Back then, in the middle of a hot London summer eve I made the big decision to leave my hectic job in the City. I had enough of the crazy city pace and I knew that the time was right for me to move on. My heart, brain and gut all told me so. When I allowed that to happen and reality set in, my eyes were opened, space was created, and I realized that going back to a practice that had been a part of my life for so many years was needed. I decided to start teaching yoga full time.
I realized really quickly when I started that this was not going to be easy. It’s takes a lot of work to enter London yoga scene and build a financially sustainable amount of work. I had to work for free, work for low pay, be available for undesirable class slots, and pick up covers as much as possible. That became my life for couple of long and tiring months.
I had to work so hard. I remember not having enough money pay my rent on time, I was teaching ridiculous hours, but also spent quite some time not knowing what the f*ck I was doing, and if I was doing it right. Did I really leave my well paying job to struggle this much? I knew I had to, I knew that sharing the practice of yoga was a calling. I believed in the practice. The practice that has helped me so much, both in the past and the present. That feeling of wanting to help, wanting to share - that was all that kept me going.
But realistically, I was working at a pace that I knew was quickly leading me to a burn out. And who wants to practice with a stressed and drained yoga teacher? I felt out of place, and I could feel that the amount of work I was doing was attacking my authenticity. I wanted inspiration, I wanted to practice, I wanted to experience - what I wanted, was a break. But I was afraid that leaving would put me on risk to lose my classes - and my stability.
This posed an internal dilemma - would I rather stay authentic to the practice or continue to teach just to stay on the timetable. Once again my heart, brain and gut guided me to my final decision; I needed to take a break from London and from teaching to follow my intuition. I was going to pack up my books and my mat and started on a trip around the mountains of Europe in a van. My partner and I moved out of our flat in North East London, sold most of our things, fixed up a van, and went off the grid for six months.
As we pulled out of London, I asked myself what I wanted from the next 6 months? Like all good yogis, I decided to set an intention for this time.
I wanted to travel and delve deeper. I wanted to become a better person. I wanted to experience the practice without pressure. Pressure of constantly creating classes, of taking photos for social media, and of producing content. I wanted to practice self study, sharpen my attention and truly explore to my own truth. To then teach what I’ve learned. Through experience.
How did this effect my yoga practice? What is yoga anyway? And how do we practice? Of course it’s going to be different for every single person depending on where they are in their journey. I found that, for me, I needed space to focus, to dissolve and just to be. Sometimes when we’re in the middle of our weekly routine, doing the things we always do, we don’t notice all the small things. Our ‘Samskaras’ or patterns. Things like our attitude, our heart rate, if we are speaking the truth or if we’re caught up by all the clutter that life sometimes brings.
So I spent moon cycles traveling externally and internally. Through low valleys to high mountains. Movement and stillness. And now, as I sit here in the setting sun, feeling the breeze that’s moving through the Spanish mountains, I observe at my friend’s dog, Otto, laying next to me, resting his face on his paw. He doesn’t have any worries. There’s no stress in his aura. He is just breathing and being. Feeling the sun kissing his soft fur.
And just like that I’m reminded of the beauty of pure presence. When you are traveling and surrounding yourself with these amazing moments you remember that the asana practice is a very small part of it all. It’s the attention to how we live, how we behave, how we choose to react. It’s what decisions we make and our attitude towards life.
As I come back to London this winter, I’m taking so many learnings back with me from my travels and the space I created FOR MYSELF:
- Life is meant to be extraordinary.
- Keep it simple. Appreciating being right here. Right now.
Don’t be afraid of change, of movement and of exploration. Your yoga practice will show you amazing things if you allow it to. Move with the water and breathe with the wind. Allow yourself to give and take. Theres nowhere like home they say. But remember that we are just like birds. We make nests wherever we go.
Dijana started to move on the mat nine years ago in the rainiest city of Sweden. She fell deeply in love with the spiritual practice and started to explore it’s full form, both on and off the mat.
Dijana has experience in many schools of yoga; Vinyasa, Yin, Rocket, Hatha, Scaravelli. She teachers movement with integrity and playfulness, encroaching practitioners to explore the practice and the poses freely - whiles welcoming all sensations and emotions with open arms. Good vibes will be created and shared through strong and creative Asana. Her passion is to create space for people to slowly dissolve and unite!