Monday & Wednesday 10:30 am at Living Hotel
Sunday 10:30am at Patitos
Why are you interested in watching sports? Isn‘t that a waste of time?
Well, here is a thought I was having for quite some time on what yoga classes, group meditations and sport events have in common.
As human beings we are longing for connection with others, we are social beings.
Every time we are attending a yoga class we become part of a group experience.
Most probably we do not know all the other participants, but choosing to go to yoga is something that connects us. It creates a common ground.
This is one of the fascinating aspects of teaching yoga, to see how people connect by sharing their experience and enjoying the feeling of being with others without feeling judged.
Not all people are into yoga and sometimes I hear my yoga friends saying things like this:
I wish people outside the yoga world would understand the importance of getting together, sharing emotions and singing.
Maybe they already somehow did in a different way?
When I was a teenager I was attending all home games of my favorite football team and sometimes even travelled with friends to see them play in other cities.
We were supporting them when they almost went bancrupt, played in lower divisions and completely lost it, but we also celebrated a few highlights over years, but it was never mainly about that.
Many things in my life changed over the last 20 years. As I am not living in Frankfurt anymore I am obviously not a regular stadium visitor for the last seasons. One of the things I miss the most about home.
Everytime I visit and make it to the stadium or watch our team on TV with friends it is the same feeling of connection as it has been 20 years ago. Following results from far away is one way to always stay connected with my friends at home.
Our group of friends that watched games together have evolved in different directions (doctors, musicians, lawyers, businessmen, craftsmen and so on), but still there is this common ground. It is connecting us for a lifetime.
Watching the game and everything around that creates an opportunity of getting together and not only talking about the game itself. It doesn‘t matter who knows the most about the sport itself or what they achieved in their life. It is not about the ego.
It‘s not the most important thing in the world, but the game is the catalyst to bring people together.
It doesn‘t matter if your team wins or not, it‘s always like a small vacation from daily life.
Especially those that have experienced a crowd cheering up their team during the game or even hours before the game will know what I am talking about. It is a very special vibe created by everyone involved.
It might not look as glorious as a ceremony in the yoga world, but somehow it is the same dynamics behind it.
People getting together that share a passion and find ways to express it.
Yesterday I witnessed my team winning a trophy for the first time in 30 years.
I was watching it on a live stream with my dog in Costa Rica. Even being without the dudes at a far away place, there is this connection. I can imagine how much fun they have celebrating this and I am very happy for them, it almost feels like I am there.
As Russell Brand puts it:
It doesn‘t matter what you love you can start with something simple, it can even be West Ham United.
Well in my case it‘s Eintracht Frankfurt and I couldn‘t agree more.
We all wouldn‘t be here without having a Mom.
Having Kids is probably the most challenging experience we can go through in our life.
I haven‘t had the pleasure yet, but the older I get the more people around me are parents themselves.
This is a very interesting change of perspective.
I start getting an idea on how parents perceive their kids, for the good and the bad.
How they perceive our imperfections and struggles as a spectator and how much the suffer at times without showing.
I am one of these adults that have an animal. Never ever I would put this on the same level as being a parent.
There is unconditional love towards my little dog, but:
1. My Dog will never reach puberty and speak up against me.
2. My Dog will never be an independent being that makes life decisions that I might not agree with.
3. My Dog will never choose a partner to spend the rest of her life with that I might not feel good about.
Looking at myself I have to admit, that I am a pretty challenging child to have.
1. I was speaking up against everything just for the sake of speaking up.
2. I took decisions in my life that were not in my own interest at all.
3. I am 33 years old and my last relationship ended with me having a dog by myself.
Being a witness of all that must be very challenging as it probably feels like watching a car accident from the distance.
It‘s hard to find balance to tell your kids what to do and to let them learn their own lessons.
“You can‘t teach someone, but you can help them to find truth within themselves by holding space for their learning.“
My Mom did an awesome job on that.
Over years I somehow found my way to be the person who I am today. It took some time to overcome expectations society put onto my shoulders and find a way to live my life happily.
I am not the million dollar making business-man that most Mom‘s would be proud of.
