My Summer with ATHAYOGA
It was a warm Wednesday afternoon in mid-May, I was walking by the Paradeplatz on my way home from the Badi when I was stopped in my tracks by a large group of people doing yoga in the square. It was a sad moment for me as I hadn’t done a group class in some time, but then a nice girl came over and started explaining the Swiss Yoga Conference they were promoting that coming weekend in the city.
When I went home that evening, I immediately emailed the team to see if I could lend a hand throughout the conference, and Carolina, studio owner and an extraordinary teacher at ATHAYOGA and who is the founder and organizer of the Swiss Yoga Conference, wrote me back welcoming me with open arms. That was a well executed event that brought other teachers from the US and Europe together in workshops that introduced students to new styles of yoga, along with alignment and pranayama.
The energy of the team was infectious, and I really wanted to work with them again. I wrote a thank you letter to Carolina for her graciousness and volunteered my time should she have any need of assistance throughout the summer. She wrote back with a project that would allow me to take classes with her experienced teachers.
As a Talent Advisor in my professional life and a newly trained yoga teacher, I jumped at the opportunity. As a new teacher, hungry for knowledge and experience, this was the perfect opportunity and excuse to travel into the city, and fall a little bit more in love with the practice of yoga. I’m happy to say that ATHAYOGA was the perfect studio to spend my summer with, especially their very zen studio in Zollikon. Situated in a quiet neighborhood, a five minute walk to the Zollikon train station, overlooking the lake of Zurich, a large beautiful room with warm soothing colors. The decor transports you to a studio in Ubud – the tranquil feel amongst a bustling city.
Their studio in Zurich, situated in the Old Town, a ten minute walk up from Stadelhofen train station, has a more intimate feel due to its quaint size, with windows for walls that let in beautiful natural light, especially during the evening classes. The studios each serve a variety pukka tea, water – garnished with lemon and mint, and dried fruits and nuts for pre- and post-class enjoyment. The studio is immersed in candles and fresh flowers like pink roses and white lilies. It’s a very welcoming environment and you’re greeted by the teacher with lit candles and tranquil music at every class.
Being from New York and having that all encompassing expectation, the preference is to get everything in one class – a physical challenge, tension relief and spiritual presence. When it came to reviewing the teachers, that was mainly what I was looking for; with expectations met! Just about all of the teachers began with a pranayama giving the students the chance to arrive. Teachers explained ujjayi breathing and linked it throughout the class. They opened the body before going into deeper asanas, all in their own respective styles. I always felt safe in the sequencing and had all the props I needed to assist me throughout. It was nice to have English speaking teachers, yet the German classes were quite easy to follow, and felt like I was learning at the same time! Overall, there is a high level of experience and diversity of classes at ATHAYOGA.
Here are a few comments about some of the teachers that could help guide you in deciding which class to take given your particular experience or mood that day.
First comes Carolina and Karl – Carolina has such a beautiful flow, you feel like you are being hugged by a warm fuzzy blanket as you lay in savasana at the end of class, so balanced, so comforting and compassionate. Karl teaches the Jivamukti classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, with a lovely chant and Aum to begin the class, the most dynamic sequencing I have experienced, and also great with adjustments.
For stronger Hatha and Vinyasa classes, checkout Sacha and Kristiano – powerful backbends with Sacha and lots of core with Kristiano. If you’d prefer a nice opening of the hips and back, but on a more gentle level with simpler sequencing, check out Andrina’s class. Jennifer and Helene have so much empathy, so balanced in their sequencing, feeling refreshed in the end – I greatly enjoyed their teaching style. Even the substitute teacher Paula, who is an Ashtanga teacher, opened my eyes to the benefits of a set sequence.
All in all – there is something for everyone at ATHAYOGA, so whichever class you take, with whichever teacher, you will be in for a great workout and a wonderful mind/body connection.