Beyond the Thinking Mind Workshop

We are warmly inviting you to participate in a 3 hour workshop on

“Experiencing Ourselves Beyond the Thinking Mind”.

 

When a sage was asked to describe today’s modern world, he responded “lost in thought”. We spend so much time lost in our own thoughts that days pass on by without getting a moment to connect with our own presence and the things that matter to us the most. In this workshop “Beyond the Thinking Mind” we will investigate what the patterns of our minds are, and what gets in the way of experiencing ourselves differently.

 

Yoga retreat near Berlin: "Beyond the thinking mind"When:

Sunday 22nd of February, 2020   13.00 – 16.00

What:

A talk, a meditation and a yoga session.

  • The talk will predominately look at the mind and its patterns.  At the end we will explore ways to experience the world beyond our thinking minds.
  • We will learn a  meditation technique to quiet down the chatterbox mind, while learning to detach without repressing.
  • We will end the workshop with a yoga session to move our bodies, tune in with our breaths, and observe our minds.

Who is this workshop for:

This workshop is  of interest to people who wish to understand the way the mind works according to a yogic and Buddhist point of view.  No previous yoga experience is necessary.

Maximum number of participants: 16

Where:

Our English Yoga Berlin Kreuzberg studio.

About the teacher:

Beginning her yoga journey in 1999, Pinelopi completed a 600 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher and Vedantic Philosophy Training course over a period of two years in Valencia, Spain.  For the last decade, she has worked as a full-time yoga teacher in Spain and in 2010 she founded English Yoga Berlin. Currently she is deepening her knowledge through Leslie Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy Course,  David Moore’s “Injury-free yoga” applying the Alexander Technique postural alignment to all yoga poses and is studying with Jorg Asshof to become an Alexander Technique teacher.  Her workshops and retreats are inspired by Tara Brach‘s teachings.

 

Price:  30 Euro

 

Early registration discount: 5 € discount if you register before February 8th, 2020. The workshop is refundable unless cancellation occurs later than February , 15th  2020 after which 50% refund.  Please register early before the spots fill up!

To book a place please contact:

pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

 

 

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.

Thinking about leaving a yoga class?

Leaving a yoga class

Contemporary western Post-Krishnamacharya yoga claims to be about self-care, so when something’s feeling not right in a yoga class, a participant may take the initiative to leave in the middle of it. In a large yoga class, at a fitness studio for example, where there are many participants crammed into a big space, it may hardly be noticeable. But when it’s in a small room with fewer participants, it could cause a disruption of the community atmosphere that the teacher is trying to create.

Yoga as community

When choosing to attend a yoga class, one is choosing to be led by an experienced teacher in a shared space with other participants. This creates a temporary community yoga experience, if not one over a longer time when practicing with the same people week after week. A yoga teacher attempts to create a shared experience for that group of participants that invites each of them to practice finding balance in mind and body in a room with other people. Feeling part of that community contributes to that balance. The yoga teacher’s job is to not only lead the yoga practice, but to also create a balanced and safe(r) community experience. If someone leaves the class, it can not only create a disruption, but may also signal that a disruption has already occurred.

Creating a safe(r) space

Most yoga teachers have experienced a participant leaving their class at least once in their teaching, and can understand that a person is just taking care and honouring their own needs in the moment. But if it happens regularly, it might be a good idea to check-in and evaluate teaching methods – perhaps asking for feedback from participants, especially from those who have left a class, or upgrading teaching skills.

What is it a teacher can improve upon in creating an environment where participants feel safe, seen and respected?

For every community, what that looks like could be different. At English Yoga Berlin, we’re committed to the practice of Ahimsa (non-harming) and injury-conscious yoga. At our space, we’ve put up a sign of guidelines for a safer space, and provide consent cards for permission to be touched during the class. What are other ways of doing this? We’d be happy to hear about your strategies in the comments below.

Self-care

When a participant leaves a yoga class, they’ve most likely gone through a thought process to decide whether it’s the best thing for them to do in the moment. They’ve made the time for themselves, and have likely already paid for the class, in order to practice self-reflection and self-care. And what they realize in those first moments of the class, is that whatever they’re doing is not helping them achieve that. It could be that the community is not right for them, or something happened or didn’t in order for them to feel safe, or they felt harmed in one way or another.

