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How I healed my body from within and the miracle of life that followed

The author Franziska practicing Yoga. Photo Courtesy: Franziska


The first feedback I received from Acharya Venkatesh was, “Your body will change, your face will change, your mind will change. The secret lies in the eyes, within”. And here I am! Three years later. Three years full of practice, study, and self-inquiry. Three life-enhancing winters with my teachers, every year leading me to find a deeper understanding and connection to myself. Uprooting and discharging the deep-rooted patterns, wounds and blind spots that kept me from peace, strength, and health.

When I first came to Atmavikasa my body and mind were full of tension, a lot of it held in my womb, which manifested in a missing period for more than six years. This tension was not only held in my body but also in my mind. I was unconsciously holding on to patterns in my mind, to conditioning from society and family. Control feels safe but it’s a false friend. I was unable to let go, to surrender, which was exhibited by the tensions in my body and particularly in my asana practice. Forward Bends and savasana were my nightmares.

Click here to read more about Atmavikasa Centre of Yogic Sciences in Mysore.

Dedicating oneself to the practice of Yoga. Photo Courtesy: Franziska

Healing starts with acceptance, first

I knew I needed to heal for years. However, the approaches I had tried in the West had not yielded much fruit. I tried therapy, allopathic medicine, “yoga” etc… but it only made me feel temporarily better. I needed to get to the root of my problems, but nothing seemed to take me there.

To be honest, not menstruating didn’t bother me so much. I even forgot about it and often reflected on how convenient it was, especially for traveling. Not bleeding had many practical benefits. I can now see that focusing on the positive was a form of defense mechanism that kept me from the pain of what was happening.

My experience with doctors wasn’t the best. All they would do is tell me that I would get osteoporosis, and not be able to become a mother. Their only solution was hormones. This didn’t make sense to me and went against all my instincts. I flatly refused their advice and continued with my search for an alternative answer.

There I was, feeling completely alone, a woman in a patriarchal world, a world where talking about menstruation and menstrual disorders is still a taboo. A world where female bodies are weak, unclean (especially when bleeding) and are being used in mass media as sexual objects to further fuel the capitalist agenda. A world where the androcentric bias of language degrades women, leaving them with a sense of fear, shame, and inadequacy in their subconscious. A fear hindering women to live and believe in their full potential. A fear that disallows a woman to embrace her femininity in its entirety. But as often the case, such psychological hindrances are the result of silently agreed normalities, and thus difficult to see and very difficult to break free from. But this freedom is exactly what I found through Yoga.

The role of Yoga while healing

It all sounds quite nice here, yes, the way to health, but it brought me face to face with my demons, with my false self-beliefs. Confronted with the conditioned ego I saw all the things I was previously trying so desperately hard to hide from myself. As difficult truths began to come to the surface, I was faced with the choice to continue suppressing my feelings and keep up the mask, or to be complete honest with myself and begin the journey of unravelling the complex puzzle of my defence mechanisms and the historical conditioning that had kept me clinging to my old notion of self. I chose one of the 5 Yama’s to focus on, Satya, which means truth, and stopped telling lies to myself.

The first winter at Atmavikasa I learned to inhabit my body and to trust its innate intelligence. With the aid of asana practice, I went deeper into my physiology and learned to relax and to let go. Holding postures for a prolonged time. Staying, finding stillness no matter how much my mind protested. I focused on the simplicity of natural breathing as my body became motionless and my mind became quiet. I began to be able to observe my thoughts from a distance, without attaching to them, instead of training my focus to stay with body and breath only; to stay in the present moment. Implementing this approach in daily life I was slowly able to stay in my body without losing myself in fear-based patterns.

However, still the patterns took me over, and at times I was overwhelmed by shame. Talking about my missing period to my teachers elicited a deep inner discomfort, but they were incredibly kind and compassionate, a reaction I had not experienced up till then. They suggested a special diet and prescribed certain asanas, nauli, sungazing, and barefoot walking. For the first time, I began to have hope and confidence around the absence of my period and fully embraced the issue into my consciousness. Being able to talk freely about not menstruating, eventually, without shame, I found that a lot of women suffer from irregular or missing cycles. And all of them share similar emotional experiences: no one to talk about, no one taking them seriously, facing a taboo, and therefore initiating a process of self-delusion. Blaming contraception as a reason but not questioning the continuous intake of the drug. Or simply “forgetting’’ the fact that female organs are not working like they are meant to.

The author as an expectant mother. Photo Courtesy: Franziska

Why practice makes perfect.

For one year I practiced very strictly. My body and mind were more focused and at peace, but still, my period had not returned. There were clearly some hidden parts of myself I was still not able to see. My teachers helped me to go even deeper inside myself, and gradually I began to remove the blocks that kept me from feeling the subtle energies within my body. I got to know my controlling mechanisms and I learned to let go. I freed myself from the erroneous belief that invulnerability kept me secure and more lovable. I started to be less hard on myself, to leave shame behind. I allowed myself enjoyment, slowed down, and devolved continuous connection to my emotional self. Importantly, I rejected the western stereotype of beauty and stopped holding my belly in. I laughed more, I relaxed more, and I ate more. I felt my cycle for the first time in years! Wow! I had tears in my eyes when I felt my reproductive organs working again. I didn’t bleed yet, but I knew! I knew this feeling which is like nothing else. And as my emotions and energy began to flow freely, my blood began to flow too.

I write this account from Mysore. My appearance has changed, as Acharya had predicted. Furthermore, I am becoming a mother! I had only two bleeding periods before I conceived, so the medical doctors were incorrect. No replacement hormones needed!

