Name: Elli Afshar
Country of origin: Germany with Persian roots
Years of Yoga practice: 9 years
What I do for a living: Yoga teacher and Doula
I loooooooooovvveeee this song: Tanz der Moleküle von Mia
I cannot resist: Dancing
My motto: Follow your intuition
My favorite Asana (at the moment): All kinds of twists
When I don’t practice…I’m serving my three boys 😉
When my husband accepted a new job in Saudi Arabia, I took this as an opportunity to quit my IT job and complete my 200 hours of yoga training with Sarah Boheiry (Noah Mazé Yoga, Feb 2015).
I felt fulfilled and happy after every class that I taught - a sign that I was doing the right thing!
In 2016, my family and I moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE. The best thing about the new house was that I had my very own yoga studio. I started teaching straight away.
In November 2016, I completed 85 hours of prenatal yoga training with Jo Arganaraz at Return to the Self. During this time, I discovered that I was pregnant with our second child. While pregnant I taught a group of other pregnant women in my neighbourhood.
During my pregnancy yoga training, I received an introduction to hypnobirthing (the KG method) and I went on to practice it with my husband. This method helped me to have a calm and uncomplicated pregnancy and birth.
Something else that helped me was a Doula. I hadn’t heard of the term ‘Doula’ before I attended prenatal yoga training. A couple of Doulas completed their yoga training with me and explained what they did.
This struck a chord with me so I arranged for a Doula to support me during my pregnancy and birth. She also helped me to heal and come to terms with my first birthing experience. This positive start and the help that I received during the postnatal phase made this a time in my life that I will look back fondly on and treasure.
I felt strong and fulfilled and in complete harmony with myself.
In my Mama Yoga group everyone had given birth to their babies, so I started teaching Mama Baby Yoga. Of course, this was something that my new son was able to experience with me!
In July 2018, I completed the “Vinyasa Flow Intensive Training” with Rocky Heron (Yoga Mazé now known as The Mazé Method Yoga Mazé, 40 hours) in Berlin, which helped me develop more creative flows.
Then in March 2019, I undertook ‘Yin and Chinese Meridian’ training with Annie Au in Abu Dhabi. The wholistic perspective that Annie taught me had a huge impact on my teaching and personal yoga practice.
Further inspired by the strength that resides in all of us, I then decided to embark and complete Reiki Level 1 Attunement with Michaela Gronitz (Shamballa Level 3 Reiki Master).
During the attunement I had a vision of the beautiful Milky Way and a feeling of the total connection and unity of all things.
It was after these amazing experiences that I wrote a thank you email to Katharine Graves to tell her how much her KGHypnobirthing method helped me during my pregnancy and birth, and that I would one day like to do KGHypnobirthing training with her.
That would have involved a lot of planning as she lives and works in London and with my commitments in Abu Dhabi it would have been very difficult. I was surprised by what happened next. I received a reply from Katharine telling me that if I could find a few more interested students to do the training, she would come to Abu Dhabi and teach us here!
I am extremely grateful that I had the chance to train with Katharine and that I got to know this experienced soul personally as she stayed with me in my house.
During her stay, Katharine asked why I hadn’t considered working as a Doula. It was something others had asked during my pregnancy yoga classes as I had been supporting them mentally and emotionally in addition to their yoga practice. This prompted me to complete an official Doula training at Nurturing Birth in February 2021.
During the training it became increasingly clear to me that supporting others on their pregnancy and birth journeys as a Doula is exactly what I am meant to do.
My philosophy is ‘passion for everything that is (Ahimsa)’; to be grateful to accept all that is around us for what it is and to appreciate our position within the universe; to accept what our bodies communicate with us and to respect that; not to push ourselves too far but to breathe through it and to revel in the magic of the moment and honour our inner wisdom.
It was through Ahimsa that I was able to continue teaching my ‘normal’ yoga classes right up until the 38th week of my second pregnancy. I never told myself to stop because my inner wisdom told me that I could still do it.
Both yoga and pregnancy yoga helped me to slow down and follow my true nature.
I’m really looking forward to pressing that pause button with you so that you can just be and enjoy life.