"Don’t get dragged by your life,” says Viviana Monolo, directing our soul-searching, meandering conversation on yoga, nature, art, and dance to yet another epiphanic climax. Teacher of her own unique yoga practice, Viviana is gaining a following for her Intuitive Yoga Flow method which offers all of us a way to step away from the constraints in both our physical exercise practices and in our daily life – “Close your eyes, trust yourself, let your body move” is her mantra. Enjoy soaking one's soul in Viviano’s guidance and discover the art (and movement) of intuitive living. 

Intuitive Living: “Being present with every aspect of your life and relying on your innate sense to guide your choices, actions, and even exercise moves.”
Image - Seela - Conscious movement

Your discovery of yoga began as a ballet dancer. Could you describe the moment that you shifted your journey towards yoga and share with us why you made that change?

“Born with a strong curiosity for the body and its movement, my discovery of Yoga began when I was a ballet dancer. It was there, through the walls of a theatre, that I realised my mind was dancing in spaces that were not confined. Growing up, I felt a deep attraction towards every type of movement and art, which goes far beyond physical practice alone.

“Yoga helped me to stay in the present, gain inner strength and take the reins of my life with both hands. I consider my practice, “Intuitive Flows”, as the external expression of what I’m feeling inside.

My solo journey In India was a rebirth — the start of something new, the start of a life committed to sharing my learnings, rituals, practices and everything I have collected along the way.”

How does your dancing expertise guide your yoga practice and teaching today? How do the two worlds of dance and yoga come together in your studio?

“Living intuitively means listening to our inner wisdom in everything we do. Our physicality, mentality, what we eat, etc., all play an essential role in allowing us to live more intuitively. We all want to live more mindfully, in a way that feels more innate and free. In today’s society driven by rules, restrictions and a ‘keep going’ attitude – I believe people find comfort in my flows. Forty-five minutes per day dedicated to yourself, your freedom of expression and of being. There are no rules in my classes apart from listening to your intuition and letting it express through you.”

Image - Seela - listening to your intuition and letting it express through you

 

Your intuitive yoga practice has gained a growing following in Switzerland and beyond. What do you think is drawing more people towards your “Intuitive Flows” practice and to exploring art, health, and conscious movement?

"Many of us are seeking to move in a way that feels intuitive and free. Freedom and trust in our yoga practice can extend to other areas of life, allowing us to feel in control and equally radically accept all that we are not in control of.

“Honoring our bodies is one of the greatest gifts that we can offer ourselves.

But I’m often asked, “How? How do you practice this way?

"My Intuitive Yoga Flows will allow you to start a journey with yourself. With time, you will tap more and more into your feelings and emotions, and you will learn to listen to your body, mind and soul. Each time you are on your mat is a new expression of your practice and therefore yourself. Let each practice be a fresh start to reset, rediscover, reinvent. ‘CLOSE YOUR EYES, TRUST YOURSELF, LET YOUR BODY MOVE’ – is my mantra."

Each time you are on your mat is a new expression of your practice and therefore yourself. Let each practice be a fresh start to reset, rediscover, reinvent.”

Image - Seela - Let each practice be a fresh start to reset, rediscover, reinvent.
Due to the challenges of the past couple of years, many of us are seeking or craving connection with nature and with each other. From your experience as an artist and as a teacher, how can we best fill this space in our lives and heal?

“Take time to find out what really brings you joy and chase it. Find comfort in small gestures, daily moments, easy rituals and routines. See beauty everywhere and take a moment to stop, breath and soak it all in.”

From your experience of travelling the world to teach yoga at retreats, how much does our environment influence our bodies, mind and the yoga practice itself? Do you see a difference between practising here in Switzerland versus in other countries?
 
“For sure. The environment of the country in which I practice has a huge impact on me. In Switzerland I crave for juicy, slow paced, strong flows and I have a deep connection with my Yang side and the ambition to push myself over the limits and grow. When in warmer countries I notice how I tend to tap in more into my feminine side and how that expresses itself especially during my intuitive dance sessions. Nonetheless, yoga starts from within – independently from where you are and I can totally see that. Wherever I am in the world, that one hour on the mat will always bring me back to myself, will always make me feel at home.”

Yang: The masculine counterpart to “ying” in the ancient Chinese philosophical concept of complementary yet contrasting properties that exist in ourselves and in our natural world.

Would you say that yoga is what brought you to also become an advocate of slow living and sustainability? If so, why?

