Other posts from the On a visit to.. series:
- On a visit to… Katie aka The travelling light, Brisbane (Australia)
- On a visit to… Krystal Lynn, Albuquerque (NM, USA)
- On a visit to… Ali Kamenova LA (California, USA)
Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s video “The curiosity-driven life” where she talks about the two types of people – the hummingbirds and the jackhammers? If you haven’t you can listen to this podcast instead. (I couldn’t find the video, maybe it is removed, sorry).
Why am I sharing all this? Because I was super impressed by what she said and it resonates with my vision of life. I am exactly that kind of person who is inspired by the others, I am full of curiosity and desire for learning and trying new things, meeting new people and visiting new places.
This short introduction is mainly because I would like to present to you a real hummingbird who is a guest on our blog – Lenka Minarikova or zgung as everybody knows her on Instagram. I don’t know how she sees herself but for me, she is a real example of how the hummingbird looks like. She is a yoga teacher, a professional photographer (see her portfolio here) and a scientific assistant at the Medical University. Say whaaat? And today with this passionate-about-lots-of-stuff girl we will walk around Vienna, Austria where she lives for the last couple of years.
How do you imagine the perfect “om trip”?
I think an “om trip” can be anywhere. The “om” is an internal experience and we can choose what we experience, we decide about how we feel about things that are happening, and even if something hurts, we can decide for the feeling not to affect us deeply.
Three things which we absolutely have to take with us when traveling to Vienna?
Windproof jacket! It’s windy and rainy often.
Pair of sunglasses too, because after the rain, the sun always comes strong.
And a pair of comfortable shoes, you will walk a lot. Vienna has great public transport, it’s futile to use a car.
Please share your experience from your first days in Vienna?
I came here to live the first time during my master’s studies for one semester. At that time, I found the city very strange and different. I loved the local subway, called U-Bahn, because of how efficient it was to go from one place to another. Sometimes it’s the small things we appreciate, especially if we don’t speak the language and can’t connect that well to people who live here. Viennese life is very comfortable, there are grocery shops at every corner and small businesses flourish. Buildings are often renovated to their original state, so they are nice to look at. You have the feeling of prosperity and that everything is possible.
How to look like locals?
Wear black and dark colors, because bright and saturated colors are forbidden! Haha! And try to have a busy look, fast pace as if you were rushing to a meeting. But honestly, the real Viennese are usually grumpy old people and most of the people on the streets are not locals, but rather tourists and college students from Germany.
What should we absolutely try when we’re in Vienna?
You need to visit Prater – the famous amusement park that is the open full year (which is rare in Europe). There is a huge forest/park area right behind it too. And a beautiful new campus of the Economic University on the other side. In Prater, you can try the local food in the famous and very loud Schweizerhaus Restaurant.
Where would you take us for a cup of coffee/or tea?
A special place in Vienna you’d like to share with us.
Danube river channel or Donaukanal in German – especially in summer, just grab an ice cream from Veganista and enjoy sitting and watching the river go by.
Which book do you think will be most suitable for our trip to Vienna?
Not sure about the books, but I’ve heard everyone should see the black and white movie The Third Man! (I still didn’t…)
We can’t miss the museums and the galleries in Vienna. Show us your favorite ones.
Where would you take us for a yoga practice in Vienna? Where can we practice yoga outdoors?
Well of course to my classes! But if you want more options and classes in English then there are two big and beautiful studios: Yoga Kula and Doktor Yoga. If you can speak German, or you just don’t care (I want to believe yoga language is universal…) visit One Yoga Wien.
For outdoor yoga in summer, just google for events in Augarten.
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From medical assistant researcher to photographer and certified yoga teacher. How’s that happened and what do you find more challenging juggling with all these roles in your life?
Haha, I am asking the same question myself every day! It’s extra hard to find time off, but it is my priority since that’s how I recharge. As for how it all started, well I am in the medical field and the human body always fascinated me. Later in life, I realized, that we are built to move and breathe and our brains need moments of total focus – especially in the city where our lives are so fast-paced. It started with home practice and grew very slowly into a habit I can’t imagine my life without. Later I found out, that it reaches further and deeper, beyond the asanas. At the moment I am trying to find a balance between it all. I will let you know later if it worked!
You finished the 200 hours of Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher Training with Bryce Yoga School in Thailand. With so many yoga teachers’ training, how did you pick exactly this one?
I already did a small 80 hours TT in Slovakia, the country where I come from, before doing my 200 hours YTT. For the first one I applied blindly, I didn’t know the teachers, but the school was one of the few certified schools in my country. I’ve chosen it, based on location and because it was divided into weekends only, which suited me well. Because it was only 80 hours, it was not that expensive either. I basically wanted to have a certificate to teach and to learn more about the practice at that time and didn’t care about who will give it to me. And I was lucky! The teachers were great and I aligned well with what they taught. But later I became more aware of what I really want, and I became pickier. I started to practice at yoga studios and did many workshops, searched the whole internet and read all the articles about how to choose the right TT.
I did get to know Dice Iida Klein in a workshop he led in Vienna, so I knew he was an amazing teacher and he got my utmost respect during that one weekend. A few years later at a yoga festival, I got to experience a class with Briohny Smyth too, where they had also special workshops together. Although I was still considering doing a different TT at that moment, that would be more affordable and closer to where I lived; I decided during a YOLO moment, to go to Bryce Yoga School and I didn’t regret my decision since then.
Your Instagram profile is full of wonderful yoga tips and tricks. Is there right or wrong in yoga? What basic lesson do you want to teach people you meet during your workshops and classes?
Well, there is effectiveness that can be achieved for faster progress. But we all have our own paths. Yoga is about the learning process, so if you are doing something not that effective, and then later you realized this, you acquire new knowledge and that’s the most rewarding thing here.
I would love if people learned acceptance and non-attachment to their practice and their lives. Which is really hard to teach.
Do you practice yoga while you travel? Tell us about your healthy routines on the road.
Yes, I try to do the same as when I am home: wake up a little bit earlier, roll my mat and do at least a few moves. I like to have a topic or a pose in mind, that should be achieved in that one practice.
For a healthy routine, I would totally recommend trying to find time alone too. It’s only when we are alone, that we can really be truly ourselves, and it’s so hard to do it during traveling.
Your recipe for happiness.
I am going to steal this one from Albert Einstein:
“Only you decide if the world works for you, or against you!”
Where should we go after visiting Vienna?
… Definitely Prague!
Who is Lenka?
Lenka Minarikova AKA @zgung daily inspires tens of thousands of people with her posts about yoga on her Instagram page. After receiving her first small teacher training in 2016, she started to lead yoga classes in Vienna, where she lives and works as a scientific assistant at the Medical University for eight years now. In the meantime, she finished her 200h yoga teacher training with Bryce Yoga School from LA, California. Lenka’s teaching is based on detailed body awareness, alignment in the different poses, but also in the transitions from one pose to another, that are connected with vinyasas and deep breaths.
P.S. All pictures are kindly provided by Lenka.