Interview with Yogini and change management consultant Anna-Lena Gehrmann from Cologne, Germany
It is a bright Tuesday afternoon with temperatures reaching the mid-thirties, the cryptocurrency market has made its move to the northside with Bitcoin moving more than 800 USD in the Asia session. Though the day here in Lucknow started with some power disruptions due to the trees wresting with the electric wires the evening looks promising.
Today we are going to be talking with Yogini Anna-Lena Gehrmann who is a change management consultant and a yoga instructor in Cologne. Since childhood Anna has been curious, she has made learning the most important aspect of her life. Anna cherishes and believes in having great experiences, having a deeper understanding of “how things work”, and sharing this knowledge with others.
Some roles that Anna has already explored are: Ashtanga Yoga teacher, Yin Yoga teacher, Physicist, PhD in mechanical engineering, project and cooperation manager, blogger, world traveller, freelance change consultant with the vision to create better and healthier workplaces in companies. She loves to combine the experiences from different worlds, and this is also reflected in her yoga teachings. So let´s get to know more about her and her approach to Yoga.
Shivam: Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
Anna: I grew up in a small village in Northern Germany with only 280 people, no street names, no supermarkets, but more than 10,000 pigs and cows on the farms. I spend a lot of time with my friends outside in the forests, playing with dogs and swimming. In the evenings I used to read books and write short stories because I was always very curious to learn new things.
At a very early age I knew that once I was an adult, I would leave this rural area to see the world, meet different people and discover various aspects of life.
Shivam: Why did you become a Yogi? What Inspired you?
Anna: I was going through a very intense change process 3 years ago. I quit my old job as a project manager, my relationship fell apart and I moved to another city. This process was necessary but also painful. I took a big leap of faith and decided to go travelling first before I would look for a new job.
During this time, I started practising yoga to ease my stress level. Immediately, I fell in love with this practice and wanted to go deeper and deeper. Therefore, I decided to do a yoga teacher training in Thailand to deepen my practice. Soon I found out that I love teaching as well and therefore I started teaching 2 days after returning from Thailand.
Shivam: Who was your Yogacharya/Mentor?
Anna: Let me think I consider several persons my gurus:
-->My first guru is my friend Bine, who is a yoga teacher. She recommended yoga to me during my change process, taught me the first asanas, chants and meditations. She also trusted me to teach in her studio right after finishing my YTT.
-->My guru from the YTT is Vari Morales – he led me through this intense process of deepening my Ashtanga yoga practice, of becoming a yoga teacher and through all the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual experiences in the YTT.
-->My friend Katja who owns the studio where I teach in Germany due to her unconditional trust in my teaching, her knowledge about body-mind-soul-connection and her constant feedback to improve myself.
-->Govinda Kai and Isa Guitana from Portugal (what I consider my second home) who are famous in the Ashtanga Yoga scene. Both inspired me a lot with their special heart-opening energy and their deep spiritual wisdom.
-->My teachers at Santosha Yoga in Cologne where I practice Ashtanga regularly.
Shivam: What style of yoga do you like the most?
Anna: Ashtanga yoga is the basis of my own practice – for me it is like an intense, energetic moving meditation allowing me to grow and grow further and to connect to myself each morning.
Yin Yoga –It is totally the opposite of Ashtanga and helps me to unwind, to surrender and I enjoy the deep stretches.
Meditation which I do after my asana practice.
Shivam: What is the role of yoga in your life?
Anna: It is a key element of my daily life. I practice every morning 1-2 hrs Ashtanga yoga and meditation and I teach Yoga in a studio or online several times per week. Whenever I can, I do workshops or trainings and I love to combine this with travelling. In my local yoga communities in Germany and in Portugal and during my teacher training, I was so lucky to meet some amazing yogis who are now close friends. Yoga changed my life entirely in very positive way.
Shivam: What benefits do you get from Yoga?
Anna: It helps me to connect to myself – my dreams, my inner truth. It supports me to observe my emotions instead of judging them and to release positive energy for my daily life. My body stays healthy and my thoughts are mostly positive when I practice regularly.
Shivam: When did you make the decision to teach yoga and why? What happened on that day?
Anna: I decided to teach yoga during my YTT in Thailand, after some days. I had just taught my first Suryanamaskar As and I felt great pleasure to teach and realised I have the ability to do so.
Shivam: What has been the most amazing yoga experience you have had?
Anna: I had many but the most touching one was after I had taught my first yoga class right after completing my teacher training: All the students were arriving at the studio in a very stressed mood, complaining about back pain, sitting long hours in the office and their stressful life. I was doing the yoga class and afterwards they came to me, full of interest and gratitude and feeling relaxed. When I drove home I had a deep sense of knowing that it is my duty to give something that valuable to other people and how important it is to help people by teaching yoga.
Shivam: What’s your favourite yoga quote or mantra?
What you think, you become.
What you feel, you attract.
What you imagine, you create.
Shivam: If you could change 1 thing in the world today what would it be?
Anna: Stop any kind of violence that people act out upon each other
Shivam: If you were to be reborn as an animal which animal would you choose and why?
Anna: A hummingbird! It´s my favourite animal: It is very flexible and powerful – small, but highly capable of adapting, flying backwards and sidewards very fast, creative in finding food and protecting from enemies, beautiful and a symbol for bringing love and joy into the world.
That was Yogini Anna-Lena Gehrmann sharing your thoughts and emotions about her life and yoga. If you would like to know what projects Anna is currently working on, the classes she takes and the locations where she teaches visit her profile.