I, myself, have left a meditation class once because a fellow participant was behaving in a sexist manner towards me and the teacher did nothing to stop it. I felt directly harmed by the environment created in the room and would not be able to stay through the whole class without continuing to be harmed. This was a weekly class that I had been attending for a long time, and it was offering me relief from my struggle with endometriosis. I felt that my healing process was disrupted by this guy’s behaviour and the fact that the teacher just brushed it off. I couldn’t go back. If I’d thought there was something I could learn from this experience, I might’ve stayed. After having just finished the Svastha Yoga Therapy advanced teacher training program, I’ve learned a lot about sitting through discomfort and examining my own participation in it. In this case, what I could’ve learned was to gather more strength and resilience against sexism. But I also wanted to show to people (him and the teacher) that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it. No need to be a doormat!

Fight or Flight?

Yoga teaches us about balance, and how we react to behaviour in ourselves and in others around us. Sometimes the best way to learn about ourselves is to feel discomfort, to dive into those feelings of unknown territory. If we are resilient enough in the moment to do so, we can come out of that experience transformed. But if we flee too soon without examining what it is about a certain experience that bothers us, it might show us that we are afraid to address this part of ourselves that has taken us here. The amygdala, which governs our fight-or-flight response through the vagus nerve, is designed to be over-active, urging us to flee or be on guard at the slightest hint of danger. It’s a great instinct that was designed into the human structure when we needed to be on the constant look-out for predators. Yes, there are dangers in our current world – and for some of us those are real and life-threatening. But when we haven’t fully addressed those dangers, when we repress them, or don’t have the means to recover from them, then everything that reminds us of them will trigger the vagus nerve, even when those dangers are no longer there. If we continue to flee when that response comes up, we will never recover. The only way to do so, is to meet with it, understand it, and move through it. Self-care isn’t about taking care of immediate gratifying desires, but about knowing when to guide oneself through uncomfortable moments in order to expand one’s understanding of themselves and their interactions with the world.

We at English Yoga Berlin offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa flow yoga with Juli.  Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcome 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.

Terminology Tuesday: Rotation of Consciousness

rotation of consciousness

photo by Fern

Today we are focusing on a term that we use in every class, during Yoga Nidra: rotation of consciousness.

The rotation of consciousness involves taking the practitioner’s awareness to different parts of the body. Wherever we focus our attention becomes the place where we also centre our energy. Bringing one’s awareness to each part of the body increases the energy in that part and allows the participant to identify and relax tensions there.

By using this practice we invite ourselves to experience total relaxation while being awake.  Nidra, here, means literally sleepYoga Nidra, therefore means the yoga of sleep.  It is about being aware while the body sleeps; the rotation of consciousness is one of the techniques that makes this possible.  It brings heightened awareness to the whole body, piece by piece. It grounds us with connecting to the sensations present there.

Important Tip

If you, like me, end up falling asleep during Yoga Nidra, first of all know that it is natural and common.  But, like me, you might regret having missed the visualization that follows, and really would like to stay awake.  Try and repeat the teacher’s words as they reach you, while feeling or visualizing the body part – it worked for me!

Clelia is an Erasmus entrepreneur working as an intern.  Her placement involved 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, pregnancy yoga, and private yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain.

Terminology Tuesday: Yamas

looks like morse

Yamas are guidelines

Now that the western New Year has settled in, many of us are resolving to change some of our habits. The yamas is an aspect of yoga that guides us to change certain deeply ingrained habits. Let’s begin here.

 

Yamas and Niyamas are the first two steps of yoga that Patanjali discusses in the Yoga Sutra. They are ethical, behavioral and spiritual guidelines for living.

The Yamas are ethical principles about attitudes and behaviors that cause suffering (greed, dishonesty, violence, etc).  They are about stopping the behaviors that cause you to suffer.

Ahimsa is the first Yama, and it is most commonly translated as ´non-violence´. Non violent consciousness is defined by some as connecting with what is alive in ourselves and others. It´s also what we use in yoga, when we decide not to push beyond our limits.

Satya is the second Yama, and it means ´truth´. Satya urges us to be honest with  ourselves, and with others. In asana, we practice Satya when we listen to our body and, again, respect its limits.

Asteya is the third Yama, and it means ´not stealing´. This is a more complex concept than the translation conveys.   We believe Asteya is not about stifling need, it is about restraining greed. Asteya guides students to ask themselves: do I really need this?

Brahmacharya is the fourth Yama. It  is translated into English as ´celibacy´, but can also be looked at as a ´conscious use of energy, especially sexual´.

Aparigraha is the last Yama, and it means ´non-comparing´. This Yama is about jealousy, and acceptance. Patanjali recognized that the human mind has a tendency to compare, in order to understand. In our Kreuzberg yoga classes we often tell students to observe without analyzing.

