Yes!

I’ve got news! The journey goes on and on…. I’m so grateful to be certified to teach the MINDFRESH approach in Switzerland!

As I’m working myself all day long in the office, sitting in front of a computer, in a stressful surrounding, driven by deadlines, I know very well what effects this has on our health. And I’m talking about body and mind. Bad posture, neck and back pain, multitasking, shallow breathing… to name just a few. Having a fitness program is great, eating healthy awesome, but not enough. We need to work on body and mind to better destress and recharge. The good news is, that very simple tools can do that job.

Read more here, and if you think this could be a good idea for your office, let me know!

 

Photocredit Nadja Kappeler

yes yes yes

When I arrived in India for my first teacher training, I faced this plate next to the door of my room. Pincha Mayurasana was all I saw. I started panicking…. was I supposed to do this? I mean, my aim was NOT becoming a yoga teacher, I did this training just to soak up all about yoga. Well, that’s what I thought. You know quite well, I was damn wrong, as I started teaching right after my first teacher training and nothing can stop me since 🙂

Back to Pincha Mayurasana. In times of Instagram yogis, it takes some courage to state what we can’t do, rather than posting fancy postures only. Thanks god I always had amazing teachers, who never pushed, but teached. I learned, that being a good teacher doesn’t require that I can do all postures in perfection. Plus, yoga is not just postures, it’s so much more – but that’s a different story! Finally, teaching is not about me, it’s about my students.

However, some months ago, I decided to work on handstand and forearm stand. I knew the technique very well, I was strong enough, but fear still stopped me. I know I have to learn slowly, as it is all about building trust. Learn how a posture feels, what happens in the body and what my mindset has to be. I focused on handstand for some time and a few days ago, I tried forearm stand once again. My work paid off, it was much easier than before. And today is the day, the first time, I managed to bring my feet off the wall in pincha. OMG. Even if only some seconds, this was a major breakthrough, as now I know that I can do it. Now it’s just a matter of practice, but I’m already there.

Once you master a posture, look back. What did the process teach you? It’s not about the posture any longer, but how you changed, what you’ve learned on the way and what you are able to do. Honestly, I believe this way of slow learning is much more beneficial than just hopping into postures by default. It’s telling me a lot about life and about myself. A process so worth it!

 

 

The Truth

Think outside the box. What’s right, what’s wrong? Many of us think that they know exactly. We were educated to establish certain values; we learned the rules and we were told on how to behave. All teachers we had and still have are telling us the right way. Be aware, it’s only what they have been taught and/or what they believe in!

I’d like to encourage you to question everything. What a teacher tells you, what’s written in the books, what your parents, your partner or friends believe in. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but asking you to think about it. What does it mean to YOU, how does it fit into your world? Also ask yourself what do you believe in and is this really what you think or are you just repeating without any reflection? Not judging, but a healthy reflection, which is required to make up your own believes.

Think about it….. it’s worth it! And it’s well needed to find your own truth.

Am I talking about yoga? Of course! As a teacher, I tell my students how to access the postures, how to breathe, how to connect with their bodies and themselves. Am I telling the truth? Yes, from my point of view I do. It’s what I’ve learned and what I believe in. I don’t teach anything just following the books, it went through my reflection and is finally exactly what I believe in. Is it right for my students? If they don’t reflect and question, the answer is no. Everybody has to find ones’ own truth. All teachings are just a large bouquet of options, other people’s findings and their truth.

What about things that have been proved as right? Such as a certain medicine, that removes your pain? You might have experienced, that a medicine can help, but it doesn’t do each time. So is it true then? You decide.

Back to yoga. A simple physical example is the right posture. My opinion: there is no such thing as a perfect posture. What? Of course, we have pictures of super bendy yogis and descriptions from the great teachers and gurus –  extremely useful guides! While trying to master a posture, we have to take our body and its capability into consideration. When practicing regularly the body changes, it gets more flexible and stronger, poses become easier and closer to that image of perfect. Finally, it will always be YOUR variation of the posture, even if it looks pretty much like in the books. It might not, that’s absolutely fine. Each body is different.

There’s only one truth: YOURS.

When students become teachers

We rise by lifting others!

Three of my students decided to do a teacher training and the first one will be on her way soon. Honestly, I couldn’t be more proud! It’s fantastic to observe their paths, their interest beyond the physical practice and their openness for the yoga way of life.

A friend asked me recently, if I won’t be rather offended as they will be competitor teachers? Not at all! Yoga isn’t a competition. We serve each other, we lift each other, we spread the love. This might sound a bit like phrases from the sixties, but we’re quite aware about the business behind. Teaching yoga is business, but it works slightly different. Yoga teaches us about oneness, a quite unusual approach when it comes to business – read more about this in one of my previous posts.

