"If I know what love is, it is because of you."
WUA#2 ~ ElaMare
To be honest we thought we'd never find a match after interviewing our WUA#1 ~ Oliver Barnett. But what happened next was nothing short of a miracle...
Pure magic and perfection of the human body, mind and spirit ~ as close as possible to a real life mermaid ~ she walked out of the ocean foam right into the view of our camera, and tuned us like musical instruments into a symphony of self-appreciation, gratitude and joy!
Her line of creativity is in movement, breath, the internal and external balance of human body and mind: the Sattva Yoga Practice. We are so grateful for Ela visiting us literally 'out of the blue' and waking up Africa in herself and again, in all of us!
Meet WUA #2 Emanuela Alongi @elamare.yoga
WUA: Tell us about Sattva Yoga. What is your creative process?
ELA: Sattva Yoga is the practice that comes from the Himalayas and it comes from the tantric and vedantic traditions. Sattva means 'whole'. It's a very comprehensive and holistic practice. It's not just taking one technique of yoga, but it's taking different techniques, bringing them together: Pranayamas, Kriyas, Meditation, Movement.
Movement can be Hatha, Vinyasa, can be shaking, can be free movement, can be dance, laughing or any kind of movement. We bring everything together in a journey onto a beautiful canvas.
Sattva Yoga is very creative. I never know what I'm going to create. When I teach a yoga journey, I never know, I cannot really plan. I just connect to the energy of the space and do whatever spirit wants me to share in that moment. And what comes out is always an incredible journey, and this is why we don't call them yoga classes, because they are not classes, they are experiences, journeys within.
From the time I was born, I was a dancer, a singer. And this is what makes me so passionate about this practice. Because I can really express myself fully. When I teach it and when I practise it by myself, it allows me to create something unique: a canvas of experiences for myself as a teacher and for the people who join my journeys.
When I teach a yoga journey, I never know, I cannot really plan...
It's very clear that my retreats are not yoga holidays. My retreats are unique experiences of transformation and evolution, for people who want to experience life at the fullest, to discover their own power, to experience a life of bliss, to learn specific ancient techniques, to have that experience of life.
WUA: Can you briefly describe your origins?
ELA: I was born in Naples. In front of the sea. And I lived there for nineteen years. I've always had this passion for travelling and discovering and my dream was to be free and go around the world. When I finally took off, it was my dream come true. And from there I never stopped travelling, moving around the world.
I was born by the sea on the volcano. And that fire is within me...
So obviously I feel like I'm Italian. It's deep in my roots and when I'm there in my country I definitely feel that connection to the land. Naples is the place of the volcano. I was born by the sea on the volcano. And that fire is within me. It has always been. But when I was young I didn’t know how to deal with all this energy. There was so much within me, and yoga just showed me how to channel this energy, to understand it and to cope with it at times. It's very powerful..
WUA: Did you have any sort of creative education as a child?
ELA: Yes, I went to dance school. I was a professional dancer until I was 20. To move has always been my passion. Music, any kind of music. I would just go into my room for hours, and listen to music and dance by myself and sing.
I love singing and I sing a lot during the practice as well. The practice of Mantras is a very powerful meditation. So I use my voice a lot during the classes, during the journeys. It's really tuning into that vibration that takes you into a deeper space of consciousness, so everything is connected: the movement of the dance, the sounds changing.
My parents always helped me with education. For me, everything was always very natural, I was never one of those strict students, I've always done my own thing. I never liked rehearsals. At school I never really trialled things first, never repeated the lessons, stuff like that.
...get out of the Ego. And really embrace whatever is there. You are a channel for things to come into this world...
Even in my yoga retreats when I started yoga, at my very first teacher training, you know you have to do that class and you have to do the trial, prepare the class… I never did that. For me the most natural way was just feeling in that moment. Whatever wants to come through me. Because it's not about me. Whatever I do is not about me. It doesn't come from me. It comes through me.
