City Guide: Berlin


Berlin is a mecca for history, art, music, fashion, fun… and yoga?  This Bohemian refuge probably isn’t high on your list of yoga holiday destinations but think again.

It is making some serious headway in the yoga world with international teachers offering intensive trainings and new yoga centres popping up in every neighbourhood, yoga is gaining popularity and fast.  If you are headed to this German hot spot, pack your mat and check it out for yourself.

If you have been practicing yoga for a while you will probably find that you can muddle your way though a class in German but the good news is that you don’t have to.  English yoga classes are available in Berlin; you just have to find them. I searched high and low from Mitte to Kreuzberg and these are my choices.

 

Yoga School BerlinYoga School Berlin
You will find this yoga center tucked off the busy main road in the ‘back house’.  It is a beautiful bright open space, dotted with candles, soft light, flowers and antiques; an ideal space for a ‘blissed out’ yoga practice. The center is run by André & Susen Pijur who travel twice yearly to India to study Ashtanga Yoga.  You can choose between morning and afternoon Mysore Style Self Practice classes.  All of the teachers speak English and are able to adjust and guide you through your practice. If you are a seasoned practitioner you might want to check out Vinyasa Moon or the Led Ashtanga Intermediate Series classes, both are taught in German but the asana names are also called out in Sanskrit. 

Bonus: Hot tea and biscuits served after class.

Hasenheide 8, Kreuzberg 10967
Transit: U7 / U8 Hermannplatz

 

Jivamukti Yoga Berlin
If Jivamukti is what your after you will find everything you need here, five English classes a week for all levels.  If that’s not enough, you can attend a German class with an In Class Private, for €50 you will be guided, assisted and massaged through the practice by your very own teacher.  I didn’t try it myself but they say it’s very popular in New York.  All classes always start with a Jivamukti China Gel massage and expect to hear Sting at some point during the class. Be prepared to sweat, chant and sample a bit of yoga philosophy.

Brunnenstrasse 29, Mitte 10119
Transit: U8 Rosenthaler Platz‎

 

Yoga im Graefikiezbarbie
Julie Blumenthal, senior teacher of the ISHTA lineage offers five classes a week from beginner to advanced in this little shala in the middle of Kreuzberg.  She infuses her classes with chanting, yogic philosophy, mantras, pranayama and meditation.  Each class follows a flowing vinyasa sequence with restorative postures added for balance. Individual sessions are adjusted based on Ayurvedic principals depending on the students’ energy and the weather.  Classes are small, ideal for getting some individual attention and are mostly full of neighborhood regulars. Before you leave be sure to check out the yoga Barbie’s in the window.
This center also offers a prenatal class in English.

Grimmstresse 19, Kreuzberg 10967
Transit:  U8 Schönleinstraße‎ or U7 Südstern‎

 

Spirit Yoga
Spirit Yoga is one of the largest yoga centers in Berlin.  It is a gorgeous space; dotted with Indian saris and antiques.  Impressive architectural features include high curved wood ceiling, stone and mental fittings throughout, with large windows overlooking the courtyard. It feels a bit like an Indian Zen Garden rather than a yoga center.  At present, they only offer two English classes a week.  A level 2 Vinyasa Flow class on Friday night will get your blood pumping, and there is also a discounted ‘new teachers’ class, great if you are on a budget.  Not too many options but a beautiful space. Bonus: Hot tea and fresh cut fruit served after class.

Rosenthaler Stresse 36, Mitte 10178
Transit:  U8 Weinmeisterstraße‎

 

Yoga Raum
Yoga Raum offers two English classes a week, both suitable for all levels. This yoga center will be healthy for your wallet, four classes for €24.  A great deal, just make sure the classes fit your schedule, as it is only valid for a month.

Pfuelstraße 5, Kreuzberg 10997
Transit:  U1 Schlesisches Tor‎
Other places worth checking out:

Ashtanga Yoga Berlin – Brunnenstrasse 185, Mitte 10119
Yoga Lila  Rykestrasse 37, Prenzlauer Berg 10405
Ashtanga Yoga Palace Berlin  Schönhauser Allee 36-39, Prenzlauer Berg 10435

 

And More Importantly… Lets Eat!

beckyAfter class, once you have had your complementary chai, you will need to cater to the growing hunger in your belly. Thankfully, Berlin is a great place to eat.  If you are a vegetarian you will find certain options are plentiful, but you may need to forage a bit more if you want some variety.  If you enjoy falafel you will have endless choices in almost any neighborhood and you can mix it up by adding halloumi or a fried vegetables. Indian and Vietnamese restaurants are widely available and usually offer fresh and flavorful vegetarian options.  Monsieur Vuong is a good choice and the menu changes every two days.  Once you have depleted your desire for falafel and Pho, check out these tasty alternatives.

