Adell: I like to give people a lot to take away with them.
Original english version of an interview with Adell Bridges for the slovak health magazine Balance.
We are in the middle of yoga craze these days and we can also see it in Slovakia. Why are people so attracted to yoga? In which way is yoga different from your experience, then let's say simple stretching or Pilates?
Yoga is different from any other form of exercise because it’s not really exercise. The asana (the movement portion of yoga) is merely a tool to help practitioners understand what the real yoga is — an inward journey towards ultimate peace and connection.
Some people can see yoga only as an exercise, some as a lifestyle...you can name it. When does yoga switch from simple exercise to a fulfilling lifestyle? When did you feel, this is it! Yoga is my destiny.
I think it occurs when you realise that what you do on your yoga mat is showing up in other areas of your life — applying a steady breath to stay calm in a traffic jam, or listening to your body’s cravings for rest when your mind just wants to keep pushing.
Where do you see yoga culture-movement in the next 3-5 years? I mean do you see, or do you want to see some direction, where all this is heading?
Well what I hope to see is that the popularity of yoga and all that comes with the practice of yoga — adopting mindfulness, a calm breath, a healthier attitude towards all aspects of life, a more compassionate view of others — will continue to spread. I hope it leads people to simply be more aware of their thoughts and actions, so this world can heal its wounds.
With the rise of yoga popularity, there is a strong demand for yoga teachers. What has to have a great yoga teacher? Who were or still are your great teachers in your (yoga) life?
A yoga teacher must want to share what the practice means to them. I think that’s all it is. But of course this means they must actually have a practice, a full practice. Not just asana but svadhyaya, dhyana, dharana, samtosha, satya, and all the rest of it.
You travel as a yoga teacher a lot, and in the past, you traveled full time. That gives you a great opportunity to meet people from different countries with different backgrounds, who all have one thing in common, which is yoga. Is there something else besides love for yoga these people have in common?
Yes! Everything! I think the more you travel and the more you see of the world, the more you realise that there are MANY more things that unite us humans than divides us. People are people wherever you go. In every country there are assholes and angels haha! We really aren’t very different, and I think the sooner we all realise that instead of all the labels we use to divide us, we should think of ourselves merely as humans inhabiting the planet.
You are saying that yoga is not only about good feeling and happiness, but rather is helping you to be able to respond to hard times in your life. What else besides yoga practice do you see as other crucial aspects for you to be able to respond to hard(er) time in your life?
Besides yoga? Friends, family, and coffee haha.
Also, what is the one or two things that you don't like on yoga in general or on yoga movement as we see it now?
Dogma. There’s a lot of dogma in yoga and I don’t think it belongs.
Quickly you were able to build a very strong community of people around the world who love what you are doing and are willing to travel to different countries to join your lectures. What's the magic behind your lectures what attract people? :)
I like to give people a lot to take away with them. Whatever it is that I’m teaching, whether it’s backbends or handstands or flexibility, I deliver it in a way that they can implement it into any yoga class they take in the future, so that—in a way—the workshop with me lasts for weeks, months, maybe even years!
You are coming for the first time to teach in Slovakia this September at Ultimate Freedom yoga festival. What is the Ultimate Freedom for you? And what was/is the biggest obstacle in your life to find the Ultimate Freedom? How did you overcome that obstacle?
Ultimate Freedom to me is choice — knowing that there really is no entrapment or prison. No matter what our external environment is, we always have the choice to perceive our lives, ourselves, our situations the way we want to. We can choose if we will complain about not having something or be grateful for what we do have. We have a choice if we will see the good deeds someone has done or if we will just look at the bad. When we realise this choice is ours in every area of life, we are truly free.
The 2nd edition of Ultimate Freedom will take place 27 - 29/9/2019 in Nova Cvernovka. All the beginners, intermediate, advanced and yoga teachers are welcomed. Tickets are available at www.ultimatefreedom.sk .