Crystal clear ocean waves, warm crispy sun rays touching my skin, soft white sand under my feet, walking back from the morning meditation. I remember, with vivid detail, my time at the Bahamas Yoga Ashram as a German/English translator for the yoga teacher training.
What a glorious experience it was to practice yoga in that paradise—truly heaven on earth.
There, on a small island, the ancient yoga practice is still lived and cultivated by many dedicated yogis and ashram visitors. Daily practices of all kinds are held up and celebrated.
I remember meeting with the Indian priest—a very funny man who brought ancient Indian tradition and authentic energy to this island sanctuary. During our time together, he gave me a Jyothish reading (a Jyothish reading is a vedic astrology reading; a fascinating topic in itself but best saved for another blog post!).
While we sat together, he threw gem stones on his wooden table, drew in the sand, made unknown calculations, prayed, and whispered. I sat quietly, waiting for him to finally say, “You need to be with people!”
I looked at him, puzzled, with a question mark across my face.
“With all your yoga and ayurveda knowledge, you need to reach people now—through your ‘normal’ daily work,” he went on.
I couldn’t imagine what he meant.
At the time, I was working as a massage therapist and yoga teacher—two professions I love in their own unique ways.
But I knew he meant something different.
He meant a different kind of work, work in which I’d be more involved in the daily matters of people. He meant innovative work, in which I’d use my voice as a tool and contribute in ways I hadn’t before.
This work would require new skills of me: deeply listening, deeply understanding, and advocating for others when solutions presented themselves to me.
Today, in my daily work, all of this is happening.
The people I advocate for are my clients and my work allows me to help them put into words what they generally can not; translating their circumstances into legal structure and terminology so their situation can be seen and sorted with as little friction as possible.
Many of my clients are people seeking social support from the government or justice from their employer. When meeting with them, I sometimes recall my moment with the priest and I hear his words, “You need to be with people,” which makes me smile.
It all makes sense now. When looking back, it always does. All my years of training in law were exactly for this.
I’ve arrived at a place in my career where I can merge all the treasures I found through yoga, ayurveda, and mindfulness… and give them back in my own way.
What I feel most grateful for is nothing has to be left out. It can all be present: spirituality and daily life. Now more than ever I understand that daily life is spirituality.
Life is spiritual—there’s no division.
What I practice on the mat lives through me in whichever situation I find myself in—a fish swimming in this ocean of life, in my own kind of way.
When I walk into a courtroom, my years of practice serve me. I see how connected I am to each and every person whose path I cross and I treasure them with great inner respect. Sometimes it’s as if my soul is greeting the souls of those around me, an inner whisper of “Namaste” (which sometimes translates as “my inner light greets the light in you”).
When I walk into a courtroom, I am aware that we’re more than egos, fighting around about things. I am aware of what connects us, the same life that flows through you and me every stranger on this planet.
It’s with this awareness, a sense of peace is brought into the situation. I’m not merely attached to the outcome; I am there, fully present and protecting the interests of my client in the best way I can.
Through my yoga and mindfulness practice, my capacity to be compassionate grows in the work I do. Compassion isn’t only empathy—to resonate with the feelings of another—but it’s the ability to take action, too. It is not by chance that the word “passion” is in it!
Of course, there are failures, too—not all cases are won.
And yet, when that happens, I know there’s some deeper reason… perhaps something to learn for the person. This is, from my perception, also why we’re here: to learn to be responsible, accountable, and capable of growth.
And these lessons appear again and again, until we master them.
My daily life as a social lawyer is joyful. I feel honored to be on my clients’ side for a short while with what I can offer.
This is what I can give and live, as my purpose.
Likewise, I’m grateful for all the other beautiful souls giving themselves with their purposes—the cashier at the supermarket, the accountant at the firm, the bin men making the city clean, the baker baking and selling bread.
We’re all connected, each and every one.
Guest post by studio BE Facilitator Astrid Ackermann.
Astrid Ackermann is an attorney and yogi living in Berlin. Her spiritual path became clear in the year 2010, when she spent a significant time in India, where she completed her first Yoga teacher training, after graduating from Law school in Germany.
All experiences she had on that journey through the land of Yoga's origin broadened her horizon, expanded her heart and view on life in undescribable magnificent ways, never imagined possible.
Since then she has dedicated her life to guiding people through processes and phases of transformation. Astrid was part of the managing team for the world wide biggest long scale scientific study on meditation and compassion.
She is passionate about finding and expressing (inner) truth, awakening of the feminine, connecting and preserving ancient knowledge of the vedas, ayurveda, and much more.