Gissele: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Love and Compassion podcast with Gissele. . we believe that love and compassion have the power to heal our lives in our world.
so don’t forget to subscribe for more amazing content. On today’s podcast, we’ll be discussing how yoga can help us heal and love ourselves. And our guest is the incredible Echo Giselle Winer, and who has, extensively qualified and a certified yoga teacher. And she’s also the host of the Echo Yoga YouTube channel, which is obviously available on YouTube, which is actually where I found her in doing, a lot of her, yoga.
I was looking on her website to how to describe her. And I encountered this beautiful, I guess little poem that I think also introduces the other non 3D aspect of her, which I’m gonna read a little bit of, if you don’t mind, echo, which is, I am not, I am not my body. I am not the texture, temperature, smell, sound, [00:01:00] or color of my body.
I am the vibration, the frequency, the intangible, knowing, unknown, the depth of my glare as I stare into your eyes, that is where you will find me. The story that comes from my mouth will not paint a picture of my essence where truth is wordless and indescribable. But tell me a story anyways, and let me tint your ear with enchanting poetry.
Echo: Thank you
for having me.
Gissele: Thank you so much for coming on the show. This is a real pleasure for me. I wanted to, I was wondering if you could begin, with the audience, by sharing with them how you got to be on this journey. whatever you wanna share in terms of really finding, kind of a hallmark space with yoga.
Echo: like what didn’t lead me to this journey? I think that’s the [00:02:00] truth of it. What didn’t lead me to this journey? you know, in the, the simplicity of that answer. Is, you know, I think, I think that life is yoga and that’s the beauty of yoga. I think we get confused sometimes on, on yoga being the asana, the physical postures being this, this workout.
But there’s so much more to yoga. And of course you would know that. And for me, I didn’t know that when I first started the journey. It was very much a physical practice that was used in a way to work with my physical body. And I’m so glad that I found myself on that journey because I had a coach that said, You know, you should really try yoga.
You need to calm down, you need to meditate, you need to breathe, and you need to just be. And I remember thinking, of course, I’m breath. I’m breathing right now, like I don’t need somebody to coach me how to breathe. And I remember finding that part of yoga very annoying and it was too still for me, and there [00:03:00] wasn’t enough movement.
And what I found over my time of just being on the yoga mat and learning to breathe and learning to tune into the more subtleties that I was actually quite numb most of my life, that I was quite disassociated from my body, and that I needed a lot of stimulation to feel alive. I needed a lot of distraction to stay in my body.
and what unfolded on my yoga mat in the first years was profound because it was so unexpected. I wasn’t looking for a spiritual experience. I was looking to simply have a nice flat stomach and to stretch my body. And what I found was like this essence of God or truth or source, or whatever you want to call it, but something unfolded on the yoga mat that led me back to myself in a way that I had never experienced before.
And I’m still on that journey, you know, 17 years later. And it’s been profound, and I’m constantly a [00:04:00] student every day again and again, beginning, beginning, beginning, and realizing like, yeah, every single thing has led to this point. Every single part of my life has led me to this path of yoga.
Gissele: Yeah. Oh, that’s such a beautiful answer.
And I think when you were talking, I think you just, you described, I know that I resonated with that, having had my own journey and being in that spot where, you know, you don’t realize that you’re not breathing, you are holding your breath a lot of the time. And there’s so many people right now in the world holding their breath, you know, taking shallow breaths and, and not really wanting to be in their body, in their space, just looking for distractions.
and from that perspective, yoga can be so, healing. so one of the things that you mentioned is your talk about the essence of yoga. What do you think that, what do you say the essence of yoga is?
Echo: Hmm. The essence of yoga, I think, or I feel, I feel the essence of yoga [00:05:00] is presence and it’s truthfulness and presence is, is like the biggest gift that we can give to anybody.
It’s the biggest gift that we can give to ourselves and it’s so rare. In our lives, society has us in transactions. We’re so transactional. We’re constantly purchasing and consuming and acquiring, and it leaves so little space to just be and to be present. And that’s, that’s really what has brought me again and again to the mat when I lose my way.
And sometimes even being a yoga teacher and offering classes online and having this whole space and this platform around yoga, I find myself wandering for my yoga mat or my meditation cushion, and something inside feels imbalanced and I feel anxious or I have energy in me that I’m not able to guide in a skillful way.
And I, I get curious like what’s happening right now, and each time it’s a lack of [00:06:00] presence. And that’s what leads me back to the yoga mat or leads me back to the philosophy of yoga, or the meditation or the breadth of it is simply echo. You’re not being present. Go be present. And so that brings me back to the path over and over again.
Gissele: And that’s, really great. one of the things that I know that, I’ve heard for all my listeners is that, being fully present can be, can feel scary, because there is, a whole bunch of fears or unaddressed emotions, un felt feelings, and that sometimes that can feel really overwhelming. I think people don’t know how to be truly present in the moment, and especially if they’ve got a lot of negative thinking.
what can help those people kind of, embark on the journey towards greater.
Echo: I think slowing down and moving step by step. We think that we need to, if we’re gonna go on this spiritual path or we’re going to go practice yoga, that we immediately need to [00:07:00] be absorbed into the world of it. So our day is like every day we’re doing yoga, we’re meditating, we’re reading yoga philosophy, we’re chanting the sutra, and true, truly just giving ourselves spaciousness to.
Really sit in what we don’t know yet and what doesn’t feel comfortable, and choosing just one thing for a moment that doesn’t feel comfortable and pushing our edges slowly. It’s like we want to push the edges past the fray to get to the finish line immediately, almost as if we’re in our job or we’re in a relationship or we’re consuming a product.
And that’s, And yoga tells you like, Hey, just like, wait, be patient. Like it comes with time. And so I think for anyone with that overwhelm or that frustration of so much coming up, it’s like just be with what comes up, step by step and create boundaries and create the safety and the containers that you need in order to really.
Go within yourself to just be, with what comes up. And don’t try to solve it all. [00:08:00] Like it. You don’t need to solve it, and don’t if you can, try not to go to somebody to ask them to solve it for you either. Just let it be unknown. Let yourself be confused. Let yourself be a bit frustrated and taken aback by it, and just observe, become like the sharp witness to your experience and your reactions to life
Gissele: and, and what helps you in those moments.
because the unknown can be scary, right? What helps you really sit with the unknown and not let your mind just take you to the worst case scenario?
Echo: my breath. Honestly, like my favorite mantra, and I say this in all my yoga classes, so if you’ve done them, you’ve heard me, but I consistently am telling myself throughout the day, Breathing in, I’m aware that I’m breathing in, breathing out.
I’m aware that I’m breathing out. And anytime I’m overwhelmed in public on a bus, in traffic, in a confrontation, I close my eyes and I come back to that because [00:09:00] that brings me back into presence. And when I’m present, I generally am not overwhelmed when I’m really present. Because when I come out of presence, then comes the anxiety.
When I come out of presence, then comes the numbness. But if I’m fully present and I’m doing that mantra of breath, that’s all that I can focus on. That’s the only thing that exists in that moment. And then I can just fully breathe for my belly and take those full diaphragmatic breaths that bring me back into my body.
Gissele: and and I love that because for me, the gift of that has been. The awareness of the abundance that exists, like in the abundance of breath. I don’t have to think about the breath is just there for me supporting my life. And, and, and it reminds me of that, that, full support that I feel I receive from the universe
I think what you’re just, what you’re saying is so important to me to note on abundance because, [00:10:00] and this is taking a little bit of a tangent, but something that has created so much suffering in my own life, and I’m sure many people can relate to this, is the loss of love, the feeling of loss, period of intimacy, of deep connection, and something that I used to always believe.
Really in my core, before I really got onto this path was that when I lost someone or I lost a connection, that they walked away with the abundance. That whatever opened in me, the love that I had, the care that I had, once that person left in their body was no longer in the room, were close to me. Then I lost access to that abundance.
And something that one of my teachers once told me was, Echo, when you love and when you come out of relationship, like the abundance that you have in that, you don’t lose that. That’s what abundance is. Abundance is everywhere We are love, we are, we are everything. And so if somebody walks away from you or they leave you even in the most painful of ways, [00:11:00] you don’t lose that love.
Like you’re still abundant. They can be abundant. You can be abundant. That’s what abundance is. And so for me, This has been such an important lesson because even in the most melancholy and dark and heavy moments where the days are dark and the rain is just pouring and there’s thunder and there’s lightning, and I’m just so overwhelmed by my feelings, when I can come back to the breath, I can remind myself I’m safe here.
Like I close my eyes, I’m in my breath, and the breath is always there, and that is abundance and that is love. And that state is always there for me to take. No one can take that away from me no matter what happens, like that’s available to me always.
Gissele: So beautifully said. And I think loss is something that we all, work through, right?
whether it be the loss of a relationship, it’d be, you know, the loss of, abundance like financial or the loss of like health or, you know, wellbeing or whatever. I [00:12:00] think we as a society, I think where as a collective we really are in that fear of loss, but like you said, when you come at it from a place of there is no loss in the universe, nothing’s ever created or destroyed, and it’s always like in this abundance, it’s always accessible to us.
It does make us feel safer. It does make us feel more supported, which I think is important, at least has been important in my journey.
Echo: Yeah, and I mean, yoga really kind of creates the pathway to befriending and coming into a lover ship with your body. Like truly your vessel becomes your sanctuary. It becomes your church, you know, your mosque, whatever you may want to call it, it’s your holy place.
And that little rectangle that you have when you roll out your yoga mat, it, it is your home. It’s, it’s your holy place. And so I really treat that space when I’m there as like, this is my time with all of Myselves and my body, and to know myself [00:13:00] deeper, my higher self, my little self, my inner child, my protectors, my managers, all the parts of me exist there in that moment.
And it’s like the great meeting of the family that is like me, the universe that is me unfolds on that space. And you just fall into this deep, Yeah. This deep, deep lover ship with everything that is you. And I
Gissele: think that comes across in, in the videos that you post on your YouTube channel. You know, one of the things I, that I love most about your videos is that, they’re so loving and welcoming in the sense that, you’re not striving for perfection.
In fact, you see the perfection in each moment, so you can hear, you know, like the families in the background and you can hear the animals and the birds and the, and I think that is so beautiful because so often we try to manufacture this image of perfection rather than really allowing the perfection already exists in each and every moment to, to [00:14:00] flourish and to really be seen.
actually, it’s one of my favorite parts when you can hear all the different sounds and just kind of integrate them into your practice.
Echo: Yeah, it’s, it’s strange to me these days with the online world, we take the humanity out of our, our experiences and we become products.
And I don’t wanna be a product, you know, I’m an ally to people by putting these posts online and. When I first started posting classes, it was more of I, I didn’t really imagine what it would become or that people would actually watch it. It was more of a, Here I’ll put my classes online. I have somewhat of a portfolio to show or treat centers when I’m traveling the world of what it is that I teach.
And it can be a reference for them. And it took on a life of its own. And I think the reality of it, I make mistakes all the time. Like, I don’t know how many times I’ve pushed. Yeah, I’ve pushed record and I said, Hi, my name is yoga. Instead of saying I’m Echo, or how many times I’ve sung out of tune or, you know, made [00:15:00] weird, loud sounds with my breath.
