Finding peace within
Aiste has already set up the Yoga mats on the spacious and tastefully decorated ocean view terrace at World of Waves as I arrive. Every evening she teaches here while the sun sets in a spectacular range of colors to the sound of waves crushing on Taghazout's beach. The atmosphere is calm and easy going and so is Aiste, a 28 year old fragile almost ferry-like looking woman from Lithuania. I want to get to know her a little before the class starts. So I ask some rather unconventional questions hoping they might catch her by surprise and reveal some interesting insights.
“Aiste, we finish the interview, you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?” She looks at me with a serious look in her big blue eyes and takes a moment to think before she comes up with an answer.
“I am sure I would not take winning this ticket as a blessing”, she replies. “Long time ago I read an article about people winning in lottery and the statistic about their level of happiness and it really stuck to my mind. Most of them were not happier then before. In fact the majority became miserable. They did not know how to deal with this amount of money, ending up having debts in the end, as they spent to much.” She pauses again.
“Of course I am 21 century person and like everybody I need a little bit of money to serve my needs and to feel safe. I think I would invest some of it in trainings and my spiritual growth. But mostly I think I would realize one of my dreams, which is to open a university for women.”
“What would you be teaching there?”, I ask. Aiste smiles.
“We would learn about the things that nobody teaches us”, she says. “Incorporating traditional and ancient practices, reconnecting us women with the nature and the moon and the natural cycles we are so disconnected from these days. Empowering us again in our feminine energy.”
“Why is femininity important to you?” I want to know.
“Because we live in a patriarchal society, were everybody wants women to live and to act like men at all times. Even in Yoga. All the classic Yoga styles like Hatha and Asthanga that are so popular these days were initially created by men for men. Yet nowadays more then 95 percent of Yoga practitioners are women – practicing something that does not fully take their bodies and the needs of their bodies into account. That's why I focus on Yoga that also works for women's bodies. Knowing that women change with their cycles and have different levels of energy available throughout the different phases.”
So the Yoga your teach is only for women?
“Of course not! Yoga is for everybody. Especially when you combine it with other sports, such as Surfing. Yoga helps everybody to create stillness and harmony within. There is only one kind of person that can not practice Yoga. And that's a lazy person.” Aiste laughs. “Everyone else can. It doesn't matter which gender you are, or how old you are. Yoga can always be adjusted to your needs. And that's what I like to focus on – individual needs.”
Aiste, what do you think about, when you are alone?
“Like most people I have a very creative monkey mind. So my thoughts jump from one to the next pretty quickly. But I am a big believer in the power of the mind. So I always try to focus on the positive things. I am daydreaming a lot about things that I want to manifest in my life and I think it works. Also I am spending a lot of time planing my Yoga sequences, workshops, retreats and my travels.”
What is most important to you in life?
“For many years, the answer to this question was freedom. But after seeing almost half of the world and traveling to all kinds of places for many years, I realized that what is most important to me is actually my family and the people that are close to me. The more I traveled and saw, the more freedom I had, the more lonely I felt, not having anyone to spend all these beautiful moments with.”
What was the last gift you gave someone?
“Everyday I am giving at least twenty gifts to the people who are coming to my classes. The luxury of doing nothing, just listening to the breath, feeling the heart beat, being in the here and now and finding peace within. I think that's a very beautiful gift to give.”
Aiste, why should I practice Yoga?
“What is Yoga?” she asks in return, just do answer the question herself. “Yoga is everything. From taking conscious breaths and being in the here and now to looking at the sunset and having complete stillness in your head and peace in your heart. We practice Yoga in order to achieve this status of peace more often, for a longer period of time. Of course we also practice Yoga to strengthen our body and to stretch the muscles so the energy in our body can move freely, rewarding us with a bigger amount of vitality. Yoga is not an exer-cise, it is an inner-cise”, she says and smiles. “It is a practice for body, mind and spirit. The Asana practice, meaning the physical practice on the mat, can make your body strong, healthy, flexible and beautiful. Meanwhile breathing exercises and meditation can create stillness and peace in your head which will lead to serenity and happiness. So, why shouldn't you practice Yoga?”
What can I expect when joining your Class at World of Waves?
“At World of Waves we are practicing Yoga on the roof top terrace facing the atlantic ocean. The class starts at the golden hour. The sun sets just in front of you. The sound of the smashing waves will guide your breath. The class takes 60 minutes and I am focussing on longer, deeper stretches, mixing energizing Vinyassa with calming, grounding Yin Yoga postures to help your body relax after a day of surfing. Breath work and breathing exercises are also incorporated. I offer small meditations and long periods of relaxations.”
What are the benefits for Surfing?
“The best thing to improve surfing is of course surfing. But Yoga comes right after that. Yoga can release the pain in your lower back after practicing pop ups and the tension in your neck and shoulder area which can occur after long paddling sessions. Also Yoga strengthens your body. Finally I am teaching my students how to breath with the full capacity of their lungs so they are able to hold their breath for much longer during wipe outs.”
As the 60-minutes class starts Aiste leads with a soft and calming voice, demonstrating almost every position on her own mat, but also giving respectful hand on assist, to make the practice more rewarding for the participants. In many poses she offers different variations depending on the level and needs of the practitioners, while explaining the poses in detail and giving some insights into yogic philosophy by incorporating little tales and stories into her talk.
It is a quite evening on the beautiful terrace and even though there are customers at the restaurant downstairs their voices do not reach upstairs. Only the constant breaking of waves is audible along with Aistes caring instructions. While the sun slowly sinks into the ocean she guides her students through a strengthening yet relaxing and restorative sequence.
After the class Aiste stays with me for a little chat and I learn, that if she is not teaching in Morocco, she travels to South East Asia to study every summer. She is educated in Stand-up Paddle Board Yoga, als well as Tantra, Thai and Ayurvedic massage and as a nutritionist.
Aiste, what is the most precious thing you take away from these traveling experiences?
“The people I met. In every country and on every trip I met at least one person that really shaped me and gave me new ideas, on what I would like to focus more of my energy on, but also in terms of where I should go next and what I would like to learn. I am grateful for that.”
What did you find in Taghazout you weren't looking for but now appreciate?
“It is beautiful to see how the Yoga scene is growing here in Taghazout for the last four years. When I first came, there was almost nothing around. But year after year there is more spiritual workers and Yogis coming to Taghzout to enjoy its simplicity and calmness. And it is really nice to be part of this blooming scene.”
Aiste Visockaite, was born 1990 in Kelme, Lithuania. She studied Sport Recreation and Tourism in Kaunas, Lithuania. She lived in Spain, Malta, Italy, Ireland and India before she came to Taghazout in 2013 for the first time. Since then she has spent every winter season from September to March in Morocco.
Daily Yoga class at World of Waves, 5 to 6 pm, also private classes are available upon request
100 MAD per person for the group sessions and 250 for a private class
matts and blankets are provided