Interview with Ranja Weis

Interview with Ranja Weis

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!

Now you have recently become the mother of wonderful little Coco, who we got to know at our last OGNX people shooting. 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 run several yoga studios in Munich with your partner Patrick Broome. He himself is a passionate yogi who has been teaching yoga for more than 20 years. Would you say yoga can contribute to a happier relationship?

I think what helps most is the understanding that everyone is responsible for their own happiness. We often tend to see our partner as the person who saves us - which is possible in a certain way. However, not in the way we know it from fairy tales, but because he is the person who pushes our buttons in such a way that we reach our weakest points. And that is where healing can occur. If, instead of accusing and blaming, we focus inward and carefully observe why this or that behavior hurts us or upsets us so much. Then it quickly becomes clear that the other person is only the trigger, not the cause of our problem. I'm currently reading the book "Love Yourself, and It Doesn't Matter Who You Marry." It describes the phenomenon that after a breakup, the new partner, even if at first he seems to be the exact opposite of the previous partner, suddenly exhibits the same behavior. And despite new love, you are faced with the old problem again! You can't run away, because your own issues run with you. The only thing that helps is to look at yourself honestly and lovingly instead of constantly changing your partner when things get hot. Yoga teachers Katharina Middendorf and Ralph Sturm wrote a book called: "Ready for love. When you think it's over, it's actually just beginning." I haven't read it yet, but I think the title is very accurate.

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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