A: It was in January 1997. Daniel from Boston came to Germany and offered a program in Berlin. He had just met Kaliji, so he showed us some flows. I liked it. But when he showed us her video, I did not just like it, I knew that I want to practice it.
In 1997-1998 I could not come to California. Finally I came to see Kaliji in December 1999 . I arrived to Santa Cruz where she was giving a weekend program. I remember on that Friday, there were a lot of people in the center. All were waiting for her. I came out of the classroom and passed a person who had just come in. A second later I realized that it was her, so I turned my head and she turned hers too smiling at me. The very next day I had a private with her (which I asked for from Germany) and that was the most amazing experience I had in my entire life.
Q: Have you practiced any yoga before?
A: I spent a year in Australia where they offered a program called PranaYoga. It had an approach to Alexander technique, Feldenkrais and Meridians that is why I was interested in it. I was never into yoga. When I looked at those yoga books, I thought that my body could never do those things. Even when people told me: “Eva-Maria, you have so much energy but you do not know how to direct it. You should do some yoga.” But I was not interested, I could not relate to that.
Q: So what was so special about that private with Kaliji?
A: ah, first of all I had the feeling that I had already known Kaliji for a long long time. We were talking and laughing a lot.
…I felt as if I was flying…I was not sitting or standing, but flying. I was diving into her eyes. Her face, the color of her eyes seemed to be continuously changing.
I had a feeling of being somewhere else.
I cannot say where but definitely NOT in the living room we were in (laughs).
Then Kaliji had mudra flows… and it was for the first time ever that I saw something like this. Even my fingers came into some position. I was stunned: “wow! What is going on?” It is truly hard to put this experience into words. It is almost like extra-terrestrial (laughs).
Q: Had you been practicing the flows during those two years, between the time you saw the video and actually met Kaliji?
A: No. I wanted to come and study earlier but I could not make it. My mother had health issues, so I did not want to leave her.
It is interesting that before coming to Santa Cruz, I had a dream with Kaliji. Even though the only visual of her I had was from that video. In that dream I was dancing with her. I completely forgot about that dream until the moment I came to Santa Cruz and they played a new piece of music by Mercury Max. I started to dance and invited Kaliji to dance with me. She agreed giving me her incredible smile. While dancing together I suddenly realized that this was exactly what I saw in that dream! MY DREAM BECAME TRUE. That was quite fascinating.
After this weekend Kaliji left for Malibu. I remember that night I was in bed half asleep, half awake when I had a feeling of someone touching my aura. I jumped up off my bed and said: “Kali?” Then for three days I was either laughing or crying, either crying or laughing and so on. I approached Benjamin, who I stayed with, saying that I cannot handle this situation any longer (laughs) and he suggested that I send her an email. I was very impressed that she is so accessible. So I emailed her: “Kaliji, I can´t get you out of my mind”. She replied: “Why don’t you come to Malibu?” I came there by next weekend… and keep coming ever since whenever I have the time and money.
Q: How did you learn the flows and got certified? Did you travel a lot to the USA to be with Kaliji?
A: The first year I came four times, each time for 2-3 weeks to Malibu and other parts of the US. I took all the programs with her I could, it did not matter which level, whether it was a TriYogathon, a teacher training program or a regular class. A year later in 2001 I dared to apply for certification and I got certified.
Q: Did you take any classes in Germany?
A: No, I had no chance, as I was the first one to offer regular TriYoga classes. I started with regular classes and then I offered workshops.
Q: Were you the one who invited Kaliji to Germany?
A: Yes, I was the first one to invite her to Germany and Europe. She came for the first time in 2004. I always wanted her to come and kept inviting her. I had given so many workshops and already started TriYoga Teacher Trainings and I felt like I had planted the seeds. I told her that I can even water them but those seeds will never turn into flowers and blossom without her, the sun (laughs) So, jokingly, I gave her a deadline for her visit. It was 2004. I knew that people were more than ready to meet her. When I was teaching only classes and workshops, people would say: “Workshops are great but we really want to study it”. So I started to offer TriYoga Teacher Trainings. In the same way, I could talk about Kaliji, show pictures and videos, but to see Kaliji, to be in her presence is a completely different experience. No DVD, no photo can substitute or be compared to actually being in her presence.
