Today our interlocutor is Oleg Linikh. He is the same as everyone else. Meeting him on the street, you will hardly guess that he is one of the best yoga specialists in the CIS. And it certainly wouldn’t even occur to you that a few years ago, after a severe spinal injury, he was given a “medical verdict”: a lifelong disability. By the way Oleg looks and behaves, it is very difficult to determine his occupation. He could be anyone and work at any job that requires calmness, modesty, a sharp sober mind, intelligence, great physical strength, quick reaction and iron will. All these qualities are clearly visible in Oleg's appearance. But at first glance, there is nothing “traditionally yogic” in it - no “baubles”, no “Om” on the neck, no rosary on the wrist, no tattoos stylized as “East”, no other “gadgets”, not even so typical for the majority of “advanced yoga teachers” filled with weary understanding and blissful indulgence, a wet-languid “radiant” look – a little “not from here” and a little lofty... On the contrary, Oleg gives the impression of a person who is one hundred percent adequate and fully aware of facts of objective reality. He managed to “not get fooled” and not fall into a meaningless “yoga for the sake of yoga”, but to use the practice of yoga “as intended” - in order to make every moment of his life saturated to the limit with one hundred percent awareness and control. And that is why he is one of the best. And in the ability to use the power of yoga to solve a variety of problems that people face "in life", he, perhaps, has no equal ... Exaggeration? Not at all - just a statement of the skill that this person has acquired as a result of conscious movement through his own ordinary normal human life ...
Oleg, what is yoga and why practice it?
For me, this is how I like to live. I don't see it any other way, and I don't want to. When you live like this, life develops, it flows. I was so amazed by this that I stopped straining. You don’t strain, in general, in anything, but you just let life go the way it happens. Naturally, some body movements are required of you, and you do them, sometimes quite actively.
There is such a curious story: a European gets to the Chukchi and begins to live with them. And now they are going to go to the whale: they harness the sled and move - a hundred miles. And suddenly, in the middle of the path, they come across a huge crack - water blocked the path. The European immediately begins to fuss: let's go around on the other side, or maybe better on the other side. He was very worried about how they would get across. And then one of the Chukchi notices that the main difference between a European and them is that he lives on the other side of the crack, and they live here.
And how long has this been happening? How did you get into yoga in general?
- Personal memories come from deep childhood. Incomprehensible retractions of the abdomen, so that he was completely hidden under the ribs, a stand on the shoulder blades, and this is all at the age of four or five years. While studying at school, I traveled a lot, maybe this left an imprint on the choice of a place for further study - the Leningrad Hydrometeorological Institute, specializing in oceanology. While studying at the institute, in a strange way I went and enrolled not in the scuba diving section, but in the mountaineering section. This contributed to the fact that I traveled a lot around the country, met a lot of interesting people. Mountaineering brotherhood, a kind of some kind of closed order, or rather open. And there I went through the subsequent lessons of becoming a Human. In mountaineering, in a circle of people of the same spirit, it is impossible to be closed, otherwise the environment would simply spit out.
After student freemen, an interesting life, a mountaineering fraternity - an army for a year and a half. An army in which completely different laws reigned, a completely different side of life. There, your huge personal space was taken and squeezed to the limit. I ended up in an exemplary school, and even in an exemplary company. We had 12 hours of walkers on the parade ground - they drilled hard. Of all the guys, half were eighteen years old, the rest - with an "upper" education. And we were frankly turned into sheep, who are obliged to obey the order. Probably, this is necessary in the army: you don't have to think, but you have to do. And then from training I ended up in the linear part, we had a battalion - 34 people, of which four were Slavs, and the remaining thirty were people of other nationalities: Chechens, Uzbeks, Azerbaijanis, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, they had completely different ideas about life. It turns out that mutual assistance, helping the weak and the like do not work here at all, for them this does not exist. For the same Turkmens, if a person gives a gift, it means that he is afraid, and if he beats, it means that a strong person is the owner. The combination of their life positions, their principles with the army gave a very interesting result and hardening.
After the army, an irrepressible desire appeared, an unrestrained desire for somewhere, for something. I couldn’t explain it, I was just bursting from within with the desire to improve, to become better, but it’s hard to express in words, because the inner sensations were much more powerful.
The past simply did not satisfy, I wanted something more. And then there was a meeting with Andrei Sidersky. At that time, I worked at the hydrobiological station, which belonged to the Kherson branch of the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, we had a very interesting team, mostly enthusiasts of their work worked. We were worried about the state of small rivers in Ukraine. Ukraine was once called the country of rivers, and there is no other country like it anywhere in the world. By the end of the existence of the Soviet Union, the project "Small Rivers of Ukraine" was developed - they were supposed to be cleaned and restored. Unfortunately, this did not happen. Let's hope that our current rulers will succeed. Then my tasks were to collect samples of water, aquatic vegetation, bottom soil, fish, shellfish, and monitor changes in radiation pollution. I really liked what I was doing, so I often came to work earlier and left later.
And one day I come, I look: a man is standing on his head, I think, what kind of strange person is this? Then we got to know each other a little closer, it turned out - this is Igor Khutko. I was very curious about what he was doing. He said it was the system. I asked for more details, to which he replied that in a few days a person from the expedition would arrive, who would tell better and be able to teach.
A few days later, a scientific ship arrived in Kherson, on which Andrey Sidersky was. Then everything turned around for me. And most of all I was not impressed by the asanas, because, going in for mountaineering, and before that, boxing and other sports, I knew a lot of exercises - not knowing that they were from yoga, we performed them. I was most impressed with the cleansing procedures. We washed our faces, brushed our teeth, and that was it. And then such a variety opened up, starting with the simplest: cleaning the tongue and salt under the tongue. I immediately checked all this - I cleaned my tongue, sea salt under my tongue - then an explosion of purity. Then washing the nose - jala-neti, kunzhal. I started it right away, as it was written, with Dhirendra Brahmachari, who starts 40 days in a row every morning to cleanse the stomach with water. I was surprised how pure a person can be.
And immediately I felt the consequences of all these procedures. I could no longer use public transport. You enter a trolleybus and you feel that two days ago a man ate scrambled eggs with bacon, onions and washed down with cologne. I had to buy a sports bike. It was exactly 10 km to work, and every morning I was waiting for a bike ride.
Now, when newcomers come to the yoga group, do you recommend that they perform cleansing procedures? If yes, which ones?
- I used to recommend it, but now I try to speak with each person separately. If this is some kind of complex case, and I do not have enough experience to deal with it, I recommend consulting a doctor. Often I work with a pendulum. And in the group, I recommend everyone clean the tongue, and under the tongue - sea salt. And everything else is already individual, there are too many nuances in the cleaning procedures.
In general, the more I was fond of yoga, the more questions I had. The more I learned, the more I realized that I knew nothing. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to work closely with Andrey Sidersky. I came to him when I had the opportunity, wrote letters - it was a long time ago, there was no Internet yet, and we corresponded by Soviet mail. And he continued to climb. So I reached the threshold.
What does it mean?
- For some reason, there are such "points" when something needs to be left. I met Andrey Sidersky in 1987, and then I started practicing yoga. And in 1991 I deliberately left mountaineering. I was no longer so interested. We climbed a lot, there were a lot of beautiful words: “victory over yourself” and stuff like that, but this no longer satisfied me. It is much more difficult to get up every morning, study, work, than to climb some super-difficult peak. This is my idea.
But at the same time, while doing yoga, I realized that the first states of concentration, concentration, and most importantly, detachment, I received in mountaineering. Because
there is always an element of risk in the mountains. Often you go to the limit and just merge with the wall. If extraneous thoughts are present in you, if you talk about something or even think about what to do next, you will not pass. You have to think before you leave. You considered the path once, then another, someone walked in front of you, and when you are already working, you no longer think about how and what to do - you just do it. You just need to surrender to the rock and allow you to do what is already in the mind. But it was only later that I realized why I had mountaineering.
A fall from a great height, compression fractures of the spine in two places, the prospect of disability and life “with a stick”… Please tell us your recovery story.
