Sunday Yoga Class for Queers* and Friends goes back to the studio

Graphic illustration of queer yoga teacher Juli in purple leggings and pink tank top, standing in warrior II pose with a fist on the hip and the other hand making a mudra.

The Sunday queer yoga class at English Yoga Berlin has been running online steadily since the very beginning of the pandemic. It feels about time to try out going back to our lovely Kreuzberg yoga studio. But in order to be accessible to those who cannot attend in person, the class will also be streamed online. So, as of September, the class will go back to its original timeslot of 4pm as a hybrid yoga experience. The Zoom code for those who have it will remain the same.

Since we are still in the middle of the pandemic, the classes will be limited to 6 in-person participants in order to comply with the health regulations of Berlin. Those who register for the monthly BEFORE the beginning of the month will be reserved a spot. The remaining spots will be available by booking in advance through email.

Here are the updated regulations that we need to follow. I would like to take extra precaution for those at-risk and not contribute to the spread. So please take a moment to read the following guidelines so that we are all ready for the return of the Queer Yoga class at the studio.

Register for class:

Due to the limited amount of participants, you must register for class.

Since space at the studio is limited, and we’d like to keep a safer space for queer-identifed people, if you are not part of the queer community, please make space for queer folks by attending online or consider joining one of Pinelopi‘s classes instead.

For monthly students: Before the beginning of the month, send me an email letting me know if you will regularly attend in person or online. If you are attending in person regularly and cannot attend one class, please let me know in advance. Thanks!

For drop ins: To register for a class, use the online reservation system and then send your payment to me through paypal or bank account. A refund is only possible if you cancel 24 hours in advance.

For 5er cards: To register for a class, use the online reservation system and sign your own 5er card. A refund is only possible if you cancel 24 hours in advance.

If you have made a payment or have reserved using your 5er card, and don’t feel well or have tested positive, please DO NOT come to class in person. Please de-register yourself from the class using the reservation system. If you can still attend online, you are of course welcome to. But if you cannot, please write to me to arrange for attending the class another time.

If you have paid for the class before registering and the class has then become full, there is no reimbursement or rescheduling possible for those who did not read the guidelines through.

For those attending online: There is no need to register. Simply send your payment and join with the Zoom link!

Vaccination AND Negative test:

The Berlin regulations require that you show a proof of vaccination or a 24 hour negative test in order to attend a class. Because the Delta variant can still spread among fully vaccinated people, I would like to ask that you please show a negative test, as well as your vaccination document. You can use the various test centers in Berlin until Oct. 11 for free, or you can arrive at the studio 30 minutes early and purchase a 1€ covid-19 test from me. Unvaccinated people (barring special circumstances, such as health reasons) are welcome to join the class online.

I will also get tested myself, and in the case that I am positive but feeling well enough, the class will be held online.

The use of FFP2 masks:

It is required to wear FFP2 masks at the studio in all spaces except when you are properly situated at your own mat. You need to continue to wear the mask when you enter and exit the studio, when you walk around the space, and when you get up to go to the toilet.

When everyone is situated at their mats, you can take your mask off and practice yoga without it.

If you need to go to the toilet during the class, you need to put your mask back on as you pass the other students.

Wash your hands as you enter the space:

As you enter the studio, please use the bathroom on the left to wash your hands thoroughly before showing me your negative test for verification.

Bring your yoga mats:

Please bring your own yoga mat to class. If, for some reason you forget, you will be allowed to use ours but you need to disinfect it before use and after use. The Health Ministry highly discourages the common use of yoga mats.

Hands-on contact/guidance:

Hands-on contact is only permitted when both parties are wearing a mask. If you would like hands-on guidance, please indicate so by putting on your mask, and I will put mine on and disinfect my hands before coming over.

Airing the space:

When possible yoga class will happen with the windows open. When the weather gets chillier, I will air the room out every 20 minutes for 3-5 minutes. In order to reduce contamination, please do not touch the window handles yourself. Every time you feel the need for more air, please let me know and I will open the windows for you.

