LEARNING IN ENGLISH IN BERLIN

..A view of Kreuzberg

Perhaps you’re a native German Speaker wanting to improve your English, or maybe you’re a foreigner whose German is not yet up-to-scratch; either way Berlin offers many options to learn something new or simply to explore an interest with English-speaking classes.

First there are all those CraigsList postings for guitar, singing and art lessons. AngloInfo Berlin also presents a good source for all sorts of courses for technical, artistic and higher education. And ToyTownthat most important resource for English-Speakers in Germany, gives you the possibility to post asking about specific courses you cannot seem to find in English.

Here’s but a small selection of some of the most interesting places in the Hauptstadt where courses are being taught in English:

DRAMA

If you prefer being on the stage rather than in front of it, check out Inka-Charlotte Palm’s drama courses in English. A trained drama educator, actress and singer, Inka-Charlotte has been running these courses since 2009, which have given rise to the International People’s Theatre Berlin Project, a weekly theatre training that culminates in a performance. She is also a director and drama educator at the English Theatre Berlin.

GLASS BLOWING

Berlin Glass is a dynamic and friendly studio offering English classes in glassblowing, painting on glass, and soon, glass fusing and casting. Classes are suitable for beginners and more experienced blowers. They also offer studio space rental for artists and hot glass professionals. The studio team is composed of graduate-level international artists who are excited to share their knowledge and skills. artconnectberlin has a wonderful post about this initiative with excellent photos.

SEWING

Each month Linkle Nähinstitut offers a varied program of courses and workshops, many in English and even some in Spanish. There are courses for complete beginners and for very experience sewers. Here you can learn how to sew almost anything. They also offer intensive customized courses and access to their studio space for those who want to work on their own. Read some independent comments about classes at the Nähinstitut in Maria Joao’s blog.

FILMMAKING

Met Film School is one of Britain’s main provider of practical filmmaking courses. Given their success in London, and the preeminence of Berlin at the heart of independent filmaking, they have opened a Berlin campus at the BUFA Studio in Kreuzkoelln. Classes are primarily in English, but since last August they have been offering some short courses in German. Like in their London campus, the Met in Berlin prides itself in offering “an intensive practical filmmaking experience taught by industry professionals in an active film studio”. Expat Blog has an interesting discussion comparing the Met Film School with its rival London Film School.

SWING DANCING

Swing Patrol Berlin offers English courses and workshops in Lindy Hop. They also organize social dances and events all around Berlin. Check their schedule for more details.

FOR THE SMALL ONES

Berlin Kids is a International english-speaking playgroup in Schöneberg. They organise a regular playgroup for kids up to 5 years of age. They also host classes and workshops for children and their parents at Farida’s comfortable and child-friendly cafe/activity centre, Kids Corner Berlin.

The Center is Berlin’s English performing arts school. Since opening its doors in 2005, it has steadily grown to offer a truly diverse range of activities for people of all ages, imparted by professionals in the fields of dance, drama, music and other performing arts. Their concept is to keep it small, cozy and intimate, bringing a personal touch to all their classes. See their web site or checkout some photos and a little more information at Working Berlin Mum.

Wanted: Community Feedback Yogis!

IMPORTANT: We’ve already found our Community Feedback Yogis for this round. Thanks for your interest, but we’re not looking for any more people right now! This post has been left up for reference about the initiative. 

As part of our collective’s commitment to accessibility, we are always interested in gathering feedback and having dialogue. We strive to be as accountable, inclusive and accessible as possible, and we want to know how and where we can improve. So, we are looking for 3-5 people who are willing to help us with an accessibility and quality review.

And it goes a little somethin’ like this…

We are looking for people to take a total of 6 free classes at English Yoga Berlin,  and provide us with feedback forms about their experience. You don’t need to have much experience with Yoga, although it is also fine if you do–your interest and honesty are more important factors, as well as flexibility in your schedule. Since we are committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere in our yoga classes, we especially want feedback from people who feel marginalized by mainstream Western yoga (people who have chronic pain, are differently abled, queer or trans*, a person of colour, working class or poor, elderly and/or otherwise). To keep the feedback as neutral and impartial as possible, we are limiting this initiative to people who are not current students or friends. (Current students and friends are welcome to give feedback, with or without forms, anytime they want!)

