Diana Azavedo: Do we really need those many pairs of shoes or gadgets?
Yoga instructor Diana Azavedo teaches us a thing or two about the ills of hoarding on our physical as well as mental well-being
When we went through Diana Azavedo's social media profile, what struck us was not her passion for yoga, which she credits her mother for introducing her to, or the fact that she took to yoga in her teens and has managed to turn her interest into a livelihood. Not even the images of her practicing what seems to us intricate yoga poses in far flung areas of the world. Or her fabulous collection of yoga pants. It's her interest in minimalism that sees her giving off her old pairs to make place for the new, that got us hooked to her story. It's a practice we all probably need to inculcate into our own lives. A life cluttered with worries that constantly replace one another in our mind, or the umpteen number of handbags or shoes that literally jump out of our wardrobes. How does Diana manage to lead a disciplined life? We speak to her to find out:
What got you started in yoga. At what age did you first start taking it seriously?
My mother, also a yoga teacher has been the key inspiration in introducing me to the Yogic lifestyle. I took to Yoga seriously at the end of my teens, at 19.
How long have you been in Dubai? Do you believe the city is seeing a renewed interest in fitness ever since the 30 minutes/30 Days Fitness Challenge took place?
I've been in Dubai for 11 years now. And I've truly seen the fitness community expand and explode with enthusiasm with the thoughtful initiative of the 30 minute/30 Days Fitness Challenge. I think it has inspired and motivated so many people in different corporate settings to pay more attention to their health and well-being.
Do you think there is more awareness among youngsters as to the benefits of yoga compared to eariler days.
Definitely so, thankfully the benefits of yoga have gained popularity over the years. With so many parents practicing yoga, it is bound to have a positive impact and influence on the youth of today. The practice is slowly being incorporated in some schools and universities which makes it more accessible to the youngsters to embrace and experience the benefits first hand for themselves.
Today we see a lot of celebs endorse the practice of yoga; how much of an impact has that had on more people wanting to try this out today?
Celebrities always have a profound influence over the general population and their fans. It is amazing to watch the trickle down effects when it comes to wellness. Over the years we have definitely seen a positive revolution in more celebs seeking yoga as a mind and body discipline which has encouraged the general public to try it out even more.
What are the changes you have seen in yourself ever since you started practicing yoga?
I have become more mindful and the practice of yoga on the mat translates into my everyday life. I pay more attention to my attitude and interaction with others. It is a beautiful exciting journey and a constant learning.
Your profile mentions you love travelling. Tell us what travelling means to you.
Travelling means discovering new places beyond what the tourism guide offers. It involves being bold and free; getting lost only to be found amidst nature's wilderness. It's about getting to know the local people of that village, indulging in their food and soaking up their culture.
What's the best memory associated with travel for you?
The best memory I have dates back to the first time I visited Canada in the peak of winter, at minus 37. It was a treat to my eyes. Snow capped roof tops, icicles on trees, walking through knee high snow, learning to ski and sipping hot chocolate in front of the gorgeous Blue mountains. I will forever treasure those memories as I continue to revisit that beautiful country.
Going through your social media posts, what stands out is the positivity and energy emanating from you, do you believe it is something inborn in you. How can one incorporate gratefulness into one's life?
Positive thinking is a mind set that can shift depending on one's ability to control it. It is not inborn in me, I choose it everyday or not on some days :) I am human. Maintaining a gratitude journal is a very helpful practice. It highlights our blessings that we sometimes take for granted. Even if you write two or three things that you are grateful for on a daily basis, this can go a long way in reminding ourselves of how gracious the universe is to us.
You mention you lead a minimalistic life out here. Tell us how you are able to manage that - given that all of us would like to lead a more simple and clutter-free life but are bogged down by consumerism!
In yoga philosophy, there is a concept called Aparigraha which translates to non-attachment. I practice non hoarding in my life and at home by cleansing my wardrobes of clothes that I haven't used for a while. I maintain a non-cluttering attitude at home as well as in my mind. Do we really need those many pairs of shoes or gadgets or that much furniture? Material desires when fulfilled temporarily satisfy and then the next urge or desire creeps up again only to place us into a vicious cycle. I am constantly mindful of what I consume, how I consume and where it comes from. Instead of mass marketing and communication telling us how and what to think, it would be widely beneficial to take a step back and be a little more conscious of our actions.
5 tips on how to lead a balanced life in today's world
1) Let's pay a little more attention to our food, what we eat, where it comes from and how much of it we consume. You are what you eat.
2) Movement and exercise is key in helping body adapt to our ever changing lifestyle patterns. Choose a mind-body discipline that suits you best and give it a shot for a few weeks to record its effect on your body.
3) Our breath is our only companion from beginning to the end, yet we give it very little importance. I can't stress enough on the importance of breathing properly. There are so many breathing techniques that help calm and ease the nervous system which in turn helps us de-stress in this daily hustle and bustle of life.
4) Enjoy simple pleasures in life. Go for long walks with a friend, Watch that favourite movie. Let go a little. Life is beautiful. Take time out and allow yourself the permission to soak in these enjoyable moments. Indulge in self care and relax a bit. You deserve it.
5) Explore something fresh and new. We can get quite stuck and complacent in our lives and sometimes it may start to lack the star-like radiance. Stepping out of the bubble of our comfort zone can be challenging, however utterly rewarding. Growth happens when we take that small step forward and gain fresh perspective. We learn to see different parts of our personality shine and come through. This can be so fulfilling that we seem to find some sort of balance and purpose in our life. Amidst the chaos, we find grounding yet freedom, we find pleasure yet a fine balance.
If you had to carry just 3 essentials on a trip what would it be. A book, a yoga mat and a hat!
The best place to practice yoga. Rishikesh, India.
If not yoga, I'd have been.. A nutritionist.
Yoga has made me.. ask the bigger questions in life like purpose of existence.
On last count I had. Not more than 5 yoga pants. I am well known for giving away my yoga pants as part of my commitment to my minimalistic approach. As soon as I have a new collection, the older ones are out :)
My idea of perfect happiness is.being content.