Keeping a list of contacts:

We are required to keep a list of contacts for 4 weeks after each class. The list must contain every person’s full name, address, and phone number. When you register, you can either include that info in the reservation system (which is only privately access by English Yoga Berlin), or send me your full contact info (name, address, phone number), so that I can maintain the list. I will also provide a QR code that you can scan if you wish.

I am so excited to see you live again!


Juli offers Svastha Yogatherapy Vinyasa Flow yoga inspired classes at English Yoga Berlin. This queer yoga class is also open to friends and allies. Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome to beginners, as well as people struggling with chronic pain. Juli also offers private yoga classes one on one.

Benefits of Yoga Online

Laptop on a red yoga mat, with small dog and human looking on. The human's left arm and right leg are extended. The left knee is bent.
Yoga Online with Furry Friend

If we’ve learned one thing from the past year and a half, it’s that it’s possible to work from home. Long daily commutes became a thing of the past. Will we go back to that or listen to the communities of people fighting for accessible working conditions? The world does not stop because people work from the comforts of their homes. Right from the beginning of the pandemic I started giving my yoga classes online. As I got used to it, it became habit and I almost forgot what it was like to teach a yoga class in person. Now that measures are loosening, we have the opportunity to go back to the studio. And with the warmer weather, we can teach outside. But this is not always the preference of the people who attend my classes. So what are the benefits of yoga online?

Benefits of Yoga Online

You can join from anywhere

Throughout the pandemic, a number of international students have joined my classes. They’ve joined from Glasgow, Miami, Toronto, San Francisco, Barcelona, Vienna and Amsterdam. The class time (Sundays at 18h CEST) is quite conducive to people’s schedules who join from these various cities. Most of these international participants are people who’ve previously attended my classes in person, but some are new!

From the comfort of your own home

There’s always the option to turn one’s camera off during an online yoga session. If a participant feels self-conscious, or simply wants privacy while they practice yoga, with a click of a button they can achieve it. No more worries about interrupting a class, because you have to go to the bathroom or need a glass of water. Bodily noises such as stomach gurgles or farts are also hidden behind the mute button. If someone needs to take their time with a pose, or needs specific props, or would prefer to use a chair that day, those items are more easily within reach. Your favourite furry friend can also join you!

Eliminating the commute

If a participant is already at home, there’s no need to go anywhere to join a class. All one has to do is turn on the computer and sign in to the session. The time taken commuting to the studio is eliminated. If the weather is bad, there’s no need for it to cause a lack of motivation. There are therefore less obstacles in the way to joining the class.

Reducing spread

Of course, during the height of the pandemic, we were obliged to practice yoga online. The studios were closed. But now that we have the opportunity to go back to the studio, we can still choose to practice online in order to reduce the spread of the virus. Practicing yoga with masks on causes too much restriction for breathing exercises. And opening windows regularly cools down the room too much during cold winter months. Nothing reduces the spread as much as eliminating contact. This is something we can be sure about. For participants with compromised immune systems or pandemic-related anxiety, it makes it safer to practice yoga.

There are many things lost in online yoga classes – in-person connection to community, better visibility of the yoga teacher and participants, lack of connectivity problems, etc. But there are also many benefits of yoga online that are not achievable in-person. And we still have many people in our community who are not yet fully vaccinated. For now, the Sunday yoga queers & friends commnunity yoga class will continue online.

Juli offers Svastha Yogatherapy Vinyasa Flow yoga inspired classes at English Yoga Berlin. This queer and trans community yoga class is also open to friends and allies. Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome to beginners, as well as people struggling with chronic pain. Juli also offers private yoga classes one on one.

Injury-Conscious Yoga in the Zoom Age

What is injury-conscious yoga?

