Elena Brower wants to help you heal and be whole.
The bulk of her wellness journey began in 1998, when she transitioned from textile and apparel designer to yoga instructor. Since then, she has opened her own studio, co-authored a book, Art of Attention, and deepened her practice, becoming one of the foremost influencers in holistic wellness.
This Friday evening, April 11th, The Rubin Museum will be screening a portrait of Brower from the documentary series On Meditation (which is executive produced by Brower.) The yogi will be in attendance to speak about the evolution of her meditation practice. Here, she offers a taste of what’s she’ll be discussing, touting the physiological and psychological benefits of meditation, of group yoga and of helping others in pursuit of balance:
Live The Process: You have said that you sensed a public movement towards consciousness and healing around the turn of the millennium. What do you think was the catalyst for this shift?
Elena Brower: The movement towards faster communication has catalyzed a lot of fantastic sharing of wisdom, both ancient and modern, over social channels. This has helped countless seekers find solace, knowledge and acknowledgement through shared experience, which is leading us in the direction of healing together. It feels magical to me.
LTP: Why is mediation helpful for those cultivating patience and kindness?
EB: Meditation slows down the pace of our internal systems to help us turn from the fight-or-flight response to the "stay-and-play" response, as my Vedic Meditation teacher, Thom Knoles, has taught me. When we sit, we release factual, actual tensions from the body; that helps the body turn towards its natural, innate healing mechanisms. It's that simple. Over time, the body rids itself of these cellular contractions and leaves us feeling more patient, more grounded and more kind.
LTP: You have organized huge yoga classes at public outdoor spaces such as the Great Lawn in Central Park and at the base of the Eiffel Tower. What are the benefits of large groups of people practicing together?
EB: The shared space is a wondrous way to create the conditions for deeper listening. I've found that in those large groups, there is a deeper silence that everyone can experience in their own hearts.
LTP: How do you unify the tenets of yoga and your daily life?
EB: I work best in the context of coaching to refine the daily habits that keep me from being and feeling my best. In particular, I've been a client and a coach with the Handel Group for years now and it's helped me be way more honest and soft with myself and with my family.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
EB: A really long snuggle with my son at bedtime.
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how do you do that every day?
EB: Every day I ask my son if there was anything I could've done better, and I take his teaching. That is the biggest way in which I am living the process.
With regards to my work, my process is a big part of what I share in my writing and teaching. I'm learning to be clear in my boundaries with work when it comes to how I spend my time and attention, so that what I share reflects my own highest understanding of what I’m learning.