Tanja Mickwitz: Journeying into Sacred Wholeness
Yogacampus graduate and senior teacher Tanja Mickwitz, shares her inspiring story and love affair with yoga.
What, when and where was your first experience of yoga?
I went to my first yoga class in 2000 and the experience I had in savasana was a deep home coming. I felt like I had found what I hadn't even realised I was searching for and practice quickly became a priority in my life.
What made you decide to move from student to teacher?
My relationship to practice was a love affair from the beginning and I soon sought out ways to just be near all things yoga. I came to work as a receptionist and then in the office at The Life Centre just as they started offering Teacher Training. Doing the training seemed a natural evolution to deepen my knowledge and also to live yoga more fully.
What teaching tip has had the biggest influence on the way you practice? And the way you teach?
I've had so much beautiful guidance on my journey. Possibly the most valuable tip for practice has been to value consistency over quantity - practising regularly even if for a shorter amount of time is more fruitful than doing longer practices but less often. The best teaching tip is to teach from the heart, to teach from experience and be true to who you are.
What does your own self-practice involve?
Mantra meditation for 20-30 minutes is an essential anchor for me, asana practice varies in length depending on the specific needs and time I have.
If you only had 10 minutes to practice, what would you do?
For asana practice, probably a flow incorporating hip openers, hamstring and thigh stretches. I'm dealing with a pelvic misalignment which causes lower back issues so I need to create space all around this area. I'd also add some side body openers for spinal length and extension.
Who/what is the biggest inspiration on your yoga journey at the moment?
I am really inspired by my teacher Sianna Sherman and the evolution of Rasa Yoga. It is a school which incorporates all facets I believe are important in my path as a student and teacher such as mantra, mudra, mythology, shadow work, leadership skills in addition to the more obvious asana, meditation and therapeutic skills - all infused with Bhakti.
What role does yoga play in the way you live?
Asana, meditation, pranayama, mudra and chanting are all tools for awakening and growth - but the real practice of yoga is how you live off the mat. If what you do on your mat isn't transforming your life into a richer and fuller experience you might need to question how you practice.
What do you hope your students experience when they practise with you?
My hope is always to provide a space where students can find a deeper connection to themselves, the truth of who they are and be more grounded in that connection as they leave the class.
Which yoga text could you not live without?
The Bhagavad Ghita is always a great source of reassurance and guidance for living. I also love The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche's interpretation of the Vijnana Bhairava, it is an exquisite text and a deep dive into connection and experiential understanding.
What’s your favourite yoga pose to do and to teach?
I don't think I'm able to answer this question as I have many favourites for different reasons, effects and occasions. Some days might call for deep backbends and heart opening, other days the strength of arm balances can give you the boost of strength and confidence you need. If you're really in your head and running on empty then deep grounding with forward folds, hip-openers and restorative practice will help, whereas twists are great for stabilising and balance. So it really depends!
Describe the meaning of yoga in 10 words or less.
Practices to remember your sacred wholeness and awaken to life.
Tanja is running a workshop for teachers and teachers in training on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 March entitled: Myth, Mantra and Mudra: Skills for Inspired Teaching. To book your place or for more information, please click here.
Known for her authentic voice and speaking from the heart Tanja weaves yogic principles and life understanding into a journey of creative flow and intelligently progressed asana. Her Soulful Vinyasa classes serve as an inspiration and support for life with asana as the playground and metaphor. Tanja creates a nurturing space for exploration of the internal landscape and inner growth whilst challenging the physical edge with a safely led dynamic practice. Tanja is also an engaging storyteller and teaches regular Mythical Flow classes where she weaves in the Indian deities, their stories and symbology into the practice.
In addition to being one of the senior teachers at The Life Centre Tanja is also a Contact Teacher on the Yogacampus Teacher Training. She is currently in the process of becoming a certified Rasa Yoga teacher under the guidance of Sianna Sherman and she has studied with Para Yoga founder Yogarupa Rod Stryker since 2005.