Eugenia teaches yoga at an idyllic guesthouse on Crete and describes her journey of self-growth that led her there.
By Alexandros Diakosavvas
Yogis (and yoginis, which as I found out from Eugenia is what women yoga practitioners are called) radiate a sense of peace that is transmitted during a yoga class, as well as just a short chat. I must, therefore, say that I felt overly peaceful on that evening, after a two hour class at Eugenia's yoga studio in Psirri, and around two more hours that we spent together for the interview and a relaxed drink. And I admit that there are very few persons and situations who can nowadays alleviate my stress and slow down the fast rhythms of everyday life. It seems that Eugenia (“evgenia” in greek also means politeness, and it seems that she embodies the meaning of her name) is doing something well.
Psychologist, dancer, yoga teacher, business woman. Can all this be combined? Eugenia Sivitou begins to tell the story of her journey and the transitions from one field to the next, changes which, as I will soon understand, were neither smooth nor without their toll. "To be honest, I do not remember much from my first encounter with yoga. I was on an exchange programme as a psychology student in Germany and wanted to try different physical activities – trampoline, ballet that I had also practiced as a child, yoga. I remember being surprised that this form of exercise took place on the floor. This experience left an unusual impression on me. Yoga had not yet become well known in Greece at that stage, 14 years ago. Next, I did a postgraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology, but finally decided I wanted to become a dancer. We had yoga on our curriculum, in my 3 year dance training course in Scotland. I loved the physical aspect of the practice of yoga, and this is what initially won me over. A little later, I thought of taking it more seriously and decided to look into becoming a teacher. There were even distance training courses that I came across in my research, which do not require any physical attendance. Traditionally in India, one learned yoga from a teacher, with whom the practitioner would have to stay for several years. My first teacher training was in Spain and lasted a full month, from morning at 6 am till night at 9 pm daily. It was a course run by a large worldwide organization, Sivananda, which has taken its name from the great Indian teacher who instructed a student of his to bring yoga to the West in the 60s. One of the main visions of this tradition is to cultivate peace in people, in order to bring peace to the world. Quite ambitious! But, in reality, it just takes learning to relax and breathe correctly, for a change to begin”.