Workshop Series: ”Exploring Your Sexual Self: Past, Present and Future”

exploring your sexual self

Past, Present and Future

We’re excited to announce that Kitty May and former EYB yoga teacher Meg Saxby will be offering a third round of their 3-part workshop series ”Exploring Your Sexual Self: Past, Present and Future” in July 2016 at the EYB studio. This engaging workshop series will give participants tools and space to explore their sexual selves and define their own vision of erotic empowerment.

Meg and Kitty–with their backgrounds in feminist sexual health education, peer counselling, bodywork/movement, creativity and group praxis–have designed this innovative workshop series to help participants uncover and develop their knowledge of their personal erotic self. Because sexuality is composed of so many different elements, the workshops are similarly designed to work at different levels: the body, mind, spirit and collective/community existence.

Using movement, bodywork, meditation/visualization, discussion and creative tools for reflection, participants will explore ideas about and experiences of desire, pleasure, fulfilment, the body and more. Over the course of 3 sessions, we will connect with our sexual selves as they are today; remember who they were in the past; imagine our brightest erotic futures – and consider the most luscious, fun and self-loving ways of getting there!

Each participant will choose an area of focus, creating a personal path within a collaborative learning process. There will be opportunities to share with one another, but no obligation to disclose more than is comfortable.

Some participant feedback from the 2014 round…

  • “the workshop series had a really well balanced structure and a great flow”
  • “I loved the mix of bodywork, writing, crafting, personal reflection and sharing.”
  • “there isn’t pressure to share too much and I felt ownership over my own journey”
  • “the facilitation was really seamless. Meg and Kitty are badass together, bringing different skills and strengths”
  • “a really refreshing space […] that is very physically grounding and that supports taking an appropriate pace that fits you”
  • “very thoughtful and a warm and open space”
  • “the workshop is really worth it!”
  • “a very freeing experience”

The series is open to FLTI* (female, lesbian, trans*, intersex) people only.

When: Sundays July 10, 17, and 24, 11:00-15:00

Where: at the English Yoga Berlin studio, Görlitzer Straße 39, 10997 Berlin

Cost: Because we want this series to be both accessible for participants and sustainable for us as workers, the price is based on participants’ take-home monthly income and an hourly rate for our work. The fee for the series is:

• 75€ if your monthly income is less than 700€
115€ if your monthly income is 700-1000€
165€ if your monthly income is 1000-1500€
10-15% of your monthly income if you earn over 1500€

How: If you’d like to register for participation (or if you have questions), please send an email to:
contactkittymay@gmail.com.

Registration is necessary.
In order to reserve your spot, we’ll ask for a non-refundable* deposit of 1/3rd of your fee.


English Yoga Berlin is a collective of teachers offering yoga in English from our yoga Berlin Kreuzberg studio. We offer hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, restorative yoga, classical yoga and yoga nidra. We specialize in community yoga and offer yoga for beginners through advanced. We look forward to practicing with you!

Myths about Weight-loss and Yoga

It was quite unexpected one day when I tried to open an article about body positive yoga and was then slapped with a popup for a weight loss ad. Like a slap in the face, I presumed I was going into friendly territory, and then was shamed for it.

“You would look so much better if…”

I proceeded to communicate with the manager of the web-platform (not the same person who wrote the article), to explain to them how these ads are detrimental. He refused to acknowledge my point of view, explaining to me why my feelings were invalid, and his were correct (a clear case of mansplaining). I think I know when I feel shamed. And when a weight-loss ad pops up while I’m trying to read an article about powerful abundantly-bodied yogis, this is exactly what “fat-shaming” is about. And sometimes it’s not so obvious to those doing it: “The shaming may be performed under the guise of helping the person who is overweight/obese realize they need to lose weight or they will die, become ill, and/or never succeed in life or relationships.” I should not have to be reminded of the so-called beauty standards outlined by mainstream media when I’m trying to find solidarity in connecting to my body with positivity. The term “weight-loss” is grammatically “negative” in and of itself. But I don’t want to dwell on semantics. Body Positivity is about connecting to one’s own body the way it is right now, loving it, owning it; whether that body fits mainstream standards of ability, size, skin colour, gender, or not. Body Positivity is about disregarding the propaganda that capitalism wants to sell us through whatever new trend of the day is, and just being present and accepting our bodies for what they are. In my opinion, the hottest people are the ones who are able to do that, they shine from the inside – they glow with bliss and love of their own bodies. It’s powerful and inspiring.

