We are stoked to welcome Joaquin Gomez into our growing tribe of Global Brand Warriors. Joa is an ex-athlete and musician, originally from Argentina, he grew up in Ibiza and now resides in London, where he currently teaches yoga on a donation only basis, making his classes accessible for everyone! Joa had an interesting step into the world of yoga - check out his inspiring story...
1. Joa, how was life growing up on Ibiza? Tell us about the early days
To be honest, it was great. Regardless of what most people think about the island being a party hotspot, there is a big community focused on personal & spiritual growth. The island is surrounded by nature as well as wonderful people to learn from.
2. What attracted you to living in London?
I first came to London with the only goal to grow in the music industry. I actually spent about 5 years studying and working as a musician.
3. Tell us about your yoga journey – how did you find yoga and what made you want to become a teacher?
I first got in contact with yoga thanks to an ex-girlfriend. I was going through rough times, not knowing what I wanted in my life and she suggested I try yoga to clear my mind. To my surprise, I felt connected with the practice straight away and never looked back.
After 3 months of practicing watching videos on YouTube, I decided to take a break from my life and went to Nepal to do a teacher training program with the goal to develop my personal practice and try to understand what was all this yoga about. As the weeks passed, I got more hooked up with the practice to the point that I was only breathing yoga. It never came to my mind becoming a teacher until one of my teachers during a class told us:
"I am not your teacher, I am only here to share my experience with you, you are the one that is teaching yourself”
After listening to his words, something clicked in my mind... I didn’t need to be the best, to be a teacher I just needed to share what I knew the best way I could. That gave me the courage to start my path as a yoga teacher.
4. What benefits have you noticed since you began a regular yoga practice?
First of all, I could feel my body becoming more agile, flexible, and strong, but as the practice continued I started feeling the same benefits on my mind. I have also become more patient, calm, and content.
5. Tell us about your teaching style – what makes your classes unique to you?
My classes vary between traditional practices and athletic conditioning. They tend to be strong and dynamic. I focus a lot on alignment as I believe that is the way to develop a safe and lasting practice.
6. How have the current restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your teaching?
It really changed the way I teach, but it is helping me to develop my verbal skills. When you are not able to touch someone to help them deepen into their practice, you really need to carefully think each and every word, and try to bring them into their body, into the present moment.
7. Tell us more about why you decided to offer your online classes on a donation basis? Has this worked well for you?
I decided to create donation-based classes to give everyone the chance to practice regardless of their situation. I am aware many people lost their jobs, and depression tends to increase during such times, so donation-based was the only option for me really. Trying to help those in need, the way I can.
8. Assuming current restrictions are relaxed, what’s next on the agenda for you?
I would love to start teaching again in studios as well as privately, plus I have a retreat in Croatia coming up at the beginning of September and a 200hr Teacher Training in Nepal in October.
9. What advice would you give to guys who are new to yoga and apprehensive about giving it a try?
I would tell them to give it a try, to see how it feels and drop any preconceptions. We tend to avoid the unknown and especially here in the west, people think that yoga is only for wimmen. But actually, in India most people practicing yoga are men.
10. Finally, please could you offer some ‘words of wisdom’ for our followers?
Life sometimes puts us in challenging situations where we may feel uncomfortable... By turning the coin and seeing challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow, we are able to enjoy (or at least not suffer) in the process. How we allow ourselves to go through in every situation makes all the difference!