Student Spotlight: Srdjan Rajsic
How were you introduced to yoga and what is it about Iyengar Yoga that has captured your interest?
As a dental technologist, I spend most of my time at work sitting and focusing on small items in front of me. That makes my whole body sink down and puts a lot of tension on my lower back. After a few years of not doing any physical activity and spending hours sitting in the chair, I started feeling pain in my lower back and all the way down in my legs. I visited a few doctors and all of them said I was fine. My MRI was clear and they said only Advil could help. I was on Advil for more than 6 months. After 6 months of waking up in pain and going to bed in pain, I decided to do something for myself. I joined a gym in my neighborhood and I started doing gym yoga for a few months. Even though there was slight improvement, I found that gym yoga was extremely boring and the teachers there did not pay attention to the students and their physical problems, if there were any. It was time to move forward. One of my friends from my country posted pictures on Facebook from her yoga studio in Serbia. The studio walls were covered with ropes and I saw lots of yoga props. I asked her, “what kind of yoga is that?” She told me that all those props were for Iyengar Yoga and she explained to me what Iyengar Yoga is. She promised me that I would not feel any pain in my back if I tried it at least for a few weeks. I said to myself “let’s find an Iyengar studio in Toronto.” I found Studio Po and after one month of doing Iyengar Yoga, my “addiction” to pain killers (Advil) had gone!
At this stage of your practice, what is your favourite asana and why?
After 14 months of practicing Iyengar Yoga, I must say my favourite asanas are Pinchamayurasana and Sirsasana, simply because I never thought I would be able to do either of these poses ever in my life. Every time when I do them, I feel good, strong. Moreover, I can feel that I have control over my body and most importantly over my mind. I can feel my whole body, and only then, I can reach my mind and shut it down for a few seconds. I can feel I am in the present. When I am in the present, I can feel there is no mind, no buzz in my head. Only silence and peace.
What has been the biggest surprise for you in your practice of Iyengar Yoga?
The biggest surprise for me is the feeling of happiness all the time when I do Iyengar Yoga. I have spent the last decade of my life depressed, angry, bitter, and anxious. Other physical activities didn’t give me much pleasure. I tried gym, aikido, judo, running, swimming, gym yoga, but only Iyengar Yoga put a smile on my face. I feel like I am finally living life. If Iyengar Yoga was a house, I have moved in permanently.
Have you found that there are lessons or benefits from your yoga practice that you carry with you in your daily life? Can you share an example?
Tadasana teaches me a very important lesson. I have difficulty facing reality and every day responsibilities. When things are not the way I like them to be, I get frustrated and I try to run away thinking that is the way to solve problems. In Tadasana I have to place my feet firmly, press evenly and grip the floor. I learned that I have to do the same in everyday life. Instead of running away, I have to apply what Tadasana teaches me, be like a mountain and turn inward. As someone said before: “The only way out is in.”
How did you find Studio Po and why have you chosen to take Iyengar Yoga classes here?
My very good friend Google helped me find Studio Po. To be honest, I was surprised when I found there are only a few Iyengar Yoga studios in Toronto. I was expecting Iyengar Yoga studios all over the city. The closest one to my home was Studio Po. I sent an email to the studio, and in less than an hour, I got a response from S&S (Sharon and Stephanie) asking me to come and try the first class free. Very friendly and knowledgeable teachers, warm and clean studio with everything you need to practice make me stay with Studio Po.
What is one piece of wisdom that you would like to share with someone beginning his/her Iyengar Yoga journey?
Enjoy every second of your Yoga practice. Do not let fear stop you trying new poses. Do not be afraid that you are not good enough, or that you will not be able to do a pose. If you think you cannot stand on top of your head or on your hands, just try to do it. If you fall down, so what? The floor is always there to stop you. Get up and try it again, and again. You will be happy when you see your yoga studio upside-down in head-stand pose for the first time. Put a smile on your face and do yoga no matter what!