The world of Ashtanga Yoga. In conversation with Dr. Ronald Steiner

The world of Ashtanga Yoga. In conversation with Dr. Ronald Steiner

Dear Ronald, we are very happy that you have become part of the OGNX Family! What do you associate with the OGNX label, why did you decide to become a brand ambassador?

To be honest, it's quite mundane. A shirt I had from OGNX quickly became my favorite shirt. The philosophy of sustainable and environmentally friendly production also convinces me. I like to share what inspires me.

We had so much fun shooting with you... And so much to be amazed at :) Your body control is incredible.

The body practice helps me to be fully present. It feels a bit like a child learning to walk enthusiastically and yet completely calmly. Naturally, it always gets back up. It's just fun to balance on your legs. If it falls, it won't bother you at all. It gets back up with unalloyed enthusiasm. The goal of being able to walk is not relevant to the child in the learning process. Mastery of the new ability of running comes about without any specific effort. This is exactly what I cultivate in my practice. For me it's about experiencing my body and trying out movements. The fact that I have developed a good body image over the years is more of a side effect for me.

You have been practicing Ashtanga for many years, how did you get into it & why Ashtanga of all things? What was it that inspired you so much about the Ashtanga Yoga system that it has been an integral part of your life ever since?

I am impressed by the simplicity with which Ashtanga Yoga guides practitioners into practice. It's so simple: roll out the yoga mat every day, place it on it, breathe and let yourself be surprised. The practice unfolds anew every day.

(How) Has your practice changed you? (How) Has your life changed?

I have given yoga an important place throughout my life. My mother was already a yoga teacher. For me, yoga is the conscious search for the true essence that lives within us. I see this true essence as the living or divine essence within us - as the principle of complete balance. I like to compare this to a tightrope walker who is physically balanced on the tightrope. Even if it becomes easier for him to balance on the rope with practice, the balance always requires a certain amount of attention. As a yogi, I would like to approach a state of balance with everything that makes me a human being. This state will never come naturally, but requires constant cultivation. So for me yoga is on the one hand the same every day, a conscious alignment with this balance, but also new and surprising every day.

How important is your practice to you, do you sometimes miss it?

Yoga weaves its way through my life, not just on the yoga mat. A day where I don't actively try to maintain my balance at least once is rare. I usually stand on the yoga mat and use physical exercises to get closer to this balance.

What advice do you give to working people who don't have time to practice for at least 1.5 hours every day?

I think the resolution to practice 1.5 hours a day is the biggest mistake. He speaks against the idea of ​​yoga. We want to achieve balance here and now with yoga. As soon as we decide to do something, it's just an item on our already busy schedule. Specifically, I recommend just starting. Just a few minutes, almost every day, can make a big difference. Set yourself a framework in which you don't allow yourself to be disturbed and dedicate yourself entirely to cultivating your balance. Roll out the yoga mat, breathe, move, relax or exert yourself. Let yourself be surprised by what happens.

You are a doctor and know everything about the human body. Do you think yoga has a healing effect and if so, why?

If yoga is yoga, then it is always healing. Because that's what yoga is all about. It's about taking time to do something good for yourself. Injuries occur when we forget what is at stake, when we think we need to become more flexible or perform a certain posture.

You give many workshops and have your own shala in Ulm. Do you have any tips for people interested in Ashtanga or beginners who have too much respect for the Ashtanga yoga system because Ashtanga is such an intensive style of yoga.

In fact, in my opinion, many people, especially Ashtanga practitioners, confuse what yoga actually is. To provide clarity here, I also call my lessons AYInnovation®. This method is based on the tradition of Ashtanga Yoga, which has been constantly changing over thousands of years. But it integrates modern findings from medicine, research, movement theory and psychology. This creates a completely individual, personally adapted practice for each person.

Yoga is not tied to performing a specific exercise. The exercises are just tools on the way to balance. The AYInstitute Ulm is a good place to come into contact with this idea. Our oldest student is almost 90 years old, many integrate special therapeutic exercises into their practice, some practice dynamic sports, others more calmly and meditatively. Everything has its place, depending on the situation of the individual practitioner. Anyone who would like is welcome at any time. We are also happy to integrate yogis from away for a day or a week. Alternatively, workshops or retreats also offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in AYInnovation®.

If you are primarily interested in the medical and health-promoting aspects, completely separate from Ashtanga Yoga, you can immerse yourself in it on a modular therapy course throughout Germany. A total of ten different topics focus on applied anatomy, alignment and yoga therapy. Anyone who would like to carry on this inspiration themselves can equip themselves with the necessary tools through training. Anyone who is already a yoga teacher also has the opportunity to learn only the AYInnovation® techniques in a compact format.

Anyone who would like to get to know you in person has the opportunity to do so at the Yoga World in Munich in January. You're always there, what's special about the trade fair for you?

Yes, I'm looking forward to it. The Yoga World has become a meeting place for many yogis from a wide variety of traditions. Here I meet friends and get to know new, exciting people and their ideas.

More information:

Thank you very much, dear Ronald!

((AUTHOR INFO)) Dr. Ronald Steiner is a sports medicine doctor and is one of the best-known practitioners of Ashtanga Yoga. His teaching builds a bridge between applied anatomy and living philosophy, between precise technique and practical experience. With a lot of precision and practical relevance, he teaches anatomy, alignment and yoga therapy in training and further education courses. More about flexible and modular training and further education for yoga teachers at: