Featuring Paulina Burzynska from Poland

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Written by Paulina Burzynska 
Edited by Justine of Just Yoga

Namaste beautiful yogis! My name is Paulina Burzynska. I am 23 years old and a Rheumatoid Arthritis warrior. I was born in Poland, raised in England and for the past 3 years I have been living in Munich, Germany. Thank you to Just Yoga for including me in your Women's month feature. I feel so honoured.

My career throughout my life has always been focused on customer relationships, and in my previous job I was a Customer Relationship Manager, however due to the pandemic, I lost that job. After a rollercoaster of emotions, I now see that as a blessing in disguise, as it allowed me to spend more time on things I love even more. 

My yoga journey started at a similar time of my arthritis diagnosis, so around five to six years ago when I was eighteen. My arthritis came on suddenly. Almost overnight, I wasn't able to get dressed, open a water bottle, do my buttons or lift up a kettle. My life as I knew it, changed forever. However, I hit a forced remission a short 6 months after being on medication. During my diagnosis and experiencing pain as I’ve never before, I came across many natural solutions on the internet that could help me, yoga being one of them. So that is how my journey started. When I went into remission I started ashtanga yoga, which now I don’t think I will ever do again, but I will get to that very soon. One of my friends is a teacher and she inspired me to give it a go, and after I did I got my friends into it too.
The way my body felt afterwards, so light, free and so much more mobile. My mind was calmer, more at peace and I started connecting with my soul to truly see what it is I desire in life.

Then when I moved to Germany, I had a huge flare up overnight again. Medication, doctors and all the fun games started again, but it also meant I had to look after my body even more. So I started practising vinyasa yoga, and diving even deeper into the spiritual aspects of yoga and life. As someone with arthritis I truly need to protect my body, and certifying as a teacher was my way of making sure I am doing all poses correctly and safely for my own self. So when I lost my job due to Covid, I used that time to do a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) course and certify as a yoga teacher..

I found the perfect school where the key focus was anatomy, safety and yoga therapeutics. Zazyoga, is truly the best school. The support and teachers are phenomenal. They are a bunch of warm, knowledgeable teachers that support you every step of your journey. Half way through my course, I realised how much more beneficial yoga actually is to everyone, especially arthritis warriors. 
I have now made it my mission to provide therapeutic mindful movement classes which put a key focus on safety, benefits from each posture and also spirituality. It has been an incredible journey so far.  

I wouldn’t say I have to work around yoga because I have arthritis. The beauty in yoga is that it meets you on how you feel in that specific moment. This is the most beautiful thing yoga has helped me with, it has truly opened up my eyes to body awareness, to notice how my body is feeling and what it needs in that moment. Which is what I try to always focus on in each of my classes too. That it is not about pushing yourself into a posture, it isn’t a fitness workout that you always need to go over your limit on, it is a yoga practice, where you meet your body at the sweet spot every single time.

Poses that involve a lot of pressure on my wrists are more challenging for me, as my wrists are the ones most affected by my condition however there are still days that I want to and can get into my crows pose, as an example. For that I simply make sure I always warm up my joints in the beginning of my practice, I use props, gloves and any other supports I might need. Another thing that yoga has taught me about myself is how much emotions and toxicity I am holding in my body. 
After some cleansing practices, or even stretches, I truly feel like all the worries, fears, anxiety, and past traumas are slowly melting away creating space for wonderful things to replace them.
I now practice yoga daily, even if it is a 10-minute yoga in bed in the morning or in the evening. I do classes weekly online as well as in parks near my area, but I also try to devote time for my own practice. I am not going to lie, it is hard. It is much easier to give to others than yourself, but self -care is something I am always trying to work on. I love practising in nature, it is such a beautiful way to connect to our earth, and it refuels my soul and often leads me onto my favourite yoga posture which is Balasana (childs pose). There are so many ways to do a childs pose, but I feel like being so low with my hands down on the earth, it helps me connect, ground, root and also become fully aware of my own self. My thoughts, my breath, just me and my body. 

My family is supportive of my journey. I don’t think they truly understand it at the moment so they don't practice with me yet. I made a promise to myself, that I will never try to persuade someone else to do something. I take this with me in my yoga journey as well.
I simply show up for myself, I share my gift, my knowledge and when someone is ready to start their yoga journey then I will be there for them to guide them, but I try to never persuade people into things.
I feel it takes more of my energy to spend 10 minutes trying to persuade someone than it does hosting a 60 minute class. It simply is not worth it. Everyone has their own time of self reflection and realization for when they are ready to do something.

So now, during this lockdown, yoga has been of incredible help to me. I have been able to focus my energy on such a beautiful thing and not even have to worry about work. Like I mentioned before, it has truly been a blessing in disguise. People have now started their yoga journeys with me, and their feedback thus far has been truly magical and motivating for me. It just confirms that I am on the right path, that I am doing what I was sent here to do. 

So now I truly would recommend yoga to every single soul out there. It is about finding your right teacher, the right type of yoga, and keeping an open mind and tuning in to see what your body needs each time.
If anyone reading my yoga journey story, is a chronic illness warrior or knows of someone who is, and you want to learn more about methods to ease your pain and symptoms naturally, I am on Instagram and Facebook and you can subscribe to my Newsletter. I have also participated in a social media collaboration on YouTube  talking about why yoga is great for people suffering from chronic illnesses.  

Peace and kindness to you,
Paulina Burzynska

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