Judging by the end-of-year social media comments, 2016. was challenging for many. And I am no exception. There were difficulties and obstacles, moments of self-doubt, many unanswered questions and some uncomfortable truths to face. For me, this past year was a lot about soul-searching, understanding and deciphering the hidden and unconscious layers; and this is always a bitter sweet experience.
Viewing entries in
Off the mat
Only for a moment before reversing direction, the sun will stand still today. Solstice literally means sun (lat.sol) standing still (lat.sistere), inviting us to do the same; to stand still for a moment, to repose, reflect, reset. Because, only in these moments of stillness and calm we can see our true selves.
As a yoga teacher I ‘preach’ a lot and trough sharing my thoughts I try to inspire people daily. Not to think like me, but to think - to think for themselves, to think out of the box. I share my thoughts in classes, blogs and on social media, and those of you who know me personally or follow my blogs and social media posts, know that I am more passionate about some topics than others. These include freedom (from fear and control), love (as the cure for all the ills), and compassion for all sentient beings.
Today and this weekend we are celebrating Earth day (April 22-24). Of course, we should be celebrating the wonder and beauty of our home every day, but this weekend we are reminded to do so even more. We should all make a point of spending a day or a full weekend somewhere in nature, reconnecting to our Mother Earth, teaching our children the importance of being in the nature, of loving and preserving our home.
Zagreb, Croatia's capital and the city I live in, was voted the best Advent destination in Europe. In the city centre, where I work and live, every square or anything resembling one is covered with stalls selling stuff (mostly made in China), and food stalls selling (mostly) sausages and mulled wine. Everything is full of lights and decorations, fake trees and fake snow.
Even when I was a child, I cherished my freedom more than anything. I was inquisitive, had a mind of my own and never took anything at face value. A rebel sometimes with, and sometimes without a cause. I was smart but lacked discipline at school so my teachers didn’t particularly like my 'type'. They would tell my mother that I am ‘wasting my talents’ or even ‘throwing my life away’, that I am too rebellious or opinionated. Raising me was not an easy task.
The refugee crisis in Europe as they call it, brought up so much here in Croatia and in Europe.
For some it brought up memories; many were misplaced during the civil war in my country and many have a story to tell. For some it brought up compassion and a need to help other human beings. For some it brought up fear.
I just love how life is so wonderfully unpredictable. I love how universe places challenges along our path just to give us an opportunity to see how far we have really gone. I love how relationships with other beings can be so challenging, yet are the most wonderful opportunity to learn, to understand, to grow. Of course, given we are able to see challenges as blessings.
I have quite a large tattoo on my back representing (to me) Goddess Tara, a female Buddha. People often ask me about what it represents and why I have decided to put a rather large tattoo my back, so I decided to write a little post about it.
And all of that happening today, March 20th, 2015. Wow! We will witness a rare astronomical event with the potential to stir up some powerful energetic shifts in our personal as well as collective lives. Apart from the full Solar Eclipse which will be fully visible only in few places in way up North like Greenland, and partially in Europe, this new moon is a supermoon – meaning it is at the closet point to the Earth in its orbit.
I thought about writing this post for a while, worried about what my peers will think, but then I realized that my service does not lay in protecting fellow teachers, it lies in serving yoga students. And in telling the truth, the way I see it at least.
The degradation of yoga as a spiritual practice, a path of self-discovery and a science of life in this ‘modern’ society seems to be reaching a point of no return. Yoga has become means to an end, and at that ‘end’ you will no longer find Samadhi, but quite the opposite- an Ego bound state of mind, one seeking fame and recognition instead of dispersion of illusion and a quest for Truth.
This past weekend I have certified another group of yoga teachers. This particular group was easy to teach and a strong group from the start. They were very curious, inquisitive, and eager to learn. They all did really well both on written exam as well as teaching a class as a final exam. Now they are ready to spread the knowledge of yoga my colleagues and I have tried to gift them with this past year.
Some of us live such fast pace lives that we don’t have much time in between events to let it all sink in. I was in London this past weekend only to fly to Istanbul less than 24 hours after I came back, taught a class maybe four hours after I landed… So, I took this morning to reflect on these past days. If I don’t do this I am left feeling like some things never happened. It will not be easy to slow down my life at the moment, but what I can do is take some time to sit down and reflect.
Since in the past couple of weeks I have been spending all day in front of the computer working on my book, writing a blog post was not on the agenda at all. So, the text I am posting now is actually an answer to a question I got in my facebook inbox today form a dear friend. I am sure he will not mind me sharing a part of his question and a part of my answer with all of you...
I was riding my scooter today a bit further than I did during the past few weeks since the season has started. First, I went to a meeting. Easter weekend is ahead of us, there was much traffic even around noon and I was trying to get there in time, so I drove a bit faster and not ‘by the book’ - indian style:). So, when a man in the car shouted something at me (thank God for the helmet – didn't hear him) I pictured him in Indian traffic and laughed. Why was he stressing? Not for a second had I put anyone in danger.
Every ones in a while a photo of a beautiful woman in Eka pada Sirsasana (one leg behind the head) with Pattabhi Jois quote ‘’Body not stiff, mind stiff’’ pops up on my facebook news feed. I am sure you know which one I mean as it seems to be very popular in our global yoga community. I have to admit that I get a bit annoyed every time I see it. Not because it is a bad photo, or a bad quote – I think it is brilliant – but because it seems to be one of the most misinterpreted quotes ever.
Sometimes students ask me how many times a week I practice yoga. I tell them I practice every day. They like this answer. They nod as if agreeing this should be so – I am a yoga teacher after all. Some look amazed and commend me for my discipline. But then I add: ‘’If you ask me about my asana practice, than the answer is two, three times a week. And sometimes a week goes by without me unrolling my mat, sometimes more than a week.’’ This answer confuses them. And I can see why.
While somewhere, in lands far away, people and their governmentsare giving equal rights to two people in love, in my little country people are stopping you on the street and knocking on doors asking you to sign a petition for, what they call, ‘a referendum on sanctity of marriage’. There are so many young people standing on those city stands of intolerance, knocking on those doors and joining facebook group called ‘In the name of the family’. Ofcourse, there is also a group ‘In the name of every family’, but with less members. Wow!?
I have been a vegetarian since I was 18, or 19 years old. I never liked meat, so the decision wasn’t a big surprise to my family. As a child, I often pretended I have to throw up after I had to finish the peace of meat on my plate hoping that next time it won’t be on my plate. I was persistent, but so was my mum.