Interview by Dhāraṇī Diana Díaz
Gabriella Girdevi Lamas, is a certified in Hatha I, Raga Yoga, and Therapeutic Yoga Levels I and II. She is on the path to receiving the 800-hour Integral Yoga Therapy program certification. Before 2020, she worked in the entertainment and music industry doing management, booking, and PR.
When and how did you discover Yoga? What brought you to IYI?
I first discovered yoga in middle school when they introduced it to us as another form of exercise. As a kid, I right away loved the feeling of stretching and an opportunity to rest and relax midday… nothing better! In high school, I decided to take yoga as my physical education class and around this same time my mother, a long time Integral Yogi, introduced me to the studio. I had been struggling with a lot of anxiety and depression at the time and after my first class at IYI I resonated so deeply with the teachings that felt a huge emotional release as soon as I left. It was a life-altering experience that has kept me connected with the Institute today.
What do you love about Yoga?
I love that yoga is accessible and inclusive to all people regardless of shape, size, ethnicity or background. It is also an interfaith practice which means it is inclusive to any and all religions or spiritual beliefs. I also love the multifaceted approach to Yoga which includes the 6 branches and kosha models. These approaches draw the practitioners from the grossest levels of being, the physical body and Hatha asana to the subtle levels of meditation and connection to the True Self.
What do you hope your students will receive from your class?
Throughout the class I teach, I hope that students receive moments of peace, healing, and deepening awareness with the world around them or with themselves. I hope that students learn tools that they can take off the mat and incorporate into their daily lives to help with stressors that may arise. I hope to create a space where they feel supported and comfortable taking the time for themselves and feel safe meeting whatever comes up for them. I hope to cultivate community, to serve and to grow with the students.
I’ve noticed that you offer restorative variations, inspirational readings and soothing chants throughout your class. In fact, I have truly enjoyed it! How much of your teaching style is attributable to your personality, your life experience, and your teaching wisdom?
I like to bring a very nurturing energy to my teaching style. Since I was a child I’ve always had a passion for helping people. If a classmate was crying or scraped their knee, I would instinctively go over to console them. I love to care for others and in the classroom environment I feel that that side of my personality really takes the forefront. The IYI philosophy and practices resonate so deeply with who I am that I also feel while teaching that I am a vessel for these ancient teachings to pass through me to my students. Also, as I am a fairly new teacher, I find that I can easily relate to the students because I was where they are not too long ago. That helps to foster connection and communication in class with the students.
What is one of your hidden talents? How does it show up in your own Yogic practices and in the classes and workshops you lead?
I taught myself how to play the ukulele! Admittedly, I am not very good but I absolutely love to play and practice whenever I can. The ukulele is such a beautiful instrument and everytime I play it I feel like I am back on the beach in Puerto Rico where my family is from. I only know a few short bits of songs so I also like to create my own little tunes with the cords I have taught myself.
This love for music shows up in my own yogic practices through japa meditation and mantra repetition. I love the power and connection that is created through chanting. In the past, I have struggled with self-love, shyness, and self-expression. Chanting is a great way to activate the throat chakra which has helped me develop my voice and self-confidence.
Ongoing classes at IYI: Hatha Yoga Level I class on Saturdays at 12:15pm
You can also find Girdevi at Www.Girdevi.nyc or @gabriellalamas on Instagram