Bay Area Yoga Teacher Highlight: Salila Sukumaran
Name: Salila Sukumaran
Practice with me at: My home in the South Bay or your home in the Bay Area.
How long I’ve been practicing yoga: There was never a time I was not doing Yoga. I learned Yoga at school—in Indian schools, Yoga is part of daily PE—and from my father, whose sirsasana is one of my earliest memories. Yoga to an Indian person is like speaking French for the people of France. In my early twenties I had an immersive training in Hatha Yoga. However, the eight limbed Yogic path, with the intentional practice of the yamas and the niyamas, sadhana and meditation came only four years ago.
How long I’ve been teaching yoga: Four years.
What kind of yoga I teach: My own blend of Hatha Yoga, Ananda Yoga and Kundalini Yoga.
My mantra these days: Let go, let God.
A posture that has been resonating with me lately is: Padahasthasana. I like to hang in there. It’s meditative.
How I like to practice yoga off the mat: Samatva, balance and equanimity, is the ultimate Yogic goal. Somedays I helplessly watch myself getting hooked, snagged and dragged. Somedays I catch myself just before I go off center. Then there are moments when I witness my insanity and smile inwardly. I love those moments and pray for grace to have more of them.
My sign: Scorpio.
The last book I read was: When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate.
Favorite local juice/tea spot: My own home, I enjoy my tea time ritual alone or with friends and clients. I love bonding over home made masala chai. I bring fresh orange pekoe and spices from my visits to my home in Kerala, South India. No one escapes tea time when they are around me.
Where I go for a nourishing meal: My kitchen. I learned cooking from the women of my family and then learned the major cuisines of the world at culinary school. I have come back home to Ayurvedic cooking. Nothing nourishes me more than a balanced meal I have cooked from fresh farmer's market vegetables with the spices from home. Cooking is meditation for me. Watching my friends clean their plates brings immense joy.
What’s on your yoga playlist right now: I like to play Devi Chants by Ananda, Annapoorna Stotram by Rajshri Soul among other chants to the Divine Mother.
A few of my favorite yoga teachers are: Dr. B R Sharma of Sri Sri University, Yogi Naveen my brother, Yudhisthira Doug Andrews and Vivekadevi Nohkunn of Ananda Yoga.
A ritual I love: My daily abhyangam oil massage.
What I am letting go of this year: Not speaking my mind.
What I am embracing this year: My mortality, my error prone humanity, my ability to fail and to disappoint some.
My website: www.ayurgamaya.com.