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 Dora Gyarmati.
Seattle Yoga News: What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
Dora Gyarmati: My first yoga experience was with David Swenson VHS tapes. One of his VHS tapes was the “Advanced Series” which was a yoga demonstration video of advanced ashtanga A and B series. The yogis in the video were folks in their late 40’s and 50’s, if not early 60’s, with no fancy attire, no sponsors, and not even sticky mats. They all talked about how yoga is not about getting this or that pose, yoga is simply an avenue through which you observe yourself and somehow through this experience you can handle every day at work and with the family better than when you did not practice yoga. This is exactly what I felt when I started practicing, somehow yoga made me and still makes me a better person. I wanted to give this gift to other people. Nowadays, yoga is often associated with cute clothing, high-tech yoga mats and complex poses. When I teach, I always remind myself of this video. Yogis, who were not super young, absolutely not fashionable but who were practicing these amazing asanas and not getting caught up in the process. They were practicing because it made them a better person in their every day life. That is what I wish to teach, that is what inspires me.
Seattle Yoga News: What is one piece of advice you always give your students?
Dora Gyarmati: Yoga is an internal journey. Don’t get caught up in what you can do or what you wear, simply put down your yoga mat. Never force anything, but challenge yourself and always, always pay attention to your internal dialogue. Awareness is what makes yoga, yoga.
Seattle Yoga News: How would you describe your yoga philosophy?
Dora Gyarmati: I teach hard classes with laughter, compassion and awareness. I don’t believe in strict discipline. I always joke, “The only job I have as a yoga teacher is to make your life difficult, and your job is to find a path of ease, acceptance and light. You will not learn that lesson if I don’t teach hard classes. Rest if you need to, scratch your butt if you have to, but do it all with awareness and joy in your heart.”
Often, we are much too hard on our own bodies and we judge our capabilities by what we see others doing or achieving. Our minds can be our worst enemy. My goal is not only to get students into a healthy body, but also to strengthen their body and mind with joy, compassion, and peace! I want to make students aware of their inner dialogue. Once there is true awareness,everything is possible. A strong physical practice is necessary to discover the inner self, but my goal is never about the fancy poses, I teach them but never take them seriously. I always make a point to let students know that the goal is not the pose, but how the journey through the pose will shine a light and enable them to “know thyself.”
Seattle Yoga News: If you could practice with anyone dead or alive, who would that be and why?
Dora Gyarmati: I consider yoga, by definition, a solitary journey, an inner exploration. I practice yoga so I can feel my breath, my body and be fully in the rhythm of my breath as I move. If I had someone distracting next to me that I could not talk to because we are practicing yoga, I would have to really hone in my “pratyahara” (sense of withdrawal, one of the eight limbs of yoga) practice. No thank you, please let me do my yoga practice alone. But after yoga, I would love a good hearty conversation and a bottle of wine with Aristotle (philosopher from ancient Greece) and Richard P. Feynman (the physicist from 20th century). I would love to learn more from these brilliant minds. It would be lovely to hear their view on our current problems in the world.
Seattle Yoga News: How lucky are you and why?
Dora Gyarmati: I don’t believe in luck. I believe in hard work, awareness and reason. Luck is what we feel when we don’t find a reason even though the reason is there. No I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe in gratitude. I do feel gratitude for all those living in our country. Yes, there are a lot of issues that we as a country could still work on, but I never forget the great opportunity that I have every day living here, where I can wake up and work hard every day without fearing bombs, lack of electricity, deadly viruses, federal economic instability and other horrible things that so many other places in the world unfortunately still experience. I have gratitude that I was allowed citizenship in the United States.
Seattle Yoga News: If you could be an animal, a plant or an ingredient, which one would you be and why?
Dora Gyarmati: I have never wished to escape my human form. Why would I want to be an organism that cannot understand poetry, literature and the complexity of human love? I can meditate on the beauty of animals, plants and so on, only as a human.
Seattle Yoga News: What is your latest favorite thing about humanity?
Dora Gyarmati: Nothing is more confusing and more contradictory than humanity. We are capable of the most amazing beauties in the world: art, passion, love, science, architecture, literature, compassion and forgiveness. Yes indeed, humanity is beautiful. But at the same time, we are full of jealousy, hate, racism, war, murder and greed. Indeed, there is also nothing more horrific than the human deed. There is nothing particularly new about humanity. History as well as human nature has been repeating itself since ancient times. We have been murdering, peacemaking, loving, creating and destroying since ancient times. I simply have hope that at the end what is beautiful in our humanity will shine through. That we will save our planet and that we will live in lasting peace.
Seattle Yoga News: Who would you like to nominate next for the yoga teacher spotlight?
Dora Gyarmati: I would like to nominate Auryel van Gemert and Carina Terra.
Bio: Dora is an EYRT with over 15 years of experience. She is the inventor of M3B Method. Dora’s European heritage and education in both the sciences and in the humanities created a unique style which blends Eastern and Western theological, literary and scientific traditions that’s reflected in both her yoga teaching and mindfulness lectures. Dora has BA in Art History and a BS in Neurobiology from the University of California San Diego. Prior to her business in the yoga industry, she worked in immunology research.
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