Better than its reputation: what envy can teach us

It is considered one of the seven deadly sins and has a correspondingly bad reputation: envy is not a welcome feeling.

When we are envious, we often feel bad. Not only because we envy someone, but also because we feel guilty for being envious in the first place. As a child, we may even have heard “don’t be envious” more than once.

From an evolutionary biology perspective, envy actually makes a lot of sense.  In earlier times, it was often a matter of life and death if you had less than others.

Yogis and yoginis also know that all feelings have a right to exist and are allowed to exist. Even envy! Because it can teach us important lessons. But which ones? And how can you deal with envy mindfully?

Social media minefield of envy

In the Instagram age, everyone seems to have a great life, high-end furnishings and is constantly on exotic trips around the world. Everyone is slimmer, more beautiful, has more money, more friends, more fun. These false assumptions trigger feelings of envy in many of us.

It is very important to realize how fake the content on social media platforms is. Only very few of us present ourselves overworked, sad or after a defeat. Instead, we share photos in which we look particularly good and talk about our successes. And why not? When consuming social media, just keep reminding yourself that all the beautiful pictures are just snapshots and might be carefully staged.

Positive vs. negative envy

Have you done your best to set yourself apart, but still feel envious? It happens to all of us. But there are two sides to envy.

The dark side of envy makes us resentful. The person we are envious of triggers a strong resentment or anger in us. Being happy for the person and enjoying their success, new car or dream job? No way! This type of envy keeps you trapped in your negative thoughts.

Positive envy, on the other hand, can reveal our true needs. The successes and achievements of others can make us realize “I want that too!” and motivate us to take steps that bring us closer to our goals. If your ambition is fueled by the success of others, this is a positive development, because you are spurred on to take action yourself.

Handling envy in a mindful way

If you have been gripped by envy, you can follow a few guidelines to deal with it mindfully.

1. Don’t suppress it! As I said, every feeling is allowed. Nobody likes to admit to a feeling like envy, as it signals a lack. But come to terms with your feelings and don’t be ashamed of them.

2. Don’t compare! Yes, it is often unavoidable. So often we unconsciously compare ourselves with others, but it doesn’t do us any good at all. So try not to make comparisons if someone around you makes you feel envious.

3. Appreciate what you have! Practice gratitude and constantly remind yourself of what is positive in your life. This will strengthen your satisfaction and self-worth and make you less susceptible to envy.

4. Know your goals! Visualize exactly what your goals are. Then ask yourself: Do I really want this thing or experience? Is it aligned with my goals? Would it help me to have what this person has? If so, how could I achieve it?

5. Question! Why am I envious of this person in particular? Would I want to swap places with this person? Is there perhaps even someone who could be envious of me? If so, of what exactly?

Yoga practice as an anti-envy exercise

Your yoga mat is a good place to learn how to deal with envy in a healthy way. All too often we envy our fellow yogis and yoginis for their strength, their flexibility, their figure, their chic outfit.

If you catch yourself doing this, remind yourself of the previous five points to give your feelings of envy space.

But please only do this after your yoga class – this is your time for yourself. This is a wonderful way to practice turning your focus inwards instead of outwards. If envy is still bothering you after the class, deal with it as described. But who knows? Maybe it will already have disappeared during Savasana 😊

Mindful scrolling: How to make the most of social media as a yogi:ni

We’ve all been there: the next train is late, the queue at the supermarket is seemingly endless or you simply don’t get called in the waiting room. These are all typical situations in which we reach for our cell phones and look around on social media.

There’s nothing wrong with that in general. Many of us use Instagram & Co. to combat boredom. However, in addition to entertaining cat videos, there is also a lot of content that can make us feel envious and, in the worst case, even make us feel inadequate.

So how can you use social media in a yogic way? I have put together three tips for you.

Choose wisely which accounts you follow

Not all accounts with the word “yoga” in their name are spreading real yogic content. Many are simply self-promotional and full of perfectly edited pictures of beautiful people in acrobatic asanas. Still others claim to lead a yoga-influenced lifestyle while simply practicing asanas as a sport and otherwise knowing nothing about yoga.

Think carefully about what you want from the content that appears in your feed. Do you want to learn something? Do you teach yoga and want to use Instagram as inspiration for your classes? Or do you just want to be entertained? In the latter case, simply aesthetic visual content will do. With the other two options, you shouldn’t be indiscriminate and only follow people whose content really helps you – see point 3.

Avoid comparisons

Someone is more advanced in terms of asanas or has a “better” figure? Remind yourself that you are not worth less because of this!

As mentioned at the beginning, some images can cause you to compare yourself and not do well in your own eyes in this comparison. If you feel inadequate or simply not good when looking at certain content, remove it – see point 1.

In any case, try not to compare yourself to others. Acceptance, a principle that often accompanies us on the yoga mat, should also accompany you in your yogic use of social media. Just because someone is stronger or more flexible than you doesn’t mean they are ‘better’ than you. Always remember that even these supposedly perfect people have their insecurities.

Be inspired and learn

Used correctly – or yogically – social media can provide you with lots of instructive input. You can also get a wealth of great, creative ideas from the right accounts.

Once you have put together a good selection of meaningful accounts, you will be able to learn and take a lot with you. Some share valuable knowledge about anatomy, others share their ideas for creative sequencing, others make yoga philosophy accessible to everyone.

Draw knowledge and inspiration for your own practice and teaching from the content of the accounts you follow.

What’s your experience? Do you use Instagram & Co. Who do you follow? Who would you recommend? Share it with us in the comments!

Inconvenience or opportunity? Mindful ways to deal with boredom

Just like envy, boredom is a feeling that is not very popular. When we feel bored, we want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Nowadays, this usually means reaching for our cell phones, surfing around pointlessly and not even realizing how we are wasting our time. We often can’t believe how long we’ve been immersed in Instagram & Co. when we finally put the phone away again.

Many of us feel even more frustrated afterwards than before, knowing that we have simply wasted precious moments.

Boredom is also a reason why lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic were so unpleasant for many people. As soon as they were unable to carry out their usual activities, they no longer knew what to do with themselves.

But is boredom really just an inconvenience? Or can it also be an opportunity?

What actually is boredom?

A well-known definition of boredom comes from Dr. John Eastwood, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto: “Boredom is the unpleasant feeling of wanting to do a satisfying activity but not being able to do so.”

This definition reveals a lot. First of all, it is striking that the label “unpleasant” is used directly here. So boredom is not a feeling that we enjoy. We resist it and look for ways to end it.

On the other hand, according to the definition, there is not just a need for any activity, but for a “satisfying” one. So it doesn’t even have to be the case that there are no activities available to us at all when we are bored. It may also be that we perceive the options we have as unsatisfactory. Therefore, scrolling blindly on our cell phones is not a good way to combat boredom either.

Boredom – a question of perspective

When we are bored, we are often even embarrassed. If you are asked about plans and don’t have any, it is often rather unpleasant. You feel as if you are uninteresting and don’t know what to do with yourself. Those who organize their free time as efficiently as possible are respected.

In Italy, on the other hand, there is an expression called “Dolce Far Niente” – the sweet idleness.

The adjective “sweet” alone shows that the lack of plans is viewed completely differently here. It is positive, even pleasurable – a conscious switching off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, something you treat yourself to rather than something you endure.

Friedrich Nietzsche coined the quote “Boredom is the calm of the soul”. Doesn’t that sound nice? Letting the inner turmoil calm down for once?

Boredom as an opportunity

The next time you feel bored, try to look at the feeling from a new perspective. Take it as an opportunity to give your thoughts time to sort themselves out. A moment of pause can be very beneficial.

At the same time, this is also the ideal moment to view boredom as motivation to look around for fulfilling activities. How often do we even get the opportunity to do this? All too often we are so busy and sometimes even overloaded with the duties of everyday life that we have neither the time nor the energy to question what we really enjoy doing and what we find fulfilling.

Personally, I have found it a gift to ask myself exactly that during the pandemic, to try out different activities without any pressure. It’s a luxury to be able to ask yourself “what do I want to do with my time now?” instead of thinking “what else do I have to do now?”.

Mindfulness is now a very overused word, but it is also useful when you are bored. It can help you find a healthy way of dealing with the feeling. The next time you’re bored, don’t immediately reach for your cell phone. Allow yourself the opportunity to consciously notice and question the feeling of boredom. Why are you bored right now? What would you find fulfilling at this very moment? Or perhaps a moment of complete peace and quiet would suit you just fine?

An Ayurvedic perspective on boredom

Not all boredom is the same. Here too, there are various forms in which the feeling can manifest itself.

On the one hand, there is the classic “hanging around”: You feel lethargic, listless, have no idea what you might feel like doing.

On the other hand, there’s restlessness: you’re fidgety, restless, with countless thoughts running through your head, but you can’t really hold on to any of them.

In Ayurvedic terms, the ‘hanging around’ variant has Kapha properties. This dosha, which is characterized by the element earth, stands for stability and calm when it’s balanced. If it is out of balance, you feel lethargic and completely unmotivated. If you find yourself in this state, activating movement is a good solution. Practice a few sun salutations and let the heaviness fall away. Then make yourself a hot Kapha tea and use essential oils such as eucalyptus or mint.

In balance, Vata gives us enthusiasm and creativity. Restlessness and flurry, on the other hand, are classic symptoms of excessive Vata dosha. Meditation can help here. If sitting still seems daunting to you, try gentle, flowing movement in harmony with your breath. Dedicate yourself to a meditative activity, such as painting or coloring. There is also an appropriate tea for Vata. Oils for balancing Vata include rose and lavender.

The next time you feel bored, grab a pen and paper and do a little journaling session. Describe the feeling you are experiencing at that moment. Ask yourself: Are there moments when you even wish you were bored?  If you could do anything right now, what would you choose and why? Is there an activity you can do right now that would have a similar effect on you?

Just the process of reflecting and writing it down can bring you out of your lethargy and awaken new motivation or bring some calm to your inner turmoil.

When was the last time you were bored? How did you deal with it? Share it with me in the comments!

Chances and challenges: My year 2023

As the year draws to a close, we are in the middle of the mystical Rough Nights – the perfect time for reflection.

I like to take time “between the years” to look back on the current year. What was nice, what was difficult, what was unforgettable? Such a review is also ideal for determining what you would like to take with you into the new year and what you can leave behind. Once again, I have looked back on my year and would like to share the results with you.

A difficult start

After 2022 was an incredibly difficult year for me, I was more than excited about 2023. The start was a little bumpy: shortly before Christmas 2022, I broke my left arm, which unfortunately meant that the New Year’s Eve plans I had been looking forward to fell through. The start of the new year was also difficult due to the injury. With my arm in a cast from shoulder to hand and in severe pain, I was very limited in my everyday life. Chopping vegetables? No chance. Making the bed myself? Forget it! Putting on socks? Awkward.

I coped well with all of this. What worried me was that I could do little or nothing of the two things that are most beneficial to my mental health: Yoga and swimming.

