Who I am

Ely Bakouche The Linguistic Yogi

I must admit - I’ve never been good at presentations because I hate labels. They limit us, tend to reduce us to small parts of our beings and to me, our uniqueness comes from the combination of all the bits and pieces that define us, and yet none of them either (hm, am I losing your attention already?).

So I could tell you that I was born & raised in France, which makes my passport French, but I lived in Belgium and Spain and New Zealand and Denmark and now the US, so I might be a bit Belgian, Spanish, Kiwi, Danish and soon American. I am certainly a multilingual writer, and a side of me is a yoga teacher, and also most definitely a student. If you look at me from another standpoint, then I am a linguist; but seen from yet another angle I am a daughter and a sister; recently I also became a wife (to an Argentinian, by the way, so does that make me a bit Argentinian, too?), but before that, I was a girlfriend, and before that, I was single, and before that, well, hm, just choose any of the labels I've mentioned above. And then, depending on the days, I am vegetarian and sometimes also vegan.

If you look at me from yet another viewpoint, I am quiet, but also eager to know the world and excited; I am a beauty-seeker, a question-asker, a detail-lover, trilingual, a travel enthusiast, a podcast listener, a YouTube viewer, an Instagram scroller, a smiler (that's someone who smiles a lot, and this makes me a word-maker, see, I can be anything!).

Who knows who I am, who knows who I'll be next week, or in 5 years from now... Does it really matter? I could be all these things and none of them. In the end, you're the one to choose how you see me.

So, of all these labels, what will you choose for me to be?


yoga & language - why put them together?

This is one of the - if not the only - question people have asked me the most since I started talking about this project. The way they are linked definitely has something to do with the way I see yoga and the reasons why it means so much to me. So here we go, just follow me...


Yoga means connection, or union

Ely Bakouche headstand

We practice yoga to connect, with our breath, our body; we practice yoga to identify sensations, feelings, states of mind, thoughts and ultimately, to let go of these sensations, feelings, states of mind and thoughts to come back to our breath, the only thing that can only exist in the present (think about it, it's mind-blowing that it be the only thing that cannot be in the past nor the future!).

And eventually, the more we practice, the more we learn about how our body feels, how our mind acts, reacts, wanders and wonders, we'll build presence through our breath and our body; we'll come back to what is, not what was nor what will be, we'll connect to the whole. As we realise we're part of this whole, we'll develop compassion - we all feel and fear the same things -, tolerance - if I am scared then I'll respect the other's fear -, acceptance - if I am as I am, then I need to let the other person be who she is -, forgiveness - not all is in our power -, openness - to change, to new ways of doing and seeing, curiosity - to learn about how our bodies react in this pose or how our minds thinks about a person on a first encounter -, and love.
But to be able to access the awakening part of yoga, the compassion, acceptance, tolerance, forgiveness, curiosity, openness and love bits, the poses might not always feel enough. For yoga to be yoga, it has to become much more than the poses. Usually, the physical practice, asana, serves as our gateway to what’s behind them, to what’s to learn. 

That's where the language part comes in (just keep following!).

How do your thoughts, ideas, desires manifest?

Ely Bakouche Reading

Do you see images?

Do you feel your thoughts?

Maybe you hear sounds or memories come back to you as smells?

Do words align in front of you when you close your eyes?
Oftentimes our thoughts take all five shapes; it changes depending on the situation, the thought, the strength of the thought and so on.

Your to-do list might manifest through words;
your heartaches through bodily experiences;
your clothing decisions through images.
You can’t really erase images consciously - you live with them, forget about them.
You can’t suppress feelings either - or you could, but others would come up, like frustration; and they'd come back eventually.

The beautiful thing about your words is that you can change them.

That’s the gift we get for being humans, language; our ability to learn words, understand them, use them.
Acknowledging and honoring this can help us turn it into a very powerful tool. If we realize how much change can happen through the way we listen to and speak words, our yogic experience can become much more enlightening and enjoyable.
What if we stopped labelling the yoga poses?
Would our warrior IIs feel like warrior IIs?
What if we made it our intention to repeat I am awake throughout a practice after a bad night?

Ultimately, using our words might lead to a change in images, smells, bodily experiences - not how we've experienced them, but how we see them.
The teacher in me has a two-fold mission: I'll use my words to challenge you, to bring specific words, values, concepts into focus for your practice; to make you think outside the comfortable box we tend to like too much. I’ll invite you to practice asana and meditation where I carefully choose words to challenge you, awaken you, help you move forward in your journey as a human being.

On the other side of the mission is an invitation - for you to question how you use and listen to words. It's way less scary than it sounds; it's about bringing attention to how you talk to yourself and others, and what you want your days to look like, through your words, which reflect how you think.
This means that there’ll be no one-size-fits-all here. I offer no magical mantra for you to repeat. Ultimately, my goal is to provide you with the most empowering tools through yoga & meditations practices, carefully-built workshops, and of course, writing. 

I invite you to think, question, challenge yourself so you can be the most authentic and curious version of yourself, creating growth for your own good - today.

Are you in with me?

Signature the linguistic yogi