How to Become a Yoga Teacher- What To Consider – PART ONE

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@zoltantasi?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Zoltan Tasi</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>

In the past 13 years of teaching yoga, a few students have approached me to ask about how to become a yoga teacher and what things to consider. This is an important decision for those of us choosing to take this path. Before you embark on searching for the yoga teacher training course (TTC) of your dreams take a moment to consider the following questions.

Why do you want to become a yoga teacher?

Let us start with the basics: why do you want to become a yoga teacher? Although it sounds obvious, it is worth sitting with the question to get some clarity. Some people wish to become a yoga teacher simply as a means to deepen their knowledge on yoga. They do not necessarily wish to teach afterwards. This is a perfectly acceptable reason to join a TTC. To reach such an in-depth knowledge usually can only come from a TTC, living in an ashram and serious self-study.

Others, on the other hand, have their mind set on teaching. They want to get a good certificate that will allow them to work afterwards. If this is your reason for joining a course, then take a moment to visualize your future. What images come up for you when you visualize this? Do you see yourself giving hands on corrections to your students? Are you guiding a meditation? Or alternatively, do you see yourself explaining complex spiritual notions to a group of people? Or are you simply holding space for your students to go through their own process? Use the images that arise as a compass to guide you through the different TTCs that exist, so that you choose the right one for you.

What style and lineage of yoga should you choose?

It is important to know what kind of yoga style you like. Search for a TTC that aligns to this style. Other than just the style, you also have to look at the lineage of the yoga teacher training course. For example, a Hatha Yoga class from the Sivananda lineage can be quite different to one from the Desikachar lineage. Sometimes concepts as basic as the breath can be taught differently and even contradict each other! I do find it worthwhile to spend some time reflecting and researching on these points. A yoga TTC is a big investment, so go and try out different styles, find out what lineage they follow. Make notes, keep an open heart, and learn what you like.

Yoga Lineage is not simple and straightforward

Lineage can be complicated as we are following the teachings handed down over several centuries. Furthermore, in the past decades there has been increasing amount of proof that quite a few important yoga masters and gurus have sexually harassed and abused their students over the years. Although, the teacher you choose is not directly related to the yoga guru of their lineage, it can be quite devastating to find out half way through your training course that the yoga lineage you chose has such dark secrets. One way to go about this is to ask your teacher about their stance on their lineage. If your teacher is treating their guru with unshakable reverence and is not able to condemn an action of sexual, emotional and physical abuse, then you should probably find a different teacher. If on the other hand, they are able to demonstrate critical thinking, can clearly disagree with such actions and empower students and teachers to challenge dogma… then they might be a better fit.

What is important for YOU to have in a yoga course?

Not all courses are alike. Some give much more weight to anatomy and alignment. Others are much more focused on yogic philosophy, spirituality and meditation. A few others focus more on how to lead groups, to hold space, and methodologies of teaching. How do you know which kind of course you are about to embark on? Ask for a copy of their curriculum to check out what they offer. Although all good courses will have a mix of all these things, find out where your TTC puts most of its weight. Does that align with what your wishes are?

How to choose a yoga teacher training course.

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right TTC. These first questions and reflections are a good starting point. In part two of this blog I will discuss the difference in diplomas (200H, 500H, 600H); the importance of connecting with your teacher; some yoga teacher training courses in Berlin; and the teachers that have inspired me personally. Till then, get to know the difference in yoga styles, find out about their lineage, and check out some curricula.

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 is currently deepening her knowledge through Leslie  Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course and training to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

54321 – A Grounding Practice

Most probably, we have all heard the term “grounded” at some time in our lives. To ‘be grounded’ is a term that describes an experience of presence with whatever it is that we are doing at the moment. As the word suggests, I like to think of it as ‘being aware of my feet on the ground.’ When I am not grounded, I feel myself lost in thought and distracted from the realms of my mind- forgetting the body. When I am grounded, I notice things such as my rib cage moving with my breath, the sensations in my feet and the dryness of my lips. In other words, I am embodied- aware of what is happening in my body.

Most of us tend to be lost in thought throughout our days. As we lose ourselves in thought we are usually reliving past moments of our lives; imagining future ones; or worrying about possible scenarios in an alternate reality. To sum it up: as we lose ourselves in thought we are no longer living in the present – in the here and now.

