Teacher Spotlight: Carolina Daza, The Global Yogini

“Stepping into, or out of, any yoga shala should always be an opportunity for connecting and painting the intelligence of our bodies, minds and hearts onto the greater canvas of the world that surrounds us, regardless of the language being spoken.”

Photo: Alexandra Meurant

Photo: Alexandra Meurant

“Curious, receptive, charming” are the three words that Carolina Daza, aka The Global Yogini, uses to describe yoga in Paris, and that seems perfectly fitting as those same three words describe Carolina herself! An adventurous and free-spirited globe-trotting yogini, Carolina’s hunger for yoga has taken her from her native Colombia to New York City to Paris, where she is now based. Believing in yoga’s holistic approach to nourishing the mind, body and heart, Carolina’s workshops are designed to truly feed every part of you with flowing asana and Ayurvedic cooking demonstrations and tastings!

What’s your yoga story?

I was born and raised in Barranquilla, an artistic Colombian city along the Caribbean sea, where a creative cultural fusion of European elegance, African rhythms, and Indigenous folklore feeds up hearts. There, I discovered the intelligence of my body and the way it could cultivate tranquility. At a young age, I engaged with my school’s dance teacher (who has become one of my yoga mentors) in guiding my body’s strong rhythmic vitality to connect with my heart and mind.

My official encounter with yoga took place when I began my university studies abroad in 2004, period during which I created Ecocozina.com -- my own social development project -- to promote lifestyles inspired by eco-yoga, natural cooking, and cultural creativity.

I began teaching yoga at a very early age. I had the chance to teach in universities like Georgetown and George Washington, as well as at Lululemon Athletica while living in Washington D.C. This dream paved the way for moving into the Bhakti Ashram of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and fully immersing in the New York City yoga universe, while simultaneously advancing my M.A. at New York University and working as an Artistic Director at the Tisch School of the Arts.

Living in NYC helped me understand a common conception of western life. Unfortunately, many still feel that quality of life is measured by how much each person can accomplish in the least amount of time, incorrectly assuming that our body’s physical energy is limitless, and that we must live as fast as we can to produce as much as we are able to. 

How did you end up in Paris?

While studying in New York, I embarked on various yoga/cooking teaching and training tours throughout Europe, including immersing in the Helsinki yoga community with Kylli Kukk’s Joogakoulu Shanti, as well as living in Copenhagen while interning in the kitchen of NOMAconsidered the world’s best restaurant. However, one of the most amazing experiences I have had took place in Paris. From the first moment I ever set foot in this city, I felt a cultural energy I had found nowhere else. Thus, I began an extensive research of the Parisian world of yoga, and was enlightened by the warm welcoming of Linda Munro at Ashtanga Yoga Paris. After teaching Ayurvedic cooking to a fantastic group of Dutch yogis in Ibiza, I made the full transition to Paris, to study at La Sorbonne and immerse in the Parisian yoga community.

In your experience, what are the similarities or differences between yoga in Paris and where you’re from originally?

Yoga in Colombia is growing at a similar pace as it is in Paris. Every time I go back home, I reconnect with my yoga community and teachers and recharge my heart. I might even dare to say that the curiosity with which Colombians are starting to practice yoga is absolutely analogous to the receptiveness with which Parisians practice it here. The complementarity between these two yoga experiences now makes me feel that yoga is something essential in human nature -- a common reference ground for our world’s multiculturalness.

Keeping this in mind, what do you consider to be the most unique aspect of practicing in Paris?

Without any doubt, it is the possibility of finishing practicing and walking out into one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Paris has a unique cultural and artistic charm that immediately becomes a valuable input to any yoga lifestyle.

Photo: Alexandra Meurant

Photo: Alexandra Meurant

What advice for you have non-Francophone yogis who are nervous about taking a class in Paris?

There are many yoga studios teaching in English. That said, my advice is to use this or any “language challenge” to empower even more one’s own yoga practice, connecting in an even deeper way to one’s own self. Stepping into, or out of, any yoga shala in the world should always become our own canvas to perform in connecting to the intelligence of our body, mind and heart, without regard to the language that is being spoken around us.

How would you characterize the Parisian yoga community?

From my short experience, I sense it is an open, receptive and honestly curious community. I feel men and women are searching for true holistic approaches to healthy, fun and creative ways of enjoying a yogic lifestyle. 

How has it grown?

I only have been here since October of last year, but as soon as I arrived I was already surprised at the immense variety of options available throughout the city. No matter where I go, or who I am with, I constantly find more and more people who are curious about starting to practice yoga.

Similarly, has your practice grown or shifted as a result of being in Paris? 

I feel my practice has grown much deeper in a short period of time. In NYC, I was mostly teaching yoga, and my studies took up a lot of my time. Here in Paris, I have been practicing with Linda Munro and Gérald Disse at Ashtanga Yoga Paris -- without a doubt, the leading Mysore school in Paris -- as well as been given the beautiful opportunity to share my yoga and Ayurveda knowledge with the community.

Recently, I came back from India where I taught at the Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Centerin Goa. Also, I had the opportunity to deepen my yogic studies at an ashram in Mumbai, while developing an artistic project at The Yoga Institute in Santa Cruz (the oldest yoga center of the world, where the modern renaissance of yoga is lived, researched, and has been taught by gurus for almost a century.)

In April, I will spend one week teaching at the Yoga House in Istanbul, Turkey and will be back in Paris by the end of the month to teach a creative yoga workshop at Inspire Yoga.

In three words describe yoga in Paris.

Curious, receptive, charming.

What’s your favorite post-yoga class treat? Any special addresses you’d like to share?

Ha ha ha! I have to admit I am being fully subjective, but I have to say the best treat any yogi could have is visiting SOL Semilla, a boutique-resto that is 100% organic, vegetarian, and vegan. I feel SOL Semilla is a place of inspiration and an avant-garde culture of wellness in Paris. We have a lovely community that includes yoga teachers, students, and anyone just striving to live healthier, happier lives. Be aware that this is the place where I work as chef de cuisine ;)

SOL Semilla
23 Rue des Vinaigriers