Ella Isakov, Yoga Editor: Elena Brower, based in New York, has been teaching yoga and meditation for 15 years. People are drawn to Elena because she is real and authentic. She allows herself to be seen as a human being living and doing her best like everyone else, making daily efforts to show up for whatever life brings. This natural ability to live by example and share in the experience with others is profound and refreshing, and much needed in this day and age. Enjoy this inspiring interview on ways one can face fears and darkness to open up to self-love, wholeness, and letting the inner light shine bright.
Parvati Magazine: You have been teaching yoga and meditation since 1999. How have yoga and meditation been part of your transformation?
Elena Brower: Both have made me stop and listen, love and learn, forgive and move forward, in all the areas of my life – from work to love to parenting.
PMAG: I appreciate you speaking of times in your life where you may have made mistakes, and gone through feelings of fear, blame and shame. I think it is important for teachers to project to our students the whole human experience, all parts of ourselves. How do you feel this inspires students?
EB: It’s important to me to have teachers who are willing to apologize for their mistakes, and set examples of transformation and real, right relationship. My work is to do what I wish to have done for me.
PMAG: You speak of making space in the body to create space in the mind through our practices. How can this spaciousness contribute to elevating our light in the world?
EB: In any tough moment; when my kid isn’t listening, or my day isn’t going the way I’d imagined, making space for this new reality is all I can do to bring more light and more breathing room to the moment. It’s like opening a window, and allowing a breeze to blow away what’s troubling so a new possibility can emerge, a new clarity.
PMAG: In your book “Art of Attention” you guide people on a journey to gain awareness through self-inquiry to heal. How can bringing awareness to our yoga and meditation practice cultivate more wholeness? How can facing our darkness be the vital ingredient to opening up to our light within?
EB: Any way in which we can stop and listen to our own bodies will help us to feel more whole, more safe, more settled, more alive. Facing my darkness, losing my addictions, learning to love myself in new ways – this is the most important work I’ve done this year. Students and close friends tell me now that I’m more clear and steady than I’ve ever been, and I attribute that to my willingness to stare down the habits that were hurting me and start cultivate ones that heal me.
PMAG: You have been on this journey for 20 years. What advice do you have for people who feel stuck in their lives to help them uncover their light?
EB: Be honest. Look into your relationships and interactions, observe where you’re lying, where you’re holding on to shame, or secrets, and talk about it all so you can let your light shine.
Your light is already there. No teacher can give that light to you; only you can peel away what’s covering it up and let it out.
Mama, teacher, speaker, coach, Elena Brower has taught yoga since 1999. Influenced by several traditions including Katonah Yoga, ParaYoga and Kundalini Yoga, Elena’s classes are a masterful, candid blend of artful alignment and attention cues for body, mind and heart.Her first book, Art of Attention, has been ranked number one for design on Amazon, and has now been translated into five languages. Her Audio Meditation Course work is globally renowned as a way to boost or begin a consistent practice, and the film on which she’s an executive producer, On Meditation, is being featured on several international airlines and on national public television. For more information about Elena, please visit elenabrower.com.