Punya visits the Osho Studio and meets Krisana and Ali.
Update 2020: The centre has been closed.
On my first visit to Berlin, apart from extensive sightseeing, I absolutely wanted to visit the Osho Studio, run by Krisana and Ali. It happens that it is just a stone’s throw away from my nephew’s flat where I am staying. (In fact, said nephew has been meditating with them since the beginning of the year.) But also for those living further away in Berlin it is easy to reach: hop on a U-Bahn (U12 direction Warschauer Platz), get off at Schlesisches Tor, walk 200 m along the Schlesische Strasse, turn into No. 38 and in the third inner courtyard turn to the right. There a modern block with a sophisticated entrance awaits you. Press on the bell for Osho Studio and the door opens with a buzz. I am early to arrive. Krisana welcomes me by name, she must have expected me as I had signed up on Facebook to the kundalini drop-in this Monday evening.
The contrast to the dark road, littered with thousands of autumn leaves and horse chestnuts on the wet pavement, could not have been starker. A modern place welcomes me in subdued lighting. I am invited to take a seat on a comfortable sofa (and rest my tired legs) and look around. A golden metallic backdrop, originally part of a theatre set, covers one wall, and in front of me Krisana is busy brewing Yogi tea on an antique baroque sideboard (brought over from the States, she tells me). I sip the tea from a small fluted Arabic tea glass and discover below the glass table a set of Osho’s books, ready for those arriving early or for those who want to linger for a while after the meditation.
Krisana shows me the meditation room with its dance-sprung wooden floor. I later find out it is 200 square meters and that all building materials used are ecologically sustainable. Then a tour around the cleverly designed changing room, shower and toilet. Someone just comes out of the session room, a room that is sound- and light-proof, ideal for the Darkness meditation, I am told. In total almost 280 square meters to play with.
Mattresses are put down, folded in two, and a meditation pillow on top next to an orange blanket. The door bell rings, people are arriving, Krisana at the desk. They all look young, except for one man in his fifties. They drop off their coats and change into light sporty clothing. Some are ready and sit meditatively waiting for the instructions (in English).
An elegant but powerful HK music system makes our bodies shake even should they be stiff from sightseeing (like mine) or from a stressful working or study day (the others). Krisana and Ali tell me later that the great majority of participants are either students or creative people such as actors and artists; some work as 3-D animators, are musicians or from the music industry. Some of the regulars are a biologist, a professional poker player, a real estate PA and a judge. Some even come from the creative companies in the same and neighbouring courtyards. Countries of origin are as diverse as the passers-by I had seen earlier in the day while drinking a hot chocolate al fresco in one of the busy streets. It is an international crowd. We are maybe 20 or 30. The shaking is real wild shaking (no holding back) and the dancing wonderful. The final three bells are struck on a huge Tibetan singing bowl.
Mattresses and blankets are being folded again and neatly piled up, the round meditation cushions create a sculpture in front of the red-painted brick wall: a pillar of cushions between each of the four lightcolumns coming from uplighters placed on the floor. Krisana told me that Ali is not only an actor but had been working as an interior designer, which explains how he created not only the tasteful entrance but that wonderful, space-solving solution in the changing room (a set of ‘wardrope’ strings, in the middle of the room, fastened on ceiling and floor, with 4 or 5 hooks for coats). So also this red wall is one of his touches!
A few people relax on the sofas, grab an Osho book, make new friends, and others leave into the wet night. Some of them will be back tomorrow morning early for Dynamic, the last week of the 21-day series. Krisana tells me there are at least 30 regulars but that in summer they had a peak of 50 meditators for Dynamic. We arrange to meet in a café in a few days’ time so that I can get the answers to some of my questions.
The programme is (all instructions are in English):
– almost every month a 3-week Dynamic Meditation Intensive
– a bi-monthly No-Mind
– or Born Again
– Kundalini in the evenings from Monday to Friday
– Mandala on Thursdays
– Nadabrahma on Saturday afternoons
– on new moon, Darkness Meditation (in the large session room which accommodates up to 18 people – there is a waiting list!)
