The gift that keeps on giving

“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

Khalil Gibran

 

know your light through the dark

Candles In The Dark
photo by אליעד מלין

Yes, yes, you know what I am going to say now: the Season is upon us. Or should I say the Seasons: Hanukkah, Bodhi Day or Rohatsu, Christmas, Kwanzaa, plus all the ancient festivals associated with the Winter Solstice.

It’s cold. It’s dark.  There seems to be an ancient intuitive call: to walk towards the light, the bonfire, the candle, reflect and get warm.  A lot of us go into this dark cave of hibernation and feel the need to reach inside our own psyches with a sign of care. Similarly, we reach out to our loved ones with a gift, a thought, a phone call, an act of kindness.

Additionally, the winter holidays mark the passing of another year. Memories, family dynamics, losses and longings all come up again, stirring a mix of emotions that makes winter hibernation hard to escape!

This time can be very overwhelming for a lot of us.

My way of dealing with this time of the year is by going into my body, into my breathing, into creating moments with myself. It is by going into my yoga.

If you feel you need a special place to go inwards during this solstice, we invite you to come and try out a class. This is also a great gift for a loved one who you think could benefit from the calmness and grounding, the gentle moments of solitude, and a more emotionally sustainable way of life.

English Yoga Berlin offer yoga gift cards for one or more Hatha yoga and Vinyasa yoga classes. You can buy them at our yoga studio in Kreuzberg, or online.

SPRING/SUMMER NEWS FROM ENGLISH YOGA BERLIN

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“Time
doesn’t heal,
consciousness does”

                                                                      ― Danielle LaPorte

Greetings Yogis!

The spring weather is all over the place, but we are not. We have grounded ourselves in preparation for a bright season to remember.  News from English Yoga Berlin bring you: Clelia joins the team, courtesy of Erasmus, to learn from EYB about survival in the world of small sustainable enterprises. Pinelopi is getting stronger and stronger after her accident.  There are still places left in the 3 hour Yoga and Alexander Technique’s workshop with Rossella Buono and David Moore – read all about it!!

News from English Yoga Berlin

Pinelopi is back

Pinelopi’s Back

Pinelopi is back after her bike accident in December.  Lots of thanks to the wonderful substitute teachers that have kept the yoga Kreuzberg classes going for her.  She is now feeling stronger and enjoying giving the Hatha Yoga classes again. Thank you to all the wonderful people who sent flowers, healing wishes and kindness!   This time apart doing physical rehabilitation and healing has allowed her to focus on how to better the injury conscious aspect of yoga.

 

DM FB event

Yoga and the Alexander Technique Workshops

Our 6-day workshop with David Moore and Rossella Buono has one place left. Write to us if you are interested! Because of the popularity of the workshop, we’re now also offering a 3-hour workshop on July 18th, 6pm to 9pm. Register here.

 

Erasmus – Clelia

Erasmus meets English Yoga BerlinHello, pleased to meet you!! My name is Clelia and I am here to learn from EYB what it takes to run a yoga enterprise committed to people and their needs – I hope to meet as many of you as possible.  Read more in the blog about how I got here, it’s a story about how to live through limitations and transform pain into a great opportunity.

 

 

 Yogatherapy

Juli continues with her yoga therapy courseJuli is excited to continue with the advanced yoga teacher training, Svastha Yoga Therapy at the begining of June. Module 5 will bring new knowledge about yoga for depression and anxiety to the community classes at English Yoga Berlin: therapeutic Vinyasa Flow on Sundays at 4pm.

 

 

New EU regulations on private data collection

EYB is GDPR compliant

Sign up for our newsletter

No doubt you know by now what GDPR is.  We have been reviewing all our administrative processes and our privacy policy as regards to the use and retention of the private data of our students.  As you know we only send out our newsletter for a maximum of four times per year, so if it would bring you joy to receive our heartfelt seasonal updates, click here and then scroll down to the bottom of the page. You can subscribe to our mailing list on the right.

