For today's interview with a new member of the Zenagoy family - Zenagoy yoga brand Ambassador - we fly to a wonderful and creative city of Berlin - the capital of Germany. Alexander has been a passionate Ashtangi for more than three years now, and today he will share with all of us how Yoga has changed his way of living.
Q: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself:
A: I have a PhD in educational sciences and the subject of my dissertation was about perceived stress during adolescence. I completed a 500h yoga teacher training to be certified to teach classes in vinyasa, yin, and ashtanga. I love good, long and healthy brunches, hot baths, and getting to know new and inspiring people.
I love to spend my free time with people who are dear to me, to have pleasant and inspiring conversations, to read books, to learn. Travelling, of course, is one of my passions - there are just too many beautiful places on this Planet to stay in one place for too long.
Q: Can you remember when, for the first time, you encountered Yoga?
A: I discovered Yoga during my Ph.D. studies. I used to practice Yoga at home, for a half an hour, now and then, through Youtube or an app. Later I came across a video by yoga teacher Laruga Glaser and she encouraged me to start with Ashtanga yoga. Unfortunately, I had no possibility to visit a yoga shala (Shala is a Sanskrit word for "home." A Yoga Shala is a "place of yoga," aka yoga studio) in the places where I lived. So, I had to teach myself the yoga asanas very slowly and with lots of effort and practice. This helped me become more confident and to develop a better body feeling. I am always very happy when I receive adjustments and useful tips that help me improve.
Q: How did Yoga impact your life?
A: Yoga has fundamentally changed my life in so many ways. Before I started Yoga, I lived a rather unhealthy life. My mind was also very connected to my body and my ego. So, anything but yogic.
But through the philosophy of Yoga, the sutras, the Vedic texts, and physical exercises, I have learned to be more attentive to my body, my mind, and the people around me.
For me, it is now a constant process to integrate the eight-limbed path (Ashtanga) and the basic assumptions of the Upanishads into my daily life.
I am more than grateful to have found this path, and I sincerely hope that I can help other people find, or support, their path of Yoga and ignite their fire.
Q: What was your motivation to teach Yoga?
A: My main motivation was to support many interested people to understand the asanas – yoga postures and philosophy, not only as a sport or esotericism but as an essential part of a mindful, non-violent and sustainable lifestyle. For me, it is not about "showing off" to do a handstand or to tuck the legs behind the head. It is much more important to me that other people understand the principle of Yoga. That their resistance to stress increases and that they live more independently of external influences - for example, learn to love themselves, get to know their bodies and take better care of themselves and their health, and practice empathy.
Q: What is your favorite pose? (and why?)
A: For me, many asanas give me pleasure, and for sure, there will be even more on my path. I think in the beginning, I found the different transitions, arm balances, and headstands most fascinating because they were one of the biggest challenges for me. But my experience varies from day to day, and I try to perform each asana carefully and feel the joy in each one. It is too difficult for me to pick one. I like many of them!
Q: "Yoga as a Lifestyle" - how do you understand it, and do you live it yourself?
A: For me, Yoga is not really a 'lifestyle' or a trend to follow. I would instead define it as a philosophy of life or an attitude: as mentioned before, for example, as a mindful, non-violent, and sustainable living. I try to integrate the aspects of the philosophy as well as possible into my daily life by treating people and animals respectfully and friendly. I also try to encourage others to be more attentive to themselves and their environment.
Q: What 3 books would you suggest for yogis to read?
A: I would recommend books on the Yoga Sutras to get an overview about the principles of Yoga. I also enjoyed the Yoga Mala of Sri K. Patthabi Jois and the biography of Krishnamacharya (The Master's Voice). Finally, I would also recommend the Baghavad Gita orthe Upanishads, as they do not explicitly describe Yoga but have made me reflect, and they describe basic yogic principles. There are many good books that every yogi should read, but these 3 are on the top of my list.
Q: On which Zenagoy mat do you practice?
A: I practice on the PUrfect black yoga mat, and I am impressed by the quality, manufacturing, and design. For me, as an Ashtangi, it is very important to have the best grip and not to slip away even during long and sweaty practices. The PUrfect yoga mat impresses me with a fantastic grip, and the middle line gives me the possibility to align myself. I recommend it to everyone!
Q: What do you like the most about ZENAGOY and being yoga brand Ambassador?
A: Zenagoy yoga brand sets a high value on the fact that practicing yogis have a lot of fun with their practice and that all necessary qualities are combined in one mat: best grip during yoga practice, an eye-catching design, sustainable material and of course - it is eco-friendly.
I think it is great to know that with my yoga mat, I‘m treating the Environment with care, I buy a sustainable products and I still have an excellent foundation for my practice - which, by the way, is in line with the respect for our environment and thus the limb Ahimsa.
And of course I also love the designs and colours of ZENAGOY yoga mats. It is very difficult for me to make a choice, because I like so many of them. As an Ambassador of this Yoga brand I am now in closer contact with the young and enthusiastic company and can carry the message of sustainability and the joy and benefits of yoga and meditation into the world with these great yoga mats and meditation pillows. I‘m looking very much forward to the opportunity to work together and hope to reach many interested yoga practitioners with the offer and the message that "A healthy yoga practice starts with a healthy yoga mat"
And of course, I am looking forward of having a wonderful time with many magical moments.