The beauty of yoga is that you can adapt it to your own needs. I googled “yoga with a broken arm”, tried out appropriate flows and focused more on meditation.

Swimming, on the other hand, was canceled for the time being. Last year (2022), I picked up my old hobby again after a long break, during a phase in which I was in a very bad place due to panic attacks. Of course, yoga also helped, but swimming was the real breakthrough. As soon as I was back in the water more often, I felt steadily better. I was therefore incredibly happy that my mood didn’t drop when I couldn’t go swimming. Of course I missed it, but I was still fine. 

Things are looking up

A yoga teacher get-together in mid-February at the studio where I teach was the starting signal for me to do more again after my “hibernation”. It was a wonderful feeling! I met up with people I hadn’t seen for a while, exchanged ideas with other yoga teachers and recharged my batteries with inspiration and positive energy. The fact that Maryia, the studio manager and my instructor, “outed” herself as a big fan of my blog gave me an extra dose of endorphins and motivation.

I threw myself into my plans with enthusiasm and entered a prize draw on Instagram to win a place on a coaching program for yoga teachers, which involves creating an online course to generate passive income. I had never won anything before, so I went into it with no expectations – and actually won!

In this program, I learned great, helpful things that helped me enormously and exchanged ideas with like-minded people. It was a wonderful experience that gave me a clear plan for how I want to proceed. This is an integral part of my resolutions for 2024, which you will be hearing and reading about 😊

The evil C-word

I had been spared all the years of the pandemic, but after Easter it caught up with me. I was completely laid up for a while: Aching limbs, cough, cold, fever, zero energy. I was knocked out and it took me a long time to get back on my feet. The exhaustion stayed with me for quite a while after the symptoms had subsided.

Having already been both injured and ill that year, I had an even greater appreciation for my health than before. The first few times on the mat or in the water after I was off? Priceless!

A new venture

Although I’ve loved writing my whole life, starting a blog was still something completely new for me. This year, I ventured out of my comfort zone once again and was a guest on a podcast for the first time. I spoke to Jule, the “yoga detective”, about the topic of “yoga and journaling”, a combination that I always enjoy teaching. Thank you, dear Jule, for having me!

Yoga classes

Yes, I still have my job in the hotel industry, but teaching yoga is still an important part of my everyday life. I love the way both activities complement each other.

This year, I had the opportunity to give great courses and workshops. The “Journey through the Ayurvedic elements” course took place twice, in which AyurYoga was taught under the theme of the elements. The topics of the workshops were varied: cycle yoga and Ayurveda, breathing, journaling and reflection. I am so grateful to all the participants and Yoga Vidya Frankfurt for these enriching experiences!

On January 11, I will be giving the workshop “Hello, 2024!” at Yoga Vidya Frankfurt, in which we will combine yoga and journaling together to look back on the old year and get in the mood for the new one. I would be very happy if you would like to join me!

My baby, the blog

At the start of a new year, I always get a surge of motivation. It makes me want to get started on projects close to my heart or push them further. This year, I resolved to continue focusing on my passion project, the blog, and to publish a new article every week.

I am very proud that I kept this resolution and only took a summer and a birthday break. In total, there were 48 new articles on the blog this year. I will continue to provide you with new content every week next year.

The most popular articles this year were “Old but Gold”, “New beginnings are fun” and “7 tips for new yoga teachers”.

Last year’s articles were also very popular with you, namely “Magical mornings” and “A short introduction to Ayurveda”.

This means that both information for beginners and yoga teachers is very popular with you. What would you like to read in the new year? Post your wishes in the comments!

The “Interesting people” section was new this year, and the name says it all. Since the start of the new section in February, a new interview has been posted every month, making a total of eleven. I am so grateful for everyone I have been able to talk to and for the enriching new acquaintances I have been able to make as a result.

There was one interview in particular that really caught your attention, the one with Vimala about yoga teacher training. Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Vimala!

Outlook for 2024

As already mentioned, there will be lots of new articles and encounters with interesting people in 2024. There will also be two new sections: Spirituality and Playlist of the Month.

Under Spirituality, you will regularly find interesting facts about healing stones, oracle cards and much more.

Each month, I also put together a playlist on a specific yogic or Ayurvedic theme.

After spending a vacation that was enriching in every respect this year, I would like to experience an equally relaxing and inspiring break next year. I don’t know where I’m going yet, but there are a few destinations on my wish list.

In addition to my time on the mat, I would also like to spend a lot of time in the water again in 2024. It is my healing and well-being element and is good for me on a level that I can hardly describe. After rediscovering this for myself last year, I’m going to the “boot” water sports trade fair in Düsseldorf right at the start of the new year to get new inspiration in this field too. It will be my first visit in years, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Now, I wish you all a good start to a happy and healthy new year. Have a safe arrival in 2024!

What to do when your loved ones aren’t yogis

When we are enthusiastic about something, we want to share that – that’s probably the case for all of us. When we’re really passionate about a topic, we hardly know what’s more fun: actually doing it or talking about it.

We enjoy the new things we learn; the new people we meet through the hobby and the insights we gain.

With yoga in particular, these often have a very deep impact. After practicing for a while, we feel the many benefits of a regular practice: we become stronger, more flexible, more relaxed, better able to deal with stress. And maybe we even change some of our lifestyle habits.

As yoga can improve your wellbeing so much, it’s only natural to want to share this. Because of course we want our loved ones to feel as good as we do, right? It can be difficult if those closest to you don’t share your interests.

So what can you do if you have different interests or even different lifestyles but are very close?

Mutual understanding

There should be a willingness to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, on both sides.

