Tarik Van Prehn Born in Brazil in 1975, Tarik moved to Portugal with his family in 1988. He started practicing Yoga at the age of 19 and was blessed to teach the practice in 2004. Tarik took some time out to answer some questions for Phuketindex.com about his teachings.
1. Can you tell us about the Yoga that you teach, Ashtanga Yoga?
In this system of Yoga there are 3 series. The first series is Yoga Therapy, the poses are mostly forward bending and they are designed to realign your spine and detoxify your internal organs through sweating. Once you are competent at the first series you move up to the middle series which is designed to purify the nervous system. Then you move on to the third series which comprises of some very advanced poses and takes a lot of advanced practice. In the program today there will be people doing all levels of Ashtanga Yoga, so many of the people here really know what to do already and have memorized the sequence of poses. Whatever level you are at, the session is going to improve your health and make your mind more positive. For the people who are more advanced, they are probably ready to open some spiritual doors, but that takes many years of dedication.
2.Can you tell us how and why you became interested in yoga, and more importantly why you decided to become a Yoga teacher?
My grandmother was from a Dutch colony in Indonesia, during the 2nd world war she left to go to India, where she stayed for 2 years. At the end of the 1940’s she immigrated to Brazil. She was exposed to Yoga whilst in India, so I grew up with Yoga books and it is really something that runs in the family. I became more interested in it when I was 19, and this is when I started practicing. Teaching was something that just really happened, it wasn’t planned. I was originally studying to be a Chinese medicine doctor and was due to go to China on a placement as the last part of my course. However, instead of doing this I went to India and studied Yoga.
3. How long did it take you to train to become a teacher and where did you learn?
I went to Mysore in India for the first time in 2001, and I went back every year until 2008. Each time I stayed for between two and a half and six months. I actually received a formal authorization from the institute to start teaching in 2004 but I had started teaching prior to that. I would say that is more like a blessing you are given to teach, it’s not a course you take to become a teacher, traditionally they doesn’t really happen. If the teacher feels that you are ready to start teaching he will bless you to teach. There are a lot of teacher training courses out there for Yoga but I personally never took one.
4. I notice from your website that you get to travel to many places to teach, do you have a favourite place and why?
That’s a very interesting question, normally and generally it’s not about where I prefer to travel and teach, it’s about where I can surf too. So if there are beaches and waves that’s where I prefer to go. I have actually taught in Portugal for the longest time, that has been 5 years in a row. I am now teaching in Norway, where the people are very consistent. I have a lot of students there and they are very focused and dedicated to the practice, which is a good thing for me. Sometimes you go to places that are more exotic, but the teaching is not as easy, as the students are lazier or complain more. I like everywhere where I teach but Thailand I like a lot because of the location close to the beach.
5. For you, what is the most satisfying thing about teaching Yoga?
I think that anyone who dedicates themselves and believes that the practice can help them change many things about their lives is the most important aspect of Yoga and if I can achieve this, I am satisfied. 6.Do you have any personal goals that you still wish to achieve when it comes to Yoga?I think any person that practices Yoga, if they have one personal goal, it would be to reach the final state on enlightenment. It’s just like Buddhism or any other similar practice. But I think just to find some stability on a daily basis, not feeling too affected by the negative things in life and not to get to over excited about the positive things. It’s all about an equal balance really. If I can get that right everything for me will be perfect and I will die happy. Also maybe to overcome the fear of death, accept death totally and that would be a good personal achievement.