Let me tell you why…

… I meditate. I am a classic example of Ayurvedic Vata type. For those of you who are not familiar with this terminology, Vata type people are driven by Air element. When this element is well balanced Vata people can be creative, think outside the box, energetic and learn quickly. If however Vata is out of balance, which means too much Air quality, we get easily distracted, you can notice that when I teach and sometimes completely forget what I wanted to say πŸ™‚ We learn quickly, but we also forget quickly. We are sensitive to changes, our mood can depend on the weather, people around us or even food we eat. We are prone to being nervous, anxious, restless and when overwhelmed with too many tasks, we freeze, close our laptop and do nothing. So regularity for me is key. It doesn’t come naturally to me, I like movement, I like change, but I know that the only way to manage the Air well and wisely is by giving myself enough grounding, regularity and stillness. And this is what meditation does wonderfully for me. I have periods when I skip meditation, I’m by no means perfect in this, but I always do my best to come back on my meditation cushion. And when I do…. goshh… it feels like I’m coming back home, where everything is the way it’s meant to be, my thoughts are taken care of, my emotions and feelings acknowledged, my body loved and my life appreciated. I no longer want to run away.

Now, some of you may recognise similar tendencies, even if you areΒ not necessarily a Vata type, you may be typical Pitta (driven predominantly by Fire element) or Kapha (driven by Earth element). But the thing is that our modern life is ruled by Air and Fire and if we don’t have tools to handle these elements within us, we will feel the consequences, mentaly, emotionally and physically.
Check the timetable for the next Meditation for Beginners Course.

My body is my best friend

Recently I turned 45. It was a very different birthday for me. For the first time in years, decades even, I really felt that this life that I have, the body that I have is worth some appreciation and celebration. It was a very honest, deep need that I felt within. Maybe it’s the middle age thing, maybe the experience of pandemic and lockdowns, I don’t know. I simply felt it’s time to celebrate what I have a little more πŸ™‚

I am where I am thanks to my yoga practice, thanks to the time I dedicated to be with myself, the time I spent learning how to understand the language of my own body, the time I spent on healing, rebalancing all the systems in my body. 
When I was younger I didn’t feel good in my body, there were so many things I wanted to change in how I look, I felt insecure, different, misunderstood, this constant discomfort in my back was making me restless, anxious all the time. I was angry at everyone, everything, in the end also at myself. And it turns out that the one thing I needed to do was just to start paying attention to myself so that I can understand and then I will no longer feel misunderstood. It’s mind blowing that the way out of my little misery was so simple.

The truth is that we all have something we could recalibrate, it could be changing the movement pattern, how we use, treat our body, changing what we feed it with, literally, but also the information we feed our mind with, what we say, what we pay attention to as this is where our energy goes. I’m not saying that there is something wrong with all of us and we all need to be fixed. But many of us feel uncomfortable and often we don’t know why. We change places, friends, partners, jobs, we buy things, treatments and it helps for a moment or two.

Because of my own experience I’m dedicated to sharing what helps me with everyone who is willing to change something in their life. So this is a message to those of you who feel uncomfortable in your own skin, if you don’t like your body getting old, if you’re struggling with aches and pains, if you don’t like your life…. please do not give up on your body, don’t give up on your life. We were all born to experience these obstacles but only to learn how to overcome them.

what’s your way?

I would like to encourage you today to pause for a moment and think of how you support your body to stay healthy and strong. Can I share with you what I do to support mine? My priority is:
– a good quality 8h sleep in a cool, well ventilated room
– hydration as I have the tendency to forget to drink liquids
– regular homemade meals, I try to eat healthy, but will never say ‘no’ to a good portion of chips πŸ™‚
– morning meditation, if I’m busy it could be as little as 10min, but this is my daily mental and emotional check-in
– regular movement that supports my lifestyle, past injuries, my age etc, the yoga practice is my main activity, but I also love cycling, nordic walking and spending time out in the countryside

What is your way to stay healthy? Is yoga a part of it?
If you’d like to come back on the mat or try it for the first time, it may be easier to do it in a group environment. It may be easier to book a full 6 weeks course, this way you commit to 6 sessions and create a momentum that will turn into a healthy habit. It’s easier and much safer when you’re guided through a practice with clear, useful instructions coming from the experience of the teacher rather than following random videos on YT.
Check the current calendar to join the next beginners course.

