The beginnings of SKOPJE YOGA SOCIETY date from a time when the significance of the term "Yoga" was only a distant foreseeing in a hybrid society such as former Yugoslavia.
The first individual practical and theoretical yoga classes in Macedonia were held by teacher Pavlos K. Hassanagas upon his arrival in Skopje in 1972. The first public lecture and official yoga course attended by fifty practitioners was held six years later in March 1978 in the Club for International Friendship.
Pavlos K. Hassanagas at the
Club for International Friendship, 1978
This first steps were made enthusiastically by teacher Pavlos with assistance of Amalia Parousi, MD, one of his first disciples. Due to the rising interest, in 1981 the Yoga Section grew into Skopje Yoga Society, the first of this kind founded in Macedonia. The assembly meeting was held on March 20th at the Faculty of Architecture.
Assembly meeting of Skopje Yoga Society, 20.03.1981,
Faculty of Architecture
The society organizes beginning, intermediate and advanced yoga courses, as well as specialized courses (for relaxation, kriya techniques, meditation etc.); therapeutic courses (for asthma, spinal deformations, rheumatism, cardiovascular diseases etc.); specialized courses for pregnant women, children, seniors, athletes and work organizations. It also organizes public lectures and seminars.
- It has organized the first yoga seminar (1979), the first international seminar (1982) and the first seminar for yoga instructors (1982);
seminar with teacher Pavlos K. Hassanagas, 1981
As part of the Society a School for Training Yoga Teaching Staff (1980) was founded, which till today is only one in Macedonia;;
Organized the first public lecture on "Healthy and proper diet", with Amalia Parousi, MD (1981);
Organized the first public lecture on acupuncture (1982, 1985) with Lazar Dimitriev, MD, gynecologist;
Pavlos K. Hassanagas, Amalia Parusi, MD and Lazar Dimitriev, MD
Conducted the first scientific research about yoga (1982) in collaboration with the Institute for Physiology at Skopje Faculty of Medicine;
Published the first handbook for yoga teachers (1982) and teaching manual "Hatha Yoga - Guide through the techniques of culture of body and mind" (1985);
Initiated constitution of Yoga Federation of former Yugoslavia (20.11.1983, Belgrade), preceded by meetings held in Skopje, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Subotica, Vrsac, Zagreb, Pula and Ljubljana, and during the seminars held in Leunovo 1982/83;
Was visited by yoga teachers from India in 1982/83;
Organized first Thai-Chi-Chuan courses held in Macedonia (1983);
Organized first therapeutic courses (1984);
Organized first specialized courses for pregnant women (1984), children (1982), students and professors at the Institute for Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, Skopje (1982/83/84); and for working organizations (1986);
First yoga classes for pregnant women held by Irena Edrovska,
- Began publishing a monthly bulletin ”Yoga” (1983) which later developed into “Yoga – Health and Harmony” Magazine (1995);
- Put a lot of effort in popularizing yoga in all media. Made the first series of TV shows on yoga held by teacher Irena Edrovska in 1986 on Macedonian television;
- Initiated and helped constitution of all other societies in Macedonia;
Won silver plaque on "Makinova 1986", an Innovation Exhibition held at Skopje Fair, for the study “The Working Man and Education of his Psychophysical Capabilities in the Culture of Labour" written by P.K. Hassanagas and I. Edrovska.
Since March 1985, the anniversary of the Society is celebrated with the Manifestation “Yoga Week”, which includes lectures, one day seminars, round table discussions, slide-projections and excursions.
Renowned people from the public life have been guest lecturers and participants at the round table discussions, such as
Prof. Olga and Svetomir Skarik (professor of developmental psychology and law professor respectively);
Prof. Zivko Popovski, architect; Ljupco Karevski, MD, orthopedist; Leonid Peisahov, musician; Vasko Tashkovski and Rodoljub Atanasov, academic painters. Some of the subjects elaborated were “Yoga and Painting”, “Yoga and Music”, “Yoga for the elderly” etc.
In 1994 the UNIVERSITY YOGA CENTRE was founded at "St. Cyril and Methodius" University. The Centre continued the activity which started in 1980, when the first specialized course for students was held by teacher Pavlos, in the Student home "Goce Delcev"
in Skopje. Several courses were held for the students at the Faculty of Economics and one at the Drama Faculty.