The Nature of the Mind

It is normal for the mind to jump from one place to another making thousands of associations every minute. It is normal to associate the past with the possible future and alternative scenarios. There is nothing wrong with a mind that does that. On the contrary, it is even essential to our survival. It is the reason we have been able to make so many technological wonders and many more modern life marvels. However, if we find ourselves predominantly in the ‘lost in thought’ mode, life becomes tiring and seems to fly right past us. Taking a moment to pause, to slow down and experience the ‘Now’ is essential to living a life with quality.

How Can I Ground Myself?

There are many ways to ground oneself. These include practicing meditation and mindfulness, slowing down, becoming aware of our breath, and awareness of body sensations. The first step to grounding is to actually notice that we have lost ourselves in thoughts. This first step sounds much easier than it is, because we spend most of our time literally “lost“. Performing this first step is already a moment of awakening. Next, we could choose our favorite grounding technique to apply in order to become more embodied. I use several grounding techniques during our yoga classes in Kreuzberg. Here is one of my favorites:

54321

5 – Name five things that you see. Do not just think ‘this’ and ‘that’, but instead use their actual name such as green grass, white cloud, brown shoes.

4 – Name four things that you feel. Name sensations rather than emotions. Ie. the air in my nose, my heels on the floor, my shirt on my skin.

3 – Name three sounds that you hear.

2 – Name two odors that you smell. Some people find smelling challenging. If that is the case, you can also name two smells that you like instead.

1- Name one thing this experience is giving you. For example, ‘this experience is giving me a moment to slow down; presence; connecting with my body, etc.

How to practice 54321

You can practice this grounding exercise any time you feel the need to ground. This is also a very good exercise if you feel the onset of a panic attack or anxiety. I like to start my yoga practice with 54321 as I ground myself and am more present during the session. Another way to practice is while taking a walk. You can do 54321 on repeat and become more aware of your surroundings and your body sensations.

Haven’t we all had the experience of being in a beautiful place on holiday wishing to enjoy the moment, and instead have been worrying incessantly about some other aspect of our life? When this happens to me, I always return to 54321 and take in the sounds, smells, sensations, and sights!

About the author:

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. 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 is currently deepening her knowledge through Leslie  Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course and training to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

How to set up an Ergonomic Home Office – a two part Workshop

This two-part workshop will focus on how to set up an ergonomic office in your own home so to minimize pain created from long hours of working on the computer.

At the beginnings of the lock down it felt ok to not think about setting up a proper ergonomic office space in our home. After all, in a month or two we would be working from our office chair again, in a quiet environment without that many distractions…. or so we thought… But now that the lock down has gone on for nearly a year, 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.

how to set up an ergonomi home office

In this two part workshop we will look into all aspects of how to set up an ergonomic home office that provides good health while still getting your work done. We will look into the basics of posture, as well as back, wrist and eye care. We will also look into the proportion of working while sitting, standing and walking; and the quality and frequency of your breaks. Furthermore, we will look into the infrastructure used, such as the height of the table, chair, monitor; type of keyboard and mouse. The suggestions to better your office infrastructure will include a diverse range from DIY ideas or cheap props as well as introducing you to what is available on the market. The workshop will be given on ZOOM and will include both mindfulness and practical exercises, as well as a short stretching session.

When:

February 27th, 17.30 – 18.40 CET – PART ONE: posture, infrastructure, quality of breaks

February 28th, 17.30 – 18.40 CET- PART TWO: wrist care, eye care, general environment, questions

Where:

After signing up to the workshop, you will receive a link to access the ZOOM meeting.

Who:

This workshop is opened to the general public. 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. The workshop will be limited to 20 participants.

Prices:

24 Euro for the two part workshop (25 euro if paying by paypal).

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 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.

How to sign up:

To sign up please write an email to express your interest. You will receive an answer with payment details. Please transfer the money through bank or paypal within the next two days. Your registration will be complete and your spot will be saved when the money has been received.

pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

Cancellation policy:. The workshop is refundable unless cancellation occurs later than February 20th, 2021 after which 50% refund.  No refund is possible after February 26th,2021. Register early before the spots fill up!

Hatha Yoga Retreat on “Consious Intention”

Pinelopi is organising a three day long weekend yoga retreat near Berlin on:

Conscious Intention

We warmly invite you to intentionally spend three days together in presence and mindfulness!

Why am I reading this book? … meeting with this friend?…  meditating?…  going to work? How often do we stop to become aware of the intention behind the things we are doing, and how often do we simply do them because they are automatic, a habit, the “right thing to do” and we no longer question them?   Living with intention firstly transforms the way one lives and one loves, and, as a result, the way one interacts with the world.  Since intention is one of the three pillars of mindfulness, setting intentions, therefore, becomes essential to living consciously.  In this yoga retreat near Berlin we will explore the power of intention and ways to bring it into our yoga practice.

Yoga Retreat "Conscious Intention" Berlin

What is the intention behind my wish?

When: 

Thursday May 13th, 2020; 15.00 (Berlin public holiday)

to Sunday May 16th, 2020; 14.00

Where:

Rosenwaldhof  – This Yoga retreat on “Conscious Intention” will take place in a beautiful place in Brandenburg, 1.5 hours South-east of Berlin, on the river Havel, surrounded by nature.

What is included:

  • Presentations, discussions and exercises about “Conscious Intention”
  • Guided Meditations
  • Tratak (candle gazing)
  • Five yoga sessions
  • Nature Walks
  • Star gazing and bonfire
  • Gratitude practices
  • Mantra chanting
  • Delicious vegetarian/ vegan meals, tea, coffee and fruit

Prices:

Pinelopi´s instruction on all of the above

  •  190 Euro

Plus Rosenwaldhof lodging and food according to your preference:

  • Shared double room with shared bathroom: 189 Euro
  • Shared double room with private bathroom: 204 Euro
  • Single room with shared bathroom: 204 Euro
  • Single room with private bathroom: 234 Euro

Please note that payments to Pinelopi and Rosenwaldhof will happen separately.

Who:

  • Up to 15 yoga students

Early registration discount:  15 € discount if you register for the yoga retreat before February 28th, 2021. To reserve your space, please send an email and deposit 50 Euro by bank transfer or paypal.

*The deposit is fully refundable if the Corona lock down continues. It is, also, fully refundable if a cancellation occurs before April 1st, 2021, and 50% refundable if cancellation occurs before April 25th, 2021. After which no refund is possible. The deposit is fully refundable if the Corona lock down continues.

Since space is limited, register early before the spots fill up!

For more details, please write to:

pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

About the author:

Read more about Pinelopi here.

Wishing You a Conscious 2021

Looking Back at 2020

2020 has come to an end, and it is fair to say that many were happy to turn the year. As midnight approached, I heard sighs of relief from many neighbors welcoming the year through their open windows. This year has been a hard year for all of us in more ways than one.

Interestingly enough, for some of the more fortunate ones living in countries with social systems and economic help, this has also been a good year in some respects. Some people told me how they so desperately had needed to slow down and how these lock downs allowed them to do so; others realized how over stimulated they have been with social interactions and how as they came out of the first lock down they were more careful to re-build their social life in a more sustainable way; many others spoke of physical rest from the never-ending commuting and realizing how much this has been taxing on their overall health.

Looking Forward to a Conscious 2021

With the arrivals of the vaccines, I have read that we can probably resume our “normal” lives in April 2021. The life after the pandemic can not and should not be the same as it was before. I am hoping for a rise in consciousness both in the personal way we live our lives, the economic systems that shape them, as in the global way we treat the planet and each other. I am wishing for a conscious 2021.

It is good to pause and reflect on the hardships of the past year, but also on if there has been any parts of this year that has been positive for us. How do we see ourselves integrating the parts that are positive in a post-lock down world? Have our bodies and minds been asking for more rest? Can telecommunications take over taxing commuting? Do we wish to be more selective of our social interactions in terms of quality versus quantity?

Pausing in the Present

Of course, due to the capitalistic society we live in, our lives are often being swept away by a wave of productivity, not allowing us time or the resources to pause and choose. However, pausing and choosing is absolutely essential. Viktor E. Frankl, a renown psychologist and holocaust survivor, refers to this pause as “a space that allows us to choose our response”. In yoga this pause is the act of meditation. In the Alexander Technique this pause is referred to as “inhibition”. Tara Brach refers to this as the Sacred Pause: the pause between stimulus and reaction, that frees us to the possibility of a different path.

So for 2021, my wish to the world is:

Wishing you a conscious 2021

May we all practice the Sacred Pause and be free to choose a different path.

About the author:

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. 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 is currently deepening her knowledge through Leslie  Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course and training to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

Injury-Conscious Yoga in the Zoom Age

What is injury-conscious yoga?

Yoga at your workplace for postural issues

You may have seen this term, injury-conscious yoga, in some of the content here on our pages. We are referring to one of the aspects of yoga (the Yamas) called ‘Ahimsa’ – the attention to do no harm as we connect with ourselves and others. Yoga is more than simply a practice of movemement and postures. It is primarily a practice of a system that brings balance to one’s whole integrated being (mentally, physically and spiritually) and how that being interacts with others. The practice of not-harming others also allows us to be conscious of not harming ourselves. Through breath awareness, we learn to recognize where our limits are. And to only push them when we’re ready for expansion or to reduce them if they’ve gone too far.

At English Yoga Berlin, we lead a practice that encourages internal inquiry as we move through physical postures. We demonstrate these poses with a variety of options, so that each participant can find their own safety level. Over the past couple of years, both Pinelopi and I (Juli) have continued to advance our yoga teacher training in different directions. Pinelopi has been studying the Alexander Technique and Juli has completed advanced teacher training in Svastha Yoga Therapy. Both of these practices deepen our understanding of corporeal alignment and mental balance. This is just some of what we mean when we refer to injury-conscious yoga.

Yoga in the Zoom age

When we lead our classes in person, we are also able to see what each participant is doing and can offer adjustments either verbally or with a light guiding touch. At our Kreuzberg Berlin yoga studio, we provide consent cards that can be placed at the front of your mat. This lets us know what kind of touch you’re comfortable with. We can also take cues from the energy level in the room to gauge how the whole group is doing. We can adjust the rest of the class if we see that participants are either getting tired or losing focus. This adds another layer to our injury-conscious yoga practice.

Since moving our classes online due to the pandemic, we’ve had to adjust our approach to accommodate this new format. Obviously, the consent cards are no longer relevant. Participants can choose whether to show their video or not. Since our classes involve moving from standing to sitting to laying down, the participants’ video frame may not always show their whole body. And reading the energy level of the room is just not possible, as everyone is in a different room, and the distractions of each room may be different.

So, as yoga teachers offering injury-conscious yoga, we needed to learn new strategies. Each of us took cues from our new training to develop ways of transitioning through poses that encourage participants to explore their own bodies and comfort levels in a pose. And despite taking on different trainings, we are delighted to discover that the movements look the same. Even though we have different approaches and styles, our practices do not contradict each other’s! We are happy to continue to develop our offerings of injury-conscious yoga in our live online yoga classes.


At English Yoga Berlin, we offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli. Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome to beginners, as well as people struggling with chronic pain. We also offer Berlin business yoga, and private yoga classes, as well as queer and trans prioritized community classes.

Holiday Yoga Gift Cards

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“When there’s snow on the ground, I like to pretend I’m walking on clouds.”

-Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata (Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005)

As the days grow colder and shorter, and the pandemic lockdowns continue, yoga is a great way to keep yourself active and take care of your mental health. At English Yoga Berlin, we are continuing our classes online through the cold winter months and the hard lockdown that has just now been implemented in Berlin. The benefit of having live yoga classes online is that they are available for anyone around the world! Check out our schedule for a suitable time. Please note that we will be closed for one week during the Christmas holidays.

Give the Gift of Yoga

At a loss for a festive gift? Do you know someone close to you who would like to try yoga? Our gift cards can also be used for our online yoga classes. You can order a yoga gift card here. Each card is individually printed and sent by post if you wish, or can be sent by email.

New Year, New World?

As the year comes to a close, we can probably all agree that 2020 was a challenging one for all of us around the globe. In some ways it brought us closer together, with this shared experience of a common enemy, the coronavirus. But it also divided us – revealing the glaring rift between rich and poor, those with access to health care, and those without. With a clear emphasis that climate change was the main cause, let’s hope this will wake up our world leaders to bring us the change we need to see for our future generations! Let’s work for a better world together in 2021!

Happy holidays and happy new year to all!


At English Yoga Berlin, we offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli. Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome to beginners, as well as people struggling with chronic pain. We also offer Berlin business yoga, and private yoga classes, as well as queer and trans prioritized community classes.

RAIN Meditation on TV Addiction – Part 2

A personal story – The RAIN meditation on wanting

In Part 1 of this blog I introduced Tara Brach’s RAIN meditation and how it can be used on the deep rooted feeling of wanting and addiction. As I started to deepen my thoughts around the subject, I realized that I have never once simply sat with the feeling of wanting TV. I always either react quickly by giving in to the feeling (turning on Netflix) or by coming down very harshly on myself for wanting this (not allowing the feeling to be here and pushing it out with harsh words). Therefore, I took the decision to practice RAIN the next time the feeling arises!

Resistance to bringing the RAIN meditation on wanting

The first thing I noticed when the feeling next arose was that I definitely did not want to practice the RAIN meditation on wanting! The feeling itself was strong and pulling towards action and was refusing to be the object of quiet observation. I had to make a deal with myself in order to practice. Much like I talk to my daughter, my mother voice came in my thoughts and said to the feeling, “Hey, listen I am not saying no to watching TV. I am saying we will observe the feeling for a while, practice RAIN and then if we still want to, we will watch TV. We will just have done it consciously. That’s all.” Just like a small child, the feeling answered, “Do you promise?!! This is not some trick to take me away from the well deserved rest we need?”. The more conscious part of me was able to respond quietly, “Yes, I promise. I am happy to watch TV if we have made a conscious kind decision about it.” Reluctantly, the feeling agreed to being observed.

Recognize is the R in RAIN

I started by giving a name to this feeling. I called it “wanting”. The first step is to name it. As you name it, you also shape it. It becomes an entity that has a bit more well-defined boundaries. This helps take it out from a nebulous kind of feeling that oozes everywhere in my subconscious to something more concrete that I can open myself up to.

Allow is the A in RAIN

The second step was to allow it to be here exactly as it is. This was incredibly difficult. Realizing how much resistance I carry towards this feeling was mind blowing. It was eye opening to realize that I never even considered allowing to be an option before now. As I formulated the words in my mind “I allow the Wanting to be here” , things started to move in my body and I was able to see the true power this feeling holds over me.

Investigate is the I in RAIN

The third step of RAIN is Investigate. Where is this feeling in the body and how does it manifest? The trick here is to stay focused on the body, not on the mind and its millions of thoughts and analyses. As I came to this step, the first thing I realized is that this feeling is very alive in my body. It is mostly in my chest and it is very strong. It has a one-pointed quality to it that is intensely forward looking. I stayed for two minutes in this step simply naming the experience: chest clenched; pointy – pushing outward; rush; pinch in the back of my neck; eyebrow center scrunched; belly empty; chest clenched; strong flow of direction forward; pulling; skin prickly; chest clenched.

It has a one-pointed quality to it that is intensely forward looking…

Photo by Fabio Ballasina on Unsplash

Nurture is the N in RAIN

As I came to the N of RAIN, I was called to nurture the feeling. There was, by now, no doubt in my mind that this feeling was much stronger than I ever gave it credit for. I started by asking the feeling of wanting, what do you need? The answer was immediate, “I am tired! So so tired! I just want to relax and disconnect. I am running all day long juggling five different roles and I am truly tired. Let me disconnect”.

So I placed my hand on my heart and with compassion responded with what the feeling needed. “I see how tired you are”, I told myself with love. “I am here for you. In this moment here we are disconnecting from the running machine of life. In this moment now we are disconnecting and re-connecting. I see you and I am here for you. I see you and I am here for you.” I kept on telling myself these words on repeat. As I did this, my compassion for myself started to grow. As it grew, everything in me started to soften. Everything started to feel less immediate, less pointy, less intense.

After The RAIN meditation

Tara Brach often gives the example of the ocean and the wave as a practice one can do after the practice of RAIN. This image has become one of the strongest guides in my life in the past years. Think of this feeling you are now experiencing as one wave in an ocean. The wave belongs to the ocean just as this feeling belongs to you. But the whole ocean can not possibly enter in a single wave. You are the ocean, not the wave. When I can finally connect to my “Oceanness” is when I enter the sweetest meditation space I know. There is no denying that this wanting feeling is very strong. It is a big wave. Nonetheless, I have been reducing my whole Self to a wave whenever I experience it, thinking it defines me. I am much more than that, I am the whole Ocean itself. I stayed meditating on the sweetness of my “Oceanness” for a while and it was touching.

Funnily enough, when I came out of the meditation, I was inspired to jot down ideas for this blog, looked up articles on the addictive power of TV to reference, listened to music and……I sincerely forgot to watch TV! I simply forgot. Later my partner came in the living room and we had a sweet moment of connection that I would have missed out on had I not paused to do RAIN and had I been immersed in the TV world.

RAIN meditation on wanting was definitely an exploration worth doing!

About the author:

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. 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 is currently deepening her knowledge through Leslie  Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course and training to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

RAIN Meditation on TV addiction – Part 1

A personal story on wanting – meditation on addiction

Four years ago I discovered Tara Brach’s RAIN meditation. It is not an exaggeration to say that it changed my life. Since then, I have read all of her books; have listened to hundreds of her podcasts; practiced daily; taught the meditation to my yoga students in Berlin and applied it to better understanding my daughter’s emotional world.

