There are many connections between New York and Cologne. And please note – not only with regard to art, but also regarding yoga there is an active exchange between the two cities. Trainers from New York enthusiastically teach in Cologne and vice versa. While star trainer Dana Flynn from Laughin Lotus Studios entertains places such as Times Square with yoga and prepares herself for her visit to Cologne, GoSee met the initiator of the German Yoga Conference Nicole Bongartz. And not on hers, but on our beautiful couch.
"The most exciting names of the yoga scene will meet at the 'Heart Conference' in Cologne!'' which sums up in a nutshell what the proud crowd from Cologne on Lord Vishnu's Couch already know. For over a decade, the yoga conference has been an important meeting point, an exciting festival and an agile hotspot for deep impressions and new trends for all yoga fans in German speaking countries. So come to Cologne – with confidence!
This years lineup and the extensive program offer yoga classes of all types and styles, music, philosophy and meditation, quiet and loud moments. Many yoga teachers were frequently at the conference, like for instance Gabriela Bozic, Gurmukh or David Lurey, for Bryan Kest – and for Patrick Broome it is already the 11th yoga German Yoga Conference. First time visitors are Max Strom, Chris Chavez or Biff Mithoefer – all of them look forward to having several hours of fun on the mat.
We met Nicole Bongartz, initiator of the conference and owner of Lord Vishnus Couch with three studios in Cologne, in our Hotel Marsil in Cologne. She is also a teacher that is hioghly in demand at Vishnus Couch Teacher Training, an author of various trade journals and often a guest at conferences, retreats, and workshops all over the world. As a matter of fact, she is also our personal GoSee drill master during our short visits in Cologne. Here for you our GoSee Quest with the Yoga expert.
Nicole, how would you explain the success of Yoga?
On one hand, yoga gives us the possibility to escape our fast paced day-to-day schedule; anyone doing yoga knows that the exercises have a much deeper effect than just the physical part, they touch the soul and nurture it. Besides it is a sign of the times, all characteristics that are en vogue are also yogish. Everyone wants to be healthy, flexible and relaxed.
Dana Flynn of Laughin Lotus in New York is also here again. Her studio inspired you 12 years ago to open your own studio Vishnus Couch. What makes her a must-see?
The studio in New York is a colorful oasis, you feel as if you’re entering a fairytale, in which everyone can be the way they want to be and where the individuality and uniqueness of each person is celebrated. That is exactly what Dana stands for and epitomizes like no one else.
And what can we expect from Gurmkh Kaur Khalsa. The photographs and descriptions look rather … hysterical?
Oh yes, things are actually a bit hysterical – it would be best if you came by and experienced her for yourself (laughs out loud)
A symposium about vegetarianism and yoga with the founders of Juvamuktil yoga a few years ago led to heated discussions – as you’ve told us. Good to hear, that yoga teachers are not always completely balanced…
The big question was: live vegetarian – yes or no.
Some yogis are also very sensitive regarding their nutrition and they want to convert others, but they don't want to be told what to do by others. That somehow reminds me of my parents! A few months later I was at a yoga congress in San Francisco and overheard how they talked and laughed about our symposium in Cologne, it went around the whole world so-to-speak.
We heard that you have dinner together, and on the last evening you like to go out on the town … what do you talk about?
That's just for us to know – yoga gossip!
What line of yoga and which teachers do you find exciting? Are there any stars you have not yet invited to Cologne?
There are a few teachers we would like to invite and with whom we are negotiating for the next few years. There is no particular new trend that would interest me at the moment.
How about Dylan Werner (GoSee NEWS)?
Sounds good! We’re working on it.
What development do you see for yourself in the next 10 years? Owner of the first nation-wide yoga studio chain?
No way! I don’t want a yoga chain. The personality and human touch of our couch is very important to us! At the moment we feel great with our little couch family and we’re not thinking of expanding.
At the end of our discussion, Nicole gives us a small exercise for you. But be careful – her courses are generally pure 'flight training' with doves, turtles and many other surprise guests from the yoga animal park. So, get out your yoga mat and off to Cologne to the YOGA CONFERENCE. We are sure that there are still tickets available. There you will meet Nicole, Frank, Steffi, Rabea, Roland, Sabine, and many other stars of the yoga world. Namasté.
Yoga Conference Germany May 29 through June 1, 2015 in beautiful Cologne…yogaconference.de