Having dedicated over a decade to strengthening and sharing her love of yoga in the UK and India, Mischa Varmuza teaches East Londoners the path for living conscious, heart-centred lives and offers ongoing support in your daily life.
When and where did you first practice yoga?
I was a teenager in my parents’ living room! I was curious about the shapes made by a lady in a yoga book. However, my first studio class was at 19 while at university in Edinburgh.
What created the spark to go on and do your teacher training? Was there a specific moment when you knew you wanted to be a teacher?
I started regular practice in my mid-twenties when my life was mainly rooted in the grind of office routine and parties. My friends weren’t into yoga, so classes became a refuge from what began to feel like a toxic, unfulfilling lifestyle. I felt different inside, which kept calling me back. The connection to my centre was growing and my heart beginning to awake. I searched for deeper ways to immerse myself in practice, to learn more about the process. After several years I committed to a 10-month course in London with Claire Missingham. I wanted to learn and grow, but wasn’t set on teaching at first. The deep and beautiful process was completely captivating and was just the beginning. Six months in India helped me realise I wanted to commit to not only my growth, but also share the practices with others. The power blew me away, like there was no other option, and I still feel that way. Although it’s a very conscious journey, the pull, the yearning, the inner-knowing tugging at your heart is quite strong and magnetic.
Life before yoga, was it very different?
Ha ha, yes, very different! It was lots of fun, with many beautiful memories including probably more than my fair share of misbehaviour and hedonism. Although in a completely different space now, I’m grateful for the joy, laughter, tears and lessons time gave me. I know myself better, my values and purpose, and want to walk an authentic life connected to these truths.
Who/what is the biggest inspiration for your practice?
My main teacher, Sianna Sherman, lives and breathes yoga in the most authentic, masterful and loving ways. Along the path I’ve connected with other teachers and special souls who keep it real while reminding me of the total magic and mystery. The wildness of my journey and unexpected unfolding of my inner-quest inspires the knowledge I teach each day.
Why did you choose to live and teach in East London?
I’ve been in East London for about 10 years, it’s my home. I like the diversity, the vibes and that there’s enough green space to find a tree when I need one. I teach at four East London studios: Yogahome, TripSpace, Yoga on the Lane and Triyoga, and travel abroad a lot, but am always happy to come back to Hackney.
Tell me about your love of chanting, have you always been a singer?
Finding my voice has been a huge part of my journey. Five years ago, I trembled at the prospect of chanting “OM”, but now the power and joy of mantra, chanting and singing are daily practice. I’m deeply grateful for the extraordinary, liberating force behind mantra – I’ve felt layers of my old, limited self “fall away” as my body and heart open to a beauty and experience I’d only read and dreamt about.
Do you have a morning ritual and does it vary?
I have an (almost) daily ritual, at least when I’m not on the move, but it varies. At the moment I’m continuing a process begun last January with one of my teachers in India: I wake up around 6.00 am and oil-pull (Ayurvedic teeth-cleaning) for 15 minutes; drink a litre of warm water; practice my morning puja (worship) with candles, incense, prayer and chants; then meditate for an hour. I need at least two-and-a-half, if not three, hours between waking and leaving home – and I’m still always running out of door! These are essential, and then my asana practice varies depending on my day.
Sign up now for Mischa’s online course – a 21 day journey for you to explore and develop a self-practice which will both deepen and transform your understanding of yoga and introduce a range of self-care practices and reflections to nurture growth and provide ongoing support in your daily life.
– Be part of the BEAST