Meditation Course: Exploring the negativity bias

meditation course on the negativity bias

We all have an active negativity bias inside of us. In this six week course we will look at several aspects of meditation that can help make this bias lighter.

How does “Exploring the Negativity Bias” Meditation Course work?

Each class will consist of:

  • an introduction explaining the aspect of the meditation we will look at that day
  • short stretching session to move the body before we sit in stillness
  • 20 minute guided meditation on the topic
  • space for questions and comments (optional)
  • this class is both live on a Thursday at the studio and online for the whole of Saturday and Sunday. The 20 minute meditation remains online till the following Saturday so that you can practice it daily throughout that week.

Berlin Meditation Negativity Bias Course Topics:

We will explore how the negativity bias came to be and how strong it is within us, using the following meditation practices:

  • gratitude
  • inner love strengthening
  • loving kindness
  • savoring
  • community building

We will also explore misunderstandings that can be tightly winded with these practices in order to decouple gratitude from guilt and understand the difference between forced toxic positivity versus a healthy positive outlook.

For Whom?

This meditation course on exploring the negativity bias is open to everybody, from complete beginners to advanced students.

What to bring?

Mats, blankets and chairs are provided at the studio. If you use a meditation cushion or bench when you meditate, then please bring that with you.

When?

Every Thursday 8pm starting on November 10th to December 15th, 2022.

Duration: 45 – 60 minutes.

The recorded version of this class will get streamed on Saturdays and Sundays. The 20 minute meditation will stay available online for the whole course.

Price

55 euro for the 6 classes

Where?

English Yoga Berlin Görlitzerstr. 39 – Berlin

How to Sign up?

Write an email to pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

About the Teacher:

Pinelopi teaches workshops on "How to Set up an Ergonomic Home Office" to businesses and the general public.

Beginning her yoga journey in 1999, Pinelopi completed a 600 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher and Vedantic Philosophy Training course over a period of two years in Valencia, Spain.  For the last decade, she has worked as a full-time yoga teacher in Spain and in 2010 she founded English Yoga Berlin. She studied Yoga Anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff, and “Injury-free yoga” applying the Alexander Technique postural alignment to all yoga poses with  David Moore.  She is now studying with Jorg Asshof to become an Alexander Technique teacher.  Her workshops and retreats are inspired by Tara Brach‘s teachings.

6 week hybrid Meditation Course in Berlin

Meditation course in Berlin

We all need to find ways to touch base with our Self regularly. In this six week course we will look at different aspects of meditation and learn how to create our own practice.

How does the Berlin Meditation Course work?

Each class will consist of:

  • an introduction explaining the aspect of the meditation we will look at that day
  • short stretching session to move the body before we sit in stillness
  • 20 minute guided meditation on the topic
  • space for questions and comments (optional)
  • this class is both live on a Thursday and online for the whole of Saturday. The 20 minute meditation remains online till the following Saturday so that you can practice it daily throughout that week.

Berlin Meditation Course Topics:

  • Lesson One: Realizing we are Lost in Thought
  • Lesson Two: Detaching without Repressing
  • Lesson Three: Use the Door that is Here: Introducing RAIN
  • Lesson Four: Sticky Thoughts- what lies underneath?
  • Lesson Five: Identifying deep held beliefs and understanding their power
  • Lesson Six: What is the Here and Now.

For Whom?

This meditation course is open to everybody, from complete beginners to advanced students.

What to bring?

Mats, blankets and chairs are provided at the studio. If you use a meditation cushion or bench when you meditate, then please bring that with you.

Sitting in stillness can be taxing on the body. Check out our “Designing your own meditation posture” workshop where we spend two hours explaining what small tweaks you can make to your posture so that the posture fits your specific needs.

When?

Every Thursday 8pm starting on September 15th to October 20th, 2022.

Duration: 45 – 60 minutes.

The recorded version of this class will get streamed on Saturdays. The 20 minute meditation will stay available online for the whole week.

Price

55 euro for the 6 classes

Where?

English Yoga Berlin Görlitzerstr. 39 – Berlin

How to Sign up?

