3 Tips to add Depth to your Yoga Classes

“Yoga… that’s just stretching and relaxation.”

Does it bug you too when you hear this prejudice? It annoys me even more when it often comes from people who have never tried yoga and just blurt out their false impression without restraint. Because those of us who have discovered the practice for ourselves know: Yoga is far from being just stretching and relaxation.

It’s important to note that stretching and relaxation are both part of a balanced yoga practice and every yoga class. Of course, doing sun salutations quickly can make you sweat. They may even leave you with sore muscles the next day. Yet, yoga is so much more than “just” a sports program.

More than a workout – yoga is versatile

As a yoga fan, this will be clear to you. However, if you’re fresh out of yoga teacher training, you may not be quite sure how to design your classes to be different from the athletic approach you take at the gym.

Here are three tips to add depth to your yoga classes.

Choose a theme for your yoga class

There are no limits to your imagination here – anything can be a theme! Both physical and psychological aspects, spiritual and Ayurvedic themes, as well as things you’ve read or experienced that are on your mind. Sometimes an inspiring quote is enough, which you can choose as a motto for your lesson.

Examples can be: Yoga for a healthy back, yoga for stress and tension, yoga with teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Ayurvedic yoga suitable for the season, or yoga for more resilience in everyday life.

Just the fact that there is a theme gives your class some significance. Share the theme with the group in the “Dharma Talk” at the beginning of class, revisiting it in between and noting, for example, how a particular exercise fits in.

Clearly emphasize the benefits

Yoga is good for you – but how exactly? Always explain briefly and clearly how an exercise works or why one follows the other. For example, explain how the child’s pose is a nice balancing exercise for backbends. Also feel free to explain, if it makes sense, the energetic effect of an asana.

People who come to a yoga class usually want to do something good for themselves, not only physically, but also mentally. By occasionally weaving in how asanas or pranayamas work, you give your participants the good feeling of doing something meaningful for themselves.

Make it suitable for everyday life

Some people come to a yoga class with doubts in mind. They have heard about the benefits and want to benefit, but don’t really trust it yet; or they have been “dragged along” by a yoga fan from their circle. Among the most common doubts or prejudices is the assumption that such an old practice is no longer up-to-date at all, or that it is totally out of touch spiritually. Convince your yogis and yoginis otherwise! How?

– Ask yourself in which situations yoga has already helped you and how – and then share it! In this way, you give the exercises a meaningful, comprehensible reference and make yourself even more authentic and approachable as a teacher.

– Some of your exercises can also be done in the office, on the train or in bed? Draw attention to this! This shows that yoga is suitable for almost all situations.

– If appropriate, make a reference to current world events; for example, refer to “grounding in uncertain times” or “strengthening the immune system during flu season.” This makes it effortlessly clear that yoga is definitely timeless.

Just the repeated reference to the breath, as well as tracing and reflecting after certain exercises, is what differentiates a good yoga class from a fitness session. But with these three tips, you can make your classes even more meaningful and enriching.

Still have additions? Share them with me in the comments!

A Guide for Yoga Teachers – 5 Steps for planning the perfect Yoga Class

The time after yoga teacher training can feel strange. On one hand, you want to continue teaching exactly as you learned and feel safe with old familiar lesson patterns. On the other hand, you want to break out and develop a style all your own, putting an individual stamp on your lessons.

Then, once you’ve been teaching for a while, you often have your own lessons that you give over and over again, so you sometimes feel bored with your own concepts.

As both a new and experienced yoga teacher, lesson planning is essential if you don’t want to feel like a broken record. A framework of five simple steps can help you.

What is the level of the students?

This is the first question you should ask yourself. If you’re teaching a clearly named, level-based course, the situation is clear. However, if you are teaching a specially designed course or workshop based on something other than level, you need to ask yourself what audience you are targeting. Who is your course or workshop for? Is the topic appropriate for beginners as well as advanced learners? Who do you prefer to teach?

What is the topic?

