Balance, Self-Care, and Heart:
An Interview with Nalina Wild Yoga
This week I caught up with a Momoyoga customer, Asina of Nalina Wild Yoga in Germany. We talked about creating balance while working as a yoga teacher, and how important it is to remember why you’re doing this job.
My whole heart was overflowing with happiness and bliss and my only thought was: this is what I want to do.
Asina takes an approach to balance and self-care that might sound radical to some. Our society tells us that being busy, tired and stressed all the time are markers of success and worthiness — but what if you don’t believe that?
Read on for inspiration to help you stay focused, positive, and well as you build your teaching practice.
Asina (right) of Nalina Wild Yoga
How did yoga become such an important part of your life?
Like many people, Asina had encountered yoga a few times in her life, but had never gone too deep before. Then she embarked on the trip of a lifetime, travelling to Australia and Indonesia. It was a brave journey, as she had little money to support herself — and only her dog, Nala, for company.
Later, as she continued her travels, fellow backpackers noticed her daily practice and asked her if she’d teach them.
But turning her life upside down brought her to life. “It was a challenge that fulfilled my heart,” she said, and she was driven to keep exploring the world and herself.
After travelling for a year, she said, “I decided out of the blue that I wanted to implement more self-care into my life,” so she started volunteering at a yoga studio in Australia. For the weeks she stayed there, “we had a very strict routine of yoga, meditation and vegan whole food means. Every single morning and every single evening we meditated and did some asanas.”
“In those few weeks my whole being started to shift…it seemed like I stepped back into the flow of life, like I found my own calling again, my own voice. Everything seemed to be more intense…the smells around me, the colours, experiences, everything. It was mind blowing.”
One of the yoga teachers there asked Asina if she’d thought about becoming a yoga teacher herself. She hadn’t — but the question sparked the idea. Later, as she continued her travels, fellow backpackers noticed her daily practice and asked her if she’d teach them. “I was a bit scared about being the focus of anybody’s attention, but I said yes.”
So, one evening, she led her first ever class on the beach at sunset. “In this moment,” Asina said, “my whole heart was overflowing with happiness and bliss and my only thought was: this is what I want to do.”
When she eventually returned home, the first thing she did was a yoga teacher training course — and she hasn’t looked back.
What does balance mean to you — and how do you manage it as a busy yoga teacher?
“Balance is a key topic in my life, and it’s constantly evolving. Living and being raised into a patriarchal system brings an illusion with it, of how life has to be.”
Asina noted that the process of accepting how important self-care was for her took time; “especially in busy times…I rejected self-care for the illusion of saving time.”
Even those of us who can’t devote each morning to our practices can begin to let go of the pressure we feel to fit into societal norms.
But today, self-care is integrated into her daily life. Because “there isn’t anything more important, if you do energetic work (like teaching yoga), than self-care.”
So she describes her morning routine as a holy part of her life, and takes until noon every day to move through it. It involves time to cleanse and arrive in her body, with no outside distraction — including social media. Hot lemon water and a green smoothie or fresh fruit are followed by an hour of meditation, pranayama, shaking and yoga practices, and a two hour walk with Nala.
And this is non-negotiable for Asina. “My working time decreased a lot,” she said, “and it feels right for me even if it might not feel right for the system. Living a creative and heart-based life is only possible with enough rest and self-care.”
This willingness to do life differently and prioritise wellbeing is a bit of an inspiration. Even those of us who can’t devote each morning to our practices can begin to let go of the pressure we feel to fit into societal norms. If there’s one powerful tip I took from Asina, it’s this: don’t worry about what other people think of you.
Take the time to care for yourself unapologetically — and use the knowledge you have of yoga, meditation and self-care to help.
What advice would you give to a new yoga teacher?
“Don’t forget where yoga should come from. From the depth of your heart and the yearning to create space for others to heal, grow, and unfold.”
Like many yoga teachers, Asina understands the value of her work and shares it confidently with the world. But she also urges new teachers to remember that they learn the most as a human being and a yogi; so no matter how much effort we have to put into building a yoga business, it’s crucial to stay in touch with the purpose of our practice.