Hi Solveig, you have founded English Yoga Meetup in 2017 in Frankfurt. What made you decide to move to Frankfurt?
Hi there! After my studies abroad, I have moved to Frankfurt in 2011 to start a new job and to be close to my partner. Since then Frankfurt has been my home with some breaks in between. I moved to Paris, Australia and went to Asia for quite some time. Frankfurt was always my hub and eventually I always came back.
What inspired you to start English Yoga Meetup, and how it’s grown since launch?
During my 5 months sabbatical in Australia, I did my yoga teacher training, because I had suffered from chronic back pain and wanted to learn more about human anatomy and a way to treat my pain naturally. During the training, I realised that I like to teach. So back from my trip, I have launched a yoga group on the Meetup app. Only three days after my return and still jet-lagged I held my first class in Grüneburgpark with only two students. This was two and a half years ago and now our group has grown to Frankfurt’s biggest international yoga community.
In summer 2018 the city Frankfurt prohibited any kind of outdoor sport in the parks. I was forced now to rent locations now in order to not get fined. Out of this the concept “Discover your city by doing yoga” was born. I have rented several locations in Frankfurt and people met up there to do yoga together. It was amazing – especially with all the outdoor locations and rooftop yoga sessions.
For me the objective was to make yoga affordable again so that everyone can benefit from it – not just the people with higher income. I also wanted to make yoga accessible to international people, who don’t necessarily speak German. During my travels I have noticed how hard it is to do yoga, if you don’t understand the instructions. I also have an international circle of friends in Frankfurt and noticed that people struggle with the German language. Working in a yoga studio didn’t work out for me, because I still have my full time job aside. So, I needed to come up with my own side business, that allows me to teach, when I have time.
Describe your perfect day in Frankfurt!
I start my morning routine with gratitude - just to remind me of the things I am grateful for in my life. Ideally it starts with my home-made breakfast in a coconut bowl in my kitchen. I love to do exercises in the morning. So, joining a yoga class or teaching the class is the perfect start into my day. Then some yummy lunch at Mathilda’s Kitchen or Marie Lou, that serve healthy vegan bowls.
I then like to work on my computer to develop English Yoga Meetup further. So, I contact new locations in Frankfurt and Munich (yes, we are in Munich too now), plan my teachers and own classes and prepare everything for my social media accounts.
In the afternoon I like to go for a walk with my partner somewhere city off-site and grab a chai latte (I am not a coffee drinker at all). One of my favorite places is Café Fein, which is nestled in the green belt of Frankfurt.
I love to discover new places, because routine kills me. In the evening I slow down a bit, keep the smartphone aside and do my yoga stretches before I got to bed.
What do you love and hate about Frankfurt?
I love that the city is quite compact. You can easily walk or get everywhere by bike. I am always a bit lost when I find myself in bigger cities like Berlin or Munich.I hate taking public transport, because it is always packed. I also don’t like that there is a lot of fluctuation. People see Frankfurt as a transition city, before they move somewhere else. It is always sad when you have created some friendships and then people move away. I know we shouldn’t get attached to anything or anyone, but it is easier said than done.
Share your tips to settling into a new city!
Well, try to learn the native language to get around. Don’t just hang out with other internationals but try to mingle with the locals as well. Look for a native tandem partner to improve your language skills and to get a better glimpse about locals’ lives or learn languages online. Try out new things, new hobbies, new places because moving to a new city is like opening a new chapter in your live. And if you are new in Frankfurt or Munich, you are welcome to join one of English Yoga Meetup's upcoming classes of course :)