Speaking of the topic, what is the “theme” of your class or workshop? What is the focus? Maybe you give a lesson on “Yoga for the back”. Perhaps you have planned a lesson from a spiritual or Ayurvedic point of view. Keep point 1 in mind when choosing – not every theme is suitable for every level. 

Which asanas fit that topic?

Each asana has physical, mental and energetic effects. Which ones fit your theme? Gather a selection of asanas that particularly support the goal you want to achieve with your lesson.


You link these asanas together in an intelligent way so that transitions make sense. This means: include more energizing asanas during the warm-up and less before Savasana; and make sure that the transitions are as smooth as possible (even if they are held for a long time!), so that the students don’t have to constantly get up from the floor to stand and back again. If necessary, incorporate asanas for filling, so that the practitioners stay well in the flow. Always take into account balancing positions and include enough time for tracing at the appropriate point.

The details

The framework of your class is now in place – time for the details that will make your class more than just a series of physical exercises.

Start with a short introduction, a so-called “Dharma Talk”, in which you explain concisely, but clearly and sensitively, what the goal of this lesson is for you. Feel free to make a personal reference to why this topic is important to you to make yourself more relatable.

During the lesson, have suitable notes on certain asanas or sequences ready so that the participants get an impression of which exercises are good for what. However, do not overburden them, but let the comments flow in a well-dosed manner.

At the end, think about a suitable meditation or visualization for Savasana that fits the topic. This will round off your lesson nicely.

You may also want to give your class a personal touch and include something that you particularly like. For example, I always have my participants write a little and have journal prompts ready for them. Maybe you are a fan of essential oils or art – weave these components into your lessons!

Finally, I’d like to include a little note about the title of this article.

Always be aware that your lesson doesn’t have to be “perfect.” In the middle of teaching, you may suddenly realize that a different asana might have been more appropriate; afterwards, you may wish you had chosen a different meditation… so, rather than striving for perfection, strive to create the most enriching experience possible for your participants.

First aid: Yogic tips for nervousness, anxiety and panic

As a perpetual candidate for the mental merry-go-round, I have always been more nervous than others when it came to exams, job interviews, or other important situations. So nervous, in fact, that it sometimes degenerated into anxiety. The fact that I have very extreme emotional reactions to certain things is still the case today. However, with yoga I have found a wonderful tool to deal with it better.

Here are my top 5 tips for nervousness, anxiety and panic.

Please note: These exercises do not replace therapy!

Alternate Breathing Variation

The classical alternating breathing is about harmonizing the two hemispheres of the brain and gaining more concentration and inner peace. If you perform this exercise in the usual way, you inhale through one nostril, hold your breath and exhale through the other nostril before starting a new round by inhaling through the same nostril. Attention is also paid to the length of the inhale and exhale. A variation of this breathing exercise is particularly suitable for nervousness, diffuse anxiety and bouts of panic. In this variation, stopping is omitted and how long you breathe in and out doesn’t matter – you just breathe as deeply as you can.

Here’s how: Find a comfortable, upright seat. Rest your left hand on your left thigh and place the index and middle fingers of your right hand at the base of your wrist. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale deeply on the left. Lower your right hand, exhale through both nostrils and inhale again. Close your left nostril with your right ring finger, exhale on the right and inhale again. Lower your right hand, exhale through both nostrils and inhale again. Close the right nostril again and exhale on the left. This completes one round. Repeat this exercise as many times as feels good to you.

Calming Yoga Poses Like Forward Folds

There are asanas that you can use to positively affect your autonomic nervous system and calm inner turmoil. The most popular: child’s pose, seated forward bend, savasana, and viparita karani, the supported shoulder stand – alternatively, you can lie down in front of a wall and rest your legs against it. Yoga Nidra is also wonderful. For guided “yogic sleep,” you’ll find numerous resources online that you can play for free.

Mini flow with humming

This little flow provides more inner peace with simple, flowing movements in harmony with the breath. A humming sound on the exhale additionally ensures that your thoughts are calmed.

Here’s how: Get into child’s pose on your mat. With an upward inhalation, straighten into tabletop position. Exhaling round your back into cat pose and hum as you exhale. Inhaling, arch your back into cow position. With the next exhalation raise your hips, come into the dog looking down. Again, make a humming sound. Inhaling, come back to cow pose and then with the next exhalation and the associated humming sound, lower yourself back into child’s pose. Repeat this sequence as many times as you like.

