Teacher Feature: Ragia Momtaz

July 29, 2018

 

How and when did you start practicing yoga?

About 12 years ago, I used to work in an advertising agency and I found a brochure about a yoga studio right next to the office so I thought I’d give it a shot. I took the flyer and I went to class and I got hooked from day one and soon became a regular student. It was Ashtanga Mysore with Mira and it was quite hard core to say the least! You need a lot of discipline for it and a lot of commitment. I stopped for a while due to travel and when I came back I got more curious about other types of yoga and I tried a lot of different teachers and different styles.

 

How did you transition from a student of yoga to a teacher?

This was also a coincidence. In 2013, I needed a break from work and from the corporate world I was part of. I wanted to go on holiday, somewhere where I can relax, do yoga and meditate but I wasn't even too fixated on the yoga part. I just wanted something generic focusing on health and well-being. The more I looked, the more yoga teacher training popped up and it felt insane. At one point, I caved and thought fine, why not. I decided to do the teacher training, not to teach but to have a month-long break, do something that's good for me, learn more about yoga, without an intention of teaching afterwards at all. I did my training in modified Ashtanga series but because I started yoga in the Mysore program it was very difficult for me to teach the modified Ashtanga. When I came to teach I wasn't too comfortable or confident. So, teaching for me didn't really pick up until I did another teacher training in 2015 in Vinyasa. This time it was planned, I wanted to continue my studies and I wanted to teach. Yoga became my life, I was teaching more than 8 classes a week and it was amazing.

 

Living and practicing in Germany now, how different is the yoga culture between Egypt and Germany?

Hands down, the best yoga classes are here in Egypt so far. Here, yoga has a very big spiritual side to it as well as an intuitive side. Germany is different, you can feel that these teachers just write down the sequence they will teach, they teach it and that's it. It's a bit dry and systematic. To me with yoga, there is a very big part of it that's not systematic, it's very much intuitive and I really feel that from the teachers here in Egypt, they really connect with you. I believe that Egypt, as a land, is Holy. I truly do. So, teaching such a spiritual practice on a holy land, you definitely feel something extra here. It comes from the teachers and it comes from the energy of the places; it's something completely different.

 

Speaking of that little extra something here, when and how did you start learning about energy healing?

This is a nice story. It came about before teaching yoga actually. Around the time of the Revolution in 2011, I was in the corporate world and back then I didn't meditate at all. I was sitting in my balcony and I just felt like I've had it, I really felt that there was something bigger for me and it was definitely not the corporate world but I had no idea what it was. I sat out there underneath the full moon, which I would recommend to anybody to sit and meditate under the full moon if they’re looking for answers, and I sincerely asked " what am I supposed to do next?" I remember I was sitting on a chair, my feet on the floor; the Pharaohs say that this is a very high point of energy, when you have your feet on the ground, your knees bent in a 90-degree angle and you put your hands on your knees; you're receiving great energy this way. That night, I sat under the full moon and I asked God, "What is for me?" and these words came to me: Vibrational science. 

 

They came so loud that I actually got up and went into the house. I really wasn't the type who meditates or hears things or anything of the sort at all. I had no idea and no background whatsoever about vibrational science; these words just came to me and they were as if somebody was shouting them out loud. I freaked out completely, nothing like that has ever happened to me before. Then I was like ok what the heck is vibrational science! I called a friend of mine and told her what happened, she was really intrigued and told me that they had a book in their center called vibrational medicine and asked me to come and have a look at it. Basically, it's the science of vibration; everything is energy and this is about healing through vibration. There’s such a wide spectrum, you have yoga, you have crystals, you have arts, you have colour therapy, and you have aromatherapy; it's huge and it's endless and this is basically where my journey started. I didn't dive into it until two years later with the crystals, I was still trying to find out what the hell it's all about. Now, whatever I do I make sure that it goes back to the umbrella of “Am I following vibrational science?” And it's always a big yes because it's so broad. Almost a little too broad sometimes it gets overwhelming. Currently, I do essential oils, I do yoga, I do art, I had to put crystals on the side when I gave birth to my daughter. It's all still under the umbrella of leading a holistic life, this is it to me.

 

In relation to vibrational science and in relation to energy and general, do you think that people are becoming a bit more receptive and more aware of these things?

Definitely not a bit but a lot! It's insane, I literally get goosebumps! When I started teaching fulltime in 2015, people were still a bit resistant and I was always very cautious about using words like Chakrafor instance. Even though I'm a very big believer of the Chakra system, I would never use it in my classes, nor would I use or refer to God because not a lot of people are open to that. They feel a bit uncomfortable when you tackle certain things. But now, it's completely different. In the workshop I just recently taught, I was talking about the Chakra system the whole class, I was talking about surrendering to and trusting God; zero filtering, zero caution. It's amazing to see how people are ready for that now, they're so receptive it's refreshing to witness and be a part of. People are listening, they’re willing to take in new information, and to apply them too.

 

Being a new mother and living abroad now how are you practicing yoga whether on or off then mat? How are you maintaining yoga as a lifestyle?

I think it's all about the ripple effect. It's about understanding that what happens when you're on your yoga mat always has a ripple effect; sometimes it's immediate and sometimes it takes you a while to grasp and there such a big life lesson that comes with it. For me, the absolute biggest lesson was actually letting go, that's why most of my workshops are now about letting go! This was the biggest yoga lesson for me. I used to be very systematic and very controlling of my own life. But, you can't really be controlling when you do yoga. When I practice, I surrender and trust and move with my body on this specific day right here right now, and then I get to carry the effect of it too. I've become so accustomed to completely surrendering and that definitely came from yoga, from learning that when you push you get injured. On your yoga mat or in your life, pushing leads to physical injuries or emotional ones and things just don't flow. It really comes down to the philosophy of yoga that I live through now. It's not just about the yoga Asana practice, it's about everything that comes around it and with it.

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October 28, 2018

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