In my series of interviews with travel blogger, I look for travel bloggers and influencers with interesting lives who can share some inspiring stories and useful advice from their experience. Recently I have met Yogini Gopika. She journeyed to India for the first time in 2004 and made her home in Vrindavan, the land of Shri Krishna. Yogini Gopika is an experienced yoga teacher, Tantrik Priestess, Spiritual guide, Shakti circle holder, Ayurvedic wellness Coach, co-founder of Shiva Shakti Tantra and creator of Divine Feminine Flow yoga.  She is a catalyst towards personal evolution and universal harmony. As an embodiment of ancient goddess wisdom she invites all to remember the sacredness of life itself and embrace an enchanted existence. She specializes in sacred rituals, shiva shakti yoga, goddess awakening, esoteric himalayan tantra and mantra healing.  As a facilitator of personal transformation, she teaches Tantra Yoga teacher trainings, courses and guides people one on one.  Gopika specifically guides women to tap into their innate power source and create alignment in all areas of their lives, while unlocking their own feminine magnificence. 

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Her purpose has always been intuitively Tantrik: to create a more boundless and fearless existence for herself and her students. Living immersed in the culture of spiritual India for many years, has helped her develop the intuition and insight necessary to facilitate inner transformation. The methods of Yoga and Ayurveda are the most direct ways she has found to guide people to step fully into their personal potential.

How did you develop an interest in yoga? How did you get started?

Upon getting my first “real job” after college, I can remember a heartfelt longing for something greater: “there must be more to life than this”. Once I discovered yoga, I knew I had found a jewel, something that would forever change my life.  And it did. Everything transformed and I made a swift exit from mainstream society in search of life’s true meaning.

I journeyed to India and made my home in Vrindavan, the land of Radha Krishna; where every step is a dance and every word is a song. My life fell into a rhythm with the Universe and the Divine. Everything became spiritualized. Living in this ancient holy place known for awakening prema; (divine ecstatic love) purified my heart and soul.

Yogini Gopika

How long have you been practicing Yoga?

In the beginning (2003) yoga was something I practiced, for the first year or so, which means it was an action I did regularly.  However for the fruits of yoga practice to grow it must become sadhana and eventually a total way of living.  This crucial element of lifestyle must not be overlooked. It should support the steadiness of sadhana in order for the fruits of yoga to blossom.  Finally life itself becomes yogic. There is union.

As the great sage Patanjali says in the yoga sutras, yoga practice must be uninterrupted, with full concentration done for a long period of time in order to completely satisfy the self.  This describes a practitioner who has come to the level of sadhana.  There is an energy that is carrying you along at this point, as you are creating that daily.

I just want to clarify that “practicing yoga” is way beyond asana. For me it is a complete philosophy of life and it expands out to all aspects of my life.  Bhakti, devotion to the path, coupled with a desire to refine my own character, are what drives my practice.  In this way it is constantly evolving.  

Tell us about your practice  

My practice begins from the night before by going to sleep early. I also make sure to take time to relax in the evening, not using technology or engaging much in the outside world.  Following an ayurvedic lifestyle is essential for me. I always take a light dinner before sunset, which helps me to wake up early and feel refreshed the next day.
After morning cleansing and beauty rituals, I put on clean clothes and sit in my place dedicated for yoga. I begin with Om, of course, followed by pranayama. Then I do mantra japa followed by silent meditation. When the sun is rising I begin movements; warm ups, sun salutations, asanas and whatever else I feel my body needs. I follow this with yoga nidra, more pranayama and meditation. I close with 3 rounds of om and some protective mantras.
This is the sequence, however what is most important is the intention and the mood I embody as I approach the practice. There must be total presence in order for it to be effective.  There are inner tantric practices that I include as well to purify, activate and balance the chakras. It is about generating positive, divine energy while harmonizing the entire system.  
At the same time, there must be some level of flexibility, so it is not all or nothing.  If you have a half hour only for some reason then you must do that.  If you are unwell, then no need to push the body but surely you can still do yoga nidra and some deep breathing.  Yoga is a discipline, yes, but gradually it merges with intuition and you know what you need and what you can actually do.  What I love is that sometimes you don’t know what the practice will look like and it just unfolds organically.

Yogini Gopika

What are your favorite forms of Yoga?

