LET’S MEET… Xuan-Lan


Ashtanga yoga practitioner

1. What’s the asana that describes you the most?

I would say high lunge, anjaneyasana. It’s a basic asana similar to warrior 1 but with some balance. I like to compare myself to a basic hatha yoga asana as my body is stronger than flexible. It’s a standing pose with both feet on the floor that requires strong legs. Then there is the balance, straight arms reaching up and drishti forward. I think it describes me pretty well: a stable mind in a balanced person, down to earth but always moving forward and looking for new opportunities.

  1. What’s a guru for you? Who’s your guru?A guru is spiritual teacher, a wise or enlightened person you trust and respect. I would consider as my guru a special teacher, someone who inspires me, someone I follow, someone who has accompanied me in my yoga journey. A guru is also a messenger who transmits his knowledge learnt from his guru and helps you improve and deepen your own practice.

My regular practice Ashtanga yoga whose guru and founder is Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. I do respect and follow his legacy through the great teachers who still transmit his knowledge, yoga series and technics. They always refer to him with lots of respect and tell good stories and fun anecdotes about his teaching in the old days in Mysore. Through them I feel I know him a little and is not such a stranger.

  1. Is it sadhana important for you? And why?Sadhana is a spiritual practice, a simple practice that connects me to myself. It’s my individual spiritual effort that helps me take control of my life to evolve in a certain way. It is important for me because it gives a meaning to my life and helps me achieve my goals.
    I always set up an intention for my own practice, but also in my teaching. In every single class I teach, I propose to my students to do their own personal intention or sometimes we do a group intention and remind it at the end the practice to feel it from the heart.

I try to make it simple and easy, find or give a positive meaning to my practice, my life, my choices and my path.

  1. New timers for the BYC, what’s your tip for them? Enjoy the full experience of the best yoga teachers and meet the yoga community all in a same place! Don’t try to do it all, but meet new people, experience new teachers, try different yoga styles, enjoy kirtans and free activities you don’t usually do or don’t have where you live. And look for the shade during your lunch break!!!
  1. Which is your inspirational quote?There are so many, every day I can find one that helps me evolve and feel happy. “Do what you love” seems so simple and so obvious, but it is not so easy in practice. It reminds me how great life is if you enjoy it, and helps me take good decisions from my heart and less from the intellectual mind. Few years ago I left a confortable corporate job to dedicate to yoga. I certainly do not regret this decision and really love what I do. Do what you love fulfills you.
  1. Could you describe what a ¨normal¨ day looks like for you?Most of my days are different but they have the same ingredients: It starts with an Ashtanga yoga self practice, then a good breakfast! During weekdays I teach yoga classes around the city, always spend few hours of office working for my blog, yoga events I organize and social networks, but there is always a lunch and/or dinner and some quality time with my husband, my first priority (yes, before yoga ;-P).
  1. In which moment did you decide to start practicing yoga? And why?I started yoga 15 years ago in New York as a hobby with some friends. I had no idea and no expectation but everyone said it would help me balance my my life in the chaos of the Big Apple. It was a good way to meet my friends every week. The hobby became a necessity, a way of life and now it’s essential in my life.
  2. Favorite book

Another hard question. Yoga book, inspirational book, reference book?
I particularly like the books by zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. He has written more than a hundred books and bestsellers on mindfulness, meditation and peace. His key teaching is that we can learn to live happily in the present moment. Most of his books are short, easy to read because written with simple words, very practical, with tips, examples and technics.
It helped me started with mindfulness meditation, being aware of my emotions, my breathing and improve my relationships with others. I read them in French, my first language, but you can find them in English and Spanish, but I’m not sure about the translated titles.
I recommend: The miracle of mindfulness, Peace in every step, Anger

  1. If you could choose, where would you go to practice right now? And which type of yoga would that be? Everywhere! I love to practice yoga wherever I travel. I can go to a drop-in class during a romantic weekend in Europe or plan a full week yoga retreat in far country. I like to learn form other teachers, meet new people, experience yoga in other countries. But yoga retreats are for me the best yoga vacations option. It’s a best way to have a daily yoga practice in a nice environment without taking care of the daily logistic. Right now it’s summer not the best season to go to Goa, Tulum nor Thailand but I would definitely go there during winter. I usually choose Ahstanga yoga retreats to improve my regular practice.
    But now I would say to the Barcelona Yoga Conference! And I would do the opposite I’ve just said, I would try a new teacher or type of yoga I don’t know well and experience new sensations.
  2. Which question are you missing in this interview? Can you answer it?

Nowadays Yoga is everywhere. Do you think yoga is a trend, a fashion? I don’t think it is and I certainly hope it’s not. It’s getting more popular as our western society needs to re-connect with their personal principles and values, their spirituality and a healthy way of life. I can’t answer it but time will show us if yoga will be integrated in people’s life or if they will just try it and move to something else. I definitely think that big events like BYC, festivals or massive master classes is a way to reach a larger public and give them the opportunity to discover, enjoy and feel the benefits of yoga.


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