Over the past few months, the Yoga Junkies magazine has been blessed with beautiful yoga poses and accurate descriptions on how to perform them. A monthly pose with instructions was one of the first segments in our magazine and has quickly become one of the favorites. But in order to achieve such a feat, we needed someone who was both an instructor, and an artist. Well, thankfully, the universe had listened to our wishes and brought us into contact with the perfect person for the job.
We’re very excited to finally introduce Chiara de Eccher, the lovely soul behind the Yoga Junkies monthly pose and owner of Swell Yoga.
So Chiara, what does art have to do with yoga?
You might have heard of the expression “yoga on and off the mat”. For me, illustration is a way to practice Yoga off the mat.
Going back to the Yamas and Niyamas, it’s a way to practice Satya (truthfulness) to my duties as a Yoga Teacher, Tapas (dedication and discipline) to the practice of Yoga, and Svadhyaya (self-study) as a way to self-reflect on my own practice as a teacher and as a student.
I believe that the duty of every yoga teacher is to enable their students to practice on their own. Therefore, my students often get “extra goodies” on paper–for example, stick figures of flows or series of stretching exercises. I try to do the same for my followers on my Instagram Channel. I just want everyone to really understand what they are doing while practicing and I use the best tool I can offer – illustration.
How did you get into illustration?
Drawing to me is a sort of meditation. It’s a way to hang out with myself, reflect, let go, and become aware of my feelings. When I start filling a blank page, I hardly know what is going to look like. I fully enjoy the process and try to accept and observe what unveils on the paper–patterns and expectations are only a limitation when it comes to art.
What did your Journey with yoga look like?
My journey with yoga did not begin in the traditional way. I felt very frustrated after my first class because my body just wouldn’t do what it was supposed to. By nature, my physical body was strong but not very flexible because of 15+ years of volleyball, CrossFit and soccer.
So to avoid that initial impact with frustration, I teach my students that every single body is different and that there is nothing wrong with it. We all work with what we have: Yoga is not about touching your feet, it’s what you learn on the way down.
My teaching style is highly influenced by my sabbatical year, which I spent mostly surfing and practicing yoga in Costa Rica and Sri Lanka. I was lucky enough to practice in magical Shalas with over 40 different yoga teachers and learned a lot from each and every one of them.
What does Swell mean and what does Swell Yoga do?
Swell is a collection of waves moving away from a storm somewhere in the middle of the ocean, which then heads towards shallow water and transforms into sets of waves you can surf. This name is an analogy based on my love for surfing – yoga can teach you how to move through the storms of life and to choose which waves to surf.
At the moment, my main focus is on Business Yoga, because I worked for two and a half years in management consulting and think a lot of people working in the start-up, consulting, and corporate world could really use some practice.
I am also offering mobility training for sports clubs because I believe that mobilization can help to prevent injuries when playing sports.
What is coming up next?
On top of offering yoga classes, I am also working on my first Yoga E-book – yes, it includes a lot of illustrations.
You can find more of Chiara’s art and yoga offerings at swellyoga.at or on Instagram @swellyoga.art