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

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Feelings and new beginning

We’re near the end of January. How have the first month of the year been feeling to you? I’d like to emphasize – FEELING. It’s not about what you’ve done, but how have you’ve been feeling or in other words what and who have you BEEN.
For me who I am BEING is equally, if not more important, than what I am doing. And our feelings define the quality of our being. Am I feeling / being joy or sadness? Acceptance or resistance? Love or fear? Pain or pleasure? Freedom or limitation?

imageWhen we have emotions that feel good, we are vibrating at a high rate, aligned with Source Energy. And that helps us to attract more positive stuff in our life. So it’s vitally important to choose to do things that make us feel good, to have wonderful positive people around us, and to learn surrender and go with the flow of life when we can’t change what’s going on rather than struggle and get angry.

If you don’t feel you’ve been your best this January ( I personally don’t), we’ve got a perfect second chance! Well, yes, every day is a second chance, I know! but it feels good to do it in synchronicity with big natural cycles. The new year of the Horse is starting next week and it’s for me a more significant new beginning to compare with the 1st January of any year, since Chinese calendar follows natural rhythms of the universe. So let’s start anew and this time really do our best to FEEL our best by doing what we need in order to feel so.

The practice of self-study, or svadhyaya as we call it in yoga, is always compelling at the turn of a new year. As I look inwardly, I’m asking myself: Who am I most committed to being in 2014? What is my word or phrase (sankalpa) for the coming year? I might write about my answers one day but for now I love you and leave you contemplating on what YOU want to BE. And to motivate you, I’d like to finish with the words of the Dalai Lama: “Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way.” If doing it for your own sake is difficult, do it for your loved ones, all people around you, your town/city, your country, your planet and all living beings!

Many Blessings for a Happy Horse Year!

Yoga, love and motherhood.

There were three major events in my adult life that directed me to the spiritual path and shaped my personality and life. First was yoga. It has slowly and gradually transformed my body – relieving physical pain and ailments, then my mind – removing emotional garbage and revealing the bliss of mental peace under the constant chatter, and eventually, my soul – allowing for deep connection to the purpose of my life and my higher self. I’m, of course, not talking about yoga as only practice of poses but yoga in its deepest meaning of Union with its meditative experiences, the feeling of the energetic body and its currents, and ultimately as a conscious way of life.
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The second transformation has started when I fell in love – a true love that has been removing the edges of my ego and opening countless opportunities for self-reflection and self-growth. This real love has been showing like in a mirror my ugliest angles in order to remake them through presence and awareness. Becoming ONE with my husband has been a truly transformational experience as it gives no choice but to allow, embrace, forgive, and savour each moment whether it’s bitter or sweet.

The last and the most recent biggest change was brought to me through the amazing journey of motherhood: calling for a soul, embodying it, giving birth to it and now taking care of the new human being I call “my son”. To know by experience what unconditional love means, one must become a sage or a parent. The latter could be easier but for me it’s connected to a huge responsibility to be the best person I’ve ever could. What can be a better opportunity for self-improvement then knowing that the little person you love the most in your life will copy everything in you including your worst unconscious patterns? Along my teaching and coaching past I’ve met way too many people with pains and problems all rooted in their childhood. Will I exaggerate saying that 99% of all problems are related to our relationship to our parents? The desire to bring up a healthy and wholesome being simply forces a loving parent to become a better person. It’s still a very new adventure for me but my son Veda has been the greatest teacher I’ve ever had. The spiritual potential that parenthood withholds is amazing. And I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming on the next page of my story.
Life is beautiful! I’m so grateful for it all!

Status

We have finished the celebrations of Christmas and New year now but the Year of the Horse does not start until January 30th on a new moon. As we are still in the energy field of the Water Snake year, we need to be aware that this last month offers perfect time for cleansing, releasing, healing and renewing. We want to leave all that doesn’t serve us anymore behind in the Snake’s deep dark waters and get ready for new awakening, new inspiration, new luck that the Horse year is about to bring! Let’s use the remaining time wisely and shed some more old skins!

Bedtime prayer

I prayed for more patience tonight. It’s been about a month since my 16 month-old son’s molars cutting through which makes him restless and irritable. Bedtime is now a struggle. He doesn’t want to relax as it makes the teething pain more prominent. And it takes up to two hours for him to fall asleep. (He wakes up many times through the night too).
I noticed how I started getting irritated as my toddler was jumping around the bed tonight. And I allowed myself to feel what I feel. Yes, I’m feeling pissed. And yes, it’s ok to feel pissed. Where do I feel it? My shoulders. Tightness in my shoulders. Aaah…. Feeling it. No judgement. Just being present. Aaaaaaah… Long exhale came naturally. The tension started gradually melting away…
Next thought was: it will pass. Those molars (and all his other teeth!) will come out eventually. Repeated the mantra “it will pass” a few times. Feeling even better now. Beautiful old wisdom never fails to cheer me up:)
Then, I reminded myself that I’m feeling off balance simply because I’m not accepting this moment as it is. Yes, I wish he was sleeping already so I could go and wash those dishes, and check my emails, and do some yoga, and maybe even finally open a new book I ordered from Amazon .. But the truth is my baby needs me here, close to him, and nothing is more important than being of help to him at the moment. Just being right here and now. This moment is perfect as it is. Breathing. Deep abdominal breathing as I’m watching my baby getting more relaxed too.. Counting my breath backwards from 54 backwards to zero. He will fall asleep before I reach zero. He always does, doesn’t he?
And he did!:) yet another bedtime is accomplished successfully. And I went through yet another hour of practicing acceptance and conscious presence. How I love feeling so guided and taken care of! I just ask for it and I’m offered the tools I need and even some inspiration to write it down! Thank You, my Higher self, Angels, Universe, Supreme one…( I actually usually just call It simply – You!:)
Now, to those dishes! Happy conscious parenting to me and all parents out there! Namaste!

Are you ready for 2014?

It’s time to summarize the year 2013 as we have only a few days till new 2014 starts. Here are some questions I’ve been asking myself:

What important lessons have I learned?

What are my happiest moments in 2013? What made me feel joyous and content?

What and who am I grateful for?

I love finishing on a high note remembering the most valuable memories and most beautiful pictures of the year.

And then it’s time to plan for 2014!

If my life of the coming year is to be described in the newspapers, what would I love to see as the headlines?

What is most important quality I’d like to develop in the coming year?

Depending on my answers I’ll be formulating my new sankalpa. I feel like the one that I worked with in 2013 have come to life! So it’s time to channel my energy into a new area of my mind and soul.
(For info on yogic way of creating a new year resolution please read https://zoyalu.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/7-yogic-secrets-to-get-your-new-years-resolutions-come-true-part-1/ )

How do you finish your 2013? What are your thoughts? Do you have a tradition for closure and new beginning?

Let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Holiday season and to send you some blessings!

Lovingly,
Zoya