She grew up without reservations, despised rules and believed that one should lose themselves into the heartbeat of the universe.
Sometimes, she was flying with the winds of life and other times she was grounded, like the roses in her backyard.
Brisa Silvestre, a 32-year-old native Brazilian, knew from a young age how to live life to the fullest. She loved to dance, to hang out with her family and friends and to try different cuisines. She enjoyed the culinary arts and wanted to open her own restaurant one day. She also played a variety of sports like soccer, handball and volleyball. She also studied classical ballet –- “I wasn’t flexible enough at that age,” she thought — she was 5-years-old. From early on she knew what she liked and she didn’t like.
“I hated going to the gym, the most boring thing ever. You need to have T.V. and music going on at the same time, that’s how boring it is,” she said with a smile.
Silvestre was first introduced to yoga at age 21 when she stumbled upon a “beautiful mosaic door,” as she recalls, only a few blocks away from her grandmother’s house. That door was the entrance to the first studio she had even attended. This is where she learned SwáSthya Yôga.
Every morning, after her yoga practice, she would go by the beach, and just look at the ocean and its endless horizon. Those were her first times of unconscious meditation, she later understood.
This is where, for the first time in her life she felt the energy of silence and its rejuvenating power. Yoga taught Silvestre about discipline. Just getting up and being committed to the practice of yoga gave her a sense of self-restraint that she truly enjoyed.
Silvestre was drawn to yoga not only because she enjoyed the element of discipline, but also because she was searching for an internal enrichment. After only two months of yoga practice, life took Silvestre by the horn. She lost someone very dear to her and in that moment, she was convinced, more then ever before, that yoga was what she needed in her journey of healing.
She left Brazil behind in her search of yoga.
Seven years went by, from that initial practice only a few blocks from her grandmother’s house, before yoga entered her life again. She attended her first Bikram Yoga practice in Aspen, Colo., and after her third class she knew she was going to complete the training and become a certified instructor.
She asked herself: “Is this it? I found my dream?”
The first thing that she did was to call her mom in Brazil. She was in a state of joy. But, joy wasn’t enough to pay the $10,000 training bill. That took hard work and patience.
For over a year, she worked five different jobs at once to save money for the Bikram training. She was also proactively reading yoga literature and practicing. When the moment came, she attended the nine-week extensive training with another 460 students.
It was “nine-weeks of intense – everything,” she said.
After the training she recalls: In her day-to-day conversations with others she would all the sudden start hearing in her head the Bikram dialogue: “Lock the knee, take a deep breath, lift up, touch the mirror, focus, concentrate.” She wondered if this dialogue would ever leave her head.
Following the completion of the training she was looking for three things:
“Free home, mentorship, and a full time job.”
For a period of time she went back to teach at the studio where she used to practice, but the hours weren’t enough so she applied to three studios in three different cities. She was given an offer and soon enough she found herself driving 2,000 miles to Quincy, Mass. – the “City of Presidents.” She didn’t end up meeting the president there, but she did end up meeting her best friend and somehow in this very new beginning of hers all the pieces were just falling into place. This was even more so evident when she moved to Seattle and met the love of her life.
Today, Silvestre has over 3,000 hours of teaching, 2,400 hours of training and 2,000 hours of practice. Her natural desire to enhance herself led her to learn other very different styles of yoga, such as Forest Yoga and Prenatal Yoga. She has also attended a Native American ceremony where she learned about the enlightenments of the Native spirituality. Thus, she was able to bring the presence of the ceremony into her life and was able to cultivate time and space for this internal secret in herself and others.
And she knows, this is not the end of it.
She is keen to learn more, to help others and to give back and to have a positive social impact through her teachings. If you take Silvestre’s class you may notice that she doesn’t only focus on the physical practice, but also on the inner connected elements of our physiques such as the mind, the body and the spirit. When asked what has yoga given her, she said:
“Wow, where do we start?”
To Silvestre, yoga is a gift and she believes that a gift on its own is worth nothing if you cannot share it with others. Thus, she knows this life-long journey will continue to enrich her and her students in many mystical ways.
Most important to Silvestre is to be compassionate with her students.
“What I want to give to the world is honesty. I want my students to feel safe, loved, appreciated and honored.”
To Silvestre it is important to give back to the community, especially to the people who need it the most. Last January, Silvestre started volunteering at the Full Life Adult Day Care in the Seattle area.
“I teach the patients yoga, but they truly are the biggest teachers. I have learned so much from them. Their patience, their kindness, their willingness to learn is so inspiring to me. Every Friday I am so excited to go meet these folks that have touched my life in so many levels. I am there for an hour and by the time we are closing our circle, I ask them to share something they are grateful for – anything at all. When they start sharing with the group, I have to focus so hard so I don’t start crying. I feel so honored that they share their hearts with me. Their honesty and appreciation for life puts everything in my life into perspective.’’
Silvestre thinks that it is so important, crucial in a way, for yoga instructors to go outside their comfort zone. This is when they will truly be able to impact the world while feeling enhanced by each experience. Volunteering for her was one of her dreams when she was growing up and this experience allowed her to add the missing piece in her life. See, “in Brazil volunteerism isn’t really promoted,” she said, and in America it is part of the culture.
“I thought I needed to go to Africa to volunteer,” but she realized there were people in-need right here, in Ravenna.
When I am there I feel like they are all like my grandparents. She described them as a fun group to work with, inspiring and grateful.
“For some of us, being alive and being able to take a breath is just enough,” she said.
We have asked a few questions to get to better know her, here were her answers:
1. Who is Brisa?
Honest, joyful, and hungry – most of the time.
2. Your vision of yoga today?
I would like to use yoga as therapy through incorporating the different systems that I have learned about, while also using methods and practices that are healing for the body and mind.
3. What are your favorite yoga-clothing brands?
V-Keen, Onzie and Heidi
4. Who has impacted your yoga practice the most?
Ana Forest – through her training I understood that my love for others is not measurable
5. What is the best yoga advice you have ever received?
When you know what you want don’t hold back – the universe will align to take you to your destination (Ana Forest)
6. If you could practice yoga with anyone, dead or alive, who would that be & why? My dad
7. Where would you like to see the Seattle Yoga community in 5 years?
What I would like to see is oneness
8. How about you?Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I want to be a student forever. I want to go to India and I want to learn from every single person I meet
9. What is one advice you would like to give to our community?
Live life in gratitude and love as much as you can, and that love will support the other and they can be the best they can be
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