Ibiza wellness: Nuria Schneider – Top Ibiza yoga teacher

Madrid born Nuria Schneider came to yoga via a serendipitous route when an unexpected solo trip to India changed her life. It was there Nuria first discovered yoga and thus began a lifelong relationship. Having spent more than a decade living in Ibiza and pursuing her personal practice, Nuria recently opened Ibiza’s first Mysore yoga studio in the heart of Santa Gertrudis.

The Ibiza Mysore studio is an unassuming room situated in a beautiful, leafy garden. True to the Mysore tradition, it is a pared back environment with few adornments. It’s a sacred space where every morning a growing community of traditionalists joins Nuria in one of the purest forms of yoga. A silent yet energetic ambience imbues the space where Nuria gently and firmly guides her students towards wellbeing.

When did you first discover yoga?
The first time I did yoga was in India. My mother asked me to go with her because she didn’t want to travel alone. At the last minute, she couldn’t come so I went by myself. I was at a Sivananda ashram. I loved it. I did a one-month course and then went to Mysore and started practicing there with my guru Sharath Jois. I now go back every year.

What changes did you start to notice after you started practicing?
During that month in India, my whole life turned around. I had quit university because it had never been right for me. I felt lost and it was as if my feet finally hit the ground. Suddenly I had calmness and balance and more confidence. I was able to make better decisions. It’s not only the exercise, its the breath, the eight steps, the intellectuality – for me its complete.

How do you feel when you returned to city life?
Coming home after India was hard to deal with, especially the discomfort around the energy of things that have no real importance like consumerism. After a while you rebalance yourself and a little by little you get used to life in the west again. Yoga is a way of life and you do it to stay in the moment. You don’t have to go hide away in a cave – we live in this world.

At what point did you decide to go from student to teacher?
I was doing training for my own benefit, to go deeper into the philosophy and practice, not because I wanted to be a teacher. I never thought I’d actually be a teacher. I didn’t think I was able to communicate anything. I’d had no experience. I kept going back to Mysore and over time, I started to teach there. I wanted to help people and transmit what I had learned to others.

What is your connection to Ibiza?
We used to come a lot on family holiday. My mother bought a house here 15 years ago and I came to live here. I was overwhelmed by life in Madrid and wanted a change. I became authorised to teach the second series of Ashtanga yoga by the KPJAYI of Mysore and n0w this is the first year of having my own studio, Ibiza Mysore.

What style of yoga do you teach there?
I do Ashtanga Vinyasa, following the tradition of Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath Rangaswami. Pattabhi founded Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore in the 1940s. There have been a lot of modernisations on the Ashtanga tradition, but the principle came from him. The best thing about Ashtanga is that it’s a repetitive series of postures. It develops strength physically and spiritually. The Mysore tradition is connected to a lifestyle that is based on the principles of ethics, purity and devotion.

What does an average class look like?
It’s not a guided class. I assist in a personalised way within the group. The session is three hours but students come in whenever they like to join. Because it is a repetitive series of postures, you can start at any time and know what you are doing. As students get stronger, more postures are added to advance their practice. It’s a very personal experience.

How do you describe your teaching style?
I try to teach in the same way I was taught. The best thing about Ashtanga is that it’s repetitive, so you always know what to do. I have boards all over the studio with phrases and notes about the basic principles. We do a lot of reflection. When they have doubts we stop and talk – it’s always very individual. Some people will come to me after class to go over some point or theme that has come up for them.

How would you describe your relationship with your students?
My students are part of the family. They come to practice early in the morning. It’s first thing they do in their days. I’ve seen so many changes in them. The people who started from zero, I realise they have become addicted! When I see people go into their interior, it’s the best thing. The thing I want most for them is to have understanding.

How would you describe your personal practice?
There are days where practice doesn’t go the way you want. On those days I just forgive myself. When something hurts, that’s where your lesson is. A while ago I was recovering from an injury and I had to return to more basic postures. It was a big step backwards but it makes you concentrate better, you breathe better, you slow down. It was a lesson for me to learn. That is yoga – to accept yourself.

What can you tell us about your gurus?
For me, focusing on my gurus helps me return to my path. They are a light guiding you. I keep their images in the studio to remind me of this. They inspire me on my journey. But also, anyone who practices yoga inspires me. And even those people who do not practice – people who know how to live. You can have the soul of a yogi without being a practicing yogi.

What is ahead for you and the Mysore Ibiza studio?
I will continue as I am. Everything it perfect as it is. Yogis are more comfortable with the confusion of life.

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