— I had such an interesting moment in my life when I was engaged in high-altitude work. At a height between the fourth and fifth floors, I needed to fix the antenna. I made some mistakes and fell right off the vertical wall. The impact on the ground was very strong, although it landed on both feet. At that time I was already practicing yoga. Probably, if it were not for the practice - the body was trained enough - he could have died. It happened in the city of Tosno, Leningrad region. That day in the morning I trained on the banks of the Volkhov River, there are very interesting places. During the practice, I had the feeling that someone was watching me closely, and a very large one. I constantly interrupted the practice, turned around, just could not train. Usually I practice detachedly, and I don’t care about anything around. And then all the time I felt someone's eyes, but I did not see anyone. And in the evening I fell. The pain was terrible, words can not describe. There was a friend next to me, he was engaged in treatment with his hands, but when he tried to bring his hand to me at a distance of half a meter, in order to remove the pain, it became unbearable, and I asked him not to do anything.
Somehow I lay down, caught my breath, but we did not call an ambulance, which was a mistake. After that, he lived with friends for another week without hospitalization. I walked when the need arose, resting my hands on my knees, stretching and fixing my spine, because I did not want to be lying down. We didn't take a picture either. In general, he did stupid things. The next day we went to the local surgeon, he checked, looked and said that I just had a bad bruise. It's good that the wife of one of my comrades insisted, and we still went and took a picture. The picture showed: a compression fracture of the first lumbar vertebra and a fragmentation-compression fracture of the twelfth thoracic vertebra with displacement and with all the ensuing consequences.
Friends began to think what to do and went to the Second Leningrad City Hospital. There was a spine surgery center. They took pictures with the help of a nuclear magnetic resonator. The pictures showed that fragments from my thoracic vertebra did not reach the spinal cord by only one millimeter. That is, a little more - and the spinal cord would have been severed - the situation would have become completely sad. And so, in principle, you can live, but you can’t move. The doctors were surprised that I did not go to the hospital for so long, any careless movement could lead to the movement of fragments. Due to the fact that most of the vertebral body was crushed, it was impossible to do without surgery.
At that time, Dr. Tikhodeev developed a unique method, for which he received the State Prize. He began to make implants from parts of the body of the person himself. Previously, light modern materials were used: plastic, metals. But often in the body there was their rejection. Tikhodeev operated on me and made an implant from a part of my rib.
For a month after the operation, he lay almost motionless, only on his back or on his side. But already in the hospital, I began to practice lying down: I practiced tension and relaxation of those parts of the body that I could somehow control. A month later, I began to do more complex exercises in bed: raise and bend my legs, push them apart. A couple of weeks later they made me a hard corset of metal plates with fabric. He rested on the hips and armpits - it turned out to be such a knight in a shell. And they allowed me to get up a little, but only with crutches. The muscles, even though I exercised regularly, were greatly weakened. I started to walk a little, squat a little.
St. Petersburg yogis helped me a lot: they visited me in the hospital, fed me. And the guys with whom I worked were very helpful. The company practically paid me for a fairly expensive operation. The hospital had expensive German equipment, the Germans helped Tikhodeev and supplied modern equipment. But most importantly, Tikhodeev brought together high-level professionals - from nurses to doctors. In general, the doctors did everything they could. But when I was discharged, they advised me to issue a second disability group.
I had a question: what will happen next, what can I do and what can not? Doctors' opinions differed. One attending physician specifically said that it is impossible to lift anything heavier than a pen or a beer glass. He prophesied that I could walk with a stick and be lame for life, there was no talk of training. Another doctor, Tikhodeev, who operated on me, said: “We did what we could, the rest is in your hands. As you continue to lead yourself, so be it. Of course, I do not advise you to immediately tear and lift weights. And if you start to gradually train, you will bring yourself into a more or less human state.
And so he came home. At first it was just painful to walk. The trouble with walking in a corset is that the muscles atrophy. It became clear that I had no choice: I had to work. I didn't want to be poor and miserable. From the outside, in general, it looked funny when a healthy man (you can’t see the corset under his clothes) walks next to a woman who has a bag in her hands, and then she suddenly throws the bags, bends over and starts lacing his shoes. Friends about this then made fun of me.
How did you find a way out?
“Finally, I started exercising. Exercises could only be done lying down. Using various possibilities of the body in the position either on the stomach or on the back, he mainly worked with the arms, legs and neck. The whole range of exercises and all their diversity consisted in stretching and tension of the limbs. All this helped me gradually, millimeter by millimeter, to strengthen my back. I had constant pain, and I didn’t feel half of my stomach at all.
