Stega: A Perfect Union
For us, I think we see ourselves doing this because it’s meaningful, it’s impacting, and it’s really personal.

Co-creators, Hasmig Tatiossian and Armen Menechyan channelled their passion for yoga and meditation by creating Stega. Tatiossian and Menechyan chose to move forward with the project to see how it would unfold. They had both long-term and short-term visions, as they knew their purpose. Their intentions were set, and every action executed was based on them. Since they had neither low nor high expectations, they were not likely to be disappointed.

“On a very personal level, it’s to lead a meaningful existence, to chart life in a way that makes sense and is aligned with what I see myself doing. For us, I think we see ourselves doing this because it’s meaningful, it’s impacting, and it’s really personal. The long-term intentions for the project are essentially to brand a wellness campaign nationwide,” says Tatiossian, which starts with yoga and meditation.

Since most individuals don’t make time for themselves and their self-care is neglected, their energy eventually wears out and they suffer from exhaustion. The goal is to eliminate this and help people cultivate inner peace.

“I visited Armenia a year ago. I had just finished my certification for yoga, though I had been practising for many years. When I got here, I wanted to check out the yoga scene and I taught a workshop at Shoonch. I knew that I wanted to return to Armenia, but at that point, I didn’t know how it would happen,” says Menechyan. 

They have gotten positive feedback not only from diaspora Armenians, but also from locals. Tatiossian and Menechyan have also kept a positive attitude towards their project. Since it all leads back to their intentions, they strive to spread loving energy and positivity, because that is who they are and who they aspire to be. 

“If we can put that out in an environment that is so heavily stressed, where people are so quick to become angry, then why not? That is the intention here.”

Both creators would love to be changer-makers in Armenia, though they wouldn’t say they’re here because Armenia needs them, as that would imply that it is a one-way relationship.

“I can invest my energy into trying to create some kind of positive social impact in Armenia, but that process of creation -- every single second of that process -- is transforming me. Every day, I will be transformed, so it’s definitely a two-way relationship. Armenia needs me, I need Armenia. I need to be in relationships with those people who help me stay on this path and lead a meaningful life,” says Tatiossian passionately.

“We are not trying to impose and make change if it’s not two-way. There is no imposition of ‘I know something better.’ I don’t,” says Menechyan. Armenia needs them in the sense of belonging, of having a homeland, they claim. Their project can easily be realized in another country. It might be easier elsewhere, but they are here for a reason, and the reason is their roots.

When asked what surprised her most in her time in Armenia, Tatiossian says: “I surprised myself, I think. I thought that I had done a lot of inner work to cultivate acceptance of people, and I am quite accepting, but Armenia challenges me in this regard, especially in the first few weeks. Because there are different elements of the culture that seem harsh to me, like some behavior patterns that are negative, it’s been a challenge for me not to immediately criticize and be judgemental, even in the privacy of my own mind. This was my biggest surprise, I thought I was past this point, but I’m not. We all have something to work on,” she says with a smile.

“Every time we get into  a taxi cab, we enter with smiles, laughter, with greetings, and it completely changes the dynamic of people who might be talking in an angry tone without even realizing it. Since we’ve been using cabs often, we’ve noticed the impact of a positive approach with drivers. It goes such a long way,” according to Armen. “I learned that one situation, one incident, can actually make you want to remember how to be kind and compassionate over again. We all have that, it’s part of our human nature. Things can easily agitate us, and we can forget that we have compassion. One incident can actually change that.”

Not only are Hasmig and Armen project partners, but they’re also best friends. They always remind themselves not to forget their friendship and still laugh. They wouldn’t change any decision they have made about being here. Their past experiences have brought them to be very prepared for the project, which includes a lot of decision making on a daily basis. For Armen, the greatest joy is teaching to this very group of people, as he grows with every class he teaches. As for Hasmig, having meaningful interactions, deeply touching one anothers’ lives, is at the heart of Stega.

Posted byRima Yeghiazarian
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