The team of yellow yoga
"Thank you for building and keeping that marvelous space. You have done a wonderful job with it."
How did they react?
They grinned, said thanks, and we all agreed: This really is an outstanding spot on planet earth.
How did I feel?
I am a city girl. Endless streams of moving windows on my wall at night are my earliest childhood memories. Liquor store guys have always been my friends. Street filth makes me feel at home. Put me in the country and I'll sigh, "vacation...", while my village friends shout, "Babyhood!".
Recently I spent two years in a small town. It seemed like a village to me. Going for a run in the fields, bike riding along the Rhine to school, walking through empty streets at night: A wild, new experience! I loved it.
Back in Berlin since October I have been missing the silence, for the first time in my life. No more vineyards, no more hills- it feels weird. But I got something in return. It is my most precious city ingredient: A home to my heart, daily nutrition for my body.
My yoga studio.
Name a city I have lived in and I'll tell you my studio of choice. There is one in Cologne*,one in San Francisco**, one in Bonn. My former Berlin yoga home, Home Yoga, is no longer open.
It's been three months since I moved back here. New school, new minors, new crib- I have been busy. And oftentimes too tired to drive to the other side of town, sixty minutes to get to one of my former studios. So I stayed home. Until two weeks ago when I found out a new place had opened up, 350 meters away from my apartment. The new place was not entirely new to me, I had been to its sister studio before. Yellow Yoga. I'd liked it there. Staggering their prices they make Yoga affordable. Plus they thwart the scene's tendency to build cults around key figures by offering a wide range of styles. Their schedule includes deeply spiritual kundalini sessions, charity meditations and advanced vinyasa classes that actually deserve their name. The teachers*** live their uniqueness, each of them celebrating and developing their very own teaching style.
The studio I had been to before radiates with honesty. Far away from wellness-style-competition it is what it is: A room in a rear house. Large windows, a bathroom directly attached to the space. If you enter the studio chances are you might step on someone's mat. There is no hallway. When I first came there I was stunned- For the first time in years I did not feel like a rebel for wearing to Yoga not a sparkling gear but my worn out UMich sweatshirt. I was a person rolling out my mat. No more, no less.
Now here is my favorite 2015 gift so far: Instead of me having to go back to them, they came to me! What a luxury. Out of my apartment I fall straight into their new studio. This one is different than the room-room. It feels honest and down to earth still but at the same time it is a total retreat space. Rear building, too- but with a different vibe. You open the door and enter a cozy hang out sphere, facing an open smile of whoever is working the counter. Every staff member (everyone!) I have met so far seems likable. The whole studio's decoration speaks of devotion. Wooden doors, a high sleeper turned into a reading zone, beautiful floors- all left behind by the previous tenants who set their hand to the place. The bathroom's tiles' blue makes you feel like you are floating out at sea.
Standing inside, you might go for a tea at the samovar, then move to the yoga room which, honestly, feels more like a hall. Huge windows both in the front- and rear side. During the winter the evening class will benefit from the rooms subtle lighting more than the huge windows. And of another item: There is a stove. A stove.
Let's fast forward the next ninety minutes, just imagine an amazingly good yoga class***. Now picture this: Lying in savasana you let go. Your breathing floats in and out, your limbs are heavy, your body becomes spacious- and you hear nothing but the crackling of the fire. Maybe the teacher will add some wood from the room's wall. Could there be anything more beautiful?! Yes. There could. There is. Same place, five minutes later. Six o'clock, class is over. You om to the sound of, that's right, of ringing church bells.
In the center of Berlin, while out on the streets car lights are playing shadow games on walls, strangers are ignoring each other's smell in the UBahn, burnt out employees almost crash on their keyboards.
Right there, in some Neukölln backyard whose wall says "Artificial Flowers" in a sixties font, I have found my little oasis. It has only been two weeks but I already know: This is my Berlin yoga place.
Thank you, yellow yoga, for making me come home.
* favorite teacher: Steffi. Her devotion and her perfect choice of words during class impresses me
** favorite teacher: Rebecca. Her sensitivity and natural talent for teaching are outstanding
*** I have not taken classes with everyone but so far my favorite would be Kyla! I am amazed by her authenticity and her serenity.