The Edit: Ana GutierrezAug 25, 2023
Welcome to our Edit series where we interview long-standing online students about their lives, their work, and their practice. A small way to show our love for you, our community.
Tell us about you?
I was born and raised in Mexico, but I now live in a cute little town in the South of Paris, with my two Mexican cats, Zuri and Ajna. Since I can remember, I've been in love with nature, which led me to focus my career on studying the Microbial World. I am involved in different research projects mostly trying to understand how complex (multicellular) life originated; and how the microbes cycle the elements in order to make this planet habitable. One of the most exciting facets of this "job" is when I get the opportunity to reach beautiful places to collect microbial samples for posterior analyses at the lab. But most of my days consist of analyzing these samples, which translates to me sitting and focusing for the vast part of the day. This is why movement is my medicine, and through yoga, I've found the best way to balance my lifestyle. This is why I decided to deepen my practice and did the 200h TT with Creature in 2021 and continued my education with The Unveiling course and Devi course.
Tell us about your practice?
I love my work: I love coding, reading, and researching in the several Microbiology projects I am involved in. This passion sets my brain in an obsessive state where it's really hard to interrupt the flow of thoughts and free my brain. This is when I come to my yoga practice, it's a sort of therapy for my mind.
On normal days, I will practice asana twice a day and will place each practice at the end of a long working session, so I can either refresh my head for the next working session or go to bed to have a nice, deep rest. On most days, I will work from home in the morning and at midday pause for a challenging vinyasa practice followed by a good lunch, then a walk through the forest to the lab where my head will be ready for engaging in research again. At the end of the day, I will walk back home and finish the day with a softer practice looking to prioritize some stretches (what I call a "low maintenance practice"). My asana practice sessions are quite ritualistic, where I start by sweeping and cleaning the floor where I will practice. I place my mat facing the balcony, so I can see the trees, the birds, and the squirrels vibing in the trees and get some sun on my face. My cats Zuri and Ajna will be the first to join as soon as I unroll my mat.
Other days I'm not that lucky and I need to be at the lab the whole day. For these days, I look to start the day having "yoga for breakfast" where I select a short practice (preferably filled with sun salutations) and I do it first thing after rolling out of bed. This will fill me with energy to face a long challenging day.
Your favourite kind of class?
In a nutshell: I search for challenge. My favorite kind of practice might be what Bess calls "a hardcore vinyasa filled with inversions". I love long practices that move through a continuous, challenging flow because this is what puts my mind into a meditative state. This is the brain reset I need to disconnect from my work. I often substitute the śavasana for a brief seated meditation. For this last part, I love the 10-15 minute videos offered in the Prāṇāyāma + Meditation section.
Your favourite classes from the library?
My favorite "hardcore vinyasa": I have a special place for the first asana practice I took with Creature Yoga. It was during COVID lockdown, and it was a three-class series from Bess on how to do aṣṭavakrāsana. Bess just captivated me forever.
My favourite "low maintenance practice": A sunny practice by Tahl. It's such a nice slow, calm flow, but strong enough to make it feel like you're still maintaining and pampering your muscles.
Yoga for breakfast: This all started with The Simplify series. These really changed how I approached my practice. I suddenly realized I could practice without even the need to unroll my mat. Just roll me out of bed and warm up my wrists a bit... and that is a wonderful way to start the day! In particular, I love Tahl's Day 2 & 10 asana practices and I come back to these two quite often.
More yoga for breakfast: Despite preferring long format practices (60'-90'), I found Bess' uḍḍīyana bandha + sun A & B mindblowing. It's "only" 20' and it's mostly sun salutations, but with Bess' cues on the uḍḍīyana bandha, it's just another universe.
Connect with Ana via her instagram.
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