Meet the Extraordinary Marija Velichkova
Last month, out of the blue, came an interesting email from a yoga teacher named Marija who was inquiring about a possible collaboration. Marija informed us that she had just returned to her homeland in Macedonia after spending many months in Mysore, India, where she underwent a Hatha and Ashtanga Advanced Level 2 training at IndeaYoga, under the guidance of Yogacharya Bharat Shetty, for whom she was given an internship to serve as an assistant. With her impressive background in mind, I was keen to have a conversation with Marija to investigate further the possibility of a collaboration for 2024, but, by the end of the chat, I was convinced that Marija would be an excellent addition to our visiting team of teachers this year. Here is the interviewed I conducted with Marija for our blog, in order to introduce this interesting and multi talented yogini to our readers. Please tell us a bit about yourself: My name is Marija Velichkova and I am from Skopje, Macedonia. My family, from my father’s side are from Serbia, where I have lived three months annually since I was born. In 2008, I began my adventure of living abroad; my first move was to Greece. After some time, I relocated to London, where I worked in Hospitality as well as Modelling. In my free time, I travelled to Southeast Asia for a few months each year. I moved again, opening and managing a restaurant, which happened to be part of a Yoga school. One year later, I found myself living in sunny Portugal where I trained and became a Yoga Teacher. The months in between, I would spend at home, in Macedonia, engaging in Photography, and working at a hostel. My travels then brought me to Mykonos Island, where I learnt the interesting skill of Skippering, whilst working as a First Mate to the Captain of a luxury yachting company. Having always been a dreamer, I enjoy engaging myself fully in any activities or roles that excite me. How did you get into Yoga? It was the summer of 2016, Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka, the famous surf spot. I’m not keen on surfing, so whilst there, I signed up for a yoga class. It was to be held on the rooftop of the hotel next door. It all began with that feeling of bliss I experienced after that class. It was addictive!
What was your life like before Yoga? My life before yoga had no structure. I have now found my grounding and my purpose, all because of a steady yoga practice.
What would you say is the one best thing about Yoga? The best thing about Yoga, for me personally, is the grounding you can find in a busy world. My feet are now firmly on the ground when I walk. I am present. What was your best class teaching / group event experience? Teaching Mysore style classes, back to back, with my teacher, Bharat Shetty, in Mysore India, was my absolute dream come true. Besides yoga, what is your favorite thing? Besides Yoga, I am a very keen swimmer. My passion for cooking and photography are also still present. How do you hope to enhance the retreat experience at Suncokret with your particular offerings? What I offer to Students is a safe approach to any goal. In Yoga, we should always play and never fight. Many Students rush into ‘Instagram worthy’ asanas, where their chances of getting an injury are very high. During the retreat classes, we will focus on Body-Breath-Mind coordination and mindfulness in our practice, direct from the teachings from one of the the oldest accredited schools of Ashtanga Yoga in India.
Is there any ideal way retreat participants can better prepare themselves for their retreat time with you? My suggestion is that all participants attend practice with an open mind and open heart. Each body is individual and we teachers are present to support and guide each one through their journey. Yoga is a journey to the Self. Marija will be collaborating with us during the following events in August 2023: 5 - 11 August - Yogi Explorer
12 - 18 August - Balance & Bliss
20 - 26 August - Yogi Explorer Sign up for an event with Marija here. If you are interested in learning more about Marija, you can check out her biography on our Team page here and follow her on instagram here .