Nona Mileva – Tapping into the Yoga Well

Check out this discussion I had with Nona Mileva. Visit Nona at her website Nona is a Certified Life, Wellness and Health Coach, Yoga Teacher and Educator, based in Jupiter, FL, United States. She works with a wide range of clients, from variuos backgrounds and age, via in person,  phone or Zoom sessions. Her coaching is holistic. It entails all aspects of the client’s life – emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual , as it authentically reflects the most important human needs. She focuses on the therapeutic modalities and applications of Yoga as a practice and discipline that enhances health and wellbeing. 

You can listen to the full podcast episode for free here.

Todd McLaughlin 

I’m so happy to have Nona Mileva here visiting in Native Yoga Center. We get to do an in person podcast! Nona, How are you doing today?

Nona Mileva

I am good. Thank you so much for having me. Good to see you.


Same as well, I got to meet you, Nona, because you came into Native Yoga Center very enthusiastically inquiring about yoga teacher training a few years ago. You completed our 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training which brought you into like the RYT 500. realm. And you also are involved in teaching in Stuart at a place called District 108, in Stuart, Florida. Also at the Powerhouse Gym in Stuart. You also teach therapeutic yoga in some of the local retirement communities. You have recently completed getting your PhD in health psychology. And you’re currently working toward Yoga Therapy Certification. Which you said will be completed in December 2022. So you’ve been very busy…. And that’s something that I really admire about you is you love to study. You put a lot of time and energy into reading and studying. And you’re you’ve expressed a lot of interest and enthusiasm for the history and the philosophy of yoga. And so that’s why I’m really excited to have you here today. Because I can just pick your brain a bit and see what kind of like “Top hits” have made it onto your playlist for yoga philosophy and yoga history. And so on that note, what is something that you have read about and or practiced or studied recently that’s caught your attention that you’re excited about?


How I love how you you’re beginning this conversation? Thank you for the intro firstly. Yes, I have been busy. And this is just, what can I say, my mode of functioning, learning, being always curious about things and topics. So my latest educational conquests, so to speak, or interests have been since COVID. Which, as you know, was to some extent, a traumatic experience. Then from a different perspective, it opened new doors. It made us more creative, looking for opportunities to keep doing what we love doing, which for us is yoga, obviously if we are talking about it. I have begun studying and doing a yoga philosophy course, of course is online, with Professor Edwin Bryant. He’s one of the most renowned names among Hindu researchers and philosophers and translators in the field. He’s at Rutgers University in…. I think it’s New Jersey or New York. So what he started doing is to record all his lectures, and then putting them up online for free. 




Absolutely amazing, isn’t it? 




Yeah. It always amazes me when people share their knowledge with such immense generosity. So that got me into the groove of daily or twice a week. Sit down through those lectures or just doing my thing and listening to them. And pretty much it’s all the six directionals, the schools of various philosophical discourse and the man is a very knowledgeable teacher and scholar. He knows a lot about everything. His focus is bhakti. He is initiated in this tradition. 


So can you explain bhakti to us?


In the discourse of yoga, bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion. It’s the kind of yoga that is being practiced as a devotional yoga. Practitioners direct their attention, their energy towards a benevolent worship of a deity. In this case, usually Krishna is the the subject of the affection. There is lots of mantra and chanting. There’s lots of dancing and singing, praising, praising the Bhagavan. So think of the Bhagavata Purana, those ancient texts. All the Krishna stories, by the way, they’re amazing, amazingly entertaining and interesting stories. If anyone really wants to learn more about them, just go read them. They’re with tremendous sense of humor also created so many years ago. Yeah, so we would sit through those, he would just open the texts, and to about 300 people there, either live or from the recorded lectures will be listening and then following the stories, he would stop you with comments. And this, this goes for every subject. Whether you want to learn about like Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, whether you want to learn about Vedanta sutras, or Nyaya but more the stories of Krishna. So that’s what I kept doing for about a year, then he started doing live svadhyaya sessions every Friday. 


I’m imagining that there might be someone listening that doesn’t know any of the Sanskrit terms. So that’s why it might just stop you every now and again and let you define some of the words. So if someone’s listening, that’s like a brand new listener slash just coming into the yoga fold. There’s a lot of Sanskrit terms that once you start to learn them, it gets easier and easier. Once you learn one, you learn another and before you know it, you can listen to these really in depth conversations about the yoga history and philosophy and know exactly what’s going on. But in the beginning, it’s really common to feel like a “fish out of water,” or have no idea what they’re talking about. So on that note, can you define what svadhyaya is to keep everyone up to speed?


Yes and once you get to actually work with those terms, it becomes kind of a second nature. And you don’t think that yes, there are people who still haven’t gotten there. So apologies again. So the idea is the concept of studying. So it could be defined as a studying about the self. That’s the obtaining of self knowledge through a variety of practices. But it is it does become by itself a practice. It could be even a spiritual practice. So you get to define it as for example, spending time with the sacred texts. So you sit down and you study, you read the text from the Upanishads, or from the later Puranas, or you open Patanjali yoga sutras and this is your weekend. Yeah, this is your weekend. What are you doing? I’m doing yoga psychology, how I’m just staring at Patanjali, sutra number, whatever. Trying to figure it out to study is that concept of the bhaktis. For the wisdom, another, I’m drawing attention. I’m throwing another Sanskrit word in Sangha, which means pretty much your social group. Yeah. What is your community? Yeah, let’s hang together with like minded people. Yep. And do our thing. What is our thing? We’re reading the scriptures. Yeah. Or in my case, I’m listening to someone much more knowledgeable. And they read it. And he’s reading the scriptures. He’s commenting on them, we get to ask questions.


Was that the difference? So actually, let me back up a little bit. Is that something that anyone listening can go to Edwin Bryant’s

Website. And by the way, at the end of the podcast, I will be happy to provide you with all the resources and links and the names that I’m throwing in here. So you can post it through your audience and I’ll be so happy for people actually go there and look up at this stuff because there’s so much available in the way of information out there that we just are not aware of. Yeah. So, very cool website. It’s connected to the Rutgers University. As a matter of fact, the last study I did with him was on the Bhagavad Gita. I think it was… I forgot which ones, my memories also don’ serve me always. But starting four weeks from now, we are he’s doing a six week or an eight week course on Bhagavata Purana. He loves the back story. So that kind of yoga, devotional yoga, the yoga of love there. There’s a lot of kindness and love and compassion about this concept. I just was even listening to someone who has devoted pretty much his life and passion to that. Yeah, I think it’s amazing.


It is amazing. 


It obviously takes cultivating it over a long period of time. Little by little before you know it, you understand these stories a little better. It makes sense. And that’s cool. 


So it sounds like the interaction process with that particular training method you enjoyed. Was that the first way you started listening to his philosophy teachings not interactive? And then that the svadhyaya ones was where you could maybe type in questions into the chat box. Is that how that was going down?


Yeah. So you can do either, you can buy the pre recorded lectures, the lectures for students. We are a neutral audience, we have no access to the direct communication, we watch the recordings. But because the content is all out there, you can watch it at any time you want to watch it. The Friday sessions are live sessions, but he also records them and then post them online. So if you miss a Friday because you really want to go for that happy hour Friday, then you can watch it or listen to it the next day.

Listen to the full episode with Nona for free on our podcast site here.

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