Anastasia Shevchenko is not just a yogi of 18 years and a teacher for the past 8 years, but she is also the founder of Berlin Yoga Conference and Inner Core Yoga. She is a truly inspiring women, with many projects going on. We got the wonderful opportunity of talking with Anastasia about her yoga and business yoga which truly inspired us!
Could you tell us a little bit about your yoga journey – when and how did it all start? What does yoga mean for you?
I started when I was 14 and diagnosed with scoliosis, I practiced dynamic hatha yoga from books until I came in contact with hot yoga at the age of 19 and did that for the next 2 years. 10 years ago I did my exchange studies in Spain and came in contact with Ashtanga yoga and got hooked. I progressed through the series very quickly because I have a generally speaking very strong and flexible body. Ashtanga yoga was there in both of my pregnancies, and has given me a lot in terms of discipline, determination, will power, and structure. But then it started getting too rigid, strict, and I felt like I could not express anymore my own body-mind wisdom and creativity, so I quit in March this year.
For me, yoga has been many things: it helped me to heal both physically and psychologically, and it has given me many tools to approach various issues of body/mind nature, engage in personal growth and change the patterns that did not serve me or were holding me back. I also became a teacher and a coach, and have been guiding people through similar experiences, empowering them to seek out their own individual paths and ways to approach their life and making meaning of it all. Overall, it has been this beautiful yet sometimes painful transformative experience, where mindfulness and evolution of my consciousness has been at the heart of it all.
Tell us a bit more about the Berlin Yoga Conference, how was the idea born?
I was pregnant with my second child (my daughter Anabel is now 2,5 years old, and my son Liam is 5) and I was questioning what kind world she would be born into and what kind of a role model I wanted to be for my children. Putting together many of my skills, talents, and interests, the idea for the Conference was born in August 2017 and since then it has been an amazing journey full of challenges, further growth, and self-development, especially when it comes to business, people skills, networking, community building, creative problem solving, resource management, and life-work balance.
The first Conference took place in May 2019 and I met Louise, the founder of Moonchild Yoga Wear then in person. She was very supportive of my project and we have been in touch ever since. I am proud to be Moonchild Ambassador and I really love the concept behind the brand, and of course the clothing itself!
The second Conference was scheduled for June 19-21 this year and looked like a great success! It was super international with amazing teachers and participants from all over the world and the whole of Germany, with people buying their tickets half a year in advance before the event. Yet because of the corona crisis I saw my dreams crash and I almost went bankrupt.
After I recovered from the shock and the pain, processed all the refunds and rested, I started to plan the Conference yet again for July 9-11 2021. I will mostly likely plan right away a physical event together with a digital option.
After her two pregnancies Anastasia realised that her body was weak in the lower core/pelvic floor area, which created all kinds of health issues and problems in her spine. She describes how she felt that Ashtanga yoga, or any other “traditional” yoga method did not address these issues and the healing process could be sped up through targeted work on that area. This is how the method of Inner Core Yoga was born and Anastasia is currently in the process of producing a series of tutorials and videos that will be available on the subscription basis. All info will be available soon on her website www.innercore-yoga.com and on her Instagram channel @innercoreyoga.
It feels like you have many on-going things as teaching, events, but also consultancy in branding. How do you manage to do all of these things, how do you manage your time?
As a freelancer, I have to create my own work opportunities. I learned to be extremely efficient with my time through focus and concentration techniques that yoga offers, as well as as a type of necessity of having small children.
Yet, it was the corona crisis that made me re-think my work and projects, re-focus my energies on what was working better and let go of what did not work. I was involved in many things, and now I am choosing carefully what to spend my resources on. So Berlin Yoga Conference and Inner Core Yoga remain, and parallel to that I am involved with 3 start-up companies as a teacher and a consultant.
What is your best advice for someone who wants to make mindfulness and wellness their career? If they for an example want to quit their job to pursue their dream within mindfulness
Well, first, one needs to realise that it takes years to build one’s reputation and brand, success doesn’t happen over night. Considering that, one needs to have a part time job or some kind of working arrangements that sustain the basic needs and create space for sustainable work, not burn-puts.
Second, networking and community building are a t the heart of any business, be it yoga or fashion. One needs to create a community of like-minded individuals who love what you do and want to support you.
Finally, I learned it time after time that the best work happens out of a space of harmony. If I am stressed out and out of balance - it reflects in bad decisions and communication, which leads to problems or conflicts. It is essential to have a daily self-care and mindfulness routine to ensure that!
What do you see as your biggest challenge/lessons in your career so far?
On both personal and professional levels (because in reality you cannot separate one from the other), the biggest issues were: setting boundaries (including learning how to say no and not wanting to please everyone), better resource management (time, money, energy, network and volunteers), and finding life-work balance where one is fully present with work and then is able to be there with the family, playing with kids and spending quality time.
How do you empower women, both in your everyday life but as well as a yoga teacher?
I strongly believe that women should support each other, because men mostly do business with men and only support women when they have an interest in them (which is not good or bad, it is just a fact). Working with women can be both fulfilling and challenging, because a woman needs to be self-aware and in-tune with her cycle, and put competitiveness and jealousy away. I know many strong amazing women who are both super powerful and badass in business, yet kind and generous when they feel the connection. Empowering each other involves feeling the connection/resonance and finding ways of lifting each other up, not putting each other down.
What can we do to become better at empowering each other?
Mostly, it is a matter of finding resonance/connection with like-minded people who share your values and philosophy. Once that is established, naturally opportunities arise to collaborate and support each other. One needs to nurture relationships and build them over time, growing in trust, understanding, and accumulating history of shared positive experiences. All relationships have ups and downs, so communication and kindness are key!
Get in touch with Anastasia