And I think that when other human beings are watching these videos at home doing yoga, already feeling a bit maybe insecure or not seen or acknowledged and fearful of going into a yoga space, that’s perfect and beautifully manicured and. Everybody is doing the postures this perfect way. It gives them the permission to just be themselves, to have their cup of tea, to come into child’s pose if they need to.
And it’s more like, you know, doing yoga with a friend. Like we’re sitting beside each other. And I’ve had many people say that. They’re like, Oh, it’s like, you’re just right there with me. And so I don’t want the professional lighting and like the perfect audio and blinking everything out. It’s like you’re, you’re wherever I’m, wherever I’m at, you’re practicing with me.
If I’m staying in a tent, we’re gonna do yoga by the tent. If I’m staying in a pent house, you’re gonna do yoga with me in the penthouse. It’s like, maybe we’re gonna be by a river, maybe we’re gonna be by a barn. Who knows? .
Gissele: Yeah. And, and you know, I think that’s one of my,[00:16:00] favorite aspects of it is that it’s from what I perceive to be a level of self-kindness and self-loveit’s okay, you just accept yourself.
You just fully are in that moment, in acknowledging that part so that you can allow that to, to go. and I think so often we shame ourselves into perfection and thinking that it has to be perfect, otherwise I will not be acceptable or somebody will think I’m not professional. but I think the journey towards getting acceptance is really accepting ourselves.
Echo: I mean, that becomes your super power if you can love yourself and you can accept yourself. You’re a dangerous person to a society that wants you to fit into a certain box. And that’s something that I’ve learned over the years as well, is that at this point I am like so madly in love with, with who I’ve gotten to know myself to be and the inner workings of my universe.
And I could spend the rest of my life just in relationship to echo like, you know, the inner me. And I would be fascinated [00:17:00] and in awe of all of the things that exist within me and the things that are possible and the capabilities and what I can learn. And so now I don’t need so much to seek outside myself for others’ approval or validation like I did need when I was younger.
And so when I come into connection with people, I can just freely be myself because I’m not trying to peacock for anyone. I’m not trying to impress anyone. I just show up as I am. And. I really, I really don’t care to be perfect anymore. Like I, I wanted to be seen a certain way, I think when I was younger and I wanted to be impressive, and now I just wanna be free.
And so I think this is what is so beautiful about how this kind of channel and the practices and my school has, taken shape. It’s given me so much freedom to really be myself, to work for myself and work in a way that doesn’t feel like work anymore. I’m able to bring the people that inspire me to teach with me on my trainings and to teach on my channel and to offer their [00:18:00] gifts to the world and allow them to be free, to be imperfect.
And I’ve said that to people before that have made comments on the channel about, This is too dark, or you shouldn’t have said this, or you shouldn’t have said that, you should edit this. And I just say, I’m not gonna do that. I’m a per, I’m a human, you know, I’m not a robot. And if you want somebody that’s going to be perfect, then this isn’t the channel for you.
And I’m perfectly happy with not being acceptable to some people and being acceptable to others. And I think that is, that creates so much freedom in your life. Mm.
Gissele: I think you’re right. I, I do agree with you that when you love you and fully accept yourself, you do become the most powerful being in the world because you are no longer giving your power away.
and so, yeah. So, but, and then that’s a journey, right? That’s the journey, I guess. Going back to the, the noises and I remember the Italian family that you could hear in the background, like I started to get curious about them. I’m like, Oh, I wonder what they’re like and, and what their day is.
You always hear them kind of [00:19:00] prowling around and you know, that was one of the ones that really stuck out with me. I’m like, Oh, cuz I guess my background’s Italian. And so I was like always listening for the, for the kids playing. And it always made me feel so joyful.
Echo: Oh, I love that. Yes. That Manolo Manolo, that’s, the place that I lived in Mexico, Manolo, he’d sometimes run into the yoga videos, which was really enjoyable as well.
Gissele: Yeah. Yeah. And, and I love that as a person has gone through their own journey of, of perfectionism and needing external validation. I think my journey has kind of taken an extraordinary turn in terms. Understanding that everything really comes from within in that, and really understanding the whole concept of true power.
What true power really is. And we so often, you know, idolize and lift up individuals that we perceive to be powerful and then don’t really acknowledge where true power really lies, which is in the individuals that are just quietly [00:20:00] being loving and compassionate and, and really, truly loving themselves, and therefore, that spills over to the whole of the world.
consider you one of those
Echo: people . Yeah. And yeah. And living in a world where you’re kind of taught to love yourself is to be selfish or to be, narcissistic. You know, this word gets turned around a lot and I think it’s important to be a bit selfish, and it’s important to be self centered at some points of like, my needs come first for me in my life.
You know, Who’s going to care for me more than me? And I think it’s important that we give ourselves that, right? You know, we give ourselves the right to be number one in our lives, and then for our dharmic path or our purpose to be number two, and for our relationships to come third. You know, a lot of people put their relationships first and it’s like, okay, I’m in an intimate relationship.
You’re my universe now. And it’s like, no. Like I’m still getting to know the universe that I [00:21:00] am, you know, I don’t, I don’t have space to just give that up to. Melts into someone else. And we’re really taught by movies and books and songs to be codependent in nature and to give, to create our identity around our connection to tribe or our connection to others.
And I think it’s so important to first know yourself deeply. Make yourself, number one, make your work. Number two, work that you’re really passionate about. And then comes the tribal aspect, because then when you show up, it’s out of gratuitous love. Like once I love myself and I love my path, and I love what I’m doing.