And I think it's important to understand that. To get out of the Ego. And really embrace whatever is there. You are a channel for things to come into this world. We channel from something that is beyond our nervous system. It cannot come from the head, the things that come out during the yoga journey, during the retreat or a workshop... they are obviously coming from somewhere that is cosmic, that is universal. (laughs)
WUA: When did you wake up for the first time in Africa?
ELA: The first time I woke up in Africa, I was 25. I was on a school trip after my Master’s degree. We came to West Africa, to Ghana. So the first time I woke up in Africa, I was a student, I was in a completely different state of consciousness. I didn't know anything about yoga. I was a different me. I was in a different stage of my evolution. But I felt the incredible power of this land, this motherland. It was an incredible experience to be travelling by myself here in Africa.
So I had a school trip planned for about ten days and then I was like ‘Okay guys, I'm not leaving’. And I went to explore more of West Africa. I went to Togo, Benin, by myself. I wanted to know more. I wanted to get out of the routine of the school trip and what you have to do and how and everything. So waking up in Africa, for me, was 'discovering another world', discovering another way of living and going beyond what you see on television, what people say. It was incredible. And I knew I didn’t want this to be the last time. And since then I've been coming to different parts of Africa.
...I knew I didn’t want this to be the last time...
WUA: Do you think visiting Africa has somehow shaped your creative process? How do you feel this continent influenced what you do?
ELA: What I feel is… (takes a long breath) Divine Mother... In this place she is so vibrant, so abundant, so spacious. This current journey (eight weeks now) allowed me to really connect to that strength. Connect to the wild nature of the mother. This ocean, that people say 'oh it’s so cold... '... that's the nature, that's the raw nature of Divine Mother.
She is this way. She is not just a soft and nurturing mother. She can also be very fierce, a mother that protects her creatures in the most ferocious way. For me being in South Africa and exploring this raw and wild nature is taking me back to the roots of the cosmic mother. So for sure it's been very healing, and it’s been very inspiring for me to be here, for my creation. It really inspires me to go deeper into bringing this up in people, in everyone, the same way that I feel it. Inspiring people to go deeper into that connection with the Mother, with the Earth...
WUA: What is your process? Tell us a bit more about what you do.
...Yoga is a science...And a yoga master is an alchemist. ..
ELA: Yoga is a science. This has only been recognized in the last few years. All that the masters have been teaching for thousands of years, is slowly starting to be accepted by science as well. The effect of pranayama, the effect of breath-work and meditation on our brain health, it's now being used at schools, in corporations to manage their stress and to be more productive in less time. So yoga is a science. And a yoga master is an alchemist. There is no specific recipe. There is just creativity and connection to spirit.
WUA: Is there connection between meditation and creativity?
ELA: For me personally my most powerful insights come through during meditation. And why? Because when you are in a meditative state, you get into a space of no mind, where voices stop. Or at least they are less loud. And you are that connection with unity, the connection with the divine, the connection with the universe. From what we call the source. The source of inspiration, the source of creation, the source of existence. And when you are in that connection, there is where you are in the channel when you are able to create.
...The silence that allows you to listen to the sounds of nature. The vibration of nature. The vibration of our own heart...
Creation is not about us. It comes from the divine. When we try... when we want to do something creative and we think about it, it's not going to work, it's not going to come. Creation comes from spaces of complete connection with nature, with the cosmos. It doesn't come from the mind, it doesn't come from analysing, from thinking. It just reaches us when we are connected. And through meditation we connect to that space of silence and stillness that is within. The universe is created from a place of stillness, and then it goes into infinity in every direction. And this is where every creation comes from. Stillness and infinity at the same time. That's what meditation is about. It's about going into the space of stillness and silence. Silence is not absence of sound. When we say 'silence' we mean the silence of the ego, the silence of the mind. The silence that allows you to listen to the sounds of nature. The vibration of nature. The vibration of our own heart...
WUA: Tell us about your diet.
