After many years of Yogilates, I feel it is time to say goodbye to it. Instead, I am very happy to fully welcome Yoga of Presence.
I would like to give you a brief explanation for the reason of this change.
When I arrived in Romania, about 12 years ago, I wanted to start my yoga practice, but several people warned me that the word yoga was not a very popular one here and that it has some bad reputation (things have definitely changed since then). Because I also love Pilates, I decided to add the Pilates part to the practice, and Yogilates Romania was born. But a name is nothing other than what we understand of it, and the meaning of Yogilates has been changing (at least for me) over the years. This change has been mostly due my own inner understanding of what is truly important in life.
My first contact with yoga was because of a spiritual search. I was looking for (what can be expressed as) ‘What is the meaning of life?’ or ‘Who am I, really?’ or ‘What is life?’ or ‘Why do I suffer and how can I find peace?’ or several other ways to express it. And this search brought me to an institution that, besides other activities, was teaching yoga.
Being young and quite active, I was equally attracted by both the spiritual and the physical aspect of yoga, so I went quite intensely into it.
When I arrived in Romania, these two aspects were quite strong, and of course both were reflected in my classes. But not even a year had passed and I had a thrombosis in my spine which left half of my body paralyzed. As you can imagine, this had a very powerful impact not only on my body, but also on my mind. Although a medical explanation was never found, I have the strong conviction that in my case, the recovery (which, according to the doctor, was very improbable) was mostly due to the peaceful and accepting mental state that the practice of yoga had given me, and not by any other means. This experience gave even more weight to my feeling/understanding that in Western societies we are considering yoga mostly a physical activity, while it has always being clear to me that the physical aspect should only be a part of it. This was one of the reasons why a slowly but consistently growing value for the psychological, philosophical and spiritual sides of yoga (what I started to call Presence), gained its way into my classes. Many of you have witnessed this evolution of Yogilates over the years, an evolution that my book, About Presence, really sums up.
Very recently, living these strange times, I feel is the right time to conclude what I wanted to do for a long time: to finally bring Yogilates to an end and instead, allow ‘Yoga of Presence’ to take full charge.
Presence is what brings meaning into our lives. Without it, most of what we do is to be pulled towards the pleasant and to repel and avoid the unpleasant, in a constant battle of ups and downs, without end.
But with Presence, a new ‘force’ appears in our life, and our innate capacity to be at peace and content, even in the middle of a very active life, opens up for us.
Of course, the gym will still be there, as I have no doubt that a healthy body is an important part of a harmonious self – we will still use principles from yoga and Pilates, yoga bringing the length and flexibility to the body and Pilates bringing strength to the body in general and to the core (the lower back, abs, thighs and gluts) in particular – but even so, the movements, and the class as a whole, will have a more meditative touch. I like to think of the classes as a ‘meditation in action’.
But as important as the physical aspect is, nothing compares to a balanced mental state. It is not what happens to us what makes us happy or unhappy, but it is our-own-inner-mental-conclusions about what happens to us what truly affect us. It is not us, other people or the world what creates the quality of our lives, but the way we interpret what appears in front of ourselves. And so, together with the strengthening and the flexibility of the body, our innate capacity to breathe deeply, to be in silence and to realize and experience Presence (to BE present) is going to be more and more emphasized.
Or as a friend of mine beautifully said to me in a letter: ‘I like to think of yoga as a spiritual ballet, it has movement and it has the power to connect us with Life, Universe, God…’
Either virtually or personally, I am lovingly inviting you to my Yoga of Presence classes, which will consist of meditations, physical exercises and psychological, philosophical and spiritual discussions.
Looking very much forward to see you,
‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.’