The Many Faces of Yoga: India Edition – Perrine Du Chaffaut


I first crossed paths with my dear Parisian friend, Perrine, on a trip to Mysore, India in 2013 and have been so blessed to continue to have her along the yoga path. We met again in Goa, India this time and we spoke about her journey with yoga, travelling as an Ashtangi, her yoga shala in France and how this recent trip as his inspired a deeper study of yoga in her life.

What brought you to yoga?

The wife of a friend was a certified student of John Scott and was teaching an Intro Ashtanga course at Triyoga in London. My friend said I was welcome to join and so I did, that was my first ever yoga class which was in 2008.

Did you have an idea of yoga before you began practicing?

No, not at all. I knew I would love to take yoga classes but I had no experience or knowledge about yoga or the Indian culture – being French, naturally, that’s not your background.

How did your idea of yoga develop?

It was when I went to this Intro Ashtanga course I just felt that this was something so special, I even had tears. I thought ‘there is something happening in my life today‘. I loved the flow and the breathing.

I have sinusitis since I was a child so it was challenging to breathe through the nose and I felt that this was a system that could somehow heal my failing breathing system.

What is your background in yoga?

I have only practiced Ashtanga – I took a few classes of Iyengar and Kundalini yoga from time to time but its my daily mysore practice only.

I started with led classes at Triyoga 1-3 times per week, which I practiced with Ryan Spielman. It was with Ryan that I started my yoga journey and I eventually went on to do the teacher training with him after a few years to deepen my practice – at that point of time not necessarily to teach but to go deeper into my Ashtanga practice and to have
it become a larger part of my life.It was great as Ryan is also very much into meditation and philosophy, so it was with him that I was introduced to meditation.

Did you find yoga changed you lifestyle or attitude towards life?

On one hand I can say it did change everything – I became vegetarian,  the way I interact with my family and friends and  more generally with the world changed to some extent. I became more conscious of the things I wanted to put out to the universe, so in a way it was transformative but I feel that it was a change that connected me more to myself as a child. It was a transformation to go back to who you are, do you see the dichotomy?

From the outside people say you change but actually I am closer to who I am as a person and as a child, feeling things that are more pure and natural.

Have you found that having yoga in our life has an impact on your family?

Yes, totally – because yoga gives you clarity. Your mind starts to be clearer and clearer and when your mind is clear you are closer to what you care for, what you love and what you want to do with your life. It gives you a better vision of what you really want to do and naturally your emotions will become clearer, that’s not saying you will be happy and joyful all the time, its just that if a negative emotion comes in or if you do something that’s not really in tune with who you are, you know it.

It doesn’t make you a perfect being to be on the yoga path, you are still human with the roller coaster of life but I feel the way I handle it – accept or reject things- it is easier to know what is right for you or not.

You love to travel and practice yoga, why?

I love travelling, even if I didn’t practice yoga. The amazing thing about travelling as a yogi is that the Ashtanga community is everywhere in amazing places. I’ve always loved the idea of a community, for me I was definitely searching for that community but I didn’t know what form it would take. When I started practicing and understanding that there are so many Ashtangis around the world that will be welcoming you, I really loved that aspect.

Would you like to talk about your inspiration and vision for your space l’Aventure?

So the space is in the South-east of France and I got the opportunity out of the blue to buy a piece of land next to my sister’s house. I thought I would like to do something with it so I decided to build a house/shala. I used materials that were as raw as possible that were allowed due to certain regulations and restrictions in that particular region.I thought if I have this opportunity then I am going to make the place special.

.The idea is to have a place where my friends can come and share what they love and stay in this space- an oasis where you can be yourself, practice yoga, meditation, music – a space for sharing.

It sounds wonderful! Anything else you would like to add about your experience with yoga?

After a retreat in the Himalayas I have come to understand more about the cultural aspect of the practice – this amazing Indian tradition. I feel that now in my life I want to embrace that aspect of yoga more, even when I go back to my western life I would like to start to incorporate these aspects, like maybe studying Sanskrit.

I feel extremely grateful that it is such an old tradition and it came to us. Here we are English, Irish, French experiencing a more conscious life thanks to this amazing tradition that goes back far, far away – so I feel really grateful for that.

You will find a whole range of people on the yoga path and for me there is just such a deep connection among the people on the Ashtanga path.

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