“Definitely. Coming from a dancer background I tend to be quite yang oriented in my daily behavior, mindset and choices. Yoga taught me the importance of stopping and listening. By doing that I discovered the beauty of living slowly and sustainably. I find comfort in taking time for myself and seeing how this positively affects the people that surround me. I believe in the butterfly effect. I believe that by cultivating slow, sustainable choices within and for yourself, you will create the same environment for the people around you and that they will have the same effect on the people surrounding them and so on.”

Butterfly effect: The belief that small changes have an impact on a larger system or order of things.

 

Image - Seela - Butterfly effect: The belief that small changes have an impact on a larger system or order of things.

 

Femininity and intuition appear as key themes in your teachings. Why do these themes guide your practice and how can we unleash their power in our lives?

“For women, embracing the sacred feminine is about fully realizing her divine essence, standing in all her power, and creating a more harmonious world. This doesn’t mean we are operating only from our feminine energy. It’s about understanding our full range of power as both feminine and masculine beings and cultivating that energy when needed.

“I believe in the power of magnetism. We attract other things and other beings that are vibrating at the same frequency as ourselves. If you’re deepening your relationship with the sacred feminine, you may start meeting more women who are on that path as well, who completely own their feminine power and redefine what that even means. Women who are deeply connected to the earth and to nature and in sync with the rhythms of this planet. And women who are paving their own path and not the one that was laid out or expected of them. Our power gets stronger when we expand our range of masculine and feminine energies and our capacity to create from our hearts.

"If we’re creating our lives from ego, driven by competition and money, we lose the harmonious balance with the planet. But if we are able to rise in our own sacred feminine power and create our world from a place of love and service—can you imagine?"

Magnetism: The idea that we attract into our lives elements that correspond with the energy or forces we ourselves are sharing with the world.

Alongside intuition, self-awareness, interconnection with our environment, and all the other themes we have discussed today, there’s also another theme that seems to guide your teachings: creativity. To what extent do you consider yoga a form of artistic expression and creative discovery?

“I believe in the power of magnetism. We attract other things and other beings that are vibrating at the same frequency as ourselves. If you’re deepening your relationship with the sacred feminine, you may start meeting more women who are on that path as well, who completely own their feminine power and redefine what that even means. Women who are deeply connected to the earth and to nature and in sync with the rhythms of this planet. And women who are paving their own path and not the one that was laid out or expected of them. Our power gets stronger when we expand our range of masculine and feminine energies and our capacity to create from our hearts.

“If we’re creating our lives from ego, driven by competition and money, we lose the harmonious balance with the planet. But if we are able to rise in our own sacred feminine power and create our world from a place of love and service—can you imagine?”

Where do you draw your energy and inspiration from to continue teaching and practising every day? And how can we all learn to continually seek more energy and inspiration in our daily lives?

Yoga isn’t just about asana, or poses. Take your yoga values such non-attachment, gratitude and non-harming off the mat and into your day. This is a valuable way to develop your practice in a much broader sense. The physical aspects of yoga are there to help you learn patience, acceptance and endurance, so bear this in mind. Take a mental step back when a coworker annoys you, your boyfriend hasn’t taken out the rubbish or you miss the bus home on a wet and cold evening. Take a moment to think before you speak and say the wrong thing. Remember that yoga has also taught you how to breathe and calm your nervous system. “To me, yoga is not only what happens on the mat, it’s mostly what happens out of it.”
 
Image - Seela - To me, yoga is not only what happens on the mat, it’s mostly what happens out of it.

 

To me, yoga is not only what happens on the mat, it’s mostly what happens out of it. It’s part of who I am and who I want to be. I’m not gonna push myself that one day in which I don’t feel like practicing, because I know there’s a reason for that. And I know that there are many places during my day in which I will be practicing yoga, just not what in the way most people think of yoga.

Non-harming: The principle of not inflicting harm on oneself, others or animals, one of the “yamas” or guiding principles from the Ashtanga yoga practice, known as āhimsa in Sanskrit.

Non-attachment: The principle from the Yoga Sutras of renouncing or letting go that which is temporal and material, known as vairāgya in Sanskrit.

We learned so much from Viviana here at the Wellness Club. So, chase what joy is for you, slowly. We are always in constant transitions, so we may as well flow with it. Step off life’s treadmill and discover how to use your intuition to guide your exercise workouts and to guide your decisions throughout the day. Small changes can have a domino effect elsewhere. You’ll see that conscious movement quickly leads to conscious living. Consider the possibilities. Or, as Viviano prompts, “If we are able to rise in our own sacred feminine power and create our world from a place of love and service—can you imagine?”