English Yoga Berlin News

Photo by Ales Krivec

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

                                                                      ― Rumi

Greetings Yogis!

We’ve got quite a few things on offer this winter at English Yoga Berlin: We will be offering a yoga workshop on the mind, a yoga retreat on “The Power of Intention”  in Brandenburg, special themed yoga classes, and we will be hosting Inga Thorsdottir to give a mantra singing workshop at our studio.  For more details read below and catch the Early Bird discounts if you are interested in participating!

A workshYoga retreat near Berlin: "Beyond the thinking mind"op on “Beyond the Thinking Mind”

This February, Pinelopi will give a 3 hour workshop on the mind seen from a yogic and Buddhist point of view. The workshop will include a talk, a guided meditation practice and a yoga session. For more info click here.

 

Photo by Bobby Johnson on Unsplash

Yoga Retreat on “The Power of Intention”

Pinelopi will be giving a 3 day yoga retreat in Brandenburg at the end of April. The retreat will include 5 yoga sessions, meditation instruction, nature walks, gratitude practices, and much more. Find out more here and get the Early Bird Discount if you register before February 14th.

Through the Voice and into the Heart

We are hosting Inga Thorsdottir to guide a mantra workshop at English Yoga Berlin in March. Inga is a professional musician, a yoga teacher and is training in the Alexander Technique. She will guide us into an interactive mantra singing session with her harmonium. Find out more here and check out how to get the Early Bird Discount!

Photo by Bryan Garces on Unsplash

Special Themed Yoga Class

Every first Thursday of the month, our 8pm advanced class turns into a special themed yoga class where we explore in depth a specific yogic related theme. You do not have to be an advanced student to attend these classes. Our next special themes include the heart Chakra (March) and a special guest teacher, Nina Rotner, who will give Alexander Technique impulses to the students while in yoga poses (April).

Beyond the Thinking Mind Workshop

We are warmly inviting you to participate in a 3 hour workshop on

“Experiencing Ourselves Beyond the Thinking Mind”.

 

When a sage was asked to describe today’s modern world, he responded “lost in thought”. We spend so much time lost in our own thoughts that days pass on by without getting a moment to connect with our own presence and the things that matter to us the most. In this workshop “Beyond the Thinking Mind” we will investigate what the patterns of our minds are, and what gets in the way of experiencing ourselves differently.

 

Yoga retreat near Berlin: "Beyond the thinking mind"When:

Saturday 22nd of February, 2020   13.00 – 16.00

What:

A talk, a meditation and a yoga session.

  • The talk will predominately look at the mind and its patterns.  At the end we will explore ways to experience the world beyond our thinking minds.
  • We will learn a  meditation technique to quiet down the chatterbox mind, while learning to detach without repressing.
  • We will end the workshop with a yoga session to move our bodies, tune in with our breaths, and observe our minds.

Who is this workshop for:

This workshop is  of interest to people who wish to understand the way the mind works according to a yogic and Buddhist point of view.  No previous yoga experience is necessary.

Maximum number of participants: 16

Where:

Our English Yoga Berlin Kreuzberg studio.

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.

 

Price:  30 Euro

 

Early registration discount: 5 € discount if you register before February 8th, 2020. The workshop is refundable unless cancellation occurs later than February , 15th  2020 after which 50% refund.  Please register early before the spots fill up!

To book a place please contact:

pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

 

 

Hatha Yoga Retreat on “The power of Intention”

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

“Recognizing the Power of Intention”

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

 What is the purpose of me 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, the “right thing to do” and we no longer question them?   Living with intention transforms the way one lives, one loves, one interacts with the world.  Intention is one of the three pillars of mindfulness and setting intentions are essential to connecting with your inner self.  In this yoga retreat near Berlin we will explore the power of intention and ways to bring it into our yoga practice.

 

Photo by Aachal on Unsplash

When: 

Thursday April 30th, 2020; 15.00  to Sunday May 3rd, 2020; 14.00

Where:

Rosenwaldhof  – This is 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 “The Power of 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:  10 € discount if you register for the yoga retreat before February 14th, 2020. To reserve your space, please send an email and deposit 50 Euro by bank transfer or paypal.