Yoga at your workplace for postural issues

You may have seen this term, injury-conscious yoga, in some of the content here on our pages. We are referring to one of the aspects of yoga (the Yamas) called ‘Ahimsa’ – the attention to do no harm as we connect with ourselves and others. Yoga is more than simply a practice of movemement and postures. It is primarily a practice of a system that brings balance to one’s whole integrated being (mentally, physically and spiritually) and how that being interacts with others. The practice of not-harming others also allows us to be conscious of not harming ourselves. Through breath awareness, we learn to recognize where our limits are. And to only push them when we’re ready for expansion or to reduce them if they’ve gone too far.

At English Yoga Berlin, we lead a practice that encourages internal inquiry as we move through physical postures. We demonstrate these poses with a variety of options, so that each participant can find their own safety level. Over the past couple of years, both Pinelopi and I (Juli) have continued to advance our yoga teacher training in different directions. Pinelopi has been studying the Alexander Technique and Juli has completed advanced teacher training in Svastha Yoga Therapy. Both of these practices deepen our understanding of corporeal alignment and mental balance. This is just some of what we mean when we refer to injury-conscious yoga.

Yoga in the Zoom age

When we lead our classes in person, we are also able to see what each participant is doing and can offer adjustments either verbally or with a light guiding touch. At our Kreuzberg Berlin yoga studio, we provide consent cards that can be placed at the front of your mat. This lets us know what kind of touch you’re comfortable with. We can also take cues from the energy level in the room to gauge how the whole group is doing. We can adjust the rest of the class if we see that participants are either getting tired or losing focus. This adds another layer to our injury-conscious yoga practice.

Since moving our classes online due to the pandemic, we’ve had to adjust our approach to accommodate this new format. Obviously, the consent cards are no longer relevant. Participants can choose whether to show their video or not. Since our classes involve moving from standing to sitting to laying down, the participants’ video frame may not always show their whole body. And reading the energy level of the room is just not possible, as everyone is in a different room, and the distractions of each room may be different.

So, as yoga teachers offering injury-conscious yoga, we needed to learn new strategies. Each of us took cues from our new training to develop ways of transitioning through poses that encourage participants to explore their own bodies and comfort levels in a pose. And despite taking on different trainings, we are delighted to discover that the movements look the same. Even though we have different approaches and styles, our practices do not contradict each other’s! We are happy to continue to develop our offerings of injury-conscious yoga in our live online yoga classes.


At English Yoga Berlin, we offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli. Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome to beginners, as well as people struggling with chronic pain. We also offer Berlin business yoga, and private yoga classes, as well as queer and trans prioritized community classes.

All about the heart centre: where is yours?

In the two and a half decades that I’ve been practicing yoga, I’ve heard the term “heart centre” many times. I would place my hand above my left breast, eyes closed, assuming I’ve followed the instructions of the yoga teacher. But, even the most experienced teachers can learn something new by going back to the basics. Last month, I attended an online Pranayama workshop with the founders of Svastha Yoga Therapy, A.G. and Indra Mohan. They went over in detail the history and practice of two basic yoga breathing exercises – Lahari and Nadi Shodhana. With both of them, Indra asked us to focus on our heart centre. Noticing the way it expands with the inhale, and noticing how it relaxes and softens on the exhale.

Where do you think your heart centre is?

After the workshop, I did a little exercise in my own yoga classes to see if others had the same sense of where their heart centre is. I asked the participants to close their eyes and place a hand on their heart centre. They all put their hands on a different part of their torso – some higher up near the collarbones and others lower down near the belly. Everyone had a unique idea of where it was!

Lahari Pranayama

Lahari means ‘wave’ in Sanskrit. To practice this breath, there is no special physical technique. Just breathe naturally and smoothly, you don’t need to force the breath to deepen. If you practice this breath for awhile, you may notice that your breathing will naturally deepen and slow down as you relax and feel more calm. It is called the ‘wave’ breath is because on the surface of the water there are fluctuations as the waves roll back and forth to the shore, but underneath the surface layer it is calm. The focus on the heart centre allows you to smooth out those fluctuations and find calmness.

