What a tremendous honor this is.
This month, as part of the Beautifully Organic for Life Connects With Series, I am Beeyond chuffed (get it?) to have been able to interview the talented and inspiring Bee Bosnak.
To say that this beautiful Yogini has impacted my own Yoga practice would be a significant understatement and I have been so so moved by her willingness to provide such raw and personal answers to the questions I have posed.
From her stunning cover shots for Om Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine, to the true courage she has shown in a recent deep life challenge and period of growth, Bee has kindly and warmly taken the time to open up to us and for that I am so very grateful.
Read on a Bee inspired…(sorry, there I go again)…
Bee, I started my Yoga journey about 2.5 years ago after the birth of my Daughter, when I felt the need to re-discover who I was and regain some strength (physically & internally). Please can you share with us where your journey into Yoga began?
My journey into yoga began in 2005 when I moved from my home town, London UK, to Los Angeles CA, the mecca of yoga. I lived in Marina Del Rey at the time and yoga studios were in every street corner. I would practice periodically when my full time job permitted, but truth be told I was a total slacker.
Looking back now, it’s hard to imagine that sometimes I would step on my mat once a month. I definitely didn’t start off as a dedicated yogi and it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns when I did my first headstand, but yet, I kept going as often as I could. Somehow I loved the way the practice always met me exactly were I was and took me exactly where I needed to go.
Fast forward to 2010, the year my partner and I moved to Portland, OR, a charming and beautiful city with quite the yoga scene. With so much time on my hands during this transition, loneliness was the key factor that took me to the mat. Once again, I had left my comfort zone, my best friends and the familiar lifestyle I had gotten accustomed to. All in the name of love and the desperation to build a solid marriage. I began to take classes around town 5, 6 times a week. The more I kept going, the more my practice and the way I began to see life took a different spin. I was ready to dive in deeper and learn not just about yoga, but really more about myself. After completing teacher training, with a blink of an eye, I was teaching 13 classes a week, guiding private clients in my home studio, writing for yoga publications, becoming an ambassador for health and wellness companies and landing on a magazine cover.
I had finally found my calling.
Bee, I struggle to put into words what Yoga has meant and continues to mean to me. Are you able to do so, for you?
For me, yoga is power, strength and the ability to cultivate courage so that we can become strong enough to walk away from anything that makes us feel like we’re stuck.
We’ve all been there, paralyzed about a decision, unsure what choices to make, stuck in resentment or disappointment we can’t quite recover from. Sometimes we get stuck in a plan that’s not working as anticipated, stuck in a destructive, unhealthy relationship with our lovers, family members or friends. When we’re stuck, things feel immovable, entrenched, and sadly sometimes even hopeless. Yoga gives me the exact tools I need to get out of my funk. It allows me to shine my light, discover new insights and most importantly change my attitude.
Of all the people I follow and love reading about, your passion for and dedication to Yoga really seems to shine through to me. In what way does Yoga impact your daily life?
I go by the motto “choose love, not fear.” Love is beautiful, powerful and always wins. Fear is evil, poison and can be very destructive.
Fear is the driving force for those of us who cannot live connected to our innermost authentic selves.
The perfectionist’s life force pumping through his veins is fear of failing. The people pleaser is terrified of rejection. The person who cannot access her creativity is afraid of ridicule. The challenge is not to eradicate fear. The opportunity is to lean into fear and harness its energy to expand and stretch out of our comfort zone.
At any moment in time, I am faced with two, and only two, choices. Although current circumstances may appear to present a myriad of choices, or even no choice at all, if I truly look deeply enough, I realize that the basic choice is always there. I may choose the path of love or the path of fear. Another way to say it is, I may choose the path of spirit or the path of ego.
Day in and day out, I aim to choose the path of spirit.
What is your “Yoga routine”? Or do you literally “go with the flow”?
When it comes to my yoga practice, I really don’t have a routine. I let my body decide what it needs rather than letting my mind take what it wants.
Yoga has seen me through many personal and physical struggles. How do you find Yoga helps you deal with life’s lessons?
This past year has been one of the worst and best years of my life. I left the love of my life of seven years and moved to a brand new city with a broken heart. I felt destroyed, hopeless and numb for so long. I truly felt like I had experienced a loss without death. Divorce was hard.
My biggest growth came to me when I used yoga postures to tackle my life’s challenges that came with this huge transition in my life. I consistently practice backbends to open my heart, so that I can expand my emotions and keep them from becoming constrained or submerged. Forward bends keep me in an internally aware and introspective state and inversions keep me inspired and help me build on my courage.
I use breathing and meditation techniques daily, and I feel better equipped to handle challenging situations by looking at them with a “yoga mind.” Yoga is something that I practice every moment of my life.
I loved seeing you on the cover of my favourite magazine, Om Yoga & Lifestyle, how did it feel to be recognized for what you do in such a fantastic way?
It felt great and overwhelming at the same time. Since becoming a yoga teacher, I have began really tapping into my Manipura chakra, which is the energy chakra, located right in the solar plexus (in the upper belly area, just below the lowest rib and just above the navel). This is the seat of my power in the world. When this centre is open and flowing, I am capable of translating my intentions and desires into manifestation, When this centre is blocked, I tend to feel frustration, envious and ineffectual.
