Anastasia Shevchenko is a Berlin-based yoga teacher. Yoga has been an integral part of her life for the past 15 years and helped Anastasia to heal, rehabilitate after an injury, foster a healthy lifestyle, improve many of the mental faculties, create better emotional patterns and relationships, and support an interest in philosophy and spirituality. Having previously studied interdisciplinary design, bachelor of communications, and working in marketing and PR, Anastasia now teaches yoga for the past 5 years and co-produces an arts festival for the past 3 of these years.
Berlin Yoga Conference is a completely new initiative created by Anastasia. It is a new European yoga conference that strives to create “an authentic yoga experience”, with an aim to educate and inform the public, create intercultural bridges and new business opportunities, encourage the expansion of the global yoga community, all of it – in the context of social responsibility and ethical business principles.
YOGI TIMES: What is exactly the Berlin Yoga Conference?
Anastasia Shevchenko : It is a European yoga conference that I envisioned as a completely new and exciting event that would happen for the first time in Berlin over a weekend of 24-26 of May 2019 in Malzfabrik, Berlin.
YT: Malzfabrik? What kind of venue is that?
Anastasia Shevchenko : Malzfabrik is a beautifully renovated ex-industrial space that preserves some of its “industrial” feel and is quite charming because of that. It has 3 gigantic halls and 2 medium-sized spaces that would enable the programming of up to 5 simultaneous events. The venue could not have been more perfect for the occasion: it is huge and spacious, it has a beautiful park, a garden, a pond, and even a human-made beach.
YT: Up to 5 events running at the same time? Sounds intense!
Anastasia Shevchenko: Well three of these events would allow for a large number of participants and two of them would be of quieter nature, which actually reflects the strategic planning of the program. I have assembled a team of extraordinary presenters who, for the most part, teach within the frameworks of powerful and dynamic yoga styles, complemented by some teachers who offer quieter and more introspective kind of yoga methods.
YT: Who are the presenters?
Anastasia Shevchenko: The presenter’s list has been finalized, featuring top-quality and well-respected yoga teachers with the ration of 50/50 local (German) to international (Europe, UK, and USA).
Our German (and European, for that matter) superstars are Patrick Broome, who was the first person to bring Jivamukti Yoga to Europe and since not along has established his own yoga method called “Yoga for All”; Jang-Ho Kim, an exceptional teacher who blends creative Vinyasa sequencing with martial arts, Qi-Gong, Zen philosophy and poetry slam; then there’s Christine May, who is one of the leading experts on Prana Flow in Europe and the world; Tanja Seehofer, a famous yin yoga teacher who is a regular contributor to all kinds of yoga and lifestyle magazines; Andrea Lutz, a well-respected Ashtanga Yoga teacher in the Pattabhi Jois tradition as taught by Nancy Gilgoff & David Williams, as well as Manju Jois.
The International team is made of Sat Bir Khalsa, a Kundalini yoga teacher in the Yogi Bhajan tradition, a Harvard professor, and a leading expert in the field of yoga scientific research and yoga education; Ambra Vallo – an ex prima ballerina and now a sought-after UK-based yoga teacher in the Dharma Mittra tradition; Simon Park, who according to 2007 edition of the Yoga Journal is “one of the most influential and gifted Yoga teachers of the next generation”; Johanna Andersson and Jennie Liljefors of Sweden, with the former being a regular face at all of the major yoga conferences and an organizer of one herself, with the latter being an expert in the field of Yoga for Healing. There are more amazing teachers on the list, check it out!
YT: What’s the program like?
Anastasia Shevchenko: It is very diverse, yet balanced. When planning time slots of different classes and workshops, I tried to create a nice flow, where the demands of the day, the previous activity, and of what is to come are considered, as well as the general understandings of the human biological clock.
The day always starts with a morning meditation, then breakfast, gentle series of classes, then more physically demanding activities until the lunchtime. After that, a series of lectures, more classes, a slot for peak-hour activity of the day, followed by a gentle practice.
Aside from workshops, classes, lectures, and meditation sittings, there will be events with live music, performances, an art exhibition, a fashion show, a book fair, and two celebratory ceremonies: one upon the opening of the conference, and one – upon its closing.
YT: 24-26 of May 2019, that’s quite far ahead!
Anastasia Shevchenko: Well, this conference is going to be amazing, and this requires a lot of preparation and planning! To ensure top quality and an unforgettable kind of experience, the work has begun and a lot has been arranged already. The plan is to start selling the tickets one year in advance in May 2018. Even big industrial spaces have physical limitations – there is a certain number of people from around the world who can attend, so this should be planned in advance.
YT: What makes this Conference special?
Anastasia Shevchenko: First, it’s the intention. The conference has a very clear intention which is expressed in the motto: “Creating an authentic yoga experience”. For me, it was important to have a moral compass set-up from the get-go. This is why I have a number of ethical principles outlined in the conference's vision: quality over quantity, balance of new and traditional, fairness towards global versus local, going beyond the physical, and authentic commercial experience.
Second, it is the goals behind the conference. To create an annual tradition, I wanted to make sure that the conference offers great content that educates, informs, inspires, where there is a context for community building, social engagement, creation of cross-cultural bridges, new business networks and new opportunities for everyone involved, be they teachers, sponsors, or conference-goers.
YT: What do you think will help you succeed?
Anastasia Shevchenko: Clear guidelines and principles, good organization and strategic planning, hard-work and creative thinking, as well as talented, engaged, and passionate about their work individuals.
An event like this is not a solo-act. Even though in its seed form it has an origin in one specific individual, its manifestation is dependent on the dedication to the cause on the part of many individuals, those who believe in this project, who will do their best to make it happen, and who will do a stunning work at that for the enjoyment and benefit of all the other human-beings.
You can find out more about Anastasia Shevchenko and the conference here