Teachers are students, students are teachers. I strongly believe, that we don’t meet by default. We have to learn from each other, no matter which role. We are mirrors for each other or to put it another way: “recognize, the other person is you”. Give and receive, teach and learn, recognize and change, release and grow.

When my student becomes a teacher, I also see my journey. I see the excitement, the fear and the believes, particularly the limiting ones. I see me. I know there are a couple of things I can help with, but there are others that everyone has to experience and go through themselves, it’s part of the game. Finally being a teacher all of a sudden is a milestone itself. Standing in front of a class, developing one’s unique style…. Hesitating, struggling, and same time enjoying…. It’s beautiful, touching and yes, I’m damn proud! You so rock!

Om Mani Padme Hum

Yoga and business

How can this go together? When looking at my objectives as a yoga teacher, it’s pretty smooth. I want to give. Meaning guide my students and help them to tune in through the physical practice. Help them to maybe discover more, maybe learn about themselves, maybe start their transformation, whatever this means to them.

When people ask me, why are you teaching, even next to your full time job, that’s a huge effort? My answer is easy: I watch my students arriving to class and seeing their faces when they leave – I can see they changed. For the better. They look happier, calmer, there’s something in their eyes, that warms up my heart. And I leave class similar: shining.

And yes, in this world we’re living in, it’s absolutely ok to get money for this. It’s not about having fun, it’s work. Preparing classes, go there, doing them, investing my time and not to mention all the education and training, which isn’t just a one off, but ongoing.

But yoga is so much more. Not just a job, not just exercise. It’s a transformational process, an attitude towards life. Sadly, for some teachers and business owners, teaching yoga and living yoga is not always the same. That’s what I’m experiencing again and again. The business seem to overrule the yogi. In other words: the ego has still got the leadership role. Maybe we also need this, the other side of the coin? We are different, we have different approaches and as always, there’s no right or wrong. I strongly believe, the yoga business is no show-face to the students and when turning around a different face shows up. For me yoga is about integration and authenticity. I know, this isn’t always easy, but hey, we’re human beings and just imperfect perfect!

Each teacher is also a student, we’re all practitioners, so let’s use our yoga practice to move into stillness in order to experience the truth of who we are. As a student, as a teacher, as an individual, as a soul. And this is not an end point, this is the beginning of the journey, the beginning of our transformation. Teachers out there, love what you do, be you, aim true!

 

My dear yoga teacher

Yes YOU. I know you know. You saw it in my eyes. You felt it. But sometimes we all need to hear or read it. YOU changed my life. Well, I changed it, but YOU made it possible. I’m so lucky, that I had YOU as my teacher. It’s time for a huge THANK YOU!

When I was in Zanzibar recently, I felt so grateful for the lessons I learned and I thought about the key things I learned from all my yoga teachers. Each of you had something really special for me, something that I had to learn from you and just you. But each of you ‘infected’ me badly with the yoga virus 🙂

Anna – the first one! After your first lesson, my brain felt like washed with soap. I didn’t had a clue what happened there, didn’t I just do some work out? I had to help my arms lifting to reach the steering wheel… No way back, my yoga journey started.

Erin – the best online classes ever, you helped me a lot to establish a proper home practice! And yes, I am a bad yogi per definition.

Geri – you are the yoga goddess and your attitude should be modeled by many!

Steve – your humor even made anatomy talks ‘easy’, haha….

Bea – even if Aerial yoga was rather an excursion for me, you showed me my acrobatic potential! But there’s more. It’s called trust.

Julia – you woke up a sleeping dog – Ashtanga? Hell, no! Oh yes! How did you get all this into my body and into my mind? You can’t imagine how happy I am, having you as my main teacher again for the next big step!

Upendra – OM shanti, shanti, shantiiiii. I am shiva. Your teachings have been really different and worth every single second. I experienced my subtile body!

Magda – backbending…. Yes, I’ve got an idea now, constantly opening and one day, I’ll be there too!

Kranti – Indian adjustments. And I will probably get more of them in a couple of months! Can’t wait to be back in the shala….

Moisés – yes you! Headstand! Not just technique, you made me believe in myself.

Ronald – Alignment. Pure. The spiritual element can be bodywork too, no limits, it’s all one. You called the Ashtangis in the group and I was wondering, huh, is it me too? Yes, it was and it felt amazing!

Ashling – you beautiful soul! Your adjustments helped a lot, but much more important, although I was your student, you made me feel being part of the yoga teacher community!

It seems YOU did an amazing job, as I’m a yoga teacher too now (still can’t believe it!) and will always be a student same time, keen to learn. THANK YOU. For your lessons, your patience, your help. Thank you for being YOU. Giving is a gift, receiving is a miracle!