Write an email to pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

About the Teacher:

Beginning her yoga journey in 1999, Pinelopi completed a 600 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher and Vedantic Philosophy Training course over a period of two years in Valencia, Spain.  For the last decade, she has worked as a full-time yoga teacher in Spain and in 2010 she founded English Yoga Berlin. Currently she is deepening her knowledge through Leslie Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy Course,  David Moore’s “Injury-free yoga” applying the Alexander Technique postural alignment to all yoga poses and is studying with Jorg Asshof to become an Alexander Technique teacher.  Her workshops and retreats are inspired by Tara Brach‘s teachings.

Design the meditation Posture that fits your specific body

How to find a meditation posture with less tension through the help of the Alexander Technique

Is your back in pain when you meditate? Do your legs go numb within the first minutes or get ankle pain? Do your shoulders tense up and affect the back of your neck? Have you had a meditation teacher tell you to simply sit through the discomfort without giving you individual support for your posture?

All these things are habitual when sitting in meditation, but are they actually necessary? Freeing the mind of thoughts is difficult enough, so why not spending some time understanding how to make the posture more suitable to your individual needs?

We all have different types of flexibility, postural habits and body structures. Suggesting a one-solution fits all is not helpful in the long run. This is why we created a workshop to give both general and personalized tips on how to make the posture work for your specific body by applying Alexander Technique principles to your meditation posture.

This workshop includes:

  • Looking at the postural habits that bring about pain.
  • Understanding how to engage the feet while meditating.
  • Finding your personal meditation posture in sitting and in walking with the help of an experienced Alexander Technique teacher plus an experienced yoga teacher
  • 20 minute meditation session where you can try-out your new found knowledge

When?

Sunday October 16th, 2022 – 11.00 -13.00

For whom?

This is for anyone who would like to reach a position more at ease while meditating. You do not have to be an experienced meditator to join… to be curious is enough!

Maximum 12 participants

Where?

English Yoga Berlin – Görlitzerstr. 39. 10967 Berlin

Price: 45 Euro

Early registration discount: 10 € discount if you register before September 20th, 2022. The workshop is refundable unless cancellation occurs later that October 4th, 2022, after which 50% refund. After October 4th, 2022, no more refunds are possible. Please register before the spots fill up!

What to bring:

Materials will be provided at the studio. However, you are also welcomed to bring your own cushion or meditation bench.

How to sign up:

Please write an email to:

pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

or

book directly your place here.

About the Teachers:

Joerg Aßhoff –  is an experienced Alexander Technique Teacher with a 30 year working experience. He is now the director of the Alexander-Technik-Schule in Berlin, teaching the next generation of Alexander Technique teachers. His expertise includes teaching at the University of Performing Arts, Community schools, and speech therapy schools. He practices Zen meditation since 1990 and studied with a Japanese Zen master for a long period of time.

Pinelopi Sioni is in her third year of the Alexander Technique teacher training course, studying with Jörg Aßhoff in Berlin. She completed a 600 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher and Vedantic Philosophy Training course over a period of two years in Valencia, Spain. For over a decade, she has worked as a full-time yoga teacher in Spain and in 2010 she founded English Yoga Berlin. She then studied Yoga Anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff;“Injury-free yoga” applying the Alexander Technique postural alignment to all yoga poses with David Moore. Her workshops and retreats are inspired by Tara Brach‘s teachings.

The Alexander Technique and my Feet

As a person born with a club foot and having received corrective surgery as a baby, my feet have always been a sensitive spot for me. The way I learned to use my body as a child was a way to protect myself from pain and from movements that felt impossible to do. As a result, these habits of use developed into a very particular way of movement that brought me into decades of chronic pain. It has not been all bad. The pain brought me into yoga and stretching of very tight muscles. That in turn, brought me into the Alexander Technique and a deeper understanding of what it is I do that increases the tightness of those muscles.

The Alexander Technique does not deal directly with a single part of the body. A teacher will always work with the body as a whole, and that will have an effect on a specific part in an indirect manner. In short, one could say that for an Alexander Technique teacher, “Feet are never just feet. Feet are a reflection of the whole body.”

