8 Limbs is pleased to publish Teacher Profiles to help you to know and learn from the amazing group of 8 Limbs Yoga Teachers.
This month we profile Shuja De’Peace. Shuja has been the friendly face behind the 8 Limbs Capitol Hill front desk on Thursday mornings, has been a sub for several months, and will now teach his own classes:
- Mondays and Wednesdays 6:oo-7:15pm All Levels Flow at 8 Limbs West Seattle
- Fridays 6:30-7:30am All Levels Flow at 8 Limbs West Seattle
Teacher Name: Shuja De’Peace
Practicing Yoga Since: 2012
Tell us about the first yoga class you took. In 2012 I started my asana practice at home and cultivated it for 3 years before making my way to the first studio I’d venture in to which was a Bikram studio called Sweatbox. It was such a shock to my mind body! I went in thinking I was going to breeze through the asanas and then when I got about 10-15 minutes into the practice with the 105 + heat, I ran straight into a wall and was swift to lay on the floor dizzy before running out of the class to gather my bearings away from the heat in the locker room, heh heh.
Teaching Yoga Since: I have been teaching Yoga since I was 8! I’d love to elaborate in class, feel free to ask! 😉
What do you remember of the first yoga class you taught? Ahh! The first yoga “class” I taught as a “certified instructor” was at Washington Hall and was the opening class for Yoga N Da Hood (a community mindfulness movement I initiated in 2015. I remember thinking that maybe 3-5 people would show up but within the first week of me creating the Facebook event page over 30 people were on the going list and at least another 20 as maybes. I was super anxious and very nervous! I was thinking to myself “holy crap, I just became certified, how am I going to hold the space and make this a meaningful experience for everyone in attendance!?” Well, the night before there was over 70 going and 150+ maybes! I woke that morning feeling so SCARED! I was panicking but in the months leading up to that moment I had made asana my drug of choice, taking up to 3 classes a day traveling from studio to studio challenging my body and observing the different styles and language of amazing teachers all over Seattle and Portland. That being said I did what any addict would do when they are feeling the pressure, I ran to my drug of choice which thankfully at this point of my life was a life SERVING addiction and spent 90 minutes on my mat before I shared the practice with others. After that first Yoga N Da Hood class in the beginning of December ‘15 we are still sharing and teaching the practice of asana and the philosophies behind Yog. The most memorable remark after that class was hearing a young person say “Whoa, that was amazing, like I feel human.”
Who/what are your teachers? Why? I have had many teachers on my path. Growing up, as a child I was forced into the church, it was my first learning ground. Although I went through a phase that because of being forced to practice Christianity I rebelled against it for a while once I stepped into my independence, I still had verses from the Bible surface every now and then and to this day, now as a yogi sometimes while reading material that one would think has no direct correlation, realizations or new found meanings are given to what I learned from my experiences of the monotheistic religions as well as the many others from Buddhism to that of the Neter and beyond. I continuously learn from my trauma as I reflect and sit in my meditation seat. I learn from conversations from outward observance and the introspection certain exchanges initiate. At 27 having been in a couple serious relationships, I have learned that my partners have been some of the most exhilarating, honest teachers as I learn so much about myself in the form of triggers, dealing with conflict and the dance of balancing caring for them, self care and the desires and boundaries to do such that must be in place. Last but not least, themost important teacher of all that soft but still audible voice within myself that when I listen to I sleep well at night feeling and knowing I am living my dharma!
Currently inspired by: Agni/Fire and all things, deities and practitioners who feel his seven tongues!
Tell us about a time in your life that yoga really supported/helped you. I started my journey into Yog as what many people here in the states would consider backwards! I had self-realization and ever so soft and sweet awakening of kundalini through reading, contemplation and diligent studying, which is known as Jnana Yog. I remember the very moment like it was happening now that I realized I am god, an aspect of GOD or that the intelligence, the consciousness that exist inside of me, my atma is an aspect of the Infinite Consciousness which created, sustains, maintains and pervades this conceivable universe but also all of the words, all of EVERYTHING. I share this with you because the first time I digested what was being taught to me at an anti-oppression / undoing institutional racism workshop, I was struck into depression as the cognitive dissonance of someone who on one hand embodied and believed the Truth that I am god, had to hold in the other hand that the truth existing in the social fabric of the society I am living in today I was also severely oppressed and marginalized. For 6 months I was oppressed and was drinking and smoking pot regularly as I spiraled into this depression and confusion until one day one of my bestest friends told me I needed to start my practice again. I didn’t go easy, but on this venture back into my practice I learned how Yog asana could create the capacity to hold both my beauty and pain, my love and my sorrows.
What is your current yoga practice include/involve and why? Is there a practice you do daily? Heh heh, asana, meditation, lifting weights, running, studying the scriptures, invoking the spirit of Kali through reciting the Kali Mantra (Om Kreem KaliKaye Namah) and practicing speaking and acting my first thoughts as I learn to trust my Self. The first a personal necessity to Purge ( I just started watching the movie =)) but honestly to maintain some equanimity in this beautiful chaos.
Hobbies/interests: I love to dance! I love martial arts! And I love to drive dangerously fast on my motorcycle!!! As for dancing, hip-hop, salsa and dancehall are my favorites, I have studied Kung Fu, Krav, Muay Thai, BJJ and practiced with Aikido masters only three times removed from Samurai. As for the speeds I have reached on my iron horse, I choose to plead the 5th. =)
What book(s) are you currently reading/did you recently read? I am currently reading Aghora, which is a book on my current idol, the Aghori, Vimalananda!
One secret that helps you stay healthy: That’s a secret…
Anything you want to share with our community? Besides the chance at creating community I am excited to co-create the experiences the next 4 months will provide as we get to meet in the classroom on our mats! I want everyone to know that my intention is to create a space that feels warm and safe, where you feel comfortable with opening up and sharing vulnerably, where you don’t hesitate to ask a question in class, to cry in pigeon, yell in Veerabhadra or sigh in your reclined twist. That being said, my job isn’t to comfort you, I will do everything in my power to maintain your safety AND it is my duty to bring you out of your comfort zone. If you have taken class with me you’re aware of the sweat factor, through the tappas (discipline) of this practice we invoke Agni (fire) and through Agni have the capacity to melt our resistance, to burn away our anxiety, frustrations, doubts and concerns. Through the physicality of the asana we create the invitation to drop out of our minds and into the body, connecting with our intuitive, creative, compassionate and courageous selves giving birth to the best version of ourselves. On a strictly physical note, the heat created allows the body to act more malleable and get deeper into the asanas, moving towards alignment and the gifts that brings.,
Monday night will be a Vinyasa class in West Seattle at 6pm. No music, just breath, cues, and some philosophy/mythology. Wednesday at the same time and place we will bring in music and play into our asana to create an invigorating and lively experience to recharge for the rest of the week.
Friday morning at 6:30 in Wedgewood we will move from the darkness into the light as the sun rises to meet our surya namaskar!
Posted by: 8 Limbs