Golden Milk

Milk is ayurvedically an ideal way to calm Vata – the dosha that is usually behind when we feel agitated, restless and anxious. So our grandmothers had a good nose when they used to make us warm milk when we couldn’t sleep. Golden milk is a jazzed-up version of this old home remedy, and with ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon, it does something for your immune system, too.


Yogic hand gestures can also work well to help us achieve a little more inner peace. Here are three simple mudras you can easily perform when your mind is racing:

Dhyana Mudra

This mudra is used in many Eastern meditation traditions, as it is said to provide inner stillness. It is meant to signal to the mind that now is the time to come to rest. Even if you don’t want to meditate, you can use this to take the edge off stressful situations.

Here’s how: Place your hands in your lap like two bowls, so that the palms are facing up. The right hand is on top. Your thumbs touch each other.

Vayu Mudra

Nervousness and anxiety are often the result of excess Vata dosha. This mudra, associated with the air element, helps with Vata-related problems – including emotional ones.

Here’s how: Bend your index fingers in so that the tip of your finger touches the base of your thumb, then place your thumbs on the top knuckle of your index finger.

Garuda Mudra

The “eagle gesture” is said to balance energy to the point where the carousel of thoughts slows down and moods can be better controlled-.

Here’s how: Raise both hands to chest level and cross your wrists so that your palms face your chest. Then interlace your thumbs, place your hands flat on your chest and spread your fingers.

For all mudras, it is ideal if you can find a quiet moment to hold them for a few minutes and connect them with deep, calm breath.

I wish you much joy in trying them out and always a peaceful mind!

Yoga before, during and after air travel

The vacation season is in full swing and many of us are drawn to faraway places. Discovering foreign countries, immersing ourselves in exotic cultures and landscapes, discovering new favorite foods – to experience all of this, we often have to spend a considerable amount of time in the confined space of an airplane. A challenge for the body and often for the soul.

As in so many situations in life, yoga can help here, too. With targeted exercises before the flight to prepare the body for the long sitting and to calm the nerves in the case of mild fear of flying; with pleasurable stretching after the flight to mobilize the muscles again… and even during the flight! This way, your vacation already starts at the airport.

Before the flight

Being jittery when you know you’ll have to sit in a cramped space for the next few hours? Not so good. Before the flight, get yourself into a calmer mood so you can relax and watch a movie, read, or sleep and, if necessary, calm your nerves.

Moon Salutations

Side bend
Goddess Pose
Star Pose
Low Lunge
Yogi Squat – from here back to Skandasana, then go through the sequence backwards until you’re back standing

Practice a few relaxed rounds of moon salutations in tune with your breath. This sequence of movements is more balancing than the related Sun Salutation, less stimulating, but at the same time mobilizes the body wonderfully before it has to sit still for a long time.

Straddled Forward Fold

All of the forward bends are good for getting down and calming nerves, but with the straddled version, you’ll give yourself an especially good stretch – a nice contrast to the seated position you’ll be in on the plane.

Yogi Squat

Not only does this stretch your hips wonderfully, but it also stretches your lower back. Try combining this pose with standing straddled forward fold and flow from one asana to the next.

During the flight

Despite the limited space, you can also include a few exercises here. But why always focus on the physical aspect of yoga?


Finding a few minutes in your day to just sit still is often not easy. On a flight, you don’t really have a choice. Time to put on your headphones, block out the airplane noise, and let yourself be guided through a beautiful meditation.

Eagle Arms / Cow Face Arms

You don’t need much space for these exercises. They are wonderful for giving your shoulders and arms some attention.

Seated Cat/Cow

You don’t have to get down on all fours for this popular spinal exercise. It works just as well from an upright sitting position – your back will thank you for it.

Simple seated twist

Sitting for long periods of time, often in uncomfortable poses because you fell asleep in front of a movie, can be stressful on your back. An easy twist is the perfect complement to the cat/cow exercise.

