Annette Barraza, The Paisano
As she enters her ninth month of pregnancy, Maya Sokovic’s baby bump accentuates her lithe and physical stature.
Despite being in her 40s and expecting, Sokovic hasn’t slowed down at all as she practices her asanas before a yoga class.
“The whole philosophy of yoga is that it is not just about the physical part; rather, it is the balance of the mind and the body,” said Sokovic.
Acquainted with yoga longer than some of her students have been alive, Sokovic started learning yoga when she was 15 years old. Growing up in Serbia, she studied different styles of yoga for 25 years.
Sokovic has spent four years at UTSA teaching yoga to a variety of students and adults in her class at the Recreation Center. Sokovic teaches many aspects of yoga, including several asanas, or postures.
Asanas, a tenant critical to Sokovic’s yoga class, allows the students to focus on their posture while also improving balance, flexibility and strength.
“The mental part of yoga is often the hardest part because you’re bringing the mind and body to the same place,” Sokovic explains.
“It is really hard to reach a state of deep relaxation, because the mind is always working and always paying attention to everything that you think and do, so it’s hard to calm the mind and keep it quiet to accomplish ‘yoga sleep,’” which she explains as being between the stages of sleep and complete relaxation, similar to the REM stage of sleep.
“There are so many styles of yoga out there today; yoga isn’t just one thing,” Sokovic explains.
“We aren’t aware of the ‘koshas,’ or layers of the body, until yoga helps us understand, and to be aware of, our body and our mind to achieve balance.”
In addition to teaching yoga classes at UTSA, Sokovic has her own studio called Yoga Arts San Antonio where she practices yoga therapy and teaches yoga, art and photography. She offers classes for beginners, such as “Hatha,” which is designed to open the many channels of the body and allows for free-flow energy throughout the body. She also teaches more advanced yoga practices such as restorative and power yoga.
“This is real yoga in a small group setting; it’s not just people dropping by,” Sokovic warns. “It’s for people who really want to have a deep practice.”
Along with teaching, Sokovic supports both local artists and new artists around San Antonio. Explaining how the creation of art often acts as meditation or therapy, Sokovic states, “we exhibit the art, then donate it to create a nice circle of helping people and supporting others to share what we have.”
Though the sight of a pregnant yoga instructor may distress some, Sokovic has assured her students that she is healthy and plans to go on maternity leave in October. Here’s to hoping that her baby boy will be born doing the “child’s pose.”
To attend one of Sokovic’s yoga classes at UTSA, check the Group Exercise schedule at the Recreational Center for class times at the Rec Center, or visit campusrec.utsa.edu for more information on times and location.To attend one of Sokovic’s yoga classes at UTSA, check the Group Exercise schedule at the Recreational Center for class times at the 1604 and downtown campuses, or visit campusrec.utsa.edu for more information on times and location.