Martial Arts to Yoga the journey of Kostyantyn Yaremenko

Feb 15th, 2016
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Martial Arts

Asana: When did you start yoga practice? What is your yoga style?

Kostyantyn: I start to practice yoga when I was 16. My first serious book about yoga was B.K.S. Iyengar “Yoga Dipika” (Light on Yoga). It was a time when I was living on a loggia (balcony) and I was practicing yoga with a book. It was Hatha-Yoga style with Ashtanga-Vinyasa Yoga roots of Sri Krishnamacharya (teacher of Iyengar).

Then I study yoga with local teachers, attending yoga seminars in Crimea (Ukraine), India, England and Russia. I can’t say that it was a lot of seminars but all of them has influenced on my yoga style and understanding of a yoga. I read endlessly about yoga, and I continue to read until now.

I prefer to attach other types of yoga to the basic knowledge of Hatha. Integrating new experience to practice. As an example I use Swara-Yoga (knowledge about energy channels and prana flow rhythms in human body). Thanks to it I can easily manage my well-being, health and even to change the course of events around myself. I see the sense in physical practice, because it is the best way to prepare yourself for subtle perception. For example Raja-Yoga became more tangible after you obsess your attention and energy of a body. Regular studying the treatises (primary sources) and regular introspection you can call Gyana-Yoga. Also in my life there was a big period of Kriya-Yoga practice.

I named general and my beloved yoga styles which anyway are manifested in my style of teaching yoga. Each teacher can give only that knowledge what he consist.

The process of connecting different styles of yoga still continues. After all types of yoga is different faces of One Sun, his beams.

Usually my yoga classes are both funny and serious at the same time. I try to give full dipping into practice using accentuating the deep breath. A man being in deep awareness of his body and energetic processes also get some humor and yoga theory from my side. You have to get used to it but after all being treated with humor to yourself the power of Ahamkara (ego) weakens and the success in practice will be very close.

Asana: Why did you shift your focus from gymnastics/sports to yoga?

Kostyantyn: Being a teen I practice different martial arts (Judo, Karate, Aikido), some Qigong. Also I have a lot of swimming, jogging, weight-lifting, rowing, hiking and rock climbing. The list is indecently big. Maybe because I’m kinestetik type of person I love movement in the essence. All sport for me is just a motion in all its manifestations. I was not interested in winning or cracking a record. The main victory for me is the victory over yourself, over my confines and weakness. This was a starting point in inward journey.

Thus began my yoga.

Once I saw a yoga asana demonstrations on a martial arts festival. It amazed me and I feel the connection between me, that yogi and the yoga itself. I have a concrete strong feeling that I will be friends with that yogi and study yoga with him. All this come true very quickly. And few years later I started my yoga-teaching path.

As for me all yoga paths are deeply individual and intuitive. I’m sure that there is no logic in which ways yoga will knock into the doors of your life. This is very important to understand.

The other reason why yoga came to me is the effectiveness of yoga system. In childhood I have a problems with my back (scoliosis) and I helped myself with this problem. I feel much better. Thanks to yoga many things with my body came to harmony.

It gives me an opportunity to help other people to find solutions how to deal with different problems in body. I think this aspect is very important for me in my teaching – I love to help people and I love to see them happy. Sometimes I do my job even if I didn’t get money for it. The best salary is when you make somebody happy. But also you should be in balance yourself, not to break the law of Ahimsa (nonviolance). This comes from my heart.

You should remember that yoga system is not a hospital with medicine. You should work hard to earn the result. Nobody will do it instead of you. But those result would be fundamental and durable unlike tablets and other workaround.

Yoga is like an eternal remedy. That remedy is you, who all of a sudden became aware of what is harmony.

Asana: Do you incorporate your physical education knowledge into your yoga teaching?

Kostyantyn: Sure, I incorporate all my knowledge of anatomy and physiology into my yoga-teaching! I think knowledge of human body is one of the most important and successful additions to yoga teaching.

It helps to prevent wrong and ineffective movements. It accelerates the process of physical body opening. Also it has its influence on a subtle state of human being.

Human body is sacral and its geometry has a marvelous quality to influence the human psyche (mind) and thoughts.

The idea of Ashtanga yoga (eight limbs yoga) is to reach the state of “Chitta Vritti Nirodhah” (2-nd shloka of Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali) – calmness of a mind waves. I’m sure that it is almost impossible without correct body functioning.

Important to mention a successful practice of using this knowledge working with football players and with dancers (break-dance, contemporary dance).

I was taken to the local football team “Metallurg-Zaporizhzhya” being wellknown yogi in my native city. In the beginning I teach children football team, than I work with main core team. It was very interesting to see haow effective is yoga, how it helps to prevent injuries and to accelerate the process of rehabilitation when needed. It gives me a knowledge how does the injury appears and how to deal with it. After this I used my experience with local dancers, such as break-dancers and contemporary dancers according to the similarity of their problems.

Yoga is an ancient science which is still one of the most effective systems in nowadays.

Asana: How did you connect with Kristina Kashtanova and involve in this photography project? How do you feel about it?

Kostyantyn: I was searching for a good yoga pants in internet and find Ohmme Yoga company. I wrote them and asked about prices and etc. Then I have an idea to show my yoga asana experience in photos and offered them myself as a model for advertisement. I was accepted and invited to London. Louis – the owner found a photographer for this event – it was Kristina Kashtanova. That’s how we met. After that yoga rooftop Kristina add my photos to her collection of Yoga and Dance Cityscapes which she photographed in New-York and London. After this many of world famous tabloids shared this pictures showing them to the whole world… It was fantastic and unpredictable result of this work. I want to thank all of those people who joined Kristina’s project showing the human strength and flexibility. I think this type of art is able to light belief to inner self and power within human.

I hope someday situation in Ukraine will change and people will open their hearts to different ways of self-realization. Starting their own journey to inner self.



To read the full article please download our Asana Journal App or purchase Issue 158 February 2016

Chloe Sze

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