About A Girl: Lihi Yogini

  Sequoia Ziff Photography

Sequoia Ziff Photography

Born to a multicultural family and raised in a coastal surfing town in Northern California, Lihi Benisty had a very unique upbringing. This lead her on an unexpected inward journey through the devotional practice of yoga. Spending the day with Lihi was like catching up with an old friend- easy, fun, and full of good laughs. There is something so refreshing and enchanting about her, and we knew we had do dig a little deeper to see the world through her eyes...

 

1. Tell us about your upbringing...
I'm a first generation American... My Dad is Moroccan-Israeli and my Mom is Brazilian. I was born and raised in the beachy town of Santa Cruz, California. I spent the first 7 years of my life going to a beautiful little school in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the Land of Medicine Buddha - where meditation, yoga, and the appreciation for the outdoors were instilled in me.

  Sequoia Ziff Photography

Sequoia Ziff Photography

2. Buddhist school? That's very interesting, what languages were spoken in your home growing up?
Growing up, my mom spoke to me in Portuguese and my Dad - Hebrew. My home is a melting pot of English, Portuguese, Hebrew and French. I was lucky enough that my parents gifted me with their passion for culture and travel and gave me the platform to connect with my own heritage.

3. What brought you to SF?
I wanted to be back in California after living on the East Coast and SF seemed like the best community for active like-minded people. I found an amazing studio to do my first yoga teacher training and my journey began...

  Sequoia Ziff Photography

Sequoia Ziff Photography

4. What made you want to do a yoga teacher training?
I never intended to teach... I really just wanted to deepen my physical practice. What I discovered is that yoga teacher trainings should really be thought of as inward journeys. Mine certainly taught me practical yoga skills like alignment and proper body awareness to help avoid injury, but what was offered went so far beyond the physical—it was amazing.

  Sequoia Ziff Photography

Sequoia Ziff Photography

  Sequoia Ziff Photography

Sequoia Ziff Photography

5. Upon completing your teacher training you decided to teach?
The opportunity presented itself to sub a class a month or so after completing and I said why not? I've been teaching ever since.

6. Where has your practice taken you?
Subtle shifts began to take place as I continued to roll out my mat in yoga classes. I found myself starting to slow down. I started to get out of my head and into my body. I started to take better care of myself and discover an unwavering sense of self-worth and connection. My aha moment came when my perspective of yoga shifted from a mode of exercise to a healing art. Each practice now offers me the opportunity to hold space and to show up for myself, exactly where I am.

  Sequoia Ziff Photography

Sequoia Ziff Photography

7. What tools do you think are essential for starting a yoga practice?
Willingness. To be imperfect, to be in process, to accept where we are. Yoga can be tough, because staying in the moment when we are not excelling is not what we are trained to do. Yoga is a place where we can face the process — the feeling of wanting to give up and then finding that warrior and that victory of moving through anyway. It’s all of the aspects of ourselves coming together, and we slow down enough to witness them.
 

8. In your opinion, is there an essential yoga mindset?
Yes. Acceptance. Plain and simple. Acceptance is the key. Of all the parts of ourselves.

  Russie Denay Photography

Russie Denay Photography

9. Are there a few key words that make yoga relevant to everyone?
Awareness. Presence. Enjoyment. Emotion. Transformation. Power. Release. Focus. Who doesn’t connect with these words? Yoga brings you to the edge and allows you to experience these places within ourselves.

  Russie Denay Photography

Russie Denay Photography

10. What style of yoga do you teach and where?
I teach mindful Vinyasa classes. In my classes, each pose builds onto the next in a smart, sequential and powerful way. Incorporating a strong breath, each asana will unfold within the body revealing new areas of strength and flexibility. Starting with a slow progression and sun salutations, my classes build with standing and balancing poses as well as backbends and forward folds and they always ends in a sweet, cooling, restorative sequence to balance the body. There is a lot of room for creative expression and originality in the choice of poses, so each class is different and usually has something new. At the same time, the basics of the practice guarantee that all of the body systems will be exercised and detoxified - both physically and energetically. I'm currently teaching 6 public classes at three studios - Thriveability, Pacific Heights Health Club and The Center SF. You can see my full schedule below!

  Russie Denay Photography

Russie Denay Photography

11. How do you make time to practice?
Balancing my yoga journey between being a teacher and a student is not easy. I have a ritual practicing with and assisting my teacher, Janet Stone. I also have a consistent morning practice. The morning is potent with possibility—we are a blank slate ready to absorb whatever we put in front of ourselves, so if you choose yoga when you wake up, you'll feel centered and grounded for the rest of the day!

  Russie Denay Photography

Russie Denay Photography

12. We've heard that you put a lot of time into mixing your playlists for your yoga classes, could you share one with us?

For sure! 

www.lihibenisty.com

Instagram: @lihiyogini
 

Teaching schedule

Tuesday

5pm Vinyasa - Thriveability

7:15 Vinyasa - Pacific Heights Health Club   

Wednesday

6pm Mindful Vinyasa - The Center SF

7:50pm Candlelight Flow - Thriveability

Thursday

5pm Vinyasa - Thriveability

7:15 Vinyasa - Pacific Heights Health Club

Hop on Zenrez to book one of my classes last minute!

  Sequoia Ziff Photography

Sequoia Ziff Photography

LifestyleVera Claire