Ethan Ward

1) How did your yoga journey begin?

I’ve always been interested in understanding the human condition. We live at this bizarre convergence of matter and energy, and somehow have the awareness to contemplate our true nature. The body is the vehicle through which we experience our consciousness – and optimizing its form & function is something that I have been inquiring into long before I knew anything about yoga. The spark was always in there, somewhere. As a looney and overconfident 21 year old, looking to take on some physical exercise, I bumbled my way into a yoga room near my house in Barcelona – it happened to be a traditional Ashtanga Yoga shala . . .

2) How did you feel after that first practice?

I would love to answer this by saying I floated my way out of the room as if levitating upon a sea of bliss, with my perfect golden locks glistening in the sweet sunshine as I handed out fresh bread to a family of gypsies… But unfortunately the way I felt after that class can only be described as; bloody embarrassed. Drenched in sweat. My skin pale. Pupils dilated like I’d just seen a ghost… Really what I’d seen was a room full of old ladies doing back flips, a pregnant woman balanced on the top of her head, large men contorting themselves into ridiculous arrangements of twisted body parts – then flying into the air and somehow landing in the same position on the other side… On that day, I learned Surya Namaskara A.

3) Tell us about your path to becoming a teacher?

Before I ever considered becoming a teacher, the practice itself grew to become profoundly important to me. Daily practice for a period of three weeks was what it took for me to realise that I would be doing this for the rest of my life. It was around this time that I started becoming aware that my path would soon lead to Mysore, India – I didn’t know how, but I knew that I would practice there – amongst the most dedicated students of Ashtanga Yoga in the world. Advancing in the yoga practice over the next few years, I focussed purely on my own sadhana (spiritual practice). I’ve always felt aware that teaching this method would be a massive responsibility – and eventually my teacher Sharath Jois told me that it is one that I should take on . . .

4) What inspires you?

I am inspired by my teacher. Sharath Jois gives so much for the people around him. He possesses a tremendous presence. He shows himself – and he is human. Radiating with openness, humility and humour. Sharath delivers his teachings firmly, and yet has incredible compassion and patience. He is someone who appears to be so comfortable in himself that his focus has shifted towards elevating everyone around him to become more than they’d ever aspired to be. With his blessing, I guide people in their exploration of yoga. In many ways, this journey is as I had expected; a colossal responsibility – but I follow a well-lit path.

Ethan will be teaching at AoY till 14 August (Wed)! Don’t miss the chance to practice with him!

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