The Many Faces of Yoga: India Edition – Elissavet Pantazi

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Elissavet is from Greece and was another fellow ashtanga practitioner in Goa. I had the great joy to meet her and her mother during their time in Anjuna. We speak about how Elissavet came to yoga, keeping the balance and starting all over again…and again.

What brought you to yoga?

Basically I used to help my mother when she was practicing yoga and watch her. When I was 16 she invited me to go to a yoga retreat with her and so I went. There was ashtanga in the morning and I fell in love, it was the first time I ever did something that made sense.

I practice in the house of yoga in Athens with Savvas. Yoga is starting to get popular in Greece. Its the same with me, I have just caught the wave also. I didn’t practiced as much yoga as I am now ever before, its only in the past 12 months since I moved from England back to Greece.

Did you have an idea of yoga before you started to practice?

No, first I saw then I started practicing. I really didn’t care about the other side of yoga, I knew that there was 8 limbs of yoga but I was only interested in the asana. Now I’m starting to think that maybe there are more, but i’m still being very slow about it. I’m waiting for them to naturally come instead of looking for anything or to try and find the rest.

How would you say your idea has changed?

I don’t know if I could answer that question except that six weeks ago when I first arrived to Goa I realised how little I knew about yoga. I was thinking that I was getting somewhere and that has all been shot down and I am back to basics really. In the beginning I wasn’t comfortable with that idea but now i’m OK with it.

I used to hear the other yogis say that there’s so much and you have to learn and learn and that there are bad habits. I used to think, ‘seriously?’, but now I see it.

What is your background in yoga?

I have practiced ashtanga since the beginnning. Except when I was in London I used to practice in a really nice studio in london,  The Yoga Loft which was set up by an Iyengar woman who is very good. I found Iyengar really educational.

Did you find your lifestyle changed when you got into yoga?

I’ve been trying to change my lifestyle but I haven’t found that yoga has changed my lifestyle yet. I don’t know, maybe it has in ways that I haven’t noticed.

Its the first time that I love something so much and I have never had that before. Its one of those things that you are the only person who can put in the work and no one can take that away from you- I love that. I guess I won’t have to give it up and that’s a nice feeling and its never going to get old as you are constantly taking it all apart again and again.

I don’t like to see yoga as a limitation. It’s all about balance, fun and balance.

What inspired your trip to India?

I had been thinking about coming for a really long time. Then when I was really at the peak of my practice in May/June I was speaking to my other teacher who was loves going to practice in Mysore. I applied to go to practice in Mysore and I didn’t get in. I had also wanted to come to Goa to practice with Rolf and Marci and so I came and I have fallen in love- I love it here.

Anything else you want to say about yoga?

I don’t know – what else is there to say about it. I just hope it can make people as happy as it makes me. Its a real gift to me.

 

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