To read another story of healing through Yoga, click here.

Acharya Hema told me “she is feeling blessed’’ to witness my journey, turning from a girl into a mother”. Well, I couldn’t feel more blessed for the true benefits of yoga, and for the teachers who have guided me with all their compassion, knowledge and skill.

Before my cycle returned, I met a beautiful man, with whom I practice the yoga of relationship and who was and is always supportive of my process to heal. I believe that this conscious relationship played and continues to play a vital part in my healing process. Today we are building a healing center, in order to share what we’ve learned so far.

Franziska grew up in the Bavarian countryside, studied Social Work in Vienna and has traveled and lived all over Asia. She found her way to Hatha Yoga via Vipassana meditation and combines both in her daily practice and teaching. She continues to study Yoga Therapy with her teachers Acharya Hema and Venkatesh at Atmavikasa Center of Yogic Science in Mysore Franziska is currently working with her husband Isaac Mullins and looking for land to open a communal healing Center. You can follow their journey and keep up to date with their work via

Top 12 Yoga Ashrams in India as recommended by

Santosh Puri Ashram, Haridwar. Photo Credit: Coni Hörler

Yoga Ashram: A sacred place that is devoted to the development of spiritual activities in the field of yoga, such as studying scriptures and meditation.

To truly understand the essence of Yoga, it is recommended that one lives in an ashram in India. And also we at highly advocate an ashram experience as we believe ashrams allow you the space to practice Yoga, like no other.

Hence, we thought of creating a list on the top 12 authentic ashrams in India. One of the defining reasons for creating this list is the fact that our team members have visited most of these ashrams. Recommending ashrams is a big responsibility and we are open to your suggestions and feedback. We do believe that you cannot compare one ashram to another as each has its own special history and lineage. They also have different approaches to Yoga, therefore one is no way better than the other. Our question to you is, which one of these 12 ashrams suits you the best?

We have a longer article about Ashrams in India along with our recommended top 12 Ashrams. If you prefer the shortcut, here is a preview list of our top 12 Yoga Ashrams in India (in alphabetical order) (more…)

100 years of The Yoga Institute

Shri Yogendra Ji, Founder, The Yoga Institute. Photo Credit: The Yoga Institute.

It is my satisfaction that instead of passing my life in the jungle, obscure and lonely, by some certain inspiration I have been directed to reveal to the public what I felt is truth about this science.” Shri Yogendra Ji, Founder, The Yoga Institute

With this mission at its core, The Yoga Institute started on its noble mission of spreading Yoga to one and all. Spearheading the “Yoga for the Householder” movement in the world, the Institute helps over a thousand people every day for training, health benefits, and consultations. It also offers Yoga teacher-training courses, wellness workshops and has many published books on Yoga therapy, asanas, pranayama, to its credit. (more…)

Golden Jubilee of Ananda Ashram at ICYER, Pondicherry



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“Science and spirituality are met at Ananda Ashram, convincing even the most difficult mind that yoga is a complete mind science.” – Yogacharini Korina-Anandhi Kontaxaki one of the eminent Yoga teachers of Cyprus.

Very few Yoga schools are able to marry tradition and modernity in a seamless manner. One of the few is Ananda Ashram at ICYER, Pondicherry that is celebrating its 50th anniversary on 5 August 2018. Classical Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga (Gitananda Yoga) as expounded by Swamiji Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj is taught in this tradition that balances the ancient tantric and yoga wisdom with modern medical scientific knowledge. It is truly a Modern Yoga Gurukula in nature, spirit and manifestation as students live with the gurus and learn to live and love yoga as a 24-hour Sadhana of life itself. (more…)

Key elements of Raja Yoga : Asana & Pranayama

Comfortable and steady posture. Photo Credit: Coni Hörler


Concept of Asana

Asana (posture) and Pranayama are the 3rd and 4th limbs in the text of Patanjali Yoga Sutra. Asana literally means ‘seat’. In the text of Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Asana is described as a seat of meditation. In the second chapter, verse 46; Patanjali defines asana as ‘sthiram sukham asanam’. This verse is translated as ‘posture (should be) steady and comfortable’. While defining posture Patanjali was well aware of the body-mind connection. Therefore he puts asana after Yama (social codes of conduct) and Niyama (personal codes of conduct). He knows that having practised or incorporated the aspects of Yama and Niyama in life, sitting steady is possible. Sthirta (steadiness) of the body is only possible when one has channelled the mental energies. Otherwise sitting still is a big task. (more…)

My experience of studying Yoga in Rishikesh

Initiation ceremony at Vinyasa Yoga Academy, Rishikesh. Photo Source: Kelsea Walsh


I’ve always had an affinity for yoga and Eastern traditions. Travelling to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training in June 2017. In this blog post, I’ve outlined: my experience, and my opinion of the course and teachers as a student from Canada. (more…)

Everything you wanted to know about Yoga Visas to India

Indian Visa for Yogis, is now an easy process. Image Credit: Pixabay


As the International Day of Yoga approached us in 2016, the Indian Government made an announcement on the 2nd of June that made every yogi crack a smile.

Foreigners can now apply for e-Visa not only for sightseeing, recreational and visiting purposes but also for short-term yoga courses and for taking short-term medical treatment under Indian systems like Ayurveda. This move has made coming to India to learn yoga a hassle-free affair. Now, the students need not visit the Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO) at the city police headquarters. To know more about registration details, click here. (more…)

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