A yoga practice overlooking sandy beaches and turquoise seas at the Uno Astrolodge is only as good as its teacher.
Luckily, Be Shakti, an inspiring spirituality athletic teacher in nature and practice will be guiding the way. We caught up with Be to learn a bit about her teaching style, life, and inspiration.
We’re thrilled to have you leading daily yoga on retreat! What got you started practicing/teaching yoga? How would you describe your style?
I was 16 when I first started practicing. At the time, I was a triathlete, gym-rat, movement junkie using militant fitness regimens and food control to essentially try and numb the experience and loss of my brother.
At the time, my mother was practicing yoga, and one day the instructor and my mom pulled me into class, advising me that it would be an excellent way to cross-train and overall make me a better athlete. I did it, and it worked. For the first few years into college, I practiced for purely the physical benefits and abused the practice itself through back-to-back classes in the heat, while wearing Under Armor to sweat more. Eventually, my body burned out and I suffered a pretty severe injury from overtraining and pushing through an injury I wasn’t even aware of because I had turned my body that numb to sensation, and aliveness.
In the brutal awareness that the injury provided, I woke up for the first time. I felt pain in my body. But I felt my body. It was the first time I felt connected to my “creatureness” again. And in that process I began the practice of the eight limbs- reconnecting and healing the relationship with myself, how I moved my body, how I related to others, and how I experienced the world and the people around me.
I started teaching a couple of years after that injury and my style now is inspired from years of movement. But it’s far more mindful and playful now. I like to think that though the sequencing I teach may be physically challenging, unique, and push one in a physical way, that it is deeply nourishing on a soulful, healing level. And that it moves one from the inside out, reconnecting the self to the spirit – the heart. That’s the teacher, the guru.
What do you hope students gain in your classes on retreat?
I hope students get a chance to push the boundaries and limits upon which they define, view, see, and experience themselves. We have no limits. We have no bars to our being. We are so totally free, already liberated creatures. I want students to experience that through the practice, which is a play (or lila), and hopefully in doing so they realize that we have these beautiful, strong bodies to move in and live in, but they are our vehicles through our humanness to our sacred, highest Self.
Can you tell us a bit about the magic of yoga retreats?Yoga retreats are always magic. They bring together like-minded beings together in truth, even if just for a short time and bound upon the common interests and likes of yoga, sand, beach, and sun. Overall, it’s complete union. When given the environment and just opportunity to take space for oneself, to breathe, to relax, to practice, to live, to enjoy – what happens is that we drop in. And we find that within all of us, there is a refuge.
Why Tulum? What are you most excited about for this retreat?
Mexico, in general, holds a very special place in my heart. (I did my original 200-hour program in Baja and fell in love immediately.) But Tulum has a pulse to it, an ancient vibration that you can feel in its sands and in its waters. Plus, that water is so very blue.
Who’s your biggest inspiration?
Every vulnerable creature I know.
What quote inspires you the most?
I’m obsessed with words, quotes. It would be hard to pick just one!
But a favorite is: “The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way.” -Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder and Ajq’ij of the Eagle Clan
Besides yoga, what are you passionate about?
Jungle Gyms. Playgrounds. Surfing waves. And all things that give me an opportunity to play and to be challenged to seek out love even in the darkest of moments. It’s there because that’s why we’re here.
What’s one thing you want all your students to know?
Keep loving. Even your ex. The person that has hurt you or caused you harm. The stranger on the street. Gurus don’t always come dressed in robes. They’re in the faces of everyone around you. Let the world teach you.
Two words: Good vibes.
Join Be Shakti on our Tulum Yoga Retreat at the Uno Astrolodge from 24-31. Reserve your spot.