x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Ria Haffar

Life Lessons Ria Haffar is an interior designer turned yoga teacher. She is half-Lebanese and half-Czech and has lived in Abu Dhabi for 14 years with her daughter Iona.

Andrew Henderson / The National
Andrew Henderson / The National

Ria Haffar is an interior designer turned yoga teacher. She is half-Lebanese and half-Czech and has lived in Abu Dhabi for 14 years with her daughter Iona. 1. Live life without expectations. This is the most important thing I have learnt. If you expect things, you are going to be let down. If you don't expect things they happen by themselves. I was always being let down because I expected things that didn't happen. Then I would be miserable. If you feel down you show it; the way you breathe changes, you get ill, you give off negative vibes and that reflects on all the people around you, who then also become sad and aggressive.

2. This precious moment is not going to come again. Live this moment and appreciate the now. The past is gone and you have no control over the future. Live now and be thankful for all those days that brought you to this moment and made you what you are. Include your negative days, your good days, your sad days as well as your happy days. 3. Remember you can change. I used to be extremely hyperactive, nervous and highly strung. As a child I was always slamming doors and when I had my daughter, I would often flip out at her. In fact, when I told my friends and family I had become a yoga teacher they were amazed. I still have my energy but I have turned it into positive energy. I take a step back and don't shout any more. I am so much calmer, I am more confident and I cope with things so much better.

4. Look into yourself. Self-knowledge and self-control are so important. The I, the me and the self is all important. Not in a selfish way, but if you are happy and treating yourself well, those around you will receive positive vibes. Sometimes I feel I have no energy to teach, but the brain, the "chitta" as we call it in Sanskrit, is all powerful and you can create energy when you need it. Talk to yourself, encourage yourself: above all, be kind to yourself.

5. Learn to let go of material things. I learnt this in India where I actually enjoyed sleeping on a very thin mattress in a room of four people, some of whom were snoring. I loved the simplicity of being grateful that I had a roof over my head. I also appreciated learning to eat with my hand and enjoyed the food better than I did when I was using a silver knife and fork. As told to Helena Frith Powell