After each class, you will be asked to complete a feedback form and give us your opinion about the teaching, class, space, accessibility and general vibe. Your feedback will be used to make English Yoga Berlin a more welcoming and accessible space. 

In addition to the free classes, you will get a gift certificate to an awesome local collective/alternative business! If you are interested, please send us an email with a short explanation of who you are, your availability, why you’d be great as a feedback yogi and a representation (CV, portfolio, statement, link to website or blog, etc.) of what you’re all about! Please note: Applications are now closed (as of Feb 1, 2014) for this initiative. Thanks for your interest!

Thank you!

Free (or Cheap) Health and Wellness in Berlin

free or cheap wellness in Berlin

In Germany, everyone is legally supposed to have health insurance. Unfortunately, it is not a universal health care system: rather, insurance is verdammnt expensive and is only available to documented people—and the most recent estimates suggest that up to 1 million undocumented migrants are living in Germany. In addition, there are plenty of people who have health needs which are not covered by their insurance. That is a lot of people with their health needs not getting met. What a stupid situation! What dumb laws! (If you’re trying to find your way through it, you can read more here.) 

And they wonder why we feel like fuck the law

Anyway, so, there is a lot of demand for cheap or free health services in Berlin, especially in languages other than German. We see this a lot at English Yoga Berlin, because so many of our students are new migrants or expats in Germany and they often feel disoriented and uncertain. It often takes a long time to find what you need in a new country, and online lists make things easier! Teaching yoga in Berlin has brought us into contact with a lot of cool, free or cheap health services available. We teach yoga in Kreuzberg, so we’ve highlighted services in that area. And we offer yoga in English, so we’ve tried to find services that are English-speaking, too.

So here is our list…

The Gesundheitsamt system in Berlin offers a series of free clinics. They are usually really crowded but it only costs 10euro and you can get STI testing, dentistry, pregnancy tests, psychiatric help etc. You do need to bring some kind of identification but you don’t need insurance, and they’re legally obligated to keep your data private. Make sure you arrive early, because you will have to wait for a couple of hours. If you can, bring a German speaking friend or support person. You can see all of the various clinics and their opening hours and specialities here (in German). 

The Selbstverwaltete Heilpraktikerschule (Autonomous Naturopath Training Programme) at the Bethanien offers some cool free or low-cost services. They have a Massage Abend where you can get a back, foot or shiatsu massage for 5euro (schedule here). They also do affordable homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and herbal medicine consultations on Mondays and Fridays.

Berlin Community Akupunktur offers sliding scale acupuncture (17e to 35e).

Friedelpraxis is a collective that offers non-commercialized osteopathy andTCM (traditional Chinese medicine) in Berlin. To become a member of the practice, you choose a fixed monthly rate that you can pay. You can get in touch and make an arrangement with one or more of the folks in the collective.

Every Wednesday from 11h until 13, Autocuratio offers Natural healing advice and treatment (nutritional advice, ear acupuncture, massage, spinal adjustment) at Zielona Gora (Gruenbergerstr 73).

The Berliner Krisen Dienst offers emergency mental health counselling that is anonymous and multilingual. You can ring them anytime, and here are the phone numbers.

Multilingual, free peer counselling for women is available at women’s centres like Paula Panke, Schokofabrik, Frieda and EWA. You can see a whole list here.

The FFGZ in Schoeneberg (Feminist Health Centre for Women) offers counselling and other health resources. They specialize in reproductive and women’s health.

Health and wellbeing is strongly linked to relaxation, and that is why saunas are so amazing and important. You might feel a bit uncomfortable at first with the naked part, but you’ll get used to it. The Berlin Baederbetriebe has an amazing array of saunas and pools. If you have some cash to drop, the Liquidrom is a cool, salt water based spa and sauna.

Heile Haus e.V. is a former squat that is now a grassroots community health centre. They offer workshops, individual consultations, sports and dance, language courses, a little cafe and a bathroom/shower/washing machine area that people can use.

Another very good resource for people with longer term medical conditions is the ARTABANA network. It’s a decentralized non profit network of medical health professionals and other healers who provide free, confidential services all across Deutschland for those without insurance, or without adequate insurance. The Medibuero fuer Fluchtlinge is a network of medical professionals that treat refugees and undocumented people free and anonymously.

