My Truth: “Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere.”
I feel that my main purpose in life is to guide people on their way to Truth.
Your own Truth.
A stripped, naked, raw Truth – which is vulnerable, but also clear and innocent.
But, who am I to be talking about Truth? What brought me on my path to Truth, and wanting to share it with others?
My childhood: “Love is prayer.”
From an early age, I was interested in spirituality. I grew up in Brazil, in a region that was very animistic, as it was influenced by the African Brazilians that brought their religion with them when they were brought there as slaves. This religion is very connected to nature; thus I learned how to offer and pray to the Nature gods frequently. Around age 9, I was very connected to my altar – which was full of Angels. I left them behind at age 13, when I started to connect to Allan Kardec’s Spiritism and began to learn about and believe in Karma and rebirth. I came to understand that there is more than this body, more than the eye could meet, and more than the Catholic influences I was surrounded by.
My uncle, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, introduced me to Osho’s work about two years later. Practicing his dynamic meditations and learning about Primal Therapy had a big influence on my life. I read Osho’s book, and got intrigued by Tantra and Buddhism; it was like a whole new Universe opened up to me.
I started studying Sports, Leisure and Physical Education when I turned 18, but left to go to Europe after one semester. What was supposed to be a 3-month trip turned into a 3-year odyssey. Buddhism and yoga were starting to gain public interest at the time; I studied these modalities extensively. In the mean time I stayed very connected to my roots; practicing Capoeira and – having been an avid swimmer from an early age on – getting involved in triathlons.
Moving beyond sports: “Live wakefully.”
My time in Europe showed me that there is something else that I can do with my body, something that goes beyond sports. I returned to college to continue my 4-year bachelor’s degree, and was happily surprised to have the option to study Ashtanga Yoga, Sports Massage and Traditional Chinese Medicine. None of the teachings really made sense to me at the start; I remember sitting in Paschimottanasana, looking at my toes. It was like I had never seen them before! I realized I never paid attention to my body before, and began observing my body from a new angle.
After finishing my practice one day, as I lay in Savasana, the relaxation was so deep that I dissociated from my body. I could see myself lie there and could not move my hands. This was my first very deep experience through Asana.
Intensity and Asana: “Do not swim—float.”
After studying holistic massage and helping my yoga teacher in her yoga studio, I finished college, met my husband, and we moved to Boston. Aged 26, it was my intention to soak up everything that America had to offer. During my 4 years in Boston, I went all over the place to experience different styles of yoga, meditation and therapies. Having left triathlons and competitions behind me to do yoga, I started getting into very intense Asana practice. I loved Ashtanga, Power yoga and frequented Baron Baptiste classes. I got certified in an Ashtanga-based Power Yoga at the Soft and Hard Institute with Beryl Bender Birch, and in Myofascial Release Therapy at the Palmers Institute of Bodywork, and got initiated into the healing practices of Reiki – becoming a Reiki Master.
I enjoyed practicing with a lot of well known names in Asana yoga practice such as Manju Jois (son of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois), Baron Baptiste, Dharma Mittra and Anne Forrest. After four years, I opened my own yoga studio in Brazil, at a beautiful studio by the sea. Studying at the Tibetan Buddhism center in my city, I realized I resonated strongly with the Vajrayana practices of Buddhism, more than the Hindu style of meditation.
Finding Truth in India: “Life is now and here.”
After two years in Brazil, I felt called to go to India; I visited Iyengar, spent time in Osho’s community in Puna, and practiced with Sri. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore. These teachers had brought me to where I was at this point of my life, and though I had a good experience… it did not impress me as much as I had anticipated. I had come to India being very focused on the physical aspect of yoga, but got disappointed when I was not getting benefits beyond growing my physical strength. Without realizing, it was the start of a big transition in my life.
I went to Tiruvannamalai, where I got absorbed by the teachings of Advaita Vedanta as I sat in Satsangs with my self–inquiring, listening to great masters such as Mooji. Again, but with clearer eyes, I realized that all is an illusion – that the world we live in, is a dream. I connected to the Maya of Buddhism, and everything that I’d learned so far started to make sense. I had glimpses of the Ultimate Reality.
My Bhakti Yoga: “Die each moment so that you can be new each moment.”
