Interview with yoga teacher Stina Madelaire

Interview med yogalærer Stina Madelaire

Would you like to tell us a little about yourself and what you do on a daily basis?

I am 43 years old, mother of Viggo, 8, and live in Nørrebro with Marlene and her 9-year-old daughter. I work as an independent yoga teacher and consultant and although I wear many and very different hats in my business, everything I do is connected to yoga, self-development and a healthy, conscious lifestyle.

Currently, I teach weekly yoga classes in NOR - a yoga studio in the North West, which I helped open in 2016 - and in a company. I also teach a lot online, hold retreats in several different places in the country and teach private students in 1:1 courses.

In addition, I do communication tasks for various clients as a freelancer.

And then I play an insane amount of football with my boy at the moment. It is his great passion and it is important for me to support him in doing what matters to him. I actually think it's pretty funny too…

How did you get into the world of yoga?

For several years, the world of yoga was a place where I didn't quite feel at home, but which I kept returning to. I think it was because I started doing yoga during a period of my life when I was having a hard time and, among other things, struggled with an eating disorder and newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes. So I didn't feel at home in my body. But perhaps that is also why I kept saying yes when my friends asked if I wanted to join yoga, and I got to try quite a few different forms of yoga and teachers in a short time. But I still had this underlying feeling that there was something I didn't "get" and that you had to be initiated or approved in some way to be a real yogi. I have sometimes thought that it is actually incredible that I continued anyway. I might as well have replaced the yoga mat with a kayak or something, but I didn't. I kept coming back to that mat - for a long time in a gym that had mirrors on every wall, so it was easy to get caught up in how the poses looked more than how they actually felt.

"Yoga gives me an opportunity to check in and hold space for how I feel without having to fix, remove or optimize anything"

But the yoga got a better and better hold on me, and this led to the fact that in 2010 - after having trained as a yoga teacher alongside my full-time work in a large international company - I quit my job and decided to become a yoga teacher at full time. I had been inspired by a number of yoga teachers I could really identify with because they had backgrounds similar to mine and managed to make yoga accessible to everyone and easier for me to understand the usefulness and need for. And then I went all in and haven't looked back since…

What do you think yoga gives you that you might not find anywhere else?

An invitation to meet myself where I am and become aware of something that is important, but which I may not have noticed or dealt with. Yoga is a very personal practice and can create deep contact with what is stirring on the inside. It can be really nice and it can be super confrontational and hard. It is as if the yoga sheds light on everything and, as it were, amplifies what is there. Sometimes I am energized and happy after yoga and other times I am tired, sad or angry. Yoga gives me an opportunity to check in and hold space for how I feel without having to fix, remove or optimize anything.

And then yoga has given me what I call "body trust" - i.e. a trust that what my body tells me is always the truth, but also the courage to listen to and trust what the body tells me to a greater extent than what my thoughts are trying to convince me of. When we gain more trust in the body, it signs off by becoming even more clear about what it needs and does not need and then it becomes easier and easier to hear its messages and act on them and thus (re)find peace , joy and balance in life.

Do you think that yoga and the spiritual world are connected, or can the two be separated?

It's a good and relevant question because many associate spirituality with something outside of us. Something that is a bit difficult to get in touch with and requires some very special skills. For me, this is equivalent to asking whether you can separate the body and the mind from each other. Or breathing and lungs apart for that matter. And you can't do that in my world, because they are dependent on each other. No breath without lungs. No lungs without breath. Our body affects our mind and the same the other way around.

The spiritual world, as I understand and experience it, is not something that (only) lies apart from our physical body and earthly life, and one of the most important things for me - especially in connection with yoga and communicating yoga - is;

1) to connect to the spiritual through our physical body and our senses.

2) to gain an understanding of the connections between our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

3) to become aware that we are all part of something bigger.

...Not just something bigger outside of ourselves that we can learn to understand, but also something bigger in ourselves that we can always connect to precisely through our body and mind. When we feel that connection, we also understand that we are spiritual beings. That the spiritual experiences are right in front of us at eye level and in the middle of everyday life, when we open our eyes and our hearts. Opening the heart means to me that we give time and space to cultivate and increase the capacity for acceptance, forgiveness and giving and receiving love, and when we are in contact with the heart and the energy of love, we get in touch with the spiritual or spiritual side of our existence. The heart is like a gate between the two aspects of us. And when we open the gate we discover that the physical and the spiritual are like two sides of the same coin and have never been separated. It is actually also the essence of yoga, which is often translated as "union" and is a practice of experiencing the spiritual or divine aspect of being human with a physical body, a personality, emotions, thoughts and a larger or smaller ego. And it doesn't necessarily take much to feel the connection, but we each have to find a personal relationship with our spirituality. I feel it myself very clearly when I am in nature. Here I land in my body and in the feeling of being at home in myself and on earth. And that I am a tiny but significant part of an infinitely large picture. I get a certainty that I belong, that I am protected and that there is a reason why I am put on earth and at the same time a humility towards the miracle that life is. And really, that's probably what spiritual experiences have always given us humans. A sense of meaning in life and a breakthrough to what is greater inside and outside of us. Something that looks after us, supports us unconditionally and is eternal.

Do you have any tricks for some yoga poses that are easy to do and maybe just do at home?

A yoga pose that is easy for most people to do is the universal stretch. It is somewhat in the name that it works universally - i.e. on the whole body, but it is specifically brilliant for creating more space for breathing and preventing or alleviating back problems. It's easy to find on Google ;) And I would actually venture the claim that most people today could benefit from doing the yoga pose called Savasana, which means something like "corpse" or "dead body" and yes, it sounds rather macabre, but really it is just an exercise in being still and being in the silence. Because we all have so much focus on doing, being on and achieving things, and there is, on the whole, a great imbalance between man's "doing" and "being" in the times we live in. In this position, which is the most grounding and calming I know, lie on your back with your eyes closed, relax your whole body and focus your attention on the sensation of your breath for a minimum of 10 minutes It can be done at any time of the day and used as a break or “ reset button”..

