6 day intensive Yoga and the Alexander technique workshop

yoga and the alexander technique david mooreWe here proudly present the next level in our Yoga and the Alexander Technique adventures: a six day intensive workshop!

In the past year we have hosted two workshops at our yoga studio with David Moore and Rossella Buono. The workshops were a great success. Everyone left feeling they learned something valuable to bring to their practice and are now asking for more. So here it is!

WHEN: July 18th to 23rd 2018

WHAT: A six day Yoga and the Alexander Technique workshop that will give us the opportunity to explore the basics of posture movement and breathing and give participants the skills to develop a personalised approach to their yoga practice based on their own unique characteristics and needs. The practice does not end on the yoga mat, but involves the development of our awareness to how we are living and moving in all aspects of our lives. Besides examining and refining yoga poses we will be looking at everyday activities as simple as walking, standing and sitting.

In this workshop we will explore:

  • Coordination and posture from an Alexander Technique perspective
  • Modifying yoga poses

  • Breathing and pranayama

  • Deepening observation skills

  • Meditation

  • Freeing the energy flow through the body

  • Identifying and overcoming habits

  • Doing and non-doing

  • Developing an individualised practice

WHO ARE THE TEACHERS:   David Moore (author of Smart Yoga: Apply the Alexander Technique to Enhance Your Practice, Prevent Injury, and Increase Body Awareness ) and Rossella Buono

FOR WHO IS THIS WORKSHOP:  It will be of particular interest to yoga teachers, Alexander Technique teachers and experienced practitioners in those disciplines. However, if you are not any of these things, but still wish to participate… you will be very welcomed!

WHERE: our English Kreuzberg Yoga studio

PRICE: €450 (€400 early-bird if paid before 19 May)

For more details please click here.

Wishing you a peaceful new year

Our heart’s wish for this year is a peaceful 2017 – both in the world out there and inside of us.

May we be able to contact our emotions, to feel the grief and powerlessness behind the anger, and to find the caring hiding behind the grief. May this contact enable us to act from a place of caring and love. May all feelings of unworthiness, of “not being enough” , of needing “to get somewhere” dissipate in feelings of love and presence. May we accept ourselves as we are in this very moment. May this acceptance give us strength to change. May this change inside help us act in a world that so desperately needs every conscious being out there.  May this change build bridges and break through walls. May this change break through the pain of racism, homophobia, sexism, fascism. May this change allow us to be free.

 

In a world of increasing violence and turmoil, we wish for peace, acceptance, change, kindness and love.

May all beings be free.

– with love, from English Yoga Berlin

 

English Yoga Berlin thanks you for all your commitment and support in these past years. We will continue to give Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes regularly in 2017. Due to the Chakra course being full with several people on a waiting list, we will repeat this course in the spring of 2017.  We are happy to see that so many people are interested in learning about the chakras and their effect on our bodies and consciousness!

the gift of yoga this christmas

yoga christmas presents in Berlin

photo by Aaron Burden

The Christmas period is here and we, at English Yoga Berlin, wish you VERY HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

We wish you magical moments with friends and people that you love, lots of Glühwein, inner peace, connection, presence, and the ability to stay away from the frantic stress that these holidays often bring with them.

For those of you searching for a nice present to give your loved ones, we suggest you give the gift of yoga. We are selling Berlin yoga gift cards for one or more Hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga, or Tantra yoga classes. You can buy them at our yoga studio, or online.

Happy holidays!

May your hearts be merry and bright!

 

What is Tantric Meditation?

Meditation is a means to train the mind. By repeating certain mental exercises —like fixing the attention on one point for awhile, or experiencing the whole body— the mind becomes more able to do those things. Just like when we train a muscle: Repeat the action and you get better at it. looking

From another perspective, meditation is a means to clear the mind of unconscious patterns and complexes. By entering the meditative state, we allow repressed memories and traumas to surface and dissipate, while we remain as the passive observers of this process.

What is so special about the Tantric meditation? Tantra doesn’t try to control the tendencies of the mind or to lead the mind in one direction or another. It allows anything that comes-up in the mind to fully express itself. We devote ourselves to whatever we experience, and use it as a tool in our meditation. We learn to be with whatever is happening without struggling, reacting or getting overwhelmed by it.

