Guest writer Samra Hasanovic is a trained practitioner of the art of yoga, as well as a teacher trainer and the owner of Head and Heart Yoga, a store and yoga school located in England. With a deep connection to her spiritual side, Samra has been a longtime supporter of our mission to enlighten and engage our inner selves, through the means of healing stone jewellery, and mala beads. We got talking with Samra, as she told us of her spiritual journey and daily practices.
Tell us about your journey. Where are you from? What do you do?
Hi. I’m a yoga teacher, yoga teacher trainer and owner of Head and Heart Yoga a store and yoga school. But that’s my profession– and they change, so it doesn’t necessarily define me as a person!
I live in a small market town of Saffron Walden in the east of England. I’ve been living in the UK for almost 30 years, but I’m originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina (what used to be former Yugoslavia).
I arrived in the UK when I was 18 in the midst of the war in the Balkans, having left my family and the life I knew there. I adapted, I changed, I persevered.
My journey is… well, it’s a very long story given where it started. Maybe I end up writing a book one day!
Tell us about your spiritual and meditative practices.
I practice yoga and meditation every day. However, practice for me means living it! Therefore, I live by honouring yogic values. Meditation for me doesn’t necessarily mean sitting on the meditation cushion. Having said that, it has taken me some time to understand this statement– through determination, teachings and constant practice… years of it.
What do you do to ground yourself in your spiritual practices in these uncertain times?
This is a loaded question, the answer to which cannot be contained in one simple sentence.
I have a routine. In Ayurveda, as I’m sure many of our readers will know, this is called Dinacharya– a daily routine in order to remain balanced with nature. I do a fairly short physical practice in the morning to allow my body to move freely and I do my meditation (which ranges from walking meditation, mantra or sitting meditation).
I also advocate and practice Pranayama– simple techniques to help calm and balance the body– such as alternative nostril breathing or diaphragmatic breathing.
According to you, what is the importance of mindfulness in today’s world?
Oh, it’s immense! I would not be the person I am now without it. Having gone through the war, practically raising and educating myself with no help– and then starting the business from scratch with a busy family life– It takes guts but it also takes dedication and self-discipline. Practising mindfulness through meditation and yoga has been the way for me.
Just remember the feeling after a yoga or meditation class– Well, it’s worth practising, isn’t it?
What advice would you give to somebody struggling with mental health in the age of the Covid-19 pandemic?
I think my story says it all. Covid-19 is like being in the war. You are suddenly left with nothing, and you have to improvise and reinvent yourself and your life. The routine (which includes healthy food), physical practice, daily walks in nature if possible, yoga and meditation is extremely important. I would include daily conversations with your loved ones, teachers, friends– the means of conversation isn’t important. A telephone call, online, Zoom, perhaps even a physical meeting. Being positive and staying positive is incredibly difficult – and there will be bad days – but coming back to these routines and contacts is incredibly important.
I offer guided meditation which is included in my Online Sangha, which is open to everyone. There are also some written instructions and free guided meditations on my website.
There is the end of the tunnel– we just need to sail through it.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their spiritual journey?
Research and explore. Try different practices as not one-size-suits-all applies here too. Yoga classes are for everyone– all-inclusive but again not one-suits-all. There are many great teachers of yoga, but even I have favourites! So, research, explore, practice and above all have fun!
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