Eye exercises

The air in the cabin dries out our skin and eyes. You can do the latter some good with yogic eye exercises, moving the eyeballs mindfully and slowly in all directions without moving the head. Start with a round of “left – center – right”, then continue with “top – center – bottom” and close with “top right – bottom left” and vice versa. Give your eyes a rest between rounds by rubbing your palms together and gently placing them on your eyelids.

After the flight

Once at your destination, you’ll want to move for sure. Give in to that need!

Recharge Exercise

Find a comfortable stance with your feet about hip-width apart. Inhaling, raise your arms above your head at your sides, interlocking your fingers. Hold your breath and tilt your upper body first to the right, then to the left. Exhaling, lower your arms again. Repeat this exercise five times, then shake your body out.

Upward Facing Dog

The position on an airplane tends to be more like a forward fold, as we often sit slumped over. As a balance, the upward facing dog is great as it combines strength in the arms and stretching the legs with a backbend.


More relaxed than the upward facing dog, but with the same benefits, is the sphinx, where the forearms rest on the floor. Why not combine this exercise with a thigh front stretch by alternately bending one leg and pulling it closer to the buttocks at the foot.

Legs up the wall

Our legs don’t feel great on flights – there’s a reason thrombosis stockings exist. Give them some relief by sliding as close as possible to a wall and resting your legs against it. A relief after a long flight!

With these exercises, you’ll be ready for your dream vacation. Where are you going? Tell me in the comments!

7 tips for dealing with stage fright as a yoga teacher

The training is done and you want nothing more than to finally get started and share your passion with others… if it weren’t for the stage fright that hits you before every lesson?

I know the feeling. Anyone who saw me before my first teaching rehearsal during yoga teacher training probably wondered “did I miss something?”. Is this about more than a simple teaching rehearsal right now?” that’s how excited I was.

In the meantime, several years have passed during which I have taught a lot. I would like to tell you now that during that time the stage fright has disappeared, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. A bit of it remains – fortunately it is usually only really acute right before a lesson or workshop. As soon as I “put on the teacher’s hat”, it usually goes away.

This also brings me directly to my first tip – the first of seven tips against stage fright for yoga teachers.

Take on the role of the teacher

Very important: settle into your new role, get comfortable with it until it feels natural to you. It’s certainly unfamiliar to switch sides, but once you’ve completed your training, you have every right to take on the position of the teacher as well. By the way, when I talk about a “role,” it doesn’t mean that you should get an alter ego. Of course, you should remain yourself and teach authentically. But gradually get used to the fact that you are no longer “just” a student – but this new role belongs to you just as much as the previous one.

Teach a lot

And what’s the best way to get used to it? By diving right in and teaching a lot!

Take advantage of opportunities to assist, substitute for others, and pitch your own teaching ideas to studios near you. The more you teach, the less daunting the task will seem over time. Also, you’ll see that people don’t come to your classes to evaluate you. They come to unwind, feel comfortable, and are most likely to be very less harsh with you when you make a mistake than you are.

Start with friends and family

Speaking of evaluations, no one will be watching you as much as your friends and family members. They don’t mean that in a bad way, they are just curious about what you have learned during your training and how you teach. So practice with them and get their feedback. Because they are close to you, they will be open and honest with you.

Then, when you teach strangers, you can remember: to these people, you are nothing more than a teacher. They come to you to do yoga, not to see how you do in that role.


If you’re prone to stage fright – write about it!

Put your fears and worries on paper, even let your mind wander to the worst-case scenario… and then let go. This helps in two ways: By giving yourself a small timeframe to imagine the worst possible occurrences and then consciously shutting down, you stop the mental merry-go-round. Second, the things you fear may not look so threatening written down on paper. 

Meditation with visualization

Reflect on the fact that a lot of things can go well! In fact, it’s the much likelier scenario. Therefore, get into a positive mood before a yoga class by visualizing the course of the class as ideally as possible. Imagine yourself in your mind’s eye, confidently leading your class, giving appropriate adjustments, talking fluently, etc. Then imagine your students relaxing in this class, enjoying the movement and feeling balanced and satisfied afterwards.

Relaxed nerves thanks to Pranayama

To calm your nerves, practice a variation of alternate breathing, exhaling and inhaling through both nostrils when you would otherwise hold your breath.

This variation is especially good for calming nervousness and tension – ideal if your heart is beating a little faster due to stage fright.

Spiritual attunement

If you appreciate yoga not only for its physical aspects, but also for its spiritual ones, it may help you to tune into your class on that level.

Recite a mantra, perform a small incense ritual, connect with your favorite deity… the sky’s the limit! A spiritual practice can give you quite a bit of power.

With these seven tips you are well prepared for stage fright! Never forget to believe in yourself – you’ve made it this far, so you deserve credit even if you mess up when teaching 😊

Common fears that might keep you from taking a yoga teacher training course

If you’re passionate about something, you want to share it. Yoga is no exception. Once you’ve experienced firsthand the positive effects the practice has on your body and soul, sooner or later you’ll want other people to benefit from it, too. At the same time, the desire to learn more about yoga itself and to delve deeper into its origins, underlying philosophy and anatomical aspects also becomes stronger. Since such details are rarely taught in yoga classes, many opt for yoga teacher training.

But taking the step to actually enroll can be difficult and take some overcoming. Some dream of such a training, but don’t really dare or have doubts. That’s what happened to me – and years later, I’m more than happy I took the plunge.

Here are the most common fears that might keep you from becoming a yoga teacher – and why they are unnecessary.

“I’m afraid to speak in front of people”

Do you dread lectures, speeches and presentations? You think that’s why you don’t want to stand in front of a yoga class? Then I have good news for you: teaching, especially teaching yoga, is very different from lecturing. It’s more like instructing than lecturing. The yogis and yoginis in your class are ideally with their attention inside, more engaged with themselves and their practice. No one expects you to be particularly confident, poised – it’s about relaxation, empathy, precise announcements, and pleasant adjustments.

“My practice is not advanced enough”

It is not necessary that you have been practicing for years or that you have mastered all the asanas before taking a Teacher Training. Your practice will deepen automatically with the training. At the same time, it’s not necessary that you can do all the contortions you’ve seen on social media afterwards. First, asanas are only one aspect of yoga, second, you don’t have to master, teach, or demonstrate all the asanas, and third, there probably isn’t a yoga teacher who can.

“I have physical limitations”

Whether they are significant limitations, such as a chronic illness, or minor ones, such as effects of an old injury that don’t otherwise affect you: You can definitely do yoga teacher training and teach, too. The very thing you think is a shortcoming can be your unique selling point. Many who also think they can’t practice will feel inspired by you. Those who have a similar affliction as you will benefit from your experience.

“I’m not spiritual enough”

While yoga is definitely a spiritual practice, there are enough interested people who are more interested in the physical aspect. These are the people you could reach. And for exactly this target group there will also be a corresponding training. Most providers have information events before the start of the training, where you can find out whether you feel comfortable with the atmosphere and the yoga style. Choose an offer that suits your personal preferences.

“I do not see myself in the role of a teacher”

You don’t have to! It’s perfectly okay to take the training just to deepen your own practice. Many people do that. I myself actually just wanted to dive deeper into the subject matter, but then realized in the course of the training how much I enjoy teaching. Who knows – maybe you feel the same way? And even if not, the training period will certainly still be an experience you won’t want to miss.

Are you currently thinking about getting trained? Do you have any concerns that make you hesitate? Share them in the comments!

Creating space – seven tips for more flexibility

“I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.”

It’s a phrase we’ve all heard or even said ourselves. In fact, lack of mobility or flexibility is a big factor in why some don’t even dare to take a yoga class. Still others crave more flexibility for health reasons: sitting for long periods of time or not moving enough in general has led to muscular shortening, which in turn has triggered back pain or headaches. Do you want to become more limber too? Then try the following seven tips for more flexibility.


Staying on the ball is extremely important. So try to incorporate smaller exercises more often, rather than just once a week for an hour. Maybe you even plan fixed appointments for yourself, which you then keep. The more regularly you exercise, the better your body will get used to the exercises and you will feel it gradually becoming more supple.

