GOYOGI meets Yogamudra Copenhagen

GOYOGI has met Peter from Yogamudra for a pleasant chat about yoga, low-energy construction and family life.

Tell me a little about yourself?

I started Yogamudra in 2003 together with Bodil - we have three children, and two years ago we moved from Christianshavn to Gadevang in Grib Skov. I am particularly interested in how, through the use of the body, one gets the opportunity for a completely uncomplicated and direct experience of reality. After the move to Grib Skov, it has been a natural step to use the forest for physical development, especially in the form of hiking and trail running. It is my hope to be able to make more use of nature in my yoga teaching down the road.

How was your first encounter with yoga?

My first encounter with yoga was in the mid-90s at the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School, where I, among other things, participated in their intensive 3-month immersion in Småland. What quickly made me want more was the experience of heightened senses. When I went out into the street after a yoga class, I experienced that a veil had been removed - everything appeared clearer and it felt as if I saw my surroundings with fresh eyes. That two hours on a yoga mat could make such a significant difference made me curious to learn more. Only later, in the late 90s, did I come across resp. Iyengar and Astangayoga, and it was especially the very physical and focused approach in Astanga Vinyasa yoga that hooked me.

What is your background and where do you teach today?

Before yoga, I worked as an engineer, i.a. with the development of low-energy construction and consultancy in relation to companies' reduction of CO2 load. My approach to yoga is particularly influenced by Astanga, but I was quickly drawn to teachers with an open and non-dogmatic approach to teaching. Today, I only teach morning classes in our two studios in Strandgade and Ryesgade, as well as at weekend workshops and at our yoga teacher training.   

Can you tell us a little more about your studies?

We started our studio at Christianshavn in 2003 – at Østerbro we opened in 2011. Originally, our focus was primarily Astanga Vinyasa yoga, but it has been a natural development for us to open up to several other styles. First we added Yin and Hatha classes, mainly to offer some slightly gentler practices that could complement the very physical approach of Astanga. Since then Gravid yoga came into being, when we became more and more aware that during pregnancy it is relevant to have a practice that supports and takes into account this very special time.

It has also been completely natural for us to add Iyengar yoga, since most of the Astanga teachers we seek inspiration from have a combined Astanga/Iyengar background. In general, our intention is for our students to develop into being their own best teachers – to learn to feel what is beneficial and relevant from practice to practice.

What does a typical day look like for you?

In these years, family life takes up a lot, and everyday life is largely arranged according to the children's needs. I bring children to school, teach only in the morning, so that I can also pick up children from school. I make sure to have a physical activity every day – primarily yoga, running and tennis – and also try to support our children in finding joy in using their bodies. This means that many afternoons and evenings are filled with their leisure activities.

How do you see yoga developing in Denmark in the next few years?

I have followed the development for the last 20 years and it is fascinating to see that it continues to accelerate. The acceleration in recent years is mainly due to the fact that the number of yoga teacher training courses has increased significantly - and it is also my feeling that the quality of the teaching has improved a lot in recent years. Since there are so many talented teachers, it gradually takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. It is important, on the one hand, to be rooted in a tradition – to know it through long-term personal practice – and at the same time to be able to look at the tradition in question with fresh eyes in order to be able to adapt to individual needs, as well as to the time and culture we live in. Relevance and adaptation are the key words. It's obviously a difficult balance to strike, and I think it looks like the divide will continue to grow.

On the one hand, there is a group that is very concerned with systems and maintaining things as they have always been – or as you think they have always been. On the other hand is the group that creatively and innovatively puts things together in new ways and e.g. crosses different forms of movement. I personally think the last group is the most interesting, and I believe and hope that in the coming years we will see lots of new developments. And often the most fruitful and inspiring new thinking comes from teachers who have a deep knowledge of several different traditions.

Free Community yoga at GOYOGI on Østerbro

If you are interested in trying a class, you now have the opportunity to join when Peter from Yogamudra gives an accessible introduction to a dynamic yoga practice at GOYOGI Copenhagen. Whether you are a beginner, slightly practiced or seasoned - and whether you are familiar with Astanga yoga or not - you are welcome at this class. With a gentle and exploratory approach, we look at some of the basic positions and not least movement patterns in the Astanga practice.

Register for free yoga at GOYOGI Østerbro here.

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