Interview with Therapist and Yoga Teacher Mirjam Wagner
Mirjam focuses on transmitting the wisdom of the human body and its close connection to emotional experiences in a simple, transparent and very effective way. Sarah Power is her most significant influence for Buddhism, Yin yoga, mindful awareness and daily meditation practice.
ON THE PERSONAL SIDE…
Where do you live and why?
Mallorca/Spain has now been my home for the last 12 years. When I made the decision to move to this precious island, I had been living in Germany for many years. I felt a strong calling to live again in a place close to the sea, with a Mediterranean life style. There was no special connection to Mallorca other than an attraction to the passionate proud Spanish culture, a simple life style, stunning natural surroundings and a colourful mixture of people from all different nationalities. From the very first moment I set foot on the place I felt a very deep grounding attraction, as if I had been living here before. It was like coming home and I found everything I needed for a new life as a single mum with two young children: work, good schools, diverse cultures and a perfect situation within Europe.
How has your yoga practice changed you/is changing you?
Yoga has forced me to go inwards, to become aware of what I’m thinking, saying and doing. It is an unlimited platform to evolve body, mind and soul and align them with a path of the heart. Practice and studies of the yogic principles have brought me so much health, inner peace and freedom, and have supported me in becoming a better person. With this wisdom and insights of the inner world I finally decided to go outwards again, sharing my knowledge and experience with the world by offering workshops, trainings and immersions.
Why do you think yoga is becoming so popular in the West?
Yoga offers us a perfect balance of physical activities, spiritual growth and the support of a community without imposing any religious institutions. Yoga encourages people from all cultures, all religions and all traditions to align their ethical values with their daily behaviour and to take care of their physical, mental and emotional health. The first two limbs of yoga (Yamas and Nyamas) are a wonderful simple guideline on how to cultivate a healthy, honest relationship with ourselves and others. The Asanas and Pranayama limbs support our physical health and the limbs of Dharana (concentration) and Dhyana (meditation) enhance our mental, spiritual and emotional evolution. Everybody can choose whether to start with the physical activities, powerful breathing exercises or inward going meditation.
What does your personal practice look like?
My personal practice has been changing over the years as it has my own personal transformation.
Today I love to get up early, do one or two Yin yoga poses and then set my mind and emotions for the day in quiet meditation (between 12 and 60 minutes). A year ago I started running again and I do some special short workouts (that my daughter brought from the gym) to stay healthy, strong and active. I love the creativity and flow of Vinyasa yoga as well as the quiet healing Yin yoga practice and I integrate both into my daily life as often as I can to stay focused and balanced.
Whose teachings have been a major influence for you?
When I met my husband, David Lurey, I was ready to leave the yoga scene for good as I was tired of the pure physical aspect of yoga, the ridiculous dogmas of many schools and yoga styles and the unnecessary competition amongst yogis and yoginis. David’s way of bringing philosophy into the Western world and weaving it into the Asana practice motivated me to stay and actually go deeper into the yogic path. Paul and Suzee Grilley fascinated me by their revolutionary approach to Anatomy and yoga poses while being such humble and inspiring people. Today, Sarah Powers is my most important guidance on a path of supporting healing in a psychological, emotional and physical way. She has won my unconditional love and admiration for her nurturing teachings in Buddhism and meditation, her feminine wisdom and her intelligent approach to the human psyche.
Who/What has been an inspiration in life for you and why?
My children Carolina and Samuel have been the strongest inspiration throughout my life. Since they were born they were a constant and immediate reflection of all I thought, said and did. It was them who taught me more awareness of who I was as a human being. They helped me grow, they kept me young, flexible and awake and they keep me awake, making me move out of my comfort zone so I keep growing and am able to offer them my wise support and loving guidance. The same is true for all my students and patients who have come to seek help and guidance. Their life stories, their experience and their reactions to my teachings and treatments are the foundation for my growth and success as a yoga teacher, a coach, healer and, most of all, as a human being.
What style of yoga do you teach and why?
Yin yoga and meditation have become my favourites. They allow us to pause, soften and look inwards. They allow us to take care of our body and connect to our inner most essence: breath, thoughts, emotions. In my life and years of experience as an osteopath I have witnessed over and over again that this is what people need most: to step out of destructive behaviour patterns, to stop running and get to know themselves in all different levels so they can stay healthy, connected and present.
In which direction is your yoga teaching heading?
Definitively more inwards! To cultivate and maintain a sane healthy relationship with ourselves and others we need to go more into silence. Only when we become silent can we be aware of our behaviour and thought patterns, to then be able to shift them into thoughts, words and actions based on love and compassion. This is how each one of us can contribute to make this world a better place.
All photos by © Patricia Torales