Nadi Shodhana

This Pranayama allows you to clear out the Ida and Pingala nadis (two of the main energy lines running up and down the central core of the body). Each nostril is connected to one of these lines. With the right hand, fold the index and middle fingers to the palm of the hand, so that there is comfortable space for the nose. Tilt the head down to make it comfortable for your shoulder and elbow. Pranayama should be easy, not forced. The right thumb first closes the right nostril, and the 4th finger half closes the left nostril to guide the breath in smoothly. A slight retention of breath helps the mind to find ease and calm. And then the thumb half opens the right nostril to guide the exhale out. Repeat on the 2nd side and continue as long as feels right for you, focusing on the heart centre.

heart centre

Where is the heart centre?

Why is the heart centre important?

The heart centre is called Hridaya in Sanskrit. It is at the centre of our being, the core of connection to ourselves. It is where the physical body connects to the breath, and through where the Prana (energy lines) converge and flow. Often, it is mistakenly assumed that the heart chakra (Anahata) is where the heart centre is. But Hridaya is not located at any chakra. To find it place a thumb of one hand between your collar bones and the little finger of the other hand in your navel, spread both fingers wide, and where the other thumb and little finger meet is your heart centre.


At English Yoga Berlin we offer small classes for more personalised practice and private yoga sessions. Juli‘s yoga classes in English are a slow Vinyasa yoga / Svastha yoga mix. Contact us here to learn more or check our class schedule to participate in a group class at our Kreuzberg yoga studio or participate in one of our yoga classes live online.

Berlin guidelines for teaching yoga during Corona

Please note that this post was written in July when we were coming out from the first lock down. As of this week, November 2020 we have re-entered lock down and are not allowed to teach in the studio until the guidelines change again. Below, we refer to a Health Ministry phone number you can call that specializes in sports, if you have further questions.

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown in Berlin, we at English Yoga Berlin have been offering our yoga classes exclusively online. Slowly things are starting to open up, as the number of infected people go down. The question of whether it is safe to practice yoga in the studio again is one that yoga practitioners can only answer for themselves and their close contacts. Until there is a vaccine or easily accessible effective treatment a risk of infection remains. Here we put together a list of questions and answers for yoga teachers who have questions about teaching yoga during Corona times.

Safer Space

Safer Space for Yoga Guidelines

The question of what is safe regarding any risk also depends on the individual people involved. We all feel different levels of safety in different environments depending on our lived experiences, as well as both our physical and mental capacities. Those of you who have attended our in-person yoga classes know our safer space guidelines, we say “safer” because we cannot claim to create a space that is safe for everyone, but our aim is to do the best we can.

 

So, is it safe to practice yoga in the studio again?

The main page of the city of Berlin’s website about the measures in order for prevention of the spread of the virus don’t give specific info for teaching yoga during Corona, so on July 17th Pinelopi called up the Berlin Senatsverwaltung für Sport (phone number: 030 902230) to get answers about the guidelines they both suggest and enforce. These guidelines can be your starting point as someone who offers yoga classes in Berlin to help make your decision as to whether it feels safe for you to start practicing yoga in the studio again. But remember that they can change again.

How many participants can I have in the room?

Each person in the room needs to have a space of at least 1.5 meters in every direction around them. Since every room is shaped differently, it is not calculated by square meters.

Do we need to wear masks while practicing yoga?

Masks must be worn when you enter and move around the space, and go to the bathroom or change room. You can take your mask off at your mat, as long as you are keeping 1.5 meters distance from each other.

As a yoga teacher am I allowed to touch the participants to assist in poses?

If both the yoga teacher and participant are wearing masks, you are legally allowed to touch the participant, but it is strongly discouraged.

Can bathrooms and change rooms be used?

Yes, but only one person at a time in the bathroom or change room. Try to reduce bottlenecks and lines. It is the responsibility of the yoga teacher to disinfect the bathroom and any surfaces that have been touched after the class is over and everyone else has left.

Can we accept cash payment?

