An Interview With Yogi Casino

Charmie Stryker
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I remember when I first came across Yogi Casino’s blog on THEARTOFYOGA. I was in awe of his creativity in photography, his ways of travel, and his passion for yoga and meditation.
 
Within just a few minutes of visiting his site, you instantly want to book a one-way ticket to India and do some soul searching yourself!
 
I couldn’t be more excited to interview such a unique and dynamic yogi for our Get to Know a Yogi feature. We hope you find Yogi Casino as inspiring as we do!
 

A photo posted by ॐYogi Casinoॐ (@yogicasino) on


 
YA: Yoga is such a transformative journey towards love and self-acceptance. Who was Yogi Casino before yoga and how would you say the journey of yoga has transformed you?
 
Yogi Casino: In my youth I found myself an inquisitive and bright soul, yet terribly misguided. A product of the system so to say. A statistic. Fortunately, my close observation of the nature of reality and fateful encounters brought about an awareness in me. That this is just the beginning, the first lines of the first chapter of this volume of a life.
 
The transformation is constant. We all are choosing with each moment. We have the power to evolve and move into subtle refinement or devolve and crumble. There is an infinite well of un-manifested creative energy to tap into, to reach a higher potential of one’s self.
 
How yoga has transformed me is the realization that . . . the name changes. The events and situations change. The time and the date change. All the things associated with “casino” change and yes, I am all of that, full with the world. Realizing that I have existed before all of that.

 
 
YA: Your Instagram and Tumblr accounts are truly inspiring. Tell us a little bit more about your approach to yoga as a teacher.
 
YC: The internet is one of the most valuable tools for communication the world has seen. As a communicator or creator, the internet acts as a megaphone that carries our vision far and wide, whatever that vision may be.
 
The Instagram and Tumblr accounts are great for inspiring others to seek the yogic path, but no more than pretty pictures. They are remnants of my old life and old ego, what I did long before remembering yoga.
 
THEARTOFYOGA.ORG is just the tip of the iceberg, perhaps energizing some to come experience THEARTOFYOGA first hand, as we can talk about it and look at pretty pictures all day, but nothing compares to the direct experience.
 
More conventionally speaking, I have seen students benefit greatly from developing a solid seated practice. So we sit. A lot.

 


 
YA: What does a typical day look like for you?
 
YC: Right now I am in the Caribbean surfer/rasta beach town of Puerto Viejo. Waking up in pure nature jungles of Costa Rica – I am so blessed. I’m up pretty early and usually crack open a fresh pipa (coconut) for water before my lovely 6km bike ride to class. With the sea on my left and the jungle on my right, I’m winding my way to Tierra de Sueños (Land of Dreams). There tucked away in the jungles of Playa Chiquita, a beautiful yoga shala awaits. I’m likely there early, practicing, teaching and tending to the space.
 
My first meal is often at noon once I have returned home with fruit or dried banana chips. I live a simple life but with a couple of technological tools to share this adventure with all of you.

 
 
YA: What came first in your life, yoga or travel? And how has one affected the other?
 
YC: Definitely travel. We moved around a lot when I was a wee lad as my father was in the military. Yoga was always there – I was just vaguely aware of it. As an adult, I found myself unfulfilled in my work and life, a consumer, living in an ever increasingly out of balance life and society.
 
It was fate that I was surrounded by many awakened beings that supported my practice so early on. I decided to leave it all and put my heart out there. Seeking honesty and self study brought me to India, which radically altered my reality.
 
We are always traveling even when still. Just as we are always practicing even without awareness.

 


 
YA: What advice do you have for those curious to start but feel intimidated or for the students who have started a practice but feel discouraged?
 
YC: We are all at different stages on the path, yet we all walk the same yogic path. Everyone starts right from where they are. Your yoga may not be the physical asana practice. Maybe your practice is service to others, maybe you’re an artist blessed with a master’s touch of the brush stroke, perhaps a mathematical prodigy. If done with awareness, all aspects of your human experience become part of the practice. As you evolve in your individual world, so too does that affect our collective whole.
 
There are amazing teachers all around us and often in unexpected places. Find a real life teacher locally you vibe with who you feel has walked in your shoes. With an honest heart, seek and all will come.

 
 
YA: What’s next for Yogi Casino? Any fun new projects, retreats or collaborations we should look out for?
 
YC: This Spring Equinox Naida Luna and I will be holding a very unique 7-day yoga sailboat surf adventure retreat in Panama March 20th-26th. This retreat is definitely the best of land and sea, from the physical to the subtle.
 
I can be found teaching at Tierra de Sueños in Playa Chiquita, Costa Rica Monday through Friday 9AM until April.
 
Also starting in February, Tuesday and Saturday 7AM at OM Yoga in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

 
We hope you enjoyed digging a little deeper into Yogi Casino’s thoughts on travel, life, art, and yoga. If you’d like to see more of him, be sure to check out his tumblr, Facebook and Instagram.

buddha-meditation
Image by: Yogi Casino

 

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Charmie Stryker

A wanderlust at heart, Charmie started her yoga teaching path during her travels through India. Her practice has been nicknamed as “shakti sway”. “Shakti”, meaning divine energy, and movement and “Sway” because of her love for flow, or the fluidity of movements. Currently she is pursuing her bliss of yoga, travel and design blurring the lines between work and play.

shaktisway.com

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