Have you ever wondered what it might be like to work as a full-time yoga instructor? We spoke with Paris-based yogini Carol Issa about the yoga lifestyle, veganism, and what a day in her fabulous life looks like.
Carol Issa was born and raised in Paris, the daughter of French parents of Lebanese and Greek descent. Before launching a career as a yoga instructor, she spent six years living in Beirut, Lebanon, getting acquainted with her roots.
"It was important for me to live there for a while to learn the language and get in touch with this culture and people that I knew only though war images on French news every night during my childhood," says Carol, who returns at least twice each year to share her yoga gifts. She also voyages back to New York City, where she studied the Jivamukti method with Sharon Gannon and David Life, and earned her certification to teach. "My yearly trips to NYC are my pilgrimage," says Carol, who also teaches yearly workshops in Berlin, Amsterdam, and London, and sometimes more tropical destinations, such as Goa, where she led a retreat last March.
Carol, who earned a master's degree from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris as well as a degree in philosophy from the Sorbonne, first became interested in yoga back in 2000, while living in Lebanon. "Yoga came to my life in a natural flow, as a result of the personal research I was working on through art, philosophy, psychology, dance, music, martial arts, shamanism, healing, and spiritual coaching," she says. "Now, in full respect of the lineages I come from, I can use all the disciplines I have been practicing in my teachings."
In 2008, after reading Yoga & Vegetarianism and watching the riveting documentary Earthlings, she went adopted a plant-based way of life. "When I became aware of what disturbing reality lies under the nice packages sold in markets, the terrible conditions of animals in slaughterhouses and dairy industries, and the dramatic effects on environment, I just couldn’t eat any animal derived product anymore," she says.
Instead of the traditional french pain au chocolat and cafe creme, Carol is more inclined to start her day with a green drink ("spinach, kale when I can get it, celery, cucumber, ginger, green apple, kiwi, and any seasonal greens"), followed by a lunch of quinoa and avocado garnished with sesame seeds and a splash of sesame oil. Dinner might be a heartier salad of lentils loaded up with greens. "I like simplicity, and I love greens!" she enthuses.
In September 2015, Carol will welcome a very special guest for a live event in Paris. "I have the honor to host Sharon Gannon--my dear teacher and co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga, for the first time in Paris on Sept 12th and 13th," says Carol, who encourages anyone interested to secure tickets in advance. She also has plans to escape the northern European winter with another retreat in a tropical setting. "Next March, I’ll host a retreat in Ubud, Bali, and will be teaching at the Bali Spirit Yoga Festival."
To learn more about Carol, her workshops, and other upcoming events, visit Carol's website, and when visiting Paris, try out one of her fabulous Jivamukti classes at Le Tigre Yoga Club and Be Yoga.
Oh Happy Day!