If a person is important to you, you usually also care about what interests them, what drives them, what they spend their time doing – even if these things don’t necessarily match your own. If the latter is the case, still make an effort to show interest, ask questions and initiate conversations. But also make sure that you are met with the same level of interest.

Find common ground

If both parties have really tried to talk about the other person’s topics and it’s just exhausting and annoying, then you need to find common ground.

What connected you in the past? If that foundation is no longer there, why not look for a new one? It could be fun to look for something you both like: evenings at the theater together, learning a new language or instrument together, joining a book club… the possibilities are endless! Perhaps an old or new commonality will bring you together again. 

Living by example instead of persuasion

It is not uncommon for yoga enthusiasts to want to convince those around them of their passion. Many find their way to yoga through ailments that are alleviated or even disappear through regular practice. It is therefore only natural to want to get friends and family on board, as we want them to also benefit from the positive aspects of yoga.

The fact is that everyone can benefit from yoga in one way or another, whether it’s by relieving back pain or reducing stress.

But it is also a fact that not everyone is aware of this or open to it.

If this is the case in your environment, you are more likely to push people away if you try to persuade them. However, you can try to inspire. Show your loved ones the positive effects yoga can have. Emphasize the impact of your practice when people talk to you about how relaxed you look, how healthy you are, etc.

Offering small insights

Unfortunately, many people still have prejudices against yoga. If you have people like this around you, it can of course be frustrating. Nevertheless, try not to dismiss these prejudices as “nonsense”. Explain in a friendly but firm manner that the respective assumption is wrong and offer to provide an insight into “real yoga”.

This can be done in many ways. Simply offer to have a conversation with the person about it, in which all questions to you are allowed. As a next step, you can offer to come to a class with them to see for themselves. If you teach yourself, you can also offer a private lesson.

People who are open-minded will be keen to set aside preconceptions and replace dangerous half-knowledge with genuine insights.

Set boundaries

Let’s hope it never comes to that, but you may come across people who hold on to prejudices and wrong views rather than being open to learning something new. In this case, you should ask yourself whether such narrow-minded people are good for you.

As a yogi or yogini, you are probably very tolerant and open-minded, so you probably don’t really get along with narrow-minded people. Make it clear to them that it offends you if they prefer to cling to false facts rather than talk to you about them. If you have someone in your life who can clear up your prejudices – like you – it’s so easy to broaden your horizons. If someone is not willing to do this, it speaks volumes about that person.

Have you experienced different interests among your friends and family? How did you deal with it? Share it with me in the comments!

Yoga & me – a love story

Do you know that? A first meet-up, sparks fly and you’re sure – this is it!

That’s not how it went with yoga and me.

Love at first sight? Absolutely not. Not even at second sight.

A rocky start

We already had our first “date” when I was still a teenager. My parents’ health insurance offered a yoga class especially for school kids and their typical ailments – wrong posture, poor concentration, growing pains. All costs were covered, so my parents thought “why not?” and signed me up.

There’s something you need to know about me before I start telling you about my first yoga experience: Even as a thirteen-year-old, I was very interested in spirituality and aware that I ponder and worry a lot more than the average teenie. Yep, even back then I had my issues with mental chatter. Fights with my parents, harmless bickering in the schoolyard, in-class tests – annoying for most of my peers, but not really a problem. I, on the other hand, mulled over that stuff endlessly: Was I well enough prepared for that vocab test? What if not? Was that fight my fault? Had I been unfair? Should I go and apologize? Shoulda, woulda, coulda…

At the same time, yoga became more and more popular and I had already read one article or two about it. In different magazines, there were pieces about how it helped with back pain, but also how the meditative aspect, the movement with the breath, brought peace and quiet to the mind.

I knew: I needed that.

So, we’re not talking about a stubborn teenager here who was totally against it and only participated in class because mom and dad insisted. No – I was open and actually excited for it.

The first “date”

My first experience with yoga was more meditative than active

The course took place in the rooms of a rescue service, where they usually held first-aid classes. It wasn’t a room with white walls and buddha statues, as one might expect. Everything was very dry and down-to-earth, including the teacher. We moved very slowly, didn’t really work up a sweat. I remember that I felt a pang of disappointment because this had nothing to do with the graceful postures that were shown in the magazines. The course went for eight weeks, and during that time, I wasn’t intrigued. I felt bored, I didn’t feel like all of that had any impact on my mind or my body, so I didn’t continue when the course ended. I still know that I thought it was a pity. More than anything, I would have loved something to control my overthinking, but yoga just didn’t seem to be for me.

Almost 10 years passed until I stepped on a mat again.

A second chance

I was in my semester abroad the US, recovering from a pneumonia and realized that my body was craving movement again, even though I still felt pretty sluggish. When a roommate asked me if I wanted to come to yoga with her, I said yes. I remembered the super slow practice from my previous class, so I thought this would be great after being sick.

Unfortunately, that teacher had a totally different approach. It was exhausting, demanding, sweaty – exactly the opposite of what you need when you’ve just been sick and still not 100% fine. That’s why I felt awful afterwards. I was totally beaten and spent the rest of the day in bed. Do I have to mention that I didn’t go to yoga again during that semester?

Again, several years passed until I gave it another shot.

“Yoga is just not for me”

I realized: Gym-Yoga isn’t for me either

By now I was living and working in Bonn and went to the gym with some colleagues every week. At some point, we got the idea that we could go to one of the yoga classes.

I began to hope again: Even though my experiences with yoga hadn’t been great so far, I was still convinced that it was just what I needed. I still thought that I got upset way too quickly. So far, I hadn’t liked yoga – but I wanted to like it! So, I went to one of the courses with a colleague of mine.

