Nicolai Bachman has been teaching Sanskrit, chanting, yoga philosophy, Ayurveda and other related topics since 1994. He will be in Seattle for a weekend workshop in January 2016 at 8 Limbs Yoga Phinney Ridge. We asked him a few questions to learn more about his journey and his upcoming workshop in Seattle. Here is what he had to say:
What inspired you to learn Sanskrit?
Nicolai Bachman: My first exposure was while studying Ayurveda with Dr. Vasant Lad in New Mexico. Vyaas Houston taught a weekend workshop. He was passionate about Sanskrit and a very clear and devoted teacher who taught in a way that made sense. I was taken by the beauty of the sounds, the intelligence of the order, the logic of the grammar and how well it meshed with Ayurveda and Yoga. I was determined to understand this foreign and fascinating culture of India, and realized then that learning Sanskrit was the key.
How would you describe your yoga philosophy?
Nicolai Bachman: Be kind and thoughtful, be flexible in your opinions, and open to learning new things. The core of yoga is transformation from the inside out. Quieting the mind is the key to true awareness. Selfless action is its result. Interacting with others, especially those closest to us, is the best way to gauge how well we are practicing yoga in the fullest sense.
You have been teaching since 1994, what are some of the major changes you’ve seen in the yoga world and what is one advice you would like to give the ‘young’ in the yoga community?
Nicolai Bachman: As yoga has made it into mainstream American society, it has become synonymous with physical stretching exercises. Granted it has huge health benefits, but without the other limbs of yoga it loses its deeper value. I am happy that ‘yoga’ is popular, and hope that eventually more practitioners will explore and value its emphasis on quieting the mind by turning inward. Yoga is not an outward practice. It is most definitely for the purpose of learning how to focus our attention away from outer distractions and toward the divine simplicity within.
So, what is the secret to your teachings?
Nicolai Bachman: Very simply, I try to be myself and share how I have applied the eight limbs of yoga in my own personal life. It is important that everyone know how simple and effective yoga can be, not only as a personal practice, but as a lifestyle in itself. And the profound healing system of Ayurveda blends with yoga so well that it is hard for me to separate them anymore.
We know you are arriving in Seattle soon, tell us about it:
Nicolai Bachman: I will be teaching as part of the Eight Limbs Yoga teacher training, and my old friend and colleague Melina Meza will be teaching as well. Classes include a fun introduction to Sanskrit pronunciation, an overview of the Yoga Sutras and an in-depth study of the guna’s, a concept often overlooked and absolutely vital to understanding the Indian world-view. Also classes on the parallels between yoga and Ayurveda as true sister sciences, and a short introduction to chanting with a restorative yoga practice, each posture so relaxing as to allow students to fully receive the Sanskrit sounds that I will chant.
If you could practice with anyone dead or alive, who would that be and why?
Nicolai Bachman: I would have liked to practice with T. Krishnamacharya to try and understand his way.
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Published on Dec 14, 2015