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‘Allowing Yourself to Pause’

The startup world is quick and ever evolving. There is always some new feature that will take your product to the next level or a new competitor on the block.

In the constant state of uncertainty that is the life of entrepreneurs, it is easy to get overwhelmed. In those cases, it is important to have techniques which will allow you to relax and reflect.

We spoke to Ada Vuk, teacher of kundalini and vinyasa yoga, about the importance of mindfulness and relaxation in entrepreneurial life and how to incorporate them in our routines.

Hello Ada, can you tell us a little bit about kundalini yoga?

Kundalini yoga, most people call it the yoga of personal experience. It is special for each one of us. It is a powerful tool that allows you to explore yourself. I can choose the topic of the class but what you take from the class is your authentic and personal experience. You take home what is your theme of life at that moment.

Teachers are those that lead you to listen to yourself — you are your own teacher, but the teacher leads you to seeing this. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. And when the student is really ready, the teacher leaves.

This type of yoga is special and intense. The new age demands a strong nervous system to handle the load of information and speed of time we live in. This type of yoga works on this with breathing techniques and body postures, as well as mantras whose frequencies have been proven to affect the biochemical balance in the brain positively.

It is, however, a very large field and impossible to explain in short — it is best to experience it for yourself in a class with an experienced teacher.

Kundalini yoga opened me up to have more courage to explore and try things that I haven’t before — all because this type of yoga returns you to yourself and from this comes this courage.

Have you encountered people who feel resistant to these methods?

Even in the yogi world people have a formed opinion about kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is done in a very specific environment, length of class and so on. The teacher needs to be someone who has completed their teacher training and is also on a personal journey of self-discovery. If these elements are not there, the classes will probably not be successful.

This specific type of yoga requires support and guidance of a teacher. Do not engage with Kundalini on your own. It is because of support and teachings that hold specific knowledge to teach.

Since I was a child, I knew that I could not have an opinion on something if I have not experienced it. There were people who tried this type of yoga and then left it completely.

The main question is devotion. But the essence is that you do this for yourself. And the intention you have for this practice.

Can you tell us what mindfulness means for you? How do you perceive it as a tool for everyday life? How can we implement it in our daily routines?

As the word itself shows — mindfulness — it involves the mind…Meditation is a big part of mindfulness. Many people think meditation is a space without thoughts. At some point you come to this place, but the mind is made to work and it is difficult to tame. Meditation is being fully present in something you do — gardening, work, whatever.

Meditation is a powerful technique, and its essence is to be in the now because now is what we have. Much of our time we think about the past, our memories and our wishes for the future.

Acceptance and letting go are also a great part of mindfulness. And when your perspective changes from ‘why is this happening to me’ into ‘what is this teaching me’- everything that comes your way is then easily accepted. If I am angry — I am angry, and that is ok. But I can at the same time ask myself — why does this trigger always make me angry?

The brain sometimes works like a paper shredder — whatever you have on your plate, the brain will shred it to the point where you do not see its true meaning and what it actually is.

Moreover, there is this illusion of control. The past year taught us this. Letting go is a great skill for mindfulness.

Especially in the entrepreneurial world, but in many other fields too, there is a big focus on productivity. Doing our work well is obviously rewarding, but constant productivity can be damaging too. The idea of productivity as a virtue — is it frustrating? How to be disciplined without overexerting ourselves?

I am not a person who plans a lot. Because I find it frustrating — you are trying to plan the time before you in which you have no idea what will happen.

Sticking to one goal no matter what can bring a kind of rigidity which distracts you from your journey. It is the rigidity that creates the stress.

We need to examine — why do you think that when you are less focused, you are less valuable? That day you spend resting, doing nothing, you perceive as unimportant. But sometimes, that rest is more necessary than working. ‘I give myself the right to pause’ — this is something I think is important to say to yourself.

Listen to yourself and don’t compare yourself. This is very common in people starting their business. Everyone has their own time — the same task will take one person a month, and another a year. But maybe I spent that year going through an important process in my life that needed to happen. We should not be too rigid in our goals and visions.

I do think that younger generations, on the other hand, are more conscious and open to new modes of work. Before — you had one path and one mold. Now, modern companies led by conscious leaders communicate better.

Ada, you also give yoga classes online and in person. How did this start, did you have any insights about this process?

When COVID happened, we adapted by extremely digitizing everything. This was in the 1st wave when everyone was at home and doing yoga online.

I know that I like to have an intention for the class — the whole point is, as they say, is to ‘ take your yoga from your mat and into your life’. Meaning, people who learn at classes, they can apply all this in their lives. Online classes are a way of adjusting.

To those who think they cannot make it to the online class, I always say — if the Zoom session starts at 7, be there then, don’t schedule some time after to watch the video and never actually do it. We always have more time for others than for ourselves — that is what we think.

I am now returning to the studio slowly but I will also keep online services because people from outside of Bosnia also do yoga with me and we will see what time brings.

Just to add a word of encouragement: Wherever you are now you are in the right place and you will reach your goals but learn to have patience. Sometimes good things take time. A diamond is dug from mud and molded heavily to become a precious stone that we know of. And the journey it goes through is your journey through life as well. Good luck beautiful people!

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