Was that the day when it clicked? Nope, unfortunately not.

Back then, I didn’t know anything about yoga, but I always thought I would get into some kind of flow state (it is called “yoga flow”, after all!), that I would be able to relax or that I would get some kind of inner peace. None of that happened.

To make it even worse, the teacher had a very weird way of speaking and pronouncing the words. Throughout the class, I had to keep myself from laughing. Again, I couldn’t get into it and left the class thinking that I should accept that yoga just wasn’t for me.

Just like many of us, I finally came to yoga because of a crisis.

Some kind of quarter-life crisis

I was in a phase where I was very unhappy with my job and my private life. I didn’t have a Plan B either, because I didn’t really know anymore what I wanted. As a result, I got lethargic, which didn’t make anything better.

Finally, I got to a point where I just couldn’t do it anymore. I quit my job without having a new one and went traveling. In that same year, I had become friends with an American girl while I was in Costa Rica, who was now in Lombok, teaching English. She invited me to stay with her, so I planned my trip around that visit.

Just the right place to find yourself again….
…where everything feels magical

It was a great time. We drank tequila in Indonesian beach bars and ate fabulous food while listening to live bands, our feet buried in the sand. We discovered the Gili islands, snorkeled with sea turtles and danced in a club by the ocean on Halloween. We got massages, visited temples… and spent time with her roommate, who was a yoga teacher.

Due to an injury, I couldn’t take a class with her, but we talked about the topic a lot. Her charisma did the rest: she was bubbly, cheerful, genuine, the typical “life of the party” personality, but still she emanated an impressive calmness. She seemed to be totally at ease with herself.

I thought: If this is what yoga does, I want it too.

Before I went for my next destination Thailand, she advised me to look for a yoga studio back in Germany, instead of taking classes at the gym, as the approaches were so different. I promised myself to give yoga another chance.

Sparks are flying!

Back in Germany, I still ended up at the gym (another one by now). I still had a contract there and was looking for a new job, so I didn’t want to spend extra money on a yoga studio.

That was the class where the sparks finally flew!

Yoga & I – finally we found each other!

The lights were dimmed, candles were burning, the movements were fluent and felt harmonious to me. It was the right mix of strenuousness and relaxation, of spiritual and down-to-earth. This was it: yoga had me hooked. From then on, Monday evenings were reserved. Shortly after that, I got a job in Frankfurt, where I signed up at a yoga studio. And the rest is history.

Ever since, yoga and I have been inseparable, and I can’t imagine my life without it.

Did the mind chatter leave me alone since then? Absolutely not.

Do I still have a tendency for overthinking? Hell yes.

BUT: Now I have a tool to get me out of my occasional funks. Why did it take me so long? I don’t know. Maybe I never had the right teacher, maybe I wasn’t receptive enough.

Me without yoga? Unthinkable!

What counts, though, is that I didn’t stop trying after the first time.

All the hopes I had put into yoga eventually came true. Sometimes it pays off to listen to that little voice telling you “try again – it might be worth it”.

A few years have passed since I have fallen head over heels in love with yoga. Read about what I’ve learned during these years and how I became a yoga teacher.

What’s your own story with yoga? Share it in the comments!

Man sieht die Knie und Hände einer Frau, die gerade eine Yogamatte ausrollt

Yoga Teacher Training – My Experience

“Yoga teacher training – yes or no?”

I never thought I would ask myself this question. It had taken me too long to get into yoga as a student to imagine taking on the role of teacher.

Me? In front of a class? NEVER!

But once I was hooked, it happened pretty quickly.

Before  – the decision making

Barely a year had passed since I started practicing yoga regularly when my then-teacher mentioned in class that a new training was starting soon. “Doesn’t concern me,” I thought. “What am I going to teach people, I haven’t been at it that long myself.”

But then, the following week, my teacher came right up to me after class and approached me about the training. She said she had a feeling about me that this path might be right for me, and that she was sure I would make a good teacher – and no, she doesn’t get a commission for recruiting “yoga trainees” 😊

Hmm… could I do this?

With a warm tea in hand, we talked for a long time that evening. About the training, her own experiences, my concerns about it, but also about us in general. In the process, we realized: we have a lot in common. When she signed up for the training, she was in a very similar life situation as I was at that moment, and for her it was the best decision ever.

She also shook my conviction that I was too inexperienced when she told me that another participant in our course had already signed up – you don’t need any profound prior knowledge or practice, it’s enough if you have the desire and interest to delve deeper into the subject matter: the philosophy, the mythology, the anatomy, the correct alignment of the asanas and much more.

In any case, I felt like it, and so I took an information brochure home with me, which I read from cover to cover over the next few days.

Ok… maybe I can see myself in this role after all 🙂

It quickly became clear to me: this is actually exactly the right thing for me. But to be honest, I also had some jitters. Two years is quite a commitment, not to mention the cost and work involved. Training once a week, plus several intensive weekends a year… that intimidated me a bit.

However, I also saw the great experiences I would have; the things I would learn; the interesting people I would meet.

Over Christmas, at home with my parents, I talked to them both about it. My mother advised me to wait another year to solidify my own practice. I distinctly remember my gut feeling at that moment: no. It’s now or never.

I didn’t know it yet, but two years later, that feeling would prove to be absolutely right. But more on that later 😊

Back in Frankfurt, I registered – and got the very last place. Shortly after that, the training started. That’s how much time I had taken to make the decision!

