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Here Comes the Sun: Podcast Interview with Nicole

Article by Ann Dyer (Director Mountain Yoga, Oakland)

Interview by Yoga Teacher Kennan Rossi, May 2024

"The biggest misconception about surya namaskar, or sun salutation, is that it was designed to be a workout," explains Nicole Becker who is teaching our upcoming workshop on yoga's most ubiquitous and misunderstood yoga practice. "It is a Nature prayer. To the sun coming up, to the light within."

More popularly known today as "sun salutations", surya namasakar began in the Vedic period as a practice of prostrating to the light of sun as the source of all life. "From its esoteric origins," writes Bihar Yoga's Swami Satyananda Saraswati, "Surya Namaskar developed into a practice of twelve postures which weave together to generate prana (subtle energy), aiming towards the purification and rejuvenation of the practitioner."

"We move slowly to take time to feel our light, to feel who we are.", says Nicole Becker who has been teaching the traditional approach to sun salutations as practiced in the Bihar school of Yoga for over twenty years. "This modern obsession with 108 sun salutations... my question is can we do ONE with full attention?" Nicole smiles. "In this approach, we move slowly in order to feel deeply." Each of the traditional 12 postures is tied to a mantra and visualization that express facets of light — radiance, nourishment, pervasiveness, illumination, brilliance — to inspire our connection to the light within us.

"I work with many layers, because we are multi-layered beings." - Nicole

Nicole was born into yoga, raised by a meditating mother in a vegetarian household steeped in Hindu philosophy (complete with a well-worn copy of "Autobiography of a Yogi" at the ready.) She received her certification as a yoga teacher and later earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology which only strengthened her connection to earth and sun through the study of indigenous traditions. Nicole has been teaching for over thirty years, deftly weaving together asana, breath, mantra, visualization, Tantra and a pragmatic approach to spirituality with sensitivity and humor.

"This way of practicing Surya Namaskar is sheer enjoyment at the deepest level... a holistic synthesis that is so deeply gratifying because of the completeness of the practice."






Nicole is one of those rare teachers who can go deep, then send you out the door with a giggle.

Get to know why we think Nicole is so special, and more about her 20 years teaching the devotional origins of the sun salutation in this month's MYoga Podcast with host Kennan Rossi.


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