Energy and Externsteine: Yoga in the Teutoburg Forest

EStart a cool winter morning with an invigorating “sun salutation”? Sounds esoterically good! The sun salutation is a classic activation and warm-up exercise from a practice that is thousands of years old: yoga. The many stretching and strengthening exercises in yoga, known as asanas, train both body and mind and stimulate “prana”, the life energy.

The Yoga Vidya seminar and training center in Horn-Bad Meinberg in the Teutoburg Forest also taps into this, and says it offers an “ideal atmosphere for relaxing and recharging.” Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, anyone who wants to push themselves into the “downward dog,” stretch like a “cobra,” or look forward with determination like a “warrior” will find the right courses in Germany’s largest yoga center with over a thousand guest beds.

Nature lovers can admire the famous sandstone formations of the Externsteine ​​not far from the center or enjoy relaxing walks through the Silvaticum (Latin “silva” = forest). Anyone who wanders through this spa park adjacent to the seminar center is embarking on a botanical journey around the world.

At the beginning of the 1960s, trees from 14 regions of the world were planted, including exotic species such as the Caucasian wingnut and the snakeskin pine. What better place to practice the “tree” asana? It has a harmonizing, stabilizing effect and helps to withstand the storms of life. Inhale. Exhale. Om.

Outdoor without hunger: Hiking and fasting on Sylt

Slurping oysters, feasting on fish sandwiches – this is how many holidaymakers enjoy themselves on Sylt. But Germany’s northernmost island offers more: a sophisticated atmosphere in health resorts such as Kampen and Westerland and, of course, more than the standard culinary program. Even something like the opposite, coupled with lots of exercise: fasting hikes, a winter tip!

The guests consume a lot of warm vegetable broth, juices and steaming tea and go on long winter walks across the North Sea island. “Fasting allows the body and mind to completely declutter,” explains Heike Werner, who of course regularly practices strict food abstinence herself as a credible example for those taking part.

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The author as an eight-year-old in 1968 on a roof terrace in Wenningstedt

In Westerland, she runs the Werner Fasting House, where she accompanies guests on fasting hikes throughout the year. “After just a few days, your well-being improves enormously,” she says. Guests are always amazed that they can hike ten to twelve kilometers across the island without feeling hungry at all.

Especially in our “snack and excess culture” with widespread diseases such as diabetes, fasting is a means of setting healing and rejuvenation processes in motion. “When the body feeds on its own reserves, the body’s own recycling processes begin.” Getting her guests on this path is a rewarding task for her, says Werner: “At the end of the fasting week, I always see clear eyes and relaxed, happy faces.”

Healing power of water: Kneipp therapy in Bad Wörishofen

It seems to have been almost forgotten, and to some it even seems a bit old-fashioned: the traditional teachings of Sebastian Kneipp. In 2015, the German UNESCO Commission even added them to the list of intangible cultural heritage.

No other place has been so strongly influenced by the priest and hydrotherapist as the Bavarian town of Bad Wörishofen. Kneipp opened the magnificent Kneipp spa house “Sebastianeum” there in 1891, which still attracts thousands of people seeking healing. The pretty little town, then still a village, was given the nickname “Bad” 100 years ago. To this day, Bad Wörishofen has over a hundred spa hotels and guest houses.

Sebastian Kneipp’s holistic teaching includes more than just water treading and ice-cold knee douches

Sebastian Kneipp’s holistic teaching includes more than just water treading and ice-cold knee douches

Source: dpa-tmn/Bernd Wüstneck

However, anyone who thinks of Kneipp therapy as just water treading and ice-cold knee douches is ignoring the naturopath’s holistic teachings. To keep body and soul healthy, Kneipp developed a five-pillar philosophy. In addition to water, it also includes medicinal herbs, exercise, healthy nutrition and inner balance.

“Anyone who does not spend a little time on their health every day will one day have to sacrifice a lot of time to illness,” warned Kneipp. Throughout his life he was convinced of the healing power of water; in his younger years he was able to cure his tuberculosis by bathing in the cold Danube. For those who cannot make it to Bad Wörishofen: Kneipp facilities as well as spa and bathing establishments can be found throughout Germany. The Kneipp Association provides an overview.;

Sweating not only while sitting: Sauna on the Müggelsee

Rebecca Lang and her Finnish husband Sami Bill lead a life between Lapland and Berlin. Three years ago they picked up an idea from the north and exported it. Since then there has been a floating sauna on the Great Müggelsee.

No ordinary boat: This floating sauna - Finnfloat - sails on the Müggelsee in Berlin

No ordinary boat: This floating sauna sails on the Müggelsee in Berlin

Source: dpa-tmn

At Finnfloat, as they call their company, up to eight guests can travel on the sauna raft onto Berlin’s largest lake in the east of the capital – and between May and September they can even spend the night on the roof terrace in the open air. However, the charming wellness domicile is particularly tempting in the winter months, when the Müggelsee is often shrouded in fog and sauna master Rebecca Lang stokes the wood fire.

Whether smoky Terva infusion, forest or pinewood löyly (Löyly is the Finnish word for sauna steam) – one thing must not be missing: the VihtaIt is the famous bunch of birch branches with which the Finns gently tap each other from top to bottom to stimulate blood circulation in the skin.

Berlin: the Finnfloat sauna on the Müggelsee

If it is cold outside, it is even more comfortable in the Finnfloat sauna

Source: dpa-tmn

But that’s not all. The owner also practices sauna yoga with her guests at 55 degrees if requested. Or she conjures up a Finnish dinner for her guests, also prepared in the sauna, of course.

Colder than the South Pole: Ice chamber on the Elbe

White villas and some thatched-roof houses nestle against Blankenese’s steep Elbe bank: the former fishing village, now a fashionable Elbe suburb of Hamburg, is known for its historic staircase district. In total, around 5,000 steps lead up and down through winding alleys. Whether down to the wonderful Elbe sandy beach or up to the Süllberg, the place not only offers beautiful views, but is also a great fitness trail even for normal pedestrians.

If that’s not enough for you, you can treat yourself to a top-class wellness kick on Blankenese’s Bahnhofstrasse. Maike Dohrn has been running the “196 Grad” ice sauna there for a year and a half. Not even in the Antarctic does it get as bitterly cold as in her one-person cold cabin: minus 196 degrees Celsius!

Down to minus 196 degrees Celsius: But due to the low humidity, the ice sauna feels much less cold

Down to minus 196 degrees Celsius: But due to the low humidity, the ice sauna feels much less cold

Source: dpa-tmn

The effect of a three-minute session is as unexpected as it is enormous: During so-called cryotherapy (cold therapy), the metabolism is boosted, the immune system is strengthened, hormones are released and muscles regenerate. The cold shock is also said to have an effect against pain, sleep disorders and depression. “Customers are always happy and in a good mood afterwards.” In addition, the extreme temperature feels far less cold due to the very low humidity, “only like about minus five degrees,” says Dohrn.

Ice saunas can now be found in many German cities – a great new trend for a refreshing kick, ideal for the dark season.

Regular sauna bathing can protect against Alzheimer’s

Regular sauna visits have a positive effect on the immune system. This has been proven. But healthy sweating is also said to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, according to a study from Finland – where else.