Jana is 32, a Berliner by choice, and above all, a yoga teacher with heart and soul. Whether with her Power Yoga classes, through Office Yoga or in private sessions, Jana has made it her goal to bring yoga into the world and reach as many people as possible. Besides teaching, Jana provides tips on her blog Namastyay.de about the yoga lifestyle and also on Instagram, where she shares her inspiring yoga path with us. Today we are happy to talk to Jana about her journey, the power of yoga and a few of her upcoming projects.
You used to work as an online editor but decided to quit your job three years ago and replace your office chair with a yoga mat. Tell us about your journey. How did you start with yoga and how did it happen that you now pursue your passion professionally?
I started yoga with a colleague about four years ago. Before that, I was attending sports and fitness classes regularly. My friend told me she could imagine that I would like yoga. Somewhat dramatically formulated, one could also say: yoga saved my life. Yoga came into my life at a time when everything was falling off track and it helped me to get back on track. Thanks to yoga, I started my life from scratch again. I quit my career in the office, went on a journey of personal development and discovered my true calling. Yoga has not only become a trusting anchor for myself, but I have also realized through yoga that I want to pass on this feeling of confidence, peace, and strength to others. One station of my way “back to me” was the stay in a clinic for depth psychology. While I was there, the other patients asked me to teach them yoga because they had seen me doing yoga. So, I taught my very first yoga lesson in the clinic – and it was so well received that I regularly taught classes there and decided for myself “This is exactly what I want to do!”
All these decisions were probably not easy and required a lot of courage. How do we manage to hear the voice of our heart, trust it, and manifest our heart’s desire in our lives?
It wasn’t easy, that’s right. But what was even more difficult, and exhausting was to find the energy every day to lead a life that didn’t make me happy. I think everyone already knows exactly what this one thing is that fills him from the heart. We are often far too afraid of failing or of the financial and social consequences that these decisions would entail. I think the most important thing in life that we all strive for is meaning. That our existence is not “without reason”. You will find a deep peace when you realize WHAT it is that makes you wake up happy in the morning and fall asleep satisfied in the evening. And unfortunately – or rather luckily – no one else can do that for us either. To recognize what this one thing is that fulfills you, the following questions help: What would you do if it didn’t matter what anybody else thought of you? What do you feel happy with? What are you especially good at? What makes you forget the time? What would you do if you could start all over again? What did you like to do when you were a kid? Where do others ask for your advice? What three things are important to you in life? Once you have found your heart’s desire, you can manifest it by visualizing it daily, e. g. with a Vision Board or a Vision Journal. Try to free yourself from doubting thoughts that it is” impossible” or that you “can’t make money with it”. If your purpose is found, the other (e. g. financial) things will settle. The first thing is to find a goal and the inner satisfaction associated with it. The HOW will come along on the way.
You have suffered from depression and you decided to stay in a clinic for your healing. Do you want to share your story and your way out of depression with us?
It took me a very long time to accept outside help. I always thought one is weak and one failed when getting help. But today I know that it’s complete nonsense! It is damn strong, and it takes so much courage and strength to deal with oneself and to work through things. I owe this step to two friends who accompanied me faithfully during this time. You can’t do anything about your fate, but how you deal with it is in your power. If you notice any physical complaints such as recurring headaches, migraines, insomnia, abdominal pain, colds, tachycardia, ringing in the ears, etc. that simply do not want to disappear, LOOK AT IT! Deal with yourself and try to see what the origin of this dark feeling is. Have the guts to ask for help. I ignored it for a long time. We go to the manicure or do wellness etc.- why not see therapy as a “spa for the soul”? Since my stay at the clinic, I have been strongly committed to getting people to rethink the sometimes-prejudiced image of therapies in society. I hope that more people will soon dare not only to “repair” the outside world but above all take good care of the inside. In a society designed to be higher, faster, better, wider, it is most important to return to the source and to catch and affirm those who have difficulties to deal with this development.
How can yoga help at such times?
From my own experience, I can say: Meditation and Yoga help – effectively as well as sustainably. Perhaps not directly after the first and also not after the second time – however regularly practiced, you can take a large influence on your physical as well as mental well-being. Yoga does not replace therapy, but it is when used concomitantly, THE alternative to antidepressants. Yoga has helped me to regain my body feeling and to re-connect with myself. Yoga has given me the stability to stay and to look positively into the future. Yoga has made me realize my value and shown me how beautiful it is to be myself. Yoga always gives me a feeling of security and peace. Yoga carries me when the world around me seems to break. Yoga reminds me of who I am and who I want to be when I have forgotten myself. Yoga gives me strength and balance at the same time. Yoga pushes me to try something new and develop myself further. The beauty of yoga is that it is always there when I need it and it always has the right Asanas, Meditations, Mantras, Pranayamas ready. I just need to help myself.
What are your top tips to bring more yoga into our lives – on and off the mat?
Maybe rather more consciously than simply more. When it comes to the physical aspect of yoga, I would say: listen to your body. Practicing a lot of yoga doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to feel better automatically. On some days it may also be a yoga break. It’s perfectly normal and important to know to reduce the pressure to practice every day. It can also be just 5-7 minutes in the morning or 3-4 gentle asanas in the evening. Brushing your teeth on one leg while training your balance has an effect. You could also take a walk during your lunch break and be more aware of the things you discover and appreciate. Or close your eyes at your desk or on the train for five minutes to observe your breath to feel more connected to yourself again. “Yoga off the mat” which means to integrate yogic action into everyday life can mean, for example, opting for a vegetable diet. The Keyword is Ahimsa which means nonviolence towards others, but also towards oneself. It means to develop an awareness that one’s actions do not harm anyone. Also, to be more loving to yourself. This already starts in your mind: how do you talk to yourself; how do you think about yourself? And every time you notice that you are judging yourself or that you are being too hard on yourself to stop and be more loving. Yoga has many facets and can, therefore, be practiced at any time.
What are your current plans and what is your vision?
I would like to make yoga accessible to everyone – and preferably as early as possible! Therefore, I would like to do education as a children’s yoga teacher, and I would also like to teach yoga at schools. If I had discovered yoga much earlier, I certainly wouldn’t have fallen so deeply, and I would have reacted in some situations in my life with more peace and confidence. I desire to touch people through my yoga classes and my personal history, to strengthen them on their path and to encourage them to follow their heart.
And now, last but not least: Where can we find you if we want to continue sharing your inspiring story?
Online you can find my daily news on Instagram @jana_loves_yoga as well as on Facebook for events under “Namastyay”. On my website www.namastyay.de you will find news, but also more personal blog articles. On Spotify (namastyay) you can find all my yoga playlists for at home. Simply drop by and say hello – I love to connect and go into a direct exchange with other yogis and yoginis.