Photo © 2009. Nannette Bertschy & Ann Moradian.

looking at the world and challenging our assumptions, definitions and creation of it through the lense of the body, movement, the arts and science.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Interview with Ann Moradian for Make Me Yoga

Who are you?
One human being among many, many others. I have spent most of my life learning through the body -- through dance, yoga, the martial and energy arts. It brings me great joy to share what I love and to accompany others in their process as they claim their own full being and potential.

What are your Yoga classes like?
There is a strong focus on linking the breath, movement and attention together. Over time this link becomes not only habitual both in and outside of class, but it continues to deepen, and we come to embody our being more and more completely. There is an attention to alignment and body mechanics, which provide a safe base from which to grow. When these simple physical elements are united with the breath and attention, we naturally and simply begin the process of unblocking the gross and more subtle knots that disrupt the flow of our energy, body, breath, and mind.

What is it about Yoga that inspires you?
The breath, really. 'L'inspiration' itself! I appreciate the clarity and wholeness that Yoga offers as our breath and attention begin to flow more smoothly together. I find an enormous strength in this that brings ease, joy, vitality and resilience to my life. And I love how this practice -- that usually begins simply at a body level -- begins to deepen, allowing us to delve beneath the surface of things and recognize the roots that give them birth, in our time and at our own pace.

Do you have a favorite posture?
I love inversions, because they turn our assumptions and habits upside-down. They challenge our perception and assumptions, and clean out and replenish the heart and mind. I love the ability they create in us to feel steady, clear and at ease in any situation, even when the ground seems to have shifted beneath our feet.

A favorite book?
Around 20 years ago I was given a well written and highly condensed English translation of The Mahabharata -- the great Indian classic in which The Bhagavadgita is nested. I have found myself returning to it again and again -- and again. I am continually surprised at the richness of the work, and discover with each new reading insights, metaphors, and wisdom that I had not been able to see on the reading before. It seems to reveal itself according to my readiness, according to how much of life I have lived and experienced.

And music?
I love almost all music -- any music that honors and claims its own inherent identity and character. I especially love layers and textures of sound that seem to converse and dance with each other. I love the sound of the tabla and the pan-pipes.

A film?
Kal Ho Na Ho is an Indian film that has the whole gamut of life packed into its two or so hours: love, tragedy, music, dancing, ridiculous comedy... everything. But I think the added element that addresses the life of our souls (that our conscious being doesn't always recognize or appreciate) and the layers of love we can feel speaks to me the most.

A place?
There is something about nestling into the lush pockets of the Pyrennes in France that seems to nourish and rejuvenate me unlike any other place I have been. The Gorge du Tarn is a close second, with a similar contradiction between its harsh exigence and its generous embrace. But in the French Pyrennes, I feel as if I have returned to my own source.

A teacher?
The Yoga teachings that were passed on to me by Eric Beeler with simplicity and generosity changed my life when I encountered them, and have continued to deepen and merge into all aspects of my life as I continue to explore the relationship between breath, mind and body.

Any remedies?
I lived in India for 6 years and was constantly astonished by how everyone knew at least something about the use of food and spices for keeping the health in balance. I find that I use a few regularly: lemon, honey and ginger steeped in hot water (with or without cayenne pepper) to help clear a cold; the increase of garlic when the immune system needs and extra boost; white rice mixed with 'active' culture yoghurt for diarrhea; fennel or mint for an unsettled or aching stomach...

An animal?
When I was younger, I loved the Rabbit and the Black Panther equally -- the Panther for its beauty and power, and the Rabbit for its sweetness and softness. But for the past 12 or so years, after living in India, my animal has become the Phoenix. The Phoenix gives the strength and courage to face and embrace transformation on a deep and ongoing basis, 'dancing with the Dragon', in an ongoing process of death and re-birth.

A plant?
I feel a strong affinity with all plants, but especially trees. I love how they convert light and air directly into life. I love the beauty and the balance of our relationship with them, as we nourish each other in our shared breath. I had a dream once where I was at a party where everyone was wearing t-shirts with silouettes of all the people they had been in all their past lives printed on them. I still don't know how I really feel about the idea of past lives, but in my dream, when I looked down at my shirt, I saw that it was filled with trees and dinosaurs! It was an "Aha!" moment, when I suddenly understood why I have always been so intense about living this life well.

A perfume?
I love the smell of lemon but more than anything, I love the smell of earth after the rain.

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