ELA: What you put inside your body is important. Personally, I have a vegetarian diet. Because there is unfortunately a lot of suffering coming from animal products. So whatever I eat I make sure that there is the least amount of suffering there. Because suffering stays in the energy of the animal that you are eating. And you take that into your body. And it is something that affects your energy as well. I also bless my food before eating, to clear it of all the bad energy that could have accumulated. Diet is important. Everything that you put into the body. You need to make sure that it aligns with your energy.
WUA: So where is 'home'?
ELA: Living the life of a modern day gypsy is very exciting, but it can be very ungrounding. So what I do for myself... the thing I do is to create my sacred space, my altar. That's something that grounds me. The concept of home is now very different for me from what other people have. Sometimes I talk to people and they say 'Oh, you don't have a home'.... but it's not like I don't have a home. I have many homes. And there is one home that always stays with me. It's here: it's my heart. And wherever I go, the Practice helps me to ground. Now Cape Town, South Africa, is my home. This beach has been my home for the last weeks. And I think it's been my home more than many of the people that actually live here. I have felt this beach. My place. (laughs) The concept of home for yogis is different. Home is not a place. It's a state of being.
WUA: Where do you connect? Where do you find power?
ELA: For me the place of power is where I connect to my own power. And for me that place is the ocean. I feel deeply connected to the ocean, to the depths. And free diving for me is a deep intimate connection with the divine. That connection doesn't need any intermediary. It doesn't need anybody in between You, and the divine...
WUA: What is it that makes you WUA?
ELA: I think we all have a WUA inside us...
People need to understand that yogis are not boring people sitting around in poses all day. We are real people, intense... You don't have to take drugs or get trashed. It’s the opposite: it means that you can tap into your own power of reaching bliss.
Because we all have that power within. That incredible power to experience ecstasy in life. We don't need anything else. Everything is there.
Yoga is about learning these practices that help you to discover the power. There is no healer that can fix you. There is nobody - we all have the power to experience the divine. And the divine is not a fairy tale kind of thing. The divine is freaking intense! This power, this energy. And sometimes it's so strong you don't know how to cope with it.
And that's where yoga comes, the practice of how to channel that energy. We are talking about kundalini, we are talking about sexual energy. Sexual energy is not only used for sex. Sexual energy is the creative power that we have. That's where existence comes from. That's why when we practice we can feel that sensual power coming up. That doesn't mean that we have to do some kind of sexual practice. Of course it's going to announce our sexual experience. For sure. But we can also use it for the creation of anything else in life that we want to manifest.
That's what yoga is about. That's what the practice is about. Bringing that energy up to the heart, to the crown. And just creating from that power. That's what WUA is as well.
...WUA is a state of being...
WUA is a state of being... And in places like this, in places like South Africa, for me, places like on this beach... it's where I can feel that connection more. Because it's so raw, so wild, so spacious and infinite. That's what WUA is for me: being by myself and feeling at the same time that I am one with totality. This is WUA. I am that: totality. Totality is me. This is me. It's not separate. There is no separation here...
It's important to get people exposed to what yoga is. There is so much bullshit about yoga online, about cute leggings... which is cool… I also have cute leggings, I can also put my leg behind. But if I couldn't, I would still be a yogini.
Yoga is about being real. And to be real you have to know who you are. If you do not know who you are, how can you be real? If you know that who you are is what people think about you then you have no idea who you are. People's opinions of who you are is not who you are. Be you. Be real... find your WUA!
Unity with all that is. With these waves, with the mountains, the trees, the flowers, the birds... This is what it is about. The connection with the Mother within ourselves.
...We have been given everything... The most important things that we have are for free...
So every morning I come to the ocean shores and I say 'thank you'!
There is no other life, there is no other place than here and now. Get out of that illusion. Heaven is here, right now. You cannot do anything wrong. Just live your life. Fully!
And if you don't like your life - change it. You can change it. Nature wants you to be happy. Nature wants you to be free. Nature wants you to feel bliss. This is the whole point of existence. This is the point of life. Feel bliss, feel ecstasy, feel love, connection, power. This is what life is about. Wake up! Just wake up! In Africa!