YOGA O’CLOCK: MEET KAROL DE SOUZA
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Originally from Brazil, Karol de Souza, 32-years-old, has been traveling the world since she was 17 and has lived in many different countries. Her former education was a degree in International Business acquired when she lived in Australia for six years. She followed this career for three years before quitting her job and travel to India for the first time to study Yoga and Ayurvedic Massage in 2017. Currently, Karol works as a yoga teacher in Portugal (her classes are also available online) and organizes yoga and self-development retreats. Practising yoga, traveling and surfing are some of her biggest passions.
In this interview, Karol de Souza opens up about her journey and her holistic way of living through yoga.
Best advice you ever received.
I was never good at taking advice! (laughs) I’m a very impulsive person and I do things very spontaneously. If I get disappointed at the results of my actions then… good! That’s how we learn our lessons!
How long have you been practising yoga?
I started practising yoga when I was 16 years old back in my home country. I was very dedicated to the practice initially, but then had many different periods of being completely away from it to practising it sporadically. Then, I start getting back to it consistently a bit before my first teacher training in 2017.
Can you tell us about your journey, and how you first got interested in yoga?
My interest in a more holistic way of living started very early in life. My father was a former chiropractor and a breath work facilitator so he taught me from a very young age about meditation and breath work in a very fun way. When I first heard about yoga I was immediately drawn by it. Then finally in 2017, I got my first training as a yoga teacher in India. Initially, it was something I wanted to do for myself to develop in my practice, I never really thought about being a teacher, but that happened very spontaneously afterwards as an easy way to keep traveling while working around the world.
What type of yoga do you teach?
Nowadays, I teach Hatha Vinyasa, Vinyasa flow and Yin Yoga for groups. I also teach yoga therapy one-on-one and I like to implement other elements of self-development tools into my yoga retreats (like dynamic meditation, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), etc.
How did you get your qualification and what was the hardest part of the process?
My first qualification was a 200hr teacher training in India in 2017. Then I returned to India in 2019 to study yoga therapy and in between and after these major training I have done short courses of Ayurveda, reiki therapy, applied anatomy, breath work, etc. It’s an ongoing learning process, and the biggest challenge for sure is the high financial investments while this profession isn’t always very valued as much as it should be! But slowly finding my way into connecting with people who value my enthusiasm and work as a teacher!
What has yoga done for you as a person?
Yoga for me is a way of living and it reflects in all areas of my life. It’s not like yoga will solve all our problems but for sure it puts some light on the things we have to work on. I have become more aware of my shortcomings and I try to work on them. Sometimes I am successful sometimes not. It’s an ongoing change and learning process. My practice has also has changed a lot over those years. I used to be very hard on myself, a bit critical and very strict. Nowadays I have learned to be more flexible, I listen to my body and myself more wisely and I found a place of more balance. You can easily get caught up on extremisms in yoga, but with time you learn not to listen to the voices in your head (or other peoples opinions for that matter) and listen more to your inner wisdom.
Do you believe it is an alternative form of healing and medicine?
I believe yoga leads you to live a more wholesome life, which in return can help you with your overall health. The asana (postures) can result in a healthier body, the pranayama (breath work) and meditation can help you obtain a more balanced mind, which in return for sure it positively affects your physical health. Naturally, yogis also choose a healthier diet and overall a better way of living. It’s all interconnected! Although that’s not the ultimate goal of yoga, we can all enjoy these benefits from the practice!
Is yoga a way of life or a way to exercise and meditate?
I think both. It depends on what you want from your practice. Normally the physical aspect of yoga is what first attracts people to the practice and later one they realize that it goes way beyond “just” a way to exercise. But if that’s what you take from the practice, some movement, that’s already great! If you want to go beyond, then enjoy the benefits of going beyond the physical! I think pushing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy doesn’t benefit you, things evolve quite naturally in your practice, we have to give it time. For ME like mentioned in the questions before, yoga is a way of living. And it helps me feel more balanced.
Have you got any tips for anyone new to yoga? What can they do to get started?
I think you have to find a teacher that you like and connect with. Sometimes you go to a yoga class and you might think yoga isn’t for you but maybe you just didn’t find the right teacher, not because that teacher isn’t good or something but maybe his/her style doesn’t fit you. So I would say try different types of yoga and different teachers to get different perspectives.
Do you think mindfulness and meditation play a role in yoga?
Not only plays a role in yoga but IT IS YOGA. Yoga isn’t the physical practice, that’s a tool for us to connect with ourselves and get out of our heads (hands up if you think too much! haha). Besides making our bodies and minds strong for meditation. Then yoga also is what we practice outside the mat, how we do things in our daily lives, how we interact with the environment, the people around us. THAT is yoga.
Any advice for people who think they don’t have time for yoga? How can they fit it into daily life and make it a habit?
Exactly that. Develop a habit. Chose a time in your day (first thing in the morning is ideal), then even if you only have 15 minutes, do it. Making a sacred space in your house where it’s cosy, silent, where you can light up incense or put some calming music helps to set the mood. Follow a teacher, choose someone you like and let them lead you, it keeps you motivated. Soon enough you will crave for it the days you miss your practice!
Can you tell us a bit about what your classes are like?
My classes are strong and soft at the same time, you can find a space to push yourself but also to rest, connect and be with yourself. My classes are always very dynamic and fun, there’s always room for laughter, exchange of information and a sense of friendship.
Where can people attend your classes?
You can follow my online classes from anywhere you are in the world on my online video library www.kdsyoga.com or you can find me in Ericeira, Portugal. Stay tuned for my upcoming retreats, next one is this October 1-6th THE CONSCIOUS LIVING RETREAT. Join the community!
How do you want to help move humanity forward?
That’s a big statement! But I guess by contributing to our surroundings and community in a positive way it’s already a great thing, imagine we can spread this message to as many people as possible then the world can be a happier place for everybody!
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