unhealthy weight-loss

Unhealthy weight-loss

“Body positivity and the wish to lose weight go hand-in-hand…”

Obviously this guy knows nothing about body positivity, nor has any experience about the wish to lose weight. As a female-socialized person who never fit into any beauty norms, I can attest to the experience that I never felt less at home in my body than when I wished to lose weight, nor did I feel any more positive about my body than when I did actually lose weight. Now, at the heaviest I am in my life, I feel the most at home, the most happy. I look in the mirror, and I say “look at that hottie!” About 8 years ago I was on a strict diet that was supposed to alleviate the painful symptoms I had from endometriosis. I lost a lot of weight very quickly, I was 20 kilos less than I am now – in the so-called BMI ‘normal’ weight range, even though my ribs were sticking out. But my immune system got depleted and I kept getting sick. And the symptoms continued to perpetuate. According to the BMI, today I would be classified as ‘obese.’ But I have no desire to lose ‘weight.’ The mass my body has is mostly composed of thick muscle and strong bones. Yeah, I have some fat around my middle, I enjoy a few beers now and then. But according to my doctor, I am very healthy for my age. And I don’t lose connection to my breath while I’m both demonstrating as well as talking through the approximately 30 chaturungas in my yoga classes, as well as practice handstand, and forearm stand regularly. I hardly ever get sick these days. I’m flexible, strong, commute by bicycle and move easily in my own body. If I lost weight, I’d lose muscle and strength.  The BMI is a load of bollocks.

forearm stand to scorpion

Moving up to Scorpion pose

Look at these athletes, how strong they are… I’m sure some of them would be classified as obese. If you slapped them with a weight-loss ad, they’d scoff in your face! I don’t think that losing weight should be a goal for anyone. Especially when it means that some people can take this concept to the extreme and develop eating disorders. I can get behind the idea of being healthy, but at cost to whom? And what’s in it for someone who runs some random web platform to tell others what they should or should not do with their own bodies?

“You should eat healthy…”

The manager of the website went on to explain to me that many of their “readers have a long history of health related issues where many of them are related to unhealthy diets and eating habits.” Firstly, I don’t know how he could know this, he’s judging his readers based on analytics and statistics from what they click on. Just because someone falls prey to the latest weight-loss trend does not mean they have ‘unhealthy diets’ or are even ‘overweight.’ Both of these concepts are based on culturally-constructed marketing concepts sold to us by multi-million dollar companies. Secondly, even using the term ‘healthy’ for food is ridiculous. How can something that is dead be ‘healthy’? Okay, sometimes people eat food that is not dead, but most of us will eat dead and / or processed plants or animals. ‘Healthy‘ refers to an organic material, plant or animal, that is alive and thriving. When we eat, our bodies take nutrients from what we consume, not ‘health.’ One could say that “Kale is nutritious” because it contains a lot of nutrients that human bodies need to remain healthy. But so does a bag of chips and a glass of beer! I just found out about this trend in Berlin called BierYoga, I’m all for it! Why not bring together two things you’re passionate about? I’ve heard some German yogis say that they will never drink beer because it gives them a thick belly. As the old school yogis proudly display their beer bellies, these westerners fall prey to capitalist vanity. I myself don’t see the point of such restrictions, and want to enjoy my life with a few beers now and then. And I will rock my belly in a bikini, despite your jealous sneers. Yes, I do think that fat-shaming comes from a place of jealousy over the fact that this ample-bodied person allows themselves to indulge in the enjoyment of eating and drinking, and the one watching their waistline places themselves in a prison of calorie-counting and latest diet fads. Who’s the one with the ‘unhealthy’ eating habits here? It’s not so easy to say, is it?

