My first, shy contact with Yoga was when I just turned fifteen. I used to get up at six on every weekday in order to do some yoga before school. Looking back, all the stretching was a nice to wake up my body and start my day in a gentle way. It definitely was a more mindful choice than what I did in year twelve – just sleeping until twenty minutes before school starts and then running late almost every single day. But still, looking back and reflecting it all, I realize that I didn’t do Yoga for the right reasons. The beautiful access to the true magic of Yoga, and with it, the access into the true magic into my being was somehow missing. Yoga used to be just another kind of workout for me, making the ego of the fifteen year old girl back then feel just right enough.
During the last years, I found that access into Yoga – at least for some parts. I visited some Yoga classes in Hamburg and was blown away by that special post Yoga bliss afterwards. Because of that, I got a one month membership when I lived in Sydney and completely fell in love with the art of Yoga. Sometimes, I even visited that lovely Yoga studio twice a day. Doing Yoga taught me unconditional love for myself and life. It made me accept everything – really everything that is. Some Yoga classes simply made me like everything in life was pure magic and let me sink into my own presence.
On my first day in Bali, I finally bought my own Yoga mat and tried to do Yoga on my own for the first time after years. I was surprised when I realized how much fun it can be to flow on your own. Nevertheless, I am still missing all the wonderful yoga classes I took in Australia and I can’t wait to start again soon. The reason why I didn’t run into the next Yoga studio right away as soon as I arrived in Bali were some struggles I currently have with my body. I gained a few kilos because of binge eating and it’s hard for me to accept the way I currently look. I try to avoid looking at my body to avoid bad thoughts about myself when the actual key is to embrace myself the way I look right now and find beauty, peace and happiness with it. Right now, I think about doing yoga here in Canggu tomorrow morning or maybe even this evening to show myself that everything is possible and I am a lot stronger than my ego makes me think I am.
Because of my love for Yoga getting so strong in the Yoga studio at the Bondi Beach, I decided to take that love to a whole new level. In January, I will travel to India for a month to do a whole month of a 200 hour yoga teacher training. I am so excited to spend one month learning about Yoga every day. Until then, I will do my best to finally embrace my body again after such a long time of rejecting my appearance and choose the beauty, happiness and peace that we all deserve.
”My body isn’t a toy. My body isn’t a joke. My body’s mine and your eyes will not define it.”
This lovely afternoon, I sat down in a vegan friendly café close to the beach to start self studying everything about yoga that makes my heart curious. Even though I discovered yoga over three years ago, there is so much about all the different yoga types that I don’t know. As I already shared in a previous post, I want to use a part of my precious time on planet earth to grow my mind and learn about all the different things in life that interest me. How wonderful is it to have the time to research and educate yourself about everything you want to know. I want to know all the stories about so many places on planet earth, I want to learn quantum physics to discover the secrets of our universe and so much more. But for now, I want to learn about yoga and share the wonderful knowledge to also let your mind grow and inspire you to use your precious time on planet earth to self study the things you’re curious about as well.
About the special practice that yoga actually is Yoga is so much more than a gentle workout if you allow yourself to sink into the practice. Yoga can connect body and soul with the simple power of your own breath. Just as it is a physical practice to make you healthy and more flexible, it is a spiritual practice to connect you with your true self at the same time. You practice awareness by holding different physical poses and earning to control your body in the present moment, as well as diving deeper into your soul by practicing mental relaxation such as meditation. I am so happy that I found yoga and let myself flow into it. It helped me to get back to the path of choosing to follow the path to my true self. It helps me to give myself unconditional love every day. There are many different yoga practices, but all in one you can divide them into two parts.
part one of the yoga practices – HATHA YOGA – Hatha yoga is the base of all the types of yoga that focus on the physical body. In the western culture, the hatha yoga is the most popular and common one. The wonderful thing about hatha yoga is, that you not only get in a practices that challenges your body and makes you sweat – it can be so much more than that. All the different yoga practices that focus on controlling the physical body while staying present with your mind are a part of the hatha yoga. The goal is to connect your mind and your body. Sometimes, hatha yoga made me sink deep into the present moment. It creates a balance between the human mind and the body by focusing on three things: Firstly, the physical movement called asanas, Secondly, practicing awareness by different breathing techniques, that are called pranayama by the yogis, and thirdly, focusing on the mental relaxation by including meditation as well. The magic begins with the body, and goes further with the breath and ends with your soul. It can unite every part of your existence.
