MY STORY - Part 4

How Eugenia Basilewsky Changed My Life

Complete Yoga Breath
with Sound!

Links to My Yoga Story

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Laguna Beach
My home town,
Laguna Beach

Rolf Erikson
Rolf Eriksson

Wedding Day
Wedding Day

Eugenia Basilewsky
Eugenia Basilewsky

This pose opened a childhood memory.
Miracle #1
Childhood memory
heals instantaneously

Miracle #2 Finding your true voice.
Miracle #2
Rediscovering your
true voice

Eugenia Basilewsky, my teacher.You know the line, “Your teacher will find you?” Well, I told Eugenia my story ... about my trip to America, the fall, Sven's dream, the bookstore, and what happened when I read Yogi Ramacharaka's book. I was obviously very excited.

“Can you come out to see me today? I can help you, without a doubt. There is much for me to share with you, too.”

I will never forget the first time I met Eugenia. She was such a tiny, little thing. Her apartment was filled with thousands and thousands of books, magazines, newsletters, and beautiful paintings that she had done of the great Gurus from India. It was all there, everything I would ever want to read or learn.

We hugged one another for some time the first day I entered what I later called my spiritual getaway. She told me right away that she believed in reincarnation and that I was her daughter from another life coming back to her. She had one son. My love for her was deep enough to believe that she could have been my mother in the past. I had one experience with Sven that made me believe in past lives, but it was all very new to me at this time.

Eugenia became my extraordinary guide, and this Yoga site is dedicated to her with enormous love and respect. I think she saw some of the pages on a laptop before she passed away in February, 2006, but I believe that she knows this site is up with her everywhere in it.

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Ramacharaka to the Rescue

From Estonia, Eugenia spent a couple of years as a POW (prisoner of war) in Germany during WWII. She contracted tuberculosis, lost one lung, and nearly died while in the camp. A Hungarian prisoner, who had read Yogi Ramacharaka's Science of Breath before the war, taught Eugenia the cleansing breath and the Complete Yoga Breath. This saved her other lung and her life.

When the war ended, she moved to Sweden. She read Ramacharaka's books and also majored in languages at the University of Stockholm, learning Sanskrit, Bengali and Hindi. She could read and speak 14 languages fluently.

She devoted her life to studying and teaching the Yoga philosophy, science, and art. She would always say to me, “You are the student who will continue my legacy as I am doing for my great teacher, Swami Deva Murtis.” Well, it took some time, but here it is!

The Elisabeth Haich Institute

From my DVD YogaNataShe also traveled to Zurich, Switzerland every summer to study with Selvarajan Yesudian (left with Eugenia). He was the co-founder of Europe's oldest Yoga school there, the Elisabeth Haich Institute. When she returned, she shared everything she learned there with me. Elisabeth Haich (1897-1994) also wrote the great book, Initiation. This is the true story of her life and how she recalled an entire life in Egypt. Eugenia gave me that book, too. (This is not the same book as the one that is out now with the same name.)

Elisabeth Haich Wrote This Truth

“Go your own way, on the path you select for yourself,
corresponding to your own innermost inclination.
Don't accept any statement because I made it.
Even if it is true a hundred times over, it still is not your truth,
it still is not your experience, and it will not belong to you.
Bring truth into your being, and then it will belong to you.
Regard the lives of those who have achieved truth only as proof that the goal can be reached.”
—Elisabeth Haich

Source: This quote appears in INITIATION. Used with permission of Aurora Press, Inc. from: INITIATION by Elisabeth Haich, ISBN: 0-94335850-7, Copyright 2000 Aurora Press Inc., Aurora Press (www.AuroraPress.com).

Elisabeth Haich and Selvarajan Yesudian This heartwarming photograph (left) of Selvarajan Yesudian with Elisabet Haich standing in front of her painting and sculpture, was photographed by Barbara Somerfield in 1981 in Zurich, Switzerland. It is a rare photograph indeed, as Mrs. Haich preferred to not be photographed.

It is with enormous gratitude to Barbara Somerfield, who allowed me to place her photograph on my Web site, that we all get to enjoy this lovely image of two people who are so obviously filled with love. I was so touched by this photograph when I found it at Aurora Press, I had to write to ask for permission to use it. Thank you Barbara. And gratitude to Aurora Press for selling the books that were authored by these two incredible people. To get the book INITIATION, go to http://www.aurorapress.com/html/authors.html. There are other books by Haich listed there, too, and with Yesudian—all worthwhile owning. FYI: I am not affiliated with this publishing company and I am not a reseller. I am suggesting this because these books are quite extraordinary and you will not want to borrow them. They are books to keep! Haich's true story of her total recall of a previous life in Egypt was written long before it became popular to practice past-life regression. Their books on Yoga are timeless.

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Eugenia also sat for hours (for more than 12 years!) and translated the great books from Sanskrit into English or Swedish for me. We would sit on the floor together and she would read from the Upanishads, Vedas, Patanjali, The Bhagavad Gita, and much more, as I sat in awe, spellbound. I am forever grateful for this gift.

Eugenia Basilewsky, my teacher.Eugenia always made everything look so easy. Like in this image (left), where she sits in gorakshasana.

The first day I was there, she handpicked books from her library that she wanted me to read. She had books everywhere. All the books first by Yogi Ramacharaka (because of how I came to her), Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, Sri Yukteswar, Sai Baba, Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, and so many others. I was inhaling one book after another and having the same experience. Somehow I already got what I was reading, and there was no way I could explain how this was possible. The joy that filled me was indescribable.

I became a life-long member of Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship, and began my long-distance studies that he had created before his death. There are several links for Yogananda in YogaLinks for you to learn more about him. His Autobiography of a Yogi is a must-read. He is an Indian Guru who has a very special place in his heart for Jesus Christ. He has written hundreds of poems about him.

Eugenia devoted the first 2 weeks teaching me 200 variations of the Crocodile series (Nakra Kriyas) and the Fish relaxation done in between. She also taught me how to breathe properly while practicing Yoga. That was all I did for 2 full weeks. I spent every day at her place and then continued to practice for hours at home. My back was aching, but improved daily. I was quite astonished by this at the time. Nakra Kriyas are available in the Postures series of this site. In the future, a short DVD with Eugenia demonstrating many variations will become available. I have taught thousands of people these simple exercises with the same surprising results for anyone with back problems.

By the middle of our third week together, I had devoured hundreds of books on Yoga, and she began to teach me Yoga asanas (Sanskrit = postures). My back problem seemed to disappear almost overnight that week. I went to my doctor, who was shocked. There was no more pain. I could do all the exercises as if I had been doing them since childhood. I discovered that Yoga was logical, scientific, philosophical, and healing. Each book I finished brought something else back to me. “Yes, I knew that!” was repeated over and over again as my eyes moved down the pages.

Even the lotus position was easy for me. When I called my mother to tell her about all of this, she said, “Kathryn, you used to sit in that position as a 2-year-old when we lived in Peru. Stunned, I asked you what gave you the idea to sit like that. You just said (translated from Spanish, which I spoke then), 'because it feels good.'” She was sure I had seen a photograph, a statue of Buddha, something like that. (After I was born in Washington, DC, my father was sent to Lima by the State Department to head up the Public Health program there. We lived there for 5 years.)

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But back to Eugenia... We were now doing advanced Yoga postures together. My body turned into rubber. Every posture felt good, and I was thrilled every day. My back pain disappeared completely! By the end of the third week since our first meeting, Eugenia said, “You must teach Yoga. You are a true Yogi and this is what you must do. You are ready!”

Then she told me that she had set up appointments for me, if I were interested, with three of the continuing education schools in Stockholm. Here I was singing jazz at night and then suddenly I would become a yoga teacher by day. I knew the direction of my life was changing ... again!

Sweden has an additional educational system that America does not have—schools nationwide for non-credit continuing education. They do something like this at American high schools for adults and community training programs (usually at night), but in Sweden there are self-standing educational schools everywhere that provide the opportunity for adults to study many subjects, day and night, including Yoga. It's something America could really incorporate. I'm not sure why they haven't done this yet. They're inexpensive and bring people together in a very positive, structured way.

Within one month from the first day I met Eugenia in so much pain, and the dream Sven had about the book—I was teaching 22 Yoga classes a week to 230 students! I taught at three schools in Stockholm, and continued to do this for 12 years. I also taught at Karolinska Institute (a hospital) in an out-patient clinic, a high school for mentally disabled teenagers (they always clapped with gratitude and joy when the class was over, which was wonderful), and another for teenagers with addictions (with 100% positive results), an elementary school for blind children (who enhanced their balance and inner world through Yoga), and eventually in my own private Yoga studio (more on this later).

Eugenia was the sweetest person I have ever known, and one of the most intelligent. I consider myself an extremely lucky person to have ever met her, and I will always remember her as a mother, not unlike the mother I had in this lifetime, a best friend indeed!

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