Yes, exchange of cash can be made, but after handling disinfect with hand-gel or wash your hands.

Do the windows need to be open?

Yes, you should ventilate the space as much as possible. If you can keep the doors and windows open the entire time, it is best. Try to create a through-flow from one side of the room to the other.

Do participants need to bring their own mats and other supplies?

Yes, this is highly recommended. If someone forgets to bring a mat and there are some available at your studio, you can lend one. But the yoga teacher is responsible for ensuring that the participant thoroughly disinfects the mat BEFORE and AFTER use.

Are we required to keep a list of contacts?

Yes, in case someone was infected in the class, the yoga teacher is required to keep a list of participants for 4 weeks, so that all participants can be contacted. The list should contain every person’s full name, address, and phone number.

We hope this answers some of your questions about teaching yoga during Corona times. If you have any other suggestions, please comment below!

For the month of August, Pinelopi’s Hatha Yoga will be back at our space on Görlitzer Str.

As always: wash your hands regularly and try not to touch your face. And if you are feeling some symptoms and you don’t know what they are, please stay home.


At English Yoga Berlin, we offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli. Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome to beginners, as well as people struggling with chronic pain. We also offer Berlin business yoga, and private yoga classes, as well as queer and trans prioritized community classes.

 

 

Keeping calm in times of uncertainty

The whole world has been affected, we’re all in this together

Keep Calm in Times of UncertaintyThe COVID-19 pandemic has revealed some unexpected things about our society. In the past, when we’ve imagined through films or literature what the world would look like during a viral outbreak, the current situation is not one we’ve anticipated, one where (unless you’re a medical worker, caregiver, garbage collector, cleaner, bus driver, grocery store clerk, or work in food service or production) most of us are asked to stay home. Those of us with the privilege of comfortable, safe homes, clean running water and access to grocery stores can easily do that. But the crisis is also showing more clearly the inequalities around the world, that most of us live in cramped quarters, abusive home situations, unsanitary conditions, or don’t have access to clean water, a roof over our heads, or are incarcerated. It also clearly shows which demographics have access to proper healthcare. Nobody is as of yet immune to the virus, but we have different positions from which to fight it. In all of this it’s hard to keep calm in times of uncertainty.

Other epidemics in the past have been isolated to smaller parts of the world, but this is the first one that has spread worldwide. Our world has gotten smaller through international travel, dwindling habitats for wild animals, mass production of food and worldwide shipping. All of this has increased and sped-up human contact. One of my favourite guided relaxations includes a visualization of how we’re all connected through the earth, the animals, plants and each other: the butterfly effect. But thinking about all that inter-connection right now, when we’re supposed to be apart from each other feels counterintuitive. So I’ve been avoiding this visualization these days. But it’s also rewarding to see how neighbours are looking out for each other more, like buying groceries for those more vulnerable or wearing masks in public places to reduce the risk of asymptomatic infection. It shows that people are actually acknowledging our inter-connection.

Panic is about things we cannot control

Even for those with the privilege to work from a safe, comfortable home, and with loved ones nearby, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what the future will hold. Going out to the grocery store and wondering if you’ve touched your face while standing in line, or whether you’ve cleaned your vegetables properly can cause a panic attack. Our enemy is microscopic. We don’t know when it will hit, if it has hit, or if we or those we love will succumb to it. We also don’t know what it means for our society and how we will interact once this pandemic is over, how long it will last, or even if it will end. Who will we be once it is over? How will it change us? What new behaviours will we have to take on in the future? Will everyone go out with face masks and latex gloves? How will we go to events while maintaining distance? What about flights and cramped long-distance bus rides? What about our jobs?

