Meet the People: Saša Perpar, from TV Journalist to Family Yoga Instructor

By , 28 Jun 2018, 16:19 PM Meet the People
Meet the People: Saša Perpar, from TV Journalist to Family Yoga Instructor Saša Perpar pesonal archive

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Bring your kid to yoga class. 

June 28, 2018

What is that you do?
I am a certified yoga instructor for both adults and children. Recently I’ve discovered the need for a joint parent-child practice, and this is what I mostly do now.
 
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All pictures belong to Saša Perpar’s personal archive
 

There appears to be a dilemma most parents face today, which is either to take a yoga class to recover from the daily stress of their routine, or to spend more time with their children, who seem to be having increasingly stressful lives themselves. Bonding under such conditions is rarely successful, so I’ve designed classes that allow children and their parents to get what yoga generally offers, that is recovery of body and mind through interactional activities that also function as a bonding tool between the two. Parents and children leave my class as fit and content friends.

Do parents ever bring more than one child to the practice?
Sometimes they do. I get moms who bring two children with them. So far it’s all working out well.
 
Is it moms only?
Right now it’s mostly moms. I get men to my adult yoga classes, but I’d really love to see a dad at my family session. I’d buy him a beer (laughs).
 
What kind of yoga do you teach?
I primarily teach Hatha yoga, that is the practice of positions (asanas) and breathing techniques, but I also incorporate other techniques such as acro-yoga (acrobatic yoga) and mindfulness exercises.  
 
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Acro-yoga
 

We usually begin our class with calming down exercises, which relax the participants and enable them to focus on the breathing exercises that follow. For example, we would try to blow a ping pong ball from one participant to another by the use of nose only. It can get a little messy sometimes (laugh) but it’s a good way to open paths of nasal airflow.

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We then practice asanas in a fun way close to children, with a bit of a story behind each one of them, such as we pretend to go to Africa and they can choose the means of transportation, plane, boat or bicycle – this one usually takes longer to get there – then the chosen asana follows, such as Warrior 3 position for an airplane or Navasana for a boat. We also do some things from acro-yoga, as children really like it.

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I also include games based on mindfulness techniques, in which, for example, participants learn to observe how their body reacts to certain positive or negative emotions and develop better understanding of these effects on our and other people’s behaviour.

How did you become a yoga teacher?
I used to have a very stressful job, so I began practicing yoga mostly in order to survive it. For 17 years I worked as a journalist at the national broadcaster’s Tednik show, which looks into matters of fraud and abuse and similar, not very uplifting, stories.
 
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Saša (left) with her TV crew
 

The tipping point was the so called Facebook murder which occurred in early 2017, when two troubled friends beat to death a third one and broadcast the event live on Facebook. I had to watch the footage several times as we were deciding whether or not to include a portion of the video in our show. I had nightmares for weeks after this, and I began looking to transfer to another post. As it became clear this wasn’t possible, I quit and decided to turn my hobby into my job instead.

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I originally began my yoga practice with the help of books I found in the local library. That was about five years ago. However, it soon turned out this wasn’t the best method of learning, as there is no one to correct the mistake you make and the risk of injuries is high. So I took yoga classes, and eventually completed a teacher’s course and another one for kids’ yoga as well.

Before becoming a teacher myself I started to apply some yoga practices at home to my children, since my youngest one started to exhibit behavioural problems in kindergarten. I was even told that he might be diagnosed with ADHD and would continue to have trouble in school. I was worried, so I tried various routines which would alleviate the symptoms. Yoga seemed to be making miracles, especially its calming down and breathing techniques, which bring flying thoughts to the ground and allow the child to relax and remain focused. I learned quite a lot from this experience, and wanted to share it with others who had similar concerns.

I earned my children’s yoga YAI (Yoga Aliens International) certificate earlier this year and introduced kids’ classes in Logatec. At one of our sessions in the elementary school gym a mother of one of the children in the class asked if she could join in while waiting for a school meeting later that afternoon, and I said, yes, of course. This was in fact how the idea for family yoga classes came to light. The mother enjoyed the class so much – and so did her child –she eventually skipped the meeting and stayed till the end.

Then with the warm weather we moved outdoors for the summer.

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Where do you give classes and how can one join in?
You can join any lesson for 12 euros per adult at any time and place I give classes at the moment. We currently hold classes in Vrhnika, Logatec, Cerknica and Idrija.
 
Can you be more specific?
On Sundays I give classes by Lake Cerknica, at 18:00. The meeting point is by the Kebe Museum and guesthouse.
We are in Vrhnika on Mondays, the same time, at one of the lawns of the old swimming pool by the local elementary school.
On Tuesdays, we are in Logatec, same time, in the Castle Knight Park (Park Grajski Vitez).
On Wednesdays we are in Idrija. We begin our session at 18:00 at the local Youth Centre lawn.
 
For further information, please contact the Avocado Center Facebook site.

If you want to come, then bring a yoga mat.

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What are your plans for the future?
I am in the process of establishing Avocado Centre of Practices for Better Life at the moment, which will offer various classes, workshops and seminars. For example, I am working on organising an acro-yoga workshop in cooperation with one of the finest experts in the field right now. In addition, I am also preparing a djembe (African drums) workshop and another one with Mehndi, which is decorative painting on one’s body using henna (kana) paste. I am also on a look out for a permanent space where I could give my yoga classes in fall and winter. I will post on events at the Avocado centre FB site when all the dates are decided.

 

Any places outside your work you’d like to recommend, where do you like to go?
I live in Logatec and I often visit the nearby hill called Sekirica. I go jogging there or just for a walk.
 

If I’d like to meet someone, then I go to Grajski Park Vitez, where we are sitting right now. I also give my yoga classes here in the shade under the trees. The staff is good and helpful, nature is nearby, and there are playgrounds for small and bigger children right next to the coffee shop.

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Saša, thank you for talking to us.
You are welcome.

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