Welcome to the very first episode of this special edition season: TANTRA – The Rebel Path.
In this episode, you will meet Lucas Casanova who will be co-hosting this season. I am over the moon excited about having this knowledgeable, compassionate, amazing human being as my co-host for a full season!
Lucas is a renowned yoga teacher, TedX Speaker, social media influencer, podcaster and soon to release his first book. He is a brain tumor survivor and had to learn how to walk again after his surgery.
Lucas shares his journey as a yoga teacher, and we discuss the different ways to express yourself as a teacher and why you should doubt everything and everyone!
Hello, this is Kimhye, and welcome to a series called Tantra as The Rebel Path. I’m going to host this with my friend and colleague, Lucas Cassanova. And yeah, let’s start.
Today I will present a very special guest. He will actually be a resident guest because I love him so much and I want to have him with me on this podcast as much as possible.
I will introduce to you today – Lucas.
Lucas Casanova. That is your real name, right?
That is my real name. My family is half Italian, half Spanish. And Casanova is a very common surname in Italy.
What a name!
Oh, yeah, but I try not to live up to it… I have one of my brothers, I am not going to say whom… But one of my brothers lives up to that name. But I am a very homey person, actually.
You are a yoga teacher, a Buddhist therapist, and you are posting daily on social media and you currently sign a book deal.
And you’ve been on Ted X and you you’re like, yeah, you have a podcast with thousands of listeners and now you’re sitting here with me. Wow. Welcome, Lucas.
Thank you so much. I, like to keep myself busy, but I also think that a space like this is very special to me. Thank you so much for having me here.
I am so happy to have you here. That’s why I’m giggling and laughing. Um, we are also colleagues or… I can’t even use that word. We are partners. You work with projects and we have been working together for four years now. Wow. And now we sit here.
I think you said to me was like yoga is not my main thing?
That was funny that when I started with yoga, it was mainly to find a way to silence my mind to deal with anxiety and depression. And the swami in the ashram that I was studying yoga psychology, she said after this training, that was a residency training. We stayed in the ashram there.
She said: “We have a teacher training, and I will suggest to you that you stay and start this journey as a yoga teacher.” And I said, no, I don’t think so. I don’t think I’m going to be good teaching. What do I have to teach? And she said: “I really think you should stay and try.”
I thought that she was trying to sell me teacher training, actually, because, of course, you need to pay, and you need to stay there for a month or more. So I was like, no, I don’t think so.
And she said, I will give you a scholarship and you can do service in the ashram in exchange of staying and doing the training. You need to stay. So I called home and I said: “Sorry, dear, I’m going to stay here… For how long? Maybe for thirty to forty days.”
They weren’t happy on the other side to say the least.
That was a life changing experience. I realized that I always like sharing what I do and that teaching yoga became a really big part of my life. I thought, I don’t know, maybe between 4 and 5000 classes.
Yeah, you’ve been teaching a lot and you still teach a lot. And that kind of impress me because I don’t teach any regular classes anymore. But you still take time to do that.
For me it´s very important. It´s a very grounding thing. I like the connection with the students and the possibility to share the experience. This is how yoga started with me. I don’t see myself special in any way. I believe that. The only thing is that I spend more hours doing this than the regular student that we have, but I learn from them every day.
It’s amazing the feedback that you get from students. That made me, I believe, a better person growing with them.
You are an amazing teacher, and I have said this many times that you are my all time favorite teacher. And I think it’s because of the knowledge you have.
And at the same time, you’re always so humble. It’s without, you know, looking like you try to be humble, but you just are very humble. And I also get so amazed when we work on projects. And that I can ask you a question and you always give me these profound, deep, good answers.
You know, when you have a conversation with someone and they give you an answer and it’s like, OK… With you, if I ask you something, I know that I always get this satisfying answer. Is that a good thing to say?
That’s great to hear. But I believe that we have a culture that is very ego driven, that we find value in what we do instead of who we are, and that we are taught that we are important if we achieve certain things in life.
