Keen on Yoga Podcast with Grischa Steffin. A hard-working young software architect in the exciting early days of the world wide web Grischa raved through Berlin’s legendary techno scene on the weekends. He was almost 30 when he dropped into a Shivananda Yoga class and confused his physiological fitness and flexibility with yogic qualities. Blessed be his ignorance!
His hunger for more drove him to the only Aṣṭāṅga class in Berlin which left him sore for a week and completely hooked. He soon stopped partying and drinking and started teaching ashtanga to friends. He eventually gave up his IT career and opened Berlin’s first Aṣṭāṅga Yoga Shala. For the first years his excited ego kept rushing him “up” the ladder of the Aṣṭāṅga Yoga series’. However, he started to wonder if it was taking the right path. As he questioned the real meaning of yoga he began to question teachers’ techniques of strong adjustments etc. He felt the unhealthy power structures did not meet traces of yogic ideals.
Ready to give up on Aṣṭāṅga, Grischa met Richard Freeman whose unique teaching approach opened his eyes for the mind-blowing world of the ancient scriptures. In addition he saw how egotistical motivations taint our actions, even Yoga practice. Paradoxically he also realized the Aṣṭāṅga method needed to appeal to my ego to keep him engaged on the path towards self-inquiry. All this fundamentally changed the way he lived his life, practiced, and taught Yoga.
Grischa loves the Aṣṭāṅga Vinyāsa Yoga method. Mysore Style could easily make it the safest traditional Hatha Yoga practice system. However, he feels this yogic toolbox has not always been used wisely. Injuries are the most obvious symptoms of an ego-driven practice and teaching approach.
Just like learning to play an instrument well for music we must practice posture, breath, philosophy etc. with good technique. Yet, both music and Yoga can only arise from effortless concentration and introspection, not from blindly following rituals and rules.
Yoga Sutras & The Environment
Above all, two factors have initiated the most fundamental and most challenging transformation of all. Grischa started using Yoga Sūtra’s Sadhana chapter as the reference of all Yoga practice and teaching principles.
Even more importantly the birth of his two children broadened his perspective on literally everything. He realized that an infinite number of beings will have to live with the effects of our collective war against the planet. Karma is unfailing.
Yoga means looking at all our actions without filters, without ignoring or justifying any of it. He realized he had been fueling global warming with tank loads of kerosene for an obscene yogic self-improvement trip for decades.
Grischa decided to completely stop air travel and started to fight against our collective irresponsibility. His dream is that all Yogis on the planet wake up and become models for a sustainable and selfless lifestyle. Preserving the planet for our children is more important than all yoga poses that have ever been practiced together.
We hope you enjoy this Keen on Yoga podcast with Grischa Steffin. You can find more about his on his website.