June 5, 2018 Health and family

Belgrade’s Hidden Oases of Yogic Calm

Jasmina Puljo and Helena Rebernisek played the key role in founding Belgrade’s first yoga studios in the 1960s – and since then the number of practitioners of this ancient discipline has multiplied.

Ranko Stojijkovic founded Ashtanga Yoga Centre in 2008, after returning to Belgarde in 2006. Photo: Courtesy of Ranko Stojijkovic

Milan Radonjic

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Finding relief from the pressure of everyday life in Belgrade is often associated with outdoor natural escapes – but some of the city’s oases of calm and serenity are hidden within the city itself.

The first yoga studios opened in Belgrade at the end of 1960s, with two women playing the key role.

Jasmina Puljo and Helena Rebernisek held lessons in their studios for decades, introducing yoga to hundreds of new practitioners, and leaving behind dozens of instructors, who have continued their mission.

Over the past decade, yoga has become more popular among the citizens of the capital – and here is some of what’s on offer for those with an interest for this ancient Indian spiritual practice.

Ashtanga Yoga Belgrade

“In recent years, yoga has became quite common, like everywhere, but it reached us here with a kind of delay,” says Ranko Stojijkovic, founder of Ashtanga Yoga Belgrade.

“Coming back to Belgrade from my spiritual training back in 2006, I was amazed to find no one practicing Ashtanga Yoga, which is one of the most popular in the world,” he adds.

Since 2008, Ashtanga Yoga Belgrade Studio has become one of the best known in the Serbian capital, visited by globally known yoga teachers such as Laruga Glaser and David Swanson.

“Yogic practice is not just about asana [yogic postures]; it implies inner balance and is not a competition of any kind,” Stojiljkovic explains.

“It is said in Indian tradition that for Westerners, Asana or physical practice is important for accepting nonviolence towards our own body and then towards others. At the same time, every practice of yoga should bring out the feeling of bliss that we carry in ourselves, and discover, for instance, when we fall in love for the first time.”

Ashtanga Yoga Belgrade studio is located in Decanska 11, and is open every day except Sunday.

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