Ashtanga yoga – Ashtanga yoga is known to be the mother of many other hatha yoga practices. It is created by a system out of six different sequences which increase in difficulty every time. The common movement is the popular flow, jumping or even doing your own thing such as working on your headstand or handstand on your own while the teacher helps you when you need it.
Vinyasa yoga – While the art of ashtanga yoga is created by six fixed sequences, a vinyasa yoga flow is not fixed at all. That is why it is perfect to practice on your own. The physical movements and poses can be chosen freely by your teacher or yourself. Sometimes it’s more fun with music in the background, but sometimes, the simple but beautiful sound of silence is preferred – you can do whatever you want.
Anusara yoga – When I heard about that kind of yoga for the first time, I thought that is was simply beautiful. It is another kind of simple hatha yoga. It focuses on the physical movement and poses of the body. But instead of making that a priority, the main thing about anusara yoga is to simply stay positive, be happy and have a good time on the mat trying out to do the coolest things with your body.
Bikram yoga – I tried bikram yoga one time when I was sixteen years old – to be honest I didn’t really like the yoga teacher back then and I was happy when the ninety minute class was finally over – but now I would give it a second chance. During the practice, you hold twenty-six different ashtangas that are interrupted by breaks in-between. The special thing about this kind of yoga is that you do it in 40 C° hot room. Why? because the heat makes it easier to stretch and is also known for a special detox effect.
Hot yoga – This kind of yoga is practiced in a 40 C° hot room as well, but that is the only thing these yoga practices share. While doing hot yoga, you can to all the asanas and pranayamas you desire. For example, you can choose to practice a free vinyasa flow with the little benefit of being more stretchy and providing the body of yours with that detox effect.
Sivananda Yoga – While researching, I got to know that this kind of yoga is the most common way of hatha yoga. It is known to be the ”classical” yoga. Somehow, I never saw a yoga session with that name. Nevertheless, this yoga class basically includes almost everything. In the beginning and in the end of the practice, you connect yourself spiritually by different mantras. During the practice, you will experience a mixture of a few asanas, as well as the traditional sun salutations, breathing techniques to connect body with soul and meditation for relaxation of the mind.
Acro yoga – I was blown away by the beautiful clips of human beings practicing acro yoga that you can find on Instagram. It is a beautiful mixture of yoga and acrobatic. To practice acro yoga you will need a partner. The practice focuses on three main aspects: The awareness of yoga, but also the joy, strength and trust you need for the acrobatic part, as well as letting go, listening and healing with that special art of yoga.
Power Yoga – Power yoga definitely is all about moving the beautiful body of yours. The practice is about almost constantly moving your body and holding every pose for five breaths. There are also many more Yoga practices that are so focused on the movement. You can find Yogilates, a mixture of Pilates and Yoga, or even special Yoga fitness classes.
Part two of the yoga practices – KUNDALINI YOGA – Kundalini yoga is a more spiritual yoga practice. While spending the most part of your yoga class chanting and meditating, you practice your mindfulness and spiritual connection. The physical movements, the asanas, are practiced in a sitting position. Nevertheless, the poses are not boring at all – they are special and will be repeated for several minutes. While the physical focused hatha yoga supports the yang part of the human being, you can basically say that the mindful kundalini yoga focuses on the yin instead. The goal is to wake up your energy, which the yogis say to be the prana. Kundalini yoga is about your own inner experience with you being, going straight into your heart.
Yin Yoga – If you are looking to get sweaty, yin yoga won’t be the optimal decision. But if you are looking to practice some meditation and gentle relaxation for your body and your mind – you give yin yoga a try. While most hatha yoga practices are focusing on the yang part of your being by controlling your body by holding different physical poses and challenging your body with movement, yin yoga is just the opposite. During a yin yoga practice, you hold different poses while laying on your yoga mat. Even if there is almost no physical power needed, the different poses keep your links smooth. Yin yoga is known to give your connective tissues and fascia a good stretch. It also improves your natural flow of energy by silencing your mind.
Yoga Nidra – Yoga Nidra is all about feeling your body in a meditative way. While going through your body by going through every part of it with your whole awareness, you can experience a deep relaxation. It is all about being mindful and practicing awareness. I remember visiting such a yoga class when I was fifteen years old and I actually really enjoyed it.