Q: You have mentioned that you moved to New Zealand in order to live in an environment which could foster the deepening of your own practice. Has this been a successful move and how do you foresee your practice of yoga evolving in the future?
Donna Farhi: The move had been very successful on all levels. The pace of life here is much slower and people seem to have a more balanced perspective on life; they are less interested in their careers than they are in their family and friends and in enjoying life. At the end of the day, a life without love is not worth a bent penny. So even though my work schedule is very demanding and I'm on the road about four months of the year, I feel anchored by this cultural perspective. It's more important to me now to have time with my partner than it is for me to chase fame. Its more important to have time to eat a meal with a sense of relaxation, or to enjoy working in my garden, or to be with my horse, than it is to bolster my bank account. My long-time students in the U.S. say they feel a silence around me that was not there before and I feel a kind of joy and generosity of spirit when I teach that was waning in my last years in the U.S.
The future? One of my primary focuses right now is training teachers and writing. Training a teacher who is going to impact thousands of students seems to be a better use of my energy at this stage of my life than teaching a group of 30 students. My other focus is on developing retreats and trainings here in New Zealand so that yoga students throughout the world can come and have a taste of this lifestyle. Already, we've had unprecedented interest from around the world. But one of my long term goals is to develop retreats that are about living a yogic life style. A lot of yoga vacations these days are really a kind of suspended animation for people - its an unrealistic environment where someone cooks for you, cleans, and so on so you can have a vacation. That's great, but in terms of learning how to integrate yoga into a real life filled with real life challenges, it doesn't seem to accomplish much. I'm wondering what would happen if people could basically come and live the lifestyle with me for brief periods of time, so that yoga practice becomes a more complete life practice. It's not a new or original idea at all, but for me it seems to be the next step.