So these past three years of intense Alexander Technique have changed my whole body and the way I use it. As a result of these changes, three indirect changes have also occurred at my feet.

My foot grew a size.

Well, I guess it didn’t grow like kids’ feet grow .. but it must have released to fill its true size, because I no longer shop for size 41! I am assuming that I have had a lot of tension in my feet and that has been scrunching them up to a shorter size. At the beginning I thought that this was only me, but then one day when we were talking in class I realized that this has happened to half of the trainees in my course!

Fortunately I am the kind of person who only owns two pair of shoes, and this change did not mean a massive investment into my wardrobe!

Good bye insoles.

As you might imagine, being someone with my kind of history has made me always dependent on medical custom made insoles. Furthermore, after my club foot leg was lengthened it never reached the full length of the other leg. Doctors have told me different kinds of measurements from 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters difference…. apparently enough to create back pain.

I remember talking about insoles during one of our breaks in my first months of training. My teacher was being very cautious about staying completely neutral on the subject of insoles. Other trainees were saying negative comments about insoles… comments I have heard before, such as “Insoles make the feet lazy”. I felt the need to be protective over my insoles and responded loudly how my insoles have reduced my pain (something I still do believe). Inside me, there was turmoil. And somewhere, a little bit of hope. Could it be that I could get rid of them one day? Could it be that the way I walk changes so much that I do not need custom made insoles and shoes?

And then corona happened. Waiting at the doctor’s office for a new prescription of insoles felt reckless. Going to shops to buy new shoes and bringing them to another shop to change their height really did not feel like a high priority when we were isolating and living through a lock down. And so slowly, remembering the conversation I had at the beginning of my course… they left my life. At the beginning, there was pain and confusion in my body. But within two months, I was so surprised to find there was no more pain and that I could do without them. I have now been over a year without insoles. Something I never thought would be possible. And yet!

The way my shoes wear out is different.

In the past, the soles of the shoes I had would wear out quickly. The wear out was uneven. The outer edge of the sole was more worn out than the inner edge, causing a diagonal slant. This would happen within the first four months of having a new pair of shoes. What this means is that I would put more pressure on the outer edge of my feet when I walked, wearing the sole out unevenly.

But this too has changed! I bought new shoes and have been wearing them now for nearly a year. It makes me so happy to look at the soles and still see that they are evenly worn out. No more diagonal slants. My walking has changed. Where I put the pressure is different. And my shoes are proof.

About the Author:

Pinelopi is in her 3rd year of the Alexander Technique teacher training course, studying with Jorg Asshof in Berlin. She is now taking on Alexander Technique tester students. She is working at half price (25€) until she graduates in the spring of 2023.

Pinelopi completed a 600 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher and Vedantic Philosophy Training course over a period of two years in Valencia, Spain.  For over a decade, she has worked as a full-time yoga teacher in Spain and in 2010 she founded English Yoga Berlin. She then studied Yoga Anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff; and“Injury-free yoga” applying the Alexander Technique postural alignment to all yoga poses with David Moore .Her workshops and retreats are inspired by Tara Brach‘s teachings.

Meet our Hatha Yoga Substitute

Christina Karafyllidi

Some years ago I met Christina Karafyllidi: a dynamic, eager, fun, fresh yoga teacher. She impressed me with her honesty, thoroughness and wish to learn. She soon became my official substitute. But who is Christina and what is her background? Here is a small interview to get to know her better.

So Christina, let us get straight to it.  What can you tell us about  your yoga background?

Making these sorts of introductions always feels a little forced and rather terrifying, I’m sure you know what I mean! On the other hand, it’s important to me that you know who I am. I was introduced to yoga as a college student in Greece. I started my yoga Journey in 2015 by practicing Vinyasa and Acro-Yoga. Over the years, I also enjoyed Asthanga and Nidra Yoga and in 2020 I completed my Yoga Teacher Training of 200hr (RYA) at Aadi Yoga School in Risikesh, India.

