INNA VASSINA, MOSCOW, RUSSIA
SPECIALISATION: BIKRAM YOGA, INFERNO PILATES
Born in Russia but raised in the UK, Inna read philosophy at UCL and joined the corporate world as an investment banker. An active runner, she discovered her love for Bikram yoga while training for the New York Marathon, and has now gone on to develop a further specialisation in Inferno Pilates, BYL's hot new style of pilates imported from the US.
After 8 years of rigorous practice, which saw her in compete in the yoga championships, she quit her City job in 2013 to become a full time Bikram yoga instructor and has been kicking asanas ever since! Her favourite poet is Rumi so expect to hear a word or two from the Sufi mystic in her class. Join us Sundays at 6PM for a candlelit Bikram class full of elegance and a powerful, calming energy. Set your intention for the week ahead and cleanse the body of the weekend left behind.
BYL TEACHER INTERVIEW: INNA
How did you find Bikram Yoga?
I was training for a New York marathon and urgently needed to find a way to help me with the breath during running, as I felt like I was going to suffocate 3 miles into the run. Pranayama exercises did the job, and the heat kept my body nice and limber and injury free throughout the training season all the way through to the day of the marathon! The running came and went, but the yoga stayed with me for life.
What were you doing before you started teaching Bikram?
I was working in the City as a mergers and acquisitions advisor - a professional desk jockey! Sitting behind a desk for good 80 hour stretches per week.
What inspired you to become a Bikram teacher and how soon after starting Bikram did you make that decision?
I practiced Bikram yoga for 4yrs before taking the leap of faith and booking a flight to LA to go meet Bikram and take the teacher training in the spring of 2013. Hands down, one of the best decisions I made!
How has Bikram changed or impacted you personally?
Bikram yoga practice has become the love of my life. It is my personal trainer, skin care specialist and psychiatrist rolled into one. Investing in Bikram yoga sessions for me has been the best healthcare plan around and the biggest bang for my buck.
What’s your most memorable Bikram moment?
There is no single moment that stands out for me. I would say Bikram practice is responsible for creating a rich tapestry of magical moments inside and outside the yoga room for me :)
What’s your favourite Bikram pose?
Standing Head to Knee - love the amount of pure, undiluted focus and determination that it requires to pull it off well.
What’s your least favourite or most challenging Bikram pose? What do you do to improve it?
Locust pose with both legs up. After I broke my leg in a kite surfing accident, I was forced to use crutches for 6 weeks, which had an amazing strengthening effect on my upper body! The strong arm and upper back strength I developed over those 6 weeks meant that, when I got back in the hot room, both legs went flying up into the air with hardly any effort at all! So the best way to boost your locust is to start strengthening your upper body - I don't advise going on crutches but adding a few push ups and the planks a day will add inches to your depth in Locust!
How did you find Inferno Pilates and why did you decide to become a teacher?
I met the founder of Inferno Pilates, Gabriela Walters, in California two years ago. Loved her class set to awesome house music tracks! The 60 mins whizzed, by and I left the class energized and buzzing. I remember waking up the next morning with so much awareness of all the muscles that were 'woken up' by this class! My gluts, abs and guns [what are guns?] were certainly talking to me the day after! This made me aware that certain muscle groups could do with a little more work in addition to the 26 and 2 we practice in the hot room on a regular basis.
What do you love most about teaching?
Breakthroughs! When a student is able to execute a move they have been working on for a while for the very first time or feel a new sensation in their body it really lights me up!
What else do you do inside and outside yoga?
Learning kite surfing on my days off as well reading classic Russian literature. I adore Bulgakov and Dostoevsky as well as watching classical ballet performances at the Royal Opera House. The amount of control that ballet dancers have over their bodies is just astounding to watch.
What advice would you give to your students to improve their yoga?
The only bad class you will ever have is the one that you didn't show up to. :) So keep on, keep it on. Practice and all is coming!