“Emotional over-eating is the cause of obesity …”

Some people, no matter how careful they are with what they eat are still unhealthy, and those who just eat whatever they want whenever they want are very healthy, like myself. Emotional over-eating is not the problem. And I would even venture to say that emotional over-eating may stem from the very thing you keep pushing at people. Mainstream beauty ideals tend to alienate more people than they include. Weight-loss ads just create more eating disorders than they help people get healthier. Contemporary western society is so food-obsessed that we’ve lost track of what food can do for us as social human beings and how we can connect to each other. People are constantly counting calories, worrying about whether what’s in their food is GMO or contains this preservative or that salt, or whether something is deemed as organic or fits in with the latest hipster trend and makes them look cool. I fear that people don’t enjoy their food anymore, that it’s become a status symbol, something to post on Facebook. I’ve heard people say “at our age, we have to leave more on our plates” when ordering at restaurants. So… what happens to the food on your plate? It gets tossed in the garbage. This just emphasizes your status as a wealthy person who can afford to order a lot of food, and then not eat it, because you’re ‘trying to keep slim.’ This makes me so angry when I see food go to waste. Food should *not* be a status symbol. In most places of the world, people eat what they can get their hands on. They cherish the food that they have available to them, because there IS nothing else. I grew up with food as a social tradition. We would gather around a feast. Food was important to keeping our culture thriving, and over-eating was a sign of respect. And we would never, ever leave food on our plates. If we couldn’t eat it all, we would put it away as leftovers for the next day, because there was a time when my family remembered having very little or nothing to eat and they didn’t want to go through that again. In South Korea, over-eating is one of the most popular things to marvel at – it has become a kind of sporty entertainment! And here in the west, we’re ‘counting calories.’ Except for the lower-income people who don’t have access to fresh produce. Could these so-called ‘food deserts‘ be the cause of obesity in the United States? These are also often in places where city folk don’t venture to go, there are no yoga studios in a lot of these lower-income regions, no soccer fields, no cooking classes. People are struggling for survival in a society that deems them under class, they don’t have time to count calories or the money to buy better food.

“Obesity IS the cause of many illnesses our society is suffering…”

The capitalist machine has invented a fear of ‘fatness’ to sell us overly-priced food and weight-loss regimes. The capitalist machine has also invented fast food, deep fryers and over-sweetened our cereal, so that they can feed the machine, shower us with images of what we should look like and sell us back weight-loss regimes. It’s a well-thought out campaign to keep profits high and consumers feeling shitty about how they look. This is the reason why weight-loss ads earn money for web platforms like this one I went to. The manager claimed that he would like to represent diversity, but he wants to keep the website going. Yup, weight-loss ads sell, and diversity makes you no income, because it is revolutionary and counters capitalistic devices. I’m not going to disagree that a lot of excess fat in the body contributes to heart disease and limited mobility. But people get heart disease who are slimmer as well, and limited mobility can be caused be a lot of different reasons. When I was attending the first module of the yoga therapy teacher training program, the teacher, who’s also a practicing orthopedist, asked us if anyone knew what the main reason for bad knees was. A fellow student piped up, believing that obesity was the cause. He shook his head, ‘no,’ and said that’s one of the most common misconceptions. Yes, people who carry around extra weight, like myself, stress their knees more than smaller people. But that can actually create more strength in the knees, because of the pressure on the bones. Time and again, with every illness in the body, he kept referring to “too much sitting” as the most common cause of illness in our society.

Advertisers feign interest in people’s health in order to make more money for themselves. They don’t actually care about the health of other people. If they did, they’d stop shoving images of plastic unattainable bodies at us, fast food and weight-loss campaigns. If you really want to help people get more healthy, you’d actually go into lower-income communities and open up community kitchens with affordable nutritious food, cooking classes, economically-accessible exercise programs and community events that get people interacting with each other and moving around. Reduce the workweek, so people spend less time sitting at desks. Provide everyday office activities that everyone would enjoy – going for a walk or lunchtime yoga. Weight-loss ads only benefit those who are selling the ads, nobody else. Body Positivity is about enjoying yourself, your body, how it is now. My interpretation of mindful eating is rather than a selfish and vain approach of ‘watching what you eat’, to enjoy and be thankful for what I have to eat, and to recognize the connection between all of us on the planet through food.

Juli teaches Community Yoga classes in Berlin, with a focus of creating space for those who feel marginalized by mainstream yoga, offering classes both in German and English. Juli offers two weekly Vinyasa Flow yoga classes at our English yoga Kreuzberg studio

Subtle Body Anatomy Workshop

photo by Christopher Campbell

photo by Christopher Campbell

Have you ever wondered what is Prana? Is it the life force or the soul? Is prana good or bad?  What is the so-called astral body? How many subtle bodies do we have? What are their purpose?

And what about the Chakras? How many are they? Where are they? What do they govern? What does it mean to have a chakra blocked? Is Kundalini really a snake?