We offer Hatha Yoga in English, Vinyasa Yoga in English, Restorative Yoga in English and Classical Yoga in English and Spanish. All of these classes are available for a reduced price—just ask one of us at the studio. If you know of other cheap or free health services in Berlin, please let us know and we will add them to this list!

Guest teacher Anastasia Shevchenko comes to our next Community Class

Anastasia’s yoga journey started over 10 years ago.  Throughout her growth as a yogi, she has experienced many different yoga styles, which she credits with deepening her understanding of the essence of yoga.

“In my personal practice and in my teachings, I enjoy combining static postures held for a prolonged period of time (Hatha-style) with more dynamic exercises, synchronized with the breath (Vinyasa-style). Both types of exercises have their distinct benefits on the physical, psychological, and mental wellbeing.”

On our next Community Class at English Yoga Berlin, she will guide a yoga lesson that everybody can relate to, with postures that build core strength, increase flexibility in the limbs, and relax the body and the mind. The class is open to students of all levels and abilities.
WHEN?    Thursday 21st November, 2013 (15.45 – 17.15)

WHERE?   English Yoga Berlin – Görlitzer Str. 39, Kreuzberg

HOW MUCH? Donation based / Pay What you Can

Ayurveda Workshop Sunday 21st July

What is Ayurvedic Healing?

In our last blog What is Ayurveda, we talked about the main parts and purposes of this ancient healing modality. Once you find out what are your doshas and have an idea of both your prakurti and vikruti, it may be time to start using this new understanding of your personal make-up to improve your overall health.

photo by Fern

Ayurvedic treatments are varied but may include any and all of the following: custom food plans, daily routines, herbal remedies, poultices, pranayama breathing exercises and yoga as well as other therapies such as oleation, massage and chakra balancing. (It is important to note that Ayurveda is not meant to be a substitute for Western medicine. It is best used as a complement to the allopathic system.)

We are excited to be hosting Yasmin F. Gow this Sunday (July 21) at our yoga studio in Kreuzberg as she presents an Intro to Ayurveda workshop. This workshop is designed to help you to deepen your understanding of yoga, help you choose the best kinds of asana and pranayama practices for you and help you to further love, appreciate and listen to your own unique body.

Ayurveda and Yoga: The Ultimate Blend
“As a yoga teacher, studying Ayurveda and becoming a certified Ayurvedic practitioner has changed everything for me, from the way I eat to the way I teach. My understanding of yoga, its Eight-Limbs, and its healing process has deepened through the study of Ayurveda. Not only am I happier and more aware of my own personal needs, I am also increasingly sensitive to the needs of my yoga students and Ayurvedic clients. Ayurveda has shown me that no one diet or any one yoga practice is necessarily good for everyone. Success and healing lie in the art of creating a tailor-made routine for the individual and simultaneously empowering that individual to observe his/her own natural rhythms and make his/her own conscious choices to lead him/her towards health and happiness. In teaching yoga, I call this approach Sustainable Yoga for Long-term Happiness (SuYoLoh).”

-Yasmin Gow

Date & Time: Sunday, July 21, fom 13:00 till 16:30
Teacher: Yasmin Fudakowska-Gow
Cost: 20 € (15 € for current English Yoga Berlin students)

About Yasmin
Yasmin F. Gow, ERYT 500, has taught yoga for over a decade. She is also an accredited Ayurvedic practitioner and the producer of five yoga DVDs. In 2010, she completed 108 days of 108 sun salutations and became the first woman to break the Guinness World Records™ Record for the longest yoga marathon lasting 32 hours. This initiative raised thousands of dollars for charity and was featured in publications worldwide, including India’s national newspaper the Times of India. A former studio owner, Yasmin currently offers Ayurvedic consultations, leads workshops internationally and mentors others to reach great heights.

Vinyasa Yoga: Fusion for Your Flow

Recently, we added a new Vinyasa Flow Yoga class in Kreuzberg. Not your average yoga, this fusion style offers so many substantial benefits to those who practice it. But some people still seem to have questions about what makes this type of yoga so dynamic. We thought we might try to explain.

Vinyasa Flow yoga, aka “power yoga” takes its inspiration and principles from Ashtanga, but it is a more creative style. Each class is designed individually, using different asanas to focus on different parts of the body. Like Ashtangis, we pay very close attention to the transitions between each asana, or posture, and use breathing to coordinate the smoothest transitions. For example, while inhaling we focus on lengthening the spine and then while exhaling as we fold forwards. We also take from Ashtanga the use of the Sun Salutation as a ”link” between posture sequences.

