Tal's Personal Story
• • •
Hi, my name is Tal. I’m the founder of Luna Alignment Yoga, the yoga director and the lead teacher of the Alignment Yoga teacher training courses.
I started practicing yoga at the age of 17, back in 2001. I felt at home from the first class. It was the first time I felt really good within, but mostly regarding, my physical body. This was a Sivananda Yoga class - a very soft, Yin kind of yoga. The teacher was a sweet young man with a soft voice and the room was softly lighted. We were told to close our eyes, focus within, to breathe deeply and to soften our bodies. I immediately fell in love with yoga. I remember what I was wearing that day, I remember myself walking back home floating above the ground.
As a kid I had bronchitis that later became asthma. My father died few months before my 9th birthday, I had learning disabilities and lots of anger (I translated sadness and my morning feelings into anger), I had chronic, unexplained, sometimes paralyzing, knee pain and belly pain (irritable bowel syndrome). Around the age of 12 I was diagnosed with scoliosis. When I got my period the pain was unbearable for a few days every month. I didn’t really like my life, didn’t like my body and didn’t trust them both.
And then, there was yoga. This soft kind of practice embraced me in and made all of my body’s systems come to balance. It took a few years, but it happened, even the scoliosis is now gone. As that 17 years old girl, even dreaming of becoming a yoga teacher seemed impossible, but I did…and at the age of 21 I took my first yoga teacher training, with the Sivananda organization.
After graduating I felt really unprepared to teach, actually I was terrified of teaching. So I’ve started teaching friends and family. The first real class I taught was in India – I fell in love even deeper, this time with teaching, with the yogic life style and community. About a year and a half after teaching that first class in India I moved into the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas and served as a Karma-Yogi for 7 months. In the Ashram I cooked, cleaned, practiced, learned, taught classes and assisted in TTCs, without a single day off. I had a wonderful, sometimes horrible, time there. I’ve learned a lot but also got very perplexed and so when I left the ashram I felt tired, disappointed and confused. I was depressed and understood that I need a real change, but didn’t know of what kind.
Flying out to Thailand helped. In that time in Koh-Phangan I’ve understood that after 4 years of traveling I wanted a home, that I wanted to learn Yoga Therapy and possibly change my Sivananda style of practicing and teaching. First I studied anatomy and then a year-long Yoga Therapy course with Dr. Gill Solberg. During that year of study everything changed for me: the way I practiced, the way I taught and the way I perceived yoga. With Gill’s teachings I started a new journey of understanding my body, my posture, my postural habits and patterns and the connection of my life story to all of that. It also made me see Sivananda Yoga in a different way. I’ve understood that this kind of soft, unaligned practice was damaging for me and that actually I have some yoga injuries myself.
After the Yoga Therapy course I wanted to get stronger and to change my old yoga practice and so I went into a year-long Ashtanga-Viniyasa Yoga TTC. In that year I also started practicing Iyengar Yoga – I soon came to realize that this practice makes sense in my body and in my mind. The Alignment concept was amazing to me, it answered so many questions I’ve had. The Iyengar Yoga practice went hand in hand with my Yoga Therapy studies.
In those few years, my personal life was pushed a side. Most of what I did was teaching and practicing yoga. I taught 3-4 classes a day and I practiced excessively: mostly Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and some Viniyoga as well. My practice was beautiful from the outside, but inside I had physical pain. I’ve pushed my body too far and caused it an additional injury that made me reduce my yoga practice and stop my Ashtanga Yoga practice – I was devastated, I couldn’t understand where I went wrong. It took me sometime, but this is where a real shift took place. I realized I’ve damaged my body when I was sure I was healing it, I’ve realized I misused yoga and mistreated myself. I’ve understood better my own nature and tendencies. This was a big wake up call. I needed another change.
With this understanding I’ve developed a course that was initially designed for the Sivananda Yoga practitioners - I wanted to save them from making the same mistakes I’ve made… Now I realize how wrong it was of me to want to save anyone, but from this seed I’ve later on created the TTC that I teach today. I taught that Yoga Therapy course a few times in the Sivananda center in Tel-Aviv and also in Thailand, in a yoga center on Koh-Phangan. In that center I met a new friend with whom in the future I will open Gaia YogaShala.
In those years I’ve taught so many beautiful people - In Israel and in Koh-Phangan. I’ve taught in big groups, I’ve taught therapeutic yoga classes, I’ve taught seniors and corporate yoga. I loved observing the healing power of yoga, I loved talking and laughing with my students, creating a personal connection and seeing how this connection is affecting them and myself. During that time I took a Pilates TTC (Pilates also goes so well with my Yoga Therapy studies), I participated in the first year of Iyengar Yoga TTC. And so I’ve developed my own kind of Alignment-Therapeutic teaching style.
I was very happy and content with my yoga career in Israel, but I wanted to further my growth and so in 2015 I permanently moved to Koh-Phangan, to open a yoga center with my good friend. This was nothing like I expected it to be, but in many ways it was much better. I’ve learned how to manage a yoga center, I grew and developed extensively, I’ve met wonderful people and made life-long connections and friends. Gaia was a home for many volunteers, teachers and students, this was a beautiful space which created a community around it. After a year of teaching and running the center I’ve also led my first Alignment Yoga TTC there (together with Anu and Nami). I was so happy and proud. A few months and another TTC later we had to move out from our location and we’ve decided to continue Gaia as a yoga teacher training center in a different location just nearby.
Another year had passed in which we have facilitated 3 more TTCs and I felt it was time for me to move on my own, and along with Guy – my life partner I’ve opened a new yoga teacher training center– Luna Alignment Yoga. Same course, same amazing team of teachers, same location, same path, new beginning, new energy.
And today I am most humbled and proud in the fact that we have already facilitated 12 Alignment Yoga Teacher Training courses since we’ve started together in Koh-Phangan in 2016, with over 275 students that have graduated this unique program already.
I believe that a good teacher never stops learning and so I keep learning all the time. I learn from my students, I learn from teaching, I learn from reading books and taking different kinds of courses and workshops, most recent ones were: 'Yoga for a happy Back' with Rachel Krentzman (combining physiotherapy inelegance and yoga) and a Yin Yoga TTC. I regularly practice Iyengar Yoga, which is my biggest inspiration and an endless source of knowledge.
Nowadays as I practice, learn and teach, I keep realizing and understanding better and better the concepts of ‘posture’, ‘yoga’, ‘self-healing’ and mostly the concept of ‘Being’. I’m learning to be more balanced. To be soft from a strong place within me and at the same time to be grounded without being too hard on myself.
I find that there is a fascinating connection between our life story, our body type and our personality to our posture. I want to teach you to see this big picture, of yourselves as practitioners and later on of your students. Taking all of that under consideration you will be able to choose and adapt the suitable practice to your students’ needs as well as to your own. My experience and knowledge are interlaced and implemented in the TTCs - as well as the other teachers’ – we all invite you to join us, to deepen you knowledge, to explore and broaden your point of view, and to find your own voice as a yoga teacher.
* * *