Then I began to feel more confident in a horizontal position, and the guys made me an inclined shelf on the Swedish ladder. The angle of inclination increased gradually, because he felt changes in the position of the body acutely. Pain taught me instantly - if I made a mistake with the angle of the board, it pierced my entire body. There was nowhere to swim at that time - it was winter, and there were no normal pools in Kherson. In the summer we went to the Crimea to the sea, and for a month I trained in the water. The effect was very
Not even a year had passed since the injury, when I went with the guys to a seminar with Andrey Sidersky. The guys carried my backpack, and I went light. I still couldn't lift weights. And for medical reasons, even now (this was specifically stipulated by the doctors) I can lift no more than 1 kg.
Are you still following these guidelines?
- Well ... I recently returned from a hike, my backpack weighed about 25 kg. And we walked in the mountains 25-30 km a day. Naturally, then - during the recovery period - the loads increased gradually, there was simply no talk of “bridges” and other similar exercises ...
- The classic version of the bridge, when the palms touch the feet, until I do it. But I'm working on it. And from the position of standing on my feet I go out into the bridge.
This whole situation taught me to understand how the spine works and what needs to be done so that there are no injuries. In 2002, I left my main job and started teaching yoga.
I won’t say that I had a clear craving for this, but somehow it turned out by itself that even before the injury, for six or seven years, I conducted non-advertised training with my guys. It was at the time of my "altitude-seasonal" career. “I plow” on the walls, roofs and bridges for seven to eight months, paint them to an unearthly beauty and go to the hall, to the guys, until the next departure. At work, too, students sometimes appeared. Sometimes, sitting by the fire with a glass of vodka, one of the workers complained of back pain. I gave a little practice - and after 15 minutes the pain went away. This caused both surprise and interest. In short, there were people who needed my work.
So I was faced with a choice: to leave my main job and do only training, that is, become an instructor or continue to do ordinary social work. The choice was not easy to make, and the material factor was quite important. Then I could not even imagine that working as a yoga instructor could feed a family. I have a wife and two daughters who were still in school then.
When you took up yoga, were you already married?
Yes, and I already had a child.
And how did your family react to this hobby?
- My wife did not study, but she never interfered with me. She let me do what I wanted to do. But the rest of the environment, especially at first, when I did not know how to disguise myself, at any holiday they attacked me with barbs. The main topic of conversation was that I was probably crazy, from a sect. I received the most severe pressure from my closest relatives, with the exception of my wife, who always supported me. Although, I didn’t manage to involve her, no matter how hard I tried, this was probably the main mistake: no one needs to be involved. But then I didn’t understand it yet, but my three-year-old daughter was happy to go with me to greet the sun. She performed Surya Namaskar, I attracted her with a fairy tale about the meeting of the sun. And she liked it.
But yoga is not only asanas. For your wife, maybe yoga is something else?
– I believe that even just doing what you love – maybe in a profession – if a person does something perfectly and looks for ways to do it even more efficiently, uses a creative approach – this is already yoga. Anything done to perfection is yoga.
We don't do exercise. I recently met the champion of Ukraine in rally, he is a master of sports of international class. I was shocked from talking with him. I had the feeling that I was sitting in front of a person who has been practicing yoga for 20-30 years. In his business, he really achieved professionalism, he lives by this, now he is also an instructor. And against the background of his profession, communication with people, he learned to understand people so much, learned to communicate and help them, that you can’t call him anything other than a Master of Yoga. It is amazing.
And, on the contrary, there are situations when a person has been practicing for 10 years, and you communicate with him and wonder what he did for these 10 years, because where he was, he stayed there. Why does it happen anyway?
- Probably because such people are engaged for the sake of their personal exaltation. As they exercise, they feed a sense of self-importance. Such a person believes that through the practice of asanas he can be a thousand times cooler than someone else. But this is not yoga. Practicing yoga, we do not prove anything to anyone.
So what does it mean to teach yoga? Do they teach mainly asanas? It turns out that a person seems to be practicing yoga, but it turns out that he inflates his own pride.
