Katarína Varsiková

Tag - English

Spring Yoga Recharge

A week in the middle of Slovak mountains in the full swing of spring with two yoga classes a day. May it be still winter wagging the tail goodbye when we are stretching pleasantly into the warmth, yoga teaches us to accept all. Emotions, sensations, reactions, we are learning to observe all and evolve, getting to know ourselves. Ourselves is the key word here, it is the most adventurous journey home. A healthy ego takes part in the adventure, a neurotic ego tries to sabotage, or turn the journey into a crazy roller-coaster ride on which we did not hop voluntarily, into which we were placed, and now we are awaiting an inevitable crash.

A healthy and a neurotic ego? How to tell them apart?

Neurotic ego runs under the abbreviation FACE: fear, attachment, control, entitlement. The conductor is fear. A healthy ego represents CARE: courage, anchor, resilience and evolution. (FACE inspired by David Richo and his book Shadow Dance).

To take the FACE one into consideration means gaining access to courage, it is our essential quality, yes, we are both vulnerable and strong. Instead of lingering to anything out there, a person, a thing, a place, we explore own body and mind. The urge to control is another mask of fear, if we admit it, we obtain resilience in each experience. Whatever comes along, may it be sadness, doubt, anger, we are fully there. A blown-up ego calls for entitlement, but if we look closer, it only fears losing. Admitting it, we allow ourselves to grow, we allow changes to take place.

And yoga? My friend says, Yoga teaches us to fall and stand up. Yoga teaches us to respect limits and then, when limits suddenly disappear, we are there, in the present moment embrace. Yoga erases old and writes down new. To celebrate life means to live full potential; yoga invites all to celebrate life.

The morning yoga session at Sojka will aim at strengthening back and belt, at stability and balance and fire of digestion. The evening session will be like coming home after a long active day, where fire is lit, where there is a cup of tea and a glass of wine poured. It is rooting and calming.

And other Sojka moments? Walks, hikes, trips, massages, sauna, or deck chair and a book, story-telling. Good food and plenty of opportunity to talk or be silent. Comfort and security, zero blame and zero criticism allow trust to grow. Yes, sometimes things come to place as if by magic wand. Yes, but there is a lot acceptance involved. No, yoga has not made my life simpler, yoga has brought order into my life, it teaches me to see meaning(s) in the experience. Here and now. And the FACE popping up? Never mind, let it be, all continues, and better so, otherwise I might get bored.

Looking forward to seeing you:

From 10/05/2018 to 17/05/2018


From 17/05/2018 to 24/05/2018

More info at:


mobil: 0032485413472


Dutch Language Musing

A Snapshot of Contented Translator

One of the best motivations to learn a new language is to fall in love with the user of the language. In my case Dutch.

I planned to take up Dutch/Flemish already for years, living in Brussels where a minority still speaks this language ?. The Flemish people in Brussels area are so fluent in English that I never felt the pressure, in fact. Outside the capital the situation is different. But on occasional trips to Flemish countryside I got by with a smile and pecking the index finger into the menu card. Once a lady sitting in a gorgeous place called Het Spaanse Huis in Tervuren (the Flemish speaking town just out Brussels) told me off for the attitude: “So, our talent for languages means you won´t try? You take pains to learn French but not Flemish?” I did feel ashamed. Not enough as to drag myself to a class. Or to a textbook. Until I found a man who opened a new door. And relief to start with a language that does not have a variety of ser as the core verb. Ser is a very common vulgarism in my native tongue. To be in Dutch is zijn. Soft sounding, more familiar, the structure of the language is closer to English/German, not so Latin bound. Slovak people often mock Dutch as impossible rattle of g´s, but I have always loved the sound. I never shared the craziness for French, spoken French seems so close-lipped, written French so impossible to get right. Deep where my language talent pride resides, I thought learning Dutch would be easy.


I love surprises.

No, it is not easy.

No, German does not help much in tackling it.

In fact, my boyfriend always recommends thinking more of English logic to get closer.

Yes, I am having a lot of fun learning.

