“Yoga language is much more than spoken words. Sure, there are details that you may not get here or there. But no matter the language, whether it’s in English or not, you’ll get out of it exactly what you need at that moment.”
Along with Laurence Gay (featured in a previous Teacher Spotlight!) and Charlotte Saint Jean, Mira Jamadi is pioneering Prana Flow in Paris. This liquid vinyasa style links the wave of the breath with the movement of the body in sequences that are nearly dance-like in their fluidity and grace. There’s a suppleness to the way Mira moves, and also to her approach to life -- like water finding its own level, her journey has taken her from Long Beach, California, to New York, to Los Angeles and finally to France. This September, she is leading two Prana Flow workshops at Atelier Marais, and teaching at the inaugural Yoga Festival Paris in October (dates of her workshops to come.) And in the months to come, you’ll also find Mira wending her way through Lyon, Nantes and Montpellier (Chakra Vinyasa Retreat with Shiva Rea!)
What’s your yoga story?
In some strange way, long before starting to practice yoga, I knew that it was something that I wanted to do. I’m originally from Long Beach, California and when I seriously started to practice yoga, there weren’t too many options at the time -- basically Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, or some blending of the three. For a few years, as I was in the process of discovering the practice of yoga, I was quite content and happy to be learning and experiencing something new. Over time, however, I felt that I had reached a plateau. I wanted to deepen and intensify my practice, but there weren’t opportunities to do so in my area.
I was nearly about to quit the practice altogether when my husband, Philippe (yes, a Frenchie), suggested that we check out the yoga scene in Los Angeles. We ended up at Sacred Movement in Venice Beach, which is now Exhale. It was co-owned by Saul David Raye and Max Strom. We were really excited to be in a new environment with teachers and practitioners who were really into yoga (If you’ve ever been to Exhale, you know that they really are INTO YOGA!) I was really eager to try all the different teachers on the Sacred Movement roster. I noticed Shiva Rea on the schedule and I told Philippe, “I think she’s done some DVDs or something.” So we both went to her class. And that’s it. That’s the end of my story… That first class with Shiva Rea was about seven years ago and I now I’m one of Shiva’s assistants as well as a mentor in her teacher training program. I eventually plan to become a Prana Flow teacher trainer. I’m fully satisfied, challenged, awestruck, and in love with Prana Flow to this day.
How did you end up in Paris?
I’ve been coming to Paris since I was a student at NYU where I became friends with a few Parisian students. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to be here. About three years ago, I decided that I needed to teach Prana Flow in France and so one year ago, my family and I made the move.
In your experience, what are the similarities or differences between yoga in Paris and where you’re from originally?
I love that in Los Angeles, yoga is so common and ordinary. If you happen to meet someone who doesn’t practice yoga, your instant reaction is, “What? You don’t practice yoga? Where are you from and what’s wrong with you?” I love that. I also love that we have regular access to every style you can imagine as well as access to great teachers. But, at the same time, because everybody practices and everybody knows everything about yoga, it can become very blasé. Students can be very cynical and totally unimpressed. It takes a lot to make them happy -- not quite the goal of yoga, right? What I love about teaching Prana Flow in Paris and in all of France is that it’s not very well known. Whenever I teach a workshop, there are always more than a few people who say they’ve experienced a yoga revolution! Obviously, it makes me feel good about what I’m doing!
Keeping this in mind, what do you consider to be the most unique aspect of practicing in Paris?
Paris is on the verge of becoming an important center of yoga, not only in Europe, but internationally. It’s an exciting time and place to be.
What advice fo you have for non-Francophone yogis who are nervous about taking a class in Paris?
Yoga language is much more than spoken words. Sure, there are details that you may not get here or there. But no matter what the language, whether it’s in English or not, you’ll get out of it exactly what you need at that moment.
How would you characterize the Parisian yoga community?
For the most part, I find the yoga community in Paris to be super open, welcoming, and eager to learn and experiment. It’s great.
How has it grown?
When I first started looking for yoga classes in Paris a several years ago, there really wasn’t a whole lot of choice. Now, there’s choice!
Similarly, has your practice grown or shifted as a result of being in Paris?
My teaching practice has changed in that one, I’m teaching in French, and two, I’m totally unafraid to offer an unedited version of Prana Flow. Teaching yoga in California provokes all kinds of expectations and judgements. In Paris, there aren’t these same expectations and judgements, so I just go for it. It’s totally liberating!
In three words, describe yoga in Paris.