Yoga teacher Eleanor Evrard has been practicing meditation, pranayama, asanas (yoga) since 20 year and holds more than 1200 hours of training in various lineages such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa flow, Anusara, Yin, Hatha, and Pilates. She is also a devoted student of Eastern philosophy. She teaches yummy alignment based Hatha/slow vinyasa flow classes using balanced muscular action to stabilise joints whilst improving their mobility. Her classes are designed to establish a strong foundation, powerful core integration and to promote a unique individual expression in each pose.
I have the great pleasure of sharing an interview I did with an amazing lady!.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from, what are three things you absolutely love and what’s the one thing you’d love to tell the world?
I grew up in the south of France but have been a real nomad for the past 15 years. I love shells, walking barefoot in the ocean, and dancing. It is better to fail, and to fail often at something you love, care about, and that nourishes your soul, than to succeed at something that makes you feel empty. Whatever it is, go do it now!.
2. How long have you been practicing yoga and why did you start yoga classes initially
I went to my first class at age seven but due to lack of popularity it got cancelled, so I really discovered hatha, meditation and pranayama ( breathing techniques) at age 12, then found Ashtanga, anusara, vinyasa flow, Pilates, synergy, budokon (the two latte more recently). It has now been 21 years of movement exploration on and off. I started as it was compulsory when you studied music and ballet, and hated I it by the way.
3. What’s your mission as a yoga instructor? Who are you trying to reach and why?
My mission is to empower every student into feeling at home in their body, connecting to their true nature, in order for them to manifest a life that truly resonates with their soul. It is also to reach people’s heart for them to lead from their heart with creativity. By working through movement exploration, breath and meditation, I aim to enable their body to be the best vessel for their soul and mind. By optimising people’s energy levels and focus, I wish to help them be the highest expression of themselves.
I am hopefully reaching people all around the world, wherever I go. By meeting so many people in yoga, you soon realise we all have similar dreams, wants and needs, on the path to meeting our essence, the breath.
4. What’s your definition of healing? What facilitates the process?
Huge question!. As a human, yoga teacher, and experienced body worker (osteopath, posturologist, masseuse) I have come across so many aspects of dis-ease / injury / pain – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, you name it – in others but also for having experienced most of the above myself at some stage. In short, healing is “to break free”.
And so, whatever the pain or issue is, it is vital to acknowledge it, observe it to see what it is, where it is coming from. As soon as you observe it , it starts morphing, changing. The next step is in accepting it for what it is, embracing it and perhaps even loving it for what it is teaching you. But for it to truly be a teacher you must eventually let go of it, which may necessitate outside help of course. You see, no matter what the pain or issue is, it can only become your teacher, and thus make you wiser/ stronger if you let it go, keeping it just creates suffering.
5. What do you believe is the essence of yoga?
No matter the definition of yoga you go by ( « union », scientific aspects, Patanjali, hatha, kundalini) I think the essence of yoga is really in connecting us to our own essence, oneness with our breath. Whether through asana, pranayama or meditation). So my favorite definition is that it is a method that allows us to wake up to the universal light, intuition, and creativity in ourselves and to lead from the heart, to make our life a joyful, successful and fulfilling journey. Really, anything that helps us be more aware and connected is a form of yoga, awareness being the key here.
6. What’s your relationship to your own body? How has this changed over time?
When I was a teenager I used to take my good health and excessive energy for granted. Like every teenager there were a few things I disliked about my body too of course. Injuries have taught me so much about myself, my sense of resilience, but most importantly to value my health and wellness for the miracle that it is Yoga (the asana, but also the breathing and meditation parts) has helped me immensely to turn my gaze inwards, to cultivate a sense of inner abundance, and to let go of the non-essential, and thus to let go of the judgements I may have had against my own body. Also various trials and tribulations do gift you with a great sense of humor about most things.
I’d like to emphasize here that when I say “yoga”, I am talking about its eight limbs, not merely the third one which is “asana” (physical practice) and is currently the one we call “Yoga” in the West. There is nothing wrong in just practicing the physical aspect by the way, as I really believe that it changes you and over time people do tend to develop an interest in the other aspects anyway.
7. Finally, what is the goal of yoga as you see it? Beyond the walls we often construct, how are we all truly connected in this practice?
We can all witness that humanity as a whole and the planet are at a crossroads right now. I believe that by connecting us to whom we really are, by cultivating this sense of inner abundance, and letting go of the non-essential, yoga in its broader sense can really heal so many of the ailments that currently plague our world (be it mental health, chronic stress, anxiety, anger and violence issues, racism etc you name it).
We are all connected in this practice, for if we truly connect to ourselves, we are able to empathize more as we realise that we are all merely humans going through the same stuff. The latter may be presented in different parcels and circumstances, but we are all here trying and oftentimes failing, our best to be loved and accepted for whom we really are!.
Whom we really are, our true nature, is essentially, as my Indian philosophy teacher would say, unconditional, unlimited joy, and yoga is here to awaken us to it.
Find Eleanor on instagram as @elea_gisele and get in touch for details of her upcoming retreat June 30th -July 6th, where you can bliss out in magical Essaouira, with daily yoga, meditation and surf, to start this summer!. Enjoy an unforgettable stay at a lovely Riad, in the heart of this very special Medina. This is also a great opportunity to meet like minded higher vibes souls, and for starting lifelong friendship. Namaste 🙏