Born in Canada, Corinne (Coco) started to practice yoga more than 20 years ago after the birth of her son. With a background in both practicing and teaching ballet and contemporary dance for more than 16 years, Corinne warmed up to yoga easily. For her, yoga became much more than a physical practice; she felt very soon the connection between body, mind and soul.
Pictures (from left to right): V.Sheshadri, Mysore, India, 2005 | Saraswathi, KPJAYI, Mysore, India, 2005 | John Scott, Purple Valley Yoga, Goa, India, 2017 | Michael Gannon, Mexico, India | Vijay Kumar Manja, Coco’s Guru
Q: Coco, you have been practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for more than 20 years. How did you get in touch with it in the first place?
The first time I started to connect with myself and take some time for introspection was whilst I was pregnant with my son. I had an amazing pregnancy and it gave me the opportunity to look inward and experience a profound connection to myself – something I had never felt before. Moments of bliss and innermost contentment emerged and after my son was born, I felt a strong calling to explore the field of yoga. My first contact to yoga asanas has been in the power yoga style.
Q: How does your yoga practice show up and influence your life on and off the mat?
After many years of my daily practice, the awareness of my body and my mind purified and sharpened, but also what happens on the mat becomes a reflection of your daily life and vice-versa. In moments of confusion, my practices help me to find answers; everything becomes clear after my asanas or a meditation practice. I have learned to never take any decision before my practice knowing that the practice will guide me towards the right path. It brings the body and mind in an equanimity which helps to flow and synchronize with your intuition and life.
Q: Which fields of bodywork, self-care, or holistic practicums are you practicing (besides yoga) and how are you inspired by them?
At the Ashram where I live and where we host people for retreats, we mostly eat raw food to increase the potential of the body and mind. Food is connected with everything so eating nourishing and colorful food is very beneficial for the kind of life we live as yoga practitioners.
We practice many ceremonies for the sake of purification of the body, mind and soul. One of them is the Temazcal which is a steam room from the native Mayan of Mexico. This purification ritual is amazing to help the body and mind to release all toxins, negative thoughts and bad habits. The combinations of asanas practice and Temazcal is, in my opinion, a must to go deeper in our self-awakening. The more our daily practice purifies us, the more we become aware of what we put into our bodies. This enables us to keep our mind clear, calm and blissful.
Q: What style of yoga do you teach? Tell us about your teaching style.
Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is the style of yoga I practice therefore is the style I teach as well. Like that, I can share my experiences on and off the mat. Also, I try to hold space for my students according to their specific level and life experience. Something we should always remember about teaching yoga is that it needs to be adapted to the individual and not the other way around (Krishnamacharia). For me, teaching is sharing.
Q: What’s your favourite pose and why?
This is a difficult question…. my favorite pose changes a lot depending on what my body and mind need at that moment. Everything changes, nothing is permanent and I try not to be attached to something or someone. I have to admit that through the years of my daily practice, I became very attached to it – but I recognized it and found a way to get softer with myself.
Q: Who inspires you?
The book of David Swenson about Ashtanga yoga was my first inspiration which I brought to Mysore (India) in 2005 for the first time. Through many years of practice and traveling I have practiced with many teachers like Michael Gannon, John Scott and Harmony Slater who gave me plenty of insides and inspiration. In 2105, when I got to study with my Guru in a Gurukula (guru’house), I got inspired in the deepest way by living the tradition of yoga and that is what I am trying to transmit through my teaching and sharing as well.
Q: Do you have a mantra or words of wisdom that you live by?
Every morning I do many purification rituals (japa, mantra) and I chant Aditya Hridayam which is a Salutation of the Sun God. This is a mantra, which praises Sun God.
Everything that is around us in the universe is within us as well. That’s how every atom is connected. That’s how the influence of Planets work on us through gravity. For example, you may understand the influence of the Moon on our earth with the tides.
Now, within us the Sun God is none other than our soul. Even in astrology sun signifies soul. By chanting Aditya Hridayam, you are strengthening your soul and will be more powerful during difficult circumstances. Your soul becomes charged up and can therefore guide your mind to act in a pattern which gives you clarity of mind and more willpower. Similarly, it gives you an aura that attracts positive energy and success as well.