A: I had been working as a yoga teacher for 10 years and I felt it was time for a change that I wanted to learn something new. I saw an article on TriYoga by Eva Maria Beck, and it was very compelling. It compared TriYoga movement to a dance, and I had taken a lot of dance classes. I also had the feeling that I want to travel to the United States. I felt that there was someone waiting there for me.
In 2004 I arrived in the U.S. and I went directly to Malibu. The first class I observed was Level 4 and I was very impressed (laughs)! I recognized immediately that TriYoga was very special.
Q: Had you already done some TriYoga before you went to the U.S.?
A: Never! The first class I took was Level 2 and I thought it would be no problem, since I was already a yoga teacher. During that first class with Kaliji, I realized that there was a lot to learn. I felt a little ashamed to come to Malibu without any TriYoga experience. Kaliji was so nice, she said that it was fine and that I was learning very fast. I thought to myself “I cannot do it, but I like it, so I will learn”.
Q: That is amazing. And you have studied TriYoga ever since?
A: Yes, ever since:)
Q: Did you want to become a TriYoga teacher from the very beginning or did this develop over time?
A: I just continued to learn and the desire to teach naturally arose. I was already teaching yoga, and my yoga community were interested in learning TriYoga. So, I asked Kaliji if I could host Teacher Trainings. That’s how it began.
Q: Did you study TriYoga mostly in the U.S.?
A: Yes, I studied a lot in Santa Cruz with senior teachers and of course with Kaliji. When I was not in the U.S., I took every opportunity to study when senior teachers were coming for finals to Europe. I would take the same programs again and again. Now I am certified through Level 2.
Q: So you were introduced to TriYoga the very first time you met Kaliji. Can you tell us more about this first meeting?
A: I remember that I came for the class and I was give a place to sit and watch. Kaliji was not in the room and everybody was silent, doing Prana Vidya. Then Kaliji appeared, as if she had glided into the room, and Level 4 began. I was very impressed watching people going upside-down and with all of the Level 4 Flows! I felt like I was watching a beautiful theater performance, but I never dreamed that I would be doing the same things. I did not feel frustrated. I did like it, but it just did not occur to me that I would be doing it too (laughs).
I liked the meditative state of the entire class. Kaliji said just a few words and everybody was doing those wonderful movements. The atmosphere in the room was very meditative.
After that class I met Kaliji and it was very touching. I felt the place (the Malibu ashrama) was very special. First I thought it was just a yoga studio, but then I realized it is much more than that. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming that I felt at home. When it was time to leave, I felt like I was leaving my home.
Swami Manasa Datta was there at that time. So I was lucky to attend chanting with him every evening. Then we took trips around the (Los Angeles) area with Kaliji and Swami Manasa and the rest of the people there. It was so wonderful.
I thought I wanted to stay for only 4 days, but I stayed for 10 (as long as I could).
Q: Do you have plans to travel to the USA again?
A: Yes, I want to go for a Level 3 Teacher Training.
Q: Do you also practice Prana Vidya?
Johanna: I practice Prana Vidya every single day. I can miss a day of flows but not Prana Vidya.
Q: What attracts you to Prana Vidya?
A: I find that it helps me to release all the negative emotions and it gives me a lot of amazing uplifting energy.
Q: How has TriYoga changed your life?
A: After beginning TriYoga, the first thing I experienced was clarity. When I came back from the U.S. in 2004, everyone was asking me “What happened to you? You are so clear!” And I was. I knew exactly what I wanted.Â I was more aware of myself, my purpose, and my life.
I also realized that when I practiced other yoga styles, I primarily did the movements that I liked. In TriYoga, however, I practiced movements that I liked and that I didn’t like because they were all part of the Flow. The more I practiced movements I didn’t like, however, the more I came to like them. I recognize that this wholesome approach to the Flow contributes to my integrity.
Q: Congratulations on your new TriYoga center. How did you decide that you wanted a center?
A: It was a natural development. At the beginning, I used to integrate parts of TriYoga into the classes I taught. After a while, I realized that all I wanted to teach was TriYoga.
I lived in Munich then and was teaching there. I had a small apartment and I was traveling all over the city. It took so much time just to get to places to teach! My dream was to have my own center and live in the country. Then my family members were selling their house in Allershausen, which was big enough for a yoga center. I bought that house and my dream came true.
Q: How do Teacher Training programs work at your center?
A: Very well. This place is very cozy and it feels like home to everyone who comes. In winter I use a wooden stove. My sister makes lunch for everyone. It is very important for me that we have time together with everyone during teacher trainings. There is so much going on in people’s lives, in addition to or because of TriYoga practice, and it is important that we have time and space to share that.
Q: In your opinion, what makes a good TriYoga teacher?
A: I think it is being relaxed. It is important to feel the Flow. A good TriYoga teacher is very precise in outside details without being too directive. TriYoga is about people feeling good. TriYoga is a wonderful method and everyone will feel it, will feel the Flow. It is not about the method itself but about people feeling good because of the method.
Q: What are your future plans with TriYoga?
A: I feel that it is important to continue my own practice and I take every opportunity to study with Kaliji when she comes here. I love to teach, but there is so much for me to learn and experience in my own practice as well.
Q: Have you have any special experiences in your practice?
A: I experience what Kaliji calls prana kriyas. They first started in meditation. I felt the energy going up the spine and then I started to twist. It was exciting and frightening at the same time. When it began happening in class with other people around, I did not feel comfortable doing something different from other people. Then I just surrendered and let the energy flow through.
The first time it happened in class, it was a whole flow sequence. It was during Tarini’s workshop. Then again at the class with Kaliji in Santa Cruz. It happened a few times after that but it never happens on a superficial level. I am always very deep in the Flow when it takes place.
Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
A: I would like to say that I feel that TriYoga is so important now that the world is changing so fast. I like to teach TriYoga to people because I feel we need to meet these higher vibrations and our bodies are usually behind and we are not quite ready. Practicing TriYoga helps to tune into this energy.
The experience of prana kriyas made me realize that we are more than this physical body. We should not be afraid of passing away