Revelation

imageMy life as a yoga practitioner and a yoga teacher in Malta was just a preparation for a real yoga which started when I moved from Malta to Taipei. It was a difficult move not only on the material plane. It was very challenging mental transition. From well-recognized yoga teacher to no-one-knows yoga instructor. From open hearts and hugs of many dear friends to loneliness. From easy and comfortable life to start-it-all-over-again. For a few years in Taipei my ego has crashed many times. Thanks to yoga and even more so to vipassana mediation I could recover with many new insights about myself as I really am – something behind all the beautiful images about myself which were created thanks to my loving students and friends back in Malta. Before, every time I mastered a new yoga pose or received another positive feedback from my student, my ego would get reinforced. Once I lost these ego-feeding sources, I had to re-evaluate my self-worth and self-image, finding new independent ways of feeling good about myself.
imageAnd then motherhood happened bringing new and even more challenging spiritual tasks, accomplishment of which required all these years of preparation in Malta (and before). The parenthood is the highest form of yoga, in my understanding. Parenting is more challenging than any other relationship since the responsibility for the outcome lies entirely on a parent. My son has been my most serious, deep, amazing, fun-filled yoga project from the time of pre-conception when his mantra came to me till today when we are struggling to nap on time not to get over-stimulated.
I am so very grateful for all these experiences, and especially for the “difficult times” which has given me so much stimuli to grow spiritually. I feel like I want to say: Keep it coming, Universe! But I have some fears inside, and also a desire to live a comfortable life with not too many challenges is quite strong in me. Well, this post is about my past, not my future. I might write more on my future in the future. It’s time to meditate now. Namaste!

What could bring me closer to God than my experience of becoming a vessel for a new life, nurturing It inside of me and then getting so totally open to birth the new being into his human adventure… Maybe only everyday acts of service to this little one, which are perfect examples of unconditional love put into practice, when I’m so able and willing to let go of my ego and self-centeredness, accept him lovingly as he is in every single moment and constantly give, give and give even more of my self, my time and my every thing …
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Status

If you are not in the state of survival when food and shelter is your primary concern, you are a lucky one. You can spare some time and space in your mind to think about what is really important and do some great things right here, right now.
What is it that you spend your life on? Will it matter in a year, 10 years, when you are about to die, when you’re gone?…
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Meditate and love!

Is this the time of year in which you tend to think about love and romance and make effort to be more loving towards yourself and others? YES! Valentine’s is coming!

As you are reading this, I am enjoying most beautiful island of Bali with my husband and son. It is easier to feel loving and lovable when in the mood for holiday and surrounded by the beauty of nature. What about everyday life?
Sometimes I feel angry or powerless as things get out of control, or I might feel burdened by many responsibilities, or usual routine makes my life feel dull… Under these circumstances can I still feel IN LOVE with myself, my husband, my son, life itself? I say YES! and practicing yoga is my answer. Right, yoga is my answer for most of my questions (as it really does work!).
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When yoga is approached as a practice to deepen awareness, it helps to cultivate the skill for self-compassion and love which is especially useful when your life has become out of alignment. And the practice could be very simple – just feeling your body. Do you know that your body speaks your mind? Your body is a barometer of what’s really happening in your mind and in your life. Breathe deeply and notice how your body feels today. Where do you feel tightness? Any discomfort anywhere? Just bringing awareness to some place in your body stimulates the flow of vital energy to this place. It might intensify your sensations at first but if you keep your calm focus and deep breath, the physical discomfort will gradually disappear and it will release some mental pressure too! This is a practice I’ve been doing more than any other ones since my son was born. The reason is simple – it’s very effective in relaxing the body and mind and I can do it pretty much any time, even while simultaneously taking care of my baby. In this case I choose a smaller area to concentrate on – say, my feet if I’m walking, or my hands if I’m cutting veggies.

Since we talk about it before the Valentine’s day, I suggest you concentrate on feeling your chest and your heart area. Is your heart cold or warm? Open or closed? Soft or hard? Really feel into it. And stay with whatever comes up for you for some time. Keep choosing feeling instead of thinking. Don’t let your mind interfere. Then start exhaling anything that doesn’t serve you anymore. Empty it all out. Create some renewed space in your heart. As the next step, allow your breath get deeper and start inhaling love. Feel warm smooth soft sensations filling in your heart. And feel the well of love which is always in your heart pouring out. You ARE love. That’s what your deeper self is. Just pure love. Once you feel you’ve had enough, finish the practice with sending love, blessings and warm wishes of happiness to your loved ones and all beings. Repeat daily or as often as possible. I hope you will try this meditation for yourself, and will like it as much as I do.
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It’s important to learn to nourish our deeper self first, to feel love, to be love. Only then we can share it with others. It is also great to stay open to the love that surrounds us. You might be surprised at how much you are given when your heart and mind stays open. Giving and receiving freely is so much fun! As you learn connecting to your heart and your true real self – LOVE, you will find it much easier to stay connected and loving to others.

HAPPY VALENTINE’s DAY!

Zoya at http://www.zoyayoga.com

Yoga&I ( Q&A)

I’m sometimes asked to answer some questions regarding my yoga or life in general. I thought I should share my answers with you. And if you practice yoga, I would love to get your answers to the same questions. If we all participate it will be fun! I would really love to hear your voices!

Question: What attracted you to yoga in the first place?

Answer: I went to my first yoga lesson simply out of curiosity. Yoga wasn’t so popular back then, and I didn’t know anything about it. In my mind of that time, a yogi was some weird old man covered in ashes who could walk barefoot on hot coals. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a teacher was a fit pleasant-looking woman, and the studio was filled with mainly young sporty guys.
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Q: How did you feel after your first ever yoga lesson? Did you enjoy it? Find it challenging? Too easy? Weird?

A: It was a love from the first stretch. During final relaxation I managed to relax really deeply on both physical and mental levels. After the class I felt my lower back pain was considerably released, and that was a chronic issue at that time nothing could help with. For the first time in my life I felt grounded, truly relaxed and at peace with my self. I was hooked.

Q: What frustrations, if any, did you experience along the way with your yoga practice?

A: I remember at the beginning of my yoga journey, being quite frustrated with lack of flexibility in my body. I was always very stiff despite of the fact that I’d always been into sports. Then, as I got exposed to different yoga styles and schools, I sometimes got confused and frustrated with conflicting approaches, and different names for the same yoga practices. It didn’t last for too long tough. I soon developed deeper understanding of real meaning of yoga, and all confusing details faded away.
In general, when I think about yoga and frustration, I’d like to say that thanks to yoga I’ve learned to let go of frustration in my life. I know how to accept things as they are, and my regular practice brings me to the space where “all is well and as it should be”(the words I often use when teaching yoga). If I ever get frustrated nowadays, it doesn’t last long.
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Q: Now that you have experience yoga, what does it give to you—what has changed in your life?

A: EVERYTHING! My body changed, my mind, my relationships, my work, my entire life have changed profoundly. Yoga brought complete transformation on all levels. My life is divided into two parts now: before yoga and after. Of course, it wasn’t an overnight change, and not even a matter of a year or two but me before yoga and me that practiced yoga for over a decade now are two completely different persons.
I’m a vegetarian, completely free from any addictions. Yoga filled my life with mindfulness which brings lots of joy and fulfillment on a daily basis. I’m much better wife, mother, friend, and daughter. Yoga has helped me to find the meaning of life and has become my way of life. Yoga IS my life!

Zoya at Www.zoyayoga.com