When I come to you, I have so much love to give. That’s not transactional. You know, I’m not coming to because I need something from you to fill me up. I’m not trying to fuel myself with you. And we constantly even say, Relationships feed us. Does this feed me? I don’t wanna have to feed off of my friends and my lovers, you know?
That’s right. I don’t, I don’t wanna be a vampire. Yeah. I wanna, [00:22:00] I wanna show up and I wanna nourish these relationships. I don’t want to deplete them of their energy and life force
Gissele: thing. What you’re talking about is this unconditional love that when you are so full of that, that love within your vessel, it just, it, it overflows from you and you can give to people from your overflow without the need for them to be different or for them to give you something or for them to change.
and that they can feel like an, an overwhelming journey. Right. so my question to you is, what helped you be more like to fully, fully love and have compassion for yourself..
Echo: Well that I, that, that journey was a dark one, that’s for sure. And through love, through intimate love, erotic love, like the love of intimacy, I feel it was never the relationships in themselves that were so important.
It was the breakups. It was how I dealt with the breakups and the transition of the loss of the [00:23:00] person. And I had two significant breakups that really broke me. And interestingly enough, one of them was right at the beginning of my yoga journey. And I didn’t learn the lesson in that breakup that I could have.
Yeah. And so history repeated itself. And a few years ago I found myself in another really, really painful, portal in a relationship. And in. I was just so humbled to my knees. Essentially, I just was brought to my knees, and humbled in a way where I just felt so much pain. So, so much pain because I, what I realized was my desire to be in a loving relationship.
It actually always stemmed from being loved. I really wanted to be loved, but I didn’t want to love, I wanted to be loved. The aim was that the aim was, I want someone to love me. I wanna experience what it means to be loved. But the thing is, is if that’s what I’m going into a relationship desiring, I’m not [00:24:00] going with the gratuitous nature.
I’m going cuz I want something from you. And I didn’t realize that these relationships were transactional for me. And after being humbled and kind of broken down and feeling broken, I had to realize like I was never broken and your heart can never be broken and that I am resilient. And I was shown. The light essentially in the darkest night of the soul where I just had kind of given up and was in this victim mentality, feeling helpless, feeling sorry for myself, going through all of the things that we go through when we feel like everything has been taken from us.
And there was like this voice inside that was like, Get up, stop being dramatic. You’re catastrophizing, you’re not dying. Your heart is not broken. You have the ability to love. And what it taught me there was let your aim be to love and not to be loved. And you will find so much more love and you will feel the enjoyment of what it means to truly love without energetic hooks and [00:25:00] people.
And so for the last couple of years, that has been my practice of, I go into connections. And of course it’s beautiful when somebody stays for some time and you have a story together and there’s a journey. But I let people go, You know, I let them go if they need to go, if they have a journey, if their D path takes them somewhere.
I simply open my heart and I leave it open. I don’t contract because I don’t get what I want, and the love isn’t lost. It just transitions into different constellations. We think in relationships, okay, If we’re no longer intimate, this has to end. We have to break up even that word to break up. This is such a terrible terminology.
Like what do we have to break up? Like I wanna see this more as a, how do we continue this love, but in a different way? And so the relationships that I have now are more about, we transition from. Maybe it’s motherships, and intimacy to friendships, to kinship, to brother, to sisterly love [00:26:00] and we stay within the tribe.
And that love that’s unconditional cuz it’s like just because you leave and you go to have another relationship with somebody else and experience intimacy and our story is transitioning. I’m not gonna take my love from you. My heart is open to you. Like the door that exists here, that has opened to you in the room, that exists here.
It’s always there. And anytime you need to come, like you have a bed to rest in and I will be there to embrace you and hold you. My love is not conditional. So this has been powerful and painful. It’s been painful cuz most people don’t love this way and it would be nice to receive this of course, but me letting go of that surprisingly has invited it in in other ways where I do receive unconditional love.
It just looks a lot different than I thought it was gonna look when I was younger.
Gissele: Yeah, what you said was so, so powerful. In so many different ways. And I think what you’re opening up to, or, or [00:27:00] have opened up, for our audience is really a re knowing of love, not as something that is, is kind of from that zero sum game lack perspective that, you know, like, this person is the power to take away love or to give me love, or there’s so, so much love that I can go around.
I have to love this person, but not this person to one where love is unlimited, where, where you can open up the potential. So, so much love to be, love to, you know, offer yourself and have that love come back to you. and yeah, I, I think it’s an, an absolutely wonderful journey. when I realized that shift for myself, I, I thought it was.
I had a similar shift in terms of understanding that I didn’t need to go externally out. And I think my goal now is like, how can I be more loving? How can I be love? I’m not always there, . Mm-hmm. . And you know, when I have to meet myself where I’m at there when I’m not there. but the, the desire [00:28:00] is there
Echo: Yeah. Well what you just said is so beautiful. I love that. Like, that self-acceptance when you’re not there is also important of like, I’m a human and I’m imperfect and sometimes I want what I want and sometimes I want this, I want this person, I want this thing, I want it to love me in a certain way. And I think it’s really beautiful and vulnerable when we can say that.
And we don’t play games with each other. We’re not trying to get people to. We let people know like, Hey, this is what I need. This is what I want, this is what I long for. What are you able to to provide in that instance? And then maybe somebody says, Yeah, I feel the same way. I wanna provide that love for your, Maybe they say, That’s not what I feel in this space.
And then we can have choices. But like, kind of circling back, what I was gonna say before is this, is that whole idea, the new age, look at polyamory. To me, we’re all polyamorous. Like if you have two children, if you have two children, you love both of your children. That is [00:29:00] polyamorous to me, is just, you’re loving multiple people.
