About yoga at the StrandGut Resort

... and that sometimes you have to let things “develop quietly on their own”.

An interview with our yoga instructor Claudia

Fabian: Dear Claudia, you’ve been with us at the StrandGut Resort for over 3 years now. How did you get into yoga back then? And what inspires you so much about it?

Claudia: I first came into contact with yoga about 20 years ago. At that time, a lot was changing around me and in my life. I was struggling with some conflicts and looking for something to draw strength from. That’s how I found yoga and I quickly realised that it was good for me. I began to gradually gain more clarity and to go through everyday life more often with a healthy serenity – which can definitely also be challenging on all levels. But that’s what yoga teaches me every day.

Fabian: What happened next for you?

Claudia: Having discovered yoga for myself, I first completed classical hatha yoga training in my home town of Essen. Afterwards, my path led me further to India to the origin of yoga, where I spent two years at the Mysore Academy of Yoga. That time was just totally inspiring for me. Mysore is also considered one of the birthplaces of yoga and you could really feel that everywhere. I am still in very close contact with some of the people I met there. For example, with my yoga instructor Sri Yogacharya Ramesh Kumar, who I’m extremely grateful to.

One of my key experiences was in 2008 when I was riding a scooter up Chamundi Hill, one of the eight sacred hills in South India. At that time, I didn’t even know where my journey was going, I was still pretty much at the beginning of my training in India. I was aware of the place from stories and from some videos, because almost all the great yoga masters have practised yoga asana on this hill. It was a very impressive experience when I reached the top of the hill, I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling. Earlier this year, 13 years later, my godson Tharun, who is now grown up, video called me, taking me up the hill once again. Now that yoga is such an integral part of my life, it was even more impressive and I was overcome with memories of back then. It really pays to do what you love and what you are passionate about, because you will do it well. Even if it takes a little longer. A poem by Rainer Maria Rilke comes to mind: “Leave judgement to your own quiet, undisturbed development, which like all progress must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened.”

Reconciling the opposites of everyday life

Fabian: What is your understanding of yoga? How did you find “your truth” in yoga in some way?

Claudia: For me, yoga is a way to stop my mind spinning. Releasing tension, at whatever level, and also balancing the duality of training relaxed awareness and being in harmony with oneself. I see yoga as a holistic philosophy. I think it is important not to limit yoga to asana (postures), but to carefully incorporate all aspects of yoga into the practice. Otherwise it would feel as if you were living in a huge palace but only using the terrace.

Yoga asana, that means the postures, convey power and strength and literally make you more flexible, so you can deal better with life’s interactions. We also experience tension in the postures. We feel what we are holding on to and equally discover what we can let go of – and how we can find relaxation.

Through breathing techniques (pranayama) we train ourselves to consciously perceive and control our breath again to activate our life energy and make it flow – to extend the breath, so to speak. And through meditation (dhyana) we train ourselves to simply leave the outside world behind. I also like to say “taking a shower for the mind”.

What yoga is not is the connection of mind and body. They are always connected, for example through the interactions – if your body is not well, then your mind is not well either. Yoga is the harmony between interactions. Joy and sorrow, tension and relaxation, speed and calm. Bringing these opposites, which we inevitably encounter in everyday life, into harmony is what yoga is for me and what I also practise.

Yoga as sustained recovery

Fabian: What do your courses here at the StrandGut Resort look like?What is special about our courses?

Claudia: First of all, we have a really great place where we practise yoga: our beautiful work-life lounge with a view of the pier and stilt houses in the distance, the dunes and the North Sea on the horizon. When our guests come into the room and see the vast landscape, they are often really blown away. This awe comes from our hearts because it reminds us of our own inner vastness, which we all have within us. It is often the environment that sets the mood – just like we can sleep better in our bedroom than next to a motorway. This place is already a wonderful starting point for our yoga.

We also have a maximum number of participants. So we don’t pack our courses full to bursting. As a result, I can respond well to our participants. I also offer our yoga in a very versatile and varied way, incorporating all aspects of yoga into my classes, namely postures, breathing techniques, relaxation exercises. I sometimes also like to add a few gymnastic exercises or some philosophical content. The courses always have a different motto, for example “Purifying and Liberating”, “Strengthening Your Core” or “Heart Opener” with “Metta Meditation”. With us it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, a beginner or experienced, fit or not so fit. I am happy to adapt.

Fabian: Does that make things easier or more difficult?

Claudia: I meet a lot of different people, which is a lot of fun, but also challenging. Most of them are spending their holidays with us, their most beautiful time of the year. Ideally, they are then already more relaxed than in their everyday lives anyway, which is good. But I always try to give our guests something long lasting to take home with them and implement in their everyday lives after their holiday. So that the yoga was not just for “entertainment” on holiday but also perhaps changes their everyday life positively in the long term.

Fabian: We also offer yoga retreats here – are they a whole different ballgame?

Claudia: During the yoga retreats, I naturally experience an even more intense time with the guests. They arrive on Friday and the first yoga session is also held in the evening with a gentle introduction. More sessions then follow on Saturday in the morning and evening and one more on Sunday. Each session lasts two hours. The special thing is being together in a set group, where a real connection to each other develops and talking to each other massively enhances the yoga practice.

When the weather is good, we also go out on the terrace and do yoga outside. Or we go to the beach or spontaneously take a breathwalk through the dunes – freely based on the idea of “let’s not chat for a while, just experience the senses”. We then walk along a beautiful little path through the dune landscape and tune into our sensory perception: the scent of rose hips, the sunshine, the sea breeze, the salty air. This is a special experience for everyone.

Fabian: Thank you, Claudia!

We have linked all the information and dates for the yoga courses and retreats below. Claudia is looking forward to seeing you!