During “Prague’s Spring” of 1968, Jaruska Solyova, M.A.E-RYT 500, was twice blessed — she tasted freedom from communism and was introduced to yoga! After graduating from Czech Conservatory with a master’s degree in dance, Solyova taught at the Italian and French embassies, and performed in European theaters and television. In 1986, she moved to California to pursue a love of architecture and quickly became involved in La Jolla’s development. (Does anyone remember her passionate speeches to the city council, or her petition to preserve La Jolla Cove Bridge Club?)
By 1996, yoga was no longer just Solyova’s healthy hobby, but her primary purpose. She achieved yoga certifications through American Viniyoga Institute, MYAcademy, Loyola University and others (including a cancer/cardiac specialty) and trained in 20-plus yoga styles.
For more than 15 years, students at the Bridge Club and Salk Institute (prenatal to age 97) have benefitted from her compassionate and artful way of tailoring yoga, ayurveda and massage to their individual needs.
What brought you to La Jolla?
A love for food! In the 1980s, I was a starving dancer in my 20s, living from audition to audition. My life was filled with music, dreams and unique experiences (like walking with Barbra Streisand on the Charles Bridge in Prague filming the movie “Yentl,” and working with Marine Jahan, the “dancing body” in “Flashdance.”) But I didn’t know how to boil an egg! So, when in Rome, I met an Italian architect who was a fabulous cook. I was ready to follow him anywhere ... it happened to be La Jolla (lucky me!) That was 30 years ago, and I have learned a few recipes since then.
What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
1) I’d add a few meditation benches with quotes from La Jolla visionaries like Ms. Ellen Browning Scripps, Roger and Ellen Revelle, etc. (Does anyone know why the decorative iron bench disappeared from the front of our post office where one was able to open mail in the shade of a fragrant Eucalyptus tree?)
2) I’d subtract for one day (and this is the poet in me) all that was added to our Village in the past 100 years to see how it used to be! Practically speaking, I’d subtract the ambiguity of our abundant city “rules & regulations,” as well as the complexity of La Jolla’s current system of various committees (one too many?) that present a tangled web of bureaucracy and allow too much discretionary power. Instead, our Village should be managed in an open, direct and democratic way.
3) I would add a few more streetlights to make us safer while walking after dark and to discourage crime at night.
Who or what inspires you?
Poems like Rudyard Kipling’s “If,” and “Yoga for Transformation,” by Gary Kraftsow, inspire me. I’m also inspired by unbroken spirits, and sometimes, human art and nature’s creations touch my soul and give me goosebumps ... Courageous people who follow their dreams are always inspiring, as are my yoga students as I watch them heal using natural medicines (like yogic breath) and then rise up to life’s challenges, transforming their lives and the world into a better place. It’s the most amazing experience!
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
Sydney Poitier, “Little Princess” Shirley Temple (to keep my 4-year-old niece, Lucia, company), Isadora Duncan, Saint Francis, Shirley MacLaine, Rumi and George Gershwin.
What are your favorite movies?
I’m a huge movie enthusiast — remember these? “The Seventh Cross” (1944), “Some Like it Hot” (1959), Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet” (1968), “My Fair Lady” (1964), “A Leap of Faith” (1992), and Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, “The Water Diviner” (2014).
What is it that you most dislike?
That would be (or to feel) abandoned, accused unjustly, betrayed, disrespected or helpless. I dislike people who are arrogant, avaricious, cowardly, prejudiced, selfish, ungrateful, unwilling to commit or bullies. I dislike people or organizations that abuse people or animals, distort the truth or stifle one’s hopes.
What is your most-prized possession?
I prize the gift of perception and the depth of my life experience and professional expertise, which allow me to create a safe and nourishing environment to facilitate and actualize full human potential. I prize being able to transform any kind of suffering into contentment and freedom.
As for personal, tangible property, I treasure the items on my altar and my extensive multi-lingual library. They remind me of the great spiritual masters (and my highest aspirations) of being in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and trips to India.
What do you do for fun?
I like to watch animals and babies; play, compose and listen to music; take nature walks, swim and dance. I also like to cook “Happy Belly Deli” dishes, express my feelings in poems, essays and sketches, and travel and take photos.
What is your philosophy of life?
I try never to let greed for fame, money, success or quantity, compromise my moral values, Dharma, integrity and quality.