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Urban Ashtangi : Gorka Arana

Gorka Arana

There are times in life when that shot we made, to step out of our comfort zone, can indeed bring ourselves into a whole new experience. Or otherwise we would still be the same person in the same state of mind. Gorka pushed himself out of his cozy space and landed himself on this island in 2015, working in the international department in the financial industry. 

Following his brothers’ suggestion, Gorka’s first yoga experience goes way back in his hometown, Bilbao, Spain 10 years ago. His usual physical activities with running and hiking, he placed yin / restorative yoga as another activity for muscle stretching and as a stress reliever. With additional score points, practicing yoga can encourage good postural hygiene after sitting at the desk for long hours. 

Recent interest in photography, Gorka really knows how to take the opportunity to observe and extract the beauty of his surroundings!

1. Why did you build your practice with the Ashtanga Mysore method?

I came to Ashtanga Yoga (Mysore practice) without intention. After settling myself in Singapore, I realized that here the yoga offer was much wider than in my country, so I took the chance to try different types. 

Initially, it was just a complementary activity to my other physical activities like running, hiking or swimming. Gradually I started with physically more demanding practices and finally I discovered Guided Ashtanga in 2019. That was my previous step before I head into a Mysore practice in 2020.

I was not so keen to practice Ashtanga Yoga after reading that it was always based on the same sequence, which sounded like a dull practice. But, I gave it a try and I got hooked! The theoretical description of Ashtanga does not lie, it is always the same sequence, but the practice evolves together with you. 

2. What is your biggest struggle?

As a person who usually has done exercise in the evenings (and likes sleeping too), sometimes it is a bit hard for me to wake up early for morning practice. I know that there is an option to practice in the evenings, and actually I have done it, but at least based on my experience I think that Mysore practice is more beneficial when it is done in the morning.

“There are always struggles in the practice. There has to be.”

There is always room for improvement in terms of poses and you go incorporating new ones or a more challenging variant when your practice evolves. But this struggle is what makes the practice challenging and exciting.

3. What are some of the big lessons you learn throughout these years on the mat that you applied in your life?

Accept my limitations and work under these limitations trying to improve as much as possible without rushing and just looking for my self-improvement. That self-improvement that helps me accept and value myself. 

I like to think that this practice can be a sustainable well balanced physical activity for lifetime practice that provides a lot of benefits. I just want to enjoy the practice, adjusting it to the moment I live at each phase.


4. You are always smiling when coming to class, do you ever go to class when you had a bad day? How do you manage your mood?

As my practice is programmed in advance the mood is something that you cannot control but, to be honest, I am quite positive so I guess that it helps with that. 

Besides that, the practice is something I like so it is easier to be smiling when you are going to do something you like and provides you wellbeing. In addition, you both always make me feel welcome to the practice and that is a nice feeling.

5. If you can go back in your past, is there anything you would do differently in terms of your life and this practice?

I do not think so. Even though I know that I had many mistakes and there are many things I could have done much better, I am quite happy with the way things have gone so far. So, at this moment, I would not change anything.

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