So I gave her this deadline (laughs), and I was very lucky because in 2004 Sri Swamiji came to Europe. So I happened to organize her tour so that her schedule would coincide with Sri Swamiji’s.
Ever since she has been coming to Europe and Germany every year, now even twice a year.
Q: How did TriYoga and meeting Kaliji transform you and your life?
A: You mean physically? My body became much stronger and flexible. In the beginning I needed at least three bolsters and one cushion for hanuman asana Now, I need two cushions, on good days I need only one (laughs)
It made me more stable emotionally. I can hold hanuman asana longer without becoming irritated? (aggressive), wanting to leave the posture or die (laughs).
It made my mind stronger. I can see it again in hanuman asana, now I do not have negative thoughts at least for the first seven minutes (laughs).
On a spiritual level mhm I don´t know, maybe I became aware of all this.
I guess my major transformation is that I became aware on so many levels: I developed awareness of the body, breath, energy, of being a spiritual being. I am more aware of others, of my food choices, of my actions, reactions, thoughts. I am much more aware of what is needed and what is no longer necessary in every aspect in life.
The moment I met Kaliji, it became very clear to me that I want to dedicate my entire time, energy and thought to TriYoga. Prior to meeting her I was organizing performances for a Japanese dancer, and I quit that job. I felt that I could not do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I wanted to dedicate 100% of myself to TriYoga. It was absolutely clear. So I put every effort I could to spreading out TriYoga by either giving a workshop, later on Teacher Trainings or by writing/translating articles and trying to publish it. You have to imagine that no one had a clue about TriYoga or Kaliji and the name Eva-Maria Beck was not known in the yoga field at all (laughs) so it was quite different from now, where TriYoga became a huge wave. Maybe that was the first major transformation. I had the feeling that I knew exactly what I wanted: to make known TriYoga and Kaliji. I just could not believe it, that nobody knew about TriYoga and Kaliji in the whole of Europe! So I thought that it was my dharma to let other people know.
I feel that everything I did before was a preparation. I got my teaching skills, as I used to teach German language and literature at University in Italy, language skills, organizing skills. Finally, without looking for it, I could put all those things together.
Also at the beginning I had a creative burst out. I never wrote any poems, know nothing about music, and all of a sudden I was composing songs! I would wake up in the middle of the night, and the words would come, along with the melodies. That was an extraordinary experience.
I think and hope that through knowing Kaliji I became less self-concerned and self concentrated, that I became much lighter. I used to laugh and giggle a lot when I was a kid and teenager (for hours!:)). On the way this got a bit lost. Kaliji brought this easiness, laughter and fun back into my life! I feel that she brought me back to my original self. Same with food: already as a kid I did not like dairies, okay I was not so picky with chocolate as it was not a conscious decision, more a like/dislike approach, but eggs, and milk and so on I just did not like. Growing up somehow I was not strong enough to keep up with this. When I met Kaliji I was already vegetarian for most of my life, but when I heart Kaliji the first time talking about vegan diet I was so happy and felt like coming home! I hope (laughs) that I developed more patience and that I accept other people the way they are much easier than before. Also now I think that being generous like Kaliji is a special gift.
But there is still a long way to go (laughs). Sometimes I am still very stubborn or too interwoven with old attitudes (laughs).
Q: What was it that you found so powerful and unique in TriYoga? You were familiar to bodywork through dance and other techniques, what is it in TriYoga that makes it so special and unique for you?
A: I would say that everything I experienced for example from dance, even wave like movements, was on a quite physical level. I studied some African and Japanese dances, they have some spiritual background too, but I could not relate to it. For others it might be spiritual but for me it was very physical. And I was never a person who was thinking about living a spiritual life or finding a guru. But with TriYoga and Kaliji, even without thinking about the spirit, I could and can feel it. When I looked at Kaliji flow and when I look at her now I do not see a physical body. There are a lot of great gymnasts, circus performers, even hatha yogis and dancers. When I look at them, I might be impressed by their physical capability. But when I look at Kaliji, I see energy, flowing energy!!! I never experienced that before. I heard people talking about energy, I could say I have low or high energy, but to actually see energy moving, flowing, that was never my experience.