I found my way to the holy town of Rishikesh, and as I sat by the Ganges, it did not take much before I had a life-changing experience. A little girl walked by, carrying a basket with flowers to offer to the Ganges. I bought some off her, to offer to the mother – Ganga ma – and remained where I sat for two hours. My whole life past by me, as I cried and cried. It was then and there that I started realizing how meaningful it is to live in Devotion and in service. How important it is to live a life of offering, and how happy we become when we make other people happy. I also realized how miserable we get, when we only focus on the things that we want to achieve.
On the way to Mindfulness: “To become a nothingness is the door to truth. Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment.”
I went back to Brazil, got divorced, and started living all over the world. A lot of spiritual teachers crossed my path; I learned about deep Tibetan Tantric practices, did several Vipassana meditation retreats, and went to the only Zen Buddhist Center in India. I kept on coming back there for the next five years, spending months on an end at the center.
Then Mindfulness came into my life. I started understanding the power of understanding the mind, feelings and sensations. Realizing how strong this work is, I decided to integrate it into my teachings. As I had become more focused on Satsangs, sitting and listening to great masters, such as Mooji in Tiruvannamalai, and multiple seasons with Prem Baba in Rishikesh, I had lost my interest in Asana practice. Until I found my way to Goa, and started teaching classes and trainings again.
Back to bodywork: “There is no God other than life itself.”
I took an Ayurvedic Yoga massage training, by the method of Kusum Modak with Ma. Bodhigita which brought my therapies to another level. I found it to be a great combination of yoga, massage and Ayurveda, which blended my previous knowledge together. As fascia wasn’t a common term to use, it was hard to explain what my work entailed. I called my treatments ‘Integrative Bodywork’, and without fully understanding the meaning of this, people would get great results. I felt content practicing shamanism and Brazilian Amazon medicine, but realized I was stuck in my yoga and meditation practice once more.
It was time for new teachers to enter my life: Simon Low, Sarah Powers and Paul Grilley brought me a new perspective on Asana practice; a beautiful combination of Yin Yoga and spiraling movements. I felt balanced after practicing; life got clear. Beyond this, they taught me how to be humble and mindful – qualities I admire in others, and ways I desire to live my life. At this time, I got introduced to, and fell in love with, yin yoga, and realized how well it combines with myofascial release. I began to use self-applied myofascial release techniques in my yin yoga classes, and – eager to evolve – took a yin yoga teacher training with Denise Payne when I moved to Bali.
My current work: “Never obey anyone’s command unless it is coming from within you.”
Everything I’ve learned in life this far falls together like the pieces of a puzzle; teaching yin yoga, my knowledge of myofascial release therapy, mindfulness meditation and breathwork. As well as yin yoga, which is a very powerful practice to help release physical and emotional trauma. To support my students and clients, and journey alongside them, I have just finished the BioDynamic Breath and Trauma Release® training and am studying to become a Somatic Experiences Therapist.
My main interest and purpose is to use these tools as I lead people into deep blockages and help them release what is hidden and stuck. I feel a specific calling to help women move away from whatever is blocking them to expand, to come back to their own power and believe in their full potential. To release their fears, protective barriers and traumas – so that they can live fully – in their hearts.
During my time in college, I started work in primary and middle schools in Brazil. After moving to Boston, I took the YogaKids® teacher training, lead by Masha Wening, and started teaching at some public schools. Back in Brazil, I developed the YogaSwahaKids program with my sister, and we started offering teacher trainings. Nowadays, Yogaswahakids is based in Bali and offers 95 hours Yoga Alliance Teacher training programs at the renowned Green School. It excites me to share these teachings with children and their teachers, so that we can all come from a place of Pure Love, Empowerment, Joy and Playfulness – whatever our age may be.
My teachings and surroundings: “Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere.”
My path has been shaped by many different influences; I let go of what no longer suits me, and always desire to try new things. I bring this into my teachings: the willingness to be open. I will never tell my students to practice only with me, rather that they should take what resonates with them, and go out and explore more.
I am grateful for my time in Bali, the locals show me daily what living in devotion looks like; to be humble and of service. As much as their work is about service, so is mine. I am very thankful for my meditation teachers, as they taught me how to empty my cup every morning, so that I can fill it up throughout the day – to empty it again the next day. This allows me to live fully, truthful and in my heart.