Interview • Austria Yoga-BYO
Q Yesterday I was watching some videos to see you in action. What impressed me most is that you are smiling all the time. As a viewer I felt your enjoyment. I asked myself: do you encourage your pupils to smile when exercising?
Kaliji 🙂 Smiling is natural for me. One day in meditation when I was 28 years old, the smile emerged as I felt energy movement. Since that day, the inner smile is present during sadhana. I have not encouraged anyone to smile during yoga practice, nor discouraged it either. 🙂 As the energy flows, the inner smile arises. It may be expressed more inwardly or also expressed as a smile. To not smile, I would have to intentionally stop the smile. 🙂 It is said that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. TriYoga includes relaxation-in-action. My facial muscles relax into this as a result of feeling peace and joy in anahata cakra.
Q You have developed a special yoga style, called TriYoga. Please define the meaning in your words.
Kaliji TriYoga is a lifestyle to achieve greater health, knowledge, and peace. TriYoga is a purna yoga, a complete yoga path. Under the umbrella of TriYoga are included various practices for the body, mind, and spirit or “tri-bodies”. The inspired TriYoga Prasara is the origin of the abhyasa, practice. It is the trinity of yogasana, pranayama, and mudra. Prasara means to flow without thought. One maintains meditative awareness, the witness state, on this inherent trinity in yoga flow. As the prana increases, energy becomes the point of concentration. Focusing on prana is like focusing on the cosmic highway. You can travel anywhere you want.
The plant-based diet is recommended to accompany this sattvic practice. There is no yoga without control of food. The vegan diet is the ahimsa diet. Yoga says to adhere to the first yama of non-harming. The plant-based diet is the ahimsa trinity for animal rights, human health, and ecology.
TriYoga Prasara is systemically taught beginning with TriYoga Therapeutics and/or Basics 108. Next is Level 1/Earth, followed by Water, Fire, Air, and Space. TriYoga’s meditation method is called Prana Vidya, the trinity of pranayama, dharana, dhyana. Mudra, nada, and jnana are interwoven throughout the practice.
This purna yoga serves as a spiritual path to satchitananda, spiritual realization of the universal trinity within. In yoga philosophy the soul, atman, is referred to as sat, eternal Truth; cit, Knowledge; ananda, Bliss. Through awakening the universal energy, awareness expands. TriYoga is merging into maha prana to fuel our spiritual, mental, and physical journey.
Q You practice TriYoga since 30 years, since the moment spontaneous asana took place in your life. Did the TriYoga style changed/developped in this 30 years, it is a long time after all.
Kaliji The essence is the same since the beginning of Kriyavati, the spontaneous flow of kundalini. Over the past 36 years with Kriyavati guiding TriYoga, there is always more jnana (knowledge) received along with new flow sequences and mudras. The kundalini-inspired movement emerges in three stages: fast, moderate, slow. It has become slower over the years in terms of TriYoga Prasara. Yet during Kriyavati all three stages of movement can be witnessed to this day. Refinement has increased over the years. More time passes, more knowledge results. It is a live yoga. It continues to expand all who practice it regularly.
Q You met a lot of people, you saw a lot of back pains…
Kaliji It is said that back pain is the number one reason people begin yoga practice. We have hundreds of testimonials from those who, after practicing TriYoga, were pain free. Often they say it was a blessing in disguise because now they have found Yoga.
Q At the end of april 2016 you come to Vienna. The title of your workshop is: „Free the spine“. The spinal column is a central aspect in all yoga styles. What makes it so special in the TriYoga practice?
Kaliji TriYoga has a unique approach based on the spine flowing through a series of wave-like movements. This culminates in sustained asanas to represent the full range of movement: flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral flexion. The spinal wave begins at the base of the spine and sequentially flows to the crown or the wave starts at the top and flows to the base. Vertebra by vertebra the spine flows into the asana. One remains with mindful awareness as there are no random movements. This gives equal focus to each part of the spine, restoring the natural alignment of the 4 curves. The spine is in a wave shape. Thus, the wavelike movements free the spine in the most natural way.
