Leza Lowitz, pt2 — writer, yoga instructor

[note — this is part 2 of 2; here we focus on Lowitz’s experience as a yoga professional; part 1 is about her journey as a student of the practice]

As a yoga professional, what aspects — mind, body, spirit — do you pitch to someone who has never done yoga but is open to the possibility?

I have never in my life pitched yoga — people come when they are called

Do you have a particularly strong relationship with any teachings or text?

Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism

How long did you practice yoga before becoming a teacher?

five years

How long have you taught yoga?

30 years — I can’t believe it myself

When you’re teaching regularly, can you lead classes too often? How many times a week, and a day, might be too much?

when you feel tired, or that the inspiration is gone — everyone has a different limit and gives a different amount of energy — holding space for others can take a lot out of you but it can also feed you

Do you have a preferred yoga style? Do you teach others?

Hatha — Vinyasa Flow — Yin Yoga, Yin/Yang Yoga Mix, Restorative Yoga — Tibetan Heart Yoga, Yoga Nidra is the bomb

From your experience as a teacher, can you generalize about what comes easiest for beginners and what is more challenging?

being in the moment is difficult for beginners and advanced practitioners — letting go of perfectionism/exhibitionism

What are the more difficult poses for beginners to execute?

Savasana — hands down — people find it incredibly difficult just to relax and let go

Apart from yoga, do you recommend other techniques of mindfulness or meditation?

any kind of mindfulness or meditation is so liberating — watching the thoughts come and go, you learn that you are not your thoughts, which are ever-changing

Say you have a beginning student who has come to yoga for help with a bad back. They are already pretty chill, and you intuit they are only looking for the physical benefits from yoga. Do you leave it at that, or do you look for opportunities to promote the non-physical benefits?

yoga needs no promotion — if you are practicing yoga asana and the other limbs, it works on you in the ways that are needed

Do you have a favorite sutra or mantra or koan that you like to share with those in your classes?

Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 – 2022) taught a powerful simple mantra: “Breathing in, I calm my body — Breathing out, I smile — Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment” —  not wonderful in the sense that everything is great, but wonderful as in awe-inspiring — just to be alive — here — now

You have a choice: lead a yoga class (1) outdoors on a beautiful day, overlooking the ocean, or (2) in a well-designed, very comfortable minimalist indoor space. Which do you pick?

nothing beats doing yoga outside, tuning in to the rhythms of nature — definitely overlooking the ocean — infinite space outside reflecting infinite inner space

—interview © Marshal Zeringue