The first experiences

Just in time for the very first evening of training, I fell ill. With a sore throat, a headacheand fatigue, I dragged myself to the studio because I did not want to miss the first evening under any circumstances.

Despite my condition, the special atmosphere totally resonated with me. The magic of the getting-to-know-each-other ritual was clearly tangible, and I felt: this is the place for me. Although I still had concerns about my personal practice level, I became calmer during that first evening.

All set for yoga practice….
…and for theory

Shortly thereafter – still a little under the weather – I went to visit my parents and went to yoga in their area. When I returned, my mother (who was rather skeptical about the training) was completely blown away. She was like, “You suddenly look so much healthier than you did before class – if that’s what yoga does for you, I’m all for it!”

Once the initial sickness was over, I really got into it. I felt right at home with the flow of the training evening – meditation/pranayama, theory, asanas – the content, and especially the people. An environment that had previously unsettled me quickly became my comfort zone.

Ashram and studio weekends

This positive impression was confirmed on the first weekend we spent together in the yoga studio. On two days, we dove extra deep into exciting topics such as Hindu mythology and got to know each other even better.

But the real adventure were the intensive weekends in the ashram. For many of us it was the first time in such a place, so we were not yet used to the long days, the early rising, the eating rhythm and the extended kirtan singing in the evening. Especially the latter was strange for many of us at first and then quickly became something to look forward to.

Breaks on Ashram weekends – yoga in nature!

Eleven girls in one room – can that work? It sure can!

We had a lot of fun in the room, which we were allotted to on every training weekend, with only one exception. In the evenings, before going to bed, we exchanged reading material; during breaks, we sat together in the bunk beds with our newfound friends, chatted, snacked and sometimes even drank a “smuggled-in” coffee.

This very special mix of “class trip meets spiritual retreat” very quickly became something I began to look forward to. Yes, it was also exhausting, but at the same time I refueled my energy every time.

My ritual after a weekend of multiple hours of doing yoga


Those who know me know: exams are absolute hell for me. In the yoga teacher training it was no different. It already started at the first teaching rehearsal: Palpitations, sweaty palms, stage fright, fear of failure.

That’s what my weekends used to look like – and I didn’t hate it!

Fortunately, however, it turned out quite quickly that I felt very comfortable in the role of teacher and the nervousness went away as soon as I sat in front of my group. So the practical exam was much less nerve-wracking for me than the theoretical one. Teaching a lesson whose exact sequence was precisely prescribed – which I didn’t have to plan from scratch – and which I had practiced in this form umpteen times before, that wasn’t too scary.

The theory, on the other hand, scared the living hell out of me, and that was despite the fact that I was studying diligently. I wrote flashcards with which I repeated the material on the bus and train, but I still worried that I wasn’t prepared well enough. The idea of taking a written exam for three hours made my stomach hurt – my lucky hamster, who has accompanied me during exams and job interviews since my school days, was of course essential and was by my side during both practice and theory..

All my flashcards and my lucky charm hamster – good to go!

At least the studying was fun because the topics were super interesting. I dealt with anatomy, mythology, philosophy, teaching didactics, yoga for special target groups and much more. Even today I am amazed at how much knowledge I accumulated during this time. And actually, I was able to reproduce it, because I passed the exam 😊


I completed the exams in January 2020 – shortly after that, Corona hit.


Soon after, I realized that the inner voice that had advised me to rather not wait another year had been absolutely right. Corona spread, due to which I came into short-time work and suddenly had a lot of time. So I had enough free time to do the Ayurveda correspondence course, which I had already flirted with during my training; and to do further training in therapeutic writing. Then, as soon as it got warmer outside and it was possible to teach outdoors, I was soon teaching four classes a week at a senior citizens’ residence in Frankfurt.

None of this would have been possible if I had joined a year later. And not only that: the training itself would have been completely different – with fewer face-to-face and more online evenings, without the intensive practice of corrections, without the cozy ashram weekends with eleven of us in one room.

Looking back, I am still incredibly happy about my decision to follow this intuition.

Personal development

It sounds like a cliché to say that a yoga teacher training makes you grow personally a lot. But I can assure you: it’s true.

Because I did a two-year training, it was a very sustainable process. I wasn’t in a kind of bubble for three weeks and then thrown back into everyday life, but the training with all its teachings and people became part of my everyday life.

I established some new habits (for example, starting the day with yoga, not eating meat anymore…), learned a lot about myself (I can be really striving when my heart is on a subject) and made friendships that last until today.

New morning routine – better than coffee!

Another aspect that was a real enrichment for me was the spiritual component of the training. While rituals, kirtan & co. were alienating for me in the beginning, they soon became things I even longed for when I was going through difficult phases.

Probably most importantly, I discovered a new comfort zone for myself and feel right at home in the yoga world and in my role as a teacher. I’ve broadened my horizons tremendously and couldn’t be more grateful for it.

My advice to you

If you are thinking about training, I can only encourage you to do it. Even if you don’t want to teach afterwards, you will benefit greatly from it – I promise! If it is somehow possible for you, I would advise you to choose a longer in-service training instead of doing an intensive training in an exotic place for a few weeks. Why? First, you logically learn much more theory in a longer training and also gain much more routine in teaching. In addition, as described above, you build the new activity directly into your everyday life. If you spend three weeks in Bali, for example, the content and new habits can fade away very quickly back in Germany.

However, this is only my personal view. The choice of the right education is very individual, so inform yourself, look what fits best to you and your needs and possibilities.

I wish you from the bottom of my heart that your experience will be as fulfilling as mine!

