Making Shapes with Amina Taha

Making Shapes with Amina Taha

Meet the yogi who lives and breathes yoga on & off the mat

A stunning mix of toes-to-head king cobras and perfectly straight standing splits, Amina Taha's yoga practice is simultaneously strong, sharp and graceful—a nice complement to the New York City backdrop seen in so many of her IG pics. Originally from Egypt, the yogi lived in Abu Dhabi before finding home in New York, and now thrives off the vibrant yoga community there, moving and grooving with friends in the studio and teaching inspiring vinyasa flows at the Alo store in SoHo. We caught up with Amina between classes to chat about how she found flexibility, what it's like sharing yoga with her little one, and what we can expect from her sure-to-be-epic upcoming retreat in Bali.

How did you get into yoga?

I had just moved to Abu Dhabi, and I decided to attend a yoga class. I was 27, and it was an intermediate hatha class. I was drawn to it like nothing else I had tried before. I felt like yoga offered some answers to questions I had been living with for a long time. I loved learning simple things like how to bring awareness to my breath, how to connect deeper to my body and understand it more closely.

Your flexibility is inspiring. How did you work up to being so bendy?

I started off pretty inflexible because I had never done anything sports-related in my life. I practiced almost every day, and I researched a lot of different techniques. I believe that you are your own best teacher, and that if you listen closely to your body and practice with joy, curiosity and kindness, you can achieve anything. Once I realized that my body was just trying to protect me, I started to incorporate these new ranges of motion consistently so that it became like a new “normal." I focused on using my breath to keep my nervous system calm, creating space where it was needed and combining strength to support my flexibility.

You live in New York, but you’re originally from Egypt, and you’ve also lived in Dubai. What are the yoga communities like there? Is there anything you miss about them?

The yoga community in New York is like no other! It is incredibly vibrant and diverse. There are SO many incredible teachers, styles of yoga, and workshops available that you are just constantly immersed in inspiration. Where I lived in Abu Dhabi, an hour from Dubai, I had no access to yoga studios near me. I practiced online and traveled to attend workshops when I could. The yoga community in Egypt is incredible. Yogis there are passionate and eager to learn! The yoga community there is growing so much, and I love teaching there.

Tell us about the upcoming Bali retreat you’re hosting with Lamise! What activities were on your must-do list?

We’re so excited about this! It’s going to be August 3-10, and we have so many fun things planned. It’s a special place for both of us, and hosting it with Lamise has been a dream of mine. I’m so excited to visit rice fields, waterfall temples, experience sound baths and practice so much yoga with amazing people from around the world!

You’re a new mom! How has it been balancing your practice with parenthood?

Motherhood has made me realize the value of time! And that yoga is really a part of everything I do, whether I'm able to fit in a physical practice or not. I wake up a lot earlier than I used to and get a lot more done. I usually get on my mat when my baby is napping, or I go to class and leave him with my husband for a few hours. It allows me to step away and have some time for myself, which is so valuable. Sometimes I’ll just move around on my mat with him around me, and he watches me curiously. That’s when my yoga practice and motherhood intertwine. He imitates me—the first thing he learned to do, before clapping or waving, was to drop his head and go on his hands when I say “handstand!” I find that my yoga practice is a part of parenthood—strengthening my presence.

If you could say something to your former self, the one who just took her first yoga class, what would it be?

You are exactly where you need to be.

What projects are you really excited about right now?

Expanding my online classes, offering more online content and focusing on my studio classes in New York! I also have a photo project with my husband in Colombia at the end of the year that I am really looking forward to!

Want to namaste with Amina? Check out the Alo SoHo schedule!