I am proud of my Mom for being proud of a Yoga Teacher that plays Music and loves his Dog.
With deep Gratitude towards everything I have found on my path so far and everything that will be built on that over the next years:
Alles Liebe zum Muttertag!
It‘s a big word. We use it all the time to describe our feelings towards people or things that we appreciate.
I love your new shoes/pants/dress/hat.
I love this restaurant.
I love going for a walk.
I love my Mom.
Maybe it‘s the german in me that gets confused by one word describing these quite different feelings towards something.
It gets more confusing when I am asked about my opinion.
“How do you like this place?“
“How is your food?“
“How was class?“
In case I really like one of these things you might hear me say something like: That is pretty good.
Followed up by dissapointed faces on the other side.
I honestly feel like that, I think it is good. Nothing more, but also nothing less.
It‘s hard for me to describe my feelings towards a sandwich using the same word that I would use to verbalise my feelings towards another person or a passion that I have for years.
Let me try to explain what differs liking something and loving something in my perspective and why it matters to me.
When I was a teenager I started loving to play music. Today I love surfing and spending time with my dog. Why do I use that word in these contexts?
One thing these beloved parts of my life have in common is that they are not profit oriented.
I would like to call that (unconditional) love.
It is pretty obvious to me that I will never make a living from playing music or surfing or walking my dog. Still I enjoy these things as a part of my life that are key ingredients to my happiness.
I don‘t expect them to do anything for me.
Opposing to that my relationship to a restaurant highly depends on the quality of food and service.
I like going when it is good, but the moment it is not good anymore I would stop going.
That is not unconditional at all. I expect them to do something for me.
On the other side there is my little dog Snoopy. When she destroys my sunglasses and chews up my sofa it is safe to say she caused me a lot of stress and there is no benefit for me.
I got to take her for walks everyday and spend quite some money on her well-being. When I travel I need to make arrangements to have her taken care of.
Speaking in business terms the turn-out of that investment is pretty poor. But something in me makes me still want to do it.
It is a feeling that makes me do that.
When I practice playing my guitar I am basically wasting my time from a money perspective. I could do something like trading penny stocks and make some cash in less time.
It‘s just that I love playing guitar. It is a feeling not a reason.
Countless times I physically hurt myself doing things like snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing.
I could have just gone to the gym or running, if it was just for the goal of maintaining my fitness.
The ability to enjoy something just for the sake of it, without expecting a particular outcome can be very challenging.
I grew up in Germany, efficiency is quite a thing there, but of course not only there.
The idea that streamlined thinking and making decisions out of risk-calculations helps in the business world might be a valid point.
When it comes to love it leaves out a blind spot though.
Once we ask ourselves if relationships or friendships are serving us we are taking that efficiency thought into our private life.
We are human beings. Sometimes we are doing good, sometimes not so much. It changes all the time. That is life. We evolve through the ups and downs.
So do our friends and loved ones.
My grandparents were married for 65 years before the both passed over the last two years. I am pretty sure that they were quite annoyed about each other at times.
As a child I noticed that they would make fun of each other all the time. Not because they hated each other, but because they knew each other, including all weaknesses.
Sharing our insecurities with someone else makes us vulnerable. It is a risk that we take with an unknown ending.
Do we need to take that risk?
Not necessarily. We could also just stay by ourselves and manage every aspect of our life without anyone else, without being vulnerable.
That would be more efficient. But is that really what we want?
Go out, take risks.
That is Love.
Do what you Love, Love what you do.
We all know these inspirational quotes telling us to leave our so-called comfort zones in order to evolve our own being.
I partly agree to that, just partly.
In my experience it is more about the balance of stepping out of and slowly expanding our comfort zone at the same time.
How we perceive danger and react to it is highly determined by our state of mind. There will be days when we get frightened by challenges easily and others where we feel that nothing can stop us.
After all it is mostly practice and repetition that allows us to feel more comforted in certain situations, as that is how our brain is learning.
Facing new challenges we find ourselves getting overwhelmed at times.
It does not mean we can‘t achieve certain goals at some point of our life, but maybe just not yet.
Let‘s take this thought into the world of yoga.
