An Interview with Rosa Santana

Methodical, Transparent, Honest

Where are you from and/or where do you live?

Made in Brazil with Mexican Ingredients. Live in South Florida

How did yoga come into your life?

The aerobics teacher at the gym didn’t show up, so I took the yoga class.

How long have you been practicing yoga?

26 years

Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved and transformed?

I was a weak woman with PMS, back pain, and no voice. I have become a leader in my yoga community, and a role model for strength, resilience, and healing.

Why did you decide to start teaching yoga and what qualities do you feel are important to build and work on as a yoga teacher?

I started teaching because my yoga teacher didn’t show up. The students loved my class, and they asked for me to be added to the schedule. A yoga teacher has to always keep learning and improving themselves.

What has been your biggest struggle and your biggest milestone in the practice, in teaching, and within the yoga community?

My biggest struggle has been dealing with stiffness and pain from numerous accidents, and that has also been my biggest blessing in learning to overcome them with Iyengar Yoga.

What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga student?

In 1998, when I was taking a class with BKS Iyengar in Pune, and we were doing Virabhadradana 2 and he told us to extend our soul into the fingers. My whole body lit up. I was never the same after that.

What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga teacher?

When my student with MS was able to move her leg after not being able to move it for years.

Why do you practice?

To quiet my mind.

Why do you teach?

To spread the brilliant teachings of BKS Iyengar in a way that students can receive them. They have changed my life, and I know they can improve others.

What is the single most defining issue facing the global yoga community today?

Fake yoga. How yoga has become a circus.

Do you have any recommended yoga reading?

The Tree of Yoga by BKS Iyengar. It’s like listening to Mr Iyengar speaking.

Through your own personal journey, what do you feel is your path and offering to the community- local and global?

My contribution is to share the classical teachings without me claiming them as my own, and to have the students have the experience without my interference. To teach how to practice safely, and the true teachings of classical yoga.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?

Study Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar.

Are there any current projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?

I’m writing a book about my experience with pain, suffering, and how Iyengar Yoga illuminated my path towards a joyful and intelligent life.

What’s your Favorite Book?

So many…. Living in the Light, and Creative Visualization both by Shakti Gawain, Yaugika Manas, by BKS Iyengar, and The Mahabharata by Ramesh Menon just to name a few.

What’s your favorite meal at a restaurant?

Depends on the country I’m in. I love food! In the Yucatán, Cochinita Pibil. In Brazil, rodizio. In Miami, Cuban food. In Colombia, Bandeja Paisa.

What’s your favorite meal to make at home?

Stir Fry with lots of snow peas and cashews.

What do you like to do for fun that’s non-yoga related?

Go to the beach.

Who is your greatest inspiration?

My three daughters.

Do you have a favorite podcast?

I listen to many, but love Deepak Chopra and Esther Hicks.

If you were stranded on an island what 3 things would you bring with you?

A knife, my lip balm, and a cow for milk.

When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

An actress in a Mexican soap opera.

What’s your favorite movie?

Like Water for Chocolate

What’s your favorite TV series?

I Love Lucy

Do you have a favorite band/singer?

Depends on my mood. In a dance mood, David Bowie, Sergio Mendes, The Cure. In a romantic mood, Antonio Caros Jobim, or Andrea Bocelli.

Favorite song to dance to?

Mony Mony by Billie Idol

What’s your favorite quote/affirmation/mantra?

Even if you’re right, be Kind.

What is your life’s biggest question?

Why do people still use plastic bags?

By Rosa Santana

Made in Brazil with Mexican ingredients, Rosa Santana is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, and Certified Yoga Therapist by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She has been studying, teaching, and propagating the therapeutic art of Iyengar Yoga and the teachings of Patanjali since 1995. She was drawn to the mental and physical discipline after suffering three accidental falls, one of which fractured her tailbone. Since healing her back, neck and sciatica pains, she has introduced yoga to thousands of students who had never experienced this healing art, philosophy, and science. In 2001, she founded, in the Miami area, which has become a respected yoga studio in the classical teachings of Iyengar Yoga. She has hosted numerous internationally recognized teachers and continues to teach and mentor yoga students and teachers. She has had the privilege of studying directly with Yoga Master BKS Iyengar, and the Iyengar family in India and the US on numerous occasions. She continues to learn from the Iyengars as well as Senior Level teachers in the US and abroad.