Do you practice yoga, or have you at least once tried some of the well-known yoga techniques, such as physical postures or breathing exercises, concentration, or meditation? If your answer is yes, likely, you are already familiar with the benefits of this “body, mind and spirit science” originating in India. However, for those whose answer is “no,” we believe that this article will help you embark on a yoga “adventure.” Two young women, yoga instructors from Mitrovica and Pristina, Damira Krivosic-Bahadir and Blerina Livoreka, spoke with us about its importance.
For both, yoga, as they point out, is a profession and, more importantly, a way of life.
However, the moment when they became interested in yoga was not the happiest in their lives.
The fight against anxiety, insomnia, and stress led Blerina to seek help in meditation and, as she explains, energy renewal (body scan relaxation). She encountered these yoga techniques for the first time, reading a book on this topic, which she came across in that period.
“Soon, meditation became my shield, shelter, power, a safe place for me. To this day, the yoga philosophy draws me in. The yogic way of life changed my way of thinking, acting, and behaving, “she says.
The illness of a close family member led Damira to spend a period of her life in Kragujevac. Quite by accident, she came across an ad for yoga classes. She went to the first class, and so she began her yoga journey that continues today:
“From the very beginning, yoga has been my philosophy and approach to the situations I am exposed to in my daily life.”
“When the student is ready, the teacherr will appear,” Blerina explained to us, quoting the thought of Lao Tzu. She is a certified Hatha and Vinyasa yoga instructor, trained and lived in Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
Damira acquired the title of yoga instructor at the International Academy of Yoga Association of Serbia in Belgrade.
Why is yoga important? – we ask them.
“The very word yoga means the unification of mind-body-spirit. When these three are aligned, there is no room in our bodies for anxiety and depression. Yoga helps our body and mind be healthy. We say here in Kosovo – a healthy mind in a healthy body. Yoga is a way of life or, as I would rather say, a science or discipline for a balanced life and connection with who you are – a divine being,” Blerina points out.
“The benefits of practicing yoga for mental health are numerous – it improves mood, worldview, and thoughts become more positive, which, in turn, improves our mood and makes us happier. Yoga reduces stress – by working on ourselves, we reduce the effects of stressful situations and their consequences; we get rid of fears. Yoga improves mental functions – enhances memory and concentration. It also affects self-confidence and self-acceptance, we focus on our possibilities and needs, self-confidence returns, and we accept ourselves and the environment,” adds Damira.
Meditation often stands out as a unique and essential part of yoga, with which our interlocutors agree.
“Meditation comes as a consequence of adopting the breathing technique. The moment when, through breathing and concentration, we learn to calm the thought flow, to balance the blood pressure, and find a comfortable position, then meditation synchronizes the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Regardless of the numerous techniques and styles, meditation has one direction – inwards, which helps us get to know our inner world better. What meditation teaches us is that there is only the present moment, here and now,” explains Damira, quoting the famous Guru Osho:
“Freedom without consciousness is just an empty idea.”
What happens to our body and spirit when we “calm down the flow of thought by breathing and concentrating”?
“Our nervous system calms down, which heals our body. We connect with our power and the true nature of who we are. We learn how to love ourselves and become more empathetic; we focus on the present; negative emotions decrease, we become more aware of life and other living beings; we get rid of stress and become happier, basic life skills are built; we become more imaginative and creative, more tolerant and patient. Simply put, meditation changes our lives,” explains Blerina.
What would you say to an individual who has never tried yoga?
“It is crucial that a person finds his hobby and, in that way, works on themselves, whatever that may be. As a yoga instructor, I would always suggest practicing yoga because yoga has no boundaries, neither age nor physical,” concludes Damira.
“When people are ready, and when they need yoga in life, they will find it. Through my yoga journey, I teach students to find their purpose through yoga and their inner voice. To use their inner power and make their lives the best they can. Living in the present moment, we live NOW. Together, we remind ourselves that life should not be perfect, but we should make it joyful and get the best out of every situation, “concludes Blerina.