A #yogagirlssociety series is launching on our blog, featuring inspirational interviews with girls and lots of other interesting stuff. In the first post, we would like to introduce Zuzanna Ludwig – a beautiful, impeccable and romantic girl who once fell in love with yoga and now cannot imagine her life without it!
I always wanted to train ballet. VERY MUCH. As I was little, I kept begging my parents to enroll me in ballet class. It is said that children up to the age of three feel the talents hidden inside them and talk about it openly, but my parents never listened to me. I chose yoga because it was closest to ballet.
Practically speaking it begun with my running routine – I used to run a lot about 5 years ago. I ran 10-20 km each day basically. I was preparing for a half marathon, I wanted to lose weight and carve my body, but I overacted. After some time I started to have problems with my left knee and stretching at home did not help with it, so I went to the nearest yoga studio in my neighborhood. After my first class I told myself I would never go back, but fortunately, I bought a monthly pass (laughs).
Why you didn’t want to go back?
It turned out that yoga isn’t as pleasant as I thought it was and that it is the most demanding discipline I have ever encountered. I got into a really dynamic class the first time I went, it was vinyasa yoga, which requires to change the asanas practically all the time during an hour and a half. Never have I felt such pain before, after any other kind of exercise. It lasted a few days. It wasn’t muscle soreness. I felt all my deep muscles, which I have never used before and a strange notion similar to an electric current flowing through my body. I had the feeling that something completely unusual has happened. Over time, the pain turned into a pleasant feeling of relaxation.
I know you work a lot and are still learning. When do you find time for yoga?
I just try to get up earlier (laughter).
And how do you motivate yourself to do that
Motivation just comes to me when I have a longer break in my practice. Sometimes I had to give up yoga for a month. I felt worse at such moments; I had the impression that my body becomes stagnant. Exercises give me the energy to do other things. Yoga is like coffee to me – it makes me more energetic, willing to work and gives me positive energy.
Since you are actively practicing yoga, do you still run?
Definitely! Although in the winter I choose running on the treadmill because there are no conditions for an outside jog – at least I do not like to leave the house after dark. But I’m going to go back to regular running. I also take part in half marathons.
I once found this quote – “running is my meditation” and there is something in it. We break away from our everyday routine while running, we also purify the mind from all residual thoughts and fill it with new ones; I think, it can be considered that running is also a form of meditation. For example, I often get brilliant ideas while running; this may be associated with the fact that our brains are oxygenated better while running.
What about yoga? Do you feel this meditative aspect during practice?
Yes, but differently. New ideas pop into my mind when I run, while yoga helps me to stop thinking. This is what I get when I practice Bikram yoga – you use a mirror while exercising and concentrate on the body while trying to get all the positions right. Then you get carried away completely. The brain is so focused on the movements that at some point it dawns on you there were no thought streams in your head for a long time (laughs).
So, Bikram is your favorite yoga method?
Yes, I admit.
It started when my friends, who practiced Bikram yoga lately, encouraged me to go with them, even though I really didn’t want to. I’ve always had heart problems, even though I run. I thought that Bikram is too much for me – exercising in high temperatures sounded like maltreatment of the body. I did not see myself in this kind of activity. However, in the end, I became persuaded – I wanted to do a material on Bikram yoga and realized I have to try it out myself first. I was shocked after my first classes and realized what was going on during the next day – I felt so relaxed, my body was rested and messaged like never before. Bikram yoga do wonders for the body and mind. All tensions are released in such temperatures and the physical results are achieved faster.
Your heart doesn’t bother you?
It turned out the temperature isn’t bad for me at all. I used to be a cold-loving person, but now I love high temperatures.
I used to have digestive problems all my life, therefore I tested all kinds of diets, I gave up meat in high-school. I noticed yoga has a great impact on metabolism. I have also changed my attitude to food. It is said that yoga makes you thin, but in fact, you start to perceive food differently, you choose healthier options. I used to have food craving; now I eat less, more intuitively. I’ve started to listen to my own inner self. Thanks to that I can sense what my body needs, what is good for me and what isn’t. I treat yoga as a natural message for the whole body.
I think there is such a thing as a yogic lifestyle. Yoga actually makes you start to perceive nature differently and have closer contact with it. You begin to want to do something for your environment, give more from yourself and live in symbiosis with the outer world. Therefore, I try to choose ecological products, I gave up plastic. Surely, my relationships with people have improved. I used to be aggressive and nervous, I often quarreled with my previous boyfriend. It was so bad that I used to get angry with random people, for e.g. in the metro – you know, everyday situations, some trivial stuff and I was bursting out. I felt bad about it, but I did it. Nowadays it is really hard to get me out of balance and it only happens when I have a longer break from yoga. Practicing yoga brings people closer to their inner self, makes them see their own flaws and see their own reflection in what they do on the mat. The extent to which we push ourselves on the mat is a reflection of what we give from ourselves in our real lives. Yoga is about physical and mental improvement. I feel more “whole” thanks to it.
Use the #yogagirlssociety hashtag, join the group of yoga girls and share your story with us. Let us inspire each other!
You can buy the Yoga Girls Society t-shirt here!
You can follow Zuzanna on her Instagram – @greencitylife
Photos by Aleksandra Loska