Hello Yoga Kreuzberg, 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. But let me tell you a little about how I got here, it’s a story about how to live through limitations and transform pain into a great opportunity.
My path to English Yoga Berlin begun one day about one year ago: I had an office job, a radio show in the student radio at Glasgow university and an arthritic hip. This meant I was spending most of my time sitting down inputting data or listening to music; anyone of you who has experience directly or indirectly in arthritic pain will know that lack of movement is going to make things chronically worse. My only lifeline was my daily yoga practice, as yoga is the only movement based activity with no impact and enough awareness to care for my condition. I had tried the gym, but it only left me in pain at night: I also used to swim, but not being able to move the leg meant that I was only using my upper body. Yoga was able to tackle posture, injury-conscious movement and offered breathing techniques that relaxed all the tense muscles doing their best to cope but becoming chronically tight.
I could not afford to pay for the amount of classes I needed every week (at least five), so I practiced at home. I confess that practicing yoga on my own felt lonely at times, and the available online yoga classes would not help me learn how to address my individual needs; as my hip became tighter and tighter, it was harder and harder to motivate myself on the mat. Nevermind full splits, I could not even sit crossed legged! I craved a teacher, a guide, another human to help me, and maybe other faces with me in the room to let me know I was not alone in caring for our bodies and minds. I decided I needed to take action in far deeper ways that what I had been doing, I needed a true commitment to my health: my job came to an end, I had to find another way to make a living. I thought “can I put these two things together? make a living and commit to my health in a supportive community?”.
The answers came: where I live in Scotland, there is a commitment from local government to invest funding for both entrepreneurs and initiatives to help tackle physical and mental health. I looked into setting up a social enterprise, and the answers kept coming: I found out from a dear friend about Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, a programme to support new entrepreneurs to go abroad and learn in a paid internship from more experienced entrepreneurs. I searched and spoke to many yoga teachers, studios and organisation across Europe, until I found Kreuzberg Yoga with Pinelopi and Juli: they offer a yoga practice that nurtures and potentially empowers individuals as interconnected to each other through mutual respect, and that is proactive in making the benefits of yoga available to those traditionally marginalised from it – whether it is for physical ability, economic background, transgressive identity, ideals of body shape, perceptions of yoga as exclusively spiritual, esoteric, for experts. It was, and is, the loudest answer to my needs I could ever hope for.
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, pregnancy yoga, and private yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain.