My very first Yoga encounter


Diary of Yoga Catarina sartorYoga is my dharma, my true calling, the path I chose to live my life.

Through this post series I want to share with you my very first steps into Yoga, how  surprising and beautiful it was and it has been, what made me fall in love with this practice and way of living.

I hope to inspire you to encounter the true yoga that lives between each one of us and within us. Come with me, to the journey where I encountered Yoga for the first time and my mystic Yogini Mother.

The School and the Orange Uniform

It all started in 2005, I remember walking up the steps to this unusual place, in the city where I was born in South Brazil, for my first real encounter with Yoga. The smell of incense, the soothing music and at the top of the stairs a woman dressed in an orange costume greeting me in Portuguese with a Spanish accent.

-Oh, you come for your first yoga class, she said
-Yes, and I immediately asked her:
-Where can I get an outfit like yours?
She was filled with charm and suspense on her reply:
-This is for teachers; you may get yours one day, and if you decide to stay you will have a student

My uniform was a white baggy pants and an orange shirt, Ashram like clothes not as beautiful as her outfit. She walked me into the Yoga room, and I was immediately impressed by my surroundings. The wood rustic floor, mantras playing on the background, the fragrance in the air, people sitting on their mat in a circle waiting for the class to start, and then the shrine filled with different deities, Patanjali statue ( at the time I had no clue what that was all about), an altar bathed in flowers, where I could see the remains of a ritual, a ceremony from maybe the day before.

The Argentinian woman in orange was Sonia or Mataji (her spiritual name). The session started and all I was getting from it was her presence, charm, assertiveness, strength, peace, and her transparent way to love. This woman had all the guidance and comfort I was not (consciously) looking for; however, it was all I ever needed.

The Undone Knot

I remember Sonia being firm with everyone. She did not engage with me as much during the session. Halfway into it we were doing a standing forward bend such as #Padangusthasana, #padahastasana or maybe #uttanasana.

I had a strong pain through my belly that could not get me to roll back up, I had to keep bending down and when I finally started to unravel the posture a “knot” in my stomach was undone. I can never forget the sensation of a hitch in my guts being free. An amazing simple posture like that got me by surprise.

Looking back now, that experience gave me a moment of presence and healing mark of Yoga.

Yogini Mother and Ever Since

Instantaneously I felt connected to Mataji. She became my mentor, a friend and I recognised her as my Yogini Mother. She died unexpectedly on 31st Oct 2014 at the age of 41. I miss her physical presence. At times she manifests so clearly – It is empowering and strong to this day!

So much happened after that one Yoga class on 18th of February 2005. I was home in a space I had never been before. Since then, I keep going back to that same inner space.