For a more in-depth exploration of the Yamas, read here and here.  If you wish to learn more about how these values influence your own life, then we invite you to our 2.5 workshop on Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas coming up at the end of the month. In this workshop we will use 10 guided mini self explorations to make the yamas an niyamas something applicable to our own personal 21st century lives.

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.

Chakra course Berlin – the Details

Please note: In the original Tantric yoga tradition there are many forms of chakra systems that have been mentioned: five-chakra system, seven, nine, ten, fifteen, twenty-one, twenty-eight. We will focus on the seven-chakra system that became dominant around the 16th century and that has been influenced by the psychologist Carl Jung who presented the idea that human behaviours get felt energetically.

Saturday October 13th, 2018

The first class of our chakra course will have a different format to the rest of the classes to explain the basic concepts of the yogic philosophy of prana, nadis, koshas, and chakras. These concepts will be needed to understand the rest of the chakras course.

Through this talk we will understand in which plane the chakras are found and the energy flow pathways. We will explore what is meant when referring to phrases such as:

  • energy leaks
  • biography becomes biology
  • healthy/blocked chakra

The yoga session will be brief and basic followed by a guided relaxation on the location of each chakra.

Format of first class:

  • 45 minute talk
  • 30 minute yoga session
  • 10 minute visualization
  • each student will get a handout with the information covered in this talk.

Format of the other eight classes:

  • 10-15 minute talk explaining the thought patterns, behaviours and emotions of the specific chakra we are exploring and its physical repercussions.
  • 55 -60 minute asanas (yogic postures that activate the specific chakra)
  • 20 minutes guided relaxation in which the students self explore these concepts in regards to their own lives.
  • At the end of each class students will be given ideas of small tasks they can do daily till the next class to better embed the learnings of the chakra explored.
  • Students will also receive an email with the basic teachings of the class and optional self-exploration questions to journal about.

October 20th, 2018

Photo by Craig Starhorn on Unsplash
Photo by Craig Starhorn on Unsplash

In the chakra MULADHARA we will explore our roots as an archetype. This refers to how the psyche views the group of people, subculture, culture, nation (s), that grew you up as a child. The ones that passed all those messages that “we do things this way and not that way.” In this class, we will explore who is the “we” in that phrase and what messages one has received at that level.

The guided meditation will invite the students to find and release a personal belief passed down from their roots that no longer serves them.

October 27th, 2018

In the chakra SVADHISHTHANA we will explore the role and power of choice and how that affects creativity and one to one relationships. A healthy second chakra allows for creativity to reshape our lives and for the world to become a playful place.

The guided meditation will invite students to visualize the creative space within.

 

Exploring our personal power in the Chakra Course Berlin

November 3rd, 2018

In the chakra MANIPURA we will explore the four stages of personal power and the ability to separate ourselves from group thought.

The guided meditation will take the students through the four stages of personal power as they choose a personal subject that they wish to work on.

November 10th, 2018

Exploring Anahata at the Chakra Course BerlinIn part one of the chakra ANAHATA we will explore the definition of forgiveness and why we would wish to let go of past wounds.

We can not will forgiveness, we can only be willing. -Tara Brach

The guided meditation will focus on forgiving someone the student is ready to let go of.

November 17th, 2018

In part two of the chakra ANAHATA we will explore the “armoured heart”, ways to soften it, and learn to trust it.

The guided meditation will be a practice of loving kindness.

There will be no class on November 24th, 2018

Finding your own voice through the chakra courseDecember 1st, 2018

In the chakra VISHUDDHA we will explore communicating your “inner truth” and then surrendering to what you can not control.

The guided meditation will be a practice of accessing your inner truth.

 

karen-zhao-643916-unsplash

December 8th, 2018

In the chakra AJNA we will explore intuition, healthy detachment, and symbolic sight.

The guided meditation will be a visualization exploring the movie that is your life.

Chakra course Berlin

December 15th, 2018

In the chakra SAHASRARA we will explore our own private spirituality.

The guided meditation will be a visualization of exploring your own spirit connection.

 

For further information about the course such as location, prices, how to book or to know more about the teacher please click here.

2.5hrs Workshop Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Yoga is 4000 years old. No, no it’s not! It’s from British colonial gymnastics! What? No, Hatha Yoga is 400,000 years old -from when the first group of people gathered consciously around fire. What yoga are you talking about? Yeah, there are so many – I even heard that there is the yoga of singing! Is that even a thing? Sure! But what does that have to do with anything? But yoga belongs to the Hindu religion, right? No, it’s also Buddhist and Jainist. No!… everyone says yoga has nothing to do with religion! But what about the Bhagavad Gita? It constantly uses the word yoga. That’s about a war! How un-spiritual! Is Yoga spiritual? Isn’t Tantra Yoga all about sex? And where does Hot Yoga fit into all of this anyway? I don’t think Patanjali would even consider that yoga. PataWHO??

