About Grischa (Ashtanga Yoga Berlin)

Grischa opened Aṣṭāṅga Yoga Berlin in 2004. He is teaching traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga since 2001. He has been a long-term student of Richard Freeman and has practiced with many senior teachers such as Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller, John Scott, Nancy Gilgoff and others. He has also practiced with the Jois family but found no reason for paying “authorization royalties” to a corrupted business model that is openly abusing the values of Yogic tradition and lineage.

One of the challenges today is to see the the difference between traditional “True Yoga” and the all-dominating “Fake Yoga”. Fake Yoga started when some of us started confusing the beginner techniques we were taught (mainly asana) with Yoga  itself. Fake Yoga comes from caring not about the real meaning of Yoga but only for a meaning that allows for earning most money. Fake Yoga is that what what the efficient Western business mind has made up in the past years. Whatever sells is good, is Yoga. No wonder sex appeal dominates image search for Yoga today (try it). Nothing sells like sex.

How can we recognize the original Yoga when we only know Fake Yoga?

Well, Yoga can only be called Yoga when our individual mental structure undergoes a complex system of clearly defined transformations. No practice is “yogic” just by calling it Yoga, by pleasing ourselves – or others. 

For example when asana practice is poorly taught, injuries are the consequence. Learning a sophisticated understanding of internal alignment (aka ‘mūlabandha’) makes advanced āsana practice easy and seemingly simple poses very advanced. The practice at least becomes free from injuries. All this is helpful and may seem very important to us. But it is simply common sense. Yoga may not even have started after years of intense struggle for perfect postures. Even the most brilliant pose becomes porn when presented to others for unworthy applause.

Similarly, prāṇāyāma is not about the physical breath or touching the nose in a certain way, not in the counting of repetitions and duration. It is not about achieving more lung capacity or a longer breath. Only awareness of the effects in your nervous system in the present moment can make practice transformational.

Even seemingly advanced yogic practices are meaningless if we do make progress on the path laid out by yogic scriptures such as Yoga Sutra, Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. But again it’s not about knowing or speaking about them. Only the application of these teachings honestly to ourselves is Yoga practice.

Grischa teaches how to get deeply grounded in these practical guides of Yoga and how use them for turning exercises into the meaningful self-inquiry that truly Yoga is. Only when we know what it’s about we know if we waster our time and effort or not.

More than anything else Yoga means taking responsibility. Yogis must never violate the ethical code of the yamas, the first and most important layer of Yoga practice according to the Yoga Sutra. Yoga demands that we continuously examine ourselves and change what needs to be changed without delay. Yoga is meant to create a better world, not a better way of life for ourselves at the expense of others or future generations. This is the great vow, mahāvratam.