 

Holiday Closures

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Holiday time

Everyone needs a holiday, even yoga teachers! Hatha Yoga classes will be closed from July 1 – 23.

Vinyasa Yoga classes closure will be from July 20th to mid-August, check the website for up to date schedule information.

 

 
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.

5 reasons why the best time for business yoga is at lunch

business yoga in Berlin

Lunchtime: everyone is doing yoga

After years of experience of offering business yoga, we have developed an understanding of when yoga in a working day is both a beneficial and sustainable commitment for a business and its employees, and….. it is not a time slot that necessarily makes sense to the human resources department!

 

When a business approaches us, it typically asks for after-work business yoga or early morning sessions. These time frames tend to be very popular at the beginning of a business yoga season and then lose momentum within the next six months. The businesses that, however, choose a lunchtime yoga session are the ones that end up having a business yoga class running for years! Here are five reasons why:

1. It does not feel like longer work days.

When choosing after work in-office yoga, employees feel that their workday is getting lengthened.  It’s like an optical illusion: of course it is not work, but we know and can relate to the fact that employees remain in the office longer -even though they are not working- and that somehow translates in their psyche as “longer work days”….

2. It keeps it realistic.

Getting out of the house even earlier to go to work for your in-office early morning yoga class? In winter?? In Berlin??? A wonderful idea in principle… but in reality….. (tick the one that applies to you):

– the kids need breakfast

– the bed is warm

– you got a long commute

– last night you had a great party

– last night you could not sleep

– you need to meditate at least 30 minutes (with or without coffee)

– it’s the only time you can really catch up with your partner or yourself

– all of the above and more

 

…so, getting out earlier in winter is unrealistic. Most people are trying to stay healthy, fight off colds, and need their sleep and to move at their own pace. Lunchtime yoga does not ask any more time of employees in the workplace.

3.  Sweating in the workplace can become an obstacle.

Employees are self conscious about sweating in their office. It sounds obvious, but this took us some time to discover… and no one ever really admits it. When you strive for an early morning class with a strong work-out in an office where showers are not available…. one of the reasons that fails is …. sweat.  Hatha Yoga and gentle Vinyasa Yoga can be taught without working up a sweat, addressing back and shoulder pain, fuzziness and sluggishness, while bringing more oxygen to the brain.  No sweating or further injury with contorted poses or fast sequences in an early morning class; more about presence, mindfulness, a sharpened kind of awareness.

4. It gives you a new lease of life for afternoon to come.

 You got the urgent stuff out of the way first, now it’s time to deal with the important juicy tasks:  enjoy a new wave of energy with a gentle, balancing and energising lunch yoga practice.  Employees get to compare their state of mind before and after yoga in the office, and they also get to look at their colleagues in a different light, which can go a long way in strengthening working relationships

5. It is inclusive to people who are caretakers .

We are talking about people with children, or carers for parents or others, for whom home is mainly more work. It is a grateful, loving kind of work, but work nonetheless. It is often very hard for these people to be able to attend a pre- or after- work yoga class as they are often juggling more schedules than just their own. A weekly yoga class could tip the scales for them in helping them to not get sick and to build a relationship to the workplace as a source of support and care.

Think of these reasons when choosing the time in which to offer business yoga as a contribution to your workforce.  A weekly in-company yoga class is something that employees can look forward to every week. It’s an opportunity for each individual to relax and rejuvenate their body and mind, and for the group to build trust, relationship and communication with each other. Office yoga classes offer a healthy injection of positivity and wellness into your workplace culture.

We at English Yoga Berlin offer business yoga and special events to businesses in Berlin.  Contact us if you are interested!

Yoga Alexander Technique workshop-3 hrs-July 2018

As our six-day Yoga Alexander Technique workshop is booked up, we are now offering a smaller version of the workshop for those of you who didn’t get to take part.

Berlin Yoga and the Alexander TechniqueWHEN:            Wednesday 18th July 6pm – 9pm

WHERE:          English Yoga Berlin, Görlitzer Str 39, Kreuzberg

FOR WHO:      For any one with an interest in yoga or the Alexander technique.

