Yoga teacher, activist, somatic counselor, mother – Hala Khouri is an absolute gem in the LA yoga community. Her strong following at Exhale’s Center for Sacred Movement in Venice Beach is due her accrued wisdom of the mind and body, as well as her irreverence and self-disclosure. Case in point, when we asked her, “What’s the most yogically incorrect thing you do?” Her response was, “Where do I start?” Read our Q&A with Hala.
What makes your style of teaching unique?
My training in somatic psychology and my tendency to “over share” and be irreverent. I’m passionate about inviting people to be IN their bodies and to embrace their humanity, so I model that by revealing my own imperfections or neuroticism at times. Often students tell me that my stories really give them permission to be in their process without shame.
What’s the most frequently asked question you get being a yoga teacher?
“What was that song you played?” But the most interesting question I get is, “How can I use yoga to deal with my trauma?”
What’s the strangest thing a student of yours did, said or wore in your class?
I don’t feel comfortable targeting a student in any way that implies judgment. If I see anything strange or outside the box in a student, it is my job as a teacher, to witness without judgment and with utmost empathy. If the behavior is disruptive to others, I need to do something about it; but if it isn’t, my role is to create safety and understanding even if someone’s behavior makes me uncomfortable.
What’s the most yogically incorrect, or stereotypical thing you do as a yoga teacher?
Where do I start? I eat meat (ethically raised), I drink coffee, sometimes I curse in class, and once I ripped up a picture of Sai Baba that was on an alter in the yoga room (he was a convicted pedophile).
Which profession would your alter ego choose and why?
Hoola hooper at Burning Man. I’ve always wanted to wear those fuzzy boots and be a badass hooper! My alter ego would MAKE that a profession.
Who or what inspires your practice and your teaching?
This is so cliché, but my students and clients of course! I’m constantly fed by stories of people’s courage, passion, resilience, and creativity. I’m also deeply influenced by the work of Peter Levine, my teacher in somatic psychology. His understanding of trauma and its healing is so vast and influences all that I do.Website: http://halakhouri.com/