Uncertain Times

Strange Times, Cartoon by Leunig

The future is never something that we could ever predict, but there are certain things we can usually count on that will most likely be there tomorrow or a week from now. With the corona times as they are, our normal everyday routine has been disrupted, and there is the feeling that our support system has been pulled out from under us. This is a panic-inducing scenario. Those who didn’t already have anxiety or panic attacks before this will now know what it’s like for those who have that as a regular experience. One thing we can do to manage it is to learn to observe the things we have control over, acknowledge what support we do have right here and now in the present, and act mindfully. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some tips that can help with keeping calm in times of uncertainty, some of which may work for some, but not others, take care of what you can manage yourself right now:

  1. Meditation or guided relaxation
  2. Listening to Sound Healing music
  3. Breathing techniques, such as the Bee Breath during Pinelopi’s grounding sessions
  4. Practicing yoga, Qi Gong or other calming movement practices
  5. Practicing mindfulness as you walk, noticing your feet on the ground
  6. Chewing food slowly, being mindful and grateful for the food you have available
  7. Taking control of the things you can right now – plant a garden, dive into a new project
  8. Joining a new streaming platform and binge watching obscure movies
  9. Being there for others, helping a neighbour, supporting a friend
  10. Reading about how to overthrow capitalism and planning actions to help re-build a future world
  11. …. What are your strategies to remain calm in times of uncertainty? … post in the comments below …

 


At English Yoga Berlin, we offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli. Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome to beginners, as well as people struggling with chronic pain. We also offer Berlin business yoga, and private yoga classes, as well as queer and trans prioritized community classes. We are currently offering all of our yoga classes live online. See our schedule for more info.

New Year Yoga Standing Sequence

Happy New Year! And welcome to the start of a new decade!

As a thank you for your participation and your readership, we offer you this new year’s yoga standing sequence – asanas you can do anywhere, while you’re on the go, while you’re waiting in line for the Silvester party, or simply for a night in of self-reflection and evaluation. Each pose is accompanied by a question to help guide your process of letting go of what you want to leave behind and make room for what the new decade brings. Enjoy!

tadasana

Mountain Pose:
What is my support / foundation?

chi yoga

Golden Rooster:
What can I peacefully confront?

warrior1

Warrior I :
What are my­­ obstacles?

revolved side angle

Twisted / Revolved Side Angle:
What can I let go of?

warrior2Warrior II:
How can I prepare for surprises?
inverted warriorInverted Warrior:
What are the oppositional forces I encounter?
extended side angleExtended Side Angle:
Where can I find leverage?
forward foldWide-legged Forward Fold:
How do things look from another perspective?
warrior3Warrior III:
How to balance in the face of resistance?
dancer2Dancer:
Can I reach higher?
balanceBalance:
In what ways can I leave my comfort zone?
surrenderSurrender:
In what ways can I give in or let go?

At English Yoga Berlin, we offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli. Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome to beginners, people struggling with chronic pain. We also offer Berlin business yoga, and private yoga classes, as well as queer and trans prioritized community classes.

Terminology Tuesday: Paschimottanasana

paschimottasana

one could think of Paschimottasana as a ‘salute to the sunset’

Paschimottanasana = from Sanskrit, paschima meaning West or back of the body, uttana meaning intense stretch, and asana meaning posture

We are talking here about the seated forward bend.  Traditionally we would be facing the East in the morning doing our Sun Salutations, which is why the back of our body is talked about as the West. 

Paschimottasana in practice

At Pinelopi’s Hatha yoga classes in Kreuzberg, we have explored this pose deeply.  We try through Paschimottanasana to stretch equally the entirety of the back of our body.  Here we have a network of muscles and connective tissue that starts from our eye brows, over the head, down the back and legs, all the way to the soles of our feet.  It goes by the name of backline of the body, or the superficial backline.

Introducing us to an insight she shared with us from the work of Leslie Kaminoff, Pinelopi guides us to become aware to where we feel the stretch most intensely.  For many people it is the hamstrings, and for others the lower back or the upper back.  For some, it is the back of the knees.  We then work with the specific needs of our body, adjusting with props, to get an even stretch all over the superficial backline.  This allows us to experience the grounding, release and surrender that is the core of this asana.