Time for a new image! Why we should rethink the term “work”

Work… it’s that annoying thing we have to do every day and absolutely hate, right? But, wait a minute… isn’t it perhaps that fulfilling activity that we are fully absorbed in and sometimes can hardly believe that we are also making money doing it? I think it’s time to rethink the word. And, while we’re at it, we should continue with the word “success”.

In my own professional environment and on social media, I’ve noticed one thing in recent years: Although burnout is no longer a foreign word, overwork is still portrayed as something glamorous. Many people wear their exhaustion in front of them like a badge of bravery. It’s the same way when they come into the office sick. They expect to be “admired” for how strong and hardworking they are, for going to work despite being sick.

Why expect admiration for something that is just stupid?

No one will thank you for ruining their health over a job. You can always find a new job – your health is much more valuable. And so is everyone else’s, which you’re putting at risk by showing up to work sniffling.

But even if you’re in great health, overwork isn’t glamorous. Burnout is not “chic” or in any other way something to be proud of.

Is this perhaps where the bad image of work comes from?

Do people automatically assume it’s something that leads to illness and exhaustion? Because it is not that at all. The word “work” has a very negative connotation for many: Work is exhausting, annoying, tiresome, boring. But work is so much more. Writing this article is also a kind of work, but this activity gives me great pleasure, fulfills me and recharges my energy reserves instead of depleting them.

Reflections on “laziness”

The same people who think overwork is glamorous see people as lazy who just don’t, or perhaps even want to work less. “Working less,” however, does not necessarily automatically mean being lazy. Many have had a rethink as a result of the pandemic and have redefined their priorities. Perhaps they want to devote more time to their family, find time for a real hobby, or do volunteer work. There’s nothing wrong with that! They just want more time to do things that make them happy, and sometimes that’s something productive. Would they still be considered lazy if they got paid for it?

And anyway – what is actually considered “lazy”? A leisurely day on the sofa, a marathon series, extended reading in a riveting novel? All of these things are sometimes simply necessary to recharge the batteries.

Sometimes the most productive decision you can make is simply NOT to be productive – so you can hit the ground running and give it your all afterwards.

Someone who takes breaks more often is certainly more productive overall than someone who just keeps going.

Who is successful?

Success isn’t what it used to be either. Having a stellar career used to be totally desirable – less so these days, due to the economic climate and a rethinking of what’s really important in life.

So who is successful? The top manager with the prestigious job, but who doesn’t see her children at all, has no hobbies and is so exhausted on weekends that she can only sleep instead of doing something nice? Or the minimum wage employee who no one envies for his job, but who has time and energy for fulfilling hobbies and creates precious memories with family and friends on the weekends?

So maybe we should strive for happiness rather than success – because that’s far more sustainable and individual than an externally determined concept of success.

“You are enough” – yes, but yoga is not

“You are enough” – a phrase you come across again and again in the yoga scene. Surely you’ve heard it, too. But what does it mean? That you are already good as you are right now; that you don’t have to change anything about yourself to deserve love, success and all the good things in this world. An important reminder in today’s society, where advertising and social media always give us the impression that we need to be thinner, prettier, richer.

In the yoga world, on the other hand, we learn acceptance: we learn to respect our body and its limits and – almost shockingly – to love it, too. And with the thought of being enough comes the thought of having enough: Enough money, enough clothes, enough stuff. And then, quite possibly, the realization of doing enough also creeps in: enough working, enough being there for others.

The concept of “being enough” is very present in yoga and in the scene. Rightly so, in my opinion! The thing is: Yoga itself is not enough for me.

What do I mean by that?

Maybe you’re thinking “yoga isn’t enough for her? What the hell is she trying to say?”.

Or maybe it’s unusual for a yoga teacher to utter such a thing. Shouldn’t yoga be my life saver and life purpose? No. Absolutely not.

What I mean by that statement is that I don’t want to walk through the world with blinders on. I don’t want to be exclusive to the yoga scene, I want to try other forms of exercise, have other hobbies, I want to meet people who have nothing to do with yoga.

Here’s why:

I have a wide range of interests

I have always been very enthusiastic and curious. This combination ensures that I can warm up to many different topics and want to learn more about them once the spark is lit. From my perspective, there are so many incredibly great things in the world that deserve my attention that I would consider it a waste to dwell on just one of them. For me, it’s water sports and books, but I also love drawing, even though I’m not particularly good at it 🙂

It makes me a better teacher

If you’ve ever looked around this blog, you’ll notice that other categories pop up besides “Yoga”. The two categories, “Ayurveda“ and “Journaling“ are regularly incorporated into my teaching. Why? Because they complement yoga perfectly. Ayurveda is even the sister science of yoga, but nowhere near as mainstream as yoga. And journaling? This method beautifully supports introspection in yoga. Would it be enough for me to simply say in class, “It’s fall right now, so it’s Vata time,” or would it be enough to just research some journal prompts online and give them to my students? Not to me. I wanted to dive deeper into these topics, so I educated myself to really add value to my classes, for the people who participate.

And even the things that are completely foreign to yoga at first glance make me a better teacher. Through other sports like swimming, diving, hiking, I experience the benefits of yoga in completely new areas on the one hand, and on the other hand I broaden my horizons – which brings me to the next point.

I do not want to have tunnel vision

Neither as a teacher nor as a private person I want to be someone who is only concerned with the yoga world.

I don’t think it does anyone any good to only stay within a single scene and never dare to look outside the box.

The flexibility that our body acquires in yoga should also be present in the mind, and that happens best through diverse experiences and exchange with people – even with people who are not necessarily like-minded. Especially with people who have nothing at all to do with yoga, very interesting dialogues often develop. It’s a great feeling to be able to learn from each other and to inspire each other.

