I have a confession to make: I am a cheater.  I cheat on a regular basis. To be more precise: I cheat on Yoga asana!

When I tell people that I teach Yoga, they usually expect that I can do a handstand, have no physical issues at all (stiff neck???? Never heard of it…) and do Yoga every day. The Yoga every day is perhaps not completely false. But I don’t do Yoga Asana daily. Instead – like mentioned above – I cheat.  Mostly with Pilates, strength training and  cardio work-outs.

The reason behind it is pretty simple. I want to move and strengthen my body in all directions. Things I find are missing in the asanas, I try to get from other activities. Pilates mostly for more core strength, cardio like jumping jacks to get my heart beat up, especially in the cold winter months.

I can learn a lot from other disciplines as well. Furthermore, you often need to prepare the body for certain poses. You don’t learn handstand by just kicking up your legs. Instead you need core and arm strength, a certain mobility especially in your shoulders, etc. Why not getting a bit help from outside? I always recommend to practice like you eat. You know salad is healthy, but you wouldn’t eat salad every day for every single meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner. Try a variety of different things. It will probably complement your Yoga practice in the long-run.

But I would still say, I do Yoga daily. Yoga is not only asana. It’s only a small part and we often forget that in the Western world. Yoga is to unite the body and the mind and how we interact with others. I would never skip my meditation practice, I try to incorporate breathing exercises in stressful times as well as being mindful in nerve-racking moments – and I am living under one roof with a toddler, I have a lot of nerve-racking moments. To accept situations how they are and not fighting them as well as being present in the moment is so much harder than coming from Chaturanga into Up-Dog. But that’s what Yoga is really about.

Looking back at my Yoga teacher training, my biggest achievements are not fancy Yoga poses. Yoga changed the way I see myself and the world. It basically put my world in perspective again. Puts the focus on what really matters – that’s the magic of Yoga!