In spring 2021, an instantaneous synergy occurred when two mature yoginis with lots of life experience under their belts - including being single moms, having successful careers in other professions before finding their calling to teach yoga, and having a deep appreciation and passion for the Dalmatian way of life - came together to form a beautiful and meaningful collaboration at Suncokret.
Early into my first conversation with Tanja, it became quite clear that she had the life experience, disposition, and passion for all things yoga to be an excellent guide for those on a retreat journey, and I was keen to welcome her to the team.
Tanja led her first ever retreat ever with Suncokret a few months later. As with all our collaborating teachers, she followed the structure of our Balance and Bliss program, which is essentially an 8-pillared holistic yoga chakra life mapping journey, and added in her own unique toolkit to make it her own, and dubbed the program Balance & Bliss - "Reborn".
I witnessed with joy the retreat participants' mental, emotional and energetic shift during the 7-day event. Each participant left the event in a state of elation and enthusiasm for the future that lay ahead post-retreat, thanks to Tanja's wise, gentle, and compassionate leadership skills.
I was keen to continue the collaboration with Tanja beyond that first event and am pleased to announce that we have scheduled in three events with Tanja in the 2022 season:
12-18 June, Balance & Bliss - Born Again with Tanja
19-25 June, Radiant You with Tanja and Evening Marie
2 - 8 October, Balance & Bliss - Born Again with Tanja
And now, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce this wonderful lady and retreat leader to our readers:
1. Dearest Tanja, please tell us a about your background... What else do you do besides teach yoga?
I would say that everything I do contributes to my passion as a yoga teacher and yoga retreat leader. Besides yoga, I am a fitness trainer, a runner and an IT Manager. I have a full-time job at IT company, an executive role – I am managing a team of Microsoft professionals in an international company. This is an amazing job as it taught me to plan time and manage people, planning budgets and being a leader and a coach. However, all my jobs are about guiding, teaching, leading, motivating, encouraging and inspiring people. Also, all my jobs require constant development and studies, lots of reading, listening to podcasts, trainings. And everything I learn and all the experience I gain are applicable in all my different jobs and passions.
2. What was your life before yoga?
Stressed out and lost, disappointed. You see, I have always known there is more than what I see and what people around me see and live.
Before starting teaching yoga I spent 18 years in IT and was enjoying my side hustle as a fitness instructor. I managed to succeed in everything I did, I kind of achieved all “must-do’s” - a family, a career, a nice apartment, a car and enough money to travel and afford nice vacations.
But this was only the visible, “glossy”, instagram worthy side of my life. I went through a divorse, I was single mom of two, eating a low-carb, low-calorie diet for almost 8 years and struggling with regular binge eating attacks. I never felt I was enough. I never felt I was happy.
Shortly before the pandemic both the fitness and IT industries were on the top. Some days I had to work up to 16 hrs and both industries just craved for more. I was in a squirrel wheel and close to a burn-out.
I started practicing yoga as a way to recover from my fitness classes and how surprised I was when I discovered that yoga is so much more than just a slow stretching class! Yoga was the space where I could be myself again the way I am and I was enough. The stillness and clarity of the mind achieved by the end of each practice was such a happy place where all the dreams I was deeply believing in were real and possible.
And then the pandemic hit. Honestly, when the lockdown happened, I was deeply grateful for this quiet time. I thought: “Finally I have time for yoga, mindfulness, meditation practice. This all brought me back to who I really was and it encouraged my trust in my inner being. I started to follow that little voice inside of me and this is when my life started to change and I finally saw the light, I finally starting to feel that I am moving in the right direction. Following the impulses of my heart, I took the decisions I wouldI definitely felt I was living the life of my dreams and was so much happier than before.
No amount of external success can bridge the gap between what we want and who we really are in the long term to truly experience happiness. We need to go beyond the thinking mind into the intuitive heart to discover happiness. Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga are timeless powerful practices, tools that bring us back to the energy of our hearts, and then we allow our heart to navigate, we start to attract the people, things and moments into our life we need.
Yoga as a mindfulness practice is so liberating! We are carrying too much of what we do not need and what makes us unhappy without even knowing that. Most of all that I learned that you can always change the current situation and you can create the life you dream of. Our uncontrollable unconsciousness is our only limitation. Thoughts become things and our present life is the result of our thoughts and beliefs.
3. What would you say is the one best thing about yoga?
Yoga is about love.