In the Berlin Subtle Body Anatomy Workshop we will explore what Prana is, our five sheaths or koshas, the seven main energy centers or chakras understanding their location, purpose, symbolism, and exploring ways to keep them open.

In the Berlin Pranayama Workshop we will offer an introduction to four basic Pranayama techniques exploring them both at a theoretical and at a practical level.

Note: You can only attend the pranayama workshop if you have taken part in the Subtle body Anatomy workshop before that.

 

What:

Subtle Body Anatomy: Prana, Chakras, and Koshas

Pranayama: Theory and Practice

When:

5th of June, 9.00 – 11.00

5th of June, 11.20 – 12.20

Teacher:

Pinelopi Sioni

Pinelopi Sioni

Where:

AIKIDO am Gleisdreieck, Tempelhofer Ufer 36, 10963 Berlin

AIKIDO am Gleisdreieck, Tempelhofer Ufer 36, 10963 Berlin

Price:

25 Euro

35 Euro (both workshops included)

Feeling you want more? These lectures are part of the Dynamic Mindfulness teacher training course in Berlin, and have been opened up to the public. Check out the full course if you wish to go deeper into your yoga studies.

 

Pinelopi is a sivananda Yoga teacher based in Berlin. She specializes in Hatha Yoga, Pregnancy Yoga, yoga for beginners and business yoga. She usually works from our yoga Kreuzberg studio.  These lectures, however, will not take part in our English Yoga Berlin Studio, but at the Aikido center as mentioned above.

What is Tantric Meditation?

Meditation is a means to train the mind. By repeating certain mental exercises —like fixing the attention on one point for awhile, or experiencing the whole body— the mind becomes more able to do those things. Just like when we train a muscle: Repeat the action and you get better at it. looking

From another perspective, meditation is a means to clear the mind of unconscious patterns and complexes. By entering the meditative state, we allow repressed memories and traumas to surface and dissipate, while we remain as the passive observers of this process.

What is so special about the Tantric meditation? Tantra doesn’t try to control the tendencies of the mind or to lead the mind in one direction or another. It allows anything that comes-up in the mind to fully express itself. We devote ourselves to whatever we experience, and use it as a tool in our meditation. We learn to be with whatever is happening without struggling, reacting or getting overwhelmed by it.

For a very clear example, see my post A Tantric Way to Dealing with Pain

Tantra documents a myriad of different meditations, for every temperament or life situation. Some of the most potent ones are Antar Mauna, Trataka and Yoga Nidra; which have themselves countless variations.  In these meditations you remain still, while devoting yourself to different experiences (a fixed point, the sense impressions, certain visualizations, etc.).  Their effects can not easily be summarized, but include: greater awareness and intuition, more calm and contentment, higher ability to concentrate, etc.

From Tantra we also receive the Kundalini meditation, which don’t so much work with the mind, but with the inner energy (prana) that animates body and mind. These meditations make us aware of pranic energy and of the chakras, where this energy is concentrated.  Two of the main energy meditations are Source of Energy and Ajapa Japa, in which you combine breath, concentration and visualization to connect with, and influence, our subtle energy flows.

Pedro teaches Tantra Yoga and Meditation at English Yoga Berlin.  He will be teaching the 10-Week Meditation Course: Clarity and Energy, where one has the opportunity to learn the meditations mentioned in this post, and to be guided step by step into creating their own meditation practice.

History and Evolution of Yoga- The Workshop

Photo by Patrick Hendry

Photo by Patrick Hendry

Yoga is 4000 years old. No, no it’s not! It’s 400 000 years old! What? No, Hatha Yoga is only 1000 years old. What yoga are you talking about? Yeah, I heard that there is even the yoga of singing! Is that even a thing? Sure! But what does that have to do with anything? But yoga belongs to the Hindu religion, right? No, it’s also buddhist and Jainist. No!… everyone says yoga has nothing to do with religion! But what about the Bhagavad Gita? It constantly uses the word yoga. That’s about a war! How uspiritual! Is Yoga spiritual? Isn’t Tantra Yoga all about sex? And where does Hot Yoga fit into all of this anyway? I’m not sure Patanjali would consider that yoga at all! Pata- WHO?

Feeling confused about Yoga’s history?