When it comes to conversations, and some would say, it is an easy practice when you have a close one there, no, not true. The two of us have English in common as an intimate language, so practicing love-Dutch does not come easily; he must wait a long time for my sentence, then corrects it dutifully, but there is not much sense exchange, if you know what I mean. It will come. I am building it. Going to Dutch yoga lessons, reading Bruzz, the Dutch written urban agenda, discovering, getting the melody. The melody is crucial to be understood.

Still, when I order kip-curry at the local butcher´s shop in Tervuren, they politely listen and answer back in English. If they answer back in Flemish, I feel a surge of happiness. It does not happen often yet. It will. I remember, when I was starting with French, somebody asked me for directions in the streets of St. Pierre where we lived. I could not assemble the sentence, but I pretended I could: hands, Spanish, here and there a French word. The lady thought I was nuts. Never mind, I managed to get there. And I now speak and read French that I do not like very much.

Dutch, despite some roughness, sounds so gentle to my ears. It is physical as well, the muscles tuning to – producing different sounds, conveying love. The first sentence my lover taught me at one of the first dates was: Ik voel me goed met jou. Easy now, that day, head hazy with hormones, it sounded exotic, the end of the phrase as if coming from Chinese – met jou.

What is behind “a language talent”? I guess it has a lot to do with the openness to new things, openness to new culture and a different way of thinking that comes with the code – the language. Hence also the preference for certain languages. From Latin ones, I love Spanish, especially Latin American Spanish. Love for the literature is part of it. And despite the reputation, French literature was never my cup of tea. Dutch belles lettres? I do not know yet. Getting there to be ready for a story in original.

No, we never sound the same when speaking different languages, for me only one is the Master Mother Tongue. We adopt and discover new personalities, though. Isn´t it odd and natural at the same time?

As the writer friend William pointed out: A world lies between saying:

Chýbaš mi. Tu me manques. I miss you. Ik mis je.

The subject and object are reversed, though without much thinking we decode it in the same way. Translating? Another immense labyrinth. As Umberto Eco said:

The new language of Europe is translation.




New Season at the Tree of Life

Photo: Courtesy to Lula. Portrait of Radek, the guy whose blue eyes are not photo-shopped. 

How much yoga practice can one pack into one day?

Tree of Life Yoga in Tervuren. Open day. Everybody welcome with an open heart.

I started with a kundalini session, then threw a class of energy-vini yoga focused on the fire element, later in the afternoon I unfurled in a wild yoga dance and finished the day sitting in an om chanting, in between I had a veggie sandwich and a spinach pie and a strawberry cake and endless cups of tea, all delicious. Smiles exchanged, offered, shared. At the end of the day, the physical and energetic body are transformed, they vibrate contentment, happiness, peace.

Fine. This is the true picture, the easy-to-write one but not a complete one and I know that. If anybody sees into me during the day, they would find moments of insecurity – Will the class I am giving be good? Is the class I am giving good? Was the class I gave good? Will I look all right in hundreds of pictures taken during the day? Shall I weigh five kilograms less? I am enough concentrated in the conversation that is going on? Etc…

And in the car, on the way home, the Indian summer evening, other thoughts flood in: How will the new season be for me? Will I succeed facing all the changes ahead?

Yes, yoga is a perfect tool of transformation, the teacher, the friend, the healer. The books that slipped into my hands this summer only prove that, consistent with the ancient teaching of yoga. They point out one important theme: Do not search for what is not there. Accept what is and start the transformation from here. Good and bad is only mind labelling.

Eyes naturally reach the surface. I also polish and control the pictures in my devices to offer the images I am content with. This is the fearful part of me.

Therefore, the books have come to me this summer to talk about the beauty of imperfection, the order in chaos, the acceptance of all. Okay, so, I am also hooked on smooth appearances, why deny that? I love good clothes and the butterfly earrings that so much suit the shade of my eyes, and at the same time, I know it is only a part of the Whole. And knowing this, I can admire the turquoise and black of my colleagues´ eyes or t-shirts and know that there is much more to admire and love. And during the wild dance to the loud music, with sweat glistening in the late afternoon sun, I forget to know anything, I am moving, purely being, loving and being loved. Perhaps the best party in town – as somebody said.