And I had a lot of self-esteem issues when I was a teenager and a young adult and for me was like, OK, you can do this and you will feel better about yourself. I tried everything to feel better about myself and nothing worked until I felt better about myself.
I believe that I am in service of what I teach and that I am actually not important. Nothing that I share belongs to me, belongs to the teachers that taught me. And I share this sense of passion or amazement from the things that these teachings gave to me. I think of my role as an enthusiast. I like motivating people and I feel very motivated in what I do.
I don’t believe that this whole…. No, I don’t know. A group of Instagram teachers that you see them being physically perfect and doing things like, I don’t know, they remove their their shirt and they put like a nice coat underneath or that kind of thing is what is called in on Instagram a “thirst trap”. It´s like you’re thirsty and you go after that. It is a thirst trap.
For me that´s like the outer layer. It´s like enjoying the orange just for the peel. I believe deeply in not getting too attached to who people think you are and go deeper into what resonates inside. If if I start to say, OK, I am great because I did this or I’m great because I did that, it will it will get me away from the path of discovering who I really am.
I will start selling the box and not paying attention to the content.
Yeah, it’s like a lot of the content you share is just sharing your life. It’s it’s that kind of documentation of what is going on. Like the book you are writing now is memoirs from the time you had brain tumor.
And that is a very different approach than sitting down and post stuff on social media or share something because like “I’m going to create something to share.”
You are just sharing what’s going on in your life.
Because I believe that that is the only thing that is actually mine.
Other things and there are lots of how to books out there on how to do certain things. And that can represent what worked for someone, but not necessarily what will work for another person, right? But if instead of thinking about this, you say, OK, this was my path, this is what I did. These were my doubts, my fears, the times where I was inconsistent or the times where I was lazy. It makes it more relatable, I think.
I don’t like teachers that show themselves as indestructible or invulnerable because… I am not going to be that person ever. It happens in the life of everyone that you get to a point where you understand vulnerability physically. Um, you had been a mother recently and your body started responding in a different way after pregnancy, right.
And for me to be this healthy person, almost vegan, that practiced yoga, meditation every day and then having strange headaches and going to a doctor and discovering that I had a brain tumor, it was like, OK, this is not this is not what I hoped it would be.
There is a very nice documentary series of commentaries in and on Netflix called Pretend It’s a City that was directed by Martin Scorsese, who starred by Fran Lebowitz.
And Fran Lebowitz says an amazing phrase there is that “Bad habits will kill you, good habits won’t save you.
And that, for me, was a turning point to discover that trying to be invounerable or trying to have this perfect body, trying to be super flexible, practice every day, ideology’s, stay away from processed food and everything.
You know what that is not going to say to you. So Buddhism told me about a lot about the middle path and not being like a radical Taliban of taking things too seriously. This is why I have this goofy sense of humor and I joke about everything, because if you take it too seriously, you are going to suffer a lot more.
So what we are going to do together, is creating a whole series of a podcast together where we are exploring the topics of yoga, Tantra, Buddhism, neuroscience and all these things that you love and I love.
And we have different backgrounds. But at the same time, we have the same view on a lot of things, but we just communicate it in different ways. And so we are going to explore a lot of these things together.
I am going to ask you a lot of uncomfortable questions.
You are the only one doing that.
I am really interested in how you created the path that you went through, because I see that we both had very unstructured paths towards this and that we turned in places where other people usually don’t go.
And we ended up in a very similar way. Our foundations for spiritual growth and believes is… And we just figured this out recently, right?
Oh, you had this thought. Oh, you had that thought. Oh, this is how you look at that. This is how you look at that. And because of the teacher trainings we have together, we had to go into deeper discussions around different topics.
And why not have them on the mind, and share with you.
Thank you so much for coming today.
Thank you so much for inviting me.
And I I’m just really looking forward to have these conversations with you and I hope people will enjoy it as much as I do.
Yeah. I think that keeping yourself curious and as we always say – doubt everything doubt your teachers, doubt your teachings… And start to see how it resonates inside you is the most important thing. So I’m really happy to go through it.