My Path – From Finance to Freedom
Hello, my name is Saskia and I’m passionate about helping you find the truest and most beautiful version of the life you already have.
Growing up in a very confined environment I met my needs for exploration and expansion through reading countless books and being part of a contemporary dance ensemble. From a very young age I felt drawn between my capability to be ‘good’ at what society labelled as a ‘proper life’ and my urge for – simply – more. After finishing school at the age of 18 I wanted to belong to any of those poles so much that I convinced myself to follow the rules and expectations for a ‘proper life’. While studying at university and working for the German Central Bank I thought I was on the path to belonging. In the hindsight, this path led me to physical and mental illnesses, caused by the emotional and mental stress of not living true to myself.
It was during that time that I discovered the practice of yoga. While I’ve attended yoga classes before, the calming voice and gentle movements of Yoga with Adriene helped me to find a real break and a daily time to breath. After finishing university and getting rejected for a second round at university I did what felt like the only option then: I started working as a consultant and auditor for communal banks in Germany. While some of my struggles from university were lifted, new things added to my mental and emotional plate. Long working days, countless nights in lonely hotel rooms and very lacking nutrition detached me from my emotions and took any energy to feel into what I had actually needed away.
I kept going and going. Because yoga made my stress levels almost bearable and because I had a big dream: travelling around the world. Taking extended time off and exploring all the corners of the earth that I only ever read about as a child. Financially preparing and waiting for my partner to finish university I head time for that one yoga course, that changed my whole perspective of the practice. Every week I got introduced to a different Pranayama, the meaning of basic chants, and a very slow-paced, traditional Hatha practice. I still remember very vividly how I told my grandparents about the course and how wonderful teaching that kind of stuff to people would be – and shrug it off.
Still very much in my head I packed my life in Germany in boxes, filled one backpack and took the parts of the practice that suited my light baggage to travel. Right after Christmas 2016, I boarded a plane to Australia, all my belongings neatly packed, waiting for me to return after a year, maximum. Feeling at one with nature, experiencing life far outside my comfort zone, sicknesses and accidents, learning about the heart-breaking turns that life can take, becoming aware of my blindness, and being surrounded by love changed my willingness to let go. And in a very subtle way, I did. I let go of expectations where and how my life’s journey would take me, let go of ideas of good and bad, let go of ideas about what makes a life worth living, let go of goals and dreams that society imprinted on me.
Eleven months into this trip I found myself on a blue painted deck, the sounds of the ocean in my ears, my eyes filled with the sight of countless palm trees above and around me, and the smell of a home-cooked Indian meal in my nose. I had three months of travelling left. All of a sudden, the chat with my grandparents a few years prior appeared in my mind. And I knew, the time was right to dive deeper into this practice that in a very subtle way had accompanied me for quite a few years at that point.
Six months later, I arrived in Bali for the first time, completely blind to how my life was about to change. Four weeks of studying, practising and teaching traditional Hatha and modern Vinyasa Yoga offered me the gift of forgiveness to myself, and a deep knowledge that this would only be a beginning. Right after finishing my 200hr training I travelled back to my new hometown Dunedin, New Zealand and started teaching at Studio Tula as well as other places around town.
The following year was a time of incredible growth. While deep down I knew that this path was exactly right, matching my exterior to my interior world wasn’t as easy. Every step forward was followed by what felt like two steps back. Despite everything that I got to experience over the previous two years, I tried to access my struggles with my mind, shutting off the connection to my heart once again. In doing so, I not only missed the connection to my Self, but to a likeminded tribe as well.
In March 2019, I was ready to give up sharing yoga and go back to a more ‘conventional’ career. But I was already booked into a Yin Yoga Teacher Training, that I started with no expectations about where it would lead me. The personal growth and connection I experienced there helped me to finally reestablish that missing connection to my heart, acknowledging a lot of the darkness inside that I’ve built myself. With that training, I finally got an idea about what kind of teacher I wanted to be.
And so from there, everything started to unfold. Not without the usual hiccups and failures to learn from of course. But I’m grateful for every step of the journey behind as well as in front of me. Grateful for all the people I met on this path. In particular, of course, for my teachers, who keep challenging and encouraging me to become the most powerful version of myself. Grateful for my daily sādhana that keeps evolving me. And grateful for the tradition that is still well alive and accessible to all of us.
Sharing the practices of stillness and discomfort, of tuning in and letting go, feels like coming home to me. I’m passionate about teaching meditation, tantra, and yoga because it’s these practices that changed my life for the better and keep me connected to my heart, every single day.
Sharing these gifts with everyone who is willing to journey inside and explore the healing strength of the heart is my path. And I would love to walk a few steps together with you.
Saskia is a beautiful yoga teacher. I love her Yin classes and gained so much from a recent Urban Women's Retreat. Saskia has this quiet, calm confidence and I feel so safe and supported in the spaces that she creates.Sarah, Dunedin