Come and join the lectures on History and Evolution of Yoga and Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

In History and Evolution of Yoga we will explore the basic most important texts of Yoga, samkhya philosophy, Classical Yoga, Tantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga. We will talk about the spirituality behind yoga and the various philosophies that accompany it.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali we will explore the eight fold paths of classical yoga, giving special importance to the ethics and moral observances, as well as the practice of detachment.

What:

History and Evolution of Yoga

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

When:

May 7th, 15.45-18.15

May 8th, 13.50 -15.50

Teacher:

Pinelopi Sioni

Pinelopi Sioni

Where:

AIKIDO am Gleisdreieck, Tempelhofer Ufer 36, 10963 Berlin

AIKIDO am Gleisdreieck, Tempelhofer Ufer 36, 10963 Berlin

Price:

25 Euro (40€ for both lectures)

25 Euro (40€ for both lectures)

Feeling you want more? These lectures are part of the Dynamic Mindfulness teacher training course in Berlin, and have been opened up to the public. Check out the full course if you wish to go deeper into your yoga studies.

Pinelopi usually teaches Hatha Yoga and Pregnancy Yoga in Kreuzberg Berlin.  These lectures, however, will not take part in our English Yoga Berlin Studio, but at the Aikido center as mentioned above.

A Tantric Way of Dealing with Pain

Does it hurt?  Can you do something to get rid of the pain?  No?  No problem.

You can remain content and relaxed in the midst of any experience. Including pain, sorrow, fear, or anger. Hang on… nobody said it’s easy, but we categorically say that it is possible. And not only that, it is possible for everyone.

rocksOne way I know of dealing with pain is amazingly simple: To directly experience what is happening, in a steady and concentrated way. In other words, to meditate on the source of the experience.

I have been using the Tantric meditations to deal with chronic pain for years. And, although the pain hasn’t entirely gone away, a lot of the side effects (mental anguish, fear, or other physical tensions) have disappeared.  When my knee hurts I can accept it and remain relaxed, so it doesn’t cause me any real disturbance.

Of course, if you don’t know the cause of a pain, it’s best that you seek prompt medical advice. But, if the pain is already there, you might as well meditate on it on your way to the doctor.

You will find that many pains actually disappear when you experience them in this way. Or the quality or intensity of the pain may change. Or it may move, or get smaller.

How does one do it? Simply by going to the place of the disturbance. Locate it physically with your mind, and then experience it with curious detachment. Experience it, not like you want it to go away, but like you want to know about it. Where is the center of this sensation? How big is this area? Explore it like an objective investigator; or watch it like you watch a film.

We experiment with this method during the Tantric Tuesdays at KiKi, for example, feeling a tension during a yoga pose.  We also practice some of the meditations that (like Antar Mauna) cultivate this ability of detached experience, or (like Tratak) teach the mind to concentrate intensely on one point.

I recently visited a friend, who’s also been coming to my guided moments.  I found her in a desperate state due to an intense headache.  Although she has only practiced for a few months, she has been very consistent and regular, so I felt that the meditative approach would help.  Below I transcribe her impressions of what happened next, written the day after.

I woke up with pressure in the head. Something very usual for me since I´m eight years old. Lucky that since I´m a teenager I can take medicine against it. And I do, immediately, with the first signs of pain. So hard is it for me to resist the pressure, the burning and stinging at my forehead. So with 3 pills per day I get over it and stay 2-3 days without pain, and can continue my daily life …. Therefore, I always have medicine in my handbag. Always!

 

But this morning I received a lovely massage from caring hands and I felt I din’’t want to swallow the pill. The pain got worse and then my stomach rebelled, so it was too late to take a pill. Ohhh I wanted to hit my head against the wall, like I did as girl, when the pain was unbearable.

 

I actually do not remember how I got on the chair in my room. I just remember this voice guiding me into my body, the stillness inside…. Ohh the throbbing got so heavy.. But I trusted and followed the guidance into the movement of my breath. I felt how my body was relaxing little by little, and at the same time the pain in my head became more intense. And I was guided directly into this pain. I felt the pain coming in waves and my tired body, leaning forward devoting to these waves. There was only pain and heaviness, and it felt eternal. I was awake and at the same time like sleeping, sitting on the chair. Until… Hari Om Tat Sat.

 

I just observed how my body laid down on the bed beside the chair. When I woke up, my head was completely free! I could not believe it, and noticed how I started to search for the pain. But quickly I dropped this idea and enjoyed my day.