And what I find so sad is this suppressive nature that we have in our culture of, if I’m in a romantic relationship, I can’t possibly love anyone as much as I love this partner. But I, what I see in my relationships is I love my friends in a profound way that I also love my partners, but. The things that we experience together and the proximity that we have with each other, it’s different.
You know, there are things that I will do with my intimate lovers that I’m not gonna do with my friends, or I’m not gonna do with my parents, but I have so much love for each of them. And love is just love. Like love. When my heart is open, love is deep, and it’s profound and it’s warm, and I experience it in a certain way with many people.
And so this idea that we have to restrict ourselves and that we need to validate one another by saying no, the love I have for you is unique. And it’s not for anyone else, it’s just for you. We’re just [00:30:00] perpetuating kind of this helplessness into our relationships where we feel like we have to complete each other.
But if we could just be open and honest and say, I love everyone. You know, I love so many people, so many being so many things, and I choose you. I love you and I choose you. I choose you to share my daily connections with, This is where my proximity is. This is where my body is, this is where my heart is.
But also, I exist in so many places and I’m loving so many things simultaneously, and that doesn’t take away anything from you. So we get rid of that scarcity mindset of if I love over here, it takes away from you. It’s like, you’re not getting any cookies if I get cookies over here, .
Gissele: That’s right. That’s right.
But when you think about even the concept of marriage though, right? And I’m married, right? Like there’s an element of lack, right? There’s an element of I need this paper and I need this assurance and I need this. And so the whole structure itself and where it comes from, it [00:31:00] does come from that place.
And so I think we’ve kind of super imposed our ideas on what romantic relationship should look like without outcome. In mind without really truly understanding, number one, what love really means to us and how to love ourselves, and then being able to understand how we could fully love others. Right.
Echo: Yeah, I love that. I love, that’s so beautiful how you said that. Like even speaking to the fact that you’re married and seeing the limitations on the way that we experience things in the modern day world, like marriage doesn’t have to be restrictive. You know, because I, I read this the other day in a book.
It actually said, When we speak of marriage, we speak a lot more of what we’re not allowed to do, more than what we are allowed, which is really interesting. You know, it’s like you get this thing and you get to have this new experience, but the way that we explain it is what you’re not allowed to have instead of what is there.
And so it’d be so [00:32:00] beautiful if we were able to, to take away the limitations to things and create. new shifts in the way that we experience our relationships and we experience ourselves and love. Hmm.
Gissele: And I think that’s the purpose of these sorts of conversations, right? As you share your wisdom, it really does plant seeds in our audience to be able to play with these ideas, as my husband says, play with these ideas.
You know, as, as you know, as for the potential to change, for the potential to be open, to reimagine all of these structures and ideas. Not from the base of fear, but from a base of more loving and compassion. Kindness and curiosity. And curiosity and all the good things. Yeah. Yeah. I’d like to go back to, loving our bodies like cuz because yoga is, is, as you mentioned, there’s a spiritual component to it, but there’s also a physical aspect to it.
Mm-hmm. in those moments where it’s hard fi hard to find the pose, or it’s hard to bend and [00:33:00] move, what helps you Show up for yourself in a more loving way
Echo: yeah. Well interestingly enough, this is something I’ve been on the journey with in the last two years. I’m 38 now, so I’m getting closer to 40.
And the body is aging and things are changing. And what I could do, do so easily when I was 20 years old doing handstands and back flips and you know, getting into the splits and just kind of jumping around without warming up. It’s not as accessible for my body now and I’m a yogi, you know? And some people say, Wow, that’s really wild to imagine that you have those limitations.
And I’ve started to put that into my practices as well, that I’m filming online. And people will even write, Wow, you have body pain as well. I wouldn’t think that you would have body pain cuz you’re a yoga teacher. . And so I’m, I’m doing my best to be more authentic in that because I have something happening in the right side of my body from a snowboarding injury that exists in like the pure foremass and my, my right glute [00:34:00] need that’s deep and it’s like this cing hot kind of pain that happens a lot when I’m doing forward folds and I have an asymmetry in my body because I have scoliosis, so my right leg is longer.
Then my left leg. And as you get older, those asymmetries become heightened in a way. Your body gravity is pressing. And so I have to be so much more aware of how I’m moving my body now. And in a way, it’s such a gift because I’m noticing when I’m on the yoga mat, I am starting to move more intuitively instead of the practices that I was taught when I was younger from Ashtanga and from Biro and from Iyengar, to be very strict.
And this is the posture, and it has to be equal on each side. You need to really intuitively think, okay, if this side is less open than this side, maybe I stay on this side for a minute longer. You know, if I have a, if I have an extension on this side, my right leg is longer. Do I need to extend my foot a little bit [00:35:00] further up the mat so I can bend deeper into my knee when I’m doing a certain posture?
And so I really take the time. To use it like a playground. It’s like a body playground. Cause my body is changing and it’s different each time I come to the yoga mat and I give myself love on the yoga mat. I’m like, Oh, the right side is feeling really tight today. It’s too painful to stay here that long, so maybe I don’t stay as long on the right side as I stay on the left.
And it’s about exploring and if you’re following along on a YouTube video, if you need to pause the video, it’s about like taking care of what you need to do because each body is unique. And to put on a practice and say, This is the practice, you must do it this way for everybody, is wildly inaccurate because the way that our joints even fit, you know, in the ball and socket, some of us have femurs and like arms that sit into our shoulder sockets and into our hips that are just different and they are not, they’re probably [00:36:00] never gonna open into external extension the way that we want them to.
