Berlin Yoga: Terminology Tuesday

As a teacher of HathBerlin Yoga: Terminology Tuesday YOGA explaineda Yoga in Berlin, I often use Sanskrit words in our classes when wanting to describe a pose or the reason behind something we are supposed to do. I try to always accompany these words with a translation, but every now and then I still see confused faces looking up at me. I realize that sometimes, especially when teaching yoga in English, it is important to not only describe the action in Sanskrit but to also offer a translation in plain English.

No matter how long you have taken yoga classes or how deep you are in your own personal practice, it’s important to understand the words being used over and over again. In an effort to explain the terms that many Berlin Yoga teachers (myself included) often take for granted that their students already understand, I am starting something I call Berlin Yoga: Terminology Tuesday. Each week we will be posting info about a term to help increase depth of understanding within your practice.

Perhaps the beginning is the best place to start….
Yoga: yolk (as in the yolk of an egg.)
The yolk of an egg has the capacity to bind ingredients together. Yoga also strives to bind or unite the three aBerlin Yoga: Terminology Tuesday YOGA explainedspects of the self: the body, the mind and the soul. Over the centuries, it has become common for people to also translate the word yoga as “union”. And since the practice of Yoga affects people in so many different ways, the definitions of Yoga seem to be multiplying as yoga spreads throughout the world.

How to Create an Effective Sankalpa

planting seeds

Always returning to the same sankalpa is like watering a seed after you planted it.

In my last blog, “What is a Sankalpa?”  I explained that this short, positive phrase can have a very positive impact on changing your subconscious. But changing your life takes clear, focused work and commitment. As an instructor of Hatha yoga in Berlin, I have seen many students come in with some very sincere desires for personal change. When they come to my class, I try to explain the main components of creating the most effective Sankalpa to stimulate this change.

The subconscious does not express itself with spoken language. It can be said that the massive amount of information stored in the subconscious is in symbolic form. Symbols and images are what the subconscious uses to express itself, the most common example being our dreams.  The images and symbols we dream of could be a way that our subconscious is trying to communicate with our conscious self. But this communication is hard when the conscious does not understand the language of symbols used by the subconscious and vice versa. Through our Sankalpa, our conscious world is trying to communicate to the subconscious world. In order to do this the language used must be as simple, short and as clear as possible, so that the meaning is able to penetrate the subconscious.

The type of wording used is also important. In this way, a Sankalpa is not like a New Year’s resolution in that it does not focus on what is wrong, but rather on what will be right. If one wanted, for example, to work on his/her stress levels then it is better that the Sankalpa formed is something like, “I can relax at will” rather than it being “I am not stressed”. We want our subconscious to pick up on the word “relax” rather than on the word “stressed”, so that we imprint energy on what one wishes to achieve rather than its opposite.

In Your Own Language
When asked to repeat your Sankalpa mentally in class, you are also asked to repeat it with feeling and emphasis. Even though I teach yoga in English, I understand that most of my students of yoga in Berlin are not mother tongue English speakers. Repeating it in the language you feel the most connected to will have a more powerful effect on your personal progress and make emphasis more natural.

Stick with your Sankalpa
It is said that one must not change their Sankalpa until they feel it has become true. If we were to take the analogy of the Sankalpa being a seed that we are planting into our subconscious, if each time we go into relaxation we plant a different seed, then the energy we wish to imprint on the subconscious would be too dissipated and our plants would not be able to grow. We should instead always return to that same seed to water it and take care of it until it is a full grown plant – able to stand on its own.

What is a Sankalpa?

As an instructor of yoga in Berlin, I am often asked about the various parts ofthe practice I teach. One of the most recent questions was one coming from a new student in my Hatha yoga in English class. She asked. “What is a Sankalpa?”

Changing your life starts with setting the right intention. A Sankalpa is a very powerful tool that can help do just that.

Yoga Nidra at English Yoga Berlin

photo by Fern

Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word meaning resolve or resolution. It is a short, positive phrase that we use in order to build up an aspect of our character that needs strengthening. Take, for example, a person who wants to stop smoking. This person can very well understand all the reasons to stop smoking and even agree that being a non-smoker would be best for their health. But this understanding and agreement would be coming at the level of the intellect which is ruled solely by the conscious mind.  And that is often not strong enough to take lasting action. By using the Sankalpa during relaxation, we have better access to the subconscious and have it work together with our conscious mind towards a common goal. This way the change that the Sankalpa brings into our lives is a more whole and permanent one.

My Berlin yoga class includes 70 minutes of positions and 20 minutes of relaxation and visualization in which we introduce aspects of yoga Nidra (conscious deep sleep). As we relax after yoga, we let go of our defenses, we become more vulnerable and the subconscious becomes more sensitive and receptive.  That is the moment that we repeat our Sankalpa. When we first create our Sankalpa, we are planting a seed in our subconscious. Every time we go back to it and repeat it in our relaxed state, it is as if we were going back to it and watering it, caring for it so one day we can reap its fruits. For this reason, we keep the same Sankalpa until it becomes a reality in our lives.

3 New Classes beginning from Wednesday the 18th of April!!!

Hello everybody,

I am pleased to announce that the yoga fun is growing! We are now two teachers who make up Yoga Xkoelln: Meg and Pinelopi.

And we will be opening 3 new classes on Wednesday mornings. They will be on Görlitzerstr 39 and will have plenty of space available.

We will offer free classes on Wednesday the 18th of April so that you can try out!

Hope to see you there soon!

And for those of you who celebrate Easter, have a beautiful one!

Mini DETOX retreat

Hello Everybody,
I will be helping the Integrative Health Berlin to present a mini Detox retreat which I warmly invite you to participate in.
Warm greetings and Happy New Year!
Lisa Milloy~Integrative Health Berlin is please to present this wellness workshop offering!  It’s coming up soon, so please email now to reserve your space.
miniDETOXretreat   ____________________________________________________________________________________________
A workshop series designed to inspire and support a cleansing and healthful start to the year.  Learn and practice some simple detoxifying activities that you can easily incorporate into your daily/weekly wellness regime.  Our focus is practices that support and vitalize the body’s own natural systems for detoxification and preventing illness.
Movement ~ Yoga (Vinyasa-Flow Asana Practice) & Fusion Movement (inspired by the principles of Pilates, Yoga and Dance) ~ lengthening, and strengthening exercises to invigorate the circulation, support healthy organ function, and release toxins and tension. 
Massage ~ Self-massage techniques to stimulate and support important organ systems ~ Gently stimulating toxin elimination, and enhancing immune system function with techniques such as dry skin brushing and foot massage.
Breath ~ Yogic Breath-work (Pranayama) ~ purification of the lungs and energy systems.
Sound ~ Relaxing, guided meditation (Yoga Nidra). ~ deep restorative rest. 
             ~ music will be incorporated into movement practices.
The workshop(s) will be lead by instructors:
Lisa ~ Registered Massage Therapist (BC, Canada)
Kate ~ Certified Vinyasa-Flow Yoga Instructor
Pinelopi ~ Certified Hatha Yoga Instructor 
*More details to follow soon….stay tuned!  
Saturday January 14th, 21st, 28th (11:00 to 14:00) & February 4th (11:00 to 17:00)
Studio 142 – Bethanien Building – Mariannen Platz 2
All four Saturdays (14 hours) – 70 Euro
January 14th, 21st, 28th (three hours) – Drop-in 18 Euro
February 4th (five hours +one hour break) – Drop-in 30 Euro 
There are some discounted spaces available for those with no/low incomes.  Please email if you would like more information regarding this.
Please email me at to reserve your place now.  Space is limited to 12 participants.
Yours in Health and healing,
Lisa Milloy (RMT, BC, Canada)
Integrative Health Berlin
listen to your body ~ it knows.