MISA, seen with eyes wide open (I)
by Roxana Florea and Daniel Radu Farcaş
Each human being has own vibrations, aspirations and quests. Yet, there is a place where, even if different reasons bring people together, they all take enthusiastic steps towards the same aim: discovering the ultimate essence. Seekers of the truth meet in the Yoga Holiday Camp twice a year, in Herculane in the spring and in Costineşti in the summer. We were curious to discover some of them and to find out their points of view on MISA and the spiritual practice, beyond the nice words that people exchange, with kindness, whenever they meet in a spiral or in the unique initiations that this yoga school is offering.
We met Natalia at dawn, holding her yoga mat and smiling vividly, on her way to the beach, for a Hatha Yoga session. Her rakish way of radiating good will and offering plenty of smiles to the passers-by awoke our interest, so we immediately asked Natalia to share the secrets of her fulfillment.
NATALIA, 5th year of yoga, LONDON, UK
Where are you from?
Originally I am from Latvia, but I live in London.
How did you start to practice yoga?
I was travelling 4 years ago and I found the school in India. I started my classes in India. First years I went there, then I moved to London and the last two years I continued in London, both Yoga class and Tantra class.
What made you choose this school from all the range of yoga schools that exist?
I tried many schools, but from the first time I entered this yoga school I felt a very strong connection. Because of my nature, I try everything before I make the final decision. I went to many spiritual teachers in India and I could not find this fine context that our school is offering to us in any other places, so I came back and I am very happy that I did.
What makes you stay with this school? For how many years so far?
Four years, but I feel it’s only the beginning. Every year I feel it’s the beginning. The special thing about this school is that I felt a strong connection to the spiritual guide and I felt the way he supports us all.
What do you like the best from everything that you’ve been taught in this school?
I really enjoy the Tantra Yoga and all it’s aspects, as well as Hatha Yoga. I also practice Laya Yoga a lot.
What are the benefits that Hatha Yoga brought to you?
The Hatha Yoga made my body more flexible, and my mind more relaxed, less agitated. Before it was always rushing somewhere and I was living my life in the future, not in the present moment. These days I can clearly say that I am very aware of the present moment and I really enjoy it, because before, when I was living in the future, I was missing my present moment.
How is it to be part of one of the biggest yoga schools in the world, how does it feel to be part of this spiritual brotherhood?
Every year I come to the spiritual camps in Herculane and in Costineşti, because I want to feel the colleagues from all around the world, I want to talk to them, I want to see how they progress. I like to make new friends. Also, I feel there is a strong integration in the Romanian yoga school, and I like to talk to the Romanian people about it.
How did Tantra transform you?
Tantra is the highest form of yoga. It is the highest aim of the spiritual practice for me. The awareness of the polarity between woman and man… to study this and be aware of this is a great advantage in our life!
What if MISA didn’t exist? What would have happened to your life then?
Probably I would still have practiced yoga with some others. I trust God, and He would have led me to a spiritual way, that would have been necessary for me.
What makes you believe that this is really an authentic yoga school? Being in so many yoga schools we think you can now tell the difference between what’s authentic and what isn’t…
For every knowledge that was presented in this school, I could refer back to the original sources, like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, or the writings of Patanjali, or the Tantra sutras. The material comes in the right proportion, at the right time – it’s not given to you like in the other schools… For example, in one school they put me to stand on the head immediately after I came, when I was not prepared, my body was not prepared, so I felt it to be a commercial approach. In this school I felt the integration, things were taken slowly, making sure we’ve got the right understanding in the right time of every asana, of every purification method, of Yama and Niyama. I like to receive the material in this way and to apply it in my practice in a gradual, continuous way, like it’s suggested by our spiritual guide.
What’s your opinion about the people practicing yoga in this school, not only in London, but in Romania as well?
I like to observe people, I like to see how they progress. In knowing oneself, there is no end point, there is continuous transformation with everyone. Seeing somebody really good and transformed this year, doesn’t mean that he reached the final goal: we are all continuously transforming until we liberate ourselves in the way that was dedicated to us in this life.
What were you expecting of this place before you came here in your first yoga camp?
First time I came with no expectations. I was called to come by my instructor. He just told me: “You should come and see and it will be very beneficial for you”. It was unexpectedly super-beneficial for me! And every year is so different, every camp is so different for each of us, according to the level of how much we can receive. These camps are offering enormous grace, enormous knowledge and immensely valuable initiations; one really cannot be in them all, because it’s like a 24 hours program, including the communication with the other people. Every year I experience a new story in this camp, a new understanding of my transformation – it’s like a summary of what I have done in the previous year, here I understand who I really am, and if I am aware, it would be a great conclusion of my one-year practice.
Still, what were your expectations before the camp?
