Q & A with Noelle Beaugureau: Yoga, Grace & Strength
In my day dreaming about all of the possibilities of Strala, an exciting component from the beginning has been this idea of curating programs, workshops, and talks with inspiring leaders. After blending together words like Strength, Balance, and Awareness to come up with the name Strala, only to find out later that in Swedish it means to radiate light, the programs that come through the doors of Strala do just that. These leaders radiate, and leave us inspired. One of these leaders is LA-based yoga teacher, Noelle Beaugureau.
Noelle was introduced to yoga in 2003 and instantly fell in love... I met her last year and the rest is history :)
TS: I remember meeting you for the first time at one of the classes I led outside by the pool at The Standard in Hollywood. I liked you right away. You were smiling and seemed naturally happy and excited about life. Have you always been super-duper happy and energetic?
NB: Thank you, you are very gracious to say that. I remember that it did feel like a meet up for future friends! I think I always have been naturally happy and excited about life. On some level I feel like I have always had a deep trust and gratitude for life itself. I have felt this even more in the past few years. I usually try not to let negative thoughts invade my mind space too much. I left a really demanding fashion career to fulfill my yogic path and teaching and I have found immense freedom and joy in it which has really liberated my heart.
Watching you move when you practice yoga is pretty special. You have the grace of a ballerina and the power and strength of a lion. Whether you're doing tree pose, or balancing on one hand with your foot entangled somewhere, you move so smoothly and continuously. It's really more like a moving meditation, which I think gets lost a lot in modern yoga when people start trying to accomplish "trick" poses. How does someone work on moving with this grace and strength?
First of all thank you for that beautiful description. I agree that sometimes people can turn the meditation into a striving to learn “trick” poses. I think one of the most important aspects of moving with such grace and strength is non attachment. When the mind starts focusing so hard on “getting” the final pose you lose the whole beauty of it. The practice should be approached as a exploration of the present moment. The more you can incorporate this the more your body will respond. It of course takes immense focus and control to move fluidly yet strongly in the physical practice. For me it has been a lot of practice, patience and even visualization! I like to sometimes tell students to just drop into the heart, feel the poses, and surrender to what is. There is so much power in this. Beating yourself up each time you practice, feeling that you must be perfect, will discourage you and slow down your progress. Using only the muscles you need to and relaxing the others is vital so that you don't overexert. I also believe strongly in using the bandhas and breath as a way to go deeper into the strength and grace of the body. Usually we are stronger than we think we are. The more you release any expectation of getting into a pose, the more you can find complete freedom! I also think it is so important to remind yourself that this is as much a spiritual/inner journey as physical.
How did you first begin with yoga? Was it something you felt was always a part of you, or was it new and more separate in your early days?
Actually a friend took me to my first yoga class and after that I was hooked. On some level I feel that it was always part of me. Though the physical was all new, it felt like I had made it home -- if that makes sense.
If you weren't a yoga teacher, what would you spend your time doing?
It’s almost impossible to imagine not teaching yoga, I love it so much and I feel in my heart that it is my dharma! I would probably be traveling, or spending some time painting or taking art classes. I did pottery for about 8 years and would probably go back into that. Designing clothing, writing, creating. I also love animals so maybe doing rescue work, I would also take a million yoga workshops and classes if I wasn’t teaching.
Where are your favorite places to hang out at when you come to NYC?
Strala Yoga of course! There are so many amazing things to do in NYC. I have to always visit my favorite NYC vegan restaurant Candle 79. I love art so going to MOMA and The Met are a must. There are a bunch of shops and restaurants in the lower east side that I go to. Babycakes and Sustainable NYC are great. I also just love walking around and exploring the city and taking yoga classes. I am hoping to find some great new spots this trip as well.
If you're in NYC, you can signup for Noelle's Oct 22nd workshop here, and stay tuned for workshops with some of our favorites including Tao Porchon-Lynch, Ally Hamilton, and special guest Kris Carr coming soon!