What is the best advice you have received in relation to health and well-being - and yoga?

That everything is about balance. A balanced yoga practice, a balanced diet, balance between work and personal life, balance in relationships with others, in our circadian rhythm and adjustment according to the seasons, etc.. And I will take it further from there to say that it is only ourselves who can feel if there is a balance in things, which is far from always the case. At least I don't know any people who live in complete harmony and balance all the time. A quote I have carried with me in the back of my mind for many, many years is "We only evolve when we are out of balance" , and I think it says so well how it is our striving for balance that creates development in our lives and not being in balance . Because being out of balance gives us an opportunity to rethink what balance is for us and thus rethink the way we live our lives, become aware of our true needs (not our desires for things or food or people, but what that really support us) and act accordingly. And I think that is the key to living a good, healthy (and I feel like adding long) life. And here I must mention yoga again, because yoga is the best tool I know for learning to feel what is and is not really needed...

What are some of the most important things we as humans need to know about practicing yoga?

That yoga is not about how much you can do, but about how much you can feel. This means that you don't have to know anything specific to get something out of yoga. And that there is nothing specific that you should get out of yoga. Most of all, it is about being able to be in what is happening - even when it does not happen as we had imagined. Many people think that they cannot practice yoga because they are not flexible, but the fact is that flexibility is something that comes along when we have been doing yoga positions for a long time. Saying that you are too "stiff in the body" to practice yoga is a bit like saying that you are too dirty to take a bath. The bath makes you clean. Yoga makes you flexible. If not in your body, then in your mindset and your thinking.

"Most of all, it's about being able to be in what's happening (...)"

And then I think it is important to mention that yoga in itself is not a religion. You can use yoga for religious purposes, include stories about Indian gods and get an experience of coming into contact with something that is bigger than ourselves and which some call God or divinity, but in itself is yoga - as I experience it - a way into something in us that is real. A path to self-knowledge, acceptance, balance and deep healing. And regardless of how we choose to relate to yoga, it has the potential to transform our lives on many levels.

Who do you look up to in the yoga world?

Most actually. Because I believe that everyone who enters the world of yoga has a deep-seated desire to change something for the better. I have great respect for people who come to yoga without expectations and who dare to say how they feel when something is difficult or frustrating, for example. Those who step out of their comfort zone onto the yoga mat and just allow themselves to explore and experience in new ways. All in all, I really look up to people who are authentic. My biggest role models as a child were Pippi Longstocking and Ronja Røverdatter. That's not saying much either. Haha. And then I am wildly impressed by the drive and passion that (especially newer) yoga teachers have to share yoga with others simply out of a desire to make the world a better place. It is very hard work to build yourself up as a yoga teacher, if you want to make a living from it, and it therefore requires a very special dedication. It's beautiful when people are so dedicated and focused on making something happen and at the same time maintain humility, patience and respect for other people, I think.

If you could decide, what would there be more of in the world?

Accept. Of other people, of ourselves and of reality as it is. Yoga is largely about facing reality as it is. If you can't fully stretch your legs or reach your toes in a yoga position, then you can choose to see it either as an obstacle or a development potential, depending on whether you can come to an acceptance of it or not. Most of the suffering we experience comes from not accepting reality as it is. We have an idea of ​​how something should be, and when it is not that way, we hold on to the fact that this is what is happening, which is wrong, unfair, hard, etc., and that holds us to the suffering. Because we have resistance to what is happening and because everything we have resistance to is always going to control us to one degree or another. If we choose to accept reality as it is, then we have a realistic starting point for what we do from there. We make decisions based on what we know rather than what we believe. I think we are a little too good at escaping reality and there are so many opportunities to do so in the world we live in. It is so easy to cover up what is difficult with stimulants, social media or other quick fixes, but all it does is remove us more and more from ourselves and where we are. And I think we should be in life while we are here, and experience life as it happens. Everything else is silly. I also think our escape from reality is connected to the fact that we have created an illusion of perfection. The perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect home, the perfect morning smoothie, the perfect picture of the kids, the perfect way to be imperfect and so on.

"The idea that we can make ourselves more perfect than we already are, I think has a close connection with the fact that we have removed ourselves from nature and what is natural in us. After all, nature is perfect in itself."

The notion that we can make ourselves more perfect than we already are, I think has a close connection with the fact that we have removed ourselves from nature and what is natural in us. After all, nature is perfect in itself. Everything is set in a sensible system and it is absolutely fantastic what nature is capable of creating and how it constantly strives for balance and maintaining good peace and order. Just think of what the body can perform, create or heal when we give it time and peace. Who can honestly be in nature without feeling that nature is perfect? Imagine if we could be in our body and feel that it is perfect? There are many who cannot, but because we as humans are part of nature, we are also fundamentally perfect exactly as we are. But we have created so much unnaturalness in the world that we not only remove ourselves from nature, but also destroy it - and this applies to both natural areas and our bodies. I am completely convinced that the greatest healing for us humans is found in nature and in contact with the natural in ourselves. So that's probably what I really feel there should be more of in the world. Connection to nature in and around us. Yes. That is it!

Where can I read more about you and see what you offer?

Everything is on my website .

You can see my weekly yoga classes at and I have a lot of yoga videos on Yogavivo, where I also teach live a few Fridays a month.

There is a 30-day free trial period for new members at

And then I share most of it on my Instagram profile @stinamadelaireyoga and through my newsletter, which you can sign up for here .

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