– on full moon, Gourishankar Meditation
– Talking to the Body is also offered during specific months
Sessions with Krisana or Ali can be booked for:
– Breath Therapy
– Neo-Reichian Bioenergetic work
– Family Constellation
And workshops/trainings in:
– Personal Transformation Processes (how to find meditation in an urban environment)
– Character Structure and Body Type
The ‘studio’ is also being rented out to other therapists. There will be Jamie & Arpita who will give a Who Is In? workshop, a Humaniversity team comes with an AUM, Trance Dance with Kiran and Jivan, but also during the day it is rented out for Pilates, Biodanza, Body Activation classes, and more…
Of course I want to hear something about the history of the place. As I understand, the framework was already set when the couple lived in New York (they offered Osho’s meditations and produced theatre plays), but they wanted to find their very own place. This could have only been possible in Berlin which, when they arrived in 2007, still had affordable rental prices so their dream could come true. After 4-5 months of renovation work the place was up and running at the beginning of 2008. (I hear the premises had previously housed a flour mill, this just for history’s sake…) They were fortunate to have some money to invest at the time, but still it was a bit of a gamble (what gamblers we sannyasins are!) mainly because Krisana found herself in a totally new environment. She kept giving her individual therapy sessions, Ali found an agent for his acting work soon after he arrived despite his 20-year absence from Germany, and at the same time they offered Osho’s meditations.
They have been putting up a theatre production once a year (more about this in a separate article. Spoiler: actors and producers on Dynamic Meditation every day!), but they skipped it this year. They wanted to dedicate more time to the ‘studio’, to bring it up to the next level. Their efforts seem to have payed off with 50 Dynamic jumpers!
“What is the recipe?” I ask Krisana.
“Marketing, marketing, marketing. One cannot expect to create a beautiful space and then hope that just the good energy attracts people without doing anything. Leaflets are being distributed (in cafés in a 10 km radius), a beautiful website created, business cards, FB presence, and this ongoing! Ali does the design – he is good at it – and I do the planning.”
The people who are coming to meditate are all young non-sannyasins, they need to be reached wherever they are. Krisana and Ali also organised a 4-hour event, The Conscious Party, where people from the street could drop in for a half hour session, be it yoga, body activation, etc. Activities often run simultaneously in the meditation hall and in the big session room. The party ended with dancing, a fitting finale in joy and consciousness – in contrast to the way one leaves a regular Berlin party: with a fuzzy head and in a depressed mood!
Last month, in September, they participated at the Forever Now Festival in Berlin, where they ran Osho’s meditations during the entire week, meeting and sharing with hundreds of participants.
Another question I had was regarding finances (a subject usually taboo in Germany). “The loan we had taken from the bank to pay for the refurbishments has been paid off. We are even now, but of course we could not live from running the Studio, and that was also not our idea. If you think you can live from running a centre you are on slippery ground, you become very uptight and tense. It is not the right energy; it has to come from overflow.”
I can sense this overflow of energy in both Krisana and Ali, the joy of putting Osho out there, fearlessly and creatively. Thanks for this wonderful meeting! And keep up the wonderful work!
Krisana Locke, originally from Australia, is co-founding director of Osho Studio. She has over 17 years’ practical experience in working with people as a trained therapist and meditation teacher, including Bioenergetics, Neo-Reichian Breath and Body Work, Family Constellation. For many years she lived and worked at the Osho Meditation Resort. Krisana has offered workshops and trainings in USA, Chile, India, Australia and now in Europe.
Ali von Stein grew up in Germany and is co-founding director of Osho Studio. Ali is an actor and theatre director and has grown in meditation for some 30 years under the guidance of Osho. He has worked as an artist, actor and director in New York City and Berlin. With his partner Krisana Locke he founded and developed The Meditation Module NYC and the Play2C / Osho Studio in Berlin.
Ali von Stein and Krisana Locke are certifying trainers for Osho Meditation Facilitators.
oshomeditationstudio.com – play2c.com