Yoga on the Move Shala in Berlin is the new home of Yoga on the Move Collective. A space for inspiration, growth and creativity. Its foundations are based around a collective of teachers that bring the transformative power of yoga to their community across the city.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with the founders Marlene and Leonie, discussing everything from their first steps in yoga, founding Yoga on The Move Collective to opening their studio space.
Tell us how your collective was started?
We (Marlene and Leonie) met in India in 2017 during our 200hrs teacher training. Once we came back to Berlin we shared the dream to make yoga accessible for everybody, which is why we started to teach donation-based classes at our favourite locations around the city. As we grew we met with other local yoga teachers and this is how Yoga on the Move Collective was born. We were bringing yoga to unique places all over Berlin. Then, with our diverse classes, retreats, workshops and events, we were dreaming of having our own space where everyone feels safe and accepted.
Pictured here: Marlene and Leonie, founders of Yoga on the Move, Berlin
How did you find yoga and what was your path from student to teacher and finally into a studio owner (or community leader)?
Marlene: I was always passionate to move with people. I had been a gymnastics trainer before, and always loved the energy of doing sports and sharing it with others. When I trained as a Yoga teacher, it transformed my life, and I knew that I wanted to share this practice, that enriched my life so profoundly, with others. Co-owning a Yoga Studio is for me a chance to create a heart for the community that enables me to continue to share, connect and exchange.
Leonie: Yoga found me in my teenage years when it helped me relieve the back pain and migraine that I experienced back then. With time, I got more interested in yogic philosophy and culture which led my way several times to India and Nepal and into Asian Studies at HU university. Yoga is a treat for body and mind; it improved my happiness and wellbeing on so many levels. My motivation for becoming a teacher is to share this ancient wisdom that helps people deal with the challenges of life! Opening the yoga studio meant creating a room solely for that, Yoga!
What’s your approach/philosophy to teaching yoga?
Yoga in its essence means union. With our teachings we wish to guide people back to this sense of union, between body and mind, but also between us as individuals, and with nature as a whole.
From teaching yoga “on the move” all over Berlin, to opening your own studio last October how’s been your journey so far?
It’s been a ride, as Covid made the situation unpredictably hard but our community was and still is extremely supportive and loyal in this difficult time, which is why we were able to extend our online offerings and broaden our schedule despite all the challenges.
You have a beautiful team of Yogi’s that teach and guide your community, what’s the main trait that they all have which draws you together?
Besides teaching yoga we are all friends off the mat, and it’s very important to us that our teaching team is connected beyond the job, because we believe through real connection ideas and new projects can blossom.
You have now a stunning shala downtown Berlin, what did you have in mind and how’s the designing of the place been?
As we are downtown Berlin in a very busy, sometimes quite harsh area, it was important to us to create a sanctuary of light and positive spirit in the urban jungle. The concept of the Shala “root to rise” inspired us to design a space (spanning 230sqm) that is grounding and safe, almost like being at home. But at the same time, the space is very playful with swings and floating items to feel lightness and softness and to get a feeling of rising up towards the sky.
Opening a studio during a global pandemic is a bold move, what has been your thought process?
For us, Yoga on the Move has always been about the community and bringing people back to the feeling of connectedness through yoga. Over the past years we have constantly been adapting to new circumstances to bring our vision to life and manifest it in this world. The year of the pandemic has been challenging and transformative on so many levels that opening our own space just felt like the only right thing to do. In times of uncertainty we want to create a safe harbour to return to, to build a home for our community and grow stable roots to establish the feeling of connectedness. This is what our Yoga Shala is about.
What are the key elements of your studio that you feel enhance the practice of your students?
The spacious, light flooded room creates an atmosphere of softness, a safe space where you can let go of everyday worries and fully arrive in the beauty of the here & now. Teaching yoga in special locations for so many helped us understand what a space needs to perfectly support the yoga practice. Yoga transforms the energetics of the body; and space can be designed to support this movement of energy. Grounding colours, natural materials and plants strengthen our roots; they allow us to feel comfortable and protected. An open space, upper floor and playful details let us reach our potentials through lightness inside.
Yoga on the move is all about bringing yoga to unique places in Berlin. What do you look for in your locations?
When we scout locations we usually ride on our bikes around the city and soak in the atmosphere with all our senses - noises, smells, light, space, spirit. If a location is right, we just feel it, as it creates this feeling of “I belong, right here, right now”.
How have you stayed connected to your community during this time of physical distance? And what do you have planned to bring everyone back together after this hiatus?
We tried to offer free and affordable classes as well as valuable and inspiring content on social media. With our live streaming classes we always emphasise our students to visualise the other souls behind the screens and imagine being all in one big connected space sharing movement & breath at the same time. We already started again with outdoor classes, soon our first retreats are happening and we will reopen the doors of our studio on June 21st which is also International Yoga Day. Holding these spaces for connection is what we want to give back to our community.
What do you want all of your students to take away from an experience with Yoga On The Move?
Connectedness. A feeling of unison within their own body and mind as well as with the people around them.
What does the future hold for Yoga On The Move?
We just started to create our own teacher trainings and can’t wait to share our love to yoga with other open-hearted souls.