Caroline Klebl from Source of Yoga practices and teaches Ashtanga Yoga. She studied traditional Ayurveda and Pancha Karma, Sanskrit and Yoga Philosophy in South India. Prior to teaching Yoga, she was an avid snowboarder and worked as a vegetarian chef. MysticMag finds out more.
From vegetarian Chef to Yoga guru – what can you tell us about this journey?
At the time, I had started practicing yoga and was loving it. The first time I taught a yoga class, I was 20 and my yoga teacher asked me to substitute her class. It felt so right and I realized it was really what I wanted to do – I had found my professional calling.
I am still a firm believer of diet being an important aspect of both health and yoga and continue to cook vegetarian meals. However, I have been teaching yoga for 24 years.
Why did you choose to pursue Ashtanga Yoga particularly?
My first yoga teacher had just returned from practicing with Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India. She taught a class that was a mix of Iyengar yoga and Ashtanga yoga and she introduced me to the primary series of Ashtanga yoga.
I took her classes regularly and then started my own practice after a couple of years. Once I had mastered the first series, I took a trip to India to train with Pattabhi Jois directly.
In the meantime, I had met a couple of his other students and attended their classes. I found that Ashtanga yoga was a more powerful practice compared to others. Flexibility is gained more quickly and therefore the poses can be mastered in less time.
In what way does Yoga qualify as ‘liberating’?
Yoga is designed for spiritual liberation, or Moksha which is the Sanskrit word. It lives up to this spiritual accomplishment. Yoga is designed not only for your health, flexibility and physical accomplishments, but the breathing techniques and yoga postures are designed to purify the energy channels and awaken the subtle energy system in the body – the chakras. It awakens intuition and psychic powers.
These spiritual results are noticeable when you master many different Asanas. One becomes more in tune with one’s body and life and this increases your health. There is liberation from suffering, whether this be physically, emotionally or psychologically. One is likely to have more confidence, insight and more energy in accomplishing one’s goals. It is a spiritual liberation but may also be physical, emotional and psychological and this can all be developed from Asana practice.
Do you follow a specific approach when teaching yoga classes to private individuals or those seeking to train yoga themselves?
I follow the teachings of Pattabhi Jois, which is to teach the Asanas specifically. The more you practice the more you will experience the benefits of Asana practice. I emphasize learning the practice and having a personal experience of yoga. From here you have the strength, ability, insight and interest in teaching others.
In my teacher trainings, I focus very much on learning the poses and learning to practice the Asanas and the sequences. I also teach yoga philosophy of the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras is a very insightful text on yoga. I also include Ayurveda as I believe a healthy lifestyle and diet practiced alongside yoga is key.
I have a very hands on approach to teaching and have students practice teaching each other on yoga teacher training courses. I try to develop their confidence and experience so as to be ready to teach classes at the end of the course. At least half of my students intend to go on to teach yoga.
What advice do you have for those who have yet to begin their yoga journey?
It is always a good time to start. It seems very difficult to accomplish some of the poses, so starting with one or two classes a week is a great way to get going, whether this be at home or in class. Start slowly and build up strength, endurance and flexibility. It must be enjoyable.
Don’t go too deep or for too long. Consistency is important and slowly but surely the intensity and length of your practice can increase. If you get too tired or sore, the body becomes tight. It is more beneficial for the body to progress in a slow and consistent way. If practicing feels like a chore or is uncomfortable, slow down. You want to feel enthusiastic about unraveling your mat, and progress will come with time.
If you would like to find out more about Caroline Klebl, visit https://www.sourceofyoga.com/ or follow on https://www.facebook.com/kleblcaroline