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Everybody started somewhere. In the My Journey posts we ask an accomplished athlete / star / thought leader how they got where they are now. We hope their stories will inspire and motivate you.

In this twenty fifth My Journey post, we had a chat with Marija Klaric who is a yogi. We hope you enjoy Marija's journey.
Marija Klaric
Tell us a little bit about yourself :) 

Hello :) I'm 28 year old Croatian girl who's been living in Italy for the past 4 years. Falling in love with an Italian man brought me here and with whom I have a wonderful 4 year old son :)

Since as I can remember I was always very lively and curious. Instead of playing with dolls like other little girls around me, I prefered climbing trees, running, exploring the nature. When I was around 8 years old I met a girl who trained gymnastics and she asked if I would join her. We became best friends and shared everything together especially our new born passion for gymnastics.

It was definitely one of the best things that happened to me, I didn't realize it then but gymnastics influenced my life in a big way. Being very shy and insecure little girl who had difficulties in expressing herself, gymnastics gave me new self confidence and courage.And I was good at it! And I felt like I belong somewhere, so you could say it was my stepping stone in forming me in a person I am today. Since I started out gymnastics pretty late, it was difficult to become a professional athlete, it was always on a recreational level. But I had the most wonderful trainer who pushed us and believed in us so much.

I've participated in 5 competitons and won 1 bronze, 2 silver and 2 gold medals :) For some they were small accomplishments since they weren't large scale competitions but forme were big and meant a world to me.

I quit gymnastics when I was around 14 years old. Teeneage years got me little shooked up hahah, but I never stopped exercising and working on myself. It was a part of me and it always came to me so naturally. After some time I fell in love with yoga and never stopped since. As I already had the basics gained from gymnastics and I am naturally quite flexible, I progressed quite fast.

How did you get introduced to yoga ?

I got introduced to yoga while I was searching on internet how to exercise safely and how to relieve the back pain while I was pregnant :) So my first yoga experience was prenatal yoga :)) It helped me sooo much physically and emotionally. As you know, yoga isn't just about doing poses, it is so much more than that. It made me feel calm and happy.

And now 5 years later it still makes me feel that way. A day doesn't go by without my yoga practice. When I do yoga, my mind becomes clear and all thoughts disapear, there is just me and my breath. I have never been so strong and flexibile and I'm doing things that I never thought I would be able to do, not even when I trained gymnastics.

When did yoga get “serious” ?

I would say it became serious two years ago when I started sharing my yoga journey on Instagram. I've met so many inspirational yogis and friends with whom I share my passion with. I started to join Instagram yoga challenges which helped me improve a lot, introducing me to new poses and expanding my practice.

Can you share your biggest challenges ?

My current biggest challenges are more on a mental level. I want to become a yoga instructor, and even though I know I am good at what I do I still feel sometimes insecure and question myself if I am able to do it. But I don't let those thoughts and fears take over cause I know what I am capable of so I just gather courage and continue to do what I am passionate about.

How do you handle pressure ?

I don't experience a lot of pressure, there shouldn't be any pressure in yoga :) The only pressure I feel, is pressure to be better than I was yesterday and expecting to progress faster than it is maybe possible lol So sometimes I stress over that, especially on days when I feel a bit less flexible and my practice is not as good as usual. But I really try to avoid it influence me and give myself a break.

Can you share your thoughts on self consciousness ?

Since I am self-taught and I do yoga at home, sharing my videos and photos on Instagram isn't really something that makes me nervous :) My self conciousness level is still in progress , sometimes is lower and sometimes is higher. Being surronded by social media and so many talented yogis, I do question my capability sometimes but then I remind myself that I don't need to be better than someone else. Yoga isn't a competition, who can touch their head with their toes. Yoga makes me happy and complete and that is all that matters.

What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to yoga of course ;)

Don't really have embarrassing moments. I fell in so many awkward ways while practicing yoga but as I'm doing yoga in my own home, nobody saw me except my fiancee ocasionally hahhaha

How did yoga influence your life in other ways ?

Well, it helped me realize what I want to do in my life, cause their was a period when I felt lost, and yoga helped me to find the right path and balance.

What does your daily routine looks like ?

I wake up around 7 am, drink my hot tea and do 15 min morning yoga routine and breathing exercises for energizing and to start my day positively. I prepare breakfast for me and my son and then I take him to kindergarten. Around 10 am I do some cardio and strength workout followed with good stretching and around 40 min of yoga practice.

During the day I often take 5 min break from my daily activites and errands to stretch cause it just makes me feel better. And often I do random inversions and handstand around the house cause I just love being upside down hahahh :D Especially if I feel tired, the rush of blood in to the head makes you immediately feel better :D Before going to sleep I do relaxing yoga flow which helps me to sleep better.

And what about your flexibility training ? Where does that fit in ?

As flexibility is my strong point, I try to stretch as often as possible. It takes time to gain certain amount of flexibility but it takes much less to loose it. For deep stretching it is important to warm up your muscles very good to avoid injuries and to increase your range of motion. You should never force your body and go beyond your limits where you feel too much pain in order to improve faster. It doesn't goes that way, the persistence is the key, everyday practice and the progress will come little by little. Sometimes I like to watch tv or read a book in a split :)

What keep you motivated?

Just thinking about how far I've come and thinking about my goals and dreams are usually enough to keep me motivated and continue even on days when I don't feel so much like practicing.

What are your future plans/goals/dreams?

I wish to become a yoga instructor and share my passion to other people.Also one of my "secret" dreams is to become a yoga model :D

Any tips for passionate people starting out ?

If yoga makes you happy you should just do it, even if you think that you are not flexible or strong enough. If you are passionate and persistente about it, you are already half way there! Don't get intimadated by other people thinking that you will never be able to do something like them, don't compare yourself with them. You will get there, at your own pace, maybe faster maybe slower. It is not the destination that matters but the journey and what you learned on that journey, what kind of person it made you become. You are you and there isn't anybody else that is you and that makes you special. It makes us all special in our own way :)

Anything you’d like to share?

My Instagram account @amarii25

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