And we can force, and we can force and we can do every yoga practice online and go to a class every single day. And we just have to give our body permission to be where it’s. And to be different and to be asym symmetrical. I rarely meet somebody that’s perfectly symmetrical. So to have these perfectly symmetrical practices is really unrealistic.
So I think letting your practice look a little messy, but being really unique to yourself and exploring, using props, using couch cushions, using encyclopedias like furniture, yoga. Like bring the props that, like get a chair, you know, if a forward fold laundry for you. Yeah. Or clean laundry . Yeah. If forward folds hard for you, get a, get a chair and like assist yourself.
We don’t need to make it look beautiful and perfect and each just feel good. That’s what it needs to be. It needs to feel good. Or at least not [00:37:00] excruciatingly painful like it can be.
Gissele: Yeah. And again, that’s really what I appreciated in your practices, the allowance, inviting, the curiosity.
The lack of the need for perfection. the, just the embracing and acceptance of my body where I’m at, you know, whether it be emotionally or physically. I think one of the things that I,know about your practices is that, you talk about desiring wholeness, not, you’re not aiming for happiness, you’re aiming for whole.
Can you talk a little bit about what you mean by that? What, what does wholeness really mean to you, for you?
Echo: Well, I feel like we live in a culture that I can say sometimes is really targeted towards like toxic happiness, toxic joy, where it’s like, be happy, be orgasmic, be pleasurable, be stretchy. Like all of these things.
And I, I see a lot of spiritual bypassing in the yoga world and the spiritual [00:38:00] world as well, of if you’re angry or if you’re inflexible, if you’ve got a lot of body pain, it must be your issue. It must be your mind. You must be suffering. You’re doing something to create this for yourself. And I feel that we all.
There’s purpose for the challenges that we go through. If you’ve got a tight, rigid body that has a lot of pain in it and it doesn’t want to feel super enjoyable and free and open, then allow it to be as it is softly. Just care for it. Nurture it each day until it’s ready. But if you’re going into shame around, Why am I not flexible?
I’ve been doing yoga for five years, why can’t I do this? Why can’t I do that? This is not a wholesome practice. So when I say to be wholesome, Instead of happy. It’s more about, I wanna feel what I feel, and if I feel sad, if I feel rigid, if I feel angsty, if I feel angry, I’m gonna bring that into my practice.
If I’m angry, I’m gonna hand scream into my hand. I’m gonna shake my body, [00:39:00] I’m gonna punch a pillow. I’m gonna do the breath of joy, whatever I need to do. If I’m sad, I’m gonna cry. I’m gonna sit in child’s pose, I’m gonna do my prasadas or my prayer to the ground. I’m gonna be grounding and do yin, even if I feel like I ate too much the night before and I wanna do a super fiery practice that I can get a workout in.
I don’t, because if I wanna be wholesome, that’s not what my body wants in that moment. It’s grieving, it’s mourning, it’s sad, and if I’m joy, And I’m happy that I celebrate that and I move through the fire of my practice and I challenge myself and I do handstands and arm balances and you know, side planks.
But my practice is not routine. These practices, these yoga practices that are very rigid, I’ve practiced them. They have their purpose. This isn’t me saying anything negative against any other practice. Cause I think whatever. Fuels you go for it. If it feeds you and it feels good in your body and it serves you, I congratulate [00:40:00] you.
But for me personally, there is no routine to my practice. Like I, the routine is that I practice, so I meditate, I’m mindful, I do my breath work, and I move my body each day. And it looks different because I am different. I am constantly changing, like the pulsation that is me, the fluctuation that is me. In order to be wholesome, I have to observe what I’m feeling at any time, and it’s rarely the same.
So my practice can’t be that routine. And when I. Put myself into a routine, which I have for years, where it’s like, wake up at 5:00 AM do an hour of yoga, then meditate. Then you have your practice, read your yoga philosophy. It’s beautiful for moments, you know? And sometimes weeks at a time or a few months at a time, but at any point it’s too rigid.
Something gets lost in translation. And it’s like, I said this in some of my videos as well, One of my teachers said like, Not too rigid, not too loose. You know, like it’s both like not too tight, not too [00:41:00] loose. So it’s like to be, And same in meditation seat, like you wanna sit up tall, but not to the point where it’s all your thinking about in your meditation.
Is my spine straight enough? It’s just like loosen up. Like don’t take yourself so seriously. A wholesome practice is like, Be a human being. You don’t need to be a robot. Like so many yogis I feel like turn themselves into these spiritual robots of like, I chant this mantra, I do this breathwork, I practice for exactly 90 minutes.
And wonderful. If that truly feels embodied for you, go for it. If there’s a part of you that’s now just turning it into every other thing that you’ve done in life as like a product or a workout or whatnot, then just be careful and really ask yourself, is this serving me or can there be more adaptability here?
Gissele: Yeah, and I think what you’re talking about is really showing up as our authentic selves, right? Whether it be like, you know, and, and it’s so interesting that you are mentioning that because I’ve been [00:42:00] trying to get, like I’ve been working, or not you the word trying, but I’ve been really working towards, Being more consistent in getting up in terms of like, you know, cuz I do, I love doing meditations before my day starts.
I love doing the yoga work, although some, I, I actually prefer to do it at night. It kind of closes my day, like midday to night. I’m exploring Chiang. and so, so, so thank you for saying that because I feel like it’s given me the space to, oh, I don’t have to be so rigid about these things. I can ask myself, Hey, what am I really like?
What, what does, what do I really feel like, What will bring me the, the joy or, you know, peace or what, whatever it is that I’m looking for in that, in this moment. So, so thank you for that. I really, really do appreciate that piece. I wanted to ask about the interplay between, cause you know, one of the things I had noticed from your website is, is how you introduce yourself in that beautiful poem.
Talking about how, on the one hand, where are [00:43:00] these. higher Self, Spiritual indestructible, powerful beings, right? That, that are connected spirit and source. And on the other hand we are these, it feels like we’re these physical limited temporal beings. How do you find that you integrate them so that you can live a life or, or how does yoga help you integrate them so that you can live a life where you are really appreciating the journey and not wanting to jump to an outcome, whether it be spiritual bypassing or or so on.
I dunno if that question was clear.
Echo: Yeah. I mean, I like it. I like it’s vagueness and it’s ability to be very expansive in nature. I think. Number one, like not taking myself too seriously is a big one. And seeing the humor of the human body. Like when I think about how frail and temporary this body is and how ancient the being is that’s inside.
You know, I [00:44:00] wake up in the mornings and a lot of times I like stretch my arms up and I’m just like, Okay, here we are again. We’re an echo. Like this is a beautiful costume. It’s a fun one. Oh, she’s got a few more wrinkles here and she’s. Her skin’s a little dry here and I kind of do an inspection and I just really appreciate how much the body is changing and the fact that it’s got skin that falls off and nails that fall off.
And I’m like, this is, so, it’s an organic plant. Like I live in a plant and this is the way I see it sometimes. Or I’m literally like, I am a plant. And it, it’s remarkable to me, and as I get older, especially as a woman, we have so much pressure. Don’t get old. You know, It’s not appealing to get old. Look as young as you can.
Mm-hmm. keep doing yoga. And so many people even remark about that, you know, as a yoga teacher, wow, you’re so fit for almost 40, you look like you’re 30, you look so good. And I’m just like this, This is damaging these [00:45:00] comments. We think that we’re complimenting people, but what’s wrong with looking 40?
What’s wrong with aging? What’s wrong with looking my age? Because even I find myself, if somebody now says that I look the age that I am, I feel offended in a way because there are all these like, I wanna be young, I wanna be youthful, I wanna stay fit. I want my body to be young. And so I’m really doing my best as I have lots of gray hairs coming in now.
Like I’ve got a really wild white street going through the top of my hair and it I look very witch. And I thought, I think, you know what? One day I’m gonna be the old crone with the wrinkly face, and I’m gonna look like the old witch with my long brown hair. And that’s gonna be majestic because that’s a whole different being that I get to meet.
And each phase of life, as the young girl transitions into the woman, as the woman transitions into the elder, I get to experience these echos of myself, these different [00:46:00] versions of myself that are miraculous. And if I’m holding on to only being the young, sexy, desirable, like thin, beautiful echo, or that version, How sad is that, that I’m only I, oh, I want that version to be the version that I am, and then I miss out on the opportunity to meet all these other versions.
And so I think that’s a big part of like not taking it too seriously and appreciating the organic nature of this costume that you’re wearing. And see the humor in that of like, Wow, okay, this is what a cool costume I get to be in. What can I learn about this? You know, this thing that I’m wearing, this body that I’m in and how it moves as it, as it ages, you know, it, it changes.
Sometimes we need more slowness or maybe we get more energy and it’s exciting. It’s really exciting to be on this journey with my body with curiosity and allowing it to change cuz we really don’t like. As a, as a [00:47:00] species, and I know for myself, we like things to stay the same. We like familiarity and life is short.
We are changing constantly, and it’s happening so rapidly as we get into our thirties and into our forties, where that benchmark of youth into adulthood is, it’s scary. And we find ourselves in this kind of purgatory of, I’m not a kid anymore and I’m not an adult. Maybe I never will be an adult. How do I accept this?
Mm-hmm. . And I just try to laugh at myself and, and talk to myself in the mirror. Each day I talk to myself of like how I’m feeling and reminding myself that’s just a story. You’re beautiful, you’re lovable. Like you’re abundant. Like all is well, you’re healthy, your body is healthy. You can run, you can walk, You can see.
How miraculous is that? Who cares if you’re sexy or you’re skinny, or your hair looks perfect, like. This is something that society is just plastering on us. And I just let that go more and more.[00:48:00]
Gissele: what helps you let go without the fear Cuz clearly in your journey, you have made a choice to look at it as a, as an exciting journey.
As a journey. You welcome and like you said, in this collective society we have co-created, we see change as bad. We see the unknown as bad. We see, oh, there’s this thing, What is this thing? And then we see it as a, as a potential negative. What helps you not feed into that story and really go to what an exciting journey this is and, and, and accept that temporality of, of this human body.
Echo: I guess a big part is trust. Like a big part is trust that my life has only. Served me and gotten better and more refined with age, like the people that come into my life, the explorations, the experiences. [00:49:00] Even as my body gets older and it will begin to, to deteriorate and look in a different way, I’ve actually, life has gotten better.
It’s more and more beautiful, and the love is more and more pure and more and more unconditional. So I trust that I will always be loved. I will always be accepted no matter what happens, or how wildly gray and frantic my hair becomes, or how wrinkly I become that love is, is going to shift in the way that I see it physically is going to shift.
And just trusting. Trusting each day that I’m still gonna be cared for. And reminding myself like that I am conditioned by a society that is very sick, that is very sick, and I don’t want to be an example of that. And so when I give myself those harsh criticisms, I go Ah sweetie. Yeah, you’re still in that story that what you’ve been told is true and that’s not true.
All that’s so cute that you still feel that. But no . So I just like, I give like love to her and I’m like, Oh, that’s so cute. You still have that? That’s still in there. [00:50:00] Mm-hmm. . Okay. Well, okay, let’s, let’s just be with that for a moment. All right, let’s move on. Let’s go eat something. Let’s go play guitar.