For a very clear example, see my post A Tantric Way to Dealing with Pain

Tantra documents a myriad of different meditations, for every temperament or life situation. Some of the most potent ones are Antar Mauna, Trataka and Yoga Nidra; which have themselves countless variations.  In these meditations you remain still, while devoting yourself to different experiences (a fixed point, the sense impressions, certain visualizations, etc.).  Their effects can not easily be summarized, but include: greater awareness and intuition, more calm and contentment, higher ability to concentrate, etc.

From Tantra we also receive the Kundalini meditation, which don’t so much work with the mind, but with the inner energy (prana) that animates body and mind. These meditations make us aware of pranic energy and of the chakras, where this energy is concentrated.  Two of the main energy meditations are Source of Energy and Ajapa Japa, in which you combine breath, concentration and visualization to connect with, and influence, our subtle energy flows.

Pedro teaches Tantra Yoga and Meditation at English Yoga Berlin.  He will be teaching the 10-Week Meditation Course: Clarity and Energy, where one has the opportunity to learn the meditations mentioned in this post, and to be guided step by step into creating their own meditation practice.

A Tantric Way of Dealing with Pain

Does it hurt?  Can you do something to get rid of the pain?  No?  No problem.

You can remain content and relaxed in the midst of any experience. Including pain, sorrow, fear, or anger. Hang on… nobody said it’s easy, but we categorically say that it is possible. And not only that, it is possible for everyone.

rocksOne way I know of dealing with pain is amazingly simple: To directly experience what is happening, in a steady and concentrated way. In other words, to meditate on the source of the experience.

I have been using the Tantric meditations to deal with chronic pain for years. And, although the pain hasn’t entirely gone away, a lot of the side effects (mental anguish, fear, or other physical tensions) have disappeared.  When my knee hurts I can accept it and remain relaxed, so it doesn’t cause me any real disturbance.

Of course, if you don’t know the cause of a pain, it’s best that you seek prompt medical advice. But, if the pain is already there, you might as well meditate on it on your way to the doctor.

You will find that many pains actually disappear when you experience them in this way. Or the quality or intensity of the pain may change. Or it may move, or get smaller.

How does one do it? Simply by going to the place of the disturbance. Locate it physically with your mind, and then experience it with curious detachment. Experience it, not like you want it to go away, but like you want to know about it. Where is the center of this sensation? How big is this area? Explore it like an objective investigator; or watch it like you watch a film.

We experiment with this method during the Tantric Tuesdays at KiKi, for example, feeling a tension during a yoga pose.  We also practice some of the meditations that (like Antar Mauna) cultivate this ability of detached experience, or (like Tratak) teach the mind to concentrate intensely on one point.

I recently visited a friend, who’s also been coming to my guided moments.  I found her in a desperate state due to an intense headache.  Although she has only practiced for a few months, she has been very consistent and regular, so I felt that the meditative approach would help.  Below I transcribe her impressions of what happened next, written the day after.

I woke up with pressure in the head. Something very usual for me since I´m eight years old. Lucky that since I´m a teenager I can take medicine against it. And I do, immediately, with the first signs of pain. So hard is it for me to resist the pressure, the burning and stinging at my forehead. So with 3 pills per day I get over it and stay 2-3 days without pain, and can continue my daily life …. Therefore, I always have medicine in my handbag. Always!

 

But this morning I received a lovely massage from caring hands and I felt I din’’t want to swallow the pill. The pain got worse and then my stomach rebelled, so it was too late to take a pill. Ohhh I wanted to hit my head against the wall, like I did as girl, when the pain was unbearable.

 

I actually do not remember how I got on the chair in my room. I just remember this voice guiding me into my body, the stillness inside…. Ohh the throbbing got so heavy.. But I trusted and followed the guidance into the movement of my breath. I felt how my body was relaxing little by little, and at the same time the pain in my head became more intense. And I was guided directly into this pain. I felt the pain coming in waves and my tired body, leaning forward devoting to these waves. There was only pain and heaviness, and it felt eternal. I was awake and at the same time like sleeping, sitting on the chair. Until… Hari Om Tat Sat.

 

I just observed how my body laid down on the bed beside the chair. When I woke up, my head was completely free! I could not believe it, and noticed how I started to search for the pain. But quickly I dropped this idea and enjoyed my day.

