The next level

Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong. (Zen Proverb)

When practicing, find something more than just the physical challenge. Use the physical practice for controlling your mind, as the physical body is merely a vehicle. It’s not that important what you practice, but HOW you practice. It’s about deep listening, understanding your body and creating harmony. Notice when you are pushing and stop immediately. Let it go, connect with your breath, feel your body, then start again. 

Getting soft in your practice isn’t a sign of weakness, but strength. 

Yoga means union. Union of purusha (spirit, soul) and prakriti (surrounding, nature around us). Union of atman (true self) and brahman (absolute consciousness). Union of body and mind, the unity between the individual soul and the cosmic soul.

Bring your practice to the next level – get soft.


You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.

(Sharon Gannon)

I love this.

In the yoga sutras, the most acknowledged text about yoga, Patanjali states about 2000 years ago the yoga path, the so called ’eight limbs’:

  • Yama (self discipline)
  • Niyama (self observation)
  • Asana (posture)
  • Pranayama (breath control)
  • Pratyahara (withdraw of the senses)
  • Dharana (concentration)
  • Dhyana (meditation)
  • Samadhi (contemplation)

All of them together is what yoga is made of. What we usually call yoga nowadays is asana, the physical part, but it’s just one of 8. Sometimes we add a bit of pranayama and dhyana, meditation, but most of the times it’s split into different classes.

In times of high stress levels, lots of burn outs, the interest of different practices arise. Mindfulness is a term we here more and more and health is getting more attention. Not just the body, but also the mind. Yoga is a spiritual practice, even if you practice asanas only. The goal isn’t fitness oriented (a nice side effect, I know!), but a moving meditation. Yoga means union. Union between our ego (ahamkara), who is the owner of thoughts, the inner voice talking non-stop, and our true self (atman).

The yoga sutras state: „The essence and purpose of yoga is to calm the turbulence of the mind, so that we can see our true nature.“

Next time you’re practicing asanas, think of it. Bing you full attention to your breath, make it strong and go internal. Do the postures, but don’t care about them too much. Start the journey to your true self!

Do we need a mat to practice?

No, we don’t. And sometimes I even prefer to practice without. So is it just good Marketing that we’re purchasing them and even need more than one? Nope, a mat has a lot of benefits (please do yourself a favor an get a proper one – yes they are expensive but worth it, depending on your requirements).

The most important reason is to protect us from injury. Wow, a mat ca do this? Absolutely, let me give you an example: I’ve got slightly sweaty hands and those who share this with me know what I’m talking about. Slipping on a mat can be quite dangerous, plus it keeps my mind busy to take care about a proper and safe stand instead of releasing in a posture.

Of course it’s also a welcome support for the knees and all those parts touching the ground. Honestly I also don’t want to know what’s going on there on the floor, such things as when it has been cleaned last time…. Just get my mat down and everything is fine. Well, don’t forget to clean your mat regularly!

There’s another aspect not to be underestimated: ‘my mat is my home’. A symbolical representation of the place, which makes your mind, body, heart and soul healthy and also in union. Where ever you place your mat, you’re home. It’s your safe place. A synonym for your practice. Untouchable for others, disrespectful to walk on a mat that is not yours. Even when I teach, I try to not touch the mats of my students, which is unfortunately not always possible when doing adjustments, however, I respect this as a very personal place.

Regardless of all the pros using a mat, go without from time to time. We should not be attached to it, as attachment is rather about holding and clinging, while we try to practice the art of letting go in yoga. It’s all a matter of a healthy balance – appreciate your mat, without becoming hooked on it.

Meditation vs meditation

I read a lot about meditation. I took lessons. I did the 30 day challenge with Deepak and Oprah. I tried. Again and again. I failed. Again and again. Struggling with my feet falling asleep, my back complaining. Struggling with the feeling, that I simply can’t do it. Due to all the benefits of meditation, I couldn’t accept to not doing it. It was a catch 22.

My philosophy teacher in India was referring to the rising sun in his meditation lessons. He always said ‚I am the rising sun. I am shiva‘. I had to smile, it was kind of matching the situation, but I didn’t understand.

One day when doing my Ashtanga practice, I managed to focus that much on my breath, that my practice was nothing but intense deep breathing, while my body moved through the asanas. This felt so amazing and my only thought after practice was, THIS is meditation! A moving meditation.

This experience made me look closer to my definition of meditation: sitting in stillness, getting rid of all thoughts, calming down, release, finding peace within.

It was this definition, that was holding me back from meditating. Yoga is union and this is where meditation starts for me. Unite with myself. Going internal, connect with my breath. BE my breath. Feeling my love in my chest. Feeling the sun rising in me. Let it spread, let it shine. Being the rising sun. This deep connection is my meditation. And the journey to it is breath.

It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing. It might happen while practicing, or walking my dog. I might be sitting, lying down, or cooking. It might take a couple of seconds, minutes or hours. It doesn’t matter.

There is no right or wrong. This is how I meditate. Your experience might be totally different. But if you are struggling, maybe this is some inspiration for you.

These are MY moments. My silent moments, my deep connection to myself. My meditation. My moments when I am SHIVA.