When Cardio Meets YogaChandrasana during a Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class in Berlin

Vinyasa Flow classes, like Ashtanga, also tend to be a cardiovascular challenge because they are relatively fast-paced. Unlike Ashtanga, however, Vinyasa Flow postures are held for different lengths of time and movement is often incorporated into the posture (for example, moving the upper body rhythmically while keeping the lower body stable). Exercises and sequences from other traditions are also used such as tai chi, pilates and bellydance. Because these all use breath synchronized movement, they can be incorporated into Vinyasa Flow classes with ease to enhance the practice.

The popularity of Vinyasa Flow classes is probably the result of its diversity. Students find the classes fun, challenging and relaxing. For this reason, we decided to add another Vinyasa Yoga Class at our new studio in Kreuzberg. We would love to see you there!

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.

The Beauty of Detachment

There are many views on the concept of “detachment”. Some people believe that learning
detachment is useless because life should be lived to its fullest. Others believe that practicing
the art of detachment is dangerous because if nothing affects us we cannot rid the world of its
many injustices. Others believe that detachment is a source of strength and inner peace.

Pratyahara, the yogic word for detachment, has often been badly misunderstood. Yes, we
should live life vividly and enjoy it. Yes, we should speak out against injustice and take
action. But there is also strength in learning how to practice proper detachment which can
help us all to live better lives.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE
Imagine you are looking at a painting about life. Imagine that you are standing so close to
the painting that your nose is practically touching the painting. All you can see are a couple
of colors and shapes. You are too close to be able to look at the whole picture, to even know
what the painting is about. You are too attached to what is happening right there in front of
your nose and are incapable to see further. Now say you decide that you want to back up
from all the vivid colors and non- understandable shapes and so you distance yourself to about
a kilometer away. You look at the painting again but you are so far away that you can only
see a fleck of something. Once again you cannot know what the painting is about. And this
is where appropriate detachment comes in. You need to find the appropriate distance, not too
close and not too far, to be able to truly appreciate what the painting is.

This same idea is valid for our lives. We need to cultivate the appropriate detachment to be
able to see what our life is about. We can’t be too involved or too distant. By finding just the
right distance, we can see what piece of the puzzle is missing and where to place it. This way
we can live life vividly but without being blind to the problems of it. This way we can rely on
our inner strength to change what needs changing.

Pratyahara is an important step of Raja Yoga. In our English yoga classes in Berlin, we learn
detachment through observing our bodies and respecting the limits our bodies set. We also
learn this through the practice of Tratak, or candle gazing. But mostly we learn it through
the practice of Yoga Nidra. Exercises such as counting your breaths backwards without
interfering with its rhythm are perfect ways to learn detachment.

Early Bird Fall Yoga Special

Yoga in English, BerlinThe end of the summer will bring big changes and we are starting to get excited! Starting on Sept 18th English Yoga Berlin will be moving to a new location and class schedule.
When: Tuesday and Thursday
Where: Görlitzerstr 39 (just a few blocks away from our current location.)
In an effort to get as much of the administration out of the way before our summer pause, we´ve decided to offer an early registration discount for everyone!
Autumn Yoga Discount Package
What:                 Sept 18-end of Oct (7 weeks of classes)
How Much:    €50 (1x/week) or €90 (2x/week)
Deadline:         Aug 10th
If you pay for your autumn yoga classes by August 10th, we´re offering a 10 % discount for September and October. After August 10th, prices will go back to normal.
To take advantage of this special:
1)     Go to Doodle to reserve your class spot(s) for the fall. http://doodle.com/wxe8a87p6qsyz7vk
2)     Once you have selected your classes, please contact us to arrange payment.
Happy August!
Meg and Pinelopi

English Yoga in Schöneberg

English Yoga Berlin is very excited to be offering this new English yoga class on the beautiful hill of Berlin “Schöneberg”. Starting on September 17th, we will be teaching at the  center of Yogah-Berlin  located at Motzstrasse 64, 10777 Berlin-Schöneberg.

English Yoga in Schöneberg – Every Monday:

19.45-21.00  Hatha Yoga in English with Pinelopi

We will be offering a free yoga class on September 17th so that anyone who wishes can try out! Send us an email to sign up for the free class.