 

Kathi hasn’t had any more headaches in the two weeks since this happened.  But she claims to be eagerly awaiting for another episode, so she can try this method again.  She also says that this experience has completely changed the way she approaches any pain or unpleasant feelings:  Now she meets them as their curious explorer, rather than as their victim.

On another post, we will write about the mechanisms that make this shift in the experience of pain possible.  For now, just take our word that it works.  Or come and practice it yourself to find-out.

Pedro teaches Tantra yoga and meditation at English Yoga Berlin.

English Yoga Berlin – Spring Offerings

Just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snow
lies the seed that with the sun’s love
in the spring becomes the rose

– Janis Joplin, The Rose

 

Greetings Yogis!

Here are some seasonal updates from all of us at English Yoga Berlin. We are bringing on Queer Wednesdays, a new workshop series for yoga and the lower body, and lots of fun new knowledge from courses that our teachers are attending!

Queer Wednesdays

Juli and Kanchi are bringing two new weekly classes on Wednesdays that prioritize a space for queer and trans* people to practice yoga. Click here for more details!

Pedro’s Return!

Pedro will be returning to us at the end of March bringing back Tantric Tuesdays and lots of new workshops at the Lab! Check out our schedule for more info!

Restorative Yoga Workshop Series

Juli is guiding six Yoga workshops for the lower body, based on techniques from Svastha Yoga Therapy. The workshops have a specific focus on the feet, knees, hips, lower back, menstrual pain and everyday activities. Workshops are held on Sundays 18.00 at The Lab. For a more detailed description, click here.

Growing as Teachers

We are currently expanding our knowledge through attending two new courses: Yoga Anatomy and Yoga therapy. We’ll be bringing some changes into our teaching methods at our regular yoga Berlin classes. Come and experience new ways of breathing, protecting your back, and taking care of yourselves!

We continue to be thankful for your practice and your support. We wish you a good transition into spring, lightness and end of winter!

Tips for starting your personal meditation practice

meditatorOne way to describe meditation is that it is to experience what is happening, like we’re watching a film, rather than like we’re the protagonists. To witness with detachment. And then, behind the stream of impressions, you discover the one that is witnessing. It’s like coming home.

There’s very many meditation techniques, from all parts of the world and times of history. One of the most popular is to just sit quietly following the free-flow of breath. Although some meditations use movement, many of the best meditation practices for beginners rely on sitting completely still.

Today, with phone apps like Headspace, endless amount of guided meditations in YouTube, audio files, books, etc., it is not too difficult go get into meditation. These learning and practicing aids are good and useful, but there’s no substitute for the direct guidance of a teacher, and the inspiring energy of a group of meditators sitting around you.

Once you choose a method, and maybe a class or a group of friends to meet regularly with, you may want to set a few minutes of each day to “come to yourself”. Having a daily (or semi-daily) meditation practice, as short as five minutes, will simply change your life. You’ll be wondering how you lived so long without it.

Here’s some things to consider if you want to try it out at home. Think of it as an adventure, an exploration of the inner landscape. Each day, you sit for a few minutes to go into another dimension for a little tour.

  • Find a suitable space, away from disturbance or too much activity. Make yourself a little corner for you and your meditation.
  • Find a suitable time. The best time can only be determined by you. Maybe link your meditation practice with another activity that you must perform each day (do it either before or after that activity).
  • Set a timer, so you don’t have to think about it, but also so that you meditate just the amount of time you decide.
  • Do it on a fairly empty stomach.
  • Do it without caffeine or sugar highs.
  • Consider your pose. If you sit on a chair, don’t lean against the backrest and have your feet flat on the floor. However you sit, have a straight back and, most importantly, be comfortable. When your body distracts you often from the meditation, then you know is time to review your pose.
  • Remain still. The stillness of the mind is easier achieved and maintained when we don’t move the body. The simple act of being still (not acting) activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Set an intention to be there. Just a decision that you will be engaged in the meditation; for example, that you will be present (if you tend to daydream) or alert (if you tend to doze-off). Make it positive.
  • Come to the meditation without expectations. But if you do have expectations, then be aware of them and how they influence you.
  • Keep a journal. It is a great tool to chart your journey and keep your meditation in perspective. Don’t use it to analyze, evaluate or judge your meditation, simply note your experiences and insights.
  • If you ever combine your meditation with other yoga practices, do them in this order: yoga poses, breathing exercises, relaxation, meditation.
  • Breathing exercises, specially Nadi Shodana, are an excellent complement to meditation and will give you a deeper experience if you practice them before.
  • When you end the meditation, move slowly and mindfully.  But don’t try to hold on to the meditative state.  Just be natural and engage life fully. 

