Tanya Popovich

  • E-RYT 500
  • Yoga Acharya
    (Master of Yoga by Yoga Vedanta Forrest Academy)
  • Jivamukti Yoga Certified Teacher
  • Unnata® Aerial Yoga Teacher Trainer
  • Swaha Yoga Center Founder
  • 200-hr and 500-hr Teacher Training Director
  • International Yoga Therapy Institute Faculty & Athens Manager
  • Yoga Love-in Founder

Ever since I was a teenager..

I had wanted to go to Rishikesh, India. The Beatles went there in the 60’s and popularized Transcendental Meditation by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Thus was the era of hippies exchanging psychedelics for spiritual practice in search for joy and a happiness that was lasting. Amongst those initiated into TM were my parents. I was born into a family of artists and spent my early childhood in the 80’s in Sarajevo, former Yugoslavia, and the country’s cultural hub at the time. My childhood was idyllic. I hung out at the art colonies set in lush nature and went to sleep to the sound of strumming guitar. That is, until the crazy war broke out in the 90’s. Shock. For every sane individual, living in – until then – a beautiful cultural and religiously diverse, artistic, creative and poetic city, the war brought us all to a state of shock. We had to leave. Everything I had known was lost, swept away by the fierce hand of Kali Ma.

In the years to come we moved from place to place, unsure of tomorrow, and most of the time separated from Dad. Time came when we finally reunited and settled in one place. A time for healing and letting go. Many lessons learned, but above all the one of impermanence. I was initiated into TM as a young teenager as a way to deal with loss and change. My meditation practice became the one thing that was stable and constant in my life. I started to rediscover beauty, within myself, and the world around me.

I studied Fine Arts and Design at the University of LaVerne, attended yoga classes after school, and worked to pay tuition fees. I read loads of books by sages and masters, enjoyed the bursts of my own creativity and had good times to good music. Due to my new busy student lifestyle, my discipline and meditation practice began to drop. So like many before me, I fled to Rishikesh after graduation in hope of regaining my practice.

And practice I regained! Completely immersed into a yogic lifestyle at The Divine Life Society (Sivananda Ashram), I discovered Integral Yoga, addressing person’s complete make-up – Physical, Vital, Mental, Psychic, and Spiritual. In this beautiful setting, I also learned about the life of Swami Sivanada and his close disciples and was highly inspired by those saints and lives they lived. Half a year in India, and I was never going to be the same again. Upon my return home, and after I had mentally “arrived “ I got my first job as a graphic designer in a fancy office with a fancy desk and computer. I lasted 3 months, I felt like a fish in a fishbowl. I quit and started working at a Yoga Center owned by family friends.

In the following decade..

I had dedicated myself to studying Yogic practices in both the East and West. Through classical, integral systems such as Sivanada Yoga and Satyananda Yoga, I learned to practice and teach yoga for the whole being, integrating all its parts from physical to spiritual. Through Anusara Yoga I met teachers that taught me the complex yet unbelievably intelligent biomechanics of the body. Through Unnata® Yoga I learned to elevate my practice in the air and access alignment through relaxation. Finally through Jivamukti Yoga I am applying ancient teachings in the modern world through actively living and creating in it, because we can make a difference!

A strong advocate..

of Unity in Diversity, in 2011 I co-founded Swaha Yoga Center in Athens, Greece. A place for “different people of similar yearnings of the heart”. The first Jivamukti Yoga Affiliated Center, as well as the first Aerial Yoga School and the first Yoga Therapy Institute in Greece, Swaha offers a wide variety of classes and teacher trainings. Through those we address all aspects of one’s being: physical, vital, mental/emotional, cognitive and spiritual, in a non-dogmatic, approachable and fun way.

Since I started traveling..

and teaching outside of borders of Greece, idea of Yoga Love-ins was born. Yoga Love-in is a public peaceful gathering where likeminded people come together to share their love of yoga, nurture one’s own and each other’s spiritual growth and develop compassion and brotherhood. Yoga Love-in is an “umbrella name” that refers to all kinds of gatherings, be it Yoga Trainings, Workshops, Retreats, Festivals, Charity events and such. Yoga Love-in is the Integral approach to Yoga, combining Raja, Karma, Jnana and Bhakti Yoga.

I hope

that through my teachings I can inspire peace, love and compassion for oneself and one another. For if we find peace within we can more peacefully live with others; love more, quarrel less, until one day we recognize we are one and the same.

I thank all of my teachers:

Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnu-Devananda, Swami Muktananda, Swami Atmaramanada, Swami Nirvikalpa, Jonas Westring, Todd Tesen, Desiree Rumbaugh, Surinder Singh, Michelle Dortignac, Sharon Gannon, David Life, Rima Rani Rabbath, Jules Febre and others I have randomly walked into classes or taken short workshops with. You are all invaluable jewels that have made the world a better place.

I also thank

my dog Nilo for flashing the perfect Downward-Facing-Dog every morning as we wake, and teaching me kindness and patience daily.

On top of all I thank my loving family for showing me the way.