RAIN is a meditation that guides you through an emotion rather than around an emotion. RAIN is an acronym and each letter stands for a step to follow as you meditate:

  • R is for Recognize what you are feeling.
  • A is for Allow the feeling to be here as it is.
  • I is for Investigate where the feeling is in your body (this is not a mental investigation as to why this feeling is here).
  • N is for Nurture the hurting place.

If you want to get to know this meditation I highly recommend that you check out Tara Brach’s RAIN resource page.

What are my addictions?

When I was reading Tara’s Radical Acceptance I stumbled upon a chapter called “RAIN on Wanting”. This chapter was dedicated to how to use RAIN meditation on addiction and addictive behaviors. It got me thinking about if I have any addictive behaviors myself. The only thing I came up with that may be problematic was that I go through periods of time where I get totally wrapped in watching a series on Netflix. This is not constant and I still go to work and parent lovingly so I have never considered it to be an addiction. On the other hand, when I go through this it sometimes feel like I can not break the spell.

Can series watching be an addiction? How to bring meditation on addiction.

… when I go through this it sometimes feels like I can not break the spell.

Can series watching be an addiction?

Is this really a problem? Could it be an addiction? I sway between two poles when I think of this. On the one hand, I believe in the power of stories. It can be an art form of both entertainment but also (when watching something of quality) self discovery and empathy. Being put into another person’s shoes, living through the lens of their eyes, and opening yourself to other point of views carries beautiful transformative power. On the other hand, series watching also has an addictive sort of power to it. I feel that there are so many other things I could do in the evenings. Things that I equally love, such as listening to or playing music, drawing, singing or talking to a friend on the phone. Unfortunately, I often feel too tired to do any of these at the end of the day and turn to TV as a passive form of entertainment ending up to be my default choice.

Have you ever meditated on the feeling of wanting?

One thing that I realized as I pondered on these thoughts, was that I never ever have simply sat with the feeling of “wanting tv”. When this feeling of wanting arises there are two possible extremes that I react with. I either give in to it (turn on Netflix) or I come down very strongly on myself for having it (no! You have to work in the morning! And one episode will lead to another! And no, this is just not an option right now so stop feeling it!). Both the meditation world, as much as the psychological world, say that sitting with a feeling is important. This is something that I definitely practice a lot with other feelings in my life through RAIN and other techniques. So it was a big surprise for me to realize that there is one feeling – the feeling of wanting TV- that I have not sat with. I always react swiftly to it and never allow it to be. I either immediately act on it or push it away. What would bringing the RAIN meditation on addiction be like?

So I thought that next time the feeling arises I will pause and practice RAIN on wanting. I was curious to see if this would be helpful or give me new insights on the way I approach the subject. On Part 2 of this blog I will outline what happened during the meditation session. But till then, maybe some readers want to try out RAIN on Wanting on their own?

I am very interested to hear your experience.

About the author:

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. 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 is currently deepening her knowledge through Leslie  Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course and training to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

Letting go is not

by Pinelopi Sioni and Haritini Mataragka

We often hear the words “let go” both in yoga classes and in the meditation world in general. These are powerful words, but alas, their meaning is not often clear. We created this little poem to help clarify our interpretation of the meaning behind the words “to let go”. Understanding the subtle meaning that these words carry can make a big difference in the way we practice the action of letting go. And yes, it does take practice. Letting go does not mean that one immerses themselves in a laissez faire way of life. It takes practice, as well as intention and effort. Despite the effort, making letting go part of your daily practice is very worthwhile as it lightens your heart and frees you in many ways.

A leaf lets go easily when the time is right.  May we mirror the ease with which it does that.

Letting go is the hardest Asana.

Letting go is not letting go of a feeling, but freeing oneself from the power the feeling holds over them.

Letting go is not forced forgiveness, it is freeing one’s heart from somebody else’s power.

Letting go is not consenting to a harmful situation, but to stop reliving the situation in one’s mind on repeat.

Letting go is not forgetting the past, but to let go of the deep held belief that the past should have been different.

Letting go is not easy, it takes introspection and courage.

Letting go is not inaction, it requires effort and intention.

When letting go feels impossible, let the intention to let go be enough.

About the authors:

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. 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 is currently deepening her knowledge through Leslie  Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course and training to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

Haritini is a long term student of English Yoga Berlin. In 2019 she finished her 700 hour Hatha Yoga teacher’s training and has now become a substitute yoga teacher at our Yoga studio in Kreuzberg.