The practice of yoga can be physically very challenging. Often we find ourselves not being able to do certain poses.
This does not mean we will never be able to, just not yet.
If we want to stand on one foot and hold the big toe of the other foot at the same time this can be challenging.
In case we are struggling we could take two different approaches:
A: We keep trying to do this one pose over time and see what happens.
B: We try to understand what this pose is asking from us (Balance, Flexibility, Strength etc.) and find out on what particular field we want/need to improve in order to reach our goal.
Let‘s take this thought off the mat again.
I remember when I started surfing how scary it was to get tumbled around and how frightening and random these waves seemed to me at that point.
After some time I figured that I needed to improve my paddling skills and think more about my position towards the waves. All of a sudden medium sized waves started to feel within my “comfort zone“.
But there is limits to that. Just yesterday I had the humbling experience of facing the biggest waves I have ever surfed. For sure not within my “comfort zone“, for now.
I decided to go home and take care of my physcial health instead of “stepping out of my comfort zone“.
Maybe because of the experience I had when I was 21 years-old and someone told me I could make that jump with my snowboard and I went for it. Result was a pretty rough landing after about 30 feet and fracturing one of my vertebraes.
Sometimes it might be better to just step back and accept what it is for now.
Years later I was feeling comfortable doing jumps of that size with my snowboard and I am pretty sure one day big waves won‘t be as scary as they are now.
Same goes for our handstand and similar challenges in yoga.
It takes the time it takes.
Every practice on our way towards a certain goal makes us more comfortable in what we are doing.
Instead of “Go for It“,
“Practice for It“!
On and Off the Mat...
We hear that advise all the time, but what does it actually mean? Probably something different to everyone of us.
Here is my experience.
Being a teenager I was never that “talented“ in sports and always looked up to my friends that were throwing backflips on their snowboards and ripping in local skate parks.
I always tried, but never really came to a point where I felt 100% confident in what I was doing. I never understood why I just wasn‘t able to do what I wanted to do.
Over the years it became a fascinating thing for me to observe: Why are some people “talented“ and others are not? Why does it click for some and not for others?
When I was teaching kids how to skate and longboard in my hometown for almost two years I learnt a lot about learning itself.
Some kids made incredible progress over time, but others struggled and some of them gave up after a while.
What I found very interesting was that the kids that seemed to be the least talented in the beginning often turned out to learn very quick, while the talented ones had a hard time integrating advise.
Some kids always seemed distracted by every squirrel that ran by, while others had determination to learn. I believe that is actually what makes the difference.
The level of being Focussed.
Let‘s take things to an more relatable level for most of us. Yoga.
Imagine you are in a yoga class and everyone is following the beautiful flow the teacher is offering. At the same time you are thinking about things such as:
am I doing it right?
do I look stupid right now?
What is the teacher thinking?
oh no I lost it, wait a second...oh no.. left or right?...I suck at Yoga...
Why can‘t I be as good as everyone else?
Just one of these thoughts, or any other distraction, will limit our ability to follow instructions given in class and disconnect us with what is happening in the present moment.
In my perspective our practice is not that much about reaching out for our toes or standing on one leg, it is more about the level of awareness and presence we can direct towards what we are actually doing.
After all we might find out that all the challenging yoga poses become much easier once we are able to focuss on what is happening in our body while doing them.
As long as we stress out while doing them we will have a hard time.
The same goes for activities like snowboarding and surfing as I found out over time.
Being able to focus and not being distracted is the main determinant for fun or injury.
I learnt the hard way.
In my early 20s I had a fracture in my lumbar spine because I came short on a jump with my snowboard being hung-over at a pracitce run.
When I was 31 I broke my ellbow longboarding while being distracted by my surroundings.
That was not fun. Both times doctors told me I should better let go of these “kind of activities“.
Why not find out what went wrong and do better next time?
Of course there is always the risk of hurting ourselves. As there is all day everyday whatever we do.
Yoga can be one of many wonderful ways to train our ability to get focussed.
For me it totally works and I can see it working for all the yogis and non-yogis around me.
Being present is the only thing that seperates failure from success.
Give it a try before labelling yourself as un-talented.