Hi, I’m Bettina. What I'm working on : Forget to slouch. Relaxing is freedom. Choose life.

Articles tagged “yoga”

Why I love beginners, in and out of yoga class

In celebration of the new students signing up for my beginners’ yoga series starting on Wednesday, I wrote an ode to beginners–and those who maintain a beginners’ mind:

Why I love beginners

♥ Because it takes courage to do something new & to lean out of your comfort zone

♥ Because you have to be humble enough to accept that you know nothing

♥ Because beginners have no expectations–and, therefore, everything is possible

♥ Because in the face of the impossible instructions, you will inevitably fail a few (or many!) times

♥ Because learning something new takes your entire focus and letting go of everything but the present moment

♥ Because you have to open & surrender to the teacher while maintaining your integrity to your intuition to what’s not right for you

♥ Because you’re taking the first steps of a long journey (if it’s worth doing, it’ll be a long journey), and that’s pure magic.

So congratulations and a warm welcome  to those who are starting yoga with me on Wednesday!

Also, due to tech mishaps, I may not have received all of my messages sent through my contact form from mid-October until yesterday. So if you wrote me and I did not yet respond, I’m sorry. But you’ll have to write me again.

Because of this I still have places left in the series–it’s not too late to sign up!



It’s The First Annual Active Hands Yoga Scholarship Contest! (Cheers & Jubilation)

In honor of my 1st anniversary at Heilehaus, where I teach yoga currently in Kreuzberg, I decided have an Annual Active Hands Yoga Scholarship Contest!  And the crowd goes wild! So if you want your chance to win a private yoga session and customized yoga routine on video for $0 (instead of, oh, 142.50 euros), keep reading.

To enter, answer the two following juicy questions here or email me the answers privately. So gimme all you got!

1. Tell me the biggest challenge you are facing in your mental and/or physical wellness right now (stress, out-of-control emotions like anxiety, insomnia, foggy brain, low energy).

2. What would be your dream outcome in your mental and/or physical wellness?

I’ll be closing the Contest on November 7th & announcing the winner the same day via email. To find out if you win, sign up for my mailing list made just for this contest (not my regular newsletter!): http://eepurl.com/gJI9P

So hop to it!



How to DIY a Yoga Staycation Retreat in Berlin, Germany

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Want to go on a yoga retreat but don’t have the time or the money?

DIY your own yoga staycation–stay-at-home vacation–for a weekend in Berlin with my series on DIY-ing an urban yoga retreat.

1. Start with my tips on planning your yoga retreat staycation.

2. Either pick a new neighborhood you’d like to explore or stay in your own kiez :

♥ Mitte

♥ Friedrichshain

♥ Kreuzberg, part 1 & part 2

♥ Neukoelln

♥ Treptow


4. Let me know how my guides helped you.


If you have any resources to share in creating a DIY yoga retreat staycation, let me know in the comments below. I’d love your input!

Any other practical questions about yoga, meditation, or healthy living? Let me know and I’ll answer you in my Q and A video series.



Top 3 Yoga Myths Debunked

I keep hearing a few yoga myths circulating on the interwebs and from yoga students’ (and teachers’–!!) mouths. Once and for all, I debunk the top three virulent myths about yoga in the video below. I dare you to challenge your mind.

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Have you heard any of these yoga myths before? Have you believed in any of them–or even repeated them yourself? 

Do you agree or disagree with me about any of these ‘myths’ I present? Go ahead and challenge me; I’m here to learn too.

Any other questions about yoga, meditation, or healthy living running through your head all day? Let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A.




DIY Yoga Staycation in Treptow, Berlin, Germany

Treptow Yoga Retreat

Photos, from left: view of and from Badeschiff by del planeta imaginario, interior of the Krematorium Treptow by berlin.unlike.net

Only about two months left in 2011–what have you chosen to leave undone and what have you accomplished? And for the ambitious ones among us, what can you still do before we blow the candle out on 2011?

Now is the perfect time to slow down, unplug from the internet & gadgets for a weekend, and reconnect to your body and your goals. I’m a huge advocate of DIY-ing a yoga retreat weekend at home in the middle of Berlin. Treat yourself to a yoga workshop or a weekend series of classes at a local Berlin yoga studio and then relax, indulge, and get quiet in my favorite Treptow places :

♥ Swim or sweat

at Badeschiff–an outside pool on the River Spree by summer and an insulated sauna by winter

♥ Brunch

at Freischwimmer if you can get a seat on the floating platform on a sunny day

♥ Journal & meditate

at the crematorium–yes, the Krematorium Treptow. Designed by Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank who designed the Kanzleramt on the other side of Berlin, the crematorium opened in 1999. The architecture is modern, simple, and open.

In medieval India groups of ascetic practioners of yoga hung out at cremation grounds, smeared themselves in ashes, grew their hair long, and basically lived on the margins of society. I’m not advocating this lifestyle, but the idea is food for thought : how you live your life depends on your relationship with death.