*The deposit is fully refundable if a cancellation occurs before March 16th, 2020, and 50% refundable if cancellation occurs before April 1st, 2020. After which no refund is possible.

Space is limited so register early before the spots fill up!

For more details, please write to:

pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

 

Mantra Singing Workshops with Inga

This workshop has been cancelled for precautionary reasons. We will reschedule it when our collective health allows!

 

 

We are hosting two beautiful Berlin mantra singing workshops with Inga Thórsdóttir!

“Through the voice and into the heart”

 

We warmly invite you to come to guided mantra singing workshops at English Yoga Berlin. Singing mantras is a tool for connection, healing, and lightening of our hearts. A way of freeing our thoughts and coming back to ourselves.

Inga Thórsdóttir gives mantra workshops in Berlin When:

Friday March 27th, 2020 19.00-21.00

Saturday March 28th, 2020 19.00 -21.00

Where:

our English Kreuzberg Yoga studio.

Mats, blankets, tea, cookies, blocks and chairs (for those who need them) are provided for at the studio.

Who is this workshop for:

This workshop is open to all people who like to sing (or listen), to meditate, practice yoga, or simply want to experience something new. Everyone is welcomed.

What does the workshop consist of:

Inga will guide us into an interactive mantra singing session with her harmonium. She will explain to us the meanings and intentions behind each mantra as we sing “through the voice and into the heart”.

About the teacher:

Inga Thórsdóttir gives mantra workshops in Berlin Inga Thórsdóttir is an Icelandic musician, born and raised in Reykjavik. In 2007 she moved to Freiburg im Breisgau to study piano. Since then she has lived in Germany, teaching piano, doing yoga and training in Alexander Technique and organizing events related to yoga and music. She got to know mantra singing during a yoga teacher training in Bali and since then she has offered regular mantra concerts. She also travels with Yoga Böttcher to yoga festivals and other events.  Soon she will also sing mantras on stage with Deva Premal and Miet. Inga loves to sing from the heart and take people on a heart-opening mantra trip!

Price:

25 Euro for one two hour workshop

Early registration discount: 5 € discount if you register before February 1st, 2020. The workshop is refundable unless cancellation occurs later than March 7th, 2020 after which 50% refund.  Space is limited so register early before the spots fill up!

If you are interested in participating, please contact Sibylle at:

Sibyllegfellner (at) yahoo (dot) de

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. We also offer Berlin business yoga, and private yoga classes, as well as queer and trans prioritized community classes.

New Year Yoga Standing Sequence

Happy New Year! And welcome to the start of a new decade!

As a thank you for your participation and your readership, we offer you this new year’s yoga standing sequence – asanas you can do anywhere, while you’re on the go, while you’re waiting in line for the Silvester party, or simply for a night in of self-reflection and evaluation. Each pose is accompanied by a question to help guide your process of letting go of what you want to leave behind and make room for what the new decade brings. Enjoy!

tadasana

Mountain Pose:
What is my support / foundation?

chi yoga

Golden Rooster:
What can I peacefully confront?

warrior1

Warrior I :
What are my­­ obstacles?

revolved side angle

Twisted / Revolved Side Angle:
What can I let go of?

warrior2Warrior II:
How can I prepare for surprises?
inverted warriorInverted Warrior:
What are the oppositional forces I encounter?
extended side angleExtended Side Angle:
Where can I find leverage?
forward foldWide-legged Forward Fold:
How do things look from another perspective?
warrior3Warrior III:
How to balance in the face of resistance?
dancer2Dancer:
Can I reach higher?
balanceBalance:
In what ways can I leave my comfort zone?
surrenderSurrender:
In what ways can I give in or let go?

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, people struggling with chronic pain. We also offer Berlin business yoga, and private yoga classes, as well as queer and trans prioritized community classes.

Berlin Yoga Gift Card

“For it is in giving that we receive.” — Francis of Assisi

Berlin Yoga Gift Card

Berlin Yoga Gift Card

 

This December is full of many things – an end of a decade, as well as the darkest days drawing upon us, both politically and celestially. Holidays of various religious and non-religious affiliation draw us together, but for those of us with complicated relationships to or without family, it can feel even more stressful or depressive. A consumer culture encourages us to buy more things to fill the void or fulfill gift-giving obligations, which seem to miss the point of honestly giving something to someone we love.

A nice dinner, a visit to the hammam, or a guided tour are a few gift ideas for those who’d like to give something that does not contribute to Co2 emissions through the shipping of packages, or add more waste to the world by purchasing more plastic gadgets that nobody actually needs. If you’re at a loss for an idea for a friend who likes yoga, why not a Berlin yoga gift card? At English Yoga Berlin we offer them all year round.

And if you feel you need a special place to go inwards for yourself during this dark holiday season, why not come and try out a class in our candle-lit cozy and warm Kreuzberg yoga studio.

Please take a look at our up-to-date schedule for our holiday closures.

English Yoga Berlin offers yoga gift cards for one or more Hatha yoga and Vinyasa yoga classes. You can buy them at our yoga studio in Kreuzberg, or online.

6 Simple things to fight the flu season

Those of us who live in the 52nd latitude are well aware that when winter comes the days grow shorter, and our lovely sun is not giving us as much vitamin D to feed our immune system. And as the weather gets colder and wetter, more people pack themselves into crowded transportation rather than ride their (t)rusty wire donkeys. Being the international city that it is, Berlin gives one’s immune system a workout, with germs coming from all over the world, rather than the ones we grew up with and learned to adapt to. A challenge I gratefully accept because I believe that learning about, and adapting to, all kinds of different cultures (including those as small as the ones that take up habitat inside my gut) is what keeps me strong, flexible and ready for other things that come my way. So I compiled a list of 6 simple things to fight the flu season that have worked for me to keep my immune system strong during these cold and dark months.

staying warm during winter

Wear layers to regulate body temperature

1. Layers

Moving in-between different temperatures is a good recipe to foster cold and flu bugs. Dressing warmly is necessary for being outside, but then with a heavy sweater or coat on inside, sweating can promote their growth. For me, what works is wearing layers. I can regulate my body temperature by removing one or more layers depending on how warm or cool a place is kept. For instance, grocery stores tend to be cooler than a city bus.

2. Deep Breaths

While standing to wait in the cold, we have a tendency to hunch the shoulders up to stay warm. But this actually has the opposite effect, and can result in tension in the neck and shoulders. Hunching up restricts the lungs and causes more shallow breaths. This cools the body down even more. Not only does breathing deeply and slowly warm up the body, but it also helps more oxygen and other nutrients to move through the whole cardiovascular system, hence strengthening the immune system. Exhaling slowly has also been shown to reduce anxiety and stress. Also very helpful in these busy, end of the year days. So, in addition to wearing layers, I make sure to wear a big scarf to keep my neck warm. Then I can let my shoulders relax down and lengthen up my torso to widen my chest and take deep breaths.

3. Drink fluids

Tea, tea, and more tea. That’s all I’m going to say. No, seriously. It warms me up, and flushes out any built-up toxins. Just plain water is good too, of course. Hot cocoa and coffee can also be very nice. But if I feel myself coming down with a cold, I’ll try to eliminate any sugars, because it can lower the immune system’s response.

4. Sleep, rest

My body’s circadian rhythm is somehow very attuned to how dark it is outside. It tells me I need more sleep and rest during these months of 16 hours of daily darkness. I wonder what it would be like if I lived in northern Sweden? I may not always listen to my body, but when I do I feel more rested.

5. Exercise

I’m riding my bike less and less, so I try to compensate for the lack of cardio by walking more and going to dance classes. I also prefer to walk the stairs instead of taking the escalator. It not only feels good on my cardiovascular system, but also for my mental health.

6. Public spaces

I don’t use hand sanitizer so often. After playing ball with the dog, or when there’s no hot water or soap in a public washroom, it’s quite useful. But I try to avoid it if possible, so as not to remove the helpful bacteria that my body needs. I feel quite blessed that I have a strong immune system (well, I have a few chronic conditions that I struggle with, but on the whole I’m rather healthy). I *can* move through public spaces and hold handrails, and somehow manage to not get sick. But I know people who would get sick instantly. Carrying around hand sanitizer would be a definite benefit. But I also find for myself, that avoiding touching my own face in public also helps. If I’ve been traveling around on public transit, when I finally get a chance to I’ll wash my hands.

At English Yoga Berlin we offer small classes for more personalised practice and private yoga lessons. Juli‘s yoga classes in English are a slow Vinyasa Flow yoga / Svastha yoga mix. Contact us here to learn more and book a private session, or check our classes schedule to participate in a group class at our Kreuzberg yoga studio.

Terminology Tuesday: are mindfulness and meditation the same thing?

I often hear people use the terms mindfulness and meditation interchangeably. Are they, though, the same thing?

So let’s look at these two terms.

Mindfulness

photo by Fern

I define mindfulness as the practice of having one’s mind fully present in any activity or inactivity that they are performing. The English term was originally created by the Buddhist scholar T.W. Rhys Davids at the beginning of the 20th century. Later on, this term was used by Jon Kabat-Zinn in his popular Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. He defines mindfulness as ‘the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.’

Many mindfulness practices increase the ability to attain this state of mind. One example is the practice of mindfulness walks whilst using a modified version of  the 54321 technique.  This is one of my favorite mindfulness practices that I always include in our English Yoga Berlin retreats.

Meditation

Meditation, on the other hand, is the practice of letting the mind quiet down from thoughts and worries. It is experiencing ones’ own presence beyond the mind. It requires sitting (or if necessary laying down) and purposefully creating a space to practice. In the Vedantic tradition, there are two types of yogic meditations: saguna and nirguna.

In the saguna meditation, the meditator focuses on one thing only (be it a mandala, the breath, a candle flame). The meditator keeps the mind anchored on this focal point. Think of the mind as a bird that flies from one thought to the next.  Eventually the bird gets tired and needs to rest on a branch. The one focal point of saguna meditation is the branch for the bird-mind to rest on. In nirguna meditation, the meditator focuses on abstract concepts that are indescribable, such as Existence, Cosmic Love, Consciousness and fuses themselves into the object of meditation.  In both ways of meditating the focus is to sharpen the mind into being able to focus on and experience only one thing,  be it something concrete or something abstract.

So what is the difference?

The main difference between mindfulness and meditation is that mindfulness can be applied to any activity and although the mind is fully present in what it is doing, there is still motion in the action of doing. Whilst in meditation one creates a space  where one sits and practices bringing the mind to an inactivity so that it remains settled only on one thing. Of course, a meditation practice will increase your mindfulness awareness in your everyday activities, and a mindfulness practice, on the other hand, will  also help you settle in quickly into meditation. These two go hand in hand strengthening each other, which I believe, is why people often confuse them.

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

English Yoga Berlin News

 “We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet, each day we listen to inner voices that keep our lives small.”

                                                                      ― Tara Brach

 

Greetings Yogis!

We wish you a good beginning of autumn!

Here’s what’s happening over the next three months at English Yoga Berlin: Pinelopi is back in full swing giving her regular Hatha Yoga classes, organizing a retreat, and beginning to train as an Alexander Technique teacher. Juli has started a German-language class at an FLTI* Sportverein.

Pinelopi is back!

After a month of intense knee rehabilitation, Pinelopi is teaching Berlin Hatha Yoga again! She is very happy to be back doing what she loves most. Her Hatha Yoga classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you wish to join a class please check out the schedule.

 

Yoga retreat near Berlin: "Beyond the thinking mind"Yoga Retreat “Beyond the Thinking Mind”

Pinelopi will be leading a Hatha Yoga retreat in Brandenburg Oct 25th to Oct 27th. In this yoga retreat we will look at the thinking mind and its patterns; identify the beliefs that create certain types of thoughts; and explore ways to experience the world beyond our thinking minds. The retreat includes yoga classes, meditation instruction, mindfulness walks in nature and more. Check it out and book the last place available.

 

Juli continues with her yoga therapy courseDeutschsprachige FLTI* Yoga

Since 2012, Juli has been giving yoga classes in German at the women’s thai kick-boxing sport club LowKick eV. In August of this year, Juli made the switch to the FLTI* sport club Seitenwechsel eV.