It was clear to me that I wanted to learn more through becoming an apprentice, and so I approached you, Pinelopi, and got to know Hatha Yoga.  I, also started teaching private classes and group classes in parks.

In September 2021, I started teaching at English Yoga Berlin as a “cover” teacher for you. You are probably the most inspiring, supporting and authentic person for me.  I am so grateful to your trust in giving me this opportunity to take care of your students when you are not able to teach.

Have you also studied something else other than yoga?

Yes I studied how to be a pre-school teacher in Greece. At the moment, I am doing a masters in Art Therapy and in the future I intend to link art therapy and yoga. Both of these require kinaesthetics, focus and paying attention to the present moment.

So what are your hobbies… besides yoga?

I consider myself a real book worm. I am also a music fanatic of many styles and a huge fan of Nature & Bouldering. ………. and a bedroom/kitchen/train station kind of “dancer.”

What are the things you care about the most when teaching yoga?

What I care about the most is Ahimsa: nonviolence. The purpose of Ahimsa is to meet the student and yourself exactly where one is in this very moment. Regardless of one´s individual challenges and aspirations, Ahimsa empowers you to move forward, one step at a time, one day at a time, one breath at a time, towards a greater experience of health, happiness and wholeness.

I, also, care greatly about creating community well-being and inclusivity in my classes. It is important for me to create a safe, welcoming space for all bodies, ages, abilities, genders, and shapes. I encourage people to listen to their own bodies and to trust their own process. Everyone has a different kind of connection to their body, so I encourage students to stay away from comparisons and ground themselves in their present moment.

What would you say is your biggest wish through yoga?

My wish is for us to rediscover the wisdom and power of our bodies, develop a tender relationship to our thoughts and emotions, and live in ways that nourish us, each other, and the planet.

What would you say is a yogic illusion?

The non-slip yoga mat! It is a mythical creature and it is proving to be a futile quest!

What are your personal struggles in yoga asanas?

I still feel uncomfortable with some arm balances and a bit scared of some inversions.

What do you not like in the modern way that yoga is presented?

I do not like when people consider yoga just a work out and focus only on its physical aspect. When people do that, they go against the true meaning of yoga which is about uniting the mind, body, and nature.

Thank you Christina Karafyllidi! We are so happy to have you on board!

Pinelopi has been a Hatha Yoga teacher since 2008. Her yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. She offers Berlin business yogaprivate yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain, yoga courses, retreats and workshops.  She completed Leslie  Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course and is training to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

2022 Hatha Yoga Changes

As 2021 approaches its end, we would like to thank you for your commitment, your presence and your part in our little yoga community. Each one of you brings their own special light and care to our classes and this is felt by all. Thank you!

Despite the challenging year, we have held together as a studio. We are proud of us. And, in considering our community’s changing needs, we are bringing some Hatha Yoga changes to our old schedule and pricing model starting from January 2022.

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Tuesday becomes Alexander Technique day.

Due to the increased interest in people receiving Alexander Technique lessons, Tuesday afternoons will be dedicated to giving five Alexander Technique private lessons each week.

Hatha yoga day is Thursday.

On Thursdays we will continue to have a 6pm hybrid class and an 8pm in person class (computer-free).

  • Hatha yoga will follow the 2G plus model from January.  This means that people attending the studio must be vaccinated or recovered against COVID-19 plus show a 24 hour negative test. 

Hatha yoga will now be offered in 6-week modules.

Over the years, we have noticed how people need to take small breaks from the weekly continuity of yoga. In this new format, students get to commit for six weeks and then renew their commitment consciously after a small pause.

  • Instead of monthly subscriptions, we will be moving to a six-classes package format. 
  • After the six weeks of yoga, there will be a two week break, before the next six classes package begins again. 
  • These pauses will also allow for other exciting things to be offered, such as yoga retreats and workshops!

You can repeat any of the six yoga classes online.

All six hybrid classes will be recorded. Each recording will be available for 8 weeks (the 6 weeks of class + the 2 weeks of pause) This way, you can repeat your favorite class any time during the six active yoga weeks or the two weeks pause in between yoga packages. In the case that you need to miss a class, you can also easily recuperate it online by clicking on the link of the class you missed. 

