The first edition of the Berlin Yoga Conference is over. It looks like the whole Universe was with you – the weather was great, many people were there, your family supported you the whole time. But how do you really feel? Maybe you have mixed feelings?
From the photos, the event looks amazing, and it certainly was, but there are a few corrections to make: it got quite cold on Saturday, and this is why I decided to book the next year’s dates for June – we’re actually going to celebrate International Day of Yoga on the 21st together in 2020!
We had around 600 people over the weekend, but we had such a huge venue with 5 rooms hosting workshops simultaneously, that it looked empty in some of the areas – this is why we have booked a different venue for next time and would like to offer only 4 slots simultaneously.
Yes, my family was there: my husband was a part of the music program, my mom took care of our two kids before and during the event, and my partner’s family came after the event and were very supportive throughout, including helping out with the crowdfunding campaign.
Your opening speech was amazing! You looked so calm and balanced. What did yoga give you during the preparation and the organizational process?
Thank you so much for your kind words! To be honest, I didn’t have much time to prepare my speech, and so I kind of just spoke from the heart about what felt important to say at the moment.
I have to agree with you that throughout the event I felt quite calm. I think at one point I just let go completely and surrendered to what had to happen. I worked so hard and so much in the year leading to the event – there was nothing else that I could have done at the event itself. Besides, I got a lot of support from my amazing team and a group of Karma Yogis who made sure that everything went “according to the plan”.
I think leading up to the conference, I used a lot of tapas (perseverance, determination) and Dharana (concentration, focus). When I felt like I was working too much at the expense of my own well-being or that of my family – I tried to remind myself of ahimsa (non-violence) and brahmacharya (non-excess). From the beginning, I set my values for the project straight and kept my Satya (truthfulness) and aparigraha (non-greed). In the process of all the work, I learned a lot about myself and others, about human and business relationships, and it was all this continuous process of svadyaya (self-study). At the event itself, I surrendered to the process, practicing Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to the higher power, letting go off control). I continued to practice Ashtanga Yoga, which incorporates asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (focusing of the senses inward) and dhyana (meditation) to keep my body and my mind fit after long hours on the computer and a lot of creative work. The whole project is my karma yoga to the community, where I do my service to the best of my ability and talents.
What surprised you the most during the Berlin Yoga Conference?
I was surprised that I had no energy nor time to take part in the program! After all, I created the event in the first place with the idea of a “perfect” event that I myself would have really enjoyed, but in the end, I didn’t manage to attend any of the workshops with the exception of one.
I hope next year I will be able to enjoy the actual event programming a little more ;-)))
What made you happy that weekend?
First and foremost, I was very happy that the event finally was taking place – it was like a culmination of all of our collective teamwork, and for me personally, it was amazing to see my dream come true, literally.
Second, I was very satisfied with the results of the event – it turned out as amazing as envisioned, with the exception of a few minor issues, from which we learned a lot, incorporating some changes for the next year.
What are the numbers – visitors, participants, teachers…?
We were just over 600 people all together throughout the weekend, out of which there were 35 conference teachers and around 70 exhibitors, some of whom also took part in the program.
Have you started to think about the second edition? What would you like to change next year? And what part you will keep that way? Maybe the venue… Malzfabrik was an amazing choice. Can you share some of your ideas to our readers?
I think I answered most of these questions by now, but let me summarize:
Berlin Yoga Conference second edition will take place on June 19-21 2020, the latter being the International Yoga Day, so I invite the community to come and celebrate with us!
The conference will take place in the heart of Berlin Mitte at Villa Elizabeth, located in a very hip neighborhood in the historical building with gorgeous neo-classical architecture and decor.
I’m in the process of putting together the line-up, and it will be very special. Some of our 2019 teachers will be there as well, the ones who were chosen by our team and that year’s attendees.
How do you see the future of the Berlin Yoga Conference, after the success of the first edition nothing is impossible?
Now that the event took place and I learned a lot about the industry and its possibilities, I would like to grow the conference (focusing on the Jnana, learning, aspect of it) and offer workshops with specific teachers, as well as yoga retreats, teacher trainings, and special yoga and mindfulness experiences at festivals, corporate events, and inside organizations.
What would you characterize as the most rewarding aspect of this project?
There are many aspects of the project and its results and offshoots that are very rewarding. For me, the next step would be to figure out a way how to keep doing what I love and get paid for it.
What is the greatest thing you’ve learned after the end of the first edition of the Berlin Yoga Conference?
There were many, many learning opportunities for me as a person, mother, yogi, teacher, businesswoman, community leader, team player, friend, etc. Various aspects of my social self had to access, through which I could interact and engage with the world.
The biggest take-outs for me as a person is the importance of continuous learning and staying humble, as well as cultivation of patience and compassion. As a mother, I had to learn how to let go of my idealist notions and settle down for “good enough” if I wanted to do other things aside from rearing my kids and tending to our nest.
As a yogi, I was tested in my ability to incorporate the philosophy into the practice, on a moment-by-moment basis, while as a teacher, I learned from other amazing, very well-respected and successful teachers about the different ways how they managed to express their passion for yoga in a way that made other people care.
I learned so much about business and how the world works, about the value of networking and cultivating deep bonds with people who are on the same resonance, supporting each other. For next year, I will have to learn how to say no and how to focus on what is important and makes sense, business-wise, to be able to continue with my work in a sustainable way.
As a leader of sorts, I had to learn how to inspire and lead by example, and as a team player, I learned how to delegate work, how to trust others with important tasks, and how to incorporate other people’s feedback and suggestions to keep perfecting the work-flow and the offer.
Finally, when I did not have so much time, was under a lot of pressure, and asked for help, I learned who my true friends and supporters are, people to keep and people to let go.
If there is only one message, you’d like to say to our readers, to the people who have come and who didn’t? What it would be?
In a world so abundant in choices and opportunities, choose well and stick to the people, habits, and brands that really uplift you and inspire you to be the better version of yourself: the more aware, kind, and generous, as well as more the creative, playful, and joyful person you can be.
And remember, like in all relationships and experiences, there are ups and downs, goods and bads, but there is an enormous amount of learning and transformation that can be done ONLY when you commit and decide to grow together, taking a personal responsibility in creating a better world, not waiting for someone to come along and offer you a solution on a plate.
Credits: Koko von Morgen; OliverEule; Nicolas-Ipiña.
Berlin Yoga Conference