In the evening, when anxious thoughts suddenly come from nowhere, I acknowledge their presence and they can smile at me, and the punto fijo is untouched by them. Therefore yoga. But there are many roads.

As Carl Gustav Jung says, If the road we are walking is smooth, we are probably on somebody else´s one.

The new season of vini yoga courses will start with the focus on drishti. The eyes, the in-sight in asanas, carefully leading us to intuitive, inner vision.

Learning to love all.

And the books of this summer?

Jeff Foster: The Way of Rest

Thaddeus Golas: The Lazy Man´s Guide to Enlightment

Gay Hendricks: Learning to Love Yourself

Brené Brown: Daring Greatly

And of course, shining through all them is the pure, cold, perfect gem of Eckhard Tolle´s The Power of Now.

The elements dance together wild and calm at the Tree of Life Yoga. Be welcome.

From the Port to The Beach.

Picture: The path leading to the Maasvlakte Beach 

We zig-zag the roads and highways through the immense Port of Rotterdam: kilometres and kilometres of tubes, chimneys, steel and concrete constructions, smoking refinery plant towers, waste basins with no-entry warnings, no man land stretches between. A strange, almost beautiful ugliness of the industrial world this civilisation has created. It seems endless, but eventually we reach the end of it and leave the car in an empty parking lot under a raised embankment. Only few steps and there we are: At a beautiful, long, and broad sandy beach. It feels we are among the first to enter here – clean, sea-washed sand at the low tide, seagulls, and flocks of more birds and ship on the horizon.

The cool waves of the Atlantic and its strong pull. The wild joy of being enveloped in the elements of sun, wind, and water. If I did not come that way, I would never believe we are still a walking distance from the industrial harbour. A perfect beach afternoon. A perfect experience of discovering, being fully present and tuned. A meditation. Yes, the harbour is a metaphor to our mind: the maze full of smoking structures, complicated forms. Yes, it is useful; the seeming chaos is in fact ordered to create wealth. Yes, it is often tiring and demanding. When in mind, we do not see easily beyond, we do not know about the existence of the spacious shore of the pure consciousness. Until we willingly step out of it and into the immense territory. We gasp with awe and acknowledge our presence and joy. The place to come and rest and find strength and confidence.

Well, well, I am learning to live in both simultaneously; to seek beauty in the chaos of the mind, to go regularly into more openness and purity of the consciousness. It is the binding and supporting force of the mind, anyway. There are many ways to get there; skipping LSD and other drugs, I choose breathing techniques, asana practice and meditation.

But roads are many, we create them with every step.

To visit Maasvlakte beach:


Berlin.The Bunker and How Long is Now?

Part I. The Berlin Bunker

We pass the building couple of times on our regular way to the hotel at the Linienstrasse, Mitte-Berlin. Suddenly we notice it: a crude concrete block structure with very tiny windows, graffitti and no sign indicating the content or the history of the place. This is how I imagine Chinese or North-Korean torture prisons. Could be an anti-nuclear bunker, I speculate and we take a round only to appear in front of a green-grey metal door again. Somebody comes out and  before I have time to realize, Abram pulls a heavy handle and we find ourselves inside, among  sleek, neat concrete walls leading to a rather spacious entrance hall. A tall black-haired girl appears and asks a not so unusual question to Berlin visitors:

„Do you have a reservation?“

Of course not, until a couple of minutes ago we thought this might be a closed-down issue waiting for development, as so many structures in this city are. Well, the reservations are to be done two month ahead if one wants to see the  former anti air raid bunker built in 1942. Since the war it served to many purposes – from storage of citrus fruit imported from Cuba to the former DDR capital, through wild techno parties in the 90s to the contemporary art exhibitions nowadays.

With an elegant silver-grey visitors´card in hand we are out again onto the pavement harassed by the summer sun and we continue our road.

Berlin is very walk-able, especially in good company.

Bunker Berlin and I do not know why I so childishly love the alliteration figure:


Part II. How Long is Now?

