The power of yoga – interview with Ranja Weis

The power of yoga – interview with Ranja Weis

Ranja Weis teaches training courses as well as workshops & retreats and develops programs for DVDs and online portals. Her focus is on the one hand dynamic Vinyasa styles, on the other hand Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra. In the interview she tells us how yoga gives her strength and can help her through difficult times.

Dear Ranja, why do you practice yoga? Did the desire to delve into the matter come from an inner feeling or a formative situation or was it completely unromantic motives, such as the desire for a toned body or more endurance? In the sense of: Did yoga find you or did you find yoga?

Yoga has definitely found me. And in a place where you wouldn't expect it: during a shamanic ceremony in the jungle of Brazil. I was there because my body urgently needed healing and I had decided against the traditional path of conventional medicine. What I experienced there was incredibly hard and since then the expression "going through hell" has been no stranger to me. But in the last third of this whole cleansing process, I felt truly free, released and happy for the first time. And then I had the inspiration to start yoga. Spirituality was still pretty foreign to me up to that point, I wasn't a very physical or sporty person and I had no idea about yoga. Nevertheless, this word suddenly had a magical attraction for me, and a few days later I was in my first yoga class in a studio in Rio de Janeiro.

In addition to Vinyasa, you have been teaching Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra for some time. Why did you choose these directions?

Because they made the biggest difference. I couldn't get any further with Vinyasa. Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra have brought many positive changes into my life. Above all, because they work very effectively and healingly in the areas of the subconscious that are not accessible to us in everyday consciousness. Yoga Nidra in particular is designed to “reprogram” us at this level and to transform harmful thought and behavior patterns into positive, supportive ones. Since I discovered these techniques, I know how much yoga can achieve. And there is certainly a lot more to discover!

You are the mother of a little daughter. Mothers often have completely excessive expectations, especially of themselves. What advice do you give young mothers about how they can best deal with all of these overwhelming feelings? Do you think yoga can help with this?

It helped me a lot. I had a difficult time health-wise after the birth, including extreme joint and back pain. For several months I could hardly stand in the morning because my feet hurt for some reason. There was also depression due to the hormonal changes and lack of sleep. It really cannot be underestimated what a woman goes through during this time. I have learned to appreciate the value of yoga practice all over again. It helped me a lot to reduce the pain, find peace and recover. Eventually, I stopped running to doctors and instead made sure to practice yoga for at least half an hour every day. From then on I felt better again.

You told us that you are going through a difficult time because you and your former partner have separated. Does yoga help you process the breakup and deal with it better?

In any case! Yoga practice causes us to arrive at ourselves and reflect on the essentials. On what is really important, and above all, the relationships with the people we love. I know yoga teachers who value success and fame more than anything else. Most of the time, however, they have either lost their own practice, or are practicing in a way that pushes them further into the ego, away from themselves. Interestingly, I have mostly encountered this with men. They seem to be more susceptible to this than women. But especially in crises such as separations, a regular yoga practice can help enormously to recognize your own patterns and avoid accusations and blame. Because whatever we experience, we have drawn into our lives in one way or another to grow from. In my last relationship, I relived an old pain from my childhood that needed to be healed and let go. Often people show up for exactly these reasons. And if we manage to see this, a new, constructive form of relationship is possible with the same person. It's all within ourselves.

What is the essential message behind yoga for you? Why do you think more people should practice yoga - perhaps especially these days?

Through yoga we begin to feel ourselves. We become more sensitive and finer in our perception. We begin to stop harmful behaviors such as poor nutrition, smoking, etc. and take good care of ourselves and our health. At some point we can feel that we are somehow connected to everything around us, to people, to animals, to plants, to the cosmos. Then the sense of responsibility we have developed for ourselves extends to our environment. For example, we are starting to pay attention to organic, regional and fair trade when shopping; we are avoiding buying products that are associated with the suffering of other living beings, such as fur, etc. For me, this is the greatest potential of yoga today : that we stop mindlessly consuming, that we are no longer so easily manipulated and that we develop compassion and responsibility.

Has your own lifestyle changed because of yoga?

Yes, basic. I eat healthier than before and exercise a lot. But above all, I pay attention to my needs and mainly do what fulfills me and brings me joy :)

Thank you for your honest words!

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