Describe your love story with Yoga?
In a word: transformative. Perhaps a Yoga-world cliché, or perhaps this speaks to the power of the practice, but Yoga entered my life at the age of 16 and has since functioned as a catalyst for positive change in many small and large ways. Not the least of these was the decision to leave my life in the US behind after 20 years and return to my roots in Germany to become a Yoga teacher here: following the path of the heart.
Tell us about your teaching style?
I teach a playful yet precise Vinyasa Flow. Heart-centered and devotional, in the sense that each class is, at its best, a chance to experience ourselves in moments of divine stillness while in dynamic motion, a bit like standing in the eye of a powerful storm. We connect with our in- and -exhales, cleansing ourselves through breath. We feel our physical strength, rooting powerfully into the earth. We flow like water, learning that softness and release can be deeply transformative, and we feel purging fire in our quadriceps after the 15th Utkatasana!
On the good days, that's what I aim for, but I also joyfully embrace my humanity as a Yoga teacher, and on some days my classes feel like a jumble of right and left feet and arms and legs, hurtling towards Savasana...
How does your relationship to Yoga transcend the mat?
In almost every way. One yogic role model wrote that Yoga 'keeps me honest.' I think that sums it up, and suspect that most Yoga practitioners who have dipped their toes in these waters have quickly had the same experience. Yoga and life become inseparable.
What's your secret to happiness?
Slowing down. This is something I am only recently learning, and just beginning to apply to living. It's simple, really: I feel better, happier, more grounded and alive when I take more time to do fewer things. This applies to everything from brushing teeth to preparing my classes. It doesn't mean however that I've learned to be punctual without stress. That's a big life-goal!
Looking back, what lessons and moments were most poignant this past year?
Trust in the benevolence of the Universe was a big and important topic this past year, and my own fluctuating ability to live and feel that trust. For me this trust is reflected in a balance between letting go of things that don't weave naturally with ease into the fabric of my life and maintaining clarity and focus about pursuing dreams - remaining an active creatress of my world and environment.
Looking ahead, what are you excited about in coming months?
This is a year of expansion, I can feel it! I'm excited to continue on my path as a student and to absorb wisdom and nourish myself as a teacher.
What are your grateful for today?
So much, when I bring my attention to it. At this moment, the hotwater bottle at my feet, a cup of herbal tea, the roof over my head and food in my belly, and the opportunity to muse about life for Supersoul.yoga. More generally, I'm so grateful that I do what I LOVE every day, and that I am surrounded by loving souls and receive regular affirmation that following my heart in all things is a pretty good way to go.
What is your top tip for those new to Yoga practice?
Do less, feel more. Take breaks in class to breathe into your body. Become more conscious of what YOU feel like from the inside out. Then notice how this awareness leaves the mat and the Yoga studio with you and accompanies you out the door into your life.
Photos: Elena Alger and Susanne Kuhn