Think of what you’d like to look back at on your deathbed. Write that down in your journal and keep it somewhere where you can see it every day. No regrets; give life a whirl.

♥ Paddle in nature

on the Spree at Insel der Jugend

If you’ve been to the Treptow neighborhood of Berlin or live here, have you any other recommendations for me? What else would you need to make an urban setting a yoga retreat? Tell me in the comments section!



The Art of Taking Breaks at Work

Productivity experts say that taking breaks at work makes you more productive.

If you can’t make it out to my lunch-time yoga class in Kreuzberg, try the 5 tips I give in my video below to optimize your work breaks.

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Set a timer to go off after 20 minutes. Focus and get stuff done–and really enjoy your quick break when the bell rings.

What do you do to take a break from work?

Any questions about yoga, meditation, or healthy living making you lose sleep at night? Let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A.



PS: Shooting on location somehow meant that my forehead got chopped. I’m not a professional cameraperson. What else can I say?

How strong is your NOW muscle?

What’s a ‘now’ muscle? And how strong is yours?

Watch my video below to find out.

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What do you want to do?

Make a list of the reasons why you’re not doing it now.

How real are your excuses?

Do it now now now.

As always, if you’ve got any questions about yoga, meditation, or healthy living, let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A video.



Advantages of a Live Yoga Class versus Yoga Videos

One of my best friends just moved to a new city to follow her partner’s career. She’s deeply homesick and struggling to find roots in her new town. To find her feet, she immediately looked for a yoga studio. She found one that feels good and like home, but recently she just wanted to cry through an entire yoga class. She wouldn’t be the first nor the last to cry through class.

We hold our feelings in our bodies, whether stress or sadness. Sometimes our yoga practice is the only time we allow for intimate internal focus in a safe environment, so that’s when the tears come. And you can really cry in class. Everyone is focused on themselves, and your teacher has seen it all. It feels good to acknowledge your feelings in a semi-public space.

A live group class format allows you to, moreover,

♥ be inspired and supported by the community of students around you

♥ learn progressively, building upon what you’ve learned before rather than piecemeal learning cobbled here and there

♥ deepen your understanding of one yoga style

ask for help from your teacher and your fellow students

♥ accountability to keep going and growing so that you can see internal and external results

Elena Brower yoga quote
Elena Brower, one of the most authentic yoga teachers I’ve met online.

There are some great yoga videos out there on the internet. They give a taste of a teacher’s style, expose you to something new and perhaps way beyond your level, inform you about specific asanas /postures, and keep your practice going strong at home or while on the road.

But a video is not a replacement for a local yoga teacher, because a live teacher

♥ corrects you in your postures

♥ inspires you to do the postures you’d usually skip on your own (everyone, even yoga teachers, have those!)

♥ introduces you to new teachings that you may not have searched out yourself or even known to search out

In the end, online & in person (that is, offline) yoga teacher Tiffany Cruikshank sums it up best:Tiffany Cruikshank yoga quote
What do you find helpful about yoga classes and yoga videos?

Would you want to see yoga videos from me?

Let me know your thoughts and reactions in the comments.



Why pay money for yoga class?

Oooh, CONTROVERSIAL! I am going to talk about money in connection with yoga, even though it’s a topic many people skirt in the wellness world. But it’s essential to answer–what is yoga worth?

Watch my video below to learn how I put a value on classes & education of any sort.

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Instead of the usual steps, I have some questions for you to ask yourself below.

1. If you’re happy with where you are now, continue doing what got you here. If you’d like to be somewhere different in the future, how willing are you to make those changes happen on a scale of 1 to 10? How invested are you in your own growth? 

2. If you want to change things in your life, how can you make sure you don’t let the usual barriers of procrastination, confusion, self-doubt, self-criticism and insecurity stand between you and the changes you want to see happen?

One of my psychological tricks on myself is to put my money where my intention is. With my energy and money invested, I am less likely to procrastinate.

And you? Do you have any psychological tricks to make yourself live out your goals & intentions? Please share them with me.

As always, if you’ve got any questions about yoga, meditation, or healthy living, let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A video.



Best Way to Prepare Your Mind & Body for Fall

Sad that summer’s leaving? Or has already left? Greet autumn with your mind & body ready for the colder, dryer weather and the shorter days.

To learn my two-step process to prepare your mind & body for fall, watch my video below.

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ACTION STEP: How many days are you committing to slowing down and taking care of yourself to transition to fall in the best way possible? Decide on anywhere between 3 and 7 days, and write those days down on your schedule. Make some time for detox during these days by saying “no” to some activities. This way, you won’t miss your date with optimizing your health.

Be sure to check in next Tuesday for specific steps you can take to detox for fall.

Until then, if you’ve got any questions about yoga, meditation, healthy living, let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A video.