From a small child, Cristina Kalyani Paes has sustained an immense curiosity regarding the mysteries of the world, dreaming of being a hermit and a pilgrim. With a particularly strong interest in life on other planets, she believed that she must have been from another world, or even galaxy due to the destruction she saw on Earth. However, coming from a traditional Brazilian family, with a Freudian psychologist for a father and a banker for a mother, spirituality was not something to be discussed at the dinner table. Regardless, it consumed her, and she began reading books by Herman Hesse and Bhagwan Rajnessh (Osho) as well as starting to practice meditation and her own creation of yoga asanas; thus leading her to a life of spiritual practice in teaching yoga and meditation around the world, providing services including healing massages and quantum healing hypnosis therapy, and offering Vedic fire ceremonies.
Her practice has taken her on an incredible journey including traveling an entire year on horseback crossing from Equator to Peru with a monkey, fifteen horses and twelve people from around the world. The voyage, called Nomads United (https://www.facebook.com/NomadsUnited), is now being turned into a television series. Just last year, Paes volunteered in Jamaica teaching yoga at public schools for children ranging from three to fourteen years of age. She also recently worked with nature and yoga photographer Bill Tipper across five different countries, and will be featured in five pages of his new book, The Nature of Yoga. It is her determination and sense of fearlessness that leads her to new opportunities.
“It’s harder for me to stop and do nothing than to create, move, study or do something. At this moment I am involved in four or five different projects not to mention taking care of my daughter and myself.”
With spirituality as her north star, she says that the concept varies from individual to individual, with no set definition. For her, people connect in spirituality through activities such as going to church or temple, yoga or meditation, writing or creating art. She says this is the meeting point for spirituality and creativity—that they work in tandem, using creativity to connect with your inner spirit and bliss.
Striving to collectively create a new paradigm in living sustainably and to exist as one mind collective for the overall benefit of humanity, Paes “believe[s] [her] work is here is to help people from all walks of life to rediscover their true self of bliss…and to awaken to the realization that we are all one, always connected and coexisting.”
“But every big transformation can only start from within,” she says.
Paes delves into explaining the amount of self-discipline required—that she must continually research and practice in order to find breakthroughs and inspiration. She works to recognize her own challenges and emotional snags and breaks through those before she works with others in those realms. The key is to “transform little by little.”
She discusses the importance of profound confidence in what you are working towards—that your craft matters and will touch someone and impact another’s life in some shape or form. Acquired from studying theatre for six years, Paes applies this approach to everyday life as well as keeping her heart open to novel experiences and not being afraid to take different paths and trusting in the flow of life.
“When you create, you are not creating to please; it just pours from you, like a flower blossoming. The flower is not concerned with how beautiful she is for you, she just IS. The same occurs when you are an artist. You create because this is who you are and that is your strength; when you open your art to others you are also opening your soul and that is being vulnerable to judgment towards what other people think of who you are. But if you know that the other is just a mirror to the different aspects of yourself then you have found true strength. In yoga we say “Namaste,” which means I am another you. We are all flowers blossoming in different shapes and colors reflecting and experiencing each other.”
Accordingly, she feels that making a difference will happen when we learn to live in equality, in humanity battling greed and fear, and in sustainability, with respect for our limited resources.
She says, “I love the Native American quote: When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.”
Currently, Paes spends the bulk of her time in Costa Rica where she has lived the last thirteen years practicing and teaching with a focus on quantum healing hypnosis therapy—a shortcut, she believes towards understanding our emotions, mind frames, and habits. She is also in the midst of launching a spiritual-based jewelry line called JAYAPREM, with a mission to connect people with sacred geometry and the power of gemstones; as well as writing down her life story.
The last thing she learned:
“We are multidimensional beings. Past, present, and future don’t really exist. We are living all our lives at the same time in different spaces.”
“Keep on moving, exploring, creating. Be bold and fly! Trust your heart, listen to your mom. Namaste!”