Yoga to Touch Your Heart
By Suzy Grinter
Yoga teachers exude calm. I think they make me breathe just by being with them. For someone who only breathes when I remember to, this is highly therapeutic journalism.
Born in Slovakia, Janka Aksamitova ventured to Australia alone at the tender age of eighteen, with the intention of staying six months to study English.
“It was tough, leaving home and family, coming to a new country, and having no English language at all. I found it challenging at first, but then something changed, and I never looked back.
“I practiced martial arts in Slovakia and upon my arrival in Australia I searched in vain for a similar style of martial arts, so I gave up looking.
“A few years later, recovering from an illness, I discovered an alternative method – yoga that reinstated calmness and serenity in a similar fashion to my beloved martial arts. This was a major turning point; I decided that one day I might like to teach yoga,” says Janka.
“For several years I trained with studios with various yoga teachers around Australia, completed three different levels of yoga teacher training, taught yoga for nearly 8 years, then started my own yoga school.
“My love for yoga intensified when I tragically lost my brother to suicide; yoga served as a healing tool for me. The more I practiced, the more I healed,” Janka explained.
During this time, Janka arrived at another major turning point, completing her Masters degree in Social Work and subsequently began to assist children and young people at risk. She found that teaching yoga and social work complemented each other very well.
“Yoga helps people to transition through the physical to calmness.
Yoga opens the heart, increases compassion and connection to others, so we can open ourselves to the opportunity to give and receive love emotionally and spiritually. Love is so much more than a strong emotion or feeling. On the yoga mat we connect to our inner power and can discover the real autonomy of who we are and what we value. So, then when we step off the yoga mat; we not only live a better life, but also and most importantly we are able to serve others,” says Janka.
Janka currently works as a part time Youth Support Coordinator for the Department of Education at Trinity Bay State High School holds a vision to take Hridaya (Cosmic Heart) Yoga Academy to the vulnerable youth of Cairns.
“My overall vision is to help people of all ages to reconnect with their real-self holistically.
“So many of the kids I work with are terrified of clinical environments, and feel threatened by the stigma attached to the social support facilities geared towards helping at risk youth.
“Hridaya literally means Cosmic Heart, or the soul. You follow the breath and tap into your real self, working from your heart space. It’s amazing when people finish the class, they feel soft, serene, happy. I have so many yoga students who have been searching for something more than just the physical benefits of yoga, and that’s where I differ from the mainstream. “Everyone benefits when Yoga is taught and practiced with an open heart and that’s where I will create my legacy.”