 

Kathi hasn’t had any more headaches in the two weeks since this happened.  But she claims to be eagerly awaiting for another episode, so she can try this method again.  She also says that this experience has completely changed the way she approaches any pain or unpleasant feelings:  Now she meets them as their curious explorer, rather than as their victim.

On another post, we will write about the mechanisms that make this shift in the experience of pain possible.  For now, just take our word that it works.  Or come and practice it yourself to find-out.

Pedro teaches Tantra yoga and meditation at English Yoga Berlin.

So you want to be a yoga teacher?

Making yoga in Berlin more accessible

Small yoga classes in Berlin

At English Yoga Berlin, we get several email requests a day from brand newly-trained yoga teachers to join our team. Unfortunately, we can’t accommodate all of their requests. We pride ourselves on remaining small and community-based, because we believe small classes are especially beneficial to people who are new to yoga or those who want to advance their practice in a safer environment. At larger studios, there may be more opportunities for new teachers, but also more competition.

So you’ve got a 200 hour teacher certificate. What do you do next? How do you start?

Put yourself out there. Get to know the studios in your city. Attend classes to find out if it’s a right fit for you. Try out different studios, maybe the atmosphere is different? Once you find one you like, become part of their community. Do a work exchange, like cleaning or working the front desk. Get to know the other teachers, perhaps they need assistants some time. What does not work is writing unsolicited emails. No matter how amazing your youtube videos or your previous work experience is, nothing beats face-to-face contact. Your email will just get a standard response, if any at all, and be forgotten. This process can take some time, so be prepared to have another job to pull you through until your yoga career takes off.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

While you’re trying out different studios, keep up your training and practice teaching. Some newly certified teachers have already had years of teaching practice before they started their teacher training, and some are just brand new to yoga. And of course, many are in-between. Not only does this help you gain more confidence as a teacher, but it also helps you to build up your clientele. A yoga studio looking to hire new teachers will ask how many students they can bring to the studio. Start by teaching friends in your living room, and they will tell their friends, and that’s how your student-base grows. By-donation outdoor classes in the warmer months help to gather interest by passers-by. Once you’ve built a small following, you can begin to rent space for weekly classes or workshops.

Self-promotion.

Most people don’t equate becoming a yoga teacher with requiring marketing skills. But these days, almost any job field does. Being a yoga teacher most often means being self-employed. The work is precarious. It ebbs and flows with the popularity of yoga in your area, how many yoga studios there are, and how well you can promote your classes. Some months will leave you dry, others will be overflowing with abundance. If marketing feels overwhelming, you can start small. Make your own flyers or business cards to pass around. Start a website. If you can’t afford it, there are many free options available, even a simple blog or Facebook page does that extra bit.

Will I earn enough to make a living?

That depends. If your lifestyle has a lot of expenses, you may not be able to do it. If you are happy living a modest lifestyle and saving when you need to, it’s more possible. If you move to a small town that has no yoga studio, and people have been waiting for you, you could be very lucky. Mostly though, and especially in bigger cities with tonnes of yoga studios and budding teachers, the chances are slim. Most teachers have other jobs on the side or a partner’s support. One way that a lot of studios and established teachers earn money is through offering yoga teacher trainings. And eventually, established teachers do guest appearances and special workshops, and can get more renowned in the yoga world. Being a yoga teacher is more than simply teaching yoga.

English Yoga Berlin offers different types of Yoga in Kreuzberg. We have small yoga classes that encourage an intimate environment and increased awareness. Check out our schedule to attend a class of Vinyasa Yoga, Tantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga in Berlin.

Happy Everything from English Yoga Berlin!

English Yoga Berlin would like to wish you a Happy Everything!

Some people are celebrating Easter today, others are celebrating the public holiday and chocolate eggs that come with it. Regardless of your beliefs, this is a vibrant moment of the year with lots to celebrate.

Photo by Fern

Photo by Fern

We, at English Yoga Berlin, are celebrating the end of winter, the budding trees, the returning bees, the changing winds, the first brave flowers and the time change. We are celebrating the idea of coming out of our winter cocoons and dancing in the wind. We are celebrating the big bonfires that yesterday were lit all over Berlin to honor the seasonal change.

Spring is affecting us all and we are personally welcoming it with open arms!

Every day we see our yoga students come in with lighter hearts, an extra rhythm in their step, more humour in their talk and beautiful smiles.

