After our short but super fruitful visit to Berlin last week I can’t wait any more minute to spread the news about the Berlin Yoga Conference which will take place in the German capital next year.
When I’ve first got the e-mail from Anastasia Shevchenko with a partnership proposal I was surprised. Do you know why? Because of the timing. This proposal came in the same time while preparing our omtrip to Berlin. So for me, the most logical step was not to send each other e-mails but instead to organize a real meeting in Berlin. I strongly believe in the chance encounters and wherever they may lead.
Anastasia and I had a great time over a kombucha glass in Avocai, a healthy vegan yoga place in Mitte, which I totally recommend you to visit. We talked about yoga, life, ideas and the urge of connecting with other like-minded people. And because her idea of organizing the Berlin Yoga Conference seemed very interesting to me, I made this interview to share more information to all of you and what we can expect from 24th to 26th of May 2019. Read and book your place because I am sure it would be amazing.
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Hey, Ana. Describe yourself in three words.
When did you start practicing yoga? What did you find more tempting in this practice in the very beginning?
I started practicing yoga back when I was 15 and diagnosed with level II scoliosis. My dad told me that to manage the pain I should be practicing these exercises from India and gave me some esoteric books to read. I got hooked right away. I had a spiritual longing since I was a small child. The physical practice was never important to me – it was the philosophy and the metaphysics that got me into yoga in the first place.
You have created your own yoga event in Berlin called Berlin Yoga Conference. How did you take courage to start this project? What is the story behind it?
I was pregnant with my second child and about to turn 30, so I had this little existential crisis and wanted to find my unique voice in the community and a way to create value for others. Berlin Yoga Conference is culmination behind many years of yoga practice, research, and a burning passion for the subject. My other skills came in handy. I studied communications and languages in the university and helped my husband with his arts festival for the past 4 years.
What is the mission and vision behind the Berlin Yoga Conference?
I get asked this question a lot and every time the same keywords come to mind: Berlin Yoga Conference is about creating a transformation space. It is about creating the circumstances for many people to come over to Berlin for the weekend and be touched in some deep and meaningful way that would facilitate a positive change on the individual and the collective levels.
How did you pick the name? You are focusing on the name of the city. Why exactly Berlin Yoga Conference?
Well, Berlin is an amazing city, probably the most interesting one in Western Europe at the moment. It has this super rich and unique history of being divided into two complementary opposite socio-political systems. It is very international, has a vibrant artist community, and a booming start-up scene. People here are quite open-minded, think about global challenges and care about the environment. Just coming for a visit to Berlin is a mind-expanding journey. And if you combine it with a major yoga event like that – now that’s powerful!
In a city like Berlin which offers so many nice places, how did you choose Malzfabrik?
Malzfabrik has this super Berlin feel to it. It is an ex-industrial space renovated in order to host events that have to do with arts, music, and sustainability. It has huge halls and smaller rooms, a Zen pond, a big green area, and even a human-made beach with sand. When I went there to check it out, I just had the feeling: this is it!
Tell us about what you’ll be offering at the Berlin Yoga Conference. What makes it so different from the other yoga events?
Berlin Yoga Conference is my heart project and it was born out of my being and manifested into the reality thanks to my hard work, passion for yoga, and an altruistic intention. Of course, I could not have done it myself. The project came to life thanks to the support and approval of like-minded individuals who are on the same vibrational level. The project thus mirrors closely my own understandings, values, and goals for humanity, so of course, it is different from other events because I’m doing it, not others.
Having said that, there are many amazing yoga events these days, and many of these events are my partners and friends. Each of us has our contribution to making and in the end, we all work towards the same goal – the uplifting of humanity and the evolution of human consciousness.
Do you plan to make the event sustainable and annual? What are the main challenges?
The intention is to make it an annual Berlin tradition drawing in people from all across Europe, creating a network of like-minded individuals and an ever-growing international community of yogis and people who are into these kinds of awareness-building, self-realization techniques.
The main challenge is the amount of work, while having two kids and a husband who is a freelance artist himself, and this work is not paid at the moment, simply because there is no budget for that. If I continue with another edition, I would definitely like to get paid fairly for what I do, and I would like to hire people to help me grow the project even more.
The idea of pop-up events before the real conference sounds interesting. What do you expect in November and February? And what the visitors can expect?
The Pop Up#3: Winter is coming, taking place on Sunday, 11.11.18, is a whole day event that focuses on the issue of how one can best prepare for the Winter Season in the body, mind, and spirit. The February 2019 Pop Up#4 Program is not yet finalized, but the topic is set and it is “Spring, the New Beginning”.
I like to work with the quarterly seasonal cycles and follow the natural patterns of manifested existence since our modern life has become so unnatural. I like to create balance in life and embrace the changes in such a way that they are integrated properly.
The list of teachers who will be part of the conference is amazing! Do you keep a surprise or everything is finalized?
At this moment, the 2019 Conference Program is full. Besides the yoga workshops, lectures, and meditation sittings, there will be do-it-yourself workshops, a musical program, a comedy club, a yoga fashion show, a performance, and possibly a mini book fair and an art exhibition. When creating the programme, I just wanted to do the kind of event that I would enjoy myself (I have a high standard), that would be pretty remarkable, unique, and different.
Can we choose between events or we have to follow the whole program? What should we absolutely try and not miss during the conference?
When thinking about the programming and trying to accommodate the needs of many different individuals from various backgrounds, cultures, yoga methods and levels, I tried my best to offer choice, but to contain it in a way that would create a meta-theme and a multilayered connection.
My job is to provide the space and circumstances for the magic to happen. And it is up to the conference-goers (and their level of openness) how they want to participate and contribute.
Three things which we absolutely have to take with us during the Berlin Yoga Conference?
A water bottle (we will have high quality filtered water available for all, no plastic bottles please)
A bathing suit (there is a beach, the weather at the end of May should be nice)
A friend (because it is always good to share something special with someone you love)
What is your recipe for happiness? Share it with our readers.
A recipe for Happiness is to occasionally remember that this existence is a Game. Do not take yourself too seriously, do not get offended, do not get hurt. Just do what you have to do and try to enjoy in the process, preserving an open-minded attitude full of readiness to laugh.
Anastasia Shevchenko is the founder and the managing director behind the Berlin Yoga Conference and is a freelance yoga teacher. She is a proponent of authentic yoga experience for self-healing and self-transformation. Her special interest lies in the creation of bridges between yoga, philosophy, science, art, and spirituality.
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