We spoke with Magda Procner, courageous yogini from Poland and world traveler.
RYB: What’s the biggest reward from teaching yoga?
MP: Being able to share something I’m really passionate about with others, something that has transformed me as a person, shaped who I am and completely changed my life, and seeing a similar transformation in my students. And I don’t mean a change in their bodies, but the subtle changes to every sphere of their lives. As I currently work for a teacher training school, we get to train the same group of students for four weeks. It’s a very intense experience that brings out a lot of emotions, often leading to life-long changes.
I also love the fact that yoga really is for everybody, whatever the age, nationality, race, gender, religion… it brings people together, promotes healthy and happy living and disconnecting from the complaints and problems we let our mind create. Seeing my students learn, understand, grow, improve and transform gives me new energy and motivation every day and makes me believe that I’m making a difference.
RYB: Ashtanga has a reputation to be very intense and challenging, what is something about the practice many people are surprised to learn?
MP: I think the main thing is that the practice can be adapted to suit everybody, regardless of their age and/or physical abilities. A lot of people are scared of Ashtanga, but many postures can be modified to fit beginners. As long as you respect your body and leave your ego behind when you come onto the mat, you will benefit from this physically demanding practice, which builds your flexibility and strength at the same time, and see yourself progress every day.
RYB: What is your aim when teaching?
MP: I try to create a safe environment for a physical workout, paying strong attention to alignment in postures and preventing injuries, but I also want to make sure that the students understand that yoga is not only Asanas. Having spent a few years in India and experienced the power of Pranayama, Meditation, Ayurveda and Yoga Philosophy, I aim at creating space for internal growth and self-exploration that will allow my students to learn more about themselves. I try to make sure that my students leave every class feeling relaxed, happy, beautiful and inspired.
RYB: Where is one place in the world where you would love to practice yoga?
MP: I would like to practice yoga EVERYWHERE. I mean it. I might make it a personal challenge – try to do yoga in as many countries as possible! On a mountaintop in the Himalayas, on a boat in the Caribbean, on top of the Empire State building… You name it!
RYB: What's your favorite thing about living in Goa?
MP: The pace of life. Nobody is rushing, you always have time to have chai with your neighbour, dinner with friends, a chat with your local taxi driver (even if his English is limited to 5 words)… Of course there’s much more! The food is a big one – especially with our cook at the Shala, who’s a magician, preparing healthy, Ayurvedic meals every day. A community of people from all over the world whose life stories are beautiful and inspiring. The climate. Beach. Sun. Nature. Colours. And the list is by all means not exhaustive!
RYB: Best piece of advice for someone traveling to India?
MP: Relax and be patient. Really, I think that’s the most important thing. Slow down, don’t worry that the train is three hours late and your room is not ready. Open your eyes to the beauty of simple things and enjoy every moment.