Want a healthy body, a peaceful mind, improved concentration and more energy? These are just some of the benefits of yoga, according to Yamuna and Tyag, the couple who hail from afar and run Yoga in Daily Life on the Sunshine Coast.
Listening to snippets of their life stories peppered here and there during yoga classes, I was curious to know more about what had led a German woman and a Hungarian man to converge on the Sunshine Coast, to run a yoga centre.
I asked if I could interview them and they kindly agreed… And so one humid coastal afternoon their stories unfolded…
Yamuna & Tyag
Yamuna grew up in Germany, in an industrious wine-producing village. She spent much of her time wandering through forests, apple tree meadows and playing in the snow during the winter months. When she grew a little older she started pondering big questions like – “Why am I here? Who am I? What’s the purpose of all this?”
Tyag grew up in Budapest, Hungary, a beautiful city with 1000 years of rich cultural history. He also spent much of his time asking big questions and reading prolifically.
Eventually they both went out into the world searching for answers…
After finishing school, Yamuna thought she might like to be a computer programmer. It didn’t take her long to decide this was not her life’s vocation. So, instead she transferred to Psychology.
Psychology initially fascinated Yamuna. But after three years of study she felt she’d hit another brick wall. So, she packed a bag and reset her course for India. She stayed two years, travelling, studying yoga, working in an ashram kitchen… and finally, third time lucky, felt she’d started to find some answers to the big life questions that constantly drove her for answers.
Yamuna’s early life was restless. After India she went to live in a commune in England and then back to Germany. Her other driving force was a constant search for space and freedom. So, Yamuna decided she might find both in the wide brown land of Australia.
She recalls one occasion shortly after arriving in Australia. She was running late for an appointment and feeling stressed. She called to let them know and the response was “No worries, she’ll be right!” …She finally felt she’d found the freedom, space and lifestyle she had been looking for.
Yamuna first settled in Sydney and then eventually the Sunshine Coast, where she studied bodywork – Deep Tissue Massage for six years and then Kinesiology in which she became an instructor.
It was here that in 1999 she met Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda (Swamiji) the founder of Yoga In Daily Life (YIDL) – A yogic system for attaining spiritual enlightenment and an international not-for-profit organisation.
Their meeting inspired Yamuna to study the YIDL teacher training, and soon after completing her studies she set up the yoga centre on Sixth Avenue, Cotton Tree.
Yoga had been irregular in her life up to that point because, she says, she “lacked discipline.”
I raised my eyebrows and commented with mock surprise, “But you’re German!”
She laughed and told me she was a “rebel German.”
At this point in Yamuna’s journey, having finally found the space, freedom and spiritual lifestyle she sought, she started thinking she’d like to share this new life with someone. She began sending out prayers for a man! She was choosy though… He had to be a vegetarian, non-drinker, non-smoker, and aligned with the yogic lifestyle.
On her next trip to India she found him!
During his childhood, Hungary was in a period of communism. Tyag’s parents were communist, so he grew up in a closed environment with a materialistic focus.
After a period of compulsory military service, Tyag leapt into the world of commerce, where he ran a successful electronics shop. He was making a lot of money but feeling less and less happy.
One day he went with his brother to listen to a spiritual lecture given by a Swami who was visiting Budapest. It was Swamiji, founder of Yoga in Daily Life (YIDL). Tyag was moved and inspired.
Shortly afterwards he studied YIDL teacher training, shut his electronics shop and upon completion of his qualification, opened a yoga centre in Budapest. It was fortuitous timing. Communism had only ended in Hungary the year before. During which time, spirituality was illegal.
Hungarian students took to yoga with enthusiasm and dedication. His classes were always full and his students were enthusiastic, dedicated and commitment. I think Hungary had missed spirituality.
A few years later he spent a year in Rajasthan, India studying with his teacher. I see him light up when he reflects back on that year. It was a “simple, beautiful, spiritual time,” he says with obvious happiness.
While there, he and his teachers put plans in place to create another yoga foundation in Hungary. Upon returning from India, Tyag set to work. The association was a great success. In between running the foundation and teaching, he also completed a Social Work degree.
A few years later he returned to India to spend more time at the ashram in Rajasthan. On one particular day, while working in the kitchen, Yamuna, who also happened to be staying there, appeared in front of him to be served lunch.
Yamuna tells me with a broad smile that when Tyag looked up she immediately knew he was the one!
“So, you found your vegetarian, non-drinking, non-smoking, yoga-man Yamuna,” I say.
Shortly after meeting, they were married and Tyag immigrated to Australia to begin life with Yamuna on the Sunshine Coast. Since then the two have run the yoga centre on Sixth Avenue, Maroochydore together. Sharing the responsibilities of teaching and operations.
I see that they have a wonderful working relationship. Characterised by admiration, and also acceptance, of each other’s differences. Tyag jokes that Yamuna has the typical German trait of efficiency and Yamuna tells Tyag that he needs to do more than three things in a day! But in the same conversation Yamuna admires Tyag’s peacefulness and Tyag tells me of Yamuna’s unwavering commitment and dedication to the centre, and her hard work. Often putting in 18-hour days.
I close our conversation by asking Yamuna what answers she found along her journey?
She reflects for a moment, then tells me she’s realised what she needed all along was to work on herself, instead of changing everything else around her.
“Whatever seems to be a problem or a challenge on the outside is actually linked to something internal. Be prepared to work through difficulties and to keep on going. Learn to live in harmony and moderation, share of yourself, possessions and time. Enjoy what you have, don’t take it for granted, look for what is everlasting, nourish your heart and soul; fulfil your potential.”
I think there’s something in that for all of us. *wink*
If you’d like a healthy body, a peaceful mind, improved concentration and more energy… I highly recommend Yamuna & Tyag’s Sunshine Coast Yoga in Daily Life. I walk in with a busy ‘monkey’ mind and walk out feeling peaceful, flexible and balanced.
So what do you think? Is business a spiritual Journey?
LEONIE ORTON is a business writer and marketer.
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