Feeling confused about the history, meaning, goal and ethics of yoga?

workshop patanjali's yoga sutras Berlin

Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash

There are many types of yoga available out there. Depending on your definition and aim of  modern day yoga, its origins and meaning will vary. Many consider Patanjali and his ancient text The Yoga Sutras to be the “father of yoga”. In this 2.5 hour workshop,  we will explore the eight fold paths of classical yoga, giving special importance to the ethics and moral observances, as well as the practice of detachment.

When:  Saturday 3rd of November, 2018 14:30- 17.00

 

Where: At our English Yoga Berlin studio, Görlitzerstr. 39 – Kreuzberg Berlin

Who is this workshop for:

Anyone who would like to be introduced to the ancient text “Yoga Sutras”, Patanjali’s role in modern day yoga, and the eight fold path of yoga. This workshop is also good (but not only) for yoga teachers wishing to refresh or deepen their knowledge.

Format of workshop:

This workshop is given in the form of a talk with ten mini self-explorative guided meditations to make the material relevant to you and your every day life.

Please note:

  • Most of the talk will focus on:
    • Patanjali and the goal of yoga
    • the Yamas and Niyamas (ethics and moral observances)
    • Pratyahara (the practice of dettachment).
  • The talk will focus very briefly on:
    • Asanas (yogic postures)
    • Pranayama (breathing techniques)
      • As these are explained in the regular Hatha Yoga classes
  • The talk will briefly introduce the goals of:
    • Dharana (concentration)
    • Dhyana (meditation)
    • Samadhi (liberation)
      • as these subjects are too big for a 2.5 hr workshop.

About the teacher:

Pinelopi teaches Berlin Yoga workshopsBackground info: Beginning her yoga journey in 1999, Pinelopi completed a 600 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher and Vedantic Philosophy Training course over a period of two years in Valencia, Spain. This training is recognized by the Berufverband de Yogalehrenden in Deutschland (BDY), World Movement of Yoga and Ayurveda and the European Yoga Federation. For the last decade, she has worked as a full-time yoga teacher in Spain and in 2010 she founded English Yoga Berlin. Currently she is deepening her knowledge through Leslie Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy Course and David Moore’s “Injury-free yoga” applying the Alexander Technique postural alignment to all yoga poses.

Price: 30 Euro

 Early registration discount: 5 € discount if you register before October 2nd , 2018. The workshop is refundable unless cancellation occurs later than October 20th, after which 50% refund.  Space is limited so register early before the spots fill up!

To book a place please contact:

pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

 

Students that register in this workshop get a 20% discount on the Yamas and Niyama Module 1 course coming up in January 2019.

 

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. Her yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. She offers Berlin business yogaprivate yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain, yoga courses and workshops.

CHAKRA COURSE – kreuzberg Berlin

Self exploration through the language of Chakras

photo by Biel Morro

photo by Biel Morro

When:

Saturdays 10.30-12.00,  October 13th- December 15th, 2018

Where:

At our English Yoga Berlin studio, Görlitzerstr. 39 – Kreuzberg, Berlin.

What does this Chakra course offer?

The Chakras are energetic centers  positioned in our pranic bodies that ensure the flow of energy connecting our bodies, minds, and soul. Each chakra influences and is influenced by an area of the body, a way of thinking, and an emotion. In this course we will explore which emotions, way of thinking and body postures ensure an unobstructed flow of energy and vice versa.

In this nine week course we will learn the symbolic language of the chakras and how human behaviors affect its vibrations. We use the chakras as a map to help us self explore certain concepts like our tribes (as an archetype), creativity, self esteem, forgiveness, surrender, love, detachment and connection to our spirits.

The classes will be given in the format of an introduction, followed by self exploration through yoga poses and visualizations.

For a more detailed view of each class please click here.

Who:

Students with at least three months of  yoga experience. Maximum participants: 13

Price: 

180 Euro for nine classes

               Early registration discount:

 30 € discount if you register before September 15th , 2018. The course is refundable unless cancellation occurs later than October 1st, after which 50% refund.  Space is limited so register early before the spots fill up!

Please note:

  1. This course is  no substitute for therapy. The concepts explored are ones that most humans tend to struggle with on some level and can awaken some new views into your own psyche.  The purpose of the course is self-exploration and not psychological therapy.
  2. During this course we are not going to learn traditional methods of activating the chakras through Kundalini yoga. There will be no attempt to rise the Kundalini energy as this requires a lot of purification of the student beforehand and an experienced guru that deems the student to be ready.
  3. This class is recommended to students with previous yoga experience.

