Maha is the director and founder of the Agama Healing Center, in this article and interview with us she talks about Yoga Therapy and the Advanced Yoga Therapy Training coming up on 18th September 2017...
I am Dr. Mihaiela Pentiuc, most people in Koh Phangan and internationally know me under the Yogic name Maha. I am the director of Agama Healing center, the founder of the first Yoga Therapy training in this island and one of the international pioneers of Therapeutic Yoga teachings.
The Advanced Yoga Therapy Training is the specialization training for those dedicated yoga teachers and therapists around the world who understand what an outstanding contribution yoga practice can play for a healthy life of everybody in this world.
This is a most comprehensive and intensive program adapting yoga to individual needs and specific pathologies with respect for both the scientific methods as well as traditional principles.
Yoga therapy benefits extend way deeper than bone, muscles or ligaments. The problems of the human body request a careful integration of mind, body, energy, social and environmental factors. We train our therapists beyond the convenient level of quick fixes or shallow adjustments, with true respect for professionalism, modern paradigms and original spirit.
We live the times of modern medical dream settling to its reality: we cannot kill every damn microbe, moreover some of them proved essential to our health; antibiotic resistance is threatening the whole world, depression responds pretty well to breathing and exercise, trauma is the basis of most addictive behaviors, there is no miracle hap for stress disorders and genes are not in total control of our future. “Health is a doctor’s business” slowly but surely becomes obsolete.
Our passion for yoga therapy and AYT training bond dearly with the front line of this universal movement toward empowerment of personal choices and self-healing mechanisms. While yoga is already a world wide fashion, Yoga therapy only now builds its infrastructure. This is the best time to start a yoga therapy career.
What do you think an individual can gain from your training?
This training transforms yoga practice into its rightful wholesome therapy for body and soul. It reinstates the lost dignity of the suffering human and expands health care to the level of life purpose and personal transformation. In yoga therapy we truly listen, deeply care and attentively adapt.
And what uniqueness will you personally bring to this event?
27 years of integration between western medical practice and complementary therapies. A well known name and renown experience with the intricacies of physical health and mental-emotional-spiritual challenges. The deep understanding of the holistic character of yoga and meditative practices. The rich perspective of a medical doctor and a long-term practitioner. The hundreds and thousands of students, clients and teachers for whom we have been life-changing and career-builder initiators.
How long have you been practicing Yoga?
More than 27 years. Without even counting the years of under-the-counter secret studies during tyrannical prohibition of yoga and meditative practices in a communist regime.
What is your area of specialty?
Hatha yoga in the Laya yoga style with emphasis on prana, chakras and tantric practices. Mantra meditation is my main form of personal observation although a wider range of meditative methods and techniques have been studied along time including Vipassana, Kashmiri Shaivism, Tibetan and Indian Tantra.
In your words, can you please describe this specific area of Yoga?
Direct investigation of the true nature of mind and reality using focused attention, loving awareness, mind-body reconciliation, focus on energy patterns and an all-encompassing, non-judgmental, integrative mentality.
How did you get involved with Agama and how did you end up on Koh Phangan?
My first yoga steps have been guided by two of most advanced disciples of Swami Vivekananda Saraswati. I met Swami eight years afterwards, and since then he guided my personal practice as well as the work and struggles of integration between Western medical studies and Eastern traditional philosophy and therapy.
Being in love with my profession I never dreamed about a life in a tropical island. How did I end up in Koh Phangan? Dharma – one’s purpose and life duty according to the Yogis.
If you like, tell us your Koh Phangan story...
More than 15 years the Western part of this island was pretty much the appendix of the world famous Full Moon party. Two small yoga places, some shady bungalows lucky to get the leftovers of Eastern parties and a run-down candle factory that have been briefly renovated into a yoga hall by a handful of enthusiastic yogis. Yoga classes and lectures were running in parallel with rat fights and jungle life, relaxation was a brief attempt to resist mosquito attacks and meditation a constant practice of patient focus on an inner sound loudly competed by cicadas concerts.
With Swami’s complete dedication and talent and the aspiration of so many sincere students and seekers, the Sunset part of Koh Phangan became the home of Agama Yoga and in time, an internationally famous hub of yoga schools, Tantric explorers and alternative communities.
In my first year on Koh Phangan the word vegetarian was not part of any restaurant menu; now everyone agrees it is easier to be vegan here than in most advanced cities of this world. Internet access at that time was closest available in Thong Sala; 30 baht one hour in a steaming hot café with no coffee. The infamous 2002 tsunami happened while we were in a silent meditation retreat. Family and friends worried for more than a week before getting news of our safety.
These days internet cafes are part of history all together.
And leave us with your personal Yogi Philosophy...
“The alluring beauty of this Universe appears by the power of your imagination,
It has no other origin”
Anuttara Satika - Abhinavagupta