Q It is a pleasure watching your fingers in your mudra practice. As a viewer I felt the increase of my attention. Do all the mudras have a special meaning?
Kaliji Each finger alignment is unique so we can say the physical effects may vary even with the slightest difference between the mudras. Within a family of mudras, each gesture will have a similar meaning or effect. Mudras have a wide range of movement and expression.
In mudra language, each finger is associated with a panca prana, cakra, element, guna, and deitiy. There are nadis and energy points that are stimulated through the connection and pressure that is applied with the fingers. The benefits and meanings vary based on whether it is used with asana, pranayama or meditation. The benefits range from therapeutic to sublime.
Q Do you encourage your pupils to try to flow in their own way and to experience own mudras?
Kaliji TriYoga includes over 1,000 mudras from basics to advanced levels. The mudras are taught singularly and in a flowing sequence. Mudra is to focus and direct energy. As the energy begins to flow, one may feel mudra rising from within. There is a depth of mudra knowledge within TriYoga. It is wise to learn the proper use of hasta mudras and then patiently wait for the energy to guide from within.
Q A question I am personally interested in: Do you practice also a mudra for the foot, to lead the energy there?
Kaliji Yes, in TriYoga there are various ankle, foot, and toe sequences to develop flexibility and strength. Any part of the body can be a mudra. TriYoga has specific positions for the feet such as Pada Pada Mudra where the toes are interlaced. The toes can interlace without the help of the fingers or with support until the toes can move more freely.
Q You once said in an interview, another name for TriYoga is Devi Yoga, the Mother Yoga. This is very interesting. A large part of the European Yoga pupils and Yoga teachers are female. Nevertheless I hear occasionally the opinion Yoga is male and women should practice someting else, e.g. belly dance.
Kaliji All yoga is to awaken kundalini. “Tri” in Sanskrit represents the universal energies of Kali, Sarasvati, and Lakshmi. These three energies collectively are referred to as Mother Goddess/Devi/Kundalini. With regular yoga practice, cleansing in body and mind (Kali) begins. With letting go, mental clarity increases and wisdom guides (Sarasvati). When the life energy is strong (Lakshmi), blessings flow forth.
Q Do you like Austria? Is there a difference between Austrian and Californian people, in general and in their way to practice yoga?
Kaliji Yes, I love Austria and the progressive awareness that pervades there. I am rarely in California to answer this. 🙂 I am often asked what are my favorite places to visit. Austria is always high on my list! The nature, the history, the newness…is a feast for the eyes and soul. The richness in music is in the air. My Austrian friends are very heartwarming people. I am a fan:).
Q Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda of Mysore initiated you as a swami in the Jayalakshmi Datta Avadhoota lineage.
Kaliji It was informal as I was already living the lifestyle. Around 20 years later, Sri Swamiji changed the “title” from swami to yogini.
Q You travel a lot. Is it easy to lead the life of a traveling yogini?
Kaliji Yes! How can I complain? 🙂 Since I first came to Europe in 2004, I have traveled around the Earth 54 times to teach yoga. This includes over 1.3 million flight miles with an average of 75 flights per year. This began after I first came to Europe to present TriYoga. I am thankful to the European yogis for such support in sharing this transformational yoga.
Q Since summer 2015 Europe is experiencing a big crisis because of the wars in and refugees from the middle east. The societes become increasingly splitted. On the one hand a lot of people are full of fear and rejection, on the other hand a lot of people try to help, to give shelter, to show compassion, to help in the sense of karma yoga. I have many discussions about this in my yoga classes, people need encouragement. What can we do to fight our fears?
Kaliji Follow dharma, the path of right action. Continue with regular yoga practice. Each person must choose how they relate to this. Fear paralyzes body and mind. It clouds our clarity. So in a time where such pressure is taking place, take refuge in yoga. The Wisdom Mind will ultimately guide as the mind calms. This is an opportunity to face our fears and to transcend them with knowledge.