To book a place please contact:  pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com

 

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. Her yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. She offers Berlin business yogaprivate yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain, yoga courses and workshops.

Interview with Pinelopi – Hatha Yoga Teacher

This interview was taken by Clelia, an Erasmus entrepreneur working as an intern in learning how to set up a small yoga business such as English Yoga Berlin.  During her stay here, she decided to interview the English Yoga Berlin teachers to find out more about their past and their pathway that lead them to yoga.

1. When was the moment that yoga became something else for you than just another experience?

interview with PinelopiThe first class I took. I was 19 years old, and mostly aware of my body through pain created by the imbalances brought about from a club foot at birth. Up to then, I would look at all physical activities more as a challenge and a “must” rather than a source of pleasure and opening. When my friend, Eve, took me to my first yoga class in Chichester, England, I experienced a form of opening of over-contracted muscles and untying knots and habits of my body that was incredible. I experienced the first “physical exercise” that brought me pleasure and made me feel capable – whilst at the same time built muscles and made me strong. When the teacher arrived to the guided relaxation, I had an incredible experience of “being” which was in stark contrast to my overwhelming “doing” mode. At that moment I knew that this was not just another experience, like a zumba class would have been for me, but a path for me to take.

2. Can you pinpoint a time when you could say, this is life before yoga, and this is life after yoga?

A year later, I moved to other parts of the world and left my wonderful Chichester teacher. Unfortunately, the chronic pain in my leg got worse and was spreading. I ended up needing to take six months off to solely focus on physical therapy and finding a way to deal with the pain in my body. I had to do at least two hours of physical therapy exercises every day for my body to function. That’s a LOT of time to dedicate to your body daily!  And they were the same five exercises repeated over and over, again and again and again.  That is when I started remembering my yoga and slowly turning the exercises into yoga.  Soon,  I had a two hour daily yoga practice, with a relaxation to calm the nervous system down from the chronic pain… and to access that “being” state again and again.

That would be the moment where there was a life before and after yoga.  The life before was predominantly painful. When I started doing my daily yoga practice, I felt like I had a tool box. I would wake up in pain, and than I would take the toolbox out to loosen some screws and tighten some others and oil the rest… and then I could function for the rest of the day.

My teacher used to say that “people approach yoga for a specific reason, but they stay for other reasons”. This is definitely what happened to me. I approached yoga out of being in a lot of pain, and I stayed because it opened the doors to another way of relating to life. To the “being” state that brought lightness, depth and connection with every thing that mattered to me.

 

3. Why are you teaching yoga, rather than just practising it for yourself?

I love teaching. Before I was a yoga teacher I would teach kids extra curricular theatre, languages, and all kinds of stuff.  I taught young women self defence workshops in Spain. I learned lots of incredible and alternative teaching techniques at a popular education seminar we organised in ESCANDA. Teaching is something that I have always been attracted to, that always felt natural to me, and that was a way of learning.  When I was a kid, I would learn or do my home work  by putting my dolls in a line and pretending to be their teacher! Teaching, for me, is the best way of learning.

And so it is with the yoga classes too. It is through teaching that I learn. It is through saying things to students while I teach, that I notice the gaps in my knowledge and am able to dig deeper…. or that I comprehend better the understanding of the yoga teachings.

Of course, one of the biggest sources of happiness for me, is when a student who suffers from chronic pain is able to untangle the different parts that contribute to that pain through yoga and gets to breathe more freely. Being able to teach pathways that bring people to such self exploration, body awareness and understanding of their own knots is one of the most precious parts of my work, and a reason in and of itself to teach.

4. How did you find your way through the ancient tradition of Yoga?  Why Hatha Yoga and not another yoga?

I have been drawn to hatha yoga because it is a slower kind of yoga, giving me enough time to check in with my body as I put myself into an asana. For me, the time factor, is very important. I use this kind of yoga to increase body awareness, have a communication with my body about what is happening right now and how it is affecting the rest of me, and to induce an embodied presence.  Lots of students say that the way I teach is meditative. I would have never described it that way, as for me, meditation is something very different. But I am starting to understand where they are coming from when describing the classes in this way.  They are referring to being guided in keeping the mind present to what is happening right here in the body and the energetic field at this very moment. I would describe that more as mindfulness.

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. Her yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. She offers Berlin business yoga, pregnancy yoga, and private yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain.