Yoga in My Life

It’s been over 20 years since yoga got in my way. Our relationship has been developing, so I may say that it is an ongoing process today. At first, my practice included the poses I later discovered in yoga asanas. However, when I was initiated into transcendental meditation in 1996, the expansion of my spiritual journey, including yoga, definitely began.

I remember how happy I was when I found a book by Surya Namaskar Swami Satyananda Saraswati, which helped me learn on my own the most famous sequence of asanas – Salute to the Sun, step by step. It was so enlightening to me when I realized that I could create Prana (subtle energy) that activates my physical body through three elements – shape, energy, and rhythm – and 12 body positions. Over time, I have been revealing more and more my spiritual strength, and for me, that is yoga – awareness.

I also remember the time when I and Kata (my best friend and later my godmother, who left her physical body but her spirit is faithfully sparkling in my life) used to talk about yoga for hours. Encouraged by these stories, she let yoga bring salvation to her soul which was going through unbearable suffering in her physical body that was not healthy. In the need to help herself, she found a yoga teacher who helped her with his stories, knowledge, and precisely tailored asanas (body poses) to make the pain in her body less intense and more bearable. And then she told me, "Call him, so you can work with him." That's how it happened. Rade has become my first yoga teacher in this lifetime. We spent two years together. I gained a lot of knowledge, books, and the basis to be a great independent yoga practitioner i.e., a yogini.

In life, I do not deviate from the knowledge I carry within me, no matter where I am or how I feel. Even when my emotional and mental bodies are out of balance, they ascend and recover faster with the help of yoga. I had been a solo yogini for a long time. Self-discipline is one of my strengths, so I did not need groups, instructors, or other yoga teachers to be regular or accurate in performing the asanas I was fond of. However, four or five years ago, it just came to my mind that I'd have yoga classes at the Maya Holistic Academy. A lucky circumstance was that their premises are near me, so I would walk. It took me a while to get used to having someone guide me through a yoga class again. I let go... I relaxed…

At the moment I joined the yoga classes I had a respectable amount of knowledge about transactional analysis, but also about spiritual healing techniques. The possibility to be guided, without thinking about the poses to be chosen during practice, helped me to be in touch with the Aha effect. I was exploring the relationship between transactional analysis and yoga, as well as that between yoga and spiritual healing techniques.

Suddenly, my dear holistic colleagues challenged me with an invitation to go to a yoga instructor school with them. I was thinking about it a little because at that time I was a bit preoccupied with preparations for my final exam as a psychotherapist, yet I accepted the challenge. It was a great decision, and my prior knowledge has been raised to a higher level, which I consider valuable in life.

Given that my interests are oriented towards spirituality, and yoga is primarily a spiritual path, it has naturally become an integral part of my life course. Yoga, as a unity of the physical body and the mind and spirit, represents an excellent method that I apply on my path of overcoming the ego and moving along a spiral of ascension. Eventually, once I indulged in and embarked on the journey of yoga, it has become my need, desire, and the perfect ingredient of my life. Namaste.

Yoga includes a theory and practice of health and psychology developed in the ancient Indian tradition. Transactional analysis (TA) as a psychotherapeutic approach is a scientific method designed by Eric Berne in the '60s already and is still developing in the Western tradition. TA helps people understand the causes of their emotional problems and learn the ways to overcome them so that they can live their liberated lives to the fullest, being a means of enabling an individual to evolve into an integrated person. Both Yoga and TA can be seen as approaches including very similar goals and complementary methods. However, a difference between Yoga and TA can be found in their directions of movement. In yoga, the direction of movement is inward, toward spiritual growth and development, while in TA, it is outward, toward the development of spontaneity, awareness, and intimacy, which results in personality autonomy. In this section, I want to deal with the common grounds of Yoga and TA, which together cause a person to develop their life and consciousness NOW and HERE.

In TA, being an autonomous person is the key, and this is achieved through awareness (our ability to be alive in all the senses and stimuli inside and around ourselves, in our inner and outer environments or realities), spontaneity (our conscious reaction to respond to a stimulus coming from all the three ego-states of Parent, Adult, and Child) and intimacy (unconditional acceptance of ourselves, others and the situations in which we find ourselves, and only if it arises out of love for ourselves and other people). Eric Berne said that all human beings are born as princes and princesses so that they deserve respect and dignity. According to him, the physis is a life instinct that stems from the deepest biological roots of a human being and strives for the greatest and most complete realization of the ideal of good. Such a person, who is conscious, aware, healthy, integrated, and evolved, is in absolute agreement with the model of a self-realized person depicted in the Bhagavad Gita (Saru, 2017), part of the Mahabharata, a major Hindu epic poem, which means "song of the blessed one."

TA and the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita equally emphasize the importance of the authentic inner impulse of a human being which directs him towards psychophysical health and spiritual growth. This text was written in the form of a dialogue between the prince and the hero Arjuna and the Hindu god Krishna (Fraser, 2002), seen by Saru (2017) as a long psychotherapeutic session in which Krishna activates Arjuna’s Adult ego-state, helping the prince rise above his ego-state of a confused Child. When we look closely at this process, we can recognize the TA interventions of decontamination of the Adult ego-state and deconfusion of the Child ego-state when Krishna acts from the position of an empathetic interlocutor/therapist. At the same time, Krishna is the model of a self-realized soul, which represents the ultimate goal of spiritual development and establishing contact with one's divine nature – attaining one's self (Atman).
Anita Marković