Yoga is a tradition that is over 5,000 years old originating in India. In ancient times yoga was predominantly focused on controlling the mind, stimulating vital energies and liberation or enlightenment. Over five millennia, yoga evolved into modern yoga practices which predominantly focus on physical postures known as asanas, breathing, and mindfulness.
Yoga was brought to North America in the late 1800s and from there spread out to the European Continent and throughout the world. Swami Sivananda Saraswati (also known as Swami Vivekananda) traveled from India to America and spread the teachings of yoga to the West. Yoga quickly gained regard in the Western world and became a popular workout and de-stressing practice.
Arguably, the Mysore vigorous yoga style is the most familiar to people in the Western world. Sir T. Krishnamacharya’s (also known as a father on modern Yoga) students developed the most prominent yoga styles which are practiced in many countries across the globe; Pattabhi Jois developed Ashtanga Yoga whereas B.K.S Iyengar established Iyengar Yoga style (with asana practice focused on body alignment and frequent use of props). Since the East met West, new endless kinds of yoga have sprouted out; Bikram, Rocket, Kundalini, Kriya, Jiva Mukti, Vinyasa, Power Flow and so on.
In London, there are many studios, yogis and a variety of yoga style classes to choose from. I discovered yoga in London in 2008. Nowadays, ten years later since my first encounter with yoga, this wonderful practice is arguably one of the trendiest workouts in the city.
There are many great studios and uber talented teachers in the ever-bustling capital. I have been practicing yoga regularly at the following studios; SOMA link, More Yoga link, Bikram Yoga Londonlink and attended numerous classes and workshops organized by Harold Coggins link.
Timeout has listed some popular London studios (click here to find out the studios list) and some very dedicated yogini I know recommended me some of her favorite yoga spots (hopefully I will visit them one day!);
Throughout the years of practicing asanas as a student, I have developed a strong desire to gain a better insight into yogic history, philosophy and to deepen my own practice.
Despite London having many fantastic yoga teachers and many Yoga Teacher Training options to choose from for over a year I ‘ve been feeling that the next chapter in my life should be about traveling to India (to the source) to immerse in a yoga environment.
It has taken me a while to decide where and when to go. I felt this will be a massive gear shift in my life. At some point, I even thought that I will give up as there are so many schools to choose from in India and I didn’t know which course would be best to choose. Nevertheless, I persevered, I spoke to my London based yoga teachers, to people who I know that have been practicing yoga for many years and finally thanks to word of mouth I discovered the Indea Yoga link and The Mysore Krishnamacharr Yoga Shala link.
Mysore seemed to be the intriguing ‘yoga mecca’ where the tradition of generations is cherished, both Yoga schools I choose appear to have good reputation within yoga community, as well as in the online world.
The prices for the courses are in my opinion competitive and the opportunity to study in the country from where the ancient Vedas (Indian philosophy texts which first referred to yoga) and yoga originate feels like a great privilege to me.
So here am – in Mysore. I quit my job two weeks ago and today I have started my Yoga Teacher Training with Indea Yoga at Yoga Dhama.
I am uber excited about deepening my understanding of yoga philosophy, learning how to chant, exploring breathing techniques and foremost transforming as a person and becoming a yoga teacher.
My Yoga Journey
So far it has been a truly interesting journey. Over the last ten years of practicing yoga, I have changed as a person. I understood what my insecurities are and learned better how to embrace and live with them. I also started to listen to my body more, instead of being forceful I am more gentle and playful and life is a much happier place.
There is still a great deal of learning ahead as I only scratched the surface of a self-discovery. In the Light on Yoga (1976) B.K.S Iyengar says that “The yogi understands the faults of others by seeing and studying them first in himself. The self-study teaches him to be charitable to all”. I thus embark on the path of further self-study with a real hope of not only understanding myself better but also others. At the end of the day, we are a part of society and cannot thrive without enabling others to thrive.
The next stop on my yoga journey is awakening the yoga teacher inside me and then exploring and sharing yoga benefits with all for the rest of my life.
Peace, happiness, and bliss to all.