Monicka Koneski (Malini Dasi)
"The mystery of life is that while love involves selfless giving, it makes one whole." - Swami BV Tripurari
Yoga first entered my life in the year 2000 via the doorway of my love for movement. At the time I was pursuing a BA degree in dance and movement studies, as I have always had a keen interest in the way the world moves; its continuous oscillations filling me to the brim with wonder, inspiration, and faith in the beautifully complex interweavings of matter and spirit, always encouraging me to pay close attention to the presence that I find tucked within the details of life. As Jacob Needleman so sweetly says "All through my life I've experienced a sense of wonder that has to do with something that's out there but also touches a place within me. It feels as if I'm part of something bigger."
When I had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Mae Osborn shortly after moving to Portland in '05, the seeds that had been planted in the years prior began to take root. I began to dive more deeply into the study of yogic practices, and I absolutely knew that my heart had come home when I was introduced to the bhakti practice of sri kirtana (devotional chanting). An yet at that point I had still no idea how impactful it would be or how serious I would become about desiring my life to be overtaken by spiritual pursuit. It was as though something within me started to wake up, and the things in my life that inhibited my growth began to fall, often painfully but beautifully, away.
I have been teaching movement now (everything from creative movement for kids to modern dance to therapeutic private yoga classes to many things in between) since 1999. I have had the honor of being a part of The Bhaktishop Yoga Center since its inception, and under the gentle and encouraging guidance of Lisa Mae Osborn and Hari-bhakti dasi, as well as a number of other inspired and influential teachers, I have completed more than 500+ hours of yoga education and training. When I am not teaching or studying yoga, I am either engaged in my work as a licensed massage therapist where I am able to spend valuable one-on-one time with those who are looking to find ease, presence, and balance in their bodies, or wrapped in love and life lessons with my dear little son, Kavi. It is my goal as a bodywork practitioner, anatomy and kinesiology geek, yoga teacher, Mama, and student of bhakti yoga to serve and honor each individual that I encounter, whether on the mat or off, in the best and truest way that I know how. Movement is still endlessly fascinating to me, but it is truly the connection to Self and Source that we may encounter while engaged in yoga practices that has me hooked.
I bow in deep gratitude for the guidance of all of my teachers as I continue to walk this path, but most especially I am humbled and ignited by the generous teachings of my guru Swami B.V. Tripurari, whom I have had the immeasurable blessing of encountering in this lifetime. It is my sincere hope that I might serve others to the best of my ability, and that my sadhana (practice) and bhakti (devotion) may permeate and inhabit all aspects of my life.
Lisa Mae adds:
“Monicka is an integral part of the main teaching team here, joining us as one of the first teachers I hired in 2007. Also she is essential to the Yoga School program at The Bhaktishop. She joined the teaching team in 2012, and shares her skilled and graceful understanding of the mechanics of the body through both embodied anatomy and asana, as well as side by side with me in Teaching Methodology and beyond. Her practical and inspired approach to movement and grace is skillful and soft, and she is able to help guide students with that innate wisdom often reserved for those twice her age. We are tremendously blessed to have a skilled teacher like her as a co-teacher in our 200, 500 Hour, and Prenatal Yoga School Programs, as well as one of the mainstays of our Yoga Center. She is an instrumental member of our family of behind-the-scenes assistants, dedicated to seeing that the community is served. I am SO grateful for her thoughtful and loving approach to the seva (service) ties that hold this place so close to our heart, and her dedication makes everything better. ”