In June of 2018, Desi and I spent a week each in the cities of Regensburg, Munich, and Berlin to work with the local Bowspring communities there and to teach public weekend workshops. The Bowspring method has grown in Germany since our first workshop in Frankfurt in October of 2013 at the Young Ho Kim’s big yoga studio, Inside Yoga. It was from that event that yoga teacher Bastian Schlickeisen and osteopathic doctor Pawel Gnosdorf from Berlin began regularly practicing the new springy, curvy alignment in their yoga poses and applying the postural ideas in their sports and their therapeutic work. Now almost five years later, daily Bowspring classes are taught in Berlin, Munich, and Regensburg, and the method is also spreading throughout Germany via our online best-selling instructional videos on TINTyoga.com, Young Ho Kim’s company based in Frankfurt.
In general, Germans will embrace a new technology if it makes sense, it’s logical, and it is works particularly with a high degree of effectiveness and efficiency. This is why the Bowspring method continues to grow in Germany – the readiness to move with springy lightness is greatly enhanced with this alignment, and its effectiveness can be explained through the biomechanical understanding of the visco-elastic properties of fascia. For the Germans, Bowspring might not be so easy to learn, but it terms of dynamic functional alignment it works, so they are willing to dedicate themselves to its regular practice.
Due to Bastian and Pawel’s influence over the last few years, Bowspring has its largest Germany community in Berlin. Today, our current Bowspring teachers in Berlin include Bastian Schlickeisen, Liz Coffman, Daan Willem Dragt, Sybille Diekhert, Wiebke Holler, and Bianca Scheiber. Pawel has recently moved with his family to a new paradisiacal home in the Azore islands, off the coast of Portugal, where he and his wife Elisa are teaching springy fascia yoga, and applying curvy alignment ideas to surfing and in his osteopathic work.
Despite meeting some resistance from the establishment yoga community in Berlin over the last few years, all of our German Bowspring teachers have persevered and now are beginning to be invited to teach the method in mainstream yoga studios. Times are changing in the European yoga world, and students are now very willing to explore alternative alignments for enhanced functional movement and for greater therapeutic effect. Bastian calls Bowspring - “post-classical yoga” or "21st century yoga" to emphasize that it is a new paradigm of curvy, springy, fascia-oriented instead of the standard linear, static, musculo-skeletal modern postural yoga alignment.
In Berlin, it was a very diverse group of students ranging in experience from several Bowspring teachers to a couple of students who were brand new to Bowspring. We set up the teachers and most experienced students in the front row of the classroom, which was a successful strategy to best visually guide the newer students on all of the poses that they had never seen before.
Although the basics were prioritized in the Berlin workshop, the more experienced practitioners were able to deepen their practice with several significant alignment refinements. After the workshop, Bastian reported that he thought our fourth annual Bowspring event in Berlin worked for everyone since there was a good balance of verbal explanation and physical practice. According to Bastian, “The whole workshop was more flowing and running than ever. Being so, it was a good translation or implementing of the idea of a liquid body as an initial point of a fascia-oriented yoga. The workshop was liquid-like, but not arbitrary. It had direction. One could say: The workshop was toned.”
Desi teaching Zig-Zag Legs in Berlin
Focusing on alignment for the feet in Square Legs in All-Fours