At English Yoga Berlin we host Tantric meditation courses.  Stay tuned for the next one, or send us an email to find-out more.  All of our Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and Tantra Yoga classes include the meditative deep relaxation Yoga Nidra, or a similar guided relaxation.  See our schedule for details.

Yoga Gift Cards

doing office yoga reduces stressWhy not offer the beautiful gift of Yoga this Christmas time? If you are searching for a meaningful present for a loved one, but you don’t want to help in the accumulation of more material things, then it might be time to bring some yoga into your loved ones’ lives.  We are selling beautiful gift cards for one or five yoga classes at the studio. Our Berlin Yoga helps lead a healthier life, teaches how to stay in the present moment, how to dettach from one’s own mind and how to relax deeply.

What: Gift cards for 5 classes at the English Yoga Berlin studio

Where: Görlitzerstr. 39, 10997 Berlin

When:  You can purchase the gift card at the beginning or end of any class. Check the schedule for when that is. Or call 015141629417 to find a more convenient time.

How long for: Your gift card is valid for two months after the first class you attend at the studio.

Who:  You can go to any classes offered by all teachers at English Yoga Berlin (with exception of courses and workshops)

Give yourself the gift of yoga during this cold dark months in Berlin. Gentle movement, gentle breathing, deep relaxation are the yoga benefits that will make all the difference during winter.

 

This season at English Yoga Berlin

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby”. –Langston Hughes

No point mourning the end of Summer. There’s plenty to be happy for this Autumn.

Now that the hot days are winding down, we happily put away our swimming gear and bring-out our favourite scarfs. Whether you get ready for a new semester at school, new projects at work, or the city’s cultural season, we know you’re looking forward for the spectacle of colour and light that comes in the next months.

We at EYB are also looking forward to some exciting new classes and some popular continuing ones, to help you get more clarity, and energy for whatever you plan to do this Autumn.

Yoga Kreuzberg Studio

Yoga Kreuzberg Studio

NEW SCHEDULE
Our Autumn Schedule offers you more opportunities to learn and develop your practice of yoga.

Now you can start the week with Hatha yoga –check-out Pinelopi‘s Monday class at 9:45. Our most popular style is also available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That’s four Hatha Yoga classes each week.

Classical Yoga Tuesdays. This 105-minute class includes lots of pranayama, meditation and many of the methods of tantric kundalini yoga. Each week has a different focus, so check our page for details. Tuesdays at 8pm.

Pregnancy Yoga comes to EYB! Pinelopi draws from her vast experience as a teacher, yogi and mother to teach this class for expecting parents. Read more about this class. Every Monday at 11:45am.

Juli’s beloved Sunday class continues to bring gentle Vinyasa Flow to the people. Our Juli is committed to making yoga available to everyone, so a tight pocket is no longer an excuse for not reaping the benefits of yoga. Read more about Juli’s classes. Pay what you will. Sundays at 4pm.

Welcome to The Lab! Sundays bring a new experimental window to EYB. Every week we’ll have a different teacher/concept, exploring yoga, meditation, psychology, self-expression, and everything in between. Check our website for week by week details. Pay what you will.  Sundays at 6pm.

 

OUR FAMOUS CLEANSING WORKSHOP IS BACK FOR THE ALLERGY SEASON

Yogic Detox

Yogic Detox

FOR OFFICE YOGIS
To welcome the many internationals arriving to Berlin this season, we are offering a 30% discount on all of our Office Yoga packages. Bring the magic of yoga to your workplace and enjoy less stress and more productivity.

Yoga Exchange

Seeking Barter Yogis

GIVE US A HAND? OR TWO?
We need people for flyering, assisting between classes, child care, and more. Do you want to help out in exchange for yoga lessons? Drop us a line! Only responsible people need apply.

THE GIFT OF YOGA
We have gorgeous new gift cards for those of you who want to turn a friend or relative towards yoga. There’s never been a better time to give clarity and energy to someone you love.