When I say I am a yoga teacher I always say I teach love. Bhavagad Gita, a “Bible” of yoga, teaches us that all of us has the divine expression inside, a “highest self”. Yoga means “union” and yoga practice brings us into this “union” – union of me and my highest self, union of me and the divine in me. God is love and when I practice yoga, I connect with this divine love. Thus, when I do yoga, I do love.
4. What did you most enjoy most about your experience as a guest teacher at Suncokret?
Do you know the feeling that when you are looking for something, for example, new apartment or new office space, and you find the one you know for sure is 100% right? This was the feeling when I came to Suncokret first to see the venue and meet Evening and Stipe. It leaves no doubts it is the perfect place for a retreat.
Peace. Equanimity. Beauty of nature. Harmony. Bliss. I love everything about Suncokret! Every moment is such a bliss. ❤️
The Nature. The beauty of Hvar and Croatia. Indescribable beauty...
I love the studio. The Light and white...
I love the rooms. Each one named after a chakra. And the cottages named after the elements. Me, personally, I felt like a princess in my room 3 (the "Manipura" meaning "City of Jewels" Room).
I love the spirit of the retreat itself. So authentic.
I love the location and the possibility to visit and see a new place every day of the retreat – Hvar, Stari Grad, Jelsa, Vrboska, Soline, while, at the same time, there is always a beach we can go to, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the sun and sea while also experiencing new towns and villages.
And the delicious food, of course, thanks to Stipe!
And the feeling of connection, of togetherness with all the retreat participants, that can really be established in the cosy and intimate space that Suncokret provides.
5. Why would attending your events be beneficial to the participants who join?
This year, I've re-named the "Reborn" event to “Born Again”. “Born Again” is a holistic yoga lifestyle course where the yoga science of 7 energy centers meets neuroscience and neuroplasticity. During the course retreat guests discover their "SELF" through conscious yoga practice, meditation, journalling and mindfulness practices to discover a new, desired "SELF" version. This is why this program is called “Born Again”. In this program I am using the practices and wisdom of ancient yoga science and also the teachings of modern psychologists and neuroscientists, and this is what is special about this course.
Thoughts become things. Our present life is the result of our thoughts and beliefs. Neuroscience research proves that 95% of who you are by the age of 35 years old is a memorized set of behaviors, emotional reactions, unconscious habits, beliefs and perceptions that function as a computer program. Neuroplasticity proves that you can always change, you can always reprogram yourself - which means you can re-program your life to a better, desired present and future. Ancient practices of yoga are teaching us of the same and during week of “Born Again” we will learn how we can apply these ancient and modern teachings to live a more fulfilled and happier life.
I'm also excited to be co-teaching the "Radiant You" event, which is an upgraded version of previous year's "Radiance" events. Radiance was a dedicated holistic yoga and face yoga retreat, whereas "Radiant You" offers a more rounded holistic wellness experience that provides workshops in Hormone Balancing practices, Ayurvedic Marma Points Self-Massage, "TYT" (Transformational Yoga Technique), Reflexology, Mudra practice, as well as basic Face Yoga, with the intention to help to revitalize and renew your entire being from many different angles.
“Radiant You” is all about making space for a new and beautiful mental and physical self. During “Radiant You” our students will be invited to purify and detoxify with the help of yoga, breathing and meditation practices. It is so important to cleanse ourselves from the toxins we are carrying, which do not serve us on both the mental and physical planes.
Speaking in terms of the physical body, we will focus on practicing yoga and breathing methods that cleanse away toxins from our body, and, speaking in terms of the mental body, we will focus on practices that will help us let go and say goodbye to the things we do not need anymore so that we can welcome in better thoughts and feelings. This is what “Radiant You” is all about – the opportunity to cleanse, detoxify and shine.
6. What are your plans for the future?
I have a lot of ideas! I really want to help people to understand that they are born to enjoy life and be happy. And yoga is one of the ways that can help.
I will definitely continue to do the retreats. I am currently working on two other programs for future retreats, one is called “EAT. PRAY. LOVE – one’s search for everything” and “Alchemist” so I will definitely do new programs and new retreats. My biggest dream is to have my own retreat venue, but I would love not only use it for retreats but also I dream of one day teaching other teachers.
Thank you so much for all your feedback, Tanja. We're really looking forward to continuing the collaboration with you this season!
Tanja will be back to co-host two signature events at Suncokret in 2023:
10 - 16 June 2023 - Yogi Explorer