My Secret to Finding Strength and Peace in Barcelona
I’ve been practicing with her and the beautiful Jivamukti tribe for half a year now as well as treating myself last year to their Mindful Living Retreat set in a tranquil buddhist meditation centre amongst the Spanish forest. I’m a big believer in going on retreat at least once a year. It’s so important to take the time to reset, relax and reconnect back to you – especially in this modern day society full of technology and to-do lists.
And I’m so honoured to share my signature workshop “Yin Yoga by Candelight” at Jivamukti Yoga Barcelona next Sunday April 2nd.
Olga, her studio, and tribe of teachers continue to inspire me everyday as I settle into life in a new country. It was an honour and pleasure to have spoken with Olga this week. For those of you interested in practicing with Olga keep reading for a chance to win a 5-class pack at her lovely Jivamukti Yoga Barcelona studio.
1) What’s your story?
Born and raised in Russia, 34 year old, at 20 moved to USA to try a different path from what was offered in Russia. MA in Linguistics and MBA graduate. Married with two kids, now living and teaching Jivamukti yoga in Barcelona.
2) How did you start your journey into yoga?
It was being in the right place in the right moment. A friend brought me to a yoga class in a local Kansas gym. I liked it as it resonated with my dance background back in Russia. It felt great to move in vinyasa sequences and be in shape. There was no Om or anything apart from postures though. My non-asana journey started much earlier I think, in my late teen age when someone gave me to read Paulo Coelho, Osho, Gurdjieff. Those were different books with a quest and search for inner peace inviting to explore my own personality, mind, tendencies, offering an idea of Self-realization, which got my interest. Later, when reading about yoga philosophy, I found that same idea in ancient yoga tradition.
3) What inspired you to teach, mentor and open a studio?
My teachers, Sharon Gannon and David Life, their living example of life dedicated to Self-search and service to others, their care for animals and environment. The books that I was fortunate to come across – Paramahansa Yogananda, Anandamayi Ma. The students that kept coming back and taking my classes – my biggest inspiration for teaching. What else could I do, I just flowed with it and did what I had to do. Mentoring at teacher trainings is my teachers’ invitation for which I am very grateful. My husband’s belief in me and support made it possible to open a Jivamukti Center in Barcelona.
4) What style of yoga do you teach? How is this style different than others?
Jivamukti Yoga. I haven’t had a chance to delve into other styles to speak about the differences. The core philosophy of Jivamukti Yoga is expressed through five principles: Ahimsa – non-violent, compassionate lifestyle; Bhakti – acknowledgement that God/Self-realization is the goal of all yoga practices; Dhyana – meditation or connecting to that eternal unchanging reality within; Nada – development of sound body and mind through deep listening; Shastra – study of the ancient yogic texts. In one class the teachers try to cover all five of these precepts through their teachings.
5) Tell me more about the benefits of Jivamukti yoga.
We all know the physical benefits of asanas – stronger, more flexible body, getting rid of old pains or injury effects. And feeling of peace and lightness we all experience after classes. In Jivamukti method each month the co-founders of the school and senior teachers write a focus of the month, inviting all of Jivamukti yoga international community to explore a philosophical topic. This in turn makes us
question the ways we’ve always done things and maybe change our perspectives and make decisions to live more in peace and harmony with yourself and others.
6) What advice can you give someone that’s never tried yoga or new to the practice?
There are many different styles and schools and teachers. If you tried one class and you weren’t convinced, don’t discard the whole idea of practicing yoga. Try another method, another level, another teacher. You will find what will suit your temperament and personality. And have patience, the body and mind will need time to change, but with regularity and continuity of practice it will happen gradually but inevitably, and you will feel more balanced and at peace, both in body and mind as one integral whole.
7) Tell us more about Jivamukti Yoga Barcelona and any plans for the future.
We offer a space for all levels of practitioners, from beginners to advanced, classes are mostly in English but almost all our teachers are bilingual. We also invite senior teachers of Jivamukti method to give workshops and classes few times a year. Located in the city center of beautiful Barcelona. To make it easy and accessible for all, there is no matricula, pre-registration or signing up process. You can simply drop in and have a trial class or week.
No concrete plans for future, just keep teaching and having our doors open to all who want to practice our method and continue to share and expand awareness of yoga philosophy and vegan lifestyle based on compassion and respect for all living beings as part of one whole.
8) What are your favourite places in Barcelona?
Santa Maria del Mar – a beautiful church in Born area. And beach of course.
9) What advice would you give to your younger self, now that you’ve had all these life experiences?
This question reminds me of the recently seen movie The Arrival. Wouldn’t change anything, all experiences count to make us into who we are now. And it’s now that shapes the future. Be kind to others and yourself. Create circumstances.
Have courage and trust life. It will take you where you need to be. We have all the resources to be happy.
THANK YOU Olga for your beautiful work – inspiring me and many, many others on our journey through yoga and beyond!
Today Jivamukti Yoga is practiced around the world with centers in USA, Germany, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Australia. People love this style of Yoga for the way it brings together the philosophical, intellectual, spiritual and physical aspects of yoga, having as its aim nothing less than enlightenment.
For more information on Olga, her classes and her Jivamukti Yoga Barcelona studio click here.
As always, I’d love connecting with you and hear about how you began and who inspired your yoga journey. Head over to the comments section below to share your thoughts.
With love and gratitude,
p.s. If you’d like to win a 5-class pass (value €50) to the Jivamukti Yoga Barcelona studio email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer to the following below. Contest ends Wednesday April 5th and winner will be announced Thursday April 6th.
What’s the name of the pose Olga’s doing in front of the Sagrada Familia (first photo above)?