Why We Travel For Yoga – A Q&A With David Lurey

Vicky Iskandar
Why We Travel For Yoga – A Q&A With David Lurey

Yoga teacher David Lurey began his yogic journey in San Francisco in 1995 and started teaching in 2000. He’s spent the past decade traveling and teaching his hallmark signature yoga, a mindful spirited vinyasa, in which the mindful comes from the presence of the practice and anatomical awareness, the spirit comes from looking within, and the vinyasa represents our movement.

Now based on the island of Mallorca, Spain with his wife Mirjam, David teaches at Earth Yoga in Palma when he’s not leading workshops, retreats and teacher trainings in Brazil, Europe, and the US.

What Attracts You To Travel And What’s The Yogic Connection?

To me travel is two-fold. One is connecting to people. Two is experiencing different cultures from my own perspective. I’m definitely a catalyst in bringing people together from different communities. Through the yoga practice itself, there’s an inherent connection that happens through mantra chanting and asana practice that tells us we’re on the same vibration. Seeing and experiencing different cultures, I’ve also become more enriched personally, which allows me as a teacher to have a broader perspective on my teaching. Through cultural differences, there are different ways of teaching, different ways to share and different approaches to the same practice.

What Are Your Favorite Yoga Destinations?

Mallorca, Spain; Brazil; and Crete in Greece are my top three, because they’re all special places - geographically, energetically, and yogicly.

Mallorca is an excellent yoga destination that’s becoming more and more popular to yoga vacationers. The local community is very diverse and incorporates many different styles of yoga. The island’s easily accessible from every major city in Europe. In Palma, the capital, there’s a broad spectrum of yoga available. There are people who come to the island and create their own personal retreat. They’d rent a flat close to the sea and go to the local yoga studios. Practicing yoga in the dry Mediterranean climate is great for the bones and the joints - they get really nice and open here. It’s easy to take care of yourself nutritiously with the super healthy Mediterranean diet of locally grown vegetables. There are quite a few great retreat centers on the island with chefs who cook amazing healthy stuff, like La Serrania, where Mirjam and I will be leading our retreat in April. We’ll also be hosting two more events in Mallorca this year, a non-residential immersion in May at Earth Yoga and a one-week residential one in November.

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Crete is fantastic because it’s one of the most remote places that you can get to. Whereas Mallorca has incredible mountains, amazing beaches, and a real city in Palma, in Crete it’s like going back to the 1930s in terms of efficiency and communication. It feels like you’ve gone into another world. I lead a yearly retreat at Yoga Rocks at Triopetra, a retreat center run by an amazing couple with incredible food, all locally sourced. When you’re there, there’s only the retreat center, the beach in front of you, and the mountain behind you. We’ll be doing a retreat there in June 2013.

As a destination, from the diet, location, the climate and the sea, Brazil is wonderful. Montanha Encantada in Garopaba, where we do our yearly teacher training has a yogic feel to it. The owners have been yoga practitioners for over 30 years. The place lends itself to connecting with nature, which is very much part of my teaching, because of its connection to the sea, the jungle, and the sun. The energy of the place makes it easy for people to step outside of their daily routine. When you spend enough time there, yoga just finds its way into your life.

One other thing that makes Brazil special is the people. Brazilians have an inherent connection to spirit that helps others gain a new perspective on their unique quality of life, which is based on joy, community, music, and time at the beach, rather than how much money is in the bank account.

Nature Is A Big Part Of Your Teaching. What Is Yoga’s Connection To Nature?

Nature has a way of guiding us into a more natural way of healing. We constantly try to heal ourselves with outside sources. Nature can give us all we need. When we need some peace of mind, detach from the Internet. Get away from the concrete. Put our feet into the soil. Swim into a natural body of water. There’s a natural healing element that happens through nature that’s clearly related to the chakras. The elements have very specific effects on us – when we need grounding, put your bare feet into the sand, take a hike barefoot and just be out connecting to the elements of trees and earth. If we’re stuck emotionally, let water wash over us.

All of these three places, Mallorca, Crete, and Brazil also have beautiful clean air. When you go to places with clean air, there is a natural detox happening through different yoga practices such as pranayama. You don’t even need to do anything but breathe.

Photo credit: KadriKurgun.com