  • When the next course begins these recordings are no longer available, and the new ones become available instead.

Bye bye 5er cards

To create clear and easy accounting for all, as of January there will be no more 5er cards. We will now only have 6 week modules and drop in classes. 

Q&A: What about the online students?

No problem! You can continue to attend online if this is your preference. The six week package online costs 40 Euro. An online drop-in costs 10 Euro. You too will have access to all six class recordings for the same amount of time as the studio students.

How do I secure my spot?

Our first 6-week course will run from January 6th – 10th of February, 2022. Our second 6-week course will run from March 3rd – April 7th, 2022. If you wish to book a six week package, simply write me an email letting me know which class you want to book at:

pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

We hope these Hatha Yoga changes will be beneficial to all.Thank you all for being such an important part of our work and our studio…

Pinelopi


www.englishyogaberlin.com
https://www.facebook.com/englishyogaberlin

Workshop on “How to set up an Ergonomic Home Office”

A workshop for people who work from home on healthy computer habits.

After almost two years of working in hybrid formats from home, it is of vital importance to learn about healthy computer habits. It is past time to shift our way of thinking and to invest some time and effort into looking at what our computer working habits are and how can we create a better working space for ourselves. I originally created this ergonomic home office workshop for businesses to help them adjust to the pandemic. However, since nearly everyone I know works with computers, I am opening it up for the second time to the general public.

we need to develop healtyh computer habits

It is past time to shift our way of thinking and to invest some time and effort into looking at what our computer working habits are and how can we create a better working space for ourselves.

In this two-part workshop, we look at all aspects of how to set up an ergonomic home office. I guide the participants through practices that provide good health and an increase of productivity. We look into the basics of posture, as well as back, wrist and eye care. We also explore the proportion of working while sitting, standing and walking; and the quality and frequency of our breaks. Furthermore, we examine the infrastructure used, such as the height of the table, chair, monitor, type of keyboard and mouse. The suggestions of how to improve office infrastructure include a diverse range from DIY ideas or cheap props to a glimpse of what is available on the market. The workshop is given via ZOOM and includes both mindfulness and practical exercises, as well as a short stretching session.

For Who:

This workshop is opened to everybody who works from home. You do not need to have any yoga or mindfulness experience to participate. You also do not need to have any fancy office equipment. It is designed to help you create a better working situation starting from exactly where you are.

When:

Saturday 29th of January, 2022 17.30- 18.40 CET- PART ONE: posture, infrastructure, quality of breaks

Sunday 30th of January, 2022 17:30-18.40 CET PART TWO: wrist care, eye care, general environment, questions

At the end of the workshop, participants receive detailed notes summarizing what we covered in the workshop with many links so that they can do further research on their particular office issue. Additionally, they receive a small recording of the stretching session.

Price: 45€ for the two part workshop.

Early registration discount: 10 € discount if you register before December 24th, 2021. The workshop is refundable unless cancellation occurs later than January, 6th  2022 after which 50% refund. After January 20th, 2022 no more refunds are possible. Please register early before the spots fill up!

You can read here what others had to say about the workshop.

How to sign up and learn healthy computer habits:

To sign up please fill out the contact form to express your interest.

About the teacher:

Beginning her yoga journey in 1999, Pinelopi completed a 600 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher and Vedantic Philosophy Training course over a period of two years in Valencia, Spain. For over a decade, she has worked as a full-time yoga teacher in Spain and in 2010 she founded English Yoga Berlin.

She, then, deepened her knowledge through studying Yoga Anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff . Meanwhile, she also studied with David Moore and attended several of his “Injury-free yoga” workshops of how to apply the Alexander Technique postural alignment to yoga poses.

Currently she is in her third and final year of studying with Jorg Asshof to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

Her ergonomic consultations are based on her knowledge of anatomy, alignment through the Alexander Technique, and a deep understanding of the body and mind’s needs through yoga.