So today we take the opportunity to celebrate everything – including you! We would like to thank you for your commitment and support to our English yoga studio in Berlin. In the past years, we have got to know so many amazing people, from different countries, from different stages in life, with different ways of lives… and we have found that each and every one of you have enriched our lives as yoga teachers and as people. Thank you for taking on this amazing adventure that calls us to travel inwards and experience yoga. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for being you!

Happy Everything!!!

English Yoga Berlin offers different types of Yoga in Kreuzberg. We have small yoga classes that encourage an intimate environment and increased awareness. Check out our schedule to attend a class of Vinyasa Yoga, Tantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga in Berlin.

English Yoga Berlin – Spring Offerings

Just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snow
lies the seed that with the sun’s love
in the spring becomes the rose

– Janis Joplin, The Rose

 

Greetings Yogis!

Here are some seasonal updates from all of us at English Yoga Berlin. We are bringing on Queer Wednesdays, a new workshop series for yoga and the lower body, and lots of fun new knowledge from courses that our teachers are attending!

Queer Wednesdays

Juli and Kanchi are bringing two new weekly classes on Wednesdays that prioritize a space for queer and trans* people to practice yoga. Click here for more details!

Pedro’s Return!

Pedro will be returning to us at the end of March bringing back Tantric Tuesdays and lots of new workshops at the Lab! Check out our schedule for more info!

Restorative Yoga Workshop Series

Juli is guiding six Yoga workshops for the lower body, based on techniques from Svastha Yoga Therapy. The workshops have a specific focus on the feet, knees, hips, lower back, menstrual pain and everyday activities. Workshops are held on Sundays 18.00 at The Lab. For a more detailed description, click here.

Growing as Teachers

We are currently expanding our knowledge through attending two new courses: Yoga Anatomy and Yoga therapy. We’ll be bringing some changes into our teaching methods at our regular yoga Berlin classes. Come and experience new ways of breathing, protecting your back, and taking care of yourselves!

We continue to be thankful for your practice and your support. We wish you a good transition into spring, lightness and end of winter!

Breathe Like a Baby- or Don’t?

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have often heard yoga teachers use babies as breathing models. “See how their bellies move up and down when they are sleeping?” “Babies haven’t learned the restrictions of every day life that changes our breathing.” “They don’t hold in their breathing, it just flows.” These are just some of the common phrases that come out in yoga classes.

Although I agree that babies have something magical in the way they are first experiencing the world, a study  has shown that babies have to work quite hard when it comes to breathing the first year of their lives.

In order for babies to be able to get through the birth canal unharmed, they need a higher elasticity in the rib cage. This means that the rib cage is too soft to easily support their respiratory system. As they grow older their rib cages will become hard and stable allowing better support in breathing.

Babies need to double their size within the first months of their lives. To do this, babies need a higher oxygen intake and a faster heartbeat amounting to a higher metabolism. They got to breathe way more than adults to keep those little bodies growing.

During pregnancy, babies can not use their lungs. Their blood bypasses the lungs by going directly from the right side of the heart to the left. Not having ever used their lungs means that when they will take their first breath ever, those lung tissues will be quite stiff and out of use… making breathing much harder for them.

Finally, babies’ nervous system, which regulates the frequency and coordination of breathing, is often still maturing in the first months of their lives. This leads to a lot of uncoordinated breathing and irregularity in breathing frequency.

All this goes to show that babies have a harder time breathing than adults. Babies’ respiratory system tends to mature along with their postural skills, therefore taking about a year before they can breathe in a more effortless way.

“Breathing like a baby” is not only impossible when one is an adult, but it is also undesirable! It is a relief to not be struggling with so many aspects of our anatomy just to get a breath in. Our adult lives bring other challenges instead. For example, we, adults, get stuck in our breathing patterns that often reflect the emotional patterns we have created. And that is where our focus should lie in. Can we change our breathing habits, not to one of a baby’s, but to one that allows more freedom so that we can experience other aspects of our emotional world?

All of Pinelopi’s yoga classes are in English. She teaches pregnancy yoga and hatha yoga in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Pinelopi is an injury conscious yoga teacher and will be happy to assist you before and throughout the class with tailored variations for your yoga poses. She believes that the increased awareness cultivated in her yoga classes together with the suggested variations for your unique body, make a difference both to practicing yoga in daily life and to the yoga benefits you take with you after class.