TAUGHT BY:  Rossella Buono and David Moore from the School of F.M. Alexander Studies

PRICE:              €30

The Yoga Alexander Technique workshop consists of one afternoon in which we will develop an individualized practice and an understanding of the uniqueness of the use of yourself in movement and at rest.

The workshop will offer an active and practical investigation of:

· Coordination and posture from an Alexander Technique perspective
· Modifying yoga poses
· Kinaesthesia
· Doing and non-doing
· Directing energy through the body
· Identifying and overcoming habits

– All abilities and levels of experience.

– Absolute beginners are welcome!

– Please wear comfortable clothes.

Booking is strongly recommended to insure a place. To book your place click here or contact:

Rossella: rossella (at) rossellabuono  (dot) com

David: info (at) alexanderschool (dot) edu (dot) au

Pinelopi: pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

David Moore will also be offering private lessons in Berlin on Wednesday 24th July, if you are interested contact us.

ABOUT THE TEACHERS:

Rossella Buono relocated to Canterbury, UK in January 2013 from Melbourne where she had an established Alexander Technique practice. Working with a great range of people, Rossella has applied the Technique to improving the lives of people with issues such as back, neck or shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, sciatica, asthma, stuttering, anxiety and stress. She has also enjoyed attaining tangible posture and movement improvements for musicians, sportspeople, office workers, and the elderly. In her capacity as a care worker, she has developed strategies to improve the quality of life for people with physical and mental disabilities. She is the co-author of “For the Love of Games”, that offers a collection of more than 100 Alexander Technique games and activities to use when working with groups and individuals.

Rossella was first introduced to the Technique as a means of her own rehabilitation, after breaking her leg in an accident – and found herself benefitting greatly from the approach. After eliminating residual pain and regaining sustainable, coordinated mechanical function, Rossella decided to train as an Alexander Technique teacher. Since then she has worked to offer others the same opportunity for the elimination of pain and improvement of overall quality of life.

 

David Moore teaching Yoga and the Alexander Technique in Berlin

Photo credit: Rossella Buono

David Moore, Director at the School for F.M. Alexander Studies graduated from Australia’s first Alexander technique training course in Sydney in 1985. After graduating he spent some weeks each year for several years studying with senior American teacher, the late Marjorie Barstow.  Since then he has established private practices in New Zealand and Melbourne, run many  residential courses in Australia, Italy and New Zealand, and taught classes and intensive workshops in the UK, Germany, Japan Italy, Taiwan, and the USA. In 1999 he set up an Alexander Technique Teacher Training course which is approved by the Australian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique. This 1600 hour training course runs over three years.

Prior to studying the Alexander technique David did many years of yoga practice. He spent over seven years in India and Thailand, including over two years in Thai meditation monasteries, and two years in Madras studying with TKV Desikachar at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandaram. In Sydney he studied Iyengar yoga for four years with Martin Jackson from 1991 – 1994, including undertaking a teacher training course with Martin in 1994. He now teaches classes applying the Alexander technique to yoga and is the author of “Smart Yoga: Apply the Alexander Technique to Enhance Your Practice, Prevent Injury, and Increase Body Awareness”. He also has a strong interest in voice and performance, and has run numerous classes and workshops for singers, storytellers and public speakers.

English Yoga Berlin is the host of this event.  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 for people struggling with chronic pain.

Returning to the Definition of Drishti

A Return to a Drishti Definition

Almost 5 years ago, we wrote a 2-part blog about what Drishti is and its meditative benefits. From it’s Sanskrit meaning, coming to a Drishti definition in English is complicated. But as we wrote in our blogs, we can put it simply as “the gaze” or “where one’s eyes rest.” Once again, I’d like to return to the topic, but this time from a practical point of view, both in a yoga class and outside of it.

