Xuan Lan, is a hugely famous online yoga teacher and she has just arrived in Mallorca, where she’s leading a retreat at es Racó d’Artà.
She’s been practising and teaching yoga for more than a decade, has upwards of 1.5 million followers on YouTube; over 500,000 on Instagram and has written several best sellers.
So what exactly is yoga?
“Yoga is an integral discipline, which not only helps the body, it also provides mental benefits: from calming the mind to improving concentration, creativity and sleep, as well as connecting with emotions.”
What are your values?
“Yoga is a philosophy based on ancient scriptures. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the reference work, which transmits values such as non-violence, in word, action and thought and honesty. It allows us to create a philosophical basis for our yoga practice.”
You studied finance and worked in banking, why did you to leave the corporate world?
“I really enjoyed the corporate world and the change was progressive. After a decade of practice I decided to train as a teacher. In class I found that teaching fulfilled me more than going to the office every day.”
What's it like teaching so many people?
"My passion has become a vocation and it is very satisfying. I believe that transmitting the harmony and peace that yoga provides to thousands of people, improves the world and contributes to social well-being.”
How should those with no yoga experience start?
“With the beginner classes, it takes time to get into each posture, listen to your breathing, not get lost with the instructions and connect with yourself. Beginners should try two or three different teachers, before deciding whether they like it or not.”
As a result of the Covid lockdown a lot of people started to pursue a healthier lifestyle, did you notice a difference?
“Yes, a lot, my social network followers doubled! In addition to the free content, a lot of people have signed up for my monthly subscription platform, XLY Studio. They want to increase their knowledge of yoga and personal development and understand how our brains and our emotions work.”
How do you balance the hustle and bustle of social media with the inner peace that yoga pursues?
“They are a means of communication and each one chooses how they use it. I communicate with yoga, values and advice; We can't label all social media as negative when they really accumulate very interesting content. They allow us to have an open door to the general public, which is something that was exclusive to traditional media.”
Before the pandemic, yoga was already becoming more popular, why is that?
"The main reason is stress. In western countries we live with the telephone, which is a constant source of stimulation. Our brain is not prepared to receive so much information. When the sources of stress are numerous and recurring, the body does not have time to rebalance itself. Through yoga we can learn to listen to ourselves and know our inner state.”
What do people feel when they are consciously meditating for the first time?
“You can’t generalise; each person has a different life and different concerns. When we are silent, a multitude of thoughts assail us and meditation calms and slows them down. There are true benefits to be gained from regular, almost daily meditation."
Is yoga related to religion?
"Yoga is not a religion, it has origins in common with early Hinduism from 2,500 years ago, but it has nothing to do with the Hinduism currently practiced in India. Yoga connects us with ourselves, not with a God. What they call the Divine Being is something higher, but it has no name, face, temple, or dogma. The Yoga of Devotion is a technique to surrender to this higher being and get rid of ego: we do not seek duality, but equanimity."