Paschimottasana as an experience, not an ideal shape

A specific example of that is my situation: due to my specific restriction of movement, I cannot get my abdomen in contact with the top of my legs.  Does it mean I cannot stretch the “west side” of my body, my back?  No, it does not mean that. How I stretch the back of my body will look completely different to how you do.  Yet we will both be stepping into an experience of arising and transforming sensations, witnessing life unfolding through us.

 

We offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli.  Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. We also offer Berlin business yoga, pregnancy yoga, and private yoga classes, including for people struggling with chronic pain.”

The Puzzle Picture

Avidal's painting on flyer

We believe Yoga to be a powerful tool that helps us assemble the pieces of our Life’s puzzle and allows us to see the big picture.

Ever wondered what the “Puzzle Picture” on our flyers means? Clelia, our Erasmus intern, reports from behind the scenes.

 

The image representing English Yoga Berlin left a deep impression on me from the first time I saw it.  It is the painting of an almost complete puzzle.  The puzzle image is of a person completing their own puzzle.  It’s an image within an image.  A puzzle of a puzzle.  I was curious, and I asked Pinelopi, my teacher of yoga in Kreuzberg.  The story she told me really resonated with me.  I want to share it with you, so here what she said.

“One day I met with my friend and artist Avital Yomdin, and told her I needed to design a flyer for my classes.  We sat and talked about what yoga means to me.  I spoke about what yoga had done for me in my life.  I realised something important as we were speaking: when I began yoga, I knew very little about my physical chronic pain.  Crucially, I also knew very little about myself, for example the space I take, the person I transform into every day.

Through the yoga classes, meditation and mindfulness techniques, I started to understand and accept myself more and more.  I am not anywhere close to knowing myself completely, as that might be, who knows, ultimate enlightenment.  Yet I feel that the process of doing yoga was like finding the pieces of the puzzle of myself, so I could put them together.  Slowly, I could form a picture of  who I am.”

 

 

We offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli.  Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. We also offer Berlin business yoga, pregnancy yoga, and private yoga classes, including for people struggling with chronic pain.

Anahata Chakra – a personal experience

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Anahata is the emotional powerhouse of your self.  In this chakra we process emotion and feel love, forgiveness and compassion.

 

Here, we learn that the most powerful energy we have inside of us is love.  Alas, this chakra gets strongly affected by trapped anger and the experience of grief and loss.
Anahatha in every day life
I have been struggling with anger, grief and loss for a long time.  I observed that when the teacher asked us to focus on the heart centre, I could not really feel the heart centre like the other centres, by will, by sending focus there.  And yet, spontaneously, especially after a good yoga session, I would feel a clear sensation in the middle of my chest.  It is a similar sensation like when the stomach is empty.  It feels like a call: “hey, I am hungry!”

What do you feel in the area of the heart? Have you ever observed how emotions feel physically in this area?
Anahatha in meditation
In meditation, I visualised the heart: I was following the instructions to bring forth the details of what I could visualize, what I could imagine.  I saw a beautiful yet hard armour around my heart. Then the teacher suggested “what are you not allowing yourself to feel?”.  I knew this was an important question.  I was struggling to keep focused, mind wandering.  The parent voice inside me said She just said ‘what are you not allowing yourself to feel’.  Some kind of energy was rising up, and with it resistance.  I got a glimpse at the energy contained in this powerful chakra centre.
What is your relationship to powerful emotions like rage or wild joy? Where do you feel them in your body?
To explore this part of my body through physical observation has helped me greatly. By grounding in the body sensations, I accepted my difficult feelings and allowed them to be.  It’s as if cracks started to appear in the wall that I felt was insurmountable for so long.  I felt hope for healing, as if I were a plant that is finally getting watered!

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack, a crack in everything 
That’s how the light gets in.

– Leonard Cohen

 

Clelia is an Erasmus entrepreneur working as an intern in learning how to set up a small yoga business such as English Yoga Berlin. We offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli.  Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. We also offer Berlin business yoga, private classes for pregnancy yoga, and private yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain.