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.

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 .

The Benefits of Small Yoga Classes

Making yoga in Berlin more accesible

Small yoga classes in Berlin

Practicing yoga is a personal experience. We go deeper into ourselves to become more aware of how our bodies move, what our thoughts are, how we feel and what we need in the present moment.

Distractions while practicing yoga can pull us out of the moment, create negative thoughts or feelings, or cause us to injure ourselves. And while a meditation or yoga practice teaches us to become better at being present despite distractions, this may be difficult to do for beginners or experienced yogis alike.

A room packed full of people can easily create distractions. The proximity of others, their scents and sounds, or even our own minds making comparisons, can pull us out of our focus on the self. A private practice at home may seem like a solution, but listening to a teacher’s guiding voice helps to keep us present and less caught up in our own thoughts. It also helps us to relax and just follow.

In a practice room with less people, a yoga teacher is able to be aware of each student and give more attention where needed. They can see when you are doing something that could injure yourself and correct it or give individualized modifications. Often, in small studios, the teachers also get a chance to talk to students before the class to check how they’re feeling that day and if the student has injuries or issues to be aware of during certain exercises. At English Yoga Berlin, we also check in after the class to see how it went for the students, answer questions and gather any feedback for the next class.

At our yoga studio in Kreuzberg each student has about 3 meters square of space they can be in by themselves for their own practice. With this space, there’s no worry about hitting another student or falling into them if you lose balance. Yet students have commented on how intimate it feels and that there’s a sense of community at our space. With less people in the room, it’s much easier to recognize others, gain trust, and become aware of the interconnectedness between ourselves and others while sharing space as we move through our own individual yoga practices.

Often, small yoga classes are offered at higher rates than fuller classes, but at English Yoga Berlin all of our classes offered at regular rates (or sliding-scale rates for community classes) with a maximum of 10 students in the room. We offer Hatha yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Classical yoga and Restorative yoga classes in English at our collective studio in Berlin, Kreuzberg. Our teachers are injury conscious and will be happy to assist you before and throughout the class with tailored variations for your yoga poses. We believe that the increased awareness that we cultivate in our yoga classes together with the suggested variations for your unique body, make a difference both to practicing yoga in daily life and to the yoga benefits you take with you after class.

What is Karma Yoga and How Can I Practice it?

Karma is one of the most famous and, at the same time, misunderstood Sanskrit words. But its meaning is quite simple and unambiguous: Karma = To Do. All action is Karma. Of course, there is also the so-called Law of Karma, which is one of the most beautiful and universal laws, recognized both by science and metaphysics: Everything happens in pairs –cause and effect, action and reaction. And this is what people usually refer to when they use silly expressions like “Bad Karma”. Yet, in its widest sense, the word Karma means the sum aggregate of who we are; the result of all our actions, thoughts, and feelings. Swami Vivekananda compares each individual action (thoughts and feelings too) to a single blow of the sculptor on stone. Karma, in this sense, is the resulting sculpture: the sum of all the blows. Who we are.

“We are responsible for what we are; and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.”
(Swami Vivekananda)

marx engels

For the purposes of this post the word Karma takes is most basic meaning: Action. And so Karma Yoga is the yoga of action. Or the pursuit of self-knowledge by doing. And what is it that we should do? Anything that needs doing! Karma Yoga allows us to become more conscious by carrying-out our daily duties and tasks. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But it’s not that simple. Work or action doesn’t in itself lead to self-knowledge. Only work that is performed with awareness and detachment, qualifies as Karma Yoga. The work itself is not even that important; how we do it is what counts.

When we act in the attitude of Karma Yoga, we become conscious of our reactions, of the mental expressions of our work. Do we become frustrated with failure? Are we over-eager for the results? Do we manifest impatience, insecurity, carelessness? Through Karma Yoga we can access this knowledge about ourselves, while remaining centered. We don’t get swayed by what we discover, we simply experience. Through this practice we let go of expectations, mental or physical blockages and anything else that makes us dependent or repels us.

Do you want to try it? Next time you set down to do your work, remain present and aware, keep returning again and again to be fully in what you’re doing. Be conscious of all the tendencies of your mind (boredom, restlessness, etc.) and let them be — just do your work and be the witness of everything that happens around that.

Becoming a Karma Yogi doesn’t happen overnight. But if you’re sincere, and you stick to it, you will start noticing some very strong effects with only a few weeks of regular practice. Whether you do house-chores or sit at an office; whether you’re a volunteer, and intern or a high-flying executive; whether you’re happy with your work or not; Karma Yoga is a ready and useful tool to become more you than you are now.

A Tired Mama’s Yoga – Part II

In the previous blog,  A tired mama’s yoga – Part I , I talked about the difficulties of practicing yoga while being the mother of a small child. In today’s blog, I d like to give an example of one of the multitasking practices of yoga and mommyhood. It’s this specific practice, I think, that has kept me the most in tune with yoga.

Photo by Fern

Photo by Fern

After not managing to practice yoga in the traditional way, I found I have to use whatever time I have to practice. Half a year ago I realized that sometimes I would spend over an hour putting the baby to bed at night. First I’d sing her lullabies, and then I would just stay there by her side making a wo wo wo sound for her to fall asleep. One day I thought, why not change this sound to my beloved Om and use this time to meditate? At the beginning of the meditation, I felt too tired to even sit up straight. Slowly the Om got more powerful, and my back started to straighten on the chair. At the end I was very surprised to feel so incredibly energized again – something had been able to break through to the new parent tiredness.

I started practicing every night again. I started liking the bed time ritual even more. Is it an uninterrupted practice? By no means. Sometimes I have to help the baby lie down again, or hold her because she is having a hard time… sometimes I have to sway her back and forth and continue with the Om standing up. Sometimes I finish the meditation and I realize that she is still awake, has been holding on to her sheet, and has been listening to her mama s om in absolute serenity for the past 20 minutes. Whichever way the meditation goes… I always feel I’ve benefited at the end of it.

I realize now, that we’ve created a mutual dependency. The baby needs the Om to fall asleep and I need the obligatory sit down time to meditate. If my internal mama duties didn’t oblige me to be by her side at bedtime, I would probably just lay down on the couch feeling too tired to do anything else that day. Fortunately she still needs me to fall asleep, and I benefit massively from this fact. Have I created a sleeping crutch for my child? Maybe. Lots of people say it s much better for children to learn to fall asleep alone. But, then again, what kind of a sleeping crutch is it? I’ve thought a lot about this. Is it such a bad thing to get her used to the Om before falling asleep? There are hundreds of documented benefits of meditation and the vibe that meditations creates for the people surrounding the medidators. I believe she is benefiting from this. Maybe through this practice I m even teaching her how to meditate before she falls asleep. That s a falling asleep habit that I am very happy to give her for her life. A habit that will strengthen her throughout.

 

A Tired Mama’s Yoga – Part I

Yoga Mom

Yoga Mom

Since I became a mom last year, the ability to do yoga in a concentrated grounded way dissipated. You could say it’s the lack of space. The baby’s play area is where I previously would practice and now is covered with cute toys that make noise during my sun salutations. Or maybe it’s the absolute lack of time. Yes, I imagined how little time I’d have. But somehow, I always thought I would find that one hour for yoga. I was mistaken. Or maybe space and time are not nearly as important as fighting through the tiredness of those sleepless nights and lack of alone time. As soon as I would start on the relaxation, I’d fall asleep. Yes, there are many obstacles to yoga as a mom.

So how can yoga and mommyhood coexist?

Well yoga, for me, has had to transform. It’s traditional disciplined form that requires alone time and quietness is totally incompatible with my present life. It has had to become a playful, in-between tasks, light type of yoga. My new yoga practice includes things like observing myself wash plates in a non-judgmental way, meditating while putting the baby to sleep, teaching the body parts to my toddler while doing a sun salutation, learning the animal kingdom through asanas, and calming the mind down by pretending to be a bee.

Does this yoga give the same benefits to that of the grounded focused yoga? Probably not. The only way of getting that focused space now, is to physically remove myself from my home and attend a class. My yoga teacher used to say “an ounce of practice is worth more than tons of theory”. This light transformed yoga is the one that’s available to me now. This is my ounce of practice. If we all were to wait for the circumstances to be absolutely right in order to practice yoga, then we’d probably never get started!

Yoga is a life companion. As our lives change it’s practical application will also change with us. But yoga’s essence will remain stable, present, and loving – guiding us through the changes of our lives like a loving parent.

Pinelopi teaches Hatha yoga classes in English at our collective studio in Berlin, Kreuzberg. Our teachers are injury conscious and will be happy to assist you before and throughout the class with tailored variations for your yoga poses. We believe that the increased awareness that we cultivate in our yoga classes together with the suggested variations for your unique body, make a difference both to practicing yoga in daily life and to the yoga benefits you take with you after class.

Tips on Preventing Yoga Injuries (part 2)

On the second part of our series about preventing yoga injuries, we give some tips for teachers, and on how to deal with common injury points.

7. For yoga teachers – pay attention to your own needs when demonstrating poses.
Believe it or not, most yoga injuries occur to teachers rather than students. As teachers, we often demonstrate a pose with our necks craned to the side to see what the students are doing, or we move out too quickly to assist a student. It’s a job that takes multi-tasking skills. While also being aware of what the students are doing, the teacher also has to be aware of their own movements and postures.
Some tips: Ground yourself before beginning the class. Warm up.  Prepare the class ahead of time, with ample time built into the plan to demonstrate exercises while also going around to assist the students. Don’t teach options for a pose that you yourself have not practiced many times, and use caution when demonstrating new or challenging poses.

2reflections

Practical Tips for common injury points:
In any pose where the body is being supported against gravity (i.e. standing), activating as many muscles in the body as possible makes the pose easier, and causes less stress on the body parts that are doing the main supporting. So, for example, even when standing, if you activate the thigh muscles (by pulling up the kneecaps), and activate the abdominal muscles (pull the navel up and back), then standing becomes easier and less stress occurs on the ankles and feet.

Wrists:
When the body’s weight is on the hands, such as in downward dog or plank, the shoulder blades should be flat to the back (this hooks the weight onto the upper back which is stronger than the wrists), the fingers spread wide, and the palms flat (this distributes the weight). Lifting a little at the wrist, and pulling the triceps up into the armpits also helps to alleviate pressure on the wrists. If you have an existing wrist injury, you can also roll up a towel, blanket or mat, and place it under the wrists, rolling the weight forward onto the fingers and taking a little more pressure off. Pressing the heels back and down sends more weight to the back of the body, and activating the abdominal muscles helps to keep the body supported in the centre.

Knees:
Whenever the knees are bent, such as in warrior 1 or 2, or chair pose, keep them directly above the ankles as much as possible, and bending in the direction of the feet. When the knees are bent too severely, or wing out to the side, stress is put on the knee. An already-aggravated knee will get worse in this situation. And if holding the pose is too difficult, then shorten your stance – bring the back foot closer and take less of a bend in the knee. Whenever the legs are straight, pull the kneecaps up and enact the thigh muscles, this takes weight off the underside of the knees and helps build muscle around them. It also avoids hyperextension if you are double-jointed. When sitting on the heels, take a blanket between the feet or a block on top of the heels to sit up a little higher. When kneeling, take a blanket or pillow under the knees. When moving into lotus or other sitting poses that require twisting the legs up, then move only into a position you can hold comfortably. If you it’s too difficult to get close, ask for a modification.

Lower back:
If you have an already existing injury in the lower back, it’s advisable that you make sure with a doctor that doing yoga is appropriate for you. Some injuries could get worse by practicing posture-based yoga.  If you are clear to go, then pay particular attention to what the rest of your body is doing as well as taking care of your back. Abdominal muscles are key to strengthening the lower back against further injury. If your back rounds as you lower down into a forward bend, then bends the knees until your back is straight (heart forward, shoulders back, bending from the hip sockets), and pull the belly in as you bend. If your back hurts too much to do back bends (bow, bridge, camel), then don’t do them. If you can, then move into the pose slowly, keep the legs active, pressing the pelvis and hips forward and tailbone towards the knees. Turning the toes and knees out a little bit can help alleviate some pressure in the lower back as well. Also follow back bends with gentle twists and/or a wide-kneed child’s pose, and avoid deep forward bends until the lower back has had some time to lengthen again.

Neck:
If you see the neck as an extension of the spine and it moves with it, then that helps to avoid most neck injuries. The problem is our necks get a major workout as we look this way and that, drop the head if it feels too heavy, etc. But dropping the head is exactly what can cause those injuries to begin with! Keeping the neck long helps make poses like push-up easier. In cobra or upward facing dog, lengthen rather than compress the back of the neck. You should feel no folds in the back of the neck, and the chin tucks slightly in towards the throat. In poses like camel, where the shoulder blades come together, you can let your head fall back only if it has somewhere to rest. And if the head is back, don’t yank the head up again when you come back out of the pose, keep it back until you are upright and can lift your head without straining the neck. In inverted poses (headstand, handstand, shoulderstand), keeping strong shoulders pulled up and away from the ears actually help to protect the neck, rather than the instinct to pull the shoulders close.  When your neck is already injured, avoid headstands and shoulderstands.

Throat:
Particular attention should be paid in bridge and shoulder stand to avoid harming the throat. As almost the whole body weight is being supported by this one area. The throat gets compressed and if the rest of the body is not compensating, damage to the vocal chords can occur. Squeezing the shoulder blades together and pressing them flat to the ground causes the spine to lift and gives the back of the neck more space to lay on the ground, allowing the front to be more open. And move slowly into a fully vertical shoulder stand, being aware of your neck and throat as you move.

We offer yoga in Berlin, Kreuzberg. Our teachers are injury conscious and will be happy to assist you before and throughout the class with tailored variations for your yoga poses. We believe that the increased awareness that we cultivate in our yoga classes together with the suggested variations for your unique body, make a difference both to practicing yoga in daily life and to the yoga benefits you take with you after class.

Happy New Year from English Yoga Berlin!

“Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.”
-Faith Baldwin

2015 is now well under way and we hope your year has started off well. As we bid farewell to our dear long time colleague and friend Meg, and welcome Pedro back from his sabbatical, we offer some changes and additions to our weekly class schedule.

Hatha Yoga teacher Meg and her cat

Adieu Meg!

In March, Meg will be spreading her wings and flying off back across the Atlantic to pursue further education in non-profit organizational management. We wish her all the best with her studies and future career, though we are sad to see her go!

Hatha Yoga with Pinelopi

Hatha Yoga with Pinelopi

 

 

Hatha Yoga with Pinelopi

As of the beginning of March, Pinelopi will be teaching Hatha yoga on Tuesday evenings at 6pm and Thursday evenings, 6pm and 8pm.

 

 

Hatha-Flow yoga

Hatha-Flow Yoga

 

New Hatha-Flow Yoga

Juli introduces a new class on Friday evenings at 5:30pm, which goes slower and deeper than the Vinyasa Flow classes, but maintains the flow. It is suitable as a yoga for beginners class.

 

 

 

Classical Yoga

Classical Yoga

With Pedro‘s return, Classical yoga makes a comeback at EYB. The classes begin with a “Free Welcome Back try-out class” on Sunday March 29th from 6-7:45pm, and continue every Sunday from the beginning of April.

 

 

Friday Community Class

 

Due to overwhelming demand for another community yoga class, we are happy to offer a new rotating teacher class on Friday evenings at 7:30pm! Keep posted on our website Schedule and our Facebook page for the weekly rotation.