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Types of Yoga we Teach

our English yoga studio in Kreuzberg Berlin

There are many, many different types of yoga and each teacher has their own style. All of us at English Yoga Berlin are guided by the basic principles of the Yoga Sutra, especially that of Ahimsa (non-violence): we respect our limits while gently opening our bodies and minds to new experiences and ways of seeing. We also include techniques from Yoga Nidra in all of our classes.You can see our class schedule here.

Here is what we offer:

Vinyasa Flow:

This Anusara-influenced Vinyasa Yoga class connects the breath with flowing, dynamic movement through sequences of traditional and contemporary Hatha yoga postures. A Vinyasa Flow class can be very different from another. The style of this specific class is slower than most, it focuses on techniques of Svastha Yogatherapy – strengthening the body to help heal from injuries, manage pain and chronic illness, and resting the mind to recover from stress and anxiety. Every class ends with a guided relaxation. It is open to both beginners and experienced students, as well as those with injuries, chronic pain or limited mobility, as options and modifications for poses are offered by the teacher. It is a queer and trans* positive space where gender binaries are viewed post-structurally and heteronormativity is challenged. Allies welcome.

Hatha Yoga:

This is a soft, balancing yoga.  It mainly consists of getting into a position and holding it while breathing deeply.  The students choose how hard they want to make it for themselves by choosing how many breaths they are able to do on that particular day. This class is taught in English and includes up to 70 minutes of positions and 20 minutes of relaxation and visualization, in which we introduce aspects of Yoga Nidra (conscious deep sleep).  

Yoga and the Alexander Technique course:

In this Yoga and the Alexander Technique course we will look at ways we enter yoga poses through the lens of the Alexander Technique, with the intention of uncovering deep habits. We carry our habits everywhere. If we tend to stress our neck before we lift our arm, we will do that regardless whether we are reaching for a box or bringing our arms up into the Warrior pose. The Alexander Technique looks into these deep habits and gives you small impulses that make a big difference in how to access a better coordination with your body as a whole. Click here for more info.

Meditation Course: learning how to meditate- 6 class hybrid course

Next course coming up: September 14th to 19th of October, 2023

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. To learn more click here.

Meditation Course: Exploring the Negativity Bias – 6 week hybrid course

Next course coming up: November 9th to December 14th, 2023

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. Click here to learn more.

Meditation Course: Mindful Care-Giving – 6 week course

When there is a minimum of 8 people interested, we will offer this course again. Write an email to Pinelopi to let us know.

How can we bring mindfulness in our care-giving with children? In what ways can we help children through difficult emotions even when we are going through difficult times ourselves? How can we create more presence in such a high speed world?  Click here to look at the details of previous courses.

Chakra Course:

Next course coming up:  Write an email to Pinelopi to express your interest. If there is enough interest this course will happen January 2024

In this course we will learn the symbolic language of the chakras and how human behaviors affect its vibrations. We use the chakras as a map to help us self explore certain concepts like our tribes (as an archetype), creativity, self esteem, forgiveness, surrender, love, detachment and connection to our spirits. The course will be a mix of meditations, visualizations, yoga poses, and inner-self exercises.

Restorative Yoga:

This a restful, gentle yoga practice that nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system, our body’s responses when rest or regeneration is required to counter stress, anxiety, insomnia, illness or injury. Poses are held for 5-20 minutes, supported by props, rolled-up blankets, blocks and chairs. In this specific class, a gentle flow warms up the body, before settling into longer poses, accompanied by some thai yoga massage to help deepen or relax the poses. At this time, there is no regular weekly course for restorative yoga. If you are interested in booking a private session, please contact Juli to arrange a date and time. Private sessions will be offered to Berlin-based Queer* and Trans* folks, and women with histories of trauma, including inter-generational, at a sliding scale rate of 25-60 euros. When booking a time with Juli, please be sure that this appointment works for you, as you will be charged a fee of half the agreed-upon rate if you cancel within 24 hours.

Private Yoga Lessons:

… for the really busy, for those with special needs, for the shy, or simply for those who want to get a personalized program and the undivided attention of the  teacher.  Private Yoga lessons are a sure way to address the little insecurities and questions you have about your practice, and to get advice on how to best use yoga and meditation for your specific life challenges.  Click here if you want to learn more.

Business Yoga:

Pinelopi offers a variety of services, including Hatha Yoga, Ergonomic Consultations, Alexander Technique and mindfulness courses, tailored to meet the unique needs of businesses in Berlin. Whether you prefer on-site classes at your workplace or in the conference room of the hotel where your workforce is staying, Pinelopi can deliver the services you need to promote wellness and increase productivity. Click here to find out more.

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All classes are taught in English.

