May 10, 2013

Art, Greece & Hatha: A Surreal Yoga Story.

The Story of Hatha Yoga Teacher, Oona Giesen.

Recently I embarked on a voyage to find the experienced Hatha Yoga teacher Oona Giesen. Under heavy winds, strong tides, and a rose orangerie sunrise, I traversed the Mediterranean Sea in a ferry until arriving to the Cycladic Island of Paros in Greece.

It was an explosion of karmic enigmas; yes, indeed it was like starring at a Surrealist painting of karmic anarchism, yogic mysticism, a perfection in color matching, brushstrokes in slow motion…a framed canvas that portrayed the artist’s life story.

Oona’s life is like the “Who is Coming/who is going” of Hans Giesen, her father’s art masterpieces. An enormous framed canvas of fulfilled samskaras, maybe an Expressionist Munch or a Surrealist Dali, a blurriness of brushstrokes that while appreciating it fully traps your senses and suddenly becomes reality, suddenly personifies Oona’s life.

Her life represents perfection in color transformation, where dark palettes of black, brown, gray and pale white, transformed into an explosion of vividly happy colors, where yoga became not only the most powerful tool to survival, but a miraculous healer.

A karmic car accident in 1998 changed her life. Yoga took over her palette of life colors and transformed her deep suffering, serious physical pain, broken spine, sadness, hopeless stars, and mental pain into a sparkling bright art canvas. Pale and dark colors vanished; Oona took over her story and managed to work out her accumulated past karmas into a multiplier of healthy inspirations. Her yoga developed a conscious connection with her own body, mind and soul.

A hidden gem, Oona at the odds of such tragic karmas was able to wash away her canvas, and repaint a whole new colorful masterpiece. Her physical body couldn’t run away and abandon the world. Her soul led her way to survival, to pure miraculous healing. Yes, indeed her fearless soul was able to paint new and flashy brushtrokes with yoga’s colorful tonalities.

Studying yoga with Oona was like discovering a hidden gem, losing sense of time while being fully immersed in yoga’s true healing wisdom.

Her uniqueness in teaching and her safe approach to the Iyengar Yoga system, added to her perfection in anatomic adjustment, and ability to modify literally any asana to the students’ needs is unbelievable. Her powerful asana brushstrokes, profound body, mind and soul connection, and flashy freshness in observation, creates an art masterpiece that constantly portrays yoga’s magic.

As The Global Yogini, my soul is hungry for exploring, for uncovering our world’s hidden gems, narrating stories, understanding the power that yoga has in saving lives, and most importantly, sharing these inspiring stories with others.

The way Oona observed and connected with my body and the perfection in her adjustments, not only portrayed the millenary yogic wisdom, but expressed her yogic liberated soul.

Today Oona’s canvas is full of colorful bright brushstrokes were love fully took over. Her wonderful husband Peter, her lovely baby boy Thomas, and her two cats are the members of her magical Parian home.

As she narrated “no doctor, no back specialist, no scientific expert has been able to understand how it all evolved, how I am able to still be alive and even walk.”

This is just a piece of Oona’s original canvas. Art, immaterial sensibility, irrational, truly liberating, the center of life. Yes, art is the only source able to portray Oona’s story, a Surrealist canvas that no artist, no scientist, simply no human being is able to understand. She is just a miraculous gem.

I fully recommend considering the opportunity of visiting Paros, and joining along Oona’s holidays or retreats. It is indeed a yogic inspiring experience. Gracias Oona for your wisdom!


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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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The Global Yogini

Carolina Daza is a multi-faceted artist and globe-trotter spreading her love for yoga and the arts in a uniquely creative way. She completed her 500HR Ashtanga Yoga teacher training (Yoga Alliance) in Paris with Gérald Disse & Linda Munro at Ashtanga Yoga Paris and has been leading retreats for numerous years.

Carolina has a Master’s in Contemporary Arts from the Université Paris VIII and completed a second Master’s of Arts at New York University (NYU). While her studies at NYU, she lived at the Bhakti Center prime ashram in the Lower East Side of Manhattan together with her teacher Divya Alter, founder of the Bhagavat Life. Carolina has studied with senior level Ashtanga Yoga teachers such as Chuck Miller, Ron Reid, David Garrigues and Kino MacGregor.

Besides her artistic projects, she is also part of YALACollective.com a worldwide community of creative wellness, organizing Yoga journeys and workshops around the globe. Currently she is based in Medellín, Colombia.