- I'll tell you about myself. It is not in my power to take and change a person. In fact, people come to me with specific problems, for example, for health. And I try not to talk about anything so sublime in my classes, because these philosophizings lead nowhere. And if a person has lower back pain, or he cannot turn his neck, or he has problems with digestion, then I can help. And when a person stands for twenty breathing cycles in some complex power asana, then sometimes I get the feeling that some kind of husk is falling off him. And he suddenly stops worrying and arguing about some petty and base things - he stops being “buggy”. And look, he is already so calm. At least for some time it is enough to not cling to trifles after a workout. He has the opportunity to look at himself, at the world with different eyes.
From one of the teachers I heard one very interesting thing and took it into service. This is one of Norbekov's students. I was curious and I watched him teach. First, he asked the group who was in trouble? The entire hall raised their hands. And then he spoke with an assistant: how will we work - will we give out plastic bags to everyone or in a different way? He replied that it was better to be gentle. Then he told everyone to hold their breath and not breathe, but to start breathing only with his permission. Group of 30-40 people. And you can imagine it: a person can no longer stop breathing, but he considers and everyone should be allowed to breathe. Then he asked again if anyone else had any problems. People were not so willing to raise their hands. When a person cannot breathe, this is a problem, but if the ceiling needs to be painted or it is not possible to buy a new car, this is not a problem, these are just some tasks that need to be solved. And now, when people in my group begin to discuss something before training, I advise them to put a plastic bag on their heads, and then look at this problem again.
I have heard the concept that asanas are not necessary to do, that you can replace them with running, any other physical exercises, but in fact this is not so. On my broken health, I was convinced how effective asanas are. Not everything can be explained to the end, but the result is simply amazing. I watched people who had a complete collapse in health. And I will say that I am very surprised if practice does not help. Either a person is not diligent in his practice - he does it “for show”, or he does something wrong.
I have also come across people who completely reject modern medicine. I think this is fundamentally wrong. I still consult with doctors, I love and just communicate with them. By the way, there are no less charlatans in folk medicine than among physicians. I recently met a traumatologist who told me how many operations one has to do, especially for children, who have been in the hands of some well-known chiropractors. It's just that no one keeps statistics on what happens to people afterwards. The same is true in our practice. People in the hands of an illiterate instructor walk on a razor's edge.
Any problem that happens to us is preserved on the physical plane: in the ligaments, in the muscles, in the fascia. And you need to get it. How?
- You need to relax well, then it starts to come out, and you can work with it. And you can relax well after you are well tense. That's the whole technology of yoga.
Yoga Nidra is definitely very effective. In my group, there were cases when the blocks in the back passed from the very first yoga nidra. Deep relaxation - and people really feel the effect, right up to the clicks in the back.
What do you say about nutrition?
- Most of my seminars take place in nature, where we eat according to the macrobiotic principle. Slava Smirnov introduced me to Yang nutrition, I really liked it. For a long time I did not think about it, I thought that moderation was enough. And leading such a camping lifestyle, we usually collected stews, condensed milk, in the end, we dragged a bunch of iron and mixed everything we could. And when I began to get acquainted with the processes that occur at the same time in the body and at a subtle level, I realized that it’s better not to mix. But we must not forget the ancient yogic law that in ideal conditions it is impossible to always keep the body - once a month you need to swallow a hedgehog or eat a crocodile. You need to stimulate your system and allow yourself sometimes all sorts of things. Do not make it a law, but it is necessary to give the body a shake-up.
Now my main diet is cereals and vegetables. But I'm not against meat, I don't think that all people should be vegetarians. In general, I had different periods. At first I was not particularly interested in nutrition, then there were four years of strict vegetarianism. Then I realized, again thanks to a conversation with Andrey Sidersky, that this should not be done. Then I began to think, I learned about Yang nutrition. And now I believe that the body of a person who trains regularly builds up nutrition on his own. The only thing is that you need to regularly do cleansing procedures that suit you and give up products such as frank chemistry. Unfortunately, I often see that many children eat only chemistry: chips, crackers, cola - and this is all their food.
I am working in this regard: I give lectures at institutes. Unfortunately, the simplest things shock many people, they are often unable to accept either the rules of nutrition or the rules of hygiene, because they are embarrassed to talk about physiology. Young people, in general, do not think about it, young mothers do not know how to feed their children. The country is becoming a beer country, and the age of people who drink alcohol is becoming more and more young.