About Us

We are two teachers working together, committed to providing accessible and high-quality yoga classes in several yoga styles, Alexander Technique and meditation courses, with a focus on community wellbeing and inclusivity. Pinelopi is employed by Smart-Eg and Juli is freelance. 

 Our English yoga school in Berlin also offers private classes, in-company yoga, Alexander Technique and workshops.

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English Resources

Our yoga school in Berlin is a very international collective, as such we understand the challenge of navigating life in a place where you are not necessarily fluent in the language.   Because of this, we have compiled a list of English resources for personal development and wellness in Berlin. The following is a list of those people and practices that we recommend, and who speak English. Like us, these people would be pleased to aid you in your ongoing journey to health and well-being.

Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Qi Gong

Shiatsu Plus Qi Gng (Weichselstr, Neukölln) — Bettie Höflich offers courses and individual treatments in Qi Gong and Shiatsu, as well as Bach flower remedies. Bettie’s website is in German, but she speaks fluent English.

Berlin Akupunktur (Bergmannstr, Kreuzberg) — Roland Biessel has opened the first Community Acupuncture clinic in Germany. Roland speaks excellent English and is a competent, experienced acupuncturist. Community Acupuncture (aka Working Class Acupuncture) is a movement to create affordable and equal access to acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Acupuncture treatments are given, fully clothed, in a room with other people, and are offered on a sliding scale (17 to 35euro per session). This creates affordable acupuncture for patients and  a living wage for practitioners. We dig that!

Psychotherapy

The Primrose Practice (Prenzlauer Berg) is a discreet and confidential service set up by private practitioner Sophie Frost to provide expert advice, counselling and treatment options in English for those suffering from a range of mental health related issues.  Her website and blog is also an excellent resource for integrative self care information.  She offers a sliding scale for individual sessions.

Physiotherapy

Physio Bluecherstrasse (Sudstern) – Dörte etersen who works in this small physiotherapy praxis is highly competent, incredibly knowledgeable, emotionally sensitive, AND has very good instinct.  I recommend her to all my yoga students because her work is truly good. Please make sure to ask specifically for her when you call.

Centre for Sexual Health and Family Planning (Gesundheitsamt Friedrichshain Kreuzberg)
10euro for an appointment, no insurance required, Urbanstr 24

Personal & Business Development

Shaleah Dawynyel offers help for entrepreneurs by providing individual sessions for time management, organizational consulting and SEO for small business. Because of her uniquely intuitive and professional approach, she has been a huge help with our website and the development of our studios’ work in Berlin. Shaleah is our our golden edge!

AG Beratung is a group of experienced, capable folks who offer over 20 years of collective experience in leftwing organizing, alternative business models and general getting shit done. They offer consultations, on a sliding scale, to projects that need help sorting themselves out: whether it’s about explaining German regulations, building conflict resolution systems or fundraising, this group can offer a lot to small collectives. They did a very nice session for us in English. Highly recommended!

Yoga Resources

The Bausinger website is not only an online shop from where we acquired our soft fluffy mats, but also contains a lot of resources (in German) about yoga and other healing modalities.

Meditation Resources

Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world.  This website is an amazing resource that freely offers meditations and talks on themes such as the possibility of emotional healing and spiritual awakening through mindful, loving awareness as well as the alleviation of suffering in the larger world by practicing compassion in action.

What is Vinyasa Yoga: A History of “Flow”

Like any other practice, yoga can be quite different depending on two main factors: who is teaching it, and what style is being taught. Of course you want to find a teacher that you like, one you connect to and feel comfortable with. But beyond that its also important to find the style of yoga that best fits your needs.

There are four original types of yoga. It is important to understand the background of the method of yoga you are practicing so that you can decide if it is the best one for you. Because each type of yoga has evolved out of different teaching lineages, the following is a bit of history of Vinyasa Flow Yoga, one of our newest class offerings at English Yoga Berlin.

Vinyasa Background

Vinyasa Flow Yoga was born out of the Ashtanga lineage. The Ashtanga school was developed by a yogi named Sri Krishnamacharya, who taught it to Patthabi Jois. Jois taught in Mysore, India in the first half of the 20th century. Ashtanga has since been popularized in the West by his students.

Ashtanga yoga was taught by Jois as moving meditation. He believed that the movements between each asana should be considered just as important as the postures themselves. The idea behind this is to deepen concentration and body consciousness through the entire practice. Rather than focusing on “getting into the posture” and then breathing, in Vinyasa, we try to keep the deep breathing and correct alignment consistent throughout all movement during the class.

Ashtanga Yoga prescribes a specific sequence of postures (known as the Primary Series), done in a very specific way – each posture is held for 5 complete breaths and the transition between postures should take no more than 1 breath.

