A chat with yoga instructor Josette Ruiz |22 July 2022
‘Yoga is not a sport, it is a lifestyle you can adopt’
Josette Ruiz started practicing yoga around 2005 when she was going through a very difficult period of her life and needed something to put her back on track, while she figured out her life and boost her concentration.
Catching up with her recently Ms Ruiz was very eager to give us her insights into yoga which she said once she was introduced to she realised it was more interesting than she thought and so stuck to it.
“I had just divorced from my then husband and I needed something to anchor me and this is when I started to research on what I could do. I then came across a friend who took me to dance classes and introduced me to yoga after which I stopped dancing and concentrated on yoga,” Ms Ruiz said.
Seychelles NATION: How do you find yoga in Seychelles?
Ms Ruiz: Yoga has developed quite well in Seychelles; we have been able to reach a great number of people be it the elderly, school children and the general public since the first Yoga Day celebrated in Seychelles through the Indian high commission. A large crowd attended yoga sessions organised through the Yoga Association of Seychelles (YAS) and we have conducted various classes as well as individual lessons.
Seychelles NATION: How long have you been practicing yoga?
Ms Ruiz: I have been practicing yoga for the past 15 years and I am also a member of YAS since its formation, 10 years ago. I started my practice at the Vivekanda Yoga Club which is where I am actually proudly teaching as a certified yoga teacher. I started practicing yoga without wanting to be a teacher. I just wanted to practice but teaching took me by surprise when I found myself replacing the instructors from time to time in their absence. In 2018 I went to India to follow training in yoga through the ITEC programme offered by the government of India and I got my certification as a yoga instructor.
Seychelles NATION: How has yoga developed in Seychelles?
Ms Ruiz: Yoga has greatly developed over the years in Seychelles through various programmes and activities through YAS and the Indian high commission in Seychelles. Various sessions for students, the elderly and the general public have been successfully organised, through television programmes and short videos which have encouraged people to participate and better understand the concept of yoga.
Seychelles NATION: What are the benefits of practicing yoga?
Ms Ruiz: Yoga has numerous benefits. It helps in various ways such as boost your metabolism, improve posture, increase flexibility, ease arthritis, reduce back pain, help relax, boost sleep, lower blood sugar and much more.
Seychelles NATION: Did you always want to practice yoga?
Ms Ruiz: In fact not at all. Like I said before I was actually looking for a sport to enroll into and I started going to dance classes after which I transitioned to yoga which made me immediately dropped the dance classes. So no I did not always want to practice yoga.
Seychelles NATION: What was it like to get your certificate as a yoga instructor?
Ms Ruiz: I started teaching even before I was certified; I was always subbing for the instructors, and I realised that I could actually teach yoga. I felt like I was good enough to explain everything well to the participants and when I was certified it gave me more confidence. It was not difficult for me to get certified as I was already practicing most things, except maybe for theory which was a bit different.
Seychelles NATION: Where do you currently teach?
Ms Ruiz: I still teach at the Indian high commission Monday to Thursday from 4:30pm to 5:30pm. It is free classes and anyone can attend.
Seychelles NATION: What advice would you like to give our readers regarding yoga?
Ms Ruiz: Yoga is not a sport per se, it is a lifestyle you can adopt. It is not focused solely on the physical aspects but the spiritual part is also important as it focuses on meditation, relaxation especially during the times when we find life difficult. It helps you to stay focused and it helps boost your self-confidence.
Seychelles NATION: It is said that yoga has attracted bad energies and it is against many religious beliefs. What are your comments on that?
Ms Ruiz: For me I feel that any religion or beliefs has nothing to do with yoga. This is because yoga is concentration and it is like physical exercises, the only difference is the awareness and the focus on breathing. There is no part in yoga that contradicts someone’s religion or spiritual beliefs. Whatever religion or belief, a person can still do yoga.