Interview: Goli Gabbay

Los Angeles yoga teacher and yoga therapist Goli Gabbay
Goli Gabbay

Goli Gabbay is a multi-talented, seasoned yoga teacher. She has trained in vinyasa, Iyengar, and Kundalini yoga, and is a pioneer of developing a unique system of yoga for psychological health. As the resident yoga therapist of two treatment facilities, Goli’s work is helping transform the lives of myriad individuals. Interest piqued? Read our Q&A:

What makes your style of teaching unique?

My teaching style incorporates my training in multiple disciplines of yoga, and humor and play are its key ingredients. I combine precise alignment and well-rounded sequencing from the vinyasa and Iyengar yoga traditions with the subtle body awareness of Kundalini yoga and meditation. As a healer and energy-sensitive person, I also use techniques such as guided visualization and meditation to do deeper transformational work. 

My classes create balance and align all parts of us:  Body, mind, energy, emotions, nervous system and soul.  

My unique therapeutic expertise has helped countless people heal depression, Anxiety Disorders, trauma, stress, addiction, and so on. For me, teaching is about helping students recognize their distinct value in the world and to create a life of purpose. 

What's the most frequently asked question you get being a yoga teacher?

“How did you get started in yoga?” Adversity with my health led me to the yoga path, so it makes sense that the primary focus of my work is working with people who are in recovery from some type of adversity. 

What's the strangest thing a student of yours did, said or wore in your class?

In one of the Mental Health Recovery classes that I teach, a young woman would be practicing poses and then all of a sudden, she’d get up and walk around in circles every five minutes. Her interruptions, in the small group setting, distracted me immensely, and I was rather astonished by it. But when I got to work with her individually, I experienced what a lovable soul she was. It taught me not to judge people.

What's the most yogically incorrect, or stereotypical thing you do as a yoga teacher?

I rarely plan my sequences ahead of time.  Instead, I tune in with my students’ body language, energy, state of emotions or I simply ask how they are feeling or what their day was like. That way, my classes begin and progress organically, and I am not imposing “my agenda” on my students’ bodies and nervous systems.  It allows me to stay deeply attuned with them.  I always allow room for surprises, too.

Which profession would your alter ego choose and why?

Many years ago when I DJ’d a friend’s party, my brother told me, “You could make dead people dance.” So my alter ego would definitely be an International Dance Music DJ. 

I love music and community, and think dance and music could help us attain the same experience of joy and euphoria that yoga provides.

Who or what inspires your practice and your teaching?

People who have gone through life challenges and are coming to me to re-create them selves and step into their power inspire me. 

The most beautiful thing in the world is to help facilitate and witness another human being’s growth, awakening and transformation.

Comments

Goli is awesome

I had the pleasure of a private session with Goli that focused on handling anxiety, while in a treatment center. It was so lovely. Her charisma and warmth and desire to help us heal was so amazing. She is an absolutely incredible yoga teacher with one of the sweetest souls I have ever seen. I highly recommend her in general, but especially for those in need of mental healing.

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