Deep sleep

There are many things we can do to keep our body healthy, our mind calm, rested and our immune system doing it’s job. Sleep is so often overlooked but it’s so, so important. Somehow in our culture not needing much sleep is considered an advantage by some. How did this happen I’m asking? Very often we don’t realise that our afternoon and evening habits may not be actually supporting a good, nourishing sleep. Here’s what may help with healthy, restorative sleep…

1. Avoid eating heavy meals in the evening. If you can, switch to eating your main meal at lunch time, when your agni (Ayurvedic term for digestive fire) is at it’s strongest, and having something lighter in the evening.

2. Tea, coffee, energy drinks, even hot chocolate contain caffeine, a stimulant that keeps your mind active. Instead, drink a warming Ayurvedic of warm milk (cow’s or plant based) mixed with a pinch of nutmeg. Nutmeg contains magnesium helping to quiet the nervous system and prepare us for sleep. Herbal tea like chamomile or lavender is a good option too.

3. Create a habit of oil massaging your hands and feet before sleep. Your hands and feet both contain balancing pressure points, that when stimulated, help relieve stress and promote calmness.

4. Get into a good daily routine that you can stick to, like going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day, eating at regular meal times, even at the weekend.

I hope these few tips will help and you enjoy a restful sleep my friends πŸ™‚

Why do we meditate?

How to advertise meditation? How to show on visually focused social media what meditation is if everything happens inside? How to encourage others to try it without promising some incredible out of body experiences, enlightenment or other ‘spiritual fireworks’? I can do it by sharing my experiences. And why do I meditate? Why do I spend every morning doing nothing with my eyes closed?

Imagine a house that’s never been cleaned, never ever, for years. Well this is what I found within me when I turned my focus inwards. So I started cleaning, removing dirt and dust, step by step, layer after layer. It’s not a sprint, rather a marathon. And the further I go the cleaner the house gets, the more space I feel, the more understanding I have and the more I love my life?

Polish Yoga :)

Picking wild mushrooms is a kind of Polish yoga. It’s very popular in my home country, many people practise it and most have at least a general knowledge of the most popular edible species.There is a whole culture, rituals, do’s and don’ts around it. I was never into it although I love eating mushrooms, cooked, fried, marinated. How did it happen that I was never interested??? We learn a lot about plants and animals, but not much attention goes to fungi. Our last trip to Scotland completely blew me away with the wild mushroom abundance. By being more aware of them, noticing them, recognising them I feel like I’m opening to a whole different world that was invisible before. Now I definitely want to know more….

Level 1 or Level 2? What’s the difference?

I usually offer these two yoga courses for beginners, level 1 on Mondays and level 2 on Wednesdays.
What is the difference between them, you may be wondering πŸ™‚

Lev1 course is great for complete beginners not only in yoga but in general if you haven’t been moving your body much recently. It will introduce you to how your body moves, how it feels in different shapes, many of them may be completely new to the body. So there is lots of space during the course to explore different options, we’re learning how the blocks, straps, blankets (yes, we start finally using the yoga equipment again !!!) can help us and support the body in the yoga practice. We learn to observe how we’re breathing, naturally and some simple breathing techniques helping to stimulate or calm our body depending on the current need. In 6 1h sessions you are introduced to some basic movements and postures, but what we’re able to cover in 6hours is just the beginning. There is so much more, so many other movements and poses that we do not have time to try in our lev1 course. This is where lev2 comes in. It’s still for beginners, we’re still learning, experimenting with props and different options but having the additional 6 hours simply allows us to explore more. If you feel like you’d like to try one or both, check the calendar and book your space.

Why using Sanskrit?