Testimonials for “How to Set up an Ergonomic Home Office” Workshop

Since the pandemic lock downs, people have been suffering more and more from bad “home officing”. Unfortunately, the conditions at home are not always adequate to spend 8 hours in front of a computer. In addition, computers entered our lives at full speed, but lessons on computer health have somehow not made it to the table. This is why I created this workshop on “How to set up an ergonomic home office” for businesses and the general public. In this workshop we explore how to better computer work-conditions. Furthermore, we explore the basics of computer health. If you, too, wish to request this workshop for your business or for the general public, please get in touch! Since this workshop is given online, you can request it from any country in the world.

How to set up an ergonomic home office workshop.

Computers entered our lives at full speed, but lessons on computer health have somehow not made it to the table….

Here are some testimonials from the ergonomic home office workshop:

Ava Hegedus – Head of Culture and Workplace at Uberall GmbH :

  • We offer a variety of health and wellness workshops for our 400 employees around the world. This session got the most engagement and positive feedback of everything we’ve done this year. Pinelopi goes way beyond the typical ‘keep your elbows at 90 degrees’. She offered practical tips, unbiased product recommendations and plenty of hacks for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money on their home office. I would highly recommend this course to any company that wants to support the well being of their remote and hybrid teams.

Testimonials from RAISIN GmbH employees:

  • Easy to follow. Immediately noticed the impact of the infrastructure on my posture.
  • Great topic, wonderful trainer, good and practical tips.
  • Very practical tips for low budget home office.
  • Very understanding about the issues different people face. In addition, very relevant for working from home.
  • The examples and how she decided to set up the office on the spot were nice, because we could follow more easily instead of doing it later on our own (wherein we might forget things already).
  • The trainer provided a complete overview of how to best prepare your home office for better posture/ergonomics at home.

Testimonial from Patrick Kennedy, Head of Communications at WIR MACHEN DAS.

We all enjoyed Pinelopi’s workshop so much! Many of us have been having problems sitting daily in front of our computers for prolonged amounts of time – without really knowing what to do about them. Pinelopi showed us how to adopt a more mindful and therefore healthier attitude working at our desks, nonetheless still giving us a lot of very pragmatic tips and tools. “We were not taught as children about computer health. We were just given a computer and told ‘work with it!’… and we have developed many strong habits since,” was one of her phrases that stuck with me. She took a lot of time to answer all our questions and gave us very good advice. We all very much appreciated her pleasant, friendly and humorous way of teaching and we can all fully recommend this workshop!

Testimonials from workshop participants :

  • This workshop has been like no other online workshop I attended (and that’s many!) – it is interactive, includes movement and provides a really clear, simple and practical overview about the sometimes minor changes one can make to design a healthier home office environment. I believe anyone can benefit from it, regardless of their physical condition. I personally learned and already implemented a lot and can highly recommend it.
  • Great and important work! Even though I experimented with this subject for a long time on my own, there was a lot of new detailed information and a nice exchange. I can recommend this to everyone!
  • very interesting, high quality content and teaching, very useful and motivating.
  • Felt the benefits immediately after implementing just the first changes.
  • Very nice flow of explaining & showing & exercises and a very friendly atmosphere! I loved the performance of the different curves-gone-offroad-postures
  • Much more aware of the importance of taking care of my eyes now!

About the teacher:

Pinelopi co-founder of English Yoga Berlin

Beginning her yoga journey in 1999, Pinelopi completed a 600 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher and Vedantic Philosophy Training course over a period of two years in Valencia, Spain. For over a decade, she has worked as a full-time yoga teacher in Spain and in 2010 she founded English Yoga Berlin.

She, then, deepened her knowledge through studying Yoga Anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff . Meanwhile, she also studied with David Moore and attended several of his “Injury-free yoga” workshops of how to apply the Alexander Technique postural alignment to yoga poses.

Currently she is in her third and final year of studying with Jorg Asshof to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

Her ergonomic consultations are based on her knowledge of anatomy, postural alignment through the Alexander Technique, and a deep understanding of the body and mind’s needs through yoga.

Her workshops and retreats are inspired by Tara Brach‘s teachings.

How does Alexander Technique Table Work differ to Massage?