Not just stretching

Just doing a few stretches every day is not only boring, but also not really productive. So use your yoga practice to become more limber! Not only will it be more fun this way, but you’ll also combine stretching with exercises that build strength. This combination is important to avoid injuries.


Yoga blocks, yoga straps & co. are your best friends if you are not yet that limber. Asanas that might otherwise feel uncomfortable become more comfortable, and you can gently approach poses like seated forward bends. Straps and blocks can be an extension of your arms, allowing you to gently try out asanas while remaining correctly aligned. If you need inspiration on how to use yoga props, check them out here.


Connect with your breath as you practice. You really should always, but especially if you’re focusing on being more flexible. Deep, emphatic exhalations help you release tension and sink deeper into the stretch. Deep breathing also plays a crucial role in the next point.


You can’t do it without relaxation. Becoming more flexible also means letting go. Tension is an obvious contradiction to the suppleness we strive for. Therefore, make sure that relaxation is not neglected in your practice, both at the end in the form of savasana and in the exercises themselves. As mentioned earlier, the breath plays a big role here: if you breathe shallowly and quickly, you are telling your head that you are in a stressful situation and cannot relax.

Flexibility starts in the head

Speaking of the head: It also gets involved when you’re trying to get more limber. Maybe you’ve noticed that you have a harder time with balance poses when you’re upset inside? Our minds and bodies are inextricably linked, and mental imbalance translates into physical imbalance. It is the same with flexibility. If your mind feels soft, flexible and wide because you have pleasant thoughts, you will find the exercises easier than if you are worried and your mind feels all hardened and narrow – for example, when you are sad.

You can also extend your practice by visualizing, for example, how with each exhalation you are releasing more and more tension, becoming softer and softer, and thus sinking even deeper into the stretch.

Patience and love

Becoming more flexible doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that must be done gradually to avoid injury. Therefore, be patient with yourself and try to have fun along the way instead of constantly peeking at the destination. It is very important to be loving to yourself. Don’t force yourself into positions that your body is not yet comfortable with. Challenge it gently, but don’t exceed its limits. Respect it and do not compare it to other bodies. Keep realizing that you are exactly where you are supposed to be on your path – there is no one you need to outdo. Pay more attention to how an exercise feels to you, not how it looks or how you think it should look.

More flexibility is good for you! Better flexibility can prevent pain, tension and injury. So regular practice pays off – I hope you enjoy it!

Old but Gold: How an ancient practice like yoga stays relevant in modern days

Ancient? Ok, how old exactly?

It’s safe to say that yoga is an old practice. In fact, “old” doesn’t even really cover it. The first yogis were mentioned in the Vedas, around 1500 years before the common era. There are even hints that yoga was already practiced 5000 years ago. One of the first and most important yogic writings, the Yoga Sutras, by Patanjali, an Indian scholar, was written between the second century B.C. and the fourth century A.D. The pieces of wisdom that Patanjali shared are still being taught today. So are the asanas, the body exercises that most people think of when they hear “yoga”.

Now that you’ve got an overview how old this practice really is, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are skeptics out there, thinking that a philosophy that ancient doesn’t have any value today. But they’re wrong! In fact, I think now it has more value than ever.

Yoga over the course of time

Yoga was first practiced only by men. Today, the studios are full of women. Back then, it was a very strict, ascetic practice. Today, it is very loving and focused on selfcare. It used to be about enlightenment. Today, it is about the individual and their well-being (even though of course you can step on the path to enlightenment!). Do you see a pattern? Yoga changed throughout the years- the practice, its purpose, and of course the people who practice it. And that’s where its secret lies: centuries ago, people had totally different lives, different views on humans and their needs, depending on the time and place they lived in. Still, yoga never vanished. Its secret is that there is no “one size fits all” concept – it can be practiced and adjusted accordingly by anyone. As long as people are evolving, the practice will evolve too.

So why is yoga more important than ever?

