Chikum: Hi Sufey, first of all you look amazing! Where are you in the world right now?
Sufey: Namaste, beautiful goddess! Thank you for your kind words. I’m on an exchange scholarship at New Mexico State University for my 4th year of biomedical studies, so I’ve been playing in the lovely desert city of Las Cruces, USA.
C: Where was your teacher training and what type of yoga do you teach?
S: I was trained in Hatha Yoga on mama Maui, but we explored everything from Pranayama to Kundalini to Flying to Nada Yoga and more! My personal style is love-inspired (because that’s what keeps me going!) and always comes from the heart. My flows are earthy, connective, and opening, a happy marriage between freedom of self-expression and structural support. I aim to create a nourishing space of positive growth and reflection, self-love, inspiration, laughter and bliss!
C: How long have you been practicing/teaching yoga?
S: I met yoga for the first time in Bangkok last December, and it was love at first samādhi! I was travelling a lot in the past year, so I trained under a week before going for my 200-hr teaching certification. I knew it would be a challenge to keep up with seasoned yogis, but I was ready to learn and push to my edge (and wow, did I learn)! I’ve been teaching everyone, everywhere at every opportunity since graduation in June. I spent my summer coaching debate and city-hopping through China, so I taught peaceful yoga to my intensely competitive debaters, to strangers, to relatives and friends. Yoga is flexible, non-judgmental, and can be practiced anywhere- I’ve led yoga classes in university lecture halls, beaches, theatres, mountain-tops, village markets, subway stations, ancient ruins, grocery stores, hotel rooms, lily gardens, rooftops, and on the streets! I teach in Las Cruces now, both outdoors at the university and at an adorable hot yoga studio downtown. If you’re in the city, feel free to connect with me at http://sufey.org/classes/
C: How many times a week do you practice?
S: Yoga is a lifestyle, so I live it with every breath. I usually take 5-8 flow classes per week to improve my own practice and learn from incredible teachers. Recently, I’ve been spending much more time alone in meditation and self-study.
C: Why did you become a yoga teacher?
S: I love yogis. They are all so peaceful, loving and happy. Before finding yoga, I was extremely competitive, overworked, demanding, on the brink of burning out and crashing hard. I was successful, but miserable in success. I was pushing myself too far too fast, and I was losing my sleep, sanity, and sense of purpose. When I stumbled upon yoga, it was like the entire weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I learned how to love myself. I learned how to let go. I learned how to live in a state of incredible bliss. I teach now because it’s my turn to give back.
C: What is your favourite thing about being a yoga teacher?
S: The joy. The struggles. I have been teaching my entire life (outside of yoga), and it is a practice that has always humbled me. There is such a powerful beauty in struggle and growth, in patient endurance, in loving intention. I always learn from my students, from their determination, from their smiles, from the way they blossom a little brighter every try. Every class reminds me that the world is full of wonderful people, and that the universe is on our side.
C: What are your other hobbies and interests?
S: Life! I climb lots of trees. And rooftops. And cars. I splash myself silly in puddles. I have dance parties everyday. I pray to the sun. I howl at the moon. I study flamenco, theatre, sculpture, latin dance and film photography in university. Just for fun. I like to pretend I’m artsy. I’m obsessed with coconut oil and cooking. I blog. I make snow angels. I spend a lot of time upside-down. I go sledding on sand dunes. I karate-chop watermelons open. I walk around in the buff. Or in rainbow scarves. I blow lots of kisses. I love hugs. I adore my baby brothers, all four of them. We play hide-and-go-seek and talk in funny accents.
C: What do you eat to refuel? Any favourite foods?
S: I love experimenting with food, so I’m always trying out new concoctions! I eat lots of fruits, veggies, nuts and grains, and I try to buy organic and local whenever possible. I cook mostly vegan when I’m home, but I’m a sucker for good seafood and I always try local dishes when I’m travelling. I drink tea, fresh coconut juice- and water of course!
Gogi is my favorite berry. Coconut is my favorite oil. Almond is my favorite milk.
C: If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
S: I would choose not to have one! I like being me, human, imperfect and all.
C: What is your favourite mantra?
S: Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. May all beings everywhere be happy and free. May the thoughts and actions of my own life, contribute in some way, to the happiness and freedom for all.
C: Any travel plans for the future?
S: I’ve been invited to India and Bali for yoga in the upcoming year. I’m considering a move to Vancouver Island. I’m returning to my home university in northern BC, Canada to finish my Bachelor of Health Sciences. I’d like to travel a little more, possibly through Europe. But life is always changing, so we’ll see what happens!
I’ll be happy no matter where I am, because happiness is in our hearts.