During Alexander Technique lessons the student learns how to break deeply embedded habits and create new ones. This happens while working together with a teacher in different positions: sitting; standing; walking; laying down on a massage table (aka table work). While the teacher performs table work, new students often misunderstand this part of the lesson as receiving a massage. However, although there can be similarities, table work differs to massage in many ways.

Direct Versus Indirect Approach

A massage therapist works with a direct approach. What this means is that they often release tension through using a deep tissue touch. They often focus on a specific problem that there client might be feeling in their body, and are working directly to release the tension around that problem. An Alexander Technique (AT) teacher, on the other hand, uses an indirect approach while performing table work. Their touch is a very light touch and does not go into deep tissue release. The release the student experiences is through giving themselves directions while assisted by the teacher’s hands. If a student is experiencing a specific problem, say pain in the shoulder blade, an AT teacher will not work directly with the shoulder blade or nearby muscles. Instead, they will focus on the coordination of the whole body and thus affect the shoulder blade indirectly.

A massage predominantly addresses muscles which then gives a feeling of release to their client. Table work predominantly addresses the nervous system which also gives a feeling of release, through enhancing overall coordination. Both methods provide release. One approaches it directly, the other one approaches it indirectly.

Student Versus Client

In the Alexander Technique we talk of ‘students’ and ‘teachers’. In massage there is the ‘massage therapist’ and ‘the client’. What is the difference?

The Alexander Technique is a learning method and a re-education of our nervous system. When receiving a class there is active participation from the student, even during table work. The teacher’s light touch only gives the student a stimulus inviting them to be active in their release process.

Receiving a massage, on the other hand, tends to be more uni-directional. The massage therapist gives the massage, the client receives it. The massage is something that is done to the client, and requires no active participation from the client. Massage offers an experience to the client, while table work offers a release of undue tension with the purpose to help the student experience and learn to use their body differently.

Let us take the previous example of the pain in the shoulder blade. A massage can work on releasing that pain, but it will not focus on how the student got the pain in the first place. The Alexander Technique will work on recognizing the habits that brought around the issue. It is a learning process, involving a student and a teacher.

Massage often is about relaxation, healing and therapy with a massage therapist providing the experience. An Alexander Technique teacher, is more focused on the learning process of the students and its nervous system. Although the Alexander Technique has therapeutic effects, these are more a by-product of the technique. The focus is learning.

Lying Down Versus Semi Supine

In most massages the clients are laying down on their backs or on their bellies with the legs stretched out.

In table work, the students are laying down in the semi supine pose. This pose is used in order to create the most balanced relationship between our neck, head, and back. Again, the purpose here is the coordination of the whole body.

Skin Contact Versus Clothes

Many massage methods (but definitely not all of them) require you to take your clothes off so that the massage therapist works directly with skin contact and oils. In AT table work, the student keeps their clothes on and there is no direct skin contact. It is, however, recommended that the student wears comfortable clothing that allows the teacher to move the legs and arms easily.

Eyes Open Versus Eyes Closed

From my understanding, in most massages the client can choose what they do with their eyes. It is common for people to close their eyes when they undergo a deep relaxation and a release of tension. Thus, although closing the eyes is not explicitly asked for during massage, it tends to happen on its own.

In the Alexander Technique the student is asked to keep their eyes open during table work – if not for the whole time, then at least most of the time. This was for me, personally, very challenging at the beginning. The reason for open eyes is to learn to let go while remaining present with the world around us. We often get carried away with the visual stimuli in our every day life. Part of the AT re-education includes ‘how can I be with you and stay with myself at the same time?’

So How Does massage differ to Alexander Technique Table Work?

First, let me say that I am using a very general term here when I am referring to massage. Massage comes in many different shapes and forms. There are massages with clothes on and off; massages with different degrees of therapeutic capacities; massages that when done regularly are also creating a re-learning and re-organizing of the body.

The purpose of this article is to try and create a more accurate picture of what to expect during AT table work.

