July 28, 2008

Adventurous Woman: Yoga Writer, Teacher & Therapist Diane Cesa

AWB: Hi, Diane. Thanks for visiting and sharing some of your experiences with yoga. How long have you been doing yoga and what started you on this path?

I started practicing yoga about 10 years ago, but I’ve had a regular practice (5-7 days/week) for 8. I still consider myself a beginner, which I don’t want to change. I enjoy being a student of yoga rather than labeling myself intermediate or advanced. By remaining a student, I keep an open mind about yoga.

I came to yoga at a time when I was asking myself, “Is this all there is?” They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears and boy, was I ever ready! The transformation aspect of yoga is what drew me to the practice even though it started out as just physical for me. I mixed it up into my workout regime which, back then, consisted of cardio and resistance bands. I thought that yoga would round out my workout and create some balance. Still, lurking underneath the surface, I was craving something deeper. And I certainly got it.

AWB: How has your view of yoga changed over the years?

When I first started practicing, I stepped right up to the yoga buffet. I sampled the different styles and practiced with a variety of teachers. It took a few years to go beneath the surface of what we consider yoga in America – the big name teachers, the fancy acrobatics, the one-size-fits-all yoga. When I began to feel that I was acting as if yoga were exercise, my true journey began. That’s when I felt the pull to go deeper – study yoga philosophy and the ancient yogic texts, study one lineage and go deep with that lineage. Ten years ago, I only had a vague sense of the power of yoga. Now I’ve experienced the power and the transformation first-hand and I know how deep the well goes. I’m not even close to the bottom.

AWB: What is a yoga therapist and how did you get into that line of work?

I am often asked the question what is a yoga therapist and I still find myself hesitating over the answer. The truth is, the term yoga therapy is redundant. Yoga IS therapeutic. I think here in America we need to use the term yoga therapy to distinguish yoga as it was meant to be practiced (a holistic practice) from Americanized yoga (which can be exercise with an Eastern label). To me, yoga therapy is about tailoring a practice to the individual’s needs and stressing function over form. In other words, it’s not about how you look in a pose but how you feel in it and how being in that pose affects your system.

I’ve always been interested in healing modalities – physical therapy, massage therapy, etc. Years ago when I was dissatisfied with my career and thinking of a change I realized that I could marry that interest with my passion – yoga. It was a giddy feeling and I forged ahead without even thinking about it.

AWB: What is your next big yoga adventure?

Every time I unfurl my mat, it’s an adventure. I just try to stay in the moment and enjoy the journey.
In addition to completing my in-depth study in the Krishnamacharya lineage, I’d also like to start working with folks online. It can be difficult for people to find yoga therapy in their area, and I’d like to make it a bit more accessible.

Right now I’m planning to launch a regularly scheduled live chat called Tea with the Yogi (I’ll be posting more information about that to The Uncommon Yogi Facebook Group -- and I’ve started a yoga coop of sorts in which I share free yoga resources/information with members (more information and a sign up form can be found here.)

AWB: Diane can also be found writing at The Everything Yoga Blog.

updated 1/11/2012

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