If you have ever tried speaking another language you probably noticed how different you sound, maybe even hold or move your body as you speak different languages? I’m amazed by how different I sound and even feel using different languages. Each language has its own sounds, structure, its own melody and rhythm. Sanskrit is kind of special πŸ™‚

Being one of the oldest languages, in the beginning it would not be written down, only chanted because the key element is the pronunciation. It is sometimes called a language of vibration, it’s power lies in the soft and resonant sound. If we think about it, everything around us is nothing but a vibration of atoms and molecules, modern science confirms that. Coming in contact with the language of vibration gives the opportunity to bring us closer to experiencing the world around us and what we are essentially. We can feel it through vibrations. Why wouldn’t we use a powerful tool like that in our yoga practice?

Sciences like Yoga and Ayurveda developed over many centuries and the accumulated knowledge was recorded in Sanskrit, both orally and in writing, describing concepts, tools or states of being that are not described by other, more modern languages that we use today to communicate. Let’s take for example the word ‘Namaste’ or ‘Namaskar’, it can be loosely translated as ‘I bow to you’ or ‘the light/divine in me recognises and bows to the light/divine in you’. Isn’t it beautiful? Do you know one word in your language that carries the same or similar meaning? One word that includes the acknowledgement of another person, their divinity, the light within them? I don’t and maybe this is why I love greeting my students in the class with ‘Namaste’.
See you on  the mat my friends πŸ™‚

Booking Is Now Open – Studio Yoga Classes Return

Yoga with Benita in Barking East London - Spring 2021 Reopening

I know that many of you have been waiting for this moment for weeks now.

We are back in The Boathouse Barking Studios from 17th of May!!! We will have limited spaces to keep the safe distance between the mats therefore all bookings need to be done online.For now I’m planning to do both online zoom classes and in person classes at the same time. Eventually however I’d like to do them separately so changes in days and times will come in a couple of weeks.

You will see some minor changes on my website to allow you to book in-person classes, including monthly access and 6 class pack, online classes and new 6 weeks course for beginners that is starting in June. I hope you’re as excited as I am or maybe even more πŸ™‚

Can you practice Yoga purely as a form of sport, without believing in its system of values?

Yoga is not a belief system, yogi is not a believer, yogi is a seeker. We start our yoga journey at different points and circumstances in our life, very often interested in purely physical results. But this is where the power of yoga is, it is a path of seeking and discovering. When you’re constantly encouraged to listen to your breath, observe your body in every yoga class, sooner or later you will notice that there is more to this ancient science than just stretching and toning the body. I remember my first yoga class, the only reason I went there was my back pain that was getting worse and worse. I didn’t know anything about yoga and my colleague said it might help. I remember confusion, frustration as my body was so out of balance. I cried in savasana hearing words: let go, let go of everything…. what a relief for this stressed corporate worker that I was back then. I didn’t expect that reaction, these emotions. It wasn’t comfortable, nobody else cried, what would they think about me. But there was a part of me that didn’t actually care and wanted to learn more.
And if you told me back then that one day I’d be meditating for 11hours a day, I would think you’re mad. And yet, here I am, over a decade later seeing my own practice and what I want to teach from a very different perspective. We have our own time and pace to experience and understand certain aspects of yoga. And if you want to just stretch and relax, that’s fine. But yoga is more like a marathon, rather than a 100m sprint so you may get bored pretty quickly when focusing on just stretching πŸ˜‰

From a perspective of a teacher I’ll add that this is our, yoga teachers’ big responsibility to continue communicating all the potential of this practice, as best as we understand and experience it and the students we meet will walk their own path of self discovery and take what resonates with them, what and when they are ready to understand and embrace in their practice. This superficial layer of yoga advertised in the media as exercise with catchy titles like- sixpack in 20min power yoga class, calm mind in 5mins etc will continue to be there but it’s up to us, yoga practitioners, both teachers and students to make sure we do not stupefy yoga. And at the end of the day it’s better to ‘do some yoga’ than not moving at all, right?