Meet Christine Burke, yoga teacher and owner of Liberation Yoga Studio in LA, and author of the brilliant new book, The Yoga Healer. In this author interview, Christine gives us an insight into her daily life as a yogi and tells us what inspires and empowers her.
Can you tell us a little bit more about The Yoga Healer?
This book is meant to inspire people to connect to their own greatest healing resource – their desire for wellbeing. It is for those who are new to yoga and are curious, intrigued and hopeful that they could forge a relationship with this ancient art and science that would benefit them. It is for those who are already immersed in the practice and need a little direction, encouragement and the physical and spirit inspired resources to lean on from time to time.
I am passionate about sharing what has been an incredibly powerful healing and empowering practice for me in a way that can touch anyone and everyone. To make it accessible and to give a road map and remind that every little bit of good counts and a little can lead to more until it becomes the best of habits. When we nourish ourselves in body, mind and spirit we light up and the world is a lighter brighter place.
What are your goals and intentions as a writer?
My goals and intentions as a writer are to stay authentic and to collaborate rather than teach through my writing. Though it is very “teachy” in terms of how to do things and I strive to offer clear instructions, I think of it as a conversation. I try to listen so I can “hear” what the reader might be asking, offering or where there needs to be greater clarity. I hope to access or touch people in a way that they are available to their own guidance and create a greater trust in their own wisdom. In The Yoga Healer my intentions are to help the reader develop a more loving and celebratory experience of being who they are through their attention to mind, body and spirit. This is my journey as well and I am happy to have companions along the way.
Can you tell us a little about being a yoga teacher? What does that entail?
Being a yoga teacher is something I am thankful for each day. I am grateful that I was called to something that has affected my experience of being human in such a profound way. As I teach I learn and as I learn I grow and so I feel wholly engaged in life daily. The opportunity to connect with people and share such humanness and honesty is a blessing beyond compare. I love to be part of the shift that happens when people get on the mat and move through, work through, breathe through, laugh through their awkwardness, sorrow, disappointments, fears and frustrations until we all come to a lighter place together. It is joyful work. It is humbling, invigorating and delightful to be part of the transformation that happens when yoga is practiced from the heart.
What do you tell people when introducing them to the concept of the powers of yoga?
When I introduce newcomers to yoga my main goal is to relate that this practice is for everyone. It is a metaphor for life and it is a practice to enhance everyone’s journey. It is not just for the already flexible, or the already fit, or only for the young. It is not only for the already “zen.”
For those who are very high energy I want them to know there is a yoga that will match them and balance them and to try to be patient to find it. For those who feel disconnected from their body or not at home inside themselves, be patient, give yoga and yourself a chance to get to know each other. All relationships need a little time to grow. I believe there truly is a match for every body and every personality that will bear great fruit in the form of many health benefits for body and mind and I hope to convey this in a way that it can be heard and embraced.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by everything. This is true. My child inspires me in a very direct way to be my better self on a daily basis. I am inspired by my mother and father, my husband, and my sister and brother. I am also inspired by the wind, the light, the moon, all creatures, my students, my teachers, by strangers and by music. I find inspiration in odd moments and in sadness as well as in laughter and in challenges. I am always reading or listening to something that inspires me, Ayurveda, science, healers, Ted Talks, storytellers on the radio and autobiographies and biographies. At the moment I am very inspired by Peggy Freydberg, the 107 year old poet. What inspires me the most is waking up.
Do you have a daily spiritual practice?
My daily practice is 30 minutes of meditation, breath and mudra every morning at 5:45am. Then a handful of poses I choose daily for about 15 minutes. From there it is a combination of the practice while teaching mixed with longer personal practice when I can. These days life is very busy so my practice flows through my day more than being a set time and length of asana besides the sadhana (morning practice) which is always there.
What is your idea of happiness?
There are many things that make me happy but my happiness is less about what I am doing and more about what I am allowing in any given moment. My idea of happiness is remembering that love is my true nature and that fear is only a temporary blemish. That being said, the external moments that tend to bring me the most joy are playing (really it’s just goofing around) with my 8 year old, being in nature (urban or really out there), teaching, making something with my hands, being with my family and friends eating, road trips, snowy places, being near water, creating beautiful spaces in which to dwell. I am at my happiest when I have something to look forward to and yet stay in the moment at hand and when there is a candle burning.
What empowers you in your daily work and life?
My morning yoga practice empowers me daily. It is aligns me in a way that makes all the vibrant power of the universe available to me. It reminds me that I am here for a purpose and that if I hold myself accountable to this my creative desires will be satisfied and I will be contributing. I am empowered by others stories and by my desire to see through the suffering and pain to the brightness and potential of our planet. I am empowered by the failures and successes of my past and I am ignited by the future.
What is your next project?
I have 2 upcoming projects. The first is the Liberation Yoga online video series, to connect with a wider group of people and to share more yoga and more life. It will offer yoga classes, tutorials, seminars and discussions for all yoga related topics. My next writing project is a yoga book for teen girls.