Seattle Yoga News is on a mission to find and highlight all of the hidden, and maybe not so hidden, gems in our yoga community and beyond. We want you to learn about their experiences and perspectives, but also a bit more about their personalities, so we have a few fun questions for them. This week’s spotlight is turned towards Carina Terra.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A YOGA TEACHER?

Carina Terra

Carina Terra:

I practiced yoga consistently for almost 10 years before I finally took my first yoga teacher training, encouraged by my yoga teacher. I can’t really remember exactly when I decided I wanted to teach. I think the will to teach happened gradually as a natural progression of my practice. Yoga has profoundly changed my life… Over time, I developed a genuine desire to share my passion for the practice with others.

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU ALWAYS GIVE YOUR STUDENTS?

Carina Terra

Carina Terra:

We practice yoga because we have the desire to be better. A lot of us come to yoga practice purely for the physical workout — which is a valid reason because most of us lead very sedentary lives and definitely need to take care of our bodies so we can stay physically fit and healthy. However, yoga is much more than just a tool to develop strength and flexibility. Mindful breathing during asana practice is what differentiates yoga from other forms of physical fitness. The central intention around practicing yoga poses is the idea of achieving steadiness in life, not physical prowess. Through practice we learn to remain calm and centered in the midst of change and turbulence — that is the essence of what yoga is. To practice asana with the concept of steadiness in mind is a tool that helps us to understand ourselves better and become alive to what’s happening in the body. A lot of us get injured during yoga practice either because we are not present in our bodies or because we push ourselves too hard. Yoga does not injure anybody. We injure ourselves when we think that in order to do well in yoga we have to force our bodies into poses or try to achieve an unreal idea of physical perfection. The true practice of yoga requires that we be compassionate and non-violent towards our own selves.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR YOGA PHILOSOPHY?

Carina Terra

Carina Terra:

Asana and meditation are a life-long path to self-discovery and self-acceptance. Through the practice of yoga, I am continuously learning to accept and love all parts of myself, the good and the bad. Unconditional self-love takes constant practice. When I hold a yoga pose or sit quietly and practice watching my thoughts and feelings, even when they are uncomfortable, I start to experience myself in an undistorted manner, I connect to my true inner self, even if it only happens for a split second.  Knowing who I am and what I want allows me to connect with others with more honesty and authenticity as well. Life begins to flow better, and I begin to flow with life. Contentment and freedom show up more often in my life when I keep up my yoga practice, and I also learn to accept and even appreciate sadness and other interesting feelings that we usually consider negative.

IF YOU COULD PRACTICE WITH ANYONE DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD THAT BE AND WHY?

Carina Terra

Carina Terra:

Yoga is an internal practice of self-discovery. Even when we take group classes, what we share is the energy we are collectively harnessing, but the actual practice is still personal. It is wonderful to study and be inspired by a seasoned yoga teacher, but as individuals we are the ones who have to do the actual practice. No one can do it for us. There is a Zen proverb that says “Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”

HOW LUCKY ARE YOU AND WHY?

Carina Terra

Carina Terra:

I don’t believe in luck, I believe in choice. Our lives are a direct result of all the choices that we make, even when we don’t recognize that we are constantly making choices. I feel very blessed, however, for having the opportunity to be in human form, experiencing this complex but fascinating human existence right now.

IF YOU COULD BE AN ANIMAL, A PLANT OR AN INGREDIENT, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

Carina Terra

Carina Terra:

I love being a woman. I enjoy being creative, spontaneous, and thoughtful. If I had to pick a different entity though, I think I would be the mycelium or underground network of filaments that connect fungi and even trees to each other — very similar to the internet or even the network of neurons in the human brain — which allows them to communicate, transfer energy and important information, and is key to the survival of the forest. That is true union, true cooperation of the different parts to benefit the whole. And isn’t that what yoga is all about?

WHAT IS YOUR LATEST FAVORITE THING ABOUT HUMANITY?

Carina Terra

Carina Terra:

I’m a Physics graduate so I’m really excited that Science and Spirituality have finally started to learn to co-exist and even cooperate. One doesn’t have to invalidate the other. There are a lot of good scientists out there doing solid research on Consciousness and Energy, and there are a lot of good yogis and spiritual leaders using Quantum Physics to understand and advance their own practices. We are finally starting to realize that Science and Spirituality are different ways of viewing the same thing, two sides of the same coin that actually complement each other and don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO NOMINATE NEXT FOR THE YOGA TEACHER SPOTLIGHT?

Carina Terra

Carina Terra:

                                       I would like to nominate Auryel van Gemert.

 Carina Terra’s Bio: E-RYT 500, came to yoga after 11 years of studying dance, particularly ballet. She studied Yoga Therapy at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, with professor Marcos Rojo Rodrigues, a disciple of Swami Kuvalayananda, the great pioneer of yoga therapy and the scientific study of yoga. In the US, Carina has studied with many renowned teachers such as Shiva Rea, Ana Forrest, Tias Little, Shari Friedrichsen, and Sarah Powers. Currently, her primary teacher is Rod Stryker. Carina is a versatile teacher who has an interdisciplinary approach to teaching yoga. She is trained in many different styles from Vinyasa to Hatha to Yin Yoga to Self-Awakening Therapeutics. Carina also teaches Prenatal Yoga and is a certified Pranassage practitioner by the Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. Carina owned and managed Terra Yoga in Issaquah for 10 years. She is now focusing her energies on training other teachers, leading yoga retreats, and sharing her passion for yoga with a broader community at select yoga studios in the Seattle area. Carina’s passion for teaching is evident in her interdisciplinary classes. She creates a supportive, nurturing space that encourages students to safely overcome their fears and limitations by practicing mindfulness. Her classes are instructional, insightful, and suitable for people of all levels and abilities.