We met up with Gali Lavee who teaches our Open Yoga Flow on Mondays at 4:30pm. Her style is sweet and balancing. In her class, students will synchronize breath with mindful movement and move dynamically through poses to build strength and balance, then wind down with deep stretches for a simultaneously energizing and grounding practice. Practicing with Gali is a real treat! Now let’s learn a little more about her!
1. What is your favorite asana & why?
Oh boy I have so many favorites…on days when my practice is more energizing, I love dancer pose because it’s so expressive and I feel like I’m flying. Days where I need to slow down, nothing calms me down faster than supported child’s pose on a bolster.
2. Least favorite/why?
I am less crazy about some of the new, ultra pretzel-y poses such as fallen angel or chin stand. I could see how they can be fun to play around with and they do make for an interesting photo...but my body hurts just looking at them!!
3. Recommended Reading
My favorite book on meditation is "Turning the Mind into an Ally" by Sakyong Mipham - it’s easy to read and great for anyone including beginners. My favorite book to nerd out on biomechanics is "Move Your DNA" by Katy Bowman, but you can’t go wrong with any of her other books. Also, my teacher Cori Martinez's book “Plus One: Finding God on the Yoga Mat” is near and dear to my heart.
4. Best/most rewarding yoga moment?
Every single class feels deeply rewarding to me because I see the difference in my students energy after they practice. But one moment that sticks out to me the most is when a new student approached me after class and told me that this was the first time she felt like she was “in” her body in years. It really filled my heart, because teaching mindfulness and connection with the self is one of my deepest intentions as a teacher.
5. Who knew?
Hebrew is actually my first language… but I grew up in the US so I don’t have an accent! My name means “wave” in Hebrew, which is very fitting because I love the water AND I’m a Pisces.
6. Outside of yoga what is your passion/Where can you be found?
I love to be out in nature. To me, there’s nothing better on a sunny day than a quiet hike with my husband and dog.
7. What inspired you to be a student of yoga? To teach?
The first few times I ever took a yoga class was really just because my mom would go, and stretching sounded like fun. When I started going to class regularly on my own it was because I was seeking some refuge from an imbalanced life and a restless mind. For years, I felt disconnected from my own body and often from the people around me as well… yoga completely changed that over the course of several years. The practice did so much for me that I felt called to learn more about it. I signed up for a training immersion in Hawaii, and during my time there I was able to pinpoint what it is about yoga that was such a huge help to me. It was the practice of mindfulness - learning to be aware and conscious in the present. From then on I knew I wanted to share the practice with anybody who could possibly benefit from it as well.
8. One piece of advice you like to give your students?
Feel and observe with an open mind. Don’t worry if you’re doing it “right", don’t worry what others are doing. Your body will tell you if what you’re doing is right for you, if you listen.
9. Favorite yoga quote or mantra?
“When you learn to listen, everybody is the guru.” ~Ram Dass
10. Favorite yoga tunes?
I mostly love practicing to music with no words or simple chanting. Garth Stevenson, Benjy Wertheimer, Jai Uttal, Wah!, and Krishna Das are some favorites. Some days, nothing beats a good free flow vinyasa practice while listening to old school soul music. Follow Gali’s playlists on Spotify!
11. What else?
I am so honored to be part of the community at Blue Sky. I truly cherish every class and every person at the studio!
What Gali didn’t mention, but I will, is that she is also a Thai yoga massage therapist and presents workshops on pain management through self-massage focusing on releasing trigger points in the body using yoga therapy balls. Her next workshop is coming up March 22nd. Be sure to check it out!