he C.A.Y.A project is conceptualised as a number of workshops and educational seminars for improvement of the quality of life and personal growth. The name C.A.Y.A. is an acronym for Come As You Are which reflects our approach in working with people, and which is also closely connected with the theme of our workshops. The people involved in the project have also gone through at least one Intensive and have extensive knowledge on many other self-development techniques and yoga. The goal of this project is to raise the level of awareness among people and help them live a life of higher quality.

Martina Tomašić

founder of the C.A.Y.A project and Intensive instructor

From early youth, Martina showed great interest in psychology, yoga and other self-development techniques. After graduating in Sociology and Philosophy at the Centre for Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb, she actively worked in management and marketing as a project and brand manager but her primary interests lead her into the field of stress management, and she also completed an international course of ACT therapy (Acceptance and commitment therapy) and mindfulness in London. In addition, she has been studying holistic medicine for a number of years with emphasis on Ayurveda, as well as the effects of meditative techniques on human health. She has been an active member of the Yoga Centre in Zagreb since 1997, within which she participated in a number of Enlightenment Intensives (Direct Realisation of Truth), as well as other types of Intensives (such as the Mantra Intensive, Lucid Dreaming Intensive, etc.). During her life she went through many educational programmes (holotropic breathing method by S. Grof, Aspectics, Working with Polarities, PEAT – method by Ž. M. Slavinski, breathing techniques – pranayamas, hatha yoga asanas, Himalayan exercises, Transformational Communication, etc.), all of which have the goal to improve the quality of life and self-development.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

My story begins, as do many others…in my earliest childhood, when people used to ask me: “What do you want to be when you grow up“?

That question always made me feel uncomfortable because everybody else knew the answer, and I didn’t. Without much thinking, my peers would say how they wanted to be doctors, mechanics, and flight attendants (which was very popular in the early 80’s!), but when it was my turn to say something, I would find myself repeating, like a parakeet: “a flight attendant”. What was really going through my mind was another question: “Why do I need to want to be something/someone, am I not good enough just as I am?” Maybe I just didn’t have a special talent which would make me stand out, like everyone else…When I was 4 years old I very willingly started to go to dance classes, but I never wanted to become a dancer, I just wanted to…dance!

Such way of thinking wasn’t common in those days, and in many ways it still isn’t. Today, we still face the same challenges, even more so. When I was working as a brand manager, I learned how everything needs to be made into a product, even ourselves. You need to make your venture interesting, something that has a storyline, it has to be original and it has to stimulate those sensitive sensory nerves controlling human basic needs and desires. This is where we go back to the famous Maslow pyramid and human psychology. What makes us truly happy and fulfils our greatest needs?

As I had a natural inkling for social sciences, I enrolled into the University, majoring in Sociology and Philosophy. What I was really looking for was a type of study that would teach me about the purpose of life, about human beings as such, and my own purpose? These are typical philosophical questions so my choice of faculty was somewhat logical. However, I still didn’t have an idea what I was going to do after I’d finished my education, so the question – “What am I going to be when I grow up?” still lingered. So then my father asked me the same question, and I still didn’t know the answer, so he rephrased the question and asked me: “What makes you happy”? My answer was: “Helping others”.

That question lead me to do the work I am doing today, and I am here to share it with you.

It is better to be “able” to do this, or that, than to “have” (property, possessions, anything). And better than being able to do something, is being Ability itself. But, only if you come to know the Doer, you come to Be who you really are; without effort, a sense of need or necessity. Only when you know the real nature of your true (real) Being, you come to reside in your own (All Pervading) Power/Glory; without having to do or be anything, without the need for anything. Hence, know Thy real Self, i.e. your unchangeable (true) Self. Surrender your mind to the Absolute Truth (which you have the opportunity to realise through Yoga, or the AI – Awareness Intensive); and let It do your reasoning.

Swami Brahmajñanananda


Swami Brahmajñanananda

Here, I would like to thank my spiritual teacher Sw. Brahmajñanananda who has introduced me to the eternal wisdom and who has been looking over me from one life to the next with great patience and love, which unconditionally burns in His heart. My Teacher’s spiritual teacher (Guru) was Swami Narayanananda, whose spiritual lineage can be traced to the spiritual giant Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. On the occasion of their first encounter, Sw. Brahmajñanananda asked Sw. Narayanananda if there was anything he should know that he doesn’t already know, Sw. Narayanananda answered: “There is nothing”.

The knower of Brahman (undivided absolute consciousness) becomes Brahman himself (the totality of pure consciousness), and that is called brahmajñana (the realisation of absolute consciousness), which is realised through Nirvakalpa Samadhi (the state of undivided consciousness, the realisation of all pervading consciousness, unlimited by names or forms), i.e. by maintaining the state of total awareness in the deepest, dreamless sleep.

My Guru isn’t one of those teachers who boasts with modern yoga instructor certificates. He who has come to realise the supreme, ultimate truth through his own practice, does not need acknowledgement from various institutions, and will be recognised by those who are spiritually mature enough, because to them their intuition will reveal true spiritual values emanated by human beings who have realised God. To know someone like that, and to learn from him directly is a true blessing!