Phil was born in Germany in 1973, where he discovered Yoga and Meditation at the age of 18. After initial Hatha Yoga classes and meditation groups in Hamburg during his last years at school, he decided that... Read more of Phil's CV
For looking at the theoretical foundations of Prânâyâma practice these titles will guide you well:
Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Bihar School of Yoga, 1999
"No man can live happily who regards himself alone; who turns everything to his own advantage. You must live for others if you wish to live for yourself."
My teaching style has often been described as ‘structured and informative, explorative and interactive, innovative and inquiring.' It aims to inspire my students to go beyond the surface level of blindly following a given routine and staying within the comfort zone of old habit patterns.
Furthermore, ‘feeling safe' and ‘having fun' are, in my experience, vital ingredients of learning and expanding one's horizons. So I place great importance on both these aspects.
I can teach both in English and German language and am used to working with translators into other languages.
My extensive range of material and manuals are my own copyright. I can use them on any course and thus provide the students with excellent course notes.
I offer Yoga Philosophy courses from 15 hours to 60 hours duration.
Topics I can teach include:
Basic Sanskrit pronunciation
The Core Concepts of Yoga (fundamental philosophical ideas that are found in almost all systems of Yoga)
The most important systems of Yoga (like Jñâna, Bhakti, Karma, Tantra, Hatha, Mantra, Râja, etc.)
Yoga Text Studies (Vedas, Upanishhads, Bhagavad Gîtâ, Patañjali's Yoga Sûtras, Hatha Yoga scriptures, etc.)
Philosophical systems (different schools of Advaita Vedânta, Dvaita Philosophies like Sâmkhya or Jainism, Tantra, Buddhist schools, etc.)
I always link the historical topics to contemporary Yoga and one's personal life and facilitate critical inquiry.
If, as a school, you have certain topics or scriptures you would like to include, just let me know – I can tailor the course content to your needs.
Prânâyâma & Meditation
Right from the very beginning of my Yoga journey, I have studied and emphasized Prânâyâma and Meditation in my practice.
I spent several years doing volunteer work (seva) in meditation centres and have attended close to 100 meditation retreats in the past 17 years. My main practices have been Vipassana meditation and Zen practice but I am also at home in tantric and advaitic forms of this practice.
I studied Prânâyâma with teachers from many traditions. My main influences are the Bihar School of Yoga and Clive Sheridan. Like âsana practice, I emphasize the therapeutic aspects a lot and help my students to find the most appropriate way to practice with their individual constitutions and present states.
My Prânâyâma teaching aims at including and balancing several approaches:
Authentic practice based on scriptural studies and explorative personal experience and appropriate modifications
Sound theoretical understanding and confident practical application
Developing a regular Self Practice and learning how to teach Prânâyâma
Working with all the Koshas
I regard âsanas as a tool to strengthen and purify the energy system and learn basic mindfulness. As such I tend to focus on breath and bandha application, and give students the opportunity to really feel into their postures and to explore different ways of working with them.
I have spent the past six years working in a rehabilitation centre, working therapeutically one-on-one with clients. My other function within the centre is as a Shiatsu practitioner and teacher of Chi-Exercises (a blend of Chi Kung and other martial arts with a restorative and healing focus).
Naturally, I therefore stress the importance of alignment and using âsana practice appropriately to nurture the energy system and work with existing injuries.
Historically, the most authentic forum to explore Yoga is in a course format where students commit to intensive sâdhana for a substantial period of time.
Personally, I had my most transformative experiences during prolonged periods of focused Yoga practice under the guidance of a teacher. Therefore I prefer to teach in three ways:
Yoga Teacher Training Courses
Usually short in duration, workshops nonetheless provide an opportunity to deepen one's practice considerably and focus on specific aspects of Yoga.
I offer introductory , intermediate and advanced workshops in Yoga Philosophy, Âsana and Prânâyâma . One workshop can also build on another (introduction to intermediate to advanced).
No matter what the main topic is, I always include all three aspects to round off the course, and include practical application plus theoretical background . I also usually include one bhajan/kirtan evening that I lead with a guitar.
A common format is a weekend workshop with a three-hour session on Friday evening, followed by two full days on Saturday and Sunday (depending on the topic and participants between six and eight hours per day), but I am fully open to work around the studio's needs.
Popular themes for my workshops are:
An introduction to Yoga Philosophy and its relevance for practice and daily life (15 – 25 hours)
Tantra and Hatha Yoga Scriptures – Studying the foundation texts of contemporary Yoga practice (15 – 20 hours)
Patañjali's Yoga Sûtras – studying and discussing their philosophical underpinnings and practical application (12 hours)
The Bhagavad Gîta – studying and discussing its philosophical underpinnings and practical application (12 hours)
Bhakti Yoga: its History and Practice (includes an introduction to the Hindu deities and a lot of Bhajan-singing, 15 – 20 hours)
An introduction to the energy systems of the body and their use in Hatha Yoga Practice (15 – 20 hours)
An introduction to Prânâyâma (15 – 25 hours)
Working with proper structural Bandha-support in Âsana and Prânâyâma practice (12 hours)
2. Yoga Teacher Training Courses (YTTC)
I have been teaching on different YTTCs since 2003 and enjoy their format because they usually attract very dedicated and eager students. My main subjects are Yoga Philosophy and Prânâyâma but I also teach Âsana and Yoga Therapy.
I taught on Yoga Arts ' 9-months and 2-months courses (both for the Yoga Alliance 200-hour and 500-hour certifications) in Australia and Asia from 2003 to 2006. I also wrote their workbooks and the material for my subjects.
In 2005-06, I lectured as a guest teacher at ISHTA Yoga's YTTCs in Byron Bay.
Since 2005, I have been part of the teaching team at INSPYA Yoga (both for the Yoga Alliance 200-hour and 500-hour certifications). For the last five years we have been teaching about six YTTCs per year in Australia, Asia and Europe. My main subjects are Yoga Philosophy and Prânâyâma, for bor both modules I have written extensive manuals. I also teach Âsana and assess students on these courses.
In 2008, I joined the German YTTCs offered by the Winstitut that allow students to obtain a 1200-hour certification from the German Department of Commerce (IHK).
I teach and assess students in Yoga Philosophy and Prânânyâma according to the high standards given by the IHK.
A retreat is the classical format in yogic practice to really go deep and challenges the comfort zone and habit patterns the ego has built around it.
In my understanding a retreat comprises of a minimum of eight hours of daily practice and is conducted in a residential setting , away from home (with its usual ego triggers and distractions).
In a way, retreats are a deeper form of workshop and are, in my experience, the most powerful tool for transformation. Like workshops they can focus on specific areas of practice or topics and are a fantastic creative opportunity for any teacher to get the teachings across and provide a safe space that allows the students to go deep.
The duration of a retreat can vary from a long weekend to several weeks.