My expectations were very limited, because my point of view of the yoga was also very limited. My perception was that we will be a lot of people and probably we will do the practice together and listen to some conferences, but when I arrived here I was surprised! I was not expecting to come here and become part of a spiritual family. I felt like all the yogis around are my sisters and brothers. I started to discover my own limitations because the people were so open…
What is your opinion about the yoga camps now?
Every year I participate in different programs, I receive different initiations, I meet amazing people, I go to the Miss Shakti contest and every time, no matter where I am, I receive something – I receive messages from my spiritual guide through the other people, through their experiences, I understand more.
The discussion with Natalia increased our curiosity to find out what attracted other colleagues to this yoga school and how do they live the experiences of the yoga camps.
JOSE, 14th year of yoga, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
How did you discover this yoga school?
I had this desire to find a path that would lead all the way, and to find answers to the fundamental questions: who am I, what is the meaning of this world, what is my designation in this world. I came because my girlfriend from that time saw some small, black and white posters and she told me to go to these classes. I went to the opening conference and I got very impressed by the instructor’s state of purity. Then I said to myself: “Here is something that I’m interested in, something that I also want to try!”.
Then I started to have spiritual experiences, and slowly I started to understand more and more. I understood that God does exist, but also that without a specific path, proper techniques and a method to follow, everything floats in the air.
In the first year of study my attitude was critical, I was in a continuous state of trial, I was wondering if it is right what it’s being taught there, but somehow everything fall into place and it was adjusting to the ideal that I had at that time: the instructor was perfect, the teaching was correct as I understood it – it was a connection between physic, spirit and soul. Yet I was quite critical, I was keen to see if the instructor may be acting incorrectly, I was attentive to everything regarding correctness and I could not find any fault in this school. Then I understood that this is my path and that I will go on with it all the way.
Actually I had this understanding in a weekend. I felt then the state of being part of a spiritual family. We were a group of students who didn’t know much of each other in the first year of yoga, yet a very beautiful, united, spiritual field could be felt. I distinctly remember the moment when I came back from there and I had the clear feeling: this is my path.
What were you expecting to find the first time you came to a yoga camp?
I first came to a yoga camp 10 years ago. I was curious to see how the school here looks like, I heard that it is a big center and that yogis from all around the world are to come. I also wanted to come and see how it is to be at the „source” – this is how I understood it, that everything comes from here.
I remember that I was astonished by the states that I experienced in the spirals, especially in the hiatus spiral: a profound peace, self-communion. In the hiatus spiral I lived a state as if I was graduating from university! It was a moment when I felt complete, whole, I didn’t have to do anything else, I already had everything within!
What do you suggest to those who never came to yoga camps?
To be as open as possible. Here they are to receive something that goes beyond their personality, beyond their ego, something that may lead them more deeply that they can imagine. To let go of their expectations and be open to receive what is being offered from above.
Why did you learn to speak Romanian?
At a certain point I understood that without understanding Romanian, some of the teaching gets lost – even if the translation is perfect, it is not charged in the same way, one does not feel it in the same manner as the original is being felt. Therefore I decided to go to the ashram. I remained 3 years in an ashram in Bucharest, where I integrated beautifully, and I made many friends with whom I still keep in touch. Now I translate the materials from Romanian for the Czech school.
What do you like the most from everything that is being taught in this school?
I like prayers the most. There was a time when I did 24-hours prayers every Sunday, maybe I did 50 of these prayers. This is when I felt that I am able to transmute everything connected to low energies in my being: suffering, frustrations – into light. Nonetheless, I like the Tantra techniques very much, even if apparently they seem to be completely opposite to prayers.
NICOLETA PUIU, 21st year of yoga, BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
What did you feel in this hiatus spiral?
An extraordinary force and overwhelming spiritual enthusiasm, effervescence of energies and great aspiration.
How did you discover the yoga class?
I was interested in the esoteric books and I remember that I saw on a bookstall one about previous lives. I stopped to buy it, and then I saw a poster promoting the yoga class. It is fascinating and always new, because the divine energy that manifests during the classes is infinite.
Why do you come to yoga camps?
I come to the yoga camps with great enthusiasm, I don’t expect anything, yet every time I receive everything, due to the energy and support manifested here! For 20 years, every single year I am eager to come, and every time I think what to do so that I could participate the entire period. It is fascinating, here I receive an extraordinary spiritual impulse, my aspiration amplifies very much and I am infused with an energy that lasts for a very long while.
What is your favorite event?
The spirals, for sure, but also the conferences, because I always find out new things, and even if apparently those are things that I know, they are being told in such a way that awakes my interest, again and again, to seek more, to discover more, to experience more and to practice.
Read here the next part of this article.
Also available in: Română