Interview with Alicja Sobczak @acro_yoga_alicja
How long have you been practicing yoga?
I’ve been practicing the B.K.S Iyengar method of Hatha yoga for 9 years now.
Which type of yoga is the most appealing to you?
I have tried many types of yoga. For a short time, I practiced Ashtanga yoga but have tried Yin yoga, Fascia yoga and Vinyasa, which I come back to more and more often nowadays. However my journey is based on Hatha yoga (except for Acroyoga, which I teach). During practices you use a lot of accessories – straps, blocks, chairs, blankets and bolsters. It is very precise, and you spend a lot of time in the asanas. All the accessories help you work with your body and extend its capabilities in a conscious and responsible way.
When did you start practicing Acroyoga and what made you fall in love with it?
First time I came across it was six years ago. Ever since that first experience I knew something magical had happened. My fascination grew with every next practice, journey, workshop, acrojam and workshop. After two years spent with one leg in Warsaw, and one leg in Łódź, I decided I want to come back home to Łódź and start building my own community here.
What I love most about Acroyoga is the people. The energy you get during practice with others goes beyond ordinary yoga practice. Acroyoga builds trust and closeness by breaking down psychological, physical and emotional barriers. At some point people who practice together become very close to each other. I truly and deeply love my students and feel very connected to them. We spend our free time together, celebrate each other’s birthdays, housewarmings or holidays. Acroyoga has an amazing power. People do not feel they are exercising, but that they spend a magical time together. Time that results in some muscle pain later:)
What should an ideal yoga mat be?
It is a very good and quite difficult question. Choosing your yoga mat is a personal decision. I think a good yoga mat must have great grip. Of course the slippery factor depends on how intensive the practice is, and whether we have a tendency to sweat a lot. Another thing you need to take into account is the place where you are going to practice. If you are travelling a lot, you definitely need to think about the size and weight of your mat. If however you can leave your mat at your yoga school, this is not something you need to worry about. When choosing your yoga mat is also good to consider its quality. Better quality mats are also more expensive, however they last a lot longer than the cheaper alternatives and add to the whole experience. Last thing to consider is the design. You are going to spend a lot of time on your yoga mat, so it is crucial to find a mat that you love and are going to enjoy looking at and practicing on.
What benefits do you get out of yoga?
Practicing yoga lets me focus on the here and now. When practicing I need to be fully conscious of my breath and the work my body has to do in a particular asana. I, as a whole, need to become the asana. Without that there is no yoga. There must be discipline of both mind and body. The very concept of yoga is to prepare our body to meditate, allowing us to focus and concentrate. It brings peace and relaxation through building your strength in positions, focusing on your breathing and flexing your body. Sometimes I feel that being a busy mom of a toddler, I would lose my mind without yoga and acroyoga.
We know you are running the acroyoga section at the Academic Sport Association at the Łódź Politechnika University. Could you tell us a little more about it?
It is a place where everybody can come and practice acroyoga at almost no expense. This year and the last we won public funding within a social welfare programme “Youth full of passion”, thanks to which each and every student and postgraduate can come and practice yoga for free for almost the whole semester. The sport section of that particular University is very close to my heart. It allows me to reach out to very young people and show them new forms of exercise, which is very different from their classic PE classes.