An Interview with Sumit

This may be a few years old, but we absolutely love this interview with Sumit from an Arizona yoga publication… check it out! 

Sumit Banerjee has evolved to be a very well known and respected yoga leader. He comes from a family well established in the yoga community, including Bikram Choudhury. If you ask anyone in Phoenix to suggest a good yoga studio in town, they will most assuredly mention Sumits Yoga Studios. His unique yoga concept takes place in a hot room that definitely supports your body in exploring deeper yoga poses and stretches. After spending time with Sumit, I can wholeheartedly say that he is not only an amazing yoga leader and entrepreneur, but also a very peaceful, motivating and inspirational individual.

Check out his interview….

1. At what age did you start practicing yoga?
“I grew up in India and practiced yoga on and off as a kid. My journey towards being exposed to yoga started when I moved to southern California to study Computer Science. While in school, I lived with my uncle, Bikram, who’s yoga concept was expanding quickly. I worked at the front desk of his studio for a while, but didn’t know if I would really like yoga. One summer I decided I didn’t have anything better to do than participate in his yoga teacher training. I was extremely inspired by the process my mind and body went through that summer. I decided to transfer to Arizona State University so that I could develop my own yoga studio concept. I was 22 and had barely any money to my name, but I worked hard to get my name out there. I went up to people and told them to come to my studio for a unique style of yoga, incorporating Ashtanga and Bikram. The first official “Sumits Yoga” studio opened in 2004, and I continue to open more locations in the valley.”

2. How do you see Sumits Yoga evolving?
“While I continue to open more locations, I am also adding new yoga concepts to my studios. For example, we will soon start offering a class called Sumits Sculpt. The unique class will integrate the use of weights with systematic yoga movements. I think people will be excited by this new concept.”

3. Do you prefer to practice with or without music?
“Both. I think there is an element of medication in my practice. But I also believe that musical can be inspirational. So I practice with and without depending on how I feel.”

4. Do you still, after all these years of practice, ever find yourself holding

your breath?
“Yea, but that is part of the mind that you have to continue to expand. It takes continual practice and mindfulness.”

5. Is there one pose that you feel most at peace in? And one that is perhaps still challenging for you?
“I would have to say I feel very peaceful in half moon pose.”
“And all of them are challenging, but you just commit to doing it.”

6. Is there one thing you would like to say to someone that might be
apprehensive or nervous to try yoga for the first time?
“It’s not as big of a deal as you think it is. Yoga is amazing if you are willing and open to see changes through the learning process.”

7. Do you ever stop and recognize how amazing it is that you’ve started
such a successful and well respected yoga following?
“No, I don’t think about it. I think being happy in what you do is what makes you successful. A lot of people believe they are successful, but they are actually miserable.”

8. I have this vision that people would be much more kind and patient
with each other if yoga was taught to children in school. Do you agree?
How could this possibility be created?
“Yea, of course I agree with that. I think it would be amazing if kids were exposed to yoga to create a strong foundation for their lives. In fact, we are going to start having yoga classes for kids to provide that exposure.”

9. How is your yoga style different?
“My philosophy is that all yoga styles are good. The distinction is made for people when they find a practice that connects with them. Sumits Yoga is designed to be possible for the beginner, but also provides a flow in which you can see yourself advance.”

10. And one little silly question, do you have yoga dreams?
“No, I hardly have dreams.”