Hatha Yoga Foundation Course (HYFC)
Since I started Yoga I have learned how to relax and be more peaceful with myself. I am always looking forward to my next class as there is always new information to learn from. I am also more flexible and feel my aches and pains less.
I want to thank you for everything. Keep up the good work.
Pauline, age 58
I am a 52 year old, separated man. I have been practising yoga on and off ever since I was 16 year old. I always believed that one can benefit a lot from the practice of yoga and whenever I was under severe stress and pressure, whether emotional or work related, I always turned to yoga and meditation to ease things up. Unfortunately however, although I always benefited from yoga the way I practised it, I always believed that I can gain much more if I can attend a yoga course that can offer professional guidance. One area that I specifically needed guidance was breathing while doing the asanas. So I searched on Facebook and came across Zoya Lu, whom incidentally I knew before from TV programmes. I first attended an open session at Ghajn Tuffieha and was impressed. Then I decided to join the next available Hatha Yoga course. I can say that Zoya guided me through a number of asanas and taught me how to breath while practising these asanas...thus maximising the benefits that one can reap from the practice of yoga. I'm really glad to have achieved this. Big thanks to Zoya.
Jimmy Buhagiar, Balzan, Admin Manager
By practicing Hatha Yoga I have increased flexibility and strength. I feel also much better mentally, so much clearer and less stressed out. I have learned how to breathe properly, relax and pay more attention to what my body is telling me. I think :) sense of peace helps your mind work more efficiently when needed. Yoga is a mental challenge for me. I really enjoyed this course. It has opened my mind in new directions. I find Yoga as a healthy, natural way to relax and improve overall health. It is something we can all learn to appreciate. I would like to thank Zoya for being professional and friendly at all time.
Izabela, age 34, receptionist
Before I began Yoga with you, Zoya, I felt in pretty good shape for my age as I run, swim and golf on a regular basis and had an exercise routine I followed perhaps three times a week. After starting Yoga I realized not only how inflexible I had really become but also that even though I was strong in some areas the "inner strength" that we all naturally possess was not easy to call upon - in some early sessions even some basic exercises would find out those muscles that we don't use day to day and test my capabilities! Now, having only just completed the Foundation course I find my flexibility returning, less complaints from those previously inactive muscles and even my dodgy knee is improving (although I have to amend some of the asanas to accommodate it)! I have also begun to realise how yoga can open up my mind and help me relax and get to know my inner self (body and soul) and the relaxation part of the sessions is as beneficial and important to me as the more physical parts. One more thing, I have adapted my golf swing to incorporate the Ujjaye pranayama breathing and it really works well for me! Can't thank you enough and cant wait for the next classes to begin.
Mike Bennett, age 62, Bahar ic Caghaq
I have learned more about proper breathing during asanas, which makes going into and coming out much easier and less risk of injury. Although I have done yoga for 3 years now, when I completed Hatha Yoga Foundation Course, I think I finally learned how to do the asanas as they should be and also I get a much better feeling of achievement and peace of mind. Zoya, you do a great job. Keep on promoting yourself because a lot of people could benefit from your knowledge and instruction. Please do not give up!
Nathalie Attard, age 55, Swieqi
Here is what yoga has done for me:
1. Confidence in an exercise class. I was able to join the Pilates class at Gaiafest. I am very self conscious when it comes to exercising in public ! :)
2. Improvements in my posture through awareness of various muscle groups
3. An increased awareness of my limited flexibility which has motivated me to continue practicing.
4. Introduced me to controlled breathing which I believe will benefit my general health esp in the future
5. Improvements in my coordination esp through the sun salutation sequence
6. Improved my ability to commit myself to an exercise program at least by attending every class
I am sure there are other benefits I'm not recognizing now but will show up later! Thanks so much for everything!
Angela Charles, age 41, St.Julians, teacher
I don't think I can express how grateful I am for the knowledge you have passed on to me. It has been both challenging and beneficial in my quest of being a better and calmer person. You have been a very positive influence over my daily life and I thank you for your continued patience. It has been a great pleasure and inspiration to meet you. May our paths meet again.
I started yoga a couple of months ago in order to improve my stamina and flexibility. Being a person who sits at a desk for the majority of the day, I needed something that would improve my posture and make me more flexible for training purposes. Through yoga, I learnt how to challenge both my body and my mind and now I am slowly discovering my true potential. I am already starting to see improvements in my posture and am feeling more flexible than ever before. There is still a long way to go but at least I am doing something for my well-being! A few minutes a day of yoga can work wonders - you feel less stressed, healthier, happier. A session of yoga is definitely what is needed in order to cut off from the hectic world we live in. I now regularly perform yoga after training sessions at the gym in order to release my body from the strain and in order to unwind after a full day's work.
Ilona Darmanin, age 26, teacher
I started yoga as a committed exercise-phobe with a life-long aversion to gym, competitive sports and exercise classes, but somehow I knew it would suit me, and it did. I find yoga to be a democratic discipline, suitable for both young and old. It is minimalist by nature, requiring no equipment except a mat and of course an instructress or instructor, especially at the beginning. It can be learned and subsequently practiced at home, and can become a life long habit. It offers a combination of the static and the dynamic: there are always opposing forces at play, and it is very varied. However, I find that what yoga is not is equally important. It is not competitive. Some poses are admittedly challenging, but can be attempted at different levels, and with practice can be mastered. Also it is not social, even in a full class you are on your own, the perfect antidote to our crowded lives. I found that the sessions offer an excellent overall workout, and certainly my balance and posture have improved over the last few weeks. I have also discovered muscles I was not aware of. I must admit I did not start our seeking out the spiritual element of yoga, although in practice this is inseparable from the physical, but the total concentration necessary is mentally refreshing and achievable with time. I find it a beautiful experience to participate in this centuries old discipline.
Thank you so much for being such an inspiring and generous guide on this journey through the foundation course. The fact that you share so much information with us both during and after the lessons is much appreciated! I'm really enjoying and benefitting from the experience. It has helped me to re-establish my daily meditation practice, which is a great blessing...
I have found this yoga course not only beneficial for my body, but also as a means of relaxing the mind which I instantly felt after the first lesson. It leaves a peacefulness inside me that allows me to be more positive towards life. It has also made me more flexible physically and this gives me a feeling of well being. I am now more aware of my posture and I keep on working on it to correct it.
S. Aquilina, age 21, medical student
A big thank you to you because I really enjoyed the yoga foundation course. I think you are a terrific instructor.
Just to say how effective first two lessons of HYFC have been so far: I am sleeping better. My breathing is better. I am listening to my breathing. I really am feeling a subtle new strength developing each time I work on an asana. My flexibility is making a subtle but clear difference to my everyday lack of aches and pains. I really want to build what I have learned in your lessons into a regime that I can carry on after the lessons have finished to get the full benefit of your teaching.
After completing HYFC - benefits of the course as follows :
Physically before the course: I was suffering from a number of annoying aches and pains. This was due to lack of exercise with a 4 kilometer walk on the golf course once a week being the only outlet.
After the course: they all disappeared except one. My eczema has become better with fewer scratchy times when an area of the body surface heats up badly to become itchy. Sleep has improved. I'm getting more of it and better quality, too. There is a greater flexibility in the body now which I enjoy enormously. Each practice session is now taking 35 minutes not 20 when I started. More energy too.
Psychologically: Calmer now. Less anxious. Less self-recrimination for past, failed personal and professional decisions.
Spiritually: A greater sense of well-being especially after the practice session. More centered within myself - more in touch with my emotions.
Your website has become a valuable reference point for the different asanas that I need to make in this new individual programme, stating their positions, breathing and the health benefits for assuming each position is great too. The individual programme tailored to fit each student is a stroke of genius - and I am a marketing man who advises clients on their lack of service and product delivery all the time in Malta, quite apart from trying to build their brands in international markets. Your quality control process is much to be admired too. I only wish our clients ran their companies the way you run your courses.
Nigel, age 58, marketing development
Sandra MB, Xghajra, pharmacist
just a few words of appreciation for this wonderful, inspiring and invigorating course. Though i am physically a very active person, the postures i have learnt are helping me slowly but surely to gain flexibility and consciousness in my movements and breathing. I found you a very knowledgeable person and appreciated the detailed explanations of the effects each pose has on mind and body. However, my favorite part of the course was the last, which i looked forward to from days before! The meditation felt so relieving and I carried its benefits throughout the day. Obviously being a beginners course it simply gave me a taste of a world yet to be discovered.
Thank you for existing :)
I have really enojoyed your lessons. Most of all I feel that I am now aware of my posture, which you pointed out, and I try not to curve my back too much. Also, unlike other instructors, I like the fact that you repeat the breathing during every move as sometimes I tend to forget whether I should be breathing in or out. Looking forward to the next course. Thanks a lot!
I like your focus on breathing and your interest when correcting positions. I learnt a lot of new ways to stretch as well as to relax. I think I'm feeling calmer in my daily life especially after the yoga lesson. Keep up the good work, Zoya!
Clyde Ellul, 28 y.old, Qormi, software engineer
Thank you for the individual program. I have really enjoyed the introductory course, your classes are very thorough and I feel I have gained a better understanding of Yoga. Thank you for your hard work.
Ever since I met you and started yoga my life changed- the inner peace I achieved really made me live a better life. I really like the first issue of the newsletter and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the good work you are doing and for sharing it. I would like to thank you for your hospitality for the End of Year Celebration - it was truly a celebration for mind and soul and I enjoyed it so much. I would like to thank you once more for everything you helped me achieve.
Yoga with Zoya was recommended by a friend who suffers from back problems, as I do. The classes are focussed on possibility and potential, so whatever I'm unable to do right now, I know I will learn to do through practise. The benefits of yoga are mental as well as physical. Now, I correct my posture instinctively and my back problems have eased. When the pain returns, I now know how to handle it without missing out on yoga practise. Classes with Zoya are a pleasure and I can't recommend them enough.