Shiatsu for Yoga and Self-Massage

Shiatsu (which means, literally, ‘finger pressure’) is a Japanese preventative manual therapy technique. In Shiatsu massage, vertical pressure (usually from the fingertips or palms) is applied to various points on the body—found using both anatomical knowledge and meridian knowledge—to produce wellness and ‘flow’ within the body’s energy systems. Pressure is usually applied, in order to guide energy through the body and clear blocked channels.

Many of us use these points unconsciously: when people feel pain in their bodies, they often naturally squeeze, massage and apply pressure to the area. This stimulates blood circulation, increases awareness (and thereby ability to respond to pain) and supports the metabolism of healing in the affected area. Shiatsu is especially successful in treating things like neck pain, but can also be used to deal with allergiesheadaches,  chronic pain, exhaustion and all sorts of other problems you might have. Plus, it just feels really nice.

image taken from

Learning a few Shiatsu points on your own body is a wonderful way to add a special level of care and support to your yoga practice. You can practice Shiatsu points regularly, and then use them in stressful situations as part of emotional first aid! In our English yoga classes at English Yoga Berlin, we integrate this teaching, step by step, so that students can slowly begin to learn their own bodies areas of strength and weakness, and thereby develop a highly personalized practice that meets their own health needs. Here is a blog discussing how Shiatsu and Yoga can complement each other, from a student’s perspective.

Two very useful points that relieve anxiety, exhaustion, sore eyes, neck tension, jaw ache and shoulder pain are Heavenly Pillar and Heavenly Rejuvenation. Heavenly Pillar is located on both sides of the neck, about one finger-width below the base of the skull and about one finger width on either side of the neck. Heavenly Rejuvenation is located on the shoulders, midway between the base of the neck and the outside of the shoulders, about 2cm below the top of the shoulders. Here is a graphic that shows both points.

The most important part of self massage is listening to your own body, so breathe deeply while you try finding these points and, when you find a point that feels good, stay there and apply gentle pressure. You might feel the point radiating outwards, into the muscles surrounding it. That’s a good sign. You don’t want to hurt yourself, so only press as firmly as you need to in order to feel a nice sensation. It’s recommended to press for about 1 minute—but feel free to stay longer if it feels good!

2 ways to get free yoga classes this Springtime…

photo by fernTo celebrate the longer days and the budding green leaves, we are offering a special Springtime gift to all people looking for English yoga classes in Berlin!

1) When you purchase a 5er / 10er card or a monthly membership, you will get a free class. You can use your free class anytime before April 31, 2014, to attend any of our Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Classical Yoga or Restorative Yoga classes in our Berlin Kreuzberg studio. You are also welcome to donate your free class to a friend–just let us know!

Check out our schedule, and a map of how to find us.

2) Additionally, we are searching for some friendly and enthusiastic people to help us with leafleting, photography and cleaning in exchange for classes. If you are interested, send us an email explaining why you would be a good work exchange yogi and your dates and times of availability, and we’ll get in touch!

Audio Relaxations: Free, Online, Accessible. Enjoy!

Enlish Yoga in Berlin

As yoga teachers, we see a lot of stressed out people, and we have the privilege of watching the profound transformation that can be brought about by an hour or two of practicing yoga. People leave our Berlin yoga classes with brighter eyes, straighter posture, deeper breathing, an easy smile and a calm, clear mind. Guiding people through this transformation is one the best things about teaching Yoga.

One of our goals, as teachers, is to offer students tools that they can use throughout their daily lives–not just in classes or on the yoga mat. We believe that intentional relaxation tools can be learned in classes and then practiced regularly at home, to the great benefit of the practitioners and everyone around them! Once we have learned the skills, we need to practice them, just like a new language or musical instrument. The more we practice, the easier it gets, and the more you practice intentional relaxation techniques, the more you will notice subtle but powerful changes in your everyday life and in your body.

To this end, we have developed an online library of audio recordings that you can use in the privacy of your own home, to practice your intentional relaxation skills. The recordings are taped copies of 20 minute relaxation sessions that we give at the end of our English-language yoga classes in Berlin. Each recording consists of a short introduction, a progressive relaxation exercise, a visualization exercise and some aural stimuli. Every recording is different and they are all the products of our own creative processes, dreams, lives and yoga practices. They are anti-copyrighted: you are welcome to share them, but please do not make money off of them—a lot of personal energy and time has gone into each visualization and we’d like to keep them separate from the money economy!

The first page contains 5 free recordings and is available to everyone online, free of charge.

After that, if you are interested to have more, send us an email and we’ll send you the password to the password-protected page, where you can access the entire library. If you are a regular English Yoga Berlin student, then you are automatically entitled to access the library: listen out for the monthly password after your next class!