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Berlin’s first Yoga Conference: sustainable and with passion
Summary of the blog post
Yoga is not only practised and taught in Berlin, it very much feels at home here. The capital has long since become an international meeting place for the community: Anastasia Shevchenko has organised the first Berlin Yoga Conference – sustainably and with passion.
“We yogis never leave anything lying around” – that’s how Anastasia Shevchenko, the organiser of the first Berlin Yoga Conference says goodbye after our conversation. Laughing, she explains that she likes to leave everything neat and tidy. Mindfulness and sustainability, Shevchenko says, are second nature to her. So it is only natural for the Berlin-based yoga teacher that the first Berlin Yoga Conference should be organised under exactly these conditions. From 24th to 26th May 2019, over 800 yoga enthusiasts and teachers from all over the world will meet in Berlin at the Malzfabrik to discover new teaching approaches and methods and to practice mindfulness.
Berlin as a new magnet for the yoga industry
Anastasia Shevchenko had the idea for a yoga conference six whole years ago. Back then, she wanted to found a club for yoga teachers to exchange experiences, build a network and bring the teaching community together. Almost like a B2B meeting of the yoga scene. Above all, however, she wanted to do away with age-old traditions: “I want to make yoga a modern system that can be experienced as a sustainable and respectful way of living together,” explains Shevchenko. After the first three meetings it quickly became clear: she had to take the idea to the next level. Together with international yoga experts, she wanted to teach new forms of yoga. She wanted to combine entertainment, music, exchange and practice. And she wanted to make Berlin an international centre for yoga: “Berlin is to become a magnet for the entire yoga, wellness and mindfulness industry,” - this is the organiser’s aspiration. And so the concept of a conference grew out of the club idea. She already began organising it in 2017. More than 800 enthusiasts have confirmed their participation and 50 percent of the yoga teachers will come from abroad. Anastasia Shevchenko is proud and excited at the same time. It’s clearly a project that she is very passionate about.
Conference at the Malzfabrik: Typically Berlin, genuinely sustainable
If everything goes well, Shevchenko affirms, there will be a Berlin Yoga Conference every year from now on. As a typical and sustainable location in Berlin, the Malzfabrik is intended to become the regular venue. The modern conference rooms behind the old industrial walls provide the perfect space for it: “Green energy flows here,” enthuses the organiser. For Anastasia Shevchenko, the rooms reflect what the Yoga Conference is all about. The combination of historical charm, lots of greenery and plenty of space for all kinds of ideas and formats fits perfectly with her vision of yoga as a sustainable and modern system. “We deliberately set out not to create a bubble somewhere in the middle of nowhere in which participants could immerse themselves for a short time,” explains Shevchenko. “We want to bring yoga into everyday life in Berlin and encourage local people to live consciously every day in order to connect mindfulness and calm with the capital city in a sustainable way.”
Sustainable meetings – how it works
Sustainability, Shevchenko says, is a topic that can only be taught to people through experience and education and not through prohibitions and rules. “Sustainability must not be authoritarian,” she says. Rather, positive stories and examples should inspire us and show us how we can behave in the right manner and make conscious choices as consumers. At the Berlin Yoga Conference she therefore leads the way with four good examples:
The event is exclusively vegetarian and predominantly vegan. Shevchenko wants to show how well an event works without meat and provide three delicious meat-free days for its participants.
In addition, no alcohol will be served throughout the entire conference. The reasoning for this in Shevchenko’s eyes is that mindfulness and an awareness of sustainability only work with a clear mind.
The entire Malzfabrik will become a single-use-plastic-free zone for whole three days. Participants won’t find any plastic bottles, packaging or plastic straws. The message is clear: You can do without them!
Sustainable meetings also means organising an event in a socially sustainable way. Therefore, five non-profit organisations will be hosted and supported at the Berlin Yoga Conference. Among others, the "Purple Dot Yoga Project" and "Yumig".
For Anastasia Shevchenko, there is a thought behind everything: “Those who practise yoga not only think of themselves, but they also think of others and have a global perspective.” Sharing is important to her. She wants to tell everyone: This is Berlin and this is how sustainability works. The Berlin Yoga Conference 2019 is an excellent first step in this direction and an exemplary start for Sustainable Meetings Berlin.
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