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An oasis of calm at the swimming pool

An oasis of calm at the swimming pool

An oasis of calm at the swimming pool

Through her summer yoga courses at Schwarzenberg swimming pool, Claudia Jochum helps participants discover their inner guru and tap into the natural calm of the season.

A lot of holy water has flowed down the Ganges since John Lennon meditated at the ashram in his flowing white robes. Yet while some still like to poke fun at the idea of choosing to tie oneself in knots, yoga is now firmly part of the mainstream. Naysayers are invariably won over as soon as they try this ancient practice for themselves and are left marvelling at how vital and relaxed they feel afterwards. Maybe that’s the key to why yoga has developed into a mass phenomenon – after all, relaxation is big business. Celebrities across the globe keep their Instagram followers hooked with minute-by-minute updates on the latest advanced asanas (postures) they have successfully mastered. “Namasteeee, baaaaaby!” has become something of a catchphrase among leading YouTubers. World Yoga Day sees hundreds of thousands of people lay out their mats in the megacities of the world, share in a collective sun salutation and nurture a taste for vegan clothes and lifestyle tips. And Bikram Choudhury braved a hostile reception to take the lucrative step of patenting his asanas.

Yoga exists in a wide variety of forms, with sivananda, aerial, ashtanga, kundalini, yin yoga, yogilates, vinyasa or hatha just a handful of examples. It would be easy to get lost in the dizzying maze of options were it not for experts like Claudia Jochum, who help us strip away the commercial sheen and get in touch with what yoga is really about. Bregenzerwald and yoga may seem worlds apart, yet they are a match made in heaven. From the Oase in Bersbuch and the Yoga Studio in Egg to the Hotel Post in Bezau and Claudia’s courses in Andelsbuch, yoga classes here are typically infused with the sight of lush green nature. The idea of offering yoga at the swimming pool in Schwarzenberg came to Claudia at the end of one of her courses. “What are we going to do in summer?” her class asked. “We don’t want to go without yoga for two whole months!” Having originally started out as a kindergarten teacher, the Dornbirn native attended her first yoga class in 1992 and quickly knew she couldn’t do without it. Having lived in Germany and Boston, where she gave birth to two children, she ultimately moved to Schwarzenberg – and yoga remained a key part of her life at every stop along the way.

Successfully juggling the responsibilities of family and work, she completed a host of yoga training courses led by renowned instructors. Studying primarily in Zürich and Germany over a number of years, she acquired a working knowledge of yoga for children, young people, pregnant women and adults. In her therapeutic yoga classes, she provides advice and guidance to participants with various physical and mental ailments. Her one-to-one sessions enable her to offer tailored exercises that are suitable for integration into daily life. Though her abilities may be wide-ranging, they are always underpinned by her unique style and her personal mantra: “I am part of a larger whole, and that in turn is part of me.” She got a tattoo of this mantra written in Sanskrit, together with the Fibonacci spiral that symbolises the perfect beauty we see in snail shells, sunflowers and indeed everywhere in nature. “Be one and awaken: the swimming pool provides the ideal setting for this, with the firmness of the Earth beneath us giving way to the lightness of the sky. And in the middle of all this is you – powerful, beautiful and whole. Just the way you are.”

Claudia likes to be close to people. Rather than demanding absolute perfection from her participants, she prefers to get to know them through the shared experience of yoga. She loves to accompany people during the various stages of their lives and help them get in touch with their inner ‘guru’. Having acquired a formidable body of knowledge through her extensive training activities, she has been able to develop her very own style of teaching: YIN YASA YOGA. YIN stands for long, passive and open positions that work deep down on the fascial tissue, while YASA is to a large extent a reference to YANG, representing dynamic and powerful movements. Therapeutic yoga also forms part of her group sessions and, as all of us are unique in mind and body, she adapts the poses to suit individual needs. Her guiding principle is as follows: “Yoga helps you get in touch with yourself, helping you make your way through life upright and assured of your own beauty and lightness.” The straightforward nature of the summer yoga courses in Schwarzenberg makes them suitable for all comers. If you’re looking to enjoy a seasonal boost for body and soul, you can simply turn up and try it out – no registration necessary. The sessions begin at 8 am and last for one hour, after which you can go swimming or visit the kiosk for a refreshing tea, coffee or water. In the event of rain, the group meets at the upper foyer of Angelika-Kauffmann Hall. Since tradition holds that the ideal moment to practice yoga is at sunrise or sunset alongside the fork of a river, the Schwarzenberg swimming pool is all the more suitable as a host venue. Here, you can bend and stretch in the sunbathing area beneath the trees as the sun rises over the Niedere mountain and warms your skin. You can feel the grass and twigs under your feet, listen to the buzz of the insects, hear the splashing water, feel the rush of the air and see the sunlight reflected in the leaves. It’s the ultimate relaxing way to begin a summer’s day.

Author: Irmgard Kramer
Edition: Reisemagazin Summer 2019