Eight Steps of Classical Yoga: Part 1

Yoga is a system made up of several interconnected parts. These independent elements are related to and influenced by each other. You can use each component on its own, but, when you combine them in the right way, they help each other and their effect is vastly increased. We offer several types of yoga in Berlin including Hatha Yoga, Vinyassa Yoga and Classical Yoga.

Classical yoga consists of eight parts, also called limbs or branches. Each branch contains different methods and techniques that prepare you to take better advantage of the other parts; at the same time, each limb is a whole unto itself, working on a specific aspect of our being. We like to see each of these parts as a step towards being a healthier, happier, and more integrated person.

Step 1: Remove impurities and bring balance to your body.

Shatkarma, the yogic cleansing methods, provide a practical solution to the pollution of modern life. While each of these practices works on specific systems and organs – e.g. nose rinsing (Neti) for the respiratory system, intestinal cleansing (Shankaprashalana) for the digestive system – their effect is expressed in the whole body, both in obvious and subtle ways.


The science of yoga considers all the layers of your being.


Step 2: Become more supple and fit, while methodically touching your body’s organs.

Asana, the physical poses of yoga, work much deeper than at the mere muscular level; their effect in the body goes further than just making it strong and flexible. Among many other benefits, these poses massage the glands and the internal organs, stimulate the spine and the central nervous system, and positively affect the movement of fluids in the body.

Step 3: Harmonize your breath, and remove finer tensions.

Why work on the breath? Well, breathing is probably the most important thing we do. Anybody who has received a fright, experienced an intense situation or has been in love knows that there is a strong link between the breath and the mind. This link continues to the body. Pranayama, the yogic breathing exercises, offers tools for using the breath as a bridge between grosser and finer layers of our being. After practising exercises like Nadi Shodana for a long period of time, you may get a better understanding of the subtler aspects of your self.

Step 4: Restore your energy levels.

To hold tension, for example, in the shoulders, requires effort from the body. When we remove tensions through yoga, we gain access to that previously lost energy. In order for this energy to be experienced and directed in a harmonious way, we use Bandha and Mudra, special physical contractions and gestures that touch the endocrine system and other important areas of the body. They influence our state of mind and level of activity, while bringing consciousness and energy to the different parts of our self.

Check out our next blog which will outline steps 5-8 of classical yoga practice.

Tuning in with your Intuition – Pranayama Breath Work JUNE 30TH

We are excited to announce the third of Rakel´s Pranayama workshops! For those of you who did not attend the first two, Rakel Sosa is a very experienced Raja Yoga teacher who specializes in Pranayama (yogic breathing). She has trained widely and internationally, with many well respected teachers, and we are very happy to give her a space to do her thing here in Berlin! You can learn more about Rakel and her projects here.

Intuition is the ability to understand or know something immediately without needing physical proof, based on your feelings rather than facts. That’s how the Cambridge dictionary defines the word.

We are all natural intuitive beings. We often have a “gut feeling” on what we need to do in any given situation. We know what the next move needs to be, because it just feels right when we think about it. But then often something happens. A thought comes up, a belief, and then we decide not to listen to our intuition. Noone’s really to blame since in our western society we are raised to follow our mind much more than our intuition.

The thing with intuition is that is not about the head, it is not about figuring anything out with the mind, it comes from a much truer source: the heart.

Yes, the heart is an amazing organ. At a physical level the heart is the most powerful source of electromagnetic waves in the body. Recent studies of the Heart Math Institute in California confirm that the heart emits waves that are 60 times stronger than that of the brain. They spread around the body in 360 degrees reaching up to four feet outside the body.

Through the electromagnetic field created by the heart we are broadcasting and receiving emotions, information, like radio waves in a continual exchange with the world. Isn’t that fantastic?

We are all such incredible intuitive beings. We don’t even need to develop our intuition. We just need to re-learn to listen to our emotions, see how intuition talks to us and most of all, once we get the message, TRUST IT!

In our next pranayama yoga session here in the English Yoga Studio in Berlin, we will be using the pranayama breath work technique to open a new layer of the heart center and connect to our source of intuition. We will be working on feeling how is it that your intuition talks to you. And what beliefs are stopping you from following it.

From my personal experience I can say, the more I follow my intuition the more I thrive in life. So I invite you to join us in this pranayama gathering that will put you right on track with that most juicy part of yourself.

Our next Pranayama workshop is on Sunday June 30, at our Yoga Studio in Kreuzberg (directions here).

Time: 16h00-17h30

Teacher: Rakel Sosa

Cost: 20 €

Places are limited.

For any question concerning this workshop you can contact us at: 

Spring Cleaning with Pranayama

Photo by Fern

Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born, the last thing before dying. Our breath is the main vital force that keeps us alive. So, it is a good thing to ask: How is your breathing doing? Besides the fact that of course you are alive, how are you breathing? Are you exploring your breath in its full potential?

At the English Yoga Studio we invite you to experience a very particular and ancient modality of the Pranayama Breathing technique. A powerful exercise that will help you unblock tensions lodged in your body, this work is designed to help you to connect deeply with your vital creative energy. A real resource of wellbeing, this is an opportunity to relax, learn more about yourself and open the way to big fun and inspiration in your life!


Join our first Pranayama workshop and breathing circle on Sunday April 28, at our Yoga Studio in Kreuzberg.

Time: 16:00 – 17:30

Teacher: Rakel Sosa

Cost: 20 €

Click here for more details about this and other Berlin yoga workshops.

Berlin Yoga: Terminology Tuesday

photo by Fern

photo by Fern

People still look confused in class sometimes when I use yoga terminology. That’s why I started English Yoga terminology Tuesday. I guess I could always just  use plain English in order to avoid these confusing moments, but as a person who enjoys looking up the etymology of words, how their meanings have evolved from what their original meanings were, and how words between different languages overlap- I would find it a shame not to introduce one of the oldest languages in the world in our classes (Sanskrit). So in this blog I would like to try and explain the meaning of one of the most common words used in my Berlin yoga classes.  What is Pranayama?

Pranayama – Prana means vital energy. People often confuse vital energy to mean spirit, or soul, or just the energy within a specific person. That is not the case. Vital energy is the energy you find in all living things. It’s the energy that gives life. This is found in humans, animals, plants, and some people even believe it’s found in stones.  Everyone and everything alive has prana. Yama means “control”. So pranayama is the “control of vital energy”. In yoga we learn how to control and manage our energy through breathing. So Pranayama is a series of breathing techniques that we practice in order to learn how to control, manage, direct or increase our vital energy.