Teacher Spotlight : Gurdeep Bhogal
What was your first yoga experience?
I can recall two different experiences I had which relate to two different aspects of Yoga. When I was a child, my Mother and the Grandmothers from the Hindu family who lived next door to us, would hold Hindu rituals in our home. We chanted in the tradition of Bhakti Yoga, and I was introduced to Mantras, Mudras and Meditation, witnessing a Hindu Priestess manifesting sandoor (the red powder used to mark the third eye) through the power of chanting. It was fascinating and thrilling to know that through practice, so much that we don’t realize, could be available to us. The second experience was watching my sister Tinu doing asana practice in 1970’s and 80’s England (when Yoga definitely wasn’t trendy!). I used to take her Yoga book and try to copy the poses in the photographs. My sister took me to my first yoga class when I was in my late teens.
What made you become a yoga teacher?
Larisa and Vito made me do it!! No seriously, after taking a beach Yoga class in Malaysia in February 2016 with a teacher from Switzerland whose emphasis was on correct alignment, I came back home and started practicing regularly at The Yoga Loft. I couldn’t get enough! I was curious about Larisa and Vito’s Teacher Training program as I regularly attended their classes and felt an affinity with them. I thought that I could maybe take the program the following year, with a view to teach yoga as part of my retirement plan when I turned 65. But as it happens fate led me to start the program in 2016, and I was drawn deeper into the practice in a way that transformed me forever. As part of the Teacher Training Program, we were lucky enough to be offered community teaching slots at The Yoga Loft! I signed up, and taught my first class in April 2016, it was a very full class and I can’t remember taking a breath myself during the class! Teaching Yoga feels natural and beautiful to me, I feel so present and very grateful to be able to facilitate for others.
What is your favorite pose and why?
Do I have to chose one pose? I think my favorite pose shifts all the time depending on how my body feels, the season etc. Currently my favorite pose is Lizard Lunge whose Sanskrit name is Uttan Pristhasana. I absolutely love the twisted variation where you bend your knee and grab the back foot with the opposite hand. This pose really opens up the hips, hamstrings, groins and hip flexors, and works on activating the root and sacral chakras, it feels great!
Where do you draw inspiration from for your classes?
I draw inspiration for my classes from many sources, including the Moon phases and current astrology, the seasons, as well as designing chakra-based sequences. I am also inspired by the sensuality of dance-based movement and draw upon my rich Indian cultural heritage too!
What is something you enjoy outside of Yoga?
Outside of Yoga one of my life-long passions is travel. I work for British Airways as my day-job and have been a world traveler my entire life! I always feel a sense of excitement when I board a plane. I have a curious disposition and love to learn about other cultures, to experience new environments and to try local food and wine (especially with the local people if possible). One of the most beautiful aspects of travel is that you meet people from so many different places and yet you always come back to the realization that no matter who you are or where you are in the world, we all share common experiences. I love connecting with people!