Practitioner Profile: Nick Velkov, Jivamukti Yoga and Transcendental Meditation Instructor
Yoga instructor Nick Velkov believes good health is the byproduct of a fit body, compassionate mind and strong social bonds. “If any one of these legs is missing, the system is unhealthy,” he says. This philosophy has been influenced by his health-conscious father who taught him the necessity of maintaining a healthy body, mind and social ties, the last being difficult for Velkov whose family moved often during his childhood; he was the new kid in school every two to four years. While he didn’t know early on exactly what his life would look like, he knew he wanted to plant deep roots and settle into a community long term.
New York is where those roots were planted, and in 2021, Velkov took over the operation of St. Mark’s Yoga studio. He first came to yoga in search of effective physical exercise ideas. He returned to class for the pleasant social atmosphere, and now maintains a life-long commitment to the journey in hopes of retaining a healthy compassionate mindset, one of the tenets of Jivamukti yoga.
Velkov is inspired by the service and sharing of others, saying, “Selflessness is profoundly motivating.” To leave this place a little better than he found it motivates him to work hard in service to others. “Giving and receiving gratitude is in itself the greatest reward,” he says.
Besides his father, Velkov has been influenced by Miami-based yoga instructor Adrian Molina, who widens his yoga instruction beyond the mat and walls of the studio and into the social fabric that knits communities together such as schools, hospitals and government agencies. Velkov aspires to do the same, connecting people to joy. “Humans have a finite number of hours in their current material bodies so while they’re here, they should get on a path toward joy.” This includes taking care of one’s heart. “Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death, and it is mostly preventable. There’s little excuse for it,” he says.
Velkov is certified in transcendental meditation and Jivamukti yoga, a style that can support a path to enlightenment through compassion and one’s relationship to the earth. His classes emphasize mindful movement with space for deep breathing. He hopes people choose peace over choosing to fight. “All living beings are connected in one singular consciousness, and the individual traits we recognize in others are the traits we most clearly identify in ourselves,” he explains.
Location: St. Mark’s Yoga, 12 St. Mark’s Pl., between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. For more information, visit StMarksYoga.com.