How about you? Are you a yoga enthusiast and if so, how much space does it occupy in your life? And if you are not (yet) a yoga enthusiast – what brought you here? And what is it that you are otherwise engaged in? Share what you’re passionate about in the comments!

A long way down – What I’ve learned from my yoga practice

“Yoga isn’t about touching your toes. It’s about what you learn on your way down.”

This quote by Judith Hanson Lasater has become pretty famous in the last few years. It’s the mantra of every non-flexible newbie yogi:ni who feels like a brick stone between super-bendy classmates. Why has it gained such importance? Especially in the west, yoga is very much about the physical aspect of the practice. Oftentimes, people view it as a sport, as a means to stay fit.

While a consistent asana practice can indeed increase physical fitness and wellbeing, this is not the only aspect of yoga. Meditation, pranayama, mythology – many people nowadays feel uncomfortable with the more spiritual side of this ancient practice. But the “deeper” aspect isn’t only about deities, mantras, and rituals. It is very much about tools to make the everyday life easier.

Some years have passed since I was a newbie yogini who felt self-conscious in her first yoga class and there are some things I’ve learned since then. Here’s a little list.

No one cares if you’re sporty or not

I was never good at PE lessons at school. I didn’t like the type of sports we played and the way they were approached. This led me to believe that I’m “not sporty enough” for any kind of physical activity – even though I used to dance as a child. Despite my dance classes, I always lacked flexibility, which made me hesitant about trying yoga. I was still very self-conscious when I started teacher training, but then I realized: nobody cares. The people around me were way too busy trying to tune out everyone else and focusing on themselves. Beginners are very likely to peek at their peers out of the corner of their eye to see if their neighbor can do more than they can, if can touch their toes, etc. However, the more experience you gain, the less you care. That goes for flexibility as well as for more advanced poses like forearm stands. You can’t do it? No one will make fun of you.

Spirituality isn’t scary

If “spirituality” means Ouija boards and occult stuff for you, then I’ve got news – it’s not about that at all. It’s not even about religion. To me, it’s very much about philosophy. It’s about trying to make sense of stuff, finding meaning behind everyday issues and deeper understandings. There are inspirational mythological stories, beautiful rituals and valuable wisdom. Don’t be afraid to tap into the more spiritual side of your yoga practice! It will enrich your time on the mat and off the mat.

Never underestimate the connection between body and mind

What sounds like a yogi cliché is actually very true. I’ve found it fascinating to develop a closer connection to my body. It enabled me to listen to it better, to read its signs better. When you practice yoga, you learn how to “feel”: How does this movement feel? How does it feel when you’re trying a new pose? How does it feel when you reach your limits? How do you feel when you breathe in different ways? How do you feel before and after certain asanas, pranayamas or meditations? Instead of always complaining about how your body feels, you learn to observe and discover needs that your body is trying to convey. For me, the connection between body and mind is most visible when it comes to stretching. Creating space in your body also creates space in your mind. When my grandpa passed away and my mind felt narrow with grief, it was so much harder for me to do poses I could usually do with ease.

“Yoga friendships” are different

Small talk? Get the f*ck outta here! In friendships between yogis, it gets deep. No topic is off-limits. No matter if you want to talk about mantras, rituals, kundalini awakening experiences or Sanskrit – nobody will think you’re a weirdo! Yogis are not only interested in a lot of stuff that most people outside the yoga scene don’t even know about, but they are also very tolerant. Judging is not really a thing, even though, as everywhere, there are black sheep. Another thing that I find very beautiful is that almost everyone came to yoga because of a crisis, be it physical or emotional. Therefore, it is absolutely normal to talk about your trauma, your pain or your problems – no need to hide anything! The question “how are you?” is actually serious. Where people usually get uncomfortable when you reply with anything other than “fine, thanks”, Your yogi friends will listen to you as you tell them how you hit rock bottom and got back up on your feet, share advice and their own experience. The negative point about that? Conversations with non-yogis about the weather might seem very shallow once you’ve established a yogi group of friends.

Learning is actually fun

Ugh, good god, how I hated studying for school! It was just dreadful and seemed like a waste of time. The problem was that I found most of the stuff I had to learn absolutely pointless. The question “why am I learning this, what would I need this for?” could almost always not be answered in a satisfying way. I always had to force myself to study, I never had the feeling that I really wanted to learn more. This led to the belief that I’m lazy. This belief, on the other hand, made me hesitant about trying new stuff. As I thought I was lazy, I also thought that once I tried something new, I would lose interest quickly and not be consistent with it.

One time, when I came to yoga, I saw the poster on the front door, advertising the teacher training which would take two years. I remember thinking “who the hell is that consistent? Who is disciplined enough to dedicate every Wednesday to teacher training, for two freakin years?” I had those same doubts about being lazy and not disciplined enough when I finally signed up – I had waited so long with my final decision that I got the very last spot in the group – but it turned out, that I wasn’t so lazy when I actually cared about a topic. The stuff we went through at teacher training was fascinating to me: Indian mythology, yoga philosophy, anatomy and the physical aspects of the asanas, teaching them and making them accessible for special target groups. I found myself picking up the books in my spare time because I wanted to know more about all of that. And when it was time for the final exams, I studied super hard – because I wanted to. Realizing that I’m not lazy when something matters to me was a game changer. I was now confident that I could achieve anything I set my mind to, as long as I find some kind of sense in it.

Now it’s your turn – what have YOU learned from your yoga practice? Or, if you’re a newbie, what would you like to learn when you eventually start? Share in the comments!