Sonja Appel: India offered me the right atmosphere to work on my spirituality

By on March 27, 2016

Over 6 million foreigners visit India every year. Some of these foreigners will return to India one day. Some of them will not. Others will stay to make India their home and they become, in many ways, as Indian as the locals – Sonja Appel, Sushumna Yoga School & Studios’ founder, was one of them.

After being dedicated to yoga for 5 years and studying and learning with great western teachers, Sonja arrived to India in 2000 when she decided to study Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore, with Guruji, the late Shi K Pattabhi Jois. It was then when Sonja felt she wanted to make India her permanent home.

In 2005, Sonja started up Sushumna Yoga in Delhi. In 2008, she moved to Goa and set up there with her partner Gita Sahni. Sushumna Yoga School is now the oldest Yoga School in Goa, India, where locals and foreigners can enjoy the full benefits of Yoga retreats and yoga teacher trainings.

Sonja has been practicing yoga for sixteen years and has thirteen intensive years of experience teaching Yoga and twenty five years’ experience of teaching Pilates in London, India and Nepal. Furthermore, Sonja has devised her own method of yoga – asana called ‘Sushumna’. The word “Sushumna” means the Central Nadi, (Central Energy Channel,) which runs up the spine. The sushumna uncoils from just below the coccyx bone, moving up the spine through the chakras (energy channels) to the crown of the head; “the waking of cosmic consciousness.” This represents our evolution from self-absorption, towards realization of our own innate unlimited potential. We rise beyond the ordinary province of birth and death to the level of divinity. Sushumna Vinyasa Flow, Sushumna Restorative and Sushumna Pranayama & Meditation are some of the different styles of yoga, we offer to participants in Yoga teacher trainings and Yoga retreats. The focus is always on finding equilibrium through the various limbs of yoga, so that our minds, bodies and soul’s operate as a cohesive, vibrant whole.

 Subhuman’s Philosophy & Services

Sushumna Yoga team believes it is everybody’s right to be healthy and strong in his/her mind and body. Their mission is to inform and advise each person on how to achieve his/her utmost health potential. In order to reach this goal, Sushumna Yoga uses nature’s own remedies, with a holistic treatment of the mind, body and soul and they are working with experienced Indian and international wellbeing experts who know how to make the best use of all the comprehensive tools provided by the eight limbs of Yoga. The beautiful surroundings of Goa, the tranquility of the gardens with abundance of palm trees and hills also contribute in creating a great healing environment at Sushumna, aiding each of us to embark on a journey for a healthier, cleaner and more rewarding life.

Sonja, what made you choose India as your home?

-My love affair started with India the first time I came here in 2000, I was staying with friends in Delhi and met their swarmi who would come to the house and talk and pray. I felt that India offered me the right atmosphere to work on my spirituality, Sonja said.

-It is the one place in this world that supports you when you take the time to find out what your true Self is all about. Then actually being in Mysore with guruji – Shri K Pattabhi Jois for 3 months, feeling great everyday, doing my practice, eating saatvic food and being independent proved to me that India was the right place to move to one day, she continues.

-I made that decision in 2003 and accomplished the move in 2005. I did not presume that as a foreigner I would be able to teach yoga, but that was not the case. As soon as I started covering a class of a friend who was in her last few months of pregnancy not long after I arrived, the students liked my approach to yoga and were impressed that I had actually studied here too. This was all I needed to set up on my own and I have never looked back, says Sonja Appel

 In what ways has India changed you?

-I have become more centered, peaceful, calm, patient. I now believe that “the glass is always half full” which is a positive thing in India. In the west this saying is interpreted as being not good enough. I love the weather and I am more suited to a warm climate. I feel abundant and secure here and feel supported by my friends and students. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live back in London now especially after living in Goa for the last  years. I feel at home and always know that I can take time out to visit an ayurvedic center or an ashram and go deeper into spirituality. I finally live the yogic lifestyle I have always wanted, Sonja concludes.

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