You can practice Ashtanga anywhere and anytime, as long as you know this series. You can also join us for our new Vinyasa Flow Yoga class at 8pm on Thursdays at our new studio in Kreuzberg.

Mastering the Monkey: Is Peace of Mind Impossible?

You don’t think thoughts but rather thoughts think you.”

The mind often creates a natural barrier to inner peace. If you were to sit down, right now, and say to yourself, “For the next 5 minutes I will only think of a star,” you would find it is impossible to do so. The nature of the mind is for it to wander, to work with associations and to jump from thought to thought. In some ways, that’s its job. And in others, it ends up keeping most people feeling restless.

The mind is often compared to a monkey- jumping from one branch to another with no control.

Let’s follow the “monkey” and use the example above of focusing on the star; soon, I realize that the star reminds me of all the falling stars I have seen in my life. This thought brings me onto all the wishes I have made on those stars. That, in turn, makes me think of unfulfilled wishes, which reminds me that I’m unhappy. When I think about being unhappy, that tenses up my chest. Feeling the tightness in my chest reminds me that I have to buy an inhaler for my asthma- and why am I unhappy anyway?…

This is how the mind works. Within just a minute or two of thoughts, I have not only had mental fluctuations but I also have had emotional reactions from serene to sad. Every emotional reaction has produced a physical reaction, in this example my chest tightening, which has taken me through so much in such a short period of time.

My yoga teacher used to say, “When the mind can be fixed on the same thing for 3 seconds- that is called attention. When the mind can be fixed on the same thing for 12 seconds- that is called concentration. If you can concentrate 12 times (12 sec x12=144 seconds) then THAT is called meditation.”

Practicing concentration techniques are very important for one to feel centered and grounded. Meditation is a great tool to make the most of the minds power by making sure it is not wasting it’s energy. In our berlin yoga classes, we practice these techniques by observing the body during the Asanas, by using the practice of Tratak and through Yoga Nidra. Because the mind if so important, it is vital to learn how best to use it. Once we have mastered these techniques, then we will be able to take the practice to a more advanced level in which we can find a way to master the monkey!

What is Drishti- Part 2

In our last blog about the definition of Drishti,we talked about using this “gaze” as an anatomical tool to self-correct your posture while practicing yoga. But we also highlighted it as a useful implement to quiet the mind and increase relaxation while avoiding obsessive thoughts. But the benefits of this aspect of yoga can go beyond simply a place to look during Downward Dog.

Another important subtlety in the concept of Drishti is in the different ways of gazing. This is a variation on the practice of detachment but specifically, a Drishti can be described as ´soft´, ´pointed´, ´wide´, ´gentle´, etc. Again, there are very practical reasons for this. Even though Patanjali never gazed at a computer screen, he could imagine what hours of single distance, harsh gazing can do to your eyes. Varied distances of Drishti, as well as varying degrees of hardness or staring in the postures, helps to exercise the optical nerves and reduce the strain that can produce tension headaches.

Early yogis and yoginis realized that the quality with which you observe something radiates through your body. Your body naturally becomes more tense and rigid, or soft and relaxed, depending on how you are looking at something. A soft Dristhi promotes internal reflection, relaxation, meditation. A harder one pushes the focus externally. Both can be useful, but the eyes should never strain.

So, the next time you find your eyes wandering, watch your mind and body, and see if you can notice how your Dristhi affects you. And next time you practice yoga, play with your gaze point and see how it affects your practice and your life.

For more information about our new schedule for Yoga in Kreuzberg check out our English Yoga classes.

Understanding Sun Salutations

If you have practiced any kind of yoga before, you are probably familiar with the Sun Salutation sequence. Many teachers begin their classes with a series of sun salutations, so it is one of the first things that most students learn.

But, what is a Sun Salutation?

Here is a bit of information about the history and practice of the Sun Salutation:

sun salutations in yoga kreuzberg

photo by Fern

The Sun Salutation (in Sanskrit, the Surya Namaskara–literally, the salute to the sun) is composed of 8 different asana, and 12 posture changes. Some asana are repeated in the sequence. The postures are performed with specific breath sequencing, which gives the sequence a rhythmic and meditative quality. In some traditions, students pause to chant a mantra in between Sun Salutations. The amount of Sun Salutations in a yoga class varies from teacher to teacher, but, for some, the ´daily limit´ is 108! In the Ashtanga tradition, solstices and equinoxes are celebrated with 108 Sun Salutations.

It is said that the sun salutations sequence was incorporated into yoga by yogis who were distressed by how their bodies atrophied during hours and hours of meditation. The Sun Salutation was discovered as an extremely efficient and meditative way of keeping the physical body healthy, which would allow the yogi to meditate with ease. This is because the sequence hits all of the major muscle groups in the body, stretching and strengthening the upper and lower body while simultaneously lengthening the spine.

