Suzana Jakovic, a yoga instructor with experience and commitment to change in education using a deep knowledge of the yoga philosophy and psychology, as well as the particular importance of yoga in maintaining a healthy body and a healthy mind. According to her, yoga as a healthy lifestyle brings relaxation and happiness to everyday life.
Practicing yoga comes with lots of benefits. Which one You may ask? Read in the article Yoga as a Way of Life.
How and why did you start doing yoga?
When I was a kid I was fascinated by the famous book Yoga by Jasmina Puljo, which my mother used to practice yoga. After years of practicing different sports, my body needed
something soothing, something that impacts overall health, not just the physical but on all levels. I feel like yoga started doing me, and I merely opened up, let go, accepted it, and respected it as a discipline of self-development, which it inevitably leads to – on the physical, mental, and spiritual level.
Why is breathing so important in yoga?
Breathing techniques release repressed emotions, fears, and frustrations. They activate breathing, which helps to get more oxygen into the body and the brain, in turn affecting the emotional and mental health and relaxation. We practice total or full breathing, learning to breathe properly and to consciously control the breathing process. Full breathing includes three basic modes of breathing – abdominal, thoracic, and clavicular (when the air fills the top third of the lungs) – and when done one after the other these form a single whole.
Deep, calm, and balanced breathing is vital for our health because it balances and calms the body and the mind, fills us with energy, and makes us feel rested and relaxed, while rapid and shallow breathing has a very negative effect – it increases anxiety, tension, stress, and pain.
Consequently, breathing is important both in yoga and in everyday life.
What are mantras and meditation for?
Mantras are sound vibrations, quantum technology, designed to neutralize the mind and thoughts. Chanting or reciting mantras stimulate 84 reflex points in the mouth directly affecting the hypothalamus, which is connected to the pituitary and pineal glands, sending
a signal to every cell in the body to relax, be neutral, and become one with infinity. Sound and vibration can have a powerful effect on people. The most practiced mantra is singing the syllable AUM or OM since it is considered to be closest to the universal vibration that
human beings can receive.
Mantras wake the spirit, energize the body, relax the mind, and open the door to meditation. Meditation, especially Samadhi – identifying yourself with the subject or the idea of meditation and the highest form of concentration in meditation, as an exceptional
state of mindfulness ranks highest among individual achievements in the philosophy of yoga.
Meditation and relaxation techniques deeply cleanse the mind and emotions of fatigue, anxiety, stress, frustration, deep-rooted fears, limitations, and conditionality.
While practicing yoga, we often use the power of visualization. (A/N: Imagine you’re a golden egg, a star, a triangle, and the like.) What is it for?
Visualization and practicing concentration or focusing attention in yoga and meditation are used for internal awakening. By visualizing symbols, images, colors, or internal sounds, we communicate with the subconscious, because this is the language of the subconscious mind, reviving our experiences and repressed impressions. In yoga, concentration – Dharana (concentrated thoughts and attention) – is at the higher level of physical and spiritual human development and it is a prerequisite for using contemplation and meditation to reach the very top – Samadhi – the last segment of the spiritual discipline.
There are many ways to practice focusing attention and these should be switched, and they significantly help to improve observation and memory, as well as playback of impressions. Prolonging the mental effort to reach deeper into the essence of an idea or the object of concentration leads to the penultimate degree of spiritual development, to meditation – Dhyana (contemplation and meditation). By using visualization and concentration we can see how superficial our observations are, not only concerning the things that surround us and that we use daily, but also in relation to the people whom we often meet or even who are very close to us.
Based on your experience so far, what difficulties and issues yoga works best for?
Practicing yoga affects the entire physical, mental, and emotional health, removes the accumulated stress, tension, and anxiety that form within us every day, and fills us with positive energy. It develops flexibility and relaxation of the whole body, it brings the mind and emotions to a state of relaxation. and balance, which makes it different from other physical
Yoga is generally an effective discipline that makes us stronger as individuals and as people, on the physical, mental, and spiritual level. Hatha yoga, among other things, can be seen as a complete exercise of the autonomous nervous system. Yoga can help with health issues, mitigating most of them and some eliminating entirely. Thanks to its effect on the body, mind, and emotions, yoga battles issues on all fronts, working simultaneously to alleviate the symptoms and eliminate the cause. On the physical level, exercising the spine through yoga brings fantastic results and full correction of the spinal column.
On the psychological or mental level, the one that’s always running and pressuring with endless thoughts, in time we calm a restless mind since yoga helps us to be present in the moment, fully aware of everything now. Regular practice of yoga results in inner balance, a state of happiness and fulfillment, and health and immunity are raised to a higher level.
Possibilities open up for solving problems in easier and more effective ways, with less stress and frustration, everyday functioning becomes easier.
Can you single out one position that is especially important? For what reason?
Almost all positions in yoga – asanas – are of special importance, there’s a whole science behind them. It’s not an easy task to pick just one position, but this time I would like to suggest an exercise made up of 12 positions – the sun salutation – Surya Namaskar. The ancient technique of honoring and expressing gratitude to the sun, which is the source of all life forms on the planet.
The solar plexus is, as the focal point of the human body, associated with the sun. This technique encourages intuitive abilities and increases creativity. It improves blood circulation throughout the body, maintains health and immunity, heart, liver, bowel, chest, neck, feet – from head to toe every part of the body is activated. The sun salutation is an excellent cardiovascular workout and a good way to lose weight.
If You want to find out who should practice yoga and to inform about types of yoga, check the interview with Radmila Knezevic, licensed yoga instructor of Vidya Voga school.