Back in the early days, the people who practiced yoga were deeply religious and sought enlightenment. This is because of the concept of reincarnation: people wanted to stop the circle of being reborn and find eternal peace that comes with enlightenment. Today, especially in the West, the reasons for starting yoga are entirely different and often very physical. There are many studios available who cater to different needs, so it’s very accessible. But: in a way, it was easier centuries ago. People were much more in touch with nature, with spirituality and with themselves. Today, we’ve lost touch. We’re exposed to a constant media frenzy, we’re always accessible, always in a rush. We think we are our body. We do too much and feel too little. As a result, burnout, depression and other diseases are increasing.

Centuries ago, Patanjali defined yoga as “the cessation of the movements of the mind”. Think about it: when was the last time your mind was truly calm? Stopping the thought rollercoaster is a challenge we all must face. A racing mind might be one of the most common problems nowadays. In a yoga class, however, we turn inwards. There’s no phone, no internet, no news – just us, our breath and our movements. For once, there is nothing to worry about. Our hectic everyday life comes to a halt. We breathe and move and take care of ourselves. Our busy mind gets a well-deserved rest. And it’s also good for our body: Oftentimes, we spend hours on a desk, in front of a screen, or with a bent neck to look at our smartphone. An incredible amount of people suffers from back pain. Yoga to the rescue! There are numerous studies proving that it’s just as effective as physiotherapy. A little movement goes a long way. Lack of movement is a very common reason for diseases or being overweight. Yoga is a form of movement that is literally for everyBODY. There is no one who cannot practice and benefit from it. As long as you can breathe, you can practice yoga. Even if you’re overweight, even if you’re not the sporty type, even if you’re sitting in a wheelchair you can do yoga. There are super easy exercises to get you out of your head and into your body connecting you to your true self. The word “yoga” means “union” – union of mind, body and soul.

Not only is yoga a remedy for many modern problems, physical and mental, it is also flexible and accessible enough so that everyone can profit from it. 

Everyday benefits of practicing yoga at a glance

  • Improved mood
  • Better concentration
  • Relief for neck and back pain
  • Improvement of the immune system
  • Enhancement of overall wellbeing
  • And much more!

Sounds good, right? And let’s be honest: The wish for an improvement of mood, concentration and immune system is timeless – just like the practice that can help us achieve that wish.

New beginnings are fun – My top 5 tips for a successful yoga start

If you’re thinking about starting yoga but don’t really dare yet, this article is ideal for you. You always hear about people who fell in love with yoga after their first yoga class and immediately became enthusiastic yogis, but don’t worry if it wasn’t like that for you!

It wasn’t love at first sight for me either. It took me years to get excited about the practice. There were several reasons for this: I didn’t find the right teacher for a long time; I thought the whole thing was only fun if you were a contortionist, so to speak, and a few other things.

To make it a little easier for you to get started with yoga, I’ve put together my top 5 tips that will help you enjoy it even if you’re a complete newbie.

1. Define your Why

Be absolutely clear about why you want to start yoga. Knowing exactly why or what you’re doing something for will help you stick with it, even if your motivation wanes. And there are many reasons to start with yoga: Maybe you want to feel better physically, gain more strength and flexibility. Or you want to bring calmness into the monkey mind. Or maybe the acrobatic-looking poses on Instagram have awakened your athletic ambition. No matter what it is – stand by your goal and keep it in mind during low-motivation times.

2. Don’t be too proud

By that I mean: don’t be ashamed to go to beginner classes and use as many tools as you need. Blocks, straps & co. were made for just such purposes. They lengthen your arms or shorten your legs if you’re not yet agile enough to hold some poses comfortably. Modify even without aids and fully embrace where you are at in your practice. If you barely reach your knees in forward bend, so be it. Yoga is not a sport – it’s not about what a posture looks like, but only about how it makes you feel. And you can feel the positive effects right from the start if you get involved.

3. Be willing to experiment

Yin Yoga is too slow for you? Then try Hatha Yoga. You don’t like holding asanas for a long time? Then go to a vinyasa class. The yoga in your gym reminds you too much of gymnastics? Then find a yoga studio near you. Can’t warm up to the class leader? Then attend a parallel class. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles, teachers, and locations until you find the offering that best fits your why.