Another major aspect is knowledge. I experience so much knowledge coming in. It is endless and all the things that I could never relate to before meeting Kaliji. I could feel how my mind looses it boundaries. It is hard to put these experiences into words. For me, it is beyond any words.
Q: For you, does to study TriYoga, besides other things, imply being around Kaliji?
A: Absolutely. I had that feeling from the very beginning but first I thought that I want to be with her so that I can do the flows on my yoga-mat. Luckily, I had a chance to experience flows off the mat. Being in Kaliji’s presence, especially, arranging her programs and being with her on tour in Europe, I experienced being in the Flow and realized what all those flow stories are about. When you do not just hear about these magical flow stories, but actually live them and get the direct experience that changes everything.
Q: What does teaching TriYoga mean for you?
A: It means many things. One of the most powerful for me is feeling Kaliji’s presence and connection while teaching.
I had many incredible experiences. For example, one time I traveled to India to teach TriYoga at the TriYoga Center in Baroda. On my way there I was not sure how it is going to work out. I mean I come from Germany and go to the homeland of yoga to teach it, and my Guru lives in the USA…. Of course, it went fantastic and one of the things I was amazed by is that all of the people in the class were looking at me with so much love in their eyes. I could not understand how they can look at me with so much love! Then, by chance, I saw my reflection in the mirror and there I saw Kalijiâ€™s eyes looking at me, not mine! Then I realized that all the love that they feel and express is for her and that I was the channel to reflecting her love towards them…
Another example. I went to teach to Ukraine (Kharkhov), and the students there arranged a large auditorium for me to speak at. That was the last thing I expected, I thought that I am going to teach the flows but not to speak about philosophy. I do not consider myself a jnana yogi at all. So there I am, on the stage, with microphones, translators… speaking and answering questions. I felt as if I am sitting right next to myself watching astonished what I am talking about! It was NOT me! I know what I know and what was flowing in those answers was coming from Kaliji, not me.
Another recent example: I was translating at the retreat in Germany. For several days I noticed that someone in the first row had strange uncontrollable body movements. Well, I just noticed that, many people have body issues, so it did not stir any particular feeling in me. One day when Kaliji led the class into Yoga Nidra, I sat next to her and closed my eyes. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed, yes overwhelmed by compassion towards this person. All of a sudden! I saw this guy already for several days and felt nothing, but at that moment the feeling of compassion was so strong that tears were literally rolling down my cheeks. I could not understand what was going on with me. Then I turned my head and saw Kaliji looking at that person, with THAT particular look she has. That person became completely still, no jerky movements, complete stillness for the first time in days. I realized I was sitting right in between them, then I understood where this feeling of compassion was coming from…
Teaching TriYoga is an inseparable part of my life. It is hard to imagine my life without it. I love sharing it with others. It is such a beautiful thing to do, giving and receiving. It is beautiful to watch people feeling the flow it is a special joy when they start feeling the deep connection with Kaliji. Some get it from the very first session, others take time, but if they stay with the practice, they inevitable experience the magic of it.
Q: From your point of view, what does it take to be a good TriYoga teacher?
A: Of course, I cannot speak for others I only can say what is important for me.
Definitely to INSPIRE people, to make them experience that there is something in the flows that is beyond the physical level, that is very important to me. Of course, it is important to know the fundamental principles of the flow, alignments and verbal cues, the synchronization of breath and movement and so on, because they definitely facilitate the flow. But to experience the flow without thought is the most important. If one experiences the flow of energy, the other aspects will come. When people are inspired they want to continue and the more they continue the more they get immersed into the flow.
…and the more they immerse into the flow the more and more they want to know, the more they flow from the physical to the non-physical aspects, from the gross to the subtle the more they want to meet Kaliji the SOURCE and then they can get everything they want, jnana, wisdom, love, flow stories, laughing- and singing-kriyas, mudra flows, chanting, kriyavati siddhi-experiences. Then the magic journey starts (laughs).