YOGA, the thing I started ten times and somehow couldn’t turn it into a daily habit. BUT whenever I do yoga I feel great:) I really believed that yoga can reconstruct and reform ourselves and make us feel lighter. I experienced this when I do Yoga with Zoli (Zoltan Zadjva). He is one of the most extraordinary and shining beings I met in my life. I met this Hungarian man at The LifeCo where he was teaching and I fist become his coworker, than his student and his friend.
He has many stories from all around the world, he can have a very interesting autobiography, months alone in the ice and caves, visiting strange sadhus, escaping a war, no house, talking to yaks etc. But today I wanted to ask about yoga, his passion. He does yoga everyday at least 5 hours, he swims, he runs. He is the most active person I have seen. But he is also the calmest person I have met. When you are next to him, you feel the soft and warming sun light on your heart. He has been teaching yoga at parks, beaches, mountain peaks, forests in India, China, Nepal, Turkey, Thailand and Laos so far.
Yoga helped me to heal and open my energy blockages. I felt anger behind my knees, and sadness when I opened my legs to sides, I felt heat when I bend forward or open my chest. I felt the emotions moving inside my body and freeing themselves during asanas. If you never did yoga, never too late (my mum 61 and she started to do yoga:))) But a good yoga teacher is a must who knows not only asanas but also spiritually can guide you as a start.
So here is everything you want to know about yoga from a real Yogi Zoli;
*What is yoga? For many of us it is just asanas (postures) but it is also a lifestyle I think.
Yoga is a research into our true nature. In modern life, it is very easy to loose the connection with the heart. In yoga, we move the body to help the energy flow, to clear the blockages that prevents the free flow and so take us back to our connection with our true nature.
Asana is just 1 practice. In yoga there are many tools and practices, one is breathing (pranayama) for example. It is an integral approach to life which includes being mindful about thinking, in our actions and speech. No stealing, no violence, not being greedy is the part of yoga philosophy. We treat ourselves well and others too. We avoid wrong food and violent thinking.
*How did it started your passion for yoga and you ended up as a yogi?
When I was 9, my father who was a doctor had yoga books to study. The first book I read was a Hungarian book from 1930s, and it opened a new vision of life for me. I felt it is calling me, at that age I decided what I want to do in life. I did yoga, study yoga for many years but I seriously started to practice at 1998.
*Do you have a guru? Or a discipline you follow?
I don’t have a guru but there are few ashrams and teachers I studied with at the beginning. InSouth India, I went to Shivananda Ashram and took a 2 weeks course, very nice introduction to yoga. Than in Dhramshala I did yoga with Amar Vijay (Indian) and in Rishikesh, Surinder Singh (Indian) for 5 years.
I am not following any approach nor I have a guru. I spent 11 years in India, I studied many more books, visited many ashrams, I became vegetarian at 17, didn’t use any kind of drugs, became very careful about what I eat and did yoga for hours and hours.
*How do you describe your style of teaching and classes?
My aim is to teach people a practice which they can also do at home after 2 weeks. My system is very easy to follow, it helps the body be healthier and mind relaxed. We use the breath to release stress. In my class, there is no competition, easy relaxed atmosphere that let people to find out their body’s wishes. The more isn’t always the better. When we listen to our body, we know when to stop.
*How did yoga changed your life?
I ran away from a war inYugoslaviaand travelled the world the last 20 years without a home. At the beginning it was very difficult to detach myself from the cultural, national, family identity but yoga helped me to come close to my true nature. Physically, my body become stronger and fit, my eye sight got better. I am 46 years old but I feel healthier and lighter than my teenage years. I can say I am reversing the aging process with yoga. As I do yoga, I naturally started to eat healthier, some of my students said they stopped smoking after yoga. Because as you get lighter, you don’t want to consume poisonous things anymore. And I was very shy, and became more self confident.
*Do you have any advice for people who are in front of the computer and reading this right now and thinking this is difficult to do?
Everybody can practice yoga, it is never too late. There is a world famous yoga teacher ( Vanda Scaravelli ) who started yoga at her 50s. And she did 40 years yoga after that. You don’t need to be athletic, flexible, fit or young.
*Do you have advice on reversing aging and being healthier as you practice yourself?
Drink more water
Eat less heavy food, avoid excess eating
Do cleansing or detox once a month. There is a yogic detox ( Sankha Prakshalana ) I do regularly with 2 liters of salty water and 5 easy moves. I drink the water and do the moves, It is good to clean the colon, intestines, all internal organs.
Be mindful about what you eat, listen to your body when to eat, when to stop.
Don’t hurt people, don’t hurt yourself. When you avoid harmful actions, this brings a fresh, joyful feeling.
*Now you are coming to Turkey on April, I must ask what did you miss most?:)
(Smile) Tahini, dates, carob syrup, hazelnut, walnut, Bosphorus and Emirgan Park. Istanbul is the start of my travelling life. I escape from Yugoslavia during war on a train to Istanbul. For me Turkey has a special place.
Zoli doing yoga on Himalayas at 4400m, -11 celsius degree, below;