Interview with a Yoga Expert and Contemporary Dancer - Karsten Kroll
- 07 January 2019 07 January 2019
Karsten Kroll is the resident yoga teacher at Paradis Plage, and has been practising yoga and contemporary dance for over 25 years, giving him deep of knowledge of form, technique and an appreciation for the grace, potential and limitations of the human body. The drive towards having the ability to focus on the present moment, of finding mind-body connection and to bring overall well-being, led Karsten to study with several yoga training schools in Bali and Morocco. Karsten has further developed his skills as a yoga teacher by learning Yin and Yang styles as well as Myofascial Ball Roll & Release. He invites his students to explore their potential through his classes.
Why is Paradis Plage such a special place for yoga?
It is peaceful here at Paradis Plage, even at high seasonal occupancy. The energy is just right, our big family working here is welcoming, supportive and inviting and we are situated in a paradisiacal botanical garden. Best of all our Yoga Shala is facing the ocean, just a stone’s throw away. You see, you hear, you smell and you feel the power of the ocean during your yoga practice. The cherry on the cake, is that we always see a unique, beautiful sunset during our last yoga session of the day.
What are the top health benefits of practicing yoga regularly?
If you are not taking care of your vehicle, it will break down at some point. If you are not taking care of your body, it will cease working properly. Practicing yoga regularly works on maintaining a healthy, strong and flexible body and mind. The term yoga comes from a Sanskrit word meaning union. We connect our mind with body and breath in order to control our thoughts and emotions. Practicing Yoga increases our mental focus, sharpens our consciousness, brings balance and harmony into our life and gives us the chance to get to know ourselves more deeply. To be good and to give love and kindness to ourselves invites us to be good to others and to our beautiful planet Mother Earth. She needs a lot of love!
How does breath work affect our state of wellbeing?
We all know stress related breathing is shallow and too fast. To really nourish our body with oxygen, our life-force, it is important to breathe deeply and slowly. Pranayama ( Breath-control ) is one of the 8 limbs of the 8-fold path from the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali. That makes it an important part of practicing yoga and teaches us to become aware of how we breathe. Deepening and slowing down our breath has a calming effect on our mind and that helps to stay focused, clear and mindful. It also encourages us to progress and develop our state of wellbeing.
How do you believe the body and mind affect each other?
Yoga is a great practice to work on, uniting both the body and the mind. Many of my students look for relaxation and time to decompress from their stressful life. There are different ways to find your peace of mind; for some it is the more active style of yoga that shifts their focus on the movement and the alignment of the posture. For others, I believe a more gentle approach, namely Yin yoga, which is very slow and deep method, giving you time to listen to your body and the chance to analyse your mind. Yin Yoga invites you to live in the present moment, observing all the feelings and sensations in your body. The moment it gets really intense, (we’re looking for the ‘good pain’), the mind wants you to get out of that posture. Here you have the time to distant yourself from your mind and become the master of your thoughts. This stillness in the body brings about stillness in the mind
What is your favourite yoga pose and why?
I love any posture that involves a balance pose. You get the chance to listen, observe and to fine-tune your body, and in turn fine-tune your mind. Therefore my favorite out of all the yoga postures is the yoga squat (Malasana), which is very relaxing and the most effective medicine for lower back issues. This pose can lead into the arm balance Crow ( Bakasana ).
How would you encourage somebody who has never tried yoga to give it a go?
We live a very Yang oriented lifestyle, fast paced and even stressful at times. Some people have tried yoga classes at their gyms after a workout, but these can often turn into fitness sessions. Others try the most convenient yoga studio around the corner and do whatever class is offered. Often, they are not able to follow and feel left out behind, getting frustrated and create a false idea of what is yoga. I invite new people by making them feel comfortable, to respect their individual bodies, explain the benefits of yoga and let them have a good time and maybe learn something new.
I keep the practice at a basic level so that they get the time to learn how to breathe properly and how to combine the movement with the breath. Another magical style for someone new to yoga is again Yin Yoga approach. So far, I’ve been able to inspire many of my students with this yoga style to start following the path of yoga. Once you know the style that suits you, you can be more selective with class choice at home.
There are various yoga styles from Bikram to Hatha, how does someone find the right one for them?
That’s a very personal choice. I would shop around and try many different styles to make my very own decisions. Of course, if your life is too fast and furious, I would definitely recommend Yin Yoga or Restorative Yoga or a slow paced Hatha Yoga approach. If you are searching for a proper alignment of yoga postures (Asanas) then I’d recommend Iyengar Yoga. I’m not a big fan of complicated and too fast yoga, but that be beneficial and fun if you know your body well and you know what you are doing.
What are your top tips for optimal health?
- Breathe Well
- Eat Well
- Sleep Well
Use this Mantra that I invite my students at the end of each yoga practice:
- LOVE AND RESPECT YOUR SELF
- LOVE AND RESPECT EACH OTHER AND
- LOVE AND RESPECT OUR BEAUTIFUL PLANET MOTHER EARTH
What tips can you give to get the very best out of your yoga workout?
Love and respect yourself. Be yourself and do what you do for yourself. Have an inner and outer smile and enjoy what you are doing in life. Be open and curious towards all the new and unknown.
Why is it important to respect our bodies and who we are?
Well, if we don’t love and respect our self, how can we honestly love and respect someone or something else? If we are not maintaining and taking care of our body, it will affect our mind and vice versa. So Please, try some YOGA :)
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