Yoga is an integral practice that should not be separated into parts. Tantra Yoga is a complete system that includes everything in one class/ practice session. Of course, I very much enjoy bhakti, as I love to sign and dance inside a temple atmosphere. Yet, I also enjoy the clarity and peace created by deep meditation. For every form of yoga, there is a flavor that satisfies some aspect of a human being’s natural needs.

How do you stay committed to your practice? 

I keep it fresh by always learning new things, challenging myself to expand and also by not being rigid. It should be a joy, something done with deep love, with bhava (feeling) and bhakti (devotion).

It is natural to be committed to something that you can immediately feel direct benefits such as: improved energy, balance, clarity, comfort in body and mind and overall auspiciousness in life.

What has been your biggest life lesson? 

As a sensitive and loving soul, I have learned to not give my power away and make other people or external things a priority over my own soul’s calling. This is a big one for many women as I believe as we tend to value love over all else. I have learned to transform romantic love into love for the self. In that way I am able to honor the natural gifts that I have been given and that are meant to be developed and shared. All of us must move past our own inner fears and self- created obstacles, so we may shine out and stand in the truth of who we are.

Yogini Gopika

What type of Yoga do you teach?

Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Tantra, Tantra Yoga, Mantra, Bhakti, Shiva Shakti Yoga, Goddess Embodiment/ Awakening

Where do you want to go from here? What are your future dreams?

I can envision developing my own ashram someday where I can teach the essence of yoga in all its depth from my own place. I would like to create that spiritual atmosphere that would support both myself and seekers alike. When I say ashram, I mean a sanctuary for deep sadhana/ yogic lifestyle, where nature is abundant and peace prevails. When people gather to share wisdom and invoke divine energies, that creation is magnified and becomes a power in itself to transform the world.

What are the challenges you face during your practice?  How do you overcome them? 

I treat myself with kindness always. If one day I don’t have a strong practice or even if I don’t practice at all for some reason; I just begin again. Life has many ups and downs naturally. We must learn to ride these waves and be flexible. It helps to see the bigger picture, knowing we are always supported by the universe. As long as our heart is in the right place then there are no obstacles, only opportunities to learn.  All can be overcome with acceptance and self- love.

Life’s challenges can be overcome by sadhana and sadhana’s challenges can be overcome by an inner resiliency that is established firmly in faith and devotion.

Yogini Gopika

What is the purpose that you have been aligning your life towards?

To bring out my greatest potential, to align with the universal energies, to be in divine grace and to share that enlightened state with others.

What changes did you notice in yourself after practicing Yoga?

Deep peace, capacity to tolerate all situations of life, better health of course… yet, the most significant is how my life has transformed over the course of time. As I look back I can see how every step was being guided that led me from one important phase to the next. Within a period of a couple years I found myself living in India deeply absorbed in spiritual life. For me yoga created a deep awakening that touched every aspect of my existence. It is still doing that till this day. I feel deeply blessed by this gift and am forever grateful to Lord Shiva and all the Gurus who have come after him to share this science of the soul meant to awaken humanity to its purpose.

Any specific techniques developed by yourself?

I have developed a class that is made for women who are ready to let Shakti spiral through them with fluid and delightful yogic movement. It is a combination of Shakti dance, sensual vinyasa and Tantra meant to awaken the cosmic power source within by honoring the Goddess.  This class is a journey in the confines of sacred space that allows the women to fully experience and express their divine feminine essence, their inner magnificence.  It is a celebration of being a part of the cosmic creation through awakening all aspects of the Goddess.

Yogini Gopika

What has yoga done for you as a person?

Yoga is the foundation of my life.  It has given my life meaning and support in all ways. It has helped me to know who I am and transformed me into who I am really meant to be.  It is an anchor in the storm that gives resilience to face all challenges.

What would happen if Yoga is taken away from you?

It is not something that can be taken away as it is an inherent part of the soul. 

Any special message you want to give to our readers?

I encourage you to take up any spiritual practice that is attractive to you with full faith and dedication. Even 10 minutes a day can be effective if done with full awareness and intention.

This human life is not to be wasted in purely external pursuits. Knowing the self will awaken greater potential that will automatically solve material desires/ needs. Yoga is the greatest gift to humanity.

You can follow her on Web:

Website and Blog: www.theinneryogini.com

Email: gopika@theinneryogini.com

FB: theinneryogini, shivashaktitantra

Instagram: the.innner.yogini, shivashaktitantra

sumit

Author sumit

Sumit Sharma is a full-time digital marketer who finds his passion in traveling and blogging about his experiences.

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