By the way, in one of our institutes, they conducted a study on rats specifically about eating like McDonald's. The rats were divided into three groups. One group was fed only food from McDonald's, the second - 50 to 50 - good food (vegetables, meat, cereals, etc.) and food from McDonald's, and the third group was fed food like chips: specific chemistry. Of course, the group on chips was the first to leave the race: digestive and metabolic disorders, heart disease, etc. Very soon, the 50 to 50 food group fell out of the race. Interestingly, when they switched this group to normal healthy food, the rats could not recover, they still had problems with obesity and the cardiovascular system, the processes that occurred in the body turned out to be irreversible. It is worth thinking carefully before going to lunch at McDonald's. But back to our conversation. I would like to ask a question about the relationship between student and teacher.
- I believe that in any relationship, it does not matter whether it is a student-teacher or just acquaintances, respect, elementary human decency is most important.
Do students come to you with any questions or advice about life? Very often, practitioners complain that they start having problems with loved ones and, in general, no one understands them.
- Situations are completely different, and here yoga has absolutely nothing to do with it, here the point is specifically in the person, in his ability to accept the situation. But I do not teach how to live, a person can learn only in the course of his life, I suggest how it can be. Many loved ones, especially in a husband-wife relationship, are afraid of change.
There are situations when friends say: "What kind of a man have you become - you stopped going to restaurants, drinking vodka." Instead, he goes to practice. The same thing happens with women. A woman suddenly becomes strong, she has her own opinion, and she often does not like it. Women in the practice of yoga become really stronger, and surprisingly, through a simple physical form, the character really changes. The body becomes freer and the spirit becomes freer - the person becomes freer. The body becomes stronger and the character becomes stronger. Everything is interconnected. These things are very interesting to watch. This is very clearly seen in people who come rather weak, who have not done anything before.
I'm trying to tell people to introduce all this gently, so that there are no sharp corners, not to cut off the shoulder, because in the heat of the moment you can do a lot of stupid things. People will gradually get used to it. However, becoming stronger physically and internally, often a person immediately wants to do good to others and pulls his relatives by the ears. Many have gone through this, and this is the biggest mistake. The tension gets even stronger. It is necessary to give free rein to others to be who they want, and not to force, not to drag them into yoga, not to convince them to lead a righteous life. Situations are different, I still cannot grasp it with my understanding, everything is much deeper, and no one knows why this person is an alcoholic or a drug addict. You have chosen this path, so respect yourself and allow yourself to be what you want and allow others to be what they want.
And it happens that a person practices, develops, pumps Yang Qigong, but does nothing with his head, does not track his actions, does not think about his behavior. And if earlier he conditionally had one unit of strength, then after intensive training he had a thousand of them. Naturally, a thousand units more emotions or desires appeared - and they became simply uncontrollable. In addition to our practice of asanas, pranayamas, some dynamic techniques, it is still necessary for a person to think and track his actions, to see the real reasons for his behavior. It is much more difficult to look into oneself than to look at a neighbor, but this must be done.
And do not want to. We draw a picture about ourselves, and we always embellish this picture. I want to like myself and do not want to know that in fact it is not quite real. Sometimes, as a result of practice, you see that you are not so white and not so fluffy. Some kind of emotion comes out that a person has simply choked in himself for years, for example, aggression. Where, why? Some say yoga is to blame. When you take something not very pleasant out of you, you somehow want to put it back, pack it up - let it lie there for yourself - this, in general, is not mine, and I have nothing to do with it.
- This is exactly what we often discuss. It's accepted in our group. We do not make anyone guilty in our life situations. You just take it and understand. We create everything ourselves. And even if some kind of negative happens, figure out what you did or what is in you that caused such a situation. Don't blame mom, dad, husband, wife, brother, daughter or anyone else. The culprit must be found within yourself.
Valentin Ivanov has a wonderful book where knowledge is given like pearls, a book published in 1961. It describes the principle of the life of our ancestors: you were wounded in battle or killed - it’s not God’s fault, God didn’t want it that way, you didn’t train well, you didn’t notice the fired arrow. These guys have such an approach that you do everything with your own hands, and God can either interfere or help, but it all depends on your personal will.
When a person is faced with his negativity, he begins to hide, that is, to look for someone to blame - mom, dad, country. This is dictated by fear. I like an Eastern proverb in this regard: turn your face to your fears and they will leave you.
Interviewed by: Elena Romanyuk