Is written on the side wall of one of many dilapidated Berlin buildings waiting for a reconstruction. The pavements in the Mitte are very broad, leaving space both for restaurant and café tables and pedestrians walking. Many bars are exotic, as fashion goes, a favourite drink here is the orangey stuff served in bulky glasses called an aperol spritz, fashionable as everywhere, it seems.

Clouds build a strong league in the sky above Berlin and a thunder announces a storm. Wearing no hats and having no umbrella with us, we search for a refuge on the way to the friends´. Outside a big grayish house that looks like a squatter place are a few wooden chairs and tables; empty, as the hour is early in the evening. A few stairs lead to a basement bar; its smell reminds me of Bratislava cellar pubs in the 90s, the smell mixed of humid brick, faint aroma of beer and cigarettes. Candles are burning on all surfaces; the music backdrop is less known 50s pop. A guy with a mane of black-silver hair serves us beers, he carefully washes a glass for me, even though the practice is to grab the bottle by the neck. It is our first night in Berlin. And since tonight we would come every night while in town. The music would vary; a stretch of The Doors songs played on somehow mono-retro-sounding system pulls me into a different era of my life. I can talk, write, and be silent. All depends, and it feels like freedom. The storm of the first night is quickly over, leaving the bitumen glistening in the dusk, the leaves of the town´s abundant greenery fresh and new. Discovering repeatedly… How long is now?

To the X-Terrain Bar:


Sat Chit Ananda

Lying diagonally on my bed; hot night and not yet dark outside, the days are super long in Belgium this time of the year, I neither sleep, nor think. Quite a rare state of mind induced by the hours of yoga practice. Tired, yes, not so much muscles, it goes deeper through the physical layer. Not even happy or satisfied, or yes, there is a deep contentment at the core of the being.

Yoga is a teacher. It is Wisdom. A Tool. The Light. I love the metaphor of yoga as a magic basket. Like in a fairy-tale, one can choose what one needs in the exact moment: a text, a respiration technique, a sequence of asanas… Yoga is an action, a conscious and constant choice.

Patience. Yoga transforms, but it is not an instant magic wand kind of transformer. And even better so. The unpredictable, the unknown is a part of the thrill, the excitement of journey. The ego is always involved, though, and I now I am capable to admit that I tried to bend yoga to my ego needs in the past. I used the breathing techniques to soothe my mind, so that I could avoid sitting with those difficult feelings. I spent some time on the cloud I created by means of the practice, unreachable to myself, and then landed quite harshly on my butt. I also remember the ego shouting when facing somebody else´s suffering: What´s wrong with you? Can´t you just do a bit of yoga and all will be fine?

Well, no. It is not that straightforward and easy. A spiritual warrior does not run away from the battlefield when scared but acknowledges fear and breathes some courage into it. A spiritual warrior uses the techniques for the higher good, not for an easy escape. And he/she cultivates compassion.

Life evolves. I finished the relationship I had thought was for a lifetime. I am offering my heart, strength, and vulnerability to love again. Fear sometimes slips in.  The trust, the shraddha. I dare, embrace, and dare more… to stand on my head, to extend my love and to mirror a smile of another being… and I even smile shyly to the Unknown.

Beams of light that have found way to my heart during the Anusara workshop at The Tree of Life Yoga studio in Tervuren  http://www.treeoflifeyoga.be

This is Jaye Martin moving his slender body with grace, breathing, smiling, and conveying the following:

Be the unique, the artistic expression of an asana. Here and now, true to yourself, respectful to your body. Melt your heart and soften your face, and let the soul shine through.

It is not about how far you go, it is about how you go far.

If you do not know what you are doing, you cannot do what you want. ?

Reveal your heart, so that my heart reveals to you.

Grateful. A few pieces of puzzle have slipped into the ever-evolving mosaic of life. Very concretely, for the first time – and it has been 11 years on the mat daily – I felt freedom in my shoulder blades. Well, patience, right? Thee trust for the chosen path, right?

The first heat wave of the summer found its peak last night, then clouds appeared, they created a hot curtain above the town. The temperature dropped and some rain might come… Or not yet.