About the Guest
Nikki Costello is an educator with 30 years of teaching and training experience in the Yoga and Wellness industry. She works at the intersection of social justice and Yoga with a focus on facilitating new models of embodied leadership. Nikki is a Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher (Level 3-CIYT) and a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT). In 2013-2014, she was a contributing editor at Yoga Journal, writing the magazine’s “Basics Column,” and in 2016, Nikki was named one of the 100 Most Influential Teachers in America. She is the featured Iyengar Yoga teacher on GLO. Nikki holds an MA in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation from SOAS, University of London and is a Ph.D. candidate at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Since 2020, she has taught weekly online yoga and meditation classes at Nikki Costello | The Practice. To learn more, visit Nikki’s website.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Sources of exclusion in the yoga classroom.
- Moving away from the performative aspect of studentship.
- Courage, safety, and trust in sadhana.
- Autonomy and choice in a yoga classroom.
- The virtual classroom as an opportunity instead of a limitation.
- Pedagogical practices that support or inhibit access, belonging, and diversity.
- Rethinking how we learn and how we create community within the framework of a yoga class.
Quotes from the Episode
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I’m not convinced my yoga is better than your yoga because I am not in your body or your life or your circumstances or family constellation. I do not know where you come from or what makes you tick. I do not know what your body “needs”.
If the yoga industry wants to thrive again, it needs to start teaching more than fitness. Fortunately, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel- all the techniques already exist within yoga’s traditions to offer a class that touches every part of our being. By offering more integrated classes that include pranayama, mantra, meditation and kriya, we can now provide a yoga experience, instead of just yoga poses.
Just as each feature of cosmic order has an essential nature, cosmic order itself has an essential nature. Bringing ourselves into harmony with the essential nature of cosmic order is the way by which we can live peacefully in the world. Conversely, dissonant action relative the essential nature of cosmic order brings about chaos and destruction.
I started attending classes because I had reached a place in my studies where I needed personal feedback about the experiences I was having. I took group classes for about one year before being approached to teach. I was completely ignorant of the culture of yoga building in the West and its historical context in the East. I was only interested in the practice as a psychology… as a way of spotting and shifting patterns of thought and behavior.