Healthy living is about more than eating right. It means taking care of your whole being. Likewise, healthy activity is about more than working up a sweat. This is just some of the wonderful wisdom Revi Frydman is happy to share. After meeting her through yoga classes at Lifetime Old Orchard, Phyter’s Gloria Athanis recognized a kindred spirit, and thought we should sit down for a chat.
Q: What drew you to yoga?
REVI: I have always been very much in tune with myself, with whatever whispering that I had inside. I always let it guide me. And then after I moved from Israel to the United States to be with my husband in 1997, I kind of lost it. I was almost on autopilot, just functioning to survive, not realizing that I’m not really connecting. And one day sitting at the coffee shop, I looked up from my tons of books, studying for finals. There was a sign across the street that said “Yoga – free for students.” And so all those words clicked with me. “Yoga”—I always knew I would have a tendency towards it and “free” was what I could afford at the time. And so I started, and I got back to me. And the force that it had on me kept me going for years, and knowing what it did to me has brought me to wanting to pass it on.
Q: How do you feel after doing yoga?
REVI: I think you peel off a layer of yourself every time you do yoga. If, and only if, you look at it as a work-in and not a workout. I always say it to my students, If you come to sweat, you’ll feel great physically, but you’re not going to meet a dimension of you that I think is the essence of yoga. I tell my students to catch the air as it comes up, and down [from] poses, really connecting with every physical or energetic item around you will allow you to let go. Something will crack open. But something else bigger, deeper is shifting when you crack something physical open. You work things on the mat that may seem physical, but they turn out to be shifting something mental. And that’s the essence of yoga, really. You use your body to get into your mind.
Q: What’s your favorite yoga pose?
REVI: Oh, that’s a hard one. I think I don’t have much attachment to any because I find them all, the bread and butter simple poses, all the kinds of warrior, the balance tree pose, all of them bring something to me. But I think I will stick with the bread and butter yoga rather than the tricks, because if you do those well, they take you to the advanced poses, and not the other way around.
Q: What’s been your yoga career highlight?
REVI: I think when things shifted towards making the class about my students and not about myself. I think it’s natural that when you start presenting, doing whatever new job, especially after staying at home for so many years, or any time you’re in front of people, whether you like to admit it or not, it’s first about you, how you’re going to look, how you’re going to present. And that was the kind of, how we call it in yoga, the mati, the union; when peaceful, blissful feelings start to sink in and you lose the stage fright.
Q: What advice would you give to people who are interested in taking up yoga but haven’t quite gotten there yet?
REVI: Surrender. Go to a few different places and find a teaching voice, a teaching soul that appeals to you. And once you do, then surrender the way you look, and the way other people look. Just commit to that little island on your mat, breathe, and come back to it. And practice, practice, practice, and all will come at some point. It’s a never-ending process, and it’s always evolving.
Q: What about your philosophy when it comes to food?
REVI: I like to cook for my family and friends. People will always say ‘Every time you come to Revi’s house she has something to feed you.’ Lots of vegetables around our house. Salads with every meal. So much that sometimes we make the salad and then we think about what we want for dinner. Eating is another sacred action that should be respected. And unfortunately, we live a life that we can’t sustain so much that we adapted the food to our life rather than the other way around.
Q: How do you bring the mindfulness of yoga to eating?
REVI: It’s connected with family. Just take what you need, like in anything in life. Take what you need and leave the rest. Be sure that tomorrow you’ll wake up, you’ll still have enough.
Q: Gloria says she’s learned a lot from you. What have you learned from her?
REVI: Inspiration. She’s an entrepreneur. I build my own little sacred space in my house. It’s called Neshama in Hebrew, which means soul. And it kind of took an organic direction of its own when people that never came to yoga, but always yearned yoga, started coming to me. When Gloria came once, it hit me that I may be just a little bit of the entrepreneur that she is.