Yoga is one of those things where you say, “I should do it,” and then you don’t. Until one day, something clicks, and suddenly, you can’t get enough. For Jacek Hibner, that one day came when he picked up a book with meditation exercises. Through that book, he stumbled upon yoga, and now he can’t imagine life without it. Here’s his story.
The article is part of a series of interviews highlighting inspiring individuals and the passions that make them tick. It was originally published as part of our 2022 issue of Wall Stories Magazine for the September edition of the Maison & Objet trade fair in Paris.
Do you remember the last time your mind was completely blank, without a single stray thought wandering through? Has it ever happened? These days, our heads are constantly whirring with ideas, concerns, and questions. The worst part is that we’ve gotten so used to all this churn that we can’t hear it anymore.
Just a year ago, Jacek Hibner’s head was whirring, too. Just like most of us, this accomplished hospitality expert and personal development coach was subconsciously filtering the noise out, instead breaking it with some quiet time.
And then, he came across a book that changed his life for good.
Yes, it was a single book that made Jacek dive into the world of yoga. In just a few months, he went from a yoga muggle to a yoga teacher. He even traveled to India and spent a few weeks at an ashram in Rishikesh, attending a yoga and meditation retreat and deepening his knowledge under the guidance of seasoned yoga masters. Now he’s on a mission to share what he’s learned with others, helping them find their inner calm, balance, and peace.
The best part? The book in question was not even about yoga. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves because no one can tell this story better than Jacek Hibner himself.
Before you dive in, we asked Jacek to curate a selection of artworks by Displate artists for your home. Check out his picks and get inspired!
On Why He Decided To Start Practicing Yoga
A few months ago, I was reading a book on leadership. One of the suggested techniques to stay calm was meditation, so I picked up a book on that subject as well. I quickly learned that meditation is a part of yoga and found that very intriguing – up to this point, all I knew about yoga was practicing different asanas (postures).
And so, I started meditating using a dedicated app, read a lot about asanas, and practiced some basic ones at home. I admit, It was fun but also pretty ugly! I couldn’t do any of the basic asanas properly.
When I learned what yoga is all about, I decided to go to India and take a yoga teacher training. I have always been a “teacher” or a “coach” type of person, from sports like squash or running to life and hospitality coaching. But my stay in Rishikesh changed how I think and perceive life. It changed me. Once I discovered new values in life along with new techniques to improve it, I wanted to share them with others.
And How It Changed His Life
Yoga has become my new way of living and an essential part of my daily routine. Every day, I get up around 5 in the morning and do my exercises. I have also changed my diet, eliminating meat and alcohol. Step by step, I’m introducing new habits into my life and trying to stick to them for good.
I’m an ultra mountain runner and a squash player, and yoga practice has complemented my other sports activities. It made me calmer and more focused – when I run, I can concentrate on myself, my tactics, and my strongest qualities. Before I picked up yoga, I used to feel deeply stressed before each start. Now, the stress is gone: I appreciate the fact that I’m able to be there, to run with others, and to help them in need (yes, mountain runners help each other on the trail, no matter if it’s a 10 km run or a 240 km one).
My life philosophy has changed, too. Through yoga, I’ve become closer to nature and more eco-conscious. I started to care more about my surroundings and the planet instead of focusing only on myself and my family. I’m fully aware that these are small steps, but I stay strong and am determined to continue following this path at an increasing speed.
And it’s not just yoga that changed me. Living in India had an equally powerful impact. I experienced an entirely different way of living: different values, weather, and culture. Everyone in India smiles. Even homeless people seem to keep their grins glowing from early morning till late evening. When people drink water from a bottle, they never touch it with their mouth so they can later share it with others.
On His Approach to Meditation
When I first started meditating, it was an exciting test exercise. Here I was, sitting down, trying to keep my head clear for just 5 minutes, and counting every thought that came across my mind. And guess what? I counted more than 70! This surprised me a lot. Sure, I expected one or two – but 70? So I took up a meditation course and started working on my mind. At that time, I realized that my mind managed me, not the other way around.
Now I’m making a lot of progress in grasping more control over my mind, and while the process isn’t exactly complicated, it requires some self-discipline and regularity. I meditate every morning, sometimes evenings too. It helps me stay calmer and quieter on a daily basis. It’s much easier to focus on the task at hand and execute it. I also feel I’ve become more transparent and brave in the way I think, come up with new ideas, and make decisions. And in my life, there’s a lot of them.
Jacek’s Advice For Yoga Beginners
If you want to pick up yoga, start as soon as possible. You can go to a local yoga center or take some online classes, of which there’s a huge selection nowadays. Be patient. If one type of yoga doesn’t suit you, try a different one. Remember that yoga is not just for the young and fit – it’s for everyone, regardless of age. You’ll see that all it takes are just a few classes to make you feel better.
The benefits yoga has on your mind, body, and soul are endless. Practicing asanas will strengthen your body and make it more flexible. Meditation will help you become calmer and more focused and will contribute to eliminating stress from your life. You can heal your emotions and soul through yoga, start smiling more and see people smiling right back at you. Amazing, isn’t it?
And then there’s the philosophy, body cleansing techniques, breathing methods… If you never try, you’ll never know just how big of an impact this can have on your life. I can honestly say that right now, I’m in the best place I’ve ever been. I just wish I had known all this back when I was a kid.
Over to You!
If you’ve never tried yoga before, we hope Jacek’s story has convinced you to give it a go. There are so many benefits to be reaped from regular practice – physical, mental, and even spiritual. Try it, and soon enough, you’ll be living in the moment and feeling more connected with yourself than ever before. Who knows – maybe you, too, will be an enthusiastic yoga teacher someday!
Click the button below to see a full list of the artworks curated by everyone in our Wall Stories magazine.
If you made it this far, you might also enjoy other articles from our series:
- Serving the Muses: When Curious Minds Collide
- Crafting Abstract Elegance with Diana Rodrigues
- In Between Dichotomies: Art by David Lascaris
- Embracing Nature with Jari Välijärvi
- Norbert Rybarczyk: Colors That Tell Stories
- The Art of DIY Living with Rachel Metz
- The Art of Acceptance with Karo Kołodziejczyk
All photos used in this post are © Jacek Hibner, used with permission.