 

The stall doesn’t look like much but it is worth the trip to the Maybachufer Turkish Market.  I like to come to the Market just for a taste of this home cooked food.  She serves a combination of rice, beans and vegetables with fried plantain for €4.  It is a bit greasy but really tasty and the chili sauce is dead good.

Wander down to the end of the market for a taste of the local talent as the platform turns into a stage where local street performers strut their stuff for your pocket change.
The Turkish market takes place every Tuesday
and Friday from 12:00-18:30.

Maybachufer, Kreuzberg 10997
Transit: U1 Kottbusser Tor

 

Goodiesgoodies
Hang out with the hippesters at this busy café in Friedrichstan.  They serve quality Coffee and hot drinks or Hotties with enticing names like Pink Snowball, Bollywood Hot Chocolate and the Honey Steamer… hmmm.  They also have chai lattes, and a good selection of smoothies with names that will leave your mouth watering.  Fancy a Coral Sea Crush or a Raspberry Romance? The lunch offers are just as tempting; bagels or ciabatta served with delicious fillings. Try the roasted pumpkin and goats’ cheese or if your are vegan; lime tofu with salsa verde or BIO sesame tofu with peanut sauce. Also on offer, rice and pasta salads and daily soups.  All ingredients are fresh, local and BIO whenever possible.

Warschauer Strasse 69, Friedrichstan 10243
Transit:  U5 Frankfurter Tor‎

 

 

Yellow Sunshine
I think I would change this name of this burger café to Yummy Sunshine.  Don’t let the display case of uncooked patties throw you off.  Yellow Sunshine serves a delightful selection of organic vegan and vegetarian ‘fast food’ options including nuggets, Party balls (?), Gryo, Schnitzel, soy cheeseburgers and Mexican burgers.  If you have been dying to try a veggie currywurst, this is the place for you.  They also have fresh squeezed juice, shakes, lassi’s and a fair selection of beer including a BIO (organic) beer.  With a large patio and fast and friendly service this is a top choice for a summer afternoon or late evening snack.
Menu selections are vegan, vegetarian or 100% Bio.  Yellow Sunshine is officially certified organic in accordance with EU regulations.

Wiener Strasse 19, Kreuzberg 10999
Transit: U1: Görlitzer Bahnhof

 

Café Bajka
This cute little café nestled in Neukölln, is pronounced “Bai-Kah” and means fairytale in Polish.  Monika, the super friendly owner is happy to sit down and have a chat while you sip your latte and enjoy her home made carrot cake crafted from her mothers recipe. You can easily spend the afternoon catching up on email with free WLAN in her fairytale cottage lounge, or you can people watch and relax with friends on the street side patio.  Each week offers a new hot lunch special along with bagels, soup, croissants, pastries and whatever else she has decided to whip up in her kitchen.  Ask about vegan options, as she always has something on offer, but she doesn’t have decaf, don’t even ask.

Weichselstraße 66, Neukölln 12043
Transit:  U7 Rathaus Neukölln‎

More good eats:
Il Casolare‎ – Great Italian pizza – Grimmstresse 30, Kreuzberg 10967
Cookies Cream – Vegetarian Cuisine  – 55 Behrenstraße, Mitte 10117
Las Marias – Mexican cantinas across the city.

 

Go Ride a Bike…

Berlin is flat as a pancake, small as a dime and covered in bike lanes and parks. Each of Berlins’ parks are unique and they are all worth a visit. If you find yourself in the hip Görlitzer Park you can play black light mini-golf in the basement of the Park Cafe. Telepholf is a disused airport transformed into a park and offers a usual setting of wide-open fields and old runways. One of Berlin’s best Sunday flea market’s is in Mauerpark in Prenzlauer Berg, complete with vintage bargains, live music and lots of tasty treats and if you are going to be in Berlin for a while it is also a good place to buy a used bicycle.  You could spend an entire day exploring in Tiergarten, or if you fancy a bit of history visit the impressive Soviet War Memorial at Treptower Park.

 

Urban Bath Oasis

Once you have completely exhausted your inner tourist, melt your mind and body with a day at Liquidrom. Divide your time between the tranquil thermal baths with underwater speakers or you have your choice between four different saunas; the Himalayan Salt Sauna, Kelo Panoram Sauna, Steam Bath and the Classic Finnish Saunas complete with hourly honey and salt unction.  Then transfer yourself to the outdoor hot tub lounge and enjoy the evening in a minimalist setting that will leave you relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for more.

Möckernstraße 10, Kreuzberg 10963
Transit:  U1/U7 Möckernbrücke‎