I am a total devotee to all things sustainable. My passion for protecting and preserving our planet began early at the age of 13 when the nuclear catastrophe in Chernobyl happened. I remember distinctively being glued to the radio and following it closely as the news was unfolding. The wind blew radioactive particles across Europe and in Germany we experienced something that was called saurer Regen (sour rain), which contaminated many forests and farms. This catastrophe made it very clear to me that everything is connected – air and water do not know borders. The same year I became vegetarian, not just for my love of animals, but also for the protection of our shared planet Earth. I had decided to become ‘planetary’.
I was blessed by having an extra pair of grandparents who had a large Schrebergarten (allotment) and grew most of their own food. I grew up helping in the garden and developed a strong connection to the source of our vegetables and fruits, something that many people have lost nowadays. After many years living in big cities, with little opportunity to fulfil my love of gardening, I finally enjoy my own urban permaculture project on our terraces in Seville and grow a surprising variety of fruits, veggies and herbs.
Whilst volunteering in an elephant rescue centre in Northern Thailand in 2003, I discovered my love for yoga and meditation. My ‘hut mate’ was passionate about yoga and introduced me to it in the middle of the jungle. When I moved back to Egypt, I found my first real yoga teacher in Jana Czipin, who continues to teach today in Valencia, Spain. In 2005, I joined the Indian Cultural Centre in Cairo and trained in Hatha yoga under the guidance of teachers Mukesh Kumar and later Yogita Mehta. In Cairo, I taught yoga classes for corporate clients, such as Procter and Gamble, but also free yoga classes for friends and people who could not always afford to pay in order to spread the spirit of yoga. I also continued these free classes for many years when I was living in Istanbul. In Istanbul, I was fortunate enough to be living near one of Turkey’s biggest yoga centres and attended regular classes with inspiring yoga teachers like Kate Beckel, David Cornwall and Chris Chavez, continually deepening my own yoga practice and scope of knowledge.
My interests extend to other holistic practices that harmonise very well with yoga. In 2003, I successfully completed a Thai massage training at the reputable Old Medical Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2010, I trained and was initiated to Reiki Level I with Reiki Master Annette Karpinski in Berlin and then in 2013 to Reiki Level II. In 2017, I completed a 200 hours yoga teacher training at Gayatri Yoga School in Tenerife, Spain with a focus on Hatha (Sivananda and Satyananda), restorative and pregnant yoga, and also the principles of Ayurveda. My interest in sound massage and sound healing began in 2013, and after incorporating the use of Tibetan singing bowls in my yoga classes for quite a while, I undertook a sound massage training with internationally renowned sound worker, Jacomina Kistemaker at the Punta de Couso Centre in Galicia, Spain in 2017.
I am also a photographer, artist and author, and hold a Master’s degree in photo design. I lived and worked for 10 years in Egypt and seven in Turkey. My work has appeared in international publications, such as GEO, Stern, New York Times Magazine and The Guardian and I work frequently for a number of organisations and companies, including UNICEF, GIZ and Johns Hopkins.
I am the author of three photo books and my work is frequently featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions at venues like the Kestner Museum (Hanover), Antikenmuseum (Basel), Kreuzbergmuseum (Berlin), HOST Gallery (London) and Goethe Institutes worldwide. Over the years, I have received several grants and awards for my work. If you are interested in a more detailed bio about my photographic and artistic work, you can find it on my other website HERE.