A Brief Introduction to Kundalini Yoga

What I don’t mean by Kundalini Yoga

When you hear the term Kundalini Yoga, you may think of the white turbans of Yogi Bhajan and his 3HO. As it happens with many yogic and Sanskrit words, Kundalini is a very old concept that is today almost exclusively associated with the movement that first (or most) popularized it. Yogi Bhajan’s is merely one interpretation of Kundalini Yoga, and a very recent one at that: Kundalini Yoga was first mentioned in the Upanishads around 500BC, Yogi Bhajan’s version dates from 1968.

Born to a Sikh father and a Hindu mother, Yogi Bhajan took the teachings of his yoga guru, Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari, and amalgamated them with the Sikh doctrines of his spiritual leader, Maharaj Virsa Singh. So one could say that Yogi Bhajan’s yoga is a marriage between the Hindu and Sikh traditions (hence the turbans). He wasn’t the first to introduce Kundalini to the West (John Woodroffe did that in the 1910s), but he was the first to remove the secrecy that had surrounded these practices since the dawn of time. He was also extremely successful at spreading his teachings through his controversial Healthy, Happy and Holy Organization (3HO).

Kundalini Yoga has been closely associated to many yoga traditions for centuries, and is a fundamental aspect of Tantra.

What I mean by Kundalini Yoga

According to the tradition in which I was educated; the Tantra of Swami Satyananda, Swami Sivananda, and their teachers all the way to Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th Century; Kundalini Yoga is the science of awakening powerful dormant energies in our body.

Yoga understands man as a group of five interconnected layers, each more subtle than the previous. They are the containers of our true self. These layers are:

1. The Physical Layer

2. The Energy Layer

3. The Mental Layer

4. The Wisdom Layer

5. The Bliss Layer

The physical layer is what we know as the body. The mental layer includes our automatic thoughts and feelings, as well as the experiencing of our senses and our instinctive impulses. The Wisdom Layer, also known as the higher mind, contains our intuition and intellect, our capacity for judgment and our awareness. The bliss layer is thus called because it is experienced as a permanent state of spiritual bliss; a consciousness of completeness.

And what about the energy layer? This is the realm of aNadis subtle life force that animates our whole body. Eastern models of man agree that the body is permeated by energy channels (called Nadis in Yoga, and meridians in Chinese medicine). The energy that flows through these subtle channels, the Qi of Qi-Gong, the Chi of Thai Chi, the Prana of Pranayama, is the stuff that Kundalini is made off.

In the yogic model, it is said that there are thousands of channels moving prana through the body. Of these, three are most important: Sushumna, which runs along the spine, from the perineum to the crown of the head; and Ida and Pingala, which run in a weave alongside Sushumna. Ida and Pingala cross Sushumna at several points, at each of which we find one of the major chakras (see image).

So what is Kundalini? It is a latent energy that resides at the root of Sushumna, in the location of Mooladhara chakra. This energy can be awakened and made to ascent along the main nadi, lighting up our chakras like a Christmas tree. This event, known as Kundalini awakening, activates currently silent parts of our brain and our energy body, endowing us with all sorts of fantastic powers and abilities. This is the goal of Kundalini yoga.

Before we awaken Kundalini though, we must first purify the nadis, then awaken the chakras, and finally prepare Sushumna for the passage of this energy. This is a process that takes years, even decades, but along the way one reaps the many benefits of this sort of practice.

With only a few months of practicing the Kundalini techniques, one starts becoming aware of the prana flowing through the body. This awareness increases our perception of self, allowing us to be more conscious of our posture, our mental fluctuations, and even our normally unconscious radiation. Working with the chakras quietly develops abilities that we never thought we could cultivate, like our intuition, our receptivity and our ability to communicate beyond the words we use.

Personally, I don’t care about raising my Kundalini this year, but I have found in the practice of Tantric Kundalini yoga a ready tool to live a more plentiful and satisfying life. Furthermore, the methods of this ancient science can be used for all sorts of therapeutic and practical reasons, or simply to get more energy (stamina) and mental strength.

In his Classical Yoga lessons at English Yoga Berlin, Pedro teaches many of the Tantric Kundalini methods, such as Shambhavi Mudra, Agnisara Kriya, and various powerful pranayama techniques .