Life without yoga? That’s simply not an option for Lisi, who devoted her professional life to yoga, became a teacher and now even has her own studio. In this interview she shares how yoga not only had a positive effect on her body, but also on her mind. Plus, she reveals that there is a yoga-style for everyone out there.
What does your training routine look like?
Early mornings I start my day with my bare feet on the mat. First I begin with the so-called „Ujjayih breathing technique“. This is Sanskrit and stands for „victorious breathing“ … which helps to deepen the breath, to make it longer and more conscious. As soon as I „have connected“ with my breath, I start moving according to my breathing rhythm. I practise yoga in the Ashtanga Vinyasa style, where you do specific sequences of exercises. These sequences are so-called „series“ and there are six different ones to choose from. At the moment I practice series number 1 plus parts of series number 2. One series takes about 90 to 120 minutes.
Favourite training place?
My favourite places to practice are my own little Yogastudio, called Yogaveranda. It’s in Vienna’s 17th district, where I also live. And my yoga-school, which is in the 2nd district, it’s called Yogawerkstatt.
How did you get into sport and your specific routine?
It was actually my mom, who had practiced yoga for years, before I even started with it. Because of some serious tensions I had from working at my office desk, I once gave it a try as well … I was immediately hooked. Since then I have been practicing pretty continuously.
For how long have you been doing sports and how regular are you doing sports?
I started my yoga-journey in August 2011. Since then I’ve been on the mat for about three to five times a week (not including my teaching of course 😉
What makes you do yoga?
Because it strengthens not only my body, but my mind too, plus yoga keeps me in a good mood.
How do you stay motivated to keep going with you training and not give up?
Once you’ve established your own yoga routine, you’re kind of addicted to it. At least that’s how it was for me. I need my sessions on the mat to stay balanced and connected to myself, no matter what the new day will bring.
Thoughts before, during and after a training?
Before my yoga-sessions, I have to fight my weaker self very often. To be honest, I’m not always able to conquer it. Based on my experience, the best way is not to get distracted, but to step on the mat.
During the sessions I’m focusing on staying concentrated and try not to let my thoughts wander. The goal is to stay focused on my practise.
After my yoga session I’m relieved and totally balanced. Ready for the new day to come.
How does sport influence your daily life?
Yoga helped me in many ways. It made me more attentive, whether it’s about my behaviour towards others, towards myself or even with my choice of words. It even influenced my nutrition. Thanks to yoga, I started noticing what makes me feel good and what doesn’t.
Would you say you are competitive: when it comes to sport? In general?
Not at all, because it’s too stressful for me J
Is there anything positive or negative you would like to share?
Practising is very rewarding, once you have been able to overcome various distractions. It might be difficult to stay present and to practice regularly, but you should give it at least a try every single time.
Through practicing I really feel connected with myself. I have to confess, that I do experience both enjoyment and reluctance, when thinking of hopping onto the matt. But I appreciate this notion, as it strengthens self-discipline, makes you recognize your thoughts free from judgment and hopefully conquer any lethargy. To get even more philosophical, it made me recognise, that I’m only creating all kind of dramas in my own head. You yourself are able to let go off any negative thoughts – you don’t need to deal with them. Yoga will show all our predisposed conditioning, plus your own self-imposed limits.
You’re a yoga teacher as well, how did this come about?
As soon as I started Yoga, it brought me so much joy that I even wanted to dedicate my professional life to it. I knew right from the beginning that this was my way. I’m still more than happy with this decision today.
Which styles do you teach?
I teach Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga & YinYoga.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the style I practice myself. I concentrate on my breath and focus only on myself, while practicing the same movements over and over again. It definitely helped me a lot, not only with my sore muscles. This practice rewarded me with more stability and consciousness.
It’s also the basis of all yoga-styles. Each yoga movement or position is called Asana. Those are practised in set and continuous sequences. Plenty of people actually practise the first of these sequences, called Series one. It is also called Yoga Chikitsa, which means yoga-therapy. This series is supposed to earth, strengthen and to get the body back into balance.
Hatha Yoga is a more „creative“ style. It’s the type of yoga, where you move the most. Other than in Ashtanga Yoga, the movements and sequences are not set. So as a teacher you’re able to focus on different areas of the body and add a variety of exercises: for example some twists (rotation of the spine), exercises to open up the hips or the shoulders, strengthening of the feet or some deep muscle relaxation for the tummy.
YinYoga is the perfect compensation to the other YangYoga Stile (Ashtanga and Hatha). Yin Yoga is more regenerative and more meditative. You can use bolster, blankets and blocks alongside the different positions.
The aim is to hold each position for 2-5 minutes, without putting any extra tension on the muscles. This helps stimulating the fascia. It’s best to practise with calming music and candlelight, as this also helps you to slow down and relax. As most of these stretches are rather intense, there is no risk of losing the concentration.
You even opened you’re own studio?
Yes! I always knew, that I wanted to have my own studio. The fact that my wish came true was pure luck. My studio, called Yogaveranda, is situated in the building my family has owned since 1880. My great-great-grandfather had his office in this patio (patio in German = Veranda). He was suffering from Asthma and this patio, which was an open space back then, was his safe haven where he could breathe deeply and relax.
Last year, we started renovating the patio and turned it into a yoga studio. I am really confident, that it was the right time and place to take this step, as we don’t really have any yoga studio around this area at the moment. The renovation started in May 2017 and was finished in November 2017. Since then we’ve been open for new yoga lessons.
Is every Yoga teacher entitled to open up a studio?
Yes, as you don’t need a special training, everyone is free to open up a studio in Austria.
My wish is to open up my studio for everyone and to offer a variety of courses. That’s why I offer special workshops. I also partnered up with my good friend Johanna Raoufi-Fuchshuber, who is a physician. She created a course called „Physioga“ and offers yoga-lessons especially for elder people as well. The focus is to keep joints flexible and improve important factors like strength and wellbeing.
If you weren’t into sports what would you be doing instead?
That wouldn’t be possible for me at all. If my life was without sports, I would still be really uptight, I guess.
In five key words: What are the best things about your training you want to share with the readers?
I think there is so much more to it, than I would be able to express in only five key words … However, what I would definitely like to share is that yoga turned me into a much more confident person. I’m now at a point in life, where I’m content with being myself. I don’t fear any possible challenges life could come up with, instead I feel ready for them.
Your favourite motivational quote?
You will feel good in the end.