My rendezvous with yoga was by chance and not a part of my US plans. I was pursuing my higher education in USA at the University of Dayton (UD) and it was during my sophomore year that I had attended my first yoga class that took place at the University campus. After that, I continued to practice sporadically at UD’s gym and to this day I recall those were the best yoga classes I had attended. Most of these classes were taught by students and thus we got to experience various styles and forms.
I was born and raised in Prishtina (Pristina), the capital of Kosova (Kosovo). I was eighteen years old when I had left for USA. The concept of yoga was as distant to me as you can imagine. After I was introduced to yoga, I tried my best to find some time for practice even on my summer breaks which were spent back home in Prishtina. However, the challenge was to find a yoga studio, instructor or even a group that practices yoga. I could not find any! And that’s when I started my own home-practice.
“My Yoga – it doesn’t matter if things aren’t perfect. My practice is my time to feel alive, loved and free!”
Consistency And Simplicity
My friends in Kosova motivated me to get my yoga teacher training certification. They had started showing interest in learning yoga and wanted me to teach them. After finishing college and after spending many months in contemplation, I decided that I would listen to my friends and start a yoga class. Those first few participants who attended my first class, led to the creation of the first yoga studio in Kosova, called N’Yoga.
I had no intention to begin teaching yoga as I was only practicing it as a compliment to my daily activities. I was studying Business Administration focusing on Entrepreneurship and Marketing at UD and was doing research for my honors thesis. At that time I was also working, and alternating between two very different styles of life, which was adding to the challenge of juggling all my involvements, without stretching my bandwidth too much.
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.” B.K.S.Iyengar
Having a simple and regular yoga practice eased these transitions and demands and to this day this is the main reason why I have a consistent practice.
Integrating Yoga And Cultural Heritage
As you may be aware, the economy of Kosova is a transition economy and is also known for having the youngest population in Europe with an average of 25 years old. I began a collection of stories and photographs of yoga poses inspired by the landmarks, architecture and culture of the Albanian inhabited regions to raise awareness about yoga in Kosova and about Kosova among international globetrotters, yoga practitioners, and lovers of nature and cultural heritage. I integrated the meaning of the yoga pose subtly with the surrounding landscape that was chosen to be depicted in the photographs.
“If we are to have peace on earth…our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Up to now, together with Rilind Latifi and Rina Hapciu, who have been the force behind the website and photographs, we have covered 11 sites all around Kosova and Albania, which have been viewed from all over the world. This is an ongoing project, which has been featured on the first TedxPrishtina Women event in 2013, in local and international magazines, and major national televisions and radios.
Take a look at the video below:
Yogic Prescription For Daily Balance
Yoga continues to be a great compliment to my many involvements and projects. It gives me energy to attend to my daily duties as the Director of Development and Marketing at KosovaLive and the Country Director for GlobalGirl Media Kosova. It helps me cleanse my physical, mental and emotional body from the struggles of living and creating in a post-conflict environment and a country in transition, traveling and switching back and forth from environments that are very different.
Through N’Yoga, I hope to serve people who dedicate themselves to contribute positively to the society. I also hope it would be a place where people could come and refresh themselves, get a “second wind” to go about and continue their daily duties, or go back to their families contented and full of energy, while leaving their daily work burdens and stale energy behind. I hope it would be a place of inclusion and serve as a space where anyone could go back to themselves and build their ideal selves.
Attending that first accidental class at UD many years ago has brought me much awareness about holistic well-being and because of yoga, I have created a great attentiveness to the relation between my internal state with the external environment in which I function.
I am grateful and humbled for the chance we have had and continue to work towards introducing this holistic healing system to people in Kosova. I am personally thankful for the energy and physical, emotional and mental lightness that yoga has been bringing me, and for enabling me to live a fulfilling life and actively participate in my areas of interest.
Story of a yogi by
Country Director, Global Girl Media; Founder, N’Yoga
Yoga in Albanian Lands: https://yogainalbanianlands.com