Drishti is about focus

Drishti Definition

Drishti Definition

In an asana yoga class, your teacher may ask to use your Drishti point to keep you balanced and focused. In balancing poses, we can use this point as a focus point, a point that does not move, to help steady our inner ear – where our sense of balance is located. For those of us who feel queasy in bumpy traffic or on boats, we know that staring at the horizon line can help us to overcome motion sickness. Using this focal point in an asana class encourages our bodies to find a posture in that helps us feel steady. In this sense, Drishti is a very tangible and useful anatomical tool. Where your gaze rests is a pretty good indicator of the line your neck and spine are following.

When we turn our focus towards our navels, in Cat/Cow or in Downward Dog, for instance, we are turning our focus inwards, towards ourselves. And when we look out over our finger tips in twists or Warrior poses, we keep our central line from ourselves outwards towards a blurry outside world. It helps you to quiet the mind, increases concentration and relaxation, and allows your attention to flow into whatever you are focusing it on, yourself and your connection / support to the world. It helps us to not look around and get distracted by the other people practicing in the room, which for some of us can turn to negative thoughts if we compare ourselves and how we do the postures, or worry if we are doing them “right.”

 

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 Drishti promotes internal reflection, relaxation, meditation. A harder one pushes the focus externally. In our contemporary world, we often find our attention being pulled in multiple directions at once, our eyes have no time to rest on anything. A regular yoga practice can help train us to focus ourselves, but only when we take it outside of the yoga studio, do we feel the real benefits. A Drishti point can to calm our thoughts, reduce chatter and anxiety, allow our breath to flow freely, and give us something to dream about other than who posted what on Facebook.

So, the next time you find your eyes wandering, watch your mind and body, and see if you can notice how your Drishti affects you, notice how you feel when you let your eyes rest on something that you don’t normally allow them – give some attention to that plant on your windowsill, follow the path of a beetle in the sand, notice what the squirrels are doing in the tree in your yard. And next time you practice yoga, play with your gaze point and see how it affects your practice and your life.

One of our main goals in our Kreuzberg Berlin yoga classes is to educate people about the benefits of our practice. We believe that by making yourself more centered and focused you are better equipped to make an impact in the world around you. For more info about our Hatha Yoga in Berlin or Vinyasa Yoga, check out our yoga in English schedule.

Workshop Series: ”Exploring Your Sexual Self: Past, Present and Future”

exploring your sexual self

Past, Present and Future

We’re excited to announce that Kitty May and former EYB yoga teacher Meg Saxby will be offering a third round of their 3-part workshop series ”Exploring Your Sexual Self: Past, Present and Future” in July 2016 at the EYB studio. This engaging workshop series will give participants tools and space to explore their sexual selves and define their own vision of erotic empowerment.

Meg and Kitty–with their backgrounds in feminist sexual health education, peer counselling, bodywork/movement, creativity and group praxis–have designed this innovative workshop series to help participants uncover and develop their knowledge of their personal erotic self. Because sexuality is composed of so many different elements, the workshops are similarly designed to work at different levels: the body, mind, spirit and collective/community existence.

Using movement, bodywork, meditation/visualization, discussion and creative tools for reflection, participants will explore ideas about and experiences of desire, pleasure, fulfilment, the body and more. Over the course of 3 sessions, we will connect with our sexual selves as they are today; remember who they were in the past; imagine our brightest erotic futures – and consider the most luscious, fun and self-loving ways of getting there!

Each participant will choose an area of focus, creating a personal path within a collaborative learning process. There will be opportunities to share with one another, but no obligation to disclose more than is comfortable.

Some participant feedback from the 2014 round…

  • “the workshop series had a really well balanced structure and a great flow”
  • “I loved the mix of bodywork, writing, crafting, personal reflection and sharing.”
  • “there isn’t pressure to share too much and I felt ownership over my own journey”
  • “the facilitation was really seamless. Meg and Kitty are badass together, bringing different skills and strengths”
  • “a really refreshing space […] that is very physically grounding and that supports taking an appropriate pace that fits you”
  • “very thoughtful and a warm and open space”
  • “the workshop is really worth it!”
  • “a very freeing experience”

The series is open to FLTI* (female, lesbian, trans*, intersex) people only.

