Yoga brings balance to body, mind and soul. But the body of menstruating people changes every month! In our next online course on the subject of yoga for your cycle, we will explain how you can still ensure harmony in your body. Together with yoga teacher Laura, we will find out what influence the menstrual cycle has on the body and how we can best deal with it. Because every cycle phase brings changes, and not only mentally, but also physically. In this interview Laura explains her own personal journey to cycle-conscious yoga. So, are you ready to learn more about yoga for your cycle?
Please introduce yourself briefly: Who are you and what do you do?
Hello, I’m Laura, 34 years old, yoga teacher, founder and managing director of TRIBE Yoga Base in Hamburg, Germany. I studied health sciences and medical management and then worked as a contract manager in a health insurance company for five and a half years. In May 2019, I took the big step to follow my heart and start my own business with the yoga café TRIBE Yoga Base in Hamburg Eimsbüttel. And now I am about to open my second yoga studio in Hamburg Ottensen.
How long have you been practicing yoga? How has your yoga journey been up to this point?
I first came into contact with yoga as a teenager. Curious to try a new sport, I grabbed the DVD “Power Yoga with Ursula Karven” from my mother and did my very first sun salutations. Back then, I simply skipped the chapters on “Entry Meditation” and “Savasana”, ignored the announcements on inhaling and exhaling, and was proud to have mastered almost all of the Asanas on the first try, thanks to my twelve years of ballet experience. However, this had little to do with a holistic yoga practice. During my studies, I lived by the principle “born to perform” and considered any hobby that didn’t make me sweat to be a waste of time. I pushed yoga and meditation into the drawer of esoteric nonsense. And so, unfortunately, I lost sight of the Asana practice again.
From student to teacher
And today? A life without yoga? Unthinkable! Yoga has set me on a path that leads to myself. It began at a fascinating Power Yoga class during the Yoga.Water.Sound Festival in 2015, after which I bought my first real yoga mat and a ticket for ten visits at the yoga studio. There on the mat, I was finally able to fully engage in yoga and realized, that I walk out of every class with a big fat “+” no matter what shape I’m in before practice.
A year later, my yoga journey really took off. After a really beautiful retreat in Portugal and a loving impulse from my close friend Dinah, I decided to pursue training to become yoga teacher. Since then, yoga has become an important part of myself. The intense involvement with yogic practice and teachings has brought me into deep contact with my body and mind. Thanks to yoga, my life and that with my fellow human beings has become so much more liveable and it feels so good to approach things in a more relaxed way and, above all, not to take them so seriously anymore. It fulfills me so much to share this passion with others and to have created an ideal place for it with my yoga café “TRIBE Yoga Base”. It is the yoga students who teach us yoga teachers acceptance, devotion, change of perspective, humility, concentration and so much more.
What tips do you have for people who are just getting started with yoga?
I tell people who are just starting out with yoga to throw all their opinions about yoga overboard and take an online yoga class or a yoga course in a studio without any expectations. Preferably in a studio that appeals to you from the website or similar, but where you have never been or know no one there. And then just fully engage in the yoga session, completely arrive on the yoga mat, listen to your own breath and feel your body. Then afterwards to do a check-in: “How do I feel after the yoga practice?” I bet it feels pretty good 😉
What has been your favorite moment as a yoga teacher so far?
I would say that there hasn’t been THE best moment as a yoga teacher, but it’s always nice to practice yoga with other people, to experience the vibes of the group, whether on site in the studio or online in the livestream. This feeling of connection, this group spirit awakens a lot of gratitude in me and gives me meaning and fulfillment.
What is your personal favorite yoga practice or Asana? And why?
Different from a few years ago, I currently prefer to practice calm yoga, especially Yin Yoga. I feel that it really grounds me and brings me down in my otherwise active everyday life. Yin Yoga helps me to strengthen my connection to my body and also to activate my spiritual side more. In terms of yoga poses, I prefer to practice heart-opening Asanas, i.e. backbends, such as the butterfly in the laid-down version with a yoga cushion under my back.
What do you find particularly exciting about yoga for your cycle?
I just find it beautiful to honor my cycle, to acknowledge this miracle that my body performs month after month. So I’m trying to align my lifestyle habits more and more with the different phases of my cycle. Since yoga is a very essential part of my life, both professionally and personally, I like to align the intensity of my yoga practice with my cycle: a quieter practice – following the motto less is more – during the luteal phase and menstruation. While in the follicular phase and during ovulation, I love to get out and sweat.
How do you use yoga for your cycle during your period?
My favorite thing to do during my period is definitely Yin Yoga. It really helps me to come down. I feel that I sink more and more into a state of deep relaxation. Sometimes I even shed a tear or two. This is something I really like, because I see it as a sign of something that is being released. Something that has accumulated over the course of the last menstrual cycle and that I can now free myself from – through yoga for your cycle. I also like to practice Yoga Nidra during my menstruation. Just lying on my back and sinking into a state of deep relaxation is soooo good. Afterwards everything always seems so simple and clear to me.
Do you have any tips for people who would like to practice yoga for your cycle more often (but then can’t bring up the energy and end up on the sofa)?
I recommend integrating the yoga practice into your everyday life. Write down into your diary which classes you would like to take part in and if necessary book them directly online. If it’s yoga in a studio, then I advise you to pick classes that take place right after work. This way, you can take your yoga clothes and yoga mat to work in the morning and then go directly to the studio at the end of the day, without having to make a detour home.
It’s also great to meet up with friends for a yoga session. Whether at home in the living room with video or livestream or in a studio: a yoga date gives you more commitment and, above all, the exchange after the class is fun.
What do you like about teaching yoga classes online?
What I like most about online yoga is that yoginis and yogis from all over the world can join in. It breaks down the local boundaries and we can connect with each other worldwide in an online yoga class. Practicing yoga in a guided way is super flexible. Especially with yoga videos, the yoga students can arrange their practice exactly as it fits their schedule, independent of any studio times.
What does your personal yoga routine look like?
My personal yoga routine currently mainly consists of about 20 minutes of meditation in the morning. Since Corona, my personal Asana practice is admittedly very low. This is because since the first Lockdown, we yoga teachers in my yoga studio have been teaching online or hybrid, i.e. simultaneously in the studio and on the livestream. So because we’re on our mats all the time, it’s usually challenging enough from a purely physical standpoint.
It’s only when I’m menstruating that I’m intuitively drawn to my mat. Then I like to do Yin Yoga alone at home, either online in the livestream or with video instruction. This retreat just feels super good 🙂