Let’s go for a run. Do things that feel good in your body. Go take your body for a walk. Yeah.
Gissele: Yeah. So good. and this might be a challenging question. I noticed we’re almost coming up to the end. can you share or like maybe one or two, like mystical experiences? I know sometimes it’s hard to describe in words. I know having had my own, sometimes it’s really hard to put it into words, but I also help cuz I think one of the reasons why people get really stuck in the story is because they think that this is all there is.
So this is their only shot. This is their only chance. And, and so is there anything that you can share from that perspective that help people maybe open up to the potential to their own spiritual experiences? Hmm. Mysticism.
Echo: Oh, there’s so much mysticism. Trying to find a [00:51:00] story that doesn’t take a lifetime to explain
You know, I think, just to simplify, there’s been so many mystical markers since the beginning of my journey. Even how I found yoga, you know, it’s like it came into my life, unexpectedly. I wasn’t desiring it. And, and really, yeah, it’s revealed to me and showed me something that I am, that I wasn’t even sure that I could be.
And I think. What I feel and what is my belief is that this is not the first life that I’ve lived. I’ve been here many times. I’ve been many different versions of, I’ve been male, I’ve been female, mother, father, I’ve been sister, brother, I’ve been an elder, I’ve been all of the things. I am a witch. All of these things in one, and this is one lifetime.
And so for me, what helps me is that I’m like, I get to be echo for just the small fragment of time and the grand spectrum [00:52:00] of life. When I really let that go, and I enjoy being an echo. The mystical experiences like the numerology, the synchronicities, the dreams that come in, because it’s almost as if life is rewarding me for trusting it.
And I just say like, I accept this. This is the body that I’ve been given. This is a gift. Like this Vessel is such a gift. No matter what body you’re in, what limitations you have, you are a flavor of life that does not exist in any other capacity. Like you’ve come into life with this specific spice to experience life in a certain way that no one else will ever experience it.
And the poetry that comes through you, the songs, the movements that come through you are uniquely yours to give to the world. And so I wanna show up. As like the flavor that is echo in like the biggest and smallest and grandest and most humbles way that I can, so that I can get [00:53:00] everything that I can from this costume that I’m wearing.
Because this is the one time in life, this is the one time in space that Echo will exist because at some point echo will be something different. And so the mysticism is, it’s happened throughout my life where I have, I, I have ended up in places like I remember one mystic. There’s so many experiences, but one particularly, I was living in Japan and I was living in a small mountain town and I went on a walk in the evening after having dinner.
Cause I always go my walks. I take my body on a nice little walk and I had had. A very challenging time with a boss. a week prior where I had to leave quite quickly with my partner and we had to move to another village about three hours away from the village that we were living in. And we didn’t know anyone.
We didn’t know if we were gonna have work. We didn’t have any money. We were quite stressed at that time. I was teaching yoga, but I couldn’t find any work because I didn’t speak enough Japanese. And as I’m [00:54:00] walking through the snow and like listening to music, I come across this village and I like look up and there’s these signs and the snow is falling, and the signs literally say Echo Land.
And I was like, You’ve gotta be kidding me. Oh. And so I take a right and I walk down the street and literally ev, it’s Echo Land. The, the place is called Echo Land and there’s Echo Hotel, there’s Echo Cafe, all these places that end up being my home for about seven years. For seven winters. Wow. And where I end up teaching yoga and living and it, and it became like a second home to me.
And it actually. A gift that I lost that job that I lost a week prior and found myself here at a yoga studio called Como Rebi, which in Japanese como re stands for the light that shines between the trees and the forest. That really mystical light that that comes between the trees. And I ended up teaching there and I ended up living in Japan.
And it became a home to me for seven years. [00:55:00] And just this mystical experience of finding myself on this back road, walking into echo land and it changing my life and bringing me closer and closer to my path. And so that those kind of experiences ha, have happened over and over and over again to the point where I know that I’ve been here many, many times and that I will be back.
And so I’m just gonna enjoy this ride because it’s not gonna be very long. And I take it with the pain, the physical pain, the physical pleasure, the mental pain, the mental pleasure. And I just learn each day to be an observer of, of.
Gissele: Oh my gosh. Your response like brought tears to my eye. . So I was like, Oh my gosh.
I’m cognizant of the time and I was just wanting to, for you to share where can people find you? What’s your website? What’s your YouTube? We’re also gonna link it to the transcript of the video, so just share whatever you wanna share. Do you have something coming up in the new year or later on, or Thank
Yeah, so, [00:56:00] you can find firstname.lastname@example.org, which is just echoflowyoga.com and Echo Flow Yoga on YouTube, on Instagram, on insight timer for free. Meditations everywhere. Echo Flow yoga and I do have programs running consistently, so I do have a 200 and 300 hour teacher training program that is trauma informed.
So if you’re looking to deepen your path, and you don’t necessarily need to be a teacher or have a desire to be a teacher, but just wanna go deeper, I have an online five month program for 200 hour and 300 hours to really just dive deep into the physical, the philosophy, the conceptual, the, the philosophy, all that stuff.
And I have a month long program. Called Detangling, human heartbreak. That’s all around the suffering that is to be a human and the angst and the pain and how to deal with that suffering and to become shadow dancers of our experience. And yeah, and I also have a SoundCloud [00:57:00] called the Shadow Dancer with Echo on it.
And I do lots of live sets of aesthetic dance, specifically to move the body through grief and anger and pain and pleasure and all of the things. So lots of offerings. Find me.
Gissele: Beautiful. Beautiful. Well, yes, thank you so, so much for this beautiful interview. I’m so, so grateful. and yeah, hope you can come back again.
Echo: Yeah, thank you so much for having me.