Teacher Spotlight: Lili Zazueta on Goth music, mean girls, and flexing her cheese

BHYLB Lilli
Teacher Spotlight: Lili Zazueta on Goth music, mean girls, and flexing her cheese.

 

Tell me about what life was like in 1987 for 7-year-old Lili who just moved to Moreno Valley from Norwalk. 

In Norwalk, I had attended classes that were taught 100% in Spanish, so when we moved to Moreno Valley there was only one Spanish-speaking student in my class. Spanish was the only language I spoke at the time, so needless to say, I experienced some culture shock. The one girl I could communicate with in class was not very nice, so I kept to myself. Luckily, I was at an age where I was like a sponge, soaking up everything, and I picked up English very quickly.

Growing up, what did you think yoga was?

I think the first time I was aware of yoga was when I was about 18 years old. (Isn’t that funny? I don’t think I had any concept of it before.) I was taking classes at Riverside Community College where my sister and I saw it offered and decided to take a yoga class together. For the record, we really were not interested in the yoga. We were just looking for easy PE credit. We were terrible students. We talked and giggled often in class and would fall asleep in savasana. We couldn’t wait for savasana. LOL.

How did that “yoga” experience take you to your first Bikram class?

I was training to run the LA Marathon and sprained my ankle. I didn’t want to just sit around and wait for it to heal, so I was began looking for other forms of exercise I could do. When my sister, Fabiola, (yes, the same sister who giggled in class and napped in savasana with me 10 years earlier) told me about a yoga class she took in New York she said “you HAVE TO find a Bikram yoga studio near you and go take class.” I lived in Moreno Valley at the time and—let’s be real—there were no yoga studios in that area. I was lucky to find a studio near my work in Irvine, so I signed up for the intro. As most people experience in their first class, I felt like I was going to die! I decided to go back because I kept watching the students in the front row who seemed to hold each posture with such grace and ease and I wanted to do that!

And what prompted the desire to become a legit, certified teacher?

I had only taken a handful of classes in my first few months and I decided to sign up for the 30-day challenge. That challenge had an effect on me and changed my life. I went into it with no expectations. At the time I was going through a bad break up and just wanted to keep myself busy. I felt such a great feeling of accomplishment when I completed the 30 classes. Then, I noticed all the other good stuff that was happening physically and emotionally. Emotionally, I came more to accept what happened in my relationship and gained the courage to start detaching from it, and I looked forward into the future with hope. Physically, I felt alive. My body moved with such precision and I simply felt amazing. I found myself preaching all the great benefits of this yoga to everyone and trying to convince them to take class with me. I realized then that I had found my passion and that I wanted to share this beautiful yoga with others.

How would you describe the evolution of your practice?

I’ve been practicing for over 6 years and it has definitely changed over the years. Its changed with experience, frequency of practice, injuries, or just different things that are going on in my life. To quote the amazing Emmy Cleaves, “Bikram yoga gives you what you need, not what you want.”

What’s the craziest or funniest thing you’ve ever experienced in class?

A few months ago, I was teaching class and thinking about this delicious spaghetti grilled cheese I ate the day before. I don’t often bring up non-yoga topics in class, but I decided to tell my class about this great grilled cheese while they were in savasana and I recommended the place. There were a lot of “mmmmmms” from the students. It was time to do the sit up and move on to the next posture. I started the instruction “feet together, toes and heals touch, flex your CHEESE.” The whole class, including me, burst into laughter. I was laughing so much I had a tough time delivering instructions for the next posture. That grilled cheese was amazing! If you want to try it, the place is called Burnt Crumbs in Huntington Beach.

In one sentence, describe Bikram yoga.

The toughest and best yoga class you will ever take!

What’s something we don’t know about you?

I love dancing to goth music. I know it’s a little odd, a happy, smiley, yoga teacher into dark music. I do enjoy many types of music, but I love dancing to darkwave/goth. I’ve actually been asked by the security at the door of the club, while checking my ID, “Do you realize you are going to a goth club?”

What’s the one yoga “accessory” you can’t live without?

My Hydroflask. It is a game changer!

How has the practice affected your life? Physically and/or emotionally?

Although I was training for a marathon when I started Bikram yoga and wasn’t really concerned about my health, Bikram yoga has taught me self-love and to have confidence in myself. Now, I’m much more aware of, and focused on, improving and maintaining my physical and emotional health.


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