Seattle Yoga News is inviting you to go on a journey to discover all the amazing yoga studios located in the Seattle Area. We want to show you where lies the uniqueness of these locations and their staff, and how they contribute every day to the inspiration of our local yoga community. In the present article Seattle Yoga News is happy to help you learn more about Spira Power Yoga, through an interview with its owner Dora Gyarmati.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH YOGA?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

I initially got into yoga because I loved the physical movement. Vinyasa yoga stretches and strengthens every muscle group. As an injured runner, I was amazed at how well yoga allowed me to recover and get stronger. Few years into yoga, I took up books on philosophy. Reading the ancient Vedic texts and comparing it to Western philosophy was an awakening experience. We are all humans explaining the human condition with the unique language of our culture, but it is all the same! Then I dove into history, and I found an intellectual as well as a spiritual calling. I realized that most yoga studios did not combine well-researched philosophy with a strong physical practice; studios tended to have either a strong physical practice or a very spiritualized philosophy practice. I felt that there needs to be a secular, philosophy-based practice which is spiritually accessible to all belief systems and is also very physical. So, I started teaching yoga.

HOW HAS YOGA INFLUENCED YOUR LIFE & WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

At first, yoga was something that I did on the side, now yoga is what I live.
I do believe that yoga taught well can heal our fragmented society, and physical yoga flow can keep a body healthy into old age. I cannot imagine anything more important than yoga education for both self and community health. Thus, I live yoga in the hope that my action makes a little difference in this world.
Yoga is what I eat and drink. Running a studio, as well as being a full-time teacher, is not a part-time job. I had to make a lot of personal sacrifices and choices to keep yoga as a full-time love. That is one strong lesson in life, you cannot do it all if you want to do a good job, we often need to make sacrifices, and that is OK.
I guess to answer the question, yoga to me is my calling, it is truly my dharma.

WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

There are too many, which is the best depends on the circumstances. I think clichés are harmful. We tend to like them, post them, but we seldom take the time to critically apply them to the right circumstances. There is no good advice, which can be good advice for one person, can be a harmful advice to another. So I guess if you want one short answer. Read Plato, read the Bhagavad Gita, read philosophy and history, and ask deep, complex questions. Don’t look for an easy shorthand way out, take time to deeply examine your life as well as literature.

  • Plato

WHAT’S YOUR MISSION AS A YOGA INSTRUCTOR?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

Get people physically fit, and teach them how to think mindfully, to inspire deeper learning and questioning instead of looking for quick easy answers and gratifications.

WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO REACH AND WHY?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

Everybody, yoga is a way of life, we can all benefit. I believe we must do all that we can to fight the current trend of short attention span, quick gratifications. Technology can be a wonderful tool, but it also can limit our thinking by supplying us with only the kind of information that we like, constantly abiding us to stay in our opinion and comfort zone. Yoga and yoga philosophy can teach us to be with discomfort and to mindfully examine our reactions. I cannot imagine anything more healing for our society.

COULD YOU HELP US UNDERSTAND WHAT IS THE M3B METHOD? AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO INVENT THIS METHOD?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

True spirituality and philosophy always asked more questions then given answers. So my goal with M3B (Mindful Movement Meditation and Breath) is to bring flow yoga back into the realm of philosophy, to teach students to listen, and examine thoughts, emotions, and sensations instead of trying to follow instructions or to reach the next level of fitness or pretty yoga pose. Yoga was never meant to be performance art. It is a way of life and a practice. Instagram, with its visual power, has changed how students relate to yoga, and unfortunately, the yoga part got lost, and we kept the acrobatics. Yoga is mindfulness, awareness, curiosity, and questioning; it is based on the 8 limbs philosophy and so much more…

CAN YOU TELL US WHAT ONE CAN EXPECT WHEN VISITING SPIRA POWER YOGA & WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER STUDIOS IN SEATTLE?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

Take a class and find out the difference between being instructed to do poses vs. guided by teachers to discover the sensations within poses, and to find the right pose within yourself. Yes, we still teach a kick-a$$ vinyasa, but it is guided differently. There is a subtle difference to our teaching methodology, but that subtlety makes a big difference. We will never glorify poses and advanced postures, though we teach them. As I say all the time; your physical ability is not a reflection on who you are as a person. We have folks from the age of 15-70 in our classes, all sexes and all abilities, we do exercise diversity; which is acceptance of differences. We teach only all levels classes because life is all levels, you must learn how to relate to your given ability within a day to somebody else’s given ability on that particular day. Learning how to peacefully step into adversity and learning without feeling like “keeping up with the Joneses”; that is what we teach.
We are also family-owned and local. We are not a franchise or a corporation, we need to survive financially, but it is not the profits that dive our mission. Our teachers are amazingly well educated, and we are friendly. We are not hip, there is not a hip or fashionable bone in our body. No fancy retail, no fancy kombucha, no mirrors. Just great yoga and community. Our workshops are in-depth, well presented and well researched.

WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE BEING A STUDIO OWNER IN A CITY LIKE SEATTLE THAT HAS QUICKLY BEEN CHANGING OVER THE LAST 5-10 YEARS?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

Flipping hard – and feel free to substitute the f-word. Technology-driven companies and mass corporate chains are changing this industry (and not for the better, quality is getting more and more mediocre to cliché) I do worry for a lot of small businesses in Seattle. It is getting harder and harder to survive. So if you are reading this, if you want small business to survive, put down your fitness App, put down your discount coupon, and support local by purchasing directly and at a full price. Discount culture is killing small business. Yes, $25 for drop-in may sound a lot, but when we try to pay our teachers good wages and our rent skyrockets, even if we pull in good money, there are hardly any profits left. Running a yoga studio is not an easy business without corporate backers. Remember your local mom’s and pop’s bookstores? Yeah… it may happen that one day we will be left with a bunch of yoga videos streaming on Class Pass, and a few corporate chains. I know many folks like chain stores, but I think we can all agree that a diet on Chipotle and McDonalds is missing something. Support your locally owned small yoga studio if you don’t want that to happen!

CONGRATULATIONS ON THE OPENING OF YOUR 2ND LOCATION! HOW DID YOU COME TO THE DECISION TO OPEN A 2ND LOCATION IN ISSAQUAH?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

I do live in Issaquah, and ever since my great friend and colleague; Carina Terra closed her doors (Terra Yoga) I felt there was a vacuum. I drove into Seattle for the past 8 years to take yoga. Issaquah has a very athletic practice, there are many very hot studios that emphasize exercise, and there are studios that hardly move you and emphasize philosophy. I like a smart, athletic flow in a moderately warm room that leaves plenty of room for philosophy. I figured if I am missing something, maybe more folks feel the same. Spira Power Yoga is a bridge between philosophy and physical.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA RELATED BOOK AND WHY?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

Too many to just pick one. Here is a few, many of these books are mandatory reads during Spira’s 200-hour mindfulness and yoga training (our training is spread out 9 months to allow for the reading of 8 books):
The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar – to teach how to teach mindfully and get some historical background
Sources of Indian Tradition from beginning to 1800 – edited by Ainslie T. Embree – because you owe it to Indian culture to study deeper than reading a handout on cliched boiled down 8 limbs definitions. This book will offer you 500 pages of history in combination with original Vedic scripts.
Awareness – by Anthony de Mello – make sure to watch the videos online first or you will misunderstand his tone of voice. This is an Indian man who is a Jesuit priest boiling awareness and mindfulness down to basics. This should be a mandatory read for all humans.
Yoga Body by Mark Singleton – to learn the history and finally realize that physical yoga is a western import, philosophy is the heart of yoga. This does not mean the asana practice is not good or needed, just know where it belongs.
Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse – German Nobel prize-winning novel to realize Indian philosophy’s influence on Western literature. Connect the dots on how cultures influence each other.

  • The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar

WHAT IS ONE THING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

Dora Gyarmati

Dora Gyarmati:

Now that is not a question I can answer.
It is impossible to know that you don’t know something, so if people don’t know what they don’t know, how would I know what they don’t know. – OK so that was smart aleck answer.
Usually, I am a pretty open book. I work hard, I don’t pretend life is always good, and I say what I think. If somebody is missing a piece, well they just did not take the effort to be around me to learn, so why should I go out of my way to share?

  • Yoga Studio Spotlight - Spira Power Yoga

About Spira Power Yoga: It is a local family owned studio located in Issaquah and West Seattle. Spira’s West Seattle location has been open since 2011, and we routinely get published as top 10 in Seattle by magazines. While it’s second location in Issaquah opened January of 2019. Spira offers mindfulness-based yoga flow classes taught skillfully to improve strength and flexibility while giving minds and souls a well-deserved break from stress; great workout, safe stretching, no mirrors, no loud music. Spira is warm yoga at 86F. It is not a hot yoga studio. The business offers endless Workshops and is also a highly rated Teaching School. For more informations about Spira Power Yoga visit their website and their social media pages.