4. Find a yoga buddy

Maybe there’s someone in your circle of friends or family who would also like to start yoga. Team up. Getting started together is a lot less intimidating and it’s easier to stick with it.

5. Prefer on-site classes

Yes, it’s certainly very tempting to fire up a YouTube video of just 20 minutes at home and practice in your own bedroom first. However, especially as a beginner, you should hold off on that (for now). Why? First of all, it’s safer. You will be introduced to many positions that you are not familiar with. If you practice at home, there is no one there to correct you. In the worst case, you will practice for a long period of time with incorrectly set up positions and you will not do your body any good – on the contrary. Until you are more confident in your practice, it is a great advantage to be guided and corrected by someone. This will help you prevent injury and gain a deeper understanding of the exercises from the beginning. There’s also the fun factor. It is simply different to practice in a room with several people. And it’s not uncommon to make new contacts in the process.

Were these tips helpful for you? Is it difficult for you to define your why or to find a suitable style? Then feel free to write me – I’m happy to help!

Your private yoga studio – Checklist for your yoga practice at home

During the Corona phase, it became very popular to practice yoga at home. But this habit can always be beneficial, not only during a pandemic. When you practice at home, you can do a little session spontaneously when you feel like it or adapt your practice to exactly what feels good to you at the moment, play the music you would like to hear… while doing yoga in a group at a studio, with yummy assists, is a great thing, an individual yoga session can be awesome as well. Nevertheless, many people are having a hard time with it, as the usual circumstances are missing. If you are still on your way to becoming a “home yogi”, read these tips to make your start easier.

Your personal yoga studio

Find a place in your home that you can use as your very own studio. This place should be bright, friendly and not too busy. Of course, there should be enough space for your mat and some broad movements. Not many have the luxury of having a room entirely for yoga, but even if you’re not one of those lucky ones, you can create an inviting yoga space: open the windows to let some fresh air in, light some candles or incense sticks, put music on that calms you.

Your yoga props

Your own yoga mat is a staple, of course. Other stuff that is useful: a meditation cushion to sit comfortably upright, a strap and blocks to support asanas. You can also use substitutions for these items that you can find in every household. A sofa pillow or a folded blanket can be used as a meditation cushion while a belt or a folded cloth can turn into a makeshift yoga strap. Instead of blocks, you can use two books that are similar in size.

Your teacher

When you practice at a studio, you don’t really have a choice concerning the teacher. At home, however, you do have a choice: there are numerous YouTube videos with different topics and time spans that you can choose or combine. If you would like to do a live session, you can take a look at the websites of different studios or freelance yoga teachers. This way, you can bring the feeling of practicing with others to your home and also take sessions with teachers that would be too far away otherwise – even international teachers, which can be an enriching experience.

If you are an experienced yogi, you can also be your own teacher and create a session according to your needs and switch it up in the middle of it if you feel that something is not good or that you want more of something.

Your intention

Now you know what you need for your yoga practice at home. Before you get started, though, you should be clear about why you would like to establish a yoga routine in your home. When you know exactly why you are getting on your mat, it will be a lot easier to stay consistent.

One last advice for your everyday life

This one will not only be helpful for your individual yoga practice but also helpful in general: Learn to listen to your body, to sense what it needs. Strengthening? Relaxation? Stretching? Which parts of your body need attention? Listen closely to how you are feeling mentally or emotionally. Maybe it would feel great to practice some heart openers? Maybe rather some hip openers? Learn to refrain from judging your feelings as negative, like we tend to pretty often. Instead of saying “I’m way too stiff”, say “Today, my body needs some stretching”.

This habit is especially important when you’re planning your own sessions or practice intuitively. But it’s also important when choosing an online class. Therefore, listen to yourself after classes as well. Observe how you are feeling versus how you felt in the beginning of the class. If you had any needs, were they met?

Start right now and ask yourself: What can I do for my body and my mind in this exact moment? And maybe you will get right into a little yoga session at home. I wish you a lot of fun!