Do To Be is created by Tom and Anastasia Nowakowski.
Tom is a traveller, tour guide, health educator, tai chi, qigong and yoga practitioner, promoting natural and simple ways of finding health and well being in our everyday life. Originally born in Poland, at the age of 16 he began to practice the Korean martial art of Taekwondo. When in college, his interests slowly shifted towards what the Chinese refer to as the “soft martial arts,” such as Bagua, Xing Yi and Tai Chi.
While studying at the University of Physical Education in Poznan, Poland, he started practicing the Yang style of Tai Chi as taught by Yang Jwing Ming. After moving to the U.S. he continued his practice with Bill Helm of the San Diego Daoist Sanctuary and Chris Luth of the Pacific School of Tai Chi. On a few occasions he had a privilege of studying with master Abraham Liu and William Chen, but the main influence of his Tai Chi practice comes from Cheng Man Ching’s student, Master Herman Kauz.
In Hawaii he worked at a cancer retreat center where qigong was one of the methods practiced by the center’s guests. It was there where he met Zhineng qigong master Liu Jianshe. As a result he went to southern China where he studied in Zhineng Qigong Center on the Hainan island.
In India he studied hatha yoga. In Nepal he got initiated into Vipassana meditation.
He organized a tai chi/qigong school in Southern California where he taught for six years.
Recently he spent over a total of two years walking remote mountain wilderness areas of North America where he had a chance to experiment with various “techniques” of working with body and mind. The result of these experiences is an approach emphasizing simplicity, the importance of practice and finding balance in different aspects of our lives.
Anastasia started her yoga practice in 2005 in yoga centre of Andrey Lappa, one of the most renown yoga teachers in Ukraine, Russia and other post-Soviet countries. After few years of practice universal and hatha yoga in Ukraine, she went to India to study this ancient discipline of mind mastering from the source. Since that time, Rishikesh, the small town famous around the globe as world yoga capital, is her second home.
In Rishikesh Anastasia studied with such masters as Surinder Singh (hatha yoga + Iyengar yoga), Usha Devi (senior Iyengar yoga teacher), Ashish Sharma (hatha yoga + Iyengar), Yogi Vishvaketu (Akhand Yoga, Kundalini, Sukshma Vyayama and hatha) and 105-year old yogi Swami Yogananada Ji (himalayan yoga and Sukshma vyayama). Within years of studies with these outstanding Indian teachers Anastasia has developed her own approach to yoga practice, focused on using correct alignment and attention to asana not just as instrument of physical development, but as tools of deepening energetic practice and facilitating mental practices of yoga. Her experience and regular practice of Buddhist Vipassana meditation has even deepened her approach to viewing all physical techniques of yoga practice as tools of working with one’s mind, developing awareness, focus, strengthening attention and willpower, cultivating mind states that are conductive for happy, content and creative living.
In 2012 Anastasia has founded Himalayan Yoga Academy, a yoga school in Rishikesh that has gathered a team of prominent teachers around the goal of creating a comprehensive educational program for yoga teachers. In the school, Anastasia taught theory of teaching yoga, yogic anatomy and philosophy, alignment master classes. She also created books and study materials that are used by the school students. Anastasia incorporates newest break-through ideas of anatomical bodywork, such as theory of myofascial meridians,into creating sequences and practices for her classes.