Here is a summary of the most frequent questions I encountered regarding the yoga course I teach:
What type of yoga do you teach?
I teach integrative yoga, because it puts together information from many traditional branches of yoga such as Hatha, Kundalini, Laya, Karma, Maha Vidya, Svara and others. Moving from Romania to the United States, I discovered that most people’s understanding of yoga here has very little to do with the true science of yoga. The name and some of the poses are the same, but the whole meaning behind it is lost in the effort to turn it into a profitable type of exotic fitness. It's similar to what is happening with food these day; it smells like food, it looks like food but you will have a hard time finding any healthy, nutritious ingredients in it.
Why do you teach static yoga poses instead of dynamic movements?
There is a huge difference between yoga poses and physical exercise. Each yoga pose is meant to attune us with very specific energies from the Universe. The longer you hold the pose with proper attention, the greater the effects are. It's like listening to the radio. You need to stay tuned to that particular station if you want to hear the whole song being played or get the whole story. Practicing a series of dynamic movements would be like flipping through radio stations non-stop.
I am not flexible. Can I still be successful in practicing yoga?
Yes. Many poses are quite easy to perform even if you are not very flexible. If you pay attention to the energy flow while performing the yoga poses and start purifying your body by eating healthy foods, you will discover that your flexibility will increase. In Bucharest I had a colleague in my yoga class who was 83 years old. He could barely move at the beginning, but in a few months improved significantly by constant and patient practice. He also benefited from practicing meditation.
Why is your course curriculum so long?
Yoga connects with various spiritual traditions, mathematics, molecular physics, astronomy, astrology, holistic therapies, psychology, chemistry, alchemy and more. Yoga is not just a simple accumulation of physical abilities, but an in-depth process of improving everything that we are and finding practical answers to life’s essential questions and challenges. It takes time. You study mathematics in school for 12 years just to get the basics. Yoga encompasses so much more.
It's too big of a commitment to come weekly to a yoga course that extends for a year or more. Why can’t you make this course shorter?
Most people are able to go to the gym 3-5 times a week for years or watch TV for hours every day. I think the real problem is that most people don't understand the necessity or value of spiritual practice and transformation. They simply don't associate it with immediate, practical benefits in their life.
There is a big trend nowadays which I call “fast spirituality”. Just like fast food, people want to consume it as quickly as possible so they can move on to the next thing. I include in this category all courses aiming at self improvement that promise you perfection in a month or two. There has never been such a thing as “quick enlightenment” in the history of spirituality. You need to work hard and for many years, for example, to become a competitive athlete. Likewise, you need long-term commitment to develop and perfect every aspect of your body, mind and spirit. The beauty is in the journey.
I do not have time to practice yoga at home. I have a crazy schedule. What shall I do?
Do you have time to be sick, depressed, tired, sad or angry? Can you afford to spend twice as much time as necessary on each project because you can't focus your mind? Do you feel drained because you can't sleep properly at night? Do you have to contend with the flu and allergies every season? Do you have time to spend in endless arguments with your spouse and be frustrated by an unfulfilling sex life? Constant yoga practice can help you with all of these and more. You will actually save a lot of time.
Do you allow people of all ages into your yoga course?
There is no upper age limit for participating. If children want to come, they need to be at least 7 years old and accompanied by their parents, but they won't be allowed to attend a few classes that discuss sexuality. They will also not be allowed to practice some of the techniques not suitable for such a young age.
Is yoga a religion? Will it conflict with the religion I am embracing?
Yoga is not a religion, but a precise science of personal transformation. When practiced correctly, yoga can actually help you deepen your understanding of your own religion. Yoga uses terminology from the Hindu culture and religion because this is where it first appeared, however its teachings are universal just like mathematics or physics. Mircea Eliade, the great historian of religions, used to define yoga as “The Science of All Religions”. Yoga will help you see the common spiritual foundation of all religions.
I suffer from high blood pressure or heart disease or diabetes. Can yoga be dangerous for me?
Everything can be dangerous if it's done in a thoughtless or excessive way. You are advised to consult with your doctor before engaging in yoga practice. I will also mention the contraindications for each technique I teach. If you have a condition for which the technique is not recommended, simply don't engage in the exercise. There will be many others exercises you can practice safely.
I am an energy healer. Can yoga help me in any way to improve my healing skills?
Absolutely. Yoga can teach you how to increase, control and use your own energy. You will also learn how to integrate your healing in such a way as to not be affected by other people’s problems. As you grow in knowledge and spiritual experience, you will also be able to guide people towards healing themselves and understanding the real causes of their ailments.
I will travel abroad for a while, but I don’t like to miss yoga class. What can I do?
This yoga course is being taught following the same curriculum in many countries around the world where our parent yoga school, MISA, has branches. This provides you with the opportunity to continue your yoga practice and attend a similar training in many popular travel destinations. Even where there is no similar course where you are, you can still receive the weekly handouts for the period you are missing which will enable you to easily catch up.
I have practiced yoga before. Do I still need to come to the beginner class, or I can move straight to your advanced courses?
You still need to come to the beginner class. My classes build upon each other and I need to make sure you are familiar with the previous information before approaching more advanced techniques.
I have searched online to find out more information about MISA, the yoga school you studied in Romania, and about your yoga teacher, Gregorian Bivolaru. I found a great deal of contradictory information. What is going on?
I highly appreciate this open question. To properly answer it, I have to introduce you to the political and social situation of my home country. In Romania, up to December 1989 when the communist regime fell, yoga and meditation were illegal practices. You would have been put in jail for owning a yoga book or practicing yoga techniques. Philosophy and religion were also suppressed, and freedom of information was non-existent. For example, it was illegal to listen to foreign radio-stations. Traveling abroad was forbidden except in very special circumstances. All of this was enforced by the communists in order to keep people under control.
Our yoga school, MISA, started in 1990. Even though the country was now called “democratic”, the same people still held power, using the same secret service and the same communist mindset of controlling the masses. As our yoga school grew larger, our activities started to be perceived as a threat to this total-control policy. As a result of their increased mental and spiritual awakening, yoga practitioners are less and less influenced by political indoctrination, commercials and mass media campaigns, and they tend to break away from the mainstream medical and food chains in search of better and healthier options.
We couldn’t be put in jail like in the communist times, so other strategies were adopted. The main one has been using mass media, which is completely politically controlled in Romania, to denigrate the school and its activities. There are also highly-paid agents who maintain blogs and websites full of very skilled lies regarding our activities as a means to prevent people from accessing information provided in our yoga classes. The Romanian government escalated this oppression to the point of bringing anti-terrorist troops in our main yoga studio in Bucharest, along with many other highly abusive measures. Our teacher had to find political asylum in Sweden due to the constant threats to his life.
I personally see this campaign and strong opposition as a validation of the tremendous transformational value of MISA’s yoga teachings. If we taught stretching and some chanting, no one would bother to pay millions of dollars to fabricate such an extensive, slanderous campaign against this school. My best advice for you is to analyze the information you receive in my classes, observe the effects of practicing it and form your own opinion based on your personal experience.
If you still believe in freedom of information and an independent mass media, I recommend analyzing the world around you with a questioning mind. You'll see that in the history of humanity, when a truly awakening movement or individual appeared, they were suppressed heavily by those trying to maintain the status quo and preserve their political, social or financial advantages.