Hello! My name is Alice Lopes. I am a yoga teacher since 1990 and I also form yoga teachers in Europe. Now I am living in the United States, in Colorado Springs, CO.
If you fell curious about my path in yoga, please read the next paragraphs!
I stated getting interested in yoga years ago, in the late 80's. My interest was purely personal development.
It all began because I wanted to know more about my inner self, and in order to do it, I read so many books. I read one after the other, always looking for the one that was going to open the door to my Higher Self. That didn't happen... I felt like if I was in a endless corridor, with lots of doors, I knew exactly the door I wanted, but I didn't know which of them was it.
I saw references to yoga, but by then I thought yoga was just some kind of weird gymnastic. I had had enough of gymnastic when I was a child, since I had practiced it since I was 6 years old until I was a teenager.
One day, I was reading the newspaper and I saw an ad about a yoga teacher formation, which included the study of Yoga-Sûtra. I thought it could be a good means to learn a little bit more...
I went to talk to the teacher, Dinorah de Freitas, and she didn't want to accept me in her class, claiming I had no experience in the practice. But I wanted so much, I insisted so much, that fat last she accepted me with the condition I would not take the exams and I would not teach. I agreed. That was not my aim. I just wanted to know more about myself. And she made me promise that I would practice in her classes twice a week. I agreed... it was part of the «price» to pay to get the teachings I wanted so much. At last I had found my door.
After my first class, I felt very good, and class after class, my opinion about what yoga was started to change. With the continuation of practical classes and the formation lessons, I realized the door was not only giving me access to a better knowledge of myself, but it was the door to another universe - I had so many things to learn...
This was a three years formation. After sometime, my teacher saw I was serious in my studies and she told me I could take the exams, in case one day I would like to teach. I started taking the exams, not because I wanted to teach, but because I wanted to test me. Only later, I started feeling the need to transmit what I had learned.
By the end of the formation, I had access to a Belgium magazine, called Viniyoga. It was very interesting, very technical, no mysteries. It suited very well my scientific mind. And I saw that there were summer seminars. So I decided to inscribe in one of them: «Initiation to the yoga practice», with Frans Moors, a well-known teacher. I really enjoyed his very organized mind, his calm. I could find explanations for things I hadn't understood and this encouraged me to go on studying.
So I did it. That year Desikachar went to France and Belgium. I went to see him in France, in Reims. Even before Summer, I was invited to follow a Viniyoga post-formation with Frans Moors, Claude Maréchal, Peter Hersnack and Emílio Serrano, a prestigious Spanish psychiatrist. It was about yoga, psychology, Occidental psychotherapies and communication. This was a four year project, with seminars and individual classes. My teacher by then was Peter Hersnack, with whom I worked in individual classes. I learned a lot with him. He is someone who doesn't answer questions, but allows you to find out answers. It was a very deep work, not easy, but surely rewarding.
At the same time I kept going to other summer seminars: Pranayama, Yoga-Sûtra and Devotion, Looking for the interior guide, the site of the Heart...
Claude Maréchal was starting a formation in Spain. I thought it was a good idea to repeat a formation, this time with Viniyoga*. And that is when Claude became my teacher. Claude is a person with a very clear mind, very calm, with an endless compassion. When we study Yoga-Sûtra and we get to yama and niyama, sometimes we wonder if it possible to have that behavior all the time. Well, it is possible, Claude is the living example of it.
So, I was engaged in a new formation for four more years, this time working individually with Claude Maréchal.
And I went on going to seminars: parinama, cikitsa, Yoga-Sûtra Vimarchana.
In the meantime, in my country people were demanding for a formation of yoga teachers. I talked about with Claude, and after a long time of individual work he trusted me my first formation.
In 1992, talking to Claude, I told him how I found important to have the Viniyoga* magazine translated into Portuguese, so that Portuguese speaking students could benefit of all those teachings. He agreed, and knowing me for some years, he trusted me the choice of articles and translation into Portuguese. He also said that I could add articles written by Portuguese people, that could be interesting for the students. And so, working with Inês Matos, we managed to start the Portuguese version of Viniyoga. Today this magazine is edited by the Portuguese Association of Viniyoga, and is read in Portugal, Brazil and Angola.
In 1994, Desikachar was in Spain, in Denia and we went to see him and learn his teachings. Claude presented us to him and told him about the Portuguese Viniyoga. He was very kind to encourage us with our work and even wrote us a note confirming his votes of good fortune with the publication of the new version of Viniyoga magazine. That note was published in the next magazine.
Some years ago, Claude convoked some yoga teachers he knew well, from several countries in Europe and in Quebec, and invited them to do a work about the application of yoga. I was invited to join this group and I made a work on the application of Yoga to elder people, based on my personal experience. Then, in January 2007, we all gathered in Belgium, in Amay, to present our works and debate them. After this we received the official Viniyoga teacher trainer diplomas.
I keep seeing Claude either in seminars, individually, or simply as a friend. We discussed the possibility of translating the Viniyoga magazine into English, with the same spirit: leaving space for English speaking yoga teachers and practitioners express their experiences and knowledge...
Other seminars: Samkhya, Viniyoga and secularism; application of the model Panchâdhyâyâh to Yoga-Sûtra, poses, mudrâ...
There is always a lot to know... our minds are always eager for more knowledge, a knowledge that is worth when it leads us to know, in a non-intellectual way, that everything is inside us. Plenitude, peace and bliss are, were and will always be... inside us...
* Gary Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga™ Institute (www.viniyoga.com) holds the trademark for Viniyoga™ in the United States. Alice Lopes and Yoga Theory Applied have been granted permission to use the term Viniyoga™.