The seeds of intentions and desires that I plant reside in my personal soul. Nourishing the seeds I wish to bring to fruition with my attention usually leads to their full expression. The process of manifesting my desires, wishes, hopes and dreams is first to bring them into consciousness, then expand my awareness through meditation, and finally releasing my attachment to the outcome.
Being on the cover of a yoga magazine doesn’t make me a fantastic yoga teacher or practitioner, just like getting my leg over my head doesn’t make me reach enlightenment. What it does is this; it creates a sense of accomplishment, a sense of “if I keep trusting myself with my intentions and planting my seeds, I will simply watch them grow.”
You also work in the world of fashion, at Bloomingdales in New York no less. Do you find Yoga and Fashion go hand in hand or do you prefer to seperate these two key areas in your life?
My home is surrounded with Buddha and Elephant statues, my jewelry box is full of OM’s and Hamsa charms and when it comes to my style, it’s more than just comfort.
A lot of yogis I know question fashion’s place in the yoga world because yoga is concerned with creating detachment from the material world, which of course seems counter to my obsession with fashion. My style is an expression of my creativity and the celebration of my life. I strongly believe that clothing, just like yoga, is a vehicle to self-expression.
It’s about personality. As a woman I love dressing up and I want my yoga clothes to be as vibrant and expressive as my practice. Simple shorts and a tank top does not cut it for me.
I love mixing and matching. Pairing an organic yoga pant with a witty vintage t-shirt I found in a thrift store, because quite frankly, I really don’t want to be dressed in head to toe Lululemon. So yes, for me, yoga and fashion go hand in hand.
It’s who I am.
Practising Yoga to music is something that has always felt really beautiful to me. I notice you do the same. Can you share with us why this is and what styles of music you enjoy when on your mat?
I truly cannot practice yoga without music and although I have tried, I have always left my mat unfulfilled. There is something about the melody and the rhythm of the sounds that intertwine with my body. Music helps me focus my mind and remove outside distractions. It helps me let go and breathe into the moment.
The tunes I listen to are not your typical yoga music. As a dedicated practitioner of power vinyasa, I always need an upbeat sound that will go along with my flow. I love yoga classes where house and trance beats are incorporated into moves. The mat somehow becomes my stage as I dance into the postures. My music collection for my home yoga practice is full of trance, house, progressive, new age and electro. I can definitely say I’m influenced by Europe.
Like B.K.S Iyengar said…
“Yoga is like music, the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul, create the symphony of life.”
I have always loved the fact that you are anything but the traditional Yogini. What would you say is your “style” of Yoga and who has influenced and inspired you along your journey?
I love mixing things up on my mat. I practice power yoga to become strong, courageous and brave. I practice yin yoga to enhance my compassion, to become grounded and slow down.
One special person who has inspired me through my journey has been my father; my greatest teacher. The man who taught me discipline, compassion and respect. He was my best and at times my worst critic. There were so many things that we disagreed upon, and this is when he taught me that life is not all roses and chocolates just like yoga isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Yet, we embrace it with all we have. One of the things that he would always emphasize on was being positive no matter what. That even when we are at rock bottom, we have the power and the strength to heal ourselves.
The other man who has made a print in my journey is my ex-husband. He taught me how to love and helped me become the woman I am today. His support and belief in my decisions will never go unnoticed. He is a true gem in my books.
You seem to spend a lot of time in Svadhyaya or with your nose in a good Yoga book or text. What have been your 3 most profound and enjoyable Yogic reads?
Svadhyaya, self-study, is so important for me because it’s part of my spiritual growth. By svadhyaya, I realize that I gradually transform my interior, wherein lies the problems of bondage as well as its solution of liberation. In that area of my being, the more I bring about an awakening, the more I bring about a transformation. It becomes like a total renewal. My old mind is cast out and a new mind is created. Svadhyaya reminds me that I will always be a student first, continuously learning. Through this practice, I also learn how to value my own knowledge and that helps me to live more fully, trusting myself, listening to my intuitions and never wanting to be someone else.
I rely on svadhyaya so much because it’s always available and can be practiced anywhere, any time of the day. It’s also important to understand that svadhyaya is not merely reading; it is self study.
Three books that have impacted my journey are:
- A Life Worth Breathing - Max Strom
- Yoga And The Path Of The Urban Mystic - Darren Main
- Taking The Leap - Pema Chodron
Finally Bee, I am always excited to give space for a little loving self-promotion. Is there anything you are currently working on, projects in the pipeline, or any final thoughts for those reading that you would like to share?
I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes:
"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail"
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bee, thank you so much. It has been a true pleasure to create this space with you and I wish you every happiness and success on your journey. Namaste.
Born in Turkey, raised in London and having spent half a dozen years on the west coast, Bee Bosnak recently took a leap of faith and moved to her favorite spot: New York City. Off the mat, Bee is a visual fashion stylist, writer for various online and editorial publications, including OM Yoga & Lifestyle, Sweat Equity, Gaiam and Women’s Health Turkey. She has also appeared on several magazine covers and is currently working on her first book Yoga for Asthma. She can be found documenting her yogic path on her blog
Photography by Christine Shields.