blink, yoga moved from a simple way to get my exercise to a full on lifestyle of amazing adventures. I remember, when I graduated from Berkeley, my heart was set on becoming a yoga instructor. And so I did.
+ What inspired you to move to India?
SD: That is an interesting story. I was working in New York, very good marketing job in the fashion industry, teaching yoga part time, and soaking up the New York food and nightlife culture. I loved it there. After a year and a half, some things changed and all aspects of my life there intensified. I was given a new position in at my fashion company, a bigger teaching role in my yoga studio, and I had just started a new yoga-training program. I started to slide off balance, not getting enough time to take care of myself, not getting enough sleep, not eating properly, not finding time to see my friends. Only the yoga kept me going. I went from this happy happy girl, to this less confident, exhausted girl. One day in my meditation, India popped into my head. The next day, I found a message from a very old friend, who wanted advice as she made her first trip to India. Then things moved really fast. I ditched work the next day, with my mom’s approval, of course. I quit the next week. I booked my ticket for India. I had absolutely no plan of what I would do there, but it felt right.
Now things are great. I am so incredibly happy, healthy, and loving this adventure. I am realizing that we all attract what we are truly looking for and what we truly need. So without expectations, I am now studying with my guru, BKS Iyengar. He is 95 years old, the living source of yoga, and the most amazing yogi. Every morning, I get to practice along side him at his center. Wow. Everyday I count my blessings.
In the evenings, I teach classes to the local people of Pune with a team of young yoga champions. They have become like my second family here. I miss the comforts of America so much sometimes, but India is really taking care of me, as far as living my dreams goes. I’ll be back someday!
+I’m all about eating healthy but I recently realized balance is key. What’s your view on food and nutrition?
SD: Nutrition is hugely important to me. Food labels are fascinating. I’ve dabbled in all of the “yogi” “healthy” “vegan” “raw” diets and enjoyed certain aspects of each of them. But in their entirety, I found them too hard to follow, especially with my passion for food…and frosting ;). So instead, I follow my own body’s intuition on what foods make me feel energized, happy, and strong. My yoga teacher once said he was a flexitarian. I liked the term so much that I have stolen it from him in regards to my own diet. Wholesome good-for-you ingredients, fresh fruits and veggies, protein-packed grains, wild-caught fish, are some things that make me feel amazing. I’m all about indulging in real butter, good cheese, fresh cream, whole milk, good dark chocolate, with plenty of wiggle room for dessert of course! I find food beautiful – beautiful fuel for the body.
+ Any life mantras, values you live by?
SD: Oh my goodness. India has mantras for EVERYTHING! Maybe I should translate mine into Sanskrit and chant them to the gods. Hehe just kidding…
Some of my mantras…
Chocolate heals. Really it does.
The most precious gift you can give to someone is your time.
There is good in struggle.
What is good for you is not always pleasant.
Listen to your heart. When the heart speaks, there is no question of doubt.
Self-love is the most powerful. Find that. Do anything for that. Once you see yourself as beautiful inside and out, can you start to really truly love others.
Favorite quote that amazes me each time I read it: “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Rumi
Sonia thank you so much for doing this!! It amazes me how yoga really transformed your life. Oh, and I love your mantras. Makes me feel like I should have some of my own (I think I may steal the chocolate one ;))
Guys, if you want to follow Sonia on her yoga journey, find a yummy dessert recipe, or have any questions about yoga, baking, life in general, go check out her blog : www.bakewithsonia.com!