Juli freut sich den FLTI* Berliner community Yoga anzubieten!

 

Alexander Technique Teacher Training

Pinelopi is beginning her Alexander Technique Teacher Training this September. The course will go on for three years. The focus of the Alexander Technique is to free the neck from tension, better the overall coordination of the body and to let go of old habits stored in the use of the body while cultivating new ones. If you are interested to become a volunteer for the training teachers please get in touch.

 

We continue to be thankful for your practice and your support of our work. We wish you a healthy, happy autumn, with lots of candlelight and quality moments!

Let’s all join the global climate strike on september 20th – yogis included

Why care about the climate crisis?

There are many reasons to care about the climate crisis and show your support through joining the global climate strike on September 20th. Among them, of course, are caring for our planet, leaving a livable world for the future generations and understanding the pain that the world is already in and will continue to increase astronomically in the next 80 years.

These reasons are enough in and of themselves.

A yogic point of view to joining the climate strike.

Photo by Jacob Owens on Unsplash

Although the reasons mentioned above should be enough, nonetheless, I will add a yogic point of view. Our current Western lifestyles violate nearly all of the yamas and niyamas (yogic ethics) which are the two first pillars of yoga.  There is a reason why the Yamas and Niyamas come before the asanas (yoga poses), and pranayama (breathing techniques). One can do as many sun salutations as one wants but that is not enough to change the world.  Ethical living both at the private level and at the systemic level will.

AHIMSA (non violence) is the first Yama that requires of every yogi to “first do no harm”. Our current ways of life harm our planet in multiple ways.

SATYA (truthfulness) requires of us to be truthful to what is really here. The climate. crisis. is. here. and our window to do something about it is closing.

ASTEYA (non stealing, non hoarding) requires of us to stifle greed. It requires of the yogi to ask themselves again and again: “do I really need this?” We simply can not afford to live this consumerist way of life anymore.

In a capitalist world, where we are led to believe that “the grass is always greener on the other side”,  APARIGRAHA (non comapring) and SANTOSHA (contentment) would be the end of capitalism.  The idea of  “I am enough” and I do not need to acquire more or  become more like my neighbor, is both incredibly old and radical all at once.

SAUCHA (cleanliness inside and out) requires of our bodies and mind to be clean.  But how is that possible when our water is polluted, our meat consumption is one of the main causes of the climate crisis itself and our forests are burning?  We need to use TAPAS (willpower, discipline) to focus our energies to bringing change.

SVADHYAYA is about active self-reflection, traditionally in understanding the holy scriptures of yoga. These scriptures guide us to the understanding that “All is One”.  We can not possibly understand this at a deep level while poisoning the Earth simultaneously.

I am already doing all I can, so why join with others in a strike?

It is easy, however, to make all of this into a private individual problem when the truth is that changes in individual consumption practices and attitudes are simply not enough to tackle the problem. We need to change the system at a much deeper level.  And that is why we invite every single one of you to join us at the global climate strike on September 20th. We all need to be there. Together.

Will striking really help anything?

And yes, there will be some of us who will say, “All this action comes too late, this can not be stopped, so why act?”. Here I will quote Tara Brach , in what I consider to be a version of the last niyama ISHVARA PRANIDAHNA (surrender):

“We want to feel that it is possible to save our Earth in order to make a step. Otherwise it is very easy to feel like resigning.  But the truth is, we do not know (if saving the Earth is possible). We just do not know. I like the way Wendell Berry puts it. He says: “We don’t have a right to ask if we are going to succeed or not. The only question we have a right to ask is what is the right thing to do? What does this Earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it?” Thomas Merton puts it this way: “Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the facts that your work may be apparently worthless and even achieve no results at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the VALUE, the RIGHTNESS, the TRUTH of the work itself.


Did you know that your website can also join the climate strike? Click  here to find out how.


“We, at English Yoga Berlin, offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli.  Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. We also offer pregnancy yoga and private yoga classes, including for people struggling with chronic pain. We will of course be at the climate strike and wish to see you there too.”