You are always so lovely. Is that a side-effect of yoga?
Thank you for saying that. To answer honestly, I don't know if I am "always" so lovely but I do try to be aware of my actions and the words I speak in my daily life. I think the practice of yoga pushes away the layers of "stuff" we accumulate as a result of life, emotional wounds and stress. Yoga makes us our best self by helping us connect to our true self, and at the core, we were all born into this world with an open heart.
Teaching has definitely made me a much better person because I feel a level of responsibility with how I behave. In order to be authentic with the words we speak as teachers in this practice, we need to be very aware of the choices we make in life. It would be rather inauthentic if I'm teaching Bhakti yoga which is the practice of "devotion" and living from one's heart - and then I didn't take that practice with me in my daily life - how could I authentically teach if I'm not practicing this? It doesn't mean yogis can't get angry, or experience sadness - yoga gives us tools to deal with these emotions in a healthier way.
You recently shared with me that you traveled to India and took footage of your trip. This footage is now on DVD. That's a labor of love. Tell me about it.
The DVD is called "Free Your Soul TV-India" and it features 9 episodes (running time is 50 minutes). I shot it on location in India and it is a documentary-style DVD of my experiences in India. I feature my harmonium teacher, show viewers how to blow a conch shell (a very sacred sound used in this practice) and I take the viewer to many unique places in Rishikesh. The DVD is indeed a labor of love and was in part created to show people an intimate version of India and her spiritual practices. I come from the entertainment industry to it is a natural progression for me to want to bring my experiences to the medium of film and television.
Who are your yoga inspirations?
Great question to end on! Well, first person that comes to mind is Paramahansa Yogananda. He is the founder of the Self Realization Fellowship and his book "Autobiography of a Yogi" had a huge effect on me. He was an amazing human and his personal quest to follow his dharma (path) is incredible. If you live in Los Angeles, I would suggest going to Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades and see for yourself the sanctuary he created (not to mention the entire SRF movement). Lake Shrine, for me, is one of the most sacred places in Los Angeles.
I am truly fascinated and inspired by other teachers and spiritual leaders from India who came to the West with nothing, no connections, no money, but held a belief of their spiritual practice and their desire to spread their practice to Westerners. Some of these teachers (to name a few) like Swami Prabhupada (founder of the Hare Krishna movement) and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (founder of Transcendental Meditation) have positively effected probably millions upon millions of people and their organizations still thrive - to me this is a huge inspiration.
I could really go on and on with this question. I guess the point here is to perhaps take the time to learn about some of these amazing teachers, understand their journey as I assure you it will give you faith and strength to pursue your own dreams.
See what I mean, everyone. Totally lovely, right? Thank you, Heidi, for your time. If you would like to read more about Heidi, find her current teaching schedule, or contact her, you may do so through her website: www.raydenproductions.com .
Thank you for reading.Tamara ZumMallen