If you are new to yoga in Berlin, or anywhere else for that matter, the sun salutation is a great asana sequence to begin practising at home. If you start performing three or four of them each morning, first thing after you get out of bed, you will see your flexibility improve significantly. This is also a great way to start the day quietly and touch base with your body and emotions. You can make the practice more challenging for yourself by slowing down your breathing and your movement. As always in yoga, practising with concentration and intention is the most important piece–try to keep your senses ´in ´ your body and you will be amazed at what benefits you feel from this ancient practice.


What is the point of yoga- Yoga Styles Explained Part 2

 

Different styles of Yoga in BerlinMany people wonder, “Why should I do yoga?” And while this is an individual question, I think it’s important to understand what the point of the practice is before deciding to make it a part of your life.

In my last blog about Hatha yoga in Berlin, I talked a bit about the current “trendy nature” of yoga and why there seem to be so many yoga styles on offer. But the true goal of Yoga is to bring the practitioner into a state of perfect peace with themself and with the world. This cannot be achieved overnight. And so, to approach this goal, one spends a lifetime practicing this discipline. Although perfect peace is the most difficult state to attain, it is said that everyone can approach it through a sincere practice of yoga.

As mentioned in my previous blog, originally there were four different types of yoga created. These different types were created so that people were able to practice the kind of yoga that best fits them as an individual. The four original yogas are: Njana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga.

The Njana yoga practitioners use the intellect to attain a state of inner peace. Their whole practice is about analyzing the world around them, and distinguishing what is real from illusion. This yoga is the best kind for people who have a need to intellectualize everything about the world.

The Karma Yoga practitioners strive to attain the inner peace state through action (Karma being the Sanskrit word for “action” or “to do”). Their practice is based on taking positive action without being attached to the fruits of one’s deeds. This kind of yoga is best for those who need to live an active life and keep themselves constantly busy.

The end goal of our Hatha Yoga in English classes is to be able to meditate

The Bhakti Yoga practitioners use their emotions in order to attain their yogic goal. Bhakti is the yoga of devotion. This kind of yoga is said to be the best for people who are of an emotional nature and need to sublimate their emotions in order to attain inner peace. This yoga would concentrate on rituals, symbols, chanting. It is said that by doing so the practitioners channel their emotions to a higher state of being.

Raja yoga practitioners try to attain peace through meditation. But in order to sit down and meditate one must not only learn how to control the mental fluctuations but also to have a fit body that can manage to sit motionless with no pain for an hour. To be able to do the latter Hatha Yoga was created. This is the only type of yoga from the original ones that focuses on the physical body. I teach this kind of yoga because it addresses the body, mind and energy levels of the practitioner throughout his/her self-exploration towards inner peace.

 

What is Hatha Yoga- Yoga Styles Explained Part 1

Different kinds of yoga in BerlinToday it is very common to hear about many different kinds of yoga in Berlin. And with so many variations to choose from, it can get rather confusing. In truth, there were originally only 4 types of yoga: Njana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga. These yogas were created so that people could practice the kind of yoga that was most attune to their own character.

 

My Hatha yoga in English classes stem from the original Raja Yoga style. Raja yoga focuses on controlling the waves of thought by turning our mental and physical energy into spiritual energy. The purpose of Raja Yoga is to attain inner peace through meditation. In order to do this one must gain control over the physical body and prana (or vital energy), so that meditation can happen naturally. Raja Yoga consists of eight steps. The third step (Asanas) and the fourth step (Pranayama) is what makes up Hatha Yoga. This is the only kind of yoga that actually deals with the body and the one that most westerners think of when the word yoga is mentioned.

 

All of the yoga styles that have to do with physical and mental control stem from Hatha Yoga. The kinds of yoga we hear about today in the Berlin studios around us have much more to do with marketing then with providing separate types of yoga. These types and names are more of a description of the teaching method. For example a Vinyasa flow class will concentrate more on teaching the asanas with a flow rather than remaining static in them. Power yoga teaching will work to make you sweat. Hot yoga will teach yoga in a (very!) hot room. And the list continues with no end. Last year, I even heard of bicycle yoga! After trying to figure out how such yoga would work and picturing headstands being performed on the saddle of a bike, I discovered that it was about riding bikes out to different places, getting off the bike and then practicing yoga. I must say that I was relieved!

 

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!  
 
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
When:  
 
Saturday January 14th, 21st, 28th (11:00 to 14:00) & February 4th (11:00 to 17:00)
 
Where:
 
Studio 142 – Bethanien Building – Mariannen Platz 2
 
Fees:
 
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 rmt@lisamilloy.com 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.