So to sum it all up, here is what to expect:

  • The teacher uses a very light touch creating a stimulus for the student’s body to do the releasing.
  • The teacher will use an indirect approach and will focus on the overall coordination of the body.
  • Even during table work the student is invited to actively participate in the release of tension.
  • Therapeutic effects are by-products of the Alexander Technique. The focus is on re-education, not healing.
  • The student lies down in the semi-supine during table work.
  • Table work happens with clothes on.
  • The student is invited to keep their eyes open.

About the Author:

Pinelopi is in her 3rd year of the Alexander Technique teacher training course, studying with Jorg Asshof in Berlin. She is now taking on Alexander Technique tester students. She is working at half price (25€) until she graduates in the spring of 2023.

Pinelopi completed a 600 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher and Vedantic Philosophy Training course over a period of two years in Valencia, Spain.  For over a decade, she has worked as a full-time yoga teacher in Spain and in 2010 she founded English Yoga Berlin. Currently she is deepening her knowledge through Leslie Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy Course,  David Moore’s “Injury-free yoga” applying the Alexander Technique postural alignment to all yoga poses. Her workshops and retreats are inspired by Tara Brach‘s teachings.

Sunday Yoga Class for Queers* and Friends goes back to the studio

Graphic illustration of queer yoga teacher Juli in purple leggings and pink tank top, standing in warrior II pose with a fist on the hip and the other hand making a mudra.

The Sunday queer yoga class at English Yoga Berlin has been running online steadily since the very beginning of the pandemic. It feels about time to try out going back to our lovely Kreuzberg yoga studio. But in order to be accessible to those who cannot attend in person, the class will also be streamed online. So, as of September, the class will go back to its original timeslot of 4pm as a hybrid yoga experience. The Zoom code for those who have it will remain the same.

Here are the updated regulations that we need to follow. I would like to take extra precaution for those at-risk and not contribute to the spread. So please take a moment to read the following guidelines so that we are all ready for the return of the Queer Yoga class at the studio.

** Update July/August 2022 **
The Berlin Corona Ampel has now returned to red, so we need to be extra cautious for at-risk people, or those who have contact with them. Classes will continue as a Hybrid-yoga experience. Class sizes as per usual are limited to 10 persons. Spots are prioritized for monthly students, and then open up for drop-ins as per first come, first serve basis. The measures have been lifted, but I will still request that everyone wears an FFP2 mask when not on their own mats, and to please do a quick test before coming to class for courtesy of others practicing in the same room. If you’ve had contact with an infected person or have cold or flu or other unusual symptoms, even if you test negative, please stay at home. If you feel well enough, you are of course welcome to join us online.

Join the Telegram Group for last-minute updates!

The use of FFP2 masks:

It is requested that you wear FFP2 masks at the studio in all spaces except when you are properly situated at your own mat. Continue to wear the mask when you enter and exit the studio, when you walk around the space, and when you get up to go to the toilet.

When everyone is situated at their mats, you can take your mask off and practice yoga without it.

If you need to go to the toilet during the class, you need to put your mask back on as you pass the other students.

Wash your hands as you enter the space:

As you enter the studio, please use the bathroom on the left to wash your hands thoroughly.

Bring your yoga mats:

Please bring your own yoga mat to class. If, for some reason you forget, you will be allowed to use ours but you need to disinfect it before use and after use. This goes for blocks and other props that you handle a lot. FYI: Blankets are washed regularly, but not after every use.

Hands-on contact/guidance:

Hands-on contact is only permitted when both parties are wearing a mask. If you would like hands-on guidance, please indicate so by putting on your mask, and I will put mine on and disinfect my hands before coming over.

Airing the space:

When possible yoga class will happen with the windows open. When the weather gets chillier, I will air the room out every 20 minutes for 3-5 minutes. In order to reduce contamination, please do not touch the window handles yourself. Every time you feel the need for more air, please let me know and I will open the windows for you.


Juli offers Svastha Yogatherapy Vinyasa Flow yoga inspired classes at English Yoga Berlin. This queer yoga class is also open to friends and allies. Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome to beginners, as well as people struggling with chronic pain. Juli also offers private yoga classes one on one.