Pistis Zadoff

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At 19 I set forth to surpass the horizons of my own small world, and what better place for that then India? I spent there 4 months searching and tasting from the rich spiritual delicacies it has to offer – Tibetan Buddhism retreats, Reiki, classes with Lamas and talks with ascetic Saddhus, but it wasn’t what my heart was after… and then I found Yoga. On the train to Varanasi I met Dave, an English Yoga teacher and a friendship was forged instantaneously. In the following days we practiced together, spending hours learning new Asanas and Kriyas (purification techniques), he was excited as my natural flexibility allowed me to do exercises he couldn’t even after a few years of practice, and practicing Yoga felt like re-finding a long lost friend. When we went our separate ways Dave recommended a good book I could practice with, a book that became my guide for the next years.

I came back to Israel and started studying the book. I started practicing gradually, few times per week. First the basic techniques and warm-ups, then I advanced to the intermediate, then I added Chakra awareness and in the last phase I practiced only advanced techniques, Pranayamas and Mudras. I reached to practice on my own 2 hours per session almost on daily basis. But something became more and more clear as I advanced with the practice – no matter how much I practice or how advanced are the techniques I use, without the guidance of a spiritual guide the practice has very little efficiency. I thought that authentic spiritual guides that can really take you over your limits (I was reading the books of Carlos Castaneda at the time, and the idea of a Don Juan-like master fascinated me) probably do not exist in this world any more in our days, but if they do you probably must deserve such a master, and so that became the purpose of my practice.

And so, after 3 years I set on a new journey back to India in search of spiritual guidance.  I spent a couple of months checking the Tibetan Temples in the Himalaya, but without success. And then I found the branch of this school that exited then in Rishikesh, the next day I joined a 10 day silent retreat of meditation and when it was over I knew – I found what I was looking for: Advanced techniques, deep understanding of the spiritual principles and a community of people full of spiritual aspiration. I decided to finish the travels I had planned and then to fully dedicate myself to this spiritual path, so when my trip was done I moved to Romania and joined one of the many Ashrams of the school.

This what I found here was even deeper than what I found in India: a community of people rich with many years of spiritual experience that were like a fountain of new knowledge, fully dedicated to the spiritual path not only while on vacation and traveling but in the so called “normal” day to day life, a multitude of courses and spiritual groups on top of the Yoga courses that enriched my inner world with knowledge and experiences (I did 8 years of Shivaism course, A 2 year Enneagram  course, revelation of the self groups, Parapsychology modules, different esoteric groups and more), and most important than all, I found my heart’s wish in the form of an authentic spiritual guide – I met Grieg.

That was more than was needed to convince me. I submersed completely into this new world that I found. I would spend my days doing full time Karma Yoga, doing 8 hours per day construction work with a team of Yogis that built new ashrams. In the evening I come back to the Ashram to practice and complete the few hours long Tapases that I received from the spiritual guide. My whole world was in this spiritually charged environment, including the couple relationships I had over the years that were as important teachers on the path as the courses and the practice. This life style continued for about 8 years. In different forms it actually continues until the present day (about 17 years after first moving to the Ashram).

I find that the lessons I learned in this period are priceless. They have touched practically every part of my being transforming it and improving it. Without doubt Yoga has made me a happier, healthier more harmonious person. I feel it has opened my heart and through it I have learned so much about love and giving. It has given me the tools and courage to accomplish whatever I set my mind to fulfill and in the same time the even greater courage to abandon to the divine will. I feel it nourishes my soul, strengthens my body, enriches my mind and reveals to me that this world we live in as a miraculous place full of wonder, making life the joyful exploration of the endless possibilities that are offered to us by God. Yoga is a great passion of my life. And so it was a natural step for me to become an instructor, so I could share this passion to others, hoping to be able to pass on to others at least part of all that which I received.