We have had the opportunity to interview Adrian Cox, the founder and boss of the famous yoga studio Yoga Elements (BTS Nana). It was a chance for us to ask many question about his journey into yoga, his own practice and how he runs Yoga Elements.
First of all, can you introduce yourself briefly ?
My name is Adrian Cox, I am from the US, and I came to Bangkok in 2001 and started Yoga Elements studio. Yoga and teaching is my life work, my mission, and my passion!
How did you discover yoga in the first place (when did you begin?) ? Did you do other physical activities before that led you to yoga ?
I took my first yoga class 23 years ago but didn’t like it very much. It did get me curious however. At the time I was allergic to team sports, although I loved dance, karate, and cycling. The next teacher (Eve Nyman, Iyengar Yoga) I tried I really got switched on to the practice and philosophy and it started a passion that continues to this day.
How do you see your practice over time, how did it evolved ?
It’s amazing how there is always more and more to discover inside the practice and it continues like this. My physical practice includes more pranayama* than it used to, is probably more subtle than it used to be as well. Lately I have become more aware than ever of the importance of moving yoga into the level of thoughts, emotions, and attitude. It continues to evolve!
*pranayama can be understood as the work you put to control your breathing.
Adrian Cox : “On that retreat I decided to quit my job
and become a yoga teacher”
What brought you to Bangkok and to open your yoga studio ?
Vipassana meditation. I was on a ten day silent retreat here in 1998 and it changed my life. On that retreat I decided to quit my job as a computer jockey and become a yoga teacher. I also had a vision of a yoga center in Bangkok. Here I am, 19 years later doing what I saw in a vision! I’m waiting for the next vision now 🙂
What do you think makes Yoga Elements a studio that stands out in the Bangkok yoga offer ?
Truthfully, I don’t get to other yoga studios much to do this kind of comparison. What I can say is that I am committed to 90 minute classes and high quality classes with professional level content and delivery. This attitude seems to be the reason we continue to thrive and get the feedback we do.
What are the qualities you’re looking after when you’re recruiting a new teacher ?
Good question. Straight up- charisma, passion, knowledge, and a commitment to self-practice and STUDY. Each teacher has the responsibility to better themselves constantly. There is no difference between one’s life and who one becomes when teaching. We must do our best to develop congruent lives- we teach what we practice. There will always be a difference from the real to the ideal -yet we strive. If I could easily find more people who embody these values, I would probably open multiple branches.
Adrian Cox : “Yoga is about joyfully finding out
what you can do and the harmony of mind-body balance”
What is the main advice you’d provide a yoga beginner ?
Remember yoga should not hurt. It is about waking up, about increasing awareness of who you are. Yoga is not about fitting the person into a style or a shape. It is about joyfully finding out what you can do and the harmony of mind-body balance.
What is the main advice you’d provide a regular yogi that finds itself stuck in its practice (not evolving any more, etc) ?
Study! There are no shortage of workshops and trainings both online and in person. Also, change your approach. Try another road in to yourself. If you feel that you are not evolving physically keep two things in mind- one is that there are structural limits that are unique to each person and this should be celebrated, not condemned. I have students who will always be more flexible than I am- simply because of our unique body types. Secondly speaking as someone who has practiced for 23 years- my practice is STILL advancing. Slowly, less dramatically, but still moving forwards- whatever forwards is. You may yet surprise yourself.
A nutrition tip that helped you feel well in your body ?
Yes. Fasting. The science behind fasting is solid- leading to rejuvenation of the immune system and internal organs. A 24 hour water-only fast teaches you a lot about your body and mind, and can enhance yoga practices dramatically. Especially pranayama and meditation.
Any specific offer for a newcomer to come test Yoga Elements ?
Yes! We have a newcomer package of 15 times in a month for only 2,500 baht.
Thanks a lot Adrian, really happy you answered our questions for Yoga in Bangkok !
Photos courtesy of Adrian Cox and Yoga Elements.
More information about Yoga Elements, check their Facebook Page.