When: Sundays July 10, 17, and 24, 11:00-15:00

Where: at the English Yoga Berlin studio, Görlitzer Straße 39, 10997 Berlin

Cost: Because we want this series to be both accessible for participants and sustainable for us as workers, the price is based on participants’ take-home monthly income and an hourly rate for our work. The fee for the series is:

• 75€ if your monthly income is less than 700€
115€ if your monthly income is 700-1000€
165€ if your monthly income is 1000-1500€
10-15% of your monthly income if you earn over 1500€

How: If you’d like to register for participation (or if you have questions), please send an email to:
contactkittymay@gmail.com.

Registration is necessary.
In order to reserve your spot, we’ll ask for a non-refundable* deposit of 1/3rd of your fee.


English Yoga Berlin is a collective of teachers offering yoga in English from our yoga Berlin Kreuzberg studio. We offer hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, restorative yoga, classical yoga and yoga nidra. We specialize in community yoga and offer yoga for beginners through advanced. We look forward to practicing with you!

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.

So you want to be a yoga teacher?

Making yoga in Berlin more accessible

Small yoga classes in Berlin

At English Yoga Berlin, we get several email requests a day from brand newly-trained yoga teachers to join our team. Unfortunately, we can’t accommodate all of their requests. We pride ourselves on remaining small and community-based, because we believe small classes are especially beneficial to people who are new to yoga or those who want to advance their practice in a safer environment. At larger studios, there may be more opportunities for new teachers, but also more competition.

So you’ve got a 200 hour teacher certificate. What do you do next? How do you start?

Put yourself out there. Get to know the studios in your city. Attend classes to find out if it’s a right fit for you. Try out different studios, maybe the atmosphere is different? Once you find one you like, become part of their community. Do a work exchange, like cleaning or working the front desk. Get to know the other teachers, perhaps they need assistants some time. What does not work is writing unsolicited emails. No matter how amazing your youtube videos or your previous work experience is, nothing beats face-to-face contact. Your email will just get a standard response, if any at all, and be forgotten. This process can take some time, so be prepared to have another job to pull you through until your yoga career takes off.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

While you’re trying out different studios, keep up your training and practice teaching. Some newly certified teachers have already had years of teaching practice before they started their teacher training, and some are just brand new to yoga. And of course, many are in-between. Not only does this help you gain more confidence as a teacher, but it also helps you to build up your clientele. A yoga studio looking to hire new teachers will ask how many students they can bring to the studio. Start by teaching friends in your living room, and they will tell their friends, and that’s how your student-base grows. By-donation outdoor classes in the warmer months help to gather interest by passers-by. Once you’ve built a small following, you can begin to rent space for weekly classes or workshops.

Self-promotion.

Most people don’t equate becoming a yoga teacher with requiring marketing skills. But these days, almost any job field does. Being a yoga teacher most often means being self-employed. The work is precarious. It ebbs and flows with the popularity of yoga in your area, how many yoga studios there are, and how well you can promote your classes. Some months will leave you dry, others will be overflowing with abundance. If marketing feels overwhelming, you can start small. Make your own flyers or business cards to pass around. Start a website. If you can’t afford it, there are many free options available, even a simple blog or Facebook page does that extra bit.

Will I earn enough to make a living?

That depends. If your lifestyle has a lot of expenses, you may not be able to do it. If you are happy living a modest lifestyle and saving when you need to, it’s more possible. If you move to a small town that has no yoga studio, and people have been waiting for you, you could be very lucky. Mostly though, and especially in bigger cities with tonnes of yoga studios and budding teachers, the chances are slim. Most teachers have other jobs on the side or a partner’s support. One way that a lot of studios and established teachers earn money is through offering yoga teacher trainings. And eventually, established teachers do guest appearances and special workshops, and can get more renowned in the yoga world. Being a yoga teacher is more than simply teaching yoga.

English Yoga Berlin offers different types of Yoga in Kreuzberg. We have small yoga classes that encourage an intimate environment and increased awareness. Check out our schedule to attend a class of Vinyasa Yoga, Tantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga in Berlin.

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.