Above the clouds at Pico Ruivo, Madeira – quietness & peace. Photo by the one and only Mr husband, my best Costel 🙂

2018 was the year when I finally learned how to listen to my intuition. How to stay open and trustful to the world, but also stand my ground. Perfect embodiment of surrender and strength combined – one and the same, isn’t it?

After spending the last 4 years intensively reflecting and processing past experiences, pains and sorrows hidden in my connective tissue and nervous system, I came to a point where more action needed to be taken in order to create change not only for myself, but for those around me. It was time to get outside of my shell and bring it out there – all my lessons learned, yoga techniques and everything that I practice every single day.

When I first started Unfold Your Mat I didn’t have a clear idea about what I wanted to do. And I wasn’t mature enough to understand the depths of it all. But one thing has always been clear to me – I wanted to help the world. This I always knew…since I was a little girl. It sounds like a cliche and pretty idealistic for some, but it’s the truth. I’ve been wanting that since forever, I just didn’t know for a long time what was my unique gift I could bring to this world in order to bring healing… I also didn’t know that I first have to learn how to help myself in order to learn how to help others…I know it now.

The death of my father and sharing yoga with other human beings made me understand that it doesn’t really matter the tool, but how much we come to realize that we need to learn through the tool we are using and rise above it in order to see into the depths of life and this human experience of ours.

In 2018 my practice became more mature. I grew up a little more. I started to see how beyond the attachment towards our sufferings and pains, beyond the competition of our mind, we are all innocent and kind souls waiting to patiently rise above the stories we tell to ourselves.

I learned that when I don’t listen to my inner wisdom, I give my power away to someone else that decides what I need to be doing with my life. And that is not ok. That is not helpful for anyone. I learned that good teachers do not take your power away, but encourage you to keep investigating, researching and maybe even doubting some of the things they present as being truth. I came to understand once more that indeed nobody has the right to take your smile. You can always decide who you give your power away to. You are the captain of your own life. You decide, my darling, if you want to let someone else take control or decide to drop the victimhood and start living an empowered life. An empowered life requires you to start taking responsibility for your own decisions and actions (whatever they are). It asks you stop blaming others for your misfortune and embrace change. You are not stuck, but you do get stuck if you make that decision in your mind.

The first half of 2018, I spent my time feeling stuck. Not knowing how to really put into words what I was feeling. I was doubting that someone really even cares, feels the benefit or understands the depths of my reflections. It feels lonely to go deeper into yoga at times…It required time to understand that not everyone is ready to walk the path of awareness and that is ok too. And that I was given a challenge to transition into the next chapter of this process. Into more acceptance and compassion.

I also spent my time putting my faith in other people and letting them decide over my process. And that brought weird feelings. Deep down I knew something is not right.

Then the time came to rise again. Because change is the only constant in the universe 🙂

I embarked upon a journey to research more. I attended various ashtanga yoga workshops with different teachers determined to see what else I can discover about myself as a practitioner, as well as a teacher. And I came to understand that despite my age, my practice is deep. I have a deep and profound understanding of the yoga practice and a thirst to dig deeper into the mysteries of life. I don’t like the authority, but I embrace working together as equal human beings that we are. I enjoy when I’m been taught how to discover my own inner power and wisdom, not when I’m being forbidden or treated as being less. True teachers do not feel the need to boss you around and forbid you, but they are mature enough to show you the way to find your own power and not be afraid to shine your light bright.

I came to understand more about the purity of my intentions and the profound respect and care that I have for the practice of sharing yoga with other people. My wish for you is to learn how to master yourself and discover your infinite potential, let your kindness come out and eventually share the goodness into this world. My wish for you and me is to walk the path of light, break the pattern of being a prisoner of our own mind and limited experience and become better humans. I wish for you and me to be strong enough to walk this path with kindness, strength and courage! I know, we can do it 🙂 Keep the faith and never give up!

John Scott’s retreat at Urnatur, summer 2018 brought the last missing piece for me to transition into the next chapter and come back to my authentic self. And also evolve as a teacher. At the introduction  class John asked: “Who is your authority? Who do you give your power away to?”. His question almost made me angry.. For the first time in my life, I realized how deep this question really is…and the impact this action has. As long as we give our power away to someone else, it’s impossible to truly become ourselves. It also helped me understand how much I always hated authority. Some people rebel against it, my reaction to it was to be afraid and submissive. I used to be afraid if I did something wrong, afraid I’m going to be punished..It took 31 years in order to see this also means to give my power away. Time has come for the little girl to rise! And understand that nobody has the power to decide but herself. Who is your authority? Are you free enough to allow yourself to be yourself? Free enough to not hate, to not blame others, but take responsibility to rise from victimhood to empowerment?

John also reminded me to never stop researching and transition into the next stage of my yoga practice, as well as teaching practice. I realized I was getting off track and after the retreat I came back to myself again. I started to trust my knowledge more, the purity of my intentions and to listen to the inner voice of wisdom that always knows better.

Autumn 2018 shacked my world and made me feel I’ll crumble to pieces. Followed by changes in my personal life, being let down and left with the option to find a new shala for our classes in just two weeks, I went from feeling too small to make a difference in this world, disappointed, feeling alone and too weak for the light to shine through the darkness. I spent two weeks, every single day from morning until late evening.. calling, emailing and basically researching everything that moves in town in order to find a solution. One thing I knew: we’ll keep the classes no matter what. I didn’t know where, but I knew not teaching is not an option. From playing the victim, I started to see how much I love Unfold Your Mat and I will not let anything and anyone destroy the love I’ve been putting every single day into this project. And most of all I will not abandon my students who trust me and come to class. I care too much about it and about them to let them down. I started to see for the first time in my life that I was truly made to teach <3 That this might be my destiny. It comes so naturally, so organically. Unfold Your Mat and me are one and the same. I breathe yoga every single second. There is nothing separate. I work every day and I don’t feel it’s really work, but it’s my lifestyle.

From some apparent catastrophe, something better emerged. Our classes found a new shala, a place that has so much heart and authenticity. I felt that from the first moment I stepped into Cecilia’s shala few years ago. It’s like a feeling of coming home. Starting with 2019 you’ll find us at Santih Desa yoga shala in Göteborg for weekly classes. I feel incredibly blessed to be joining a fantastic team of teachers and continue to share yoga authentically. I am grateful, so grateful! We couldn’t have found a better place for us.

Another thing I understood this year is that I am not willing to compromise my yoga for money. I care too much about what I do and I want to share it with people that appreciate honesty and things offered from the heart. People that are willing to drop their egos for just one hour and give themselves the opportunity to discover something else beyond the ordinary thinking mind. People that want change. That understand change is the only way in life. That we can become better than merely exist. That kindness remains the universal language, and as long as we remain in ego we will not be able to be truly happy. We will always chase more, but greediness and selfishness have limitations…Sorry to disappoint..We cannot be happy by being greedy and selfish. So we must be strong enough to drop our attachment to who we think we are so that we become who we truly are. To walk the path of light…requires strength and courage.

December 2018 also brought a very sad experience while replacing a teacher in a gym yoga class. There was a guy there that was very rude and verbally aggressive to me. His words left me in shock and confusion. I started crying in class… I couldn’t believe such things can happen in an egalitarian country like Sweden, especially in a yoga class. I felt betrayed and angry that he cannot see what I’m trying to give. Of course he couldn’t appreciate. We are so used to chase the superficial that when we are given true love, we don’t know how to take it. For almost the entire month that episode tormented me until eventually I became ready to let go and be grateful for his lesson. I canceled the collaboration with the gym and decided to be the bigger person in this situation. This gave me the opportunity to see how much I grew up these years. I felt pain for him choosing to remain in pain and hate. But I didn’t hate him. I hope one day he’ll find the peace within himself and he will understand that hate is never the answer. And I thank him for testing me and helping me to see the light beyond the darkness. I do not wish to walk the path of darkness! That’s not an option.

Hate generates hate. Become the light and show the way.

Lastly December 2018 brought me a well deserved holiday. Madeira opened new senses, ideas and dreams. I understood that deep down in my heart I will always be a gypsy, migrating from one corner of the Earth to another. I see no other future, but always on the road (at least for now and many other years). I am not conventional and never have been (despite what I used to think about myself). I rebel against the status quo. I don’t take opinions and assumptions for granted. I am curious, have always been and always will be. I will keep researching, testing, investigating into the depths of the human mind and life’s mysteries. I dream about being free to live my truth and share the process with other people that have the willingness to discover their true self beyond the shadows of their culture, upbringing, traumas they’ve experienced, beyond the attachment they have towards their own mind, thoughts and feelings and RISE. Rise beyond the imposed or self imposed dogma and be FREE, I support you!

PEACE ♥

BE KIND. ALWAYS.

From my heart to yours,

Lavinia

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© Unfold Your Mat 2019

Göteborg, Sweden