Ella Isakov, Yoga Editor: Bram Levinson, a Montreal-based yoga and meditation teacher, mentor and author of the inspiring books “The Inspired Life” and “A Year in the Light” sees his purpose as guiding others back to themselves, to uncover their truth and purpose, to live in their light.
Parvati Magazine: You have written a book on awakening to one’s own light called “A Year in the Light”, with daily insights to serve as reminders to stay true to oneself. What inspired you to write this book, and how do you wish for it to be used?
Bram Levinson: I wanted to create a tool that people could use to maintain a mindfulness practice. I am all too aware that we are in a moment in history where attention span is shorter than ever and sense of entitlement is greater than ever, and so I felt that this book would be a great way to offer something to help increase focus and concentration with a healthy dash of spiritual wisdom. Based on the feedback I’m getting, it seems to be doing exactly that!
PMAG: You see your role not only as teaching asana, but also to motivate students to gain a glimpse within themselves and to uncover the strength and passion that will guide them off the mat. How do you accomplish this?
BL: I accomplish this by explaining how, in many ways, our culture encourages us to live our lives in doubt, operating from the belief that we, as we are, are somehow lacking. I then offer techniques, like asana, meditation and laughter, to shift the contracted tensions of our world and our fears that we are carrying around in our bodies. Insight, intention, breathing and movement, all working in conjunction with each other.
PMAG: You speak to the seekers and thinkers and challenge them to live within their truth. What is the main challenge they face and how can yoga and meditation be the vehicle to keep them on the path back to themselves?
BL: The main challenge they face is not faltering in their efforts to live a life of purpose and service. Most people who set an intention to live more spiritually aligned eventually succumb to the pressures of a culture where most people do not live passionately, where to live in alignment with spiritual concepts diametrically opposes our culture’s obsession with appearances, money and being the star of one’s own social-media based reality show. Yoga and meditation teaches us what challenge, uncertainty and discomfort can feel like, and then provides the tools to navigate those moments with right action, not the emotional reaction that we default to and that prompts flight and avoidance. The practices are our testing grounds to be in relationship with what typically lands as tension, and then to use simple and ancient tools to alter that vibration to one of peace and connection.
PMAG: As a fellow seeker and yoga teacher who also strives to bring in the sprinkling of philosophy and moment to moment awareness to my students experience on the mat, what advice would you give yoga teachers to help them find ease in incorporating the full experience where the students begin to cultivate not only strength, but healing and authenticity in their life as well?
BL: My advice would be to teach what you know, to use your life experience to inform whatever trainings you have participated in and to do it all for others. Be the one who creates the space for others to come in and feel safe enough to address the issues they feel are not being addressed, to ask the questions they might be afraid to ask. Be ready to say, “I don’t know,” and be willing to do research for them to help them find their way forward. Most importantly, never abuse the trust placed in you as the light-bearer and guide.
PMAG: What does “I Am Light” mean to you?
BL: “I Am Light” means that I embody that which I seek: the energy of wisdom, connection, meaning, understanding, kindness, compassion, and, above all, love. This energy animates this body of mine, and instead of identifying with my body, I identify with the energy that animates it.
Bram Levinson is a Montreal-based author, vinyasa and mindfulness meditation teacher, and mentor who lives his dharma daily to provide clarity and spiritual understanding to his students and clients. Practicing yoga and meditation since 1999 and teaching since 2009, Bram’s sole intention is to illuminate and awaken others to their own purpose and splendor by offering insight into how this human existence can distract us from the bigger picture of spirituality and connection.