Kundalini Yoga is exactly what I was looking for – Interview with Tim
A torn ligament painfully put Tim on the path that leads up to where he is today: a travelling Kundalini Yoga Teacher in hiking boots, curiously following the winding road until the point where it dissolves into the future. Meeting Tim Schipper is meeting a guy with two feet firmly planted on the earth. Tim is foremost a warm personality with a sense of humor and a solid intuition. He wasn’t born with a turban on his head, but it seems he was gifted with determination, an interest in people and a knack for conveying knowledge.
Before yoga there was soccer, lots of it, and the certainty of becoming a sports teacher. Then, in the final year of high school, there was that ligament. Although growing up his family life wasn’t necessarily spiritual, Tim obviously had an inclination to it. During the eighteen-month rehabilitation he read a novel, ‘The Celestine Prophecy’, that introduced him to spiritual terminology and the value of coincidence, tried some yoga for his injured body and even followed a course of Reiki. In the mean while he had started his psychology studies, ánd he found his way to the student gym’s offer of yoga classes. “As fanatical as I had been at soccer, I was now at yoga”, says Tim.
“Yoga was a way to bring the theory to life”
“After two courses of alignment yoga I wanted to explore the philosophy behind it”, Tim continues. “I obviously had to read a lot related to my studies, but my learning process benefits by dóing something. Yoga was a way to bring the theory to life – because of the self-insight, by learning to observe how thoughts are conjured and, subsequently, how you can make choices based on those insights.” Studying, practice, offering vegetarian soup and a yoga class to fellow students – yoga seeped into each aspect of Tim’s life, causing him to take a gap-year.
“I was already working on a sailboat and I took the year off to travel. On that boat is where I first tasted freedom, seeing dolphins in the North Sea, experiencing true space, around me and consequently in my head.” After that, on the road in Asia, Tim consciously looked for buddhism and ended up staying in India for two months. “There I had the chance to fully explore that side of me. The philosophy, the oriental medicine, it resonated with me and helped me see the world from a totally new perspective.”
“I had the ambition to unite yoga and psychology”, Tim reflects upon his return to university. He obtained his master degree with a thesis on meditation, a subject only few scientific articles had featured. “At that time I wanted to move on in my yoga practice and was orienting on a yoga-psychology course. I found an Amsterdam school that thought on Ibiza. This was my first acquaintance with Kundalini yoga, which turned out to be the foundation of the theory. It was exactly what I was looking for.”
“I had the ambition to unite yoga and psychology”
That’s when ‘guy’ Tim became yogi full time. He worked at the back-office of the school, started leading morning Sadhanas for experience, and began his teacher training. Enter turban, not just a piece of fabric wrapped around your head, but a tool and a means of peace and protection. And a statement. “Wearing it in public really felt like coming forward about being a spiritual person. It was challenging, having to ignore judgement, my own and that of others. My South-German grand parents didn’t understand it, their only reference to white clad men in turbans were the Taliban. I know I alienated some people because of it, but I needed to choose me, needed to experience what it felt like to be in touch with myself. It taught me to be more intuitive and speak form the heart. Now I have the liberty to choose if I wear it.”
Tim doesn’t feel he’s removed from ‘normal’ life, even though he chose to make his practice more important than other things. On the contrary, it enables him to deal with the speed and pressure that come with running an online business, focussing on what needs to be done. “It may seem I’m constantly meditating, but in fact I am working very hard. I’m in touch with other professionals all the time, facing the fear of asking money for what I’m doing, getting out of the comfort zone.” To prove his point, Tim, after eating that lentil burger with parmesan cheese in spite of his vegan diet, confesses he went to see Ajax play a soccer game. “They are also fanatically focussing on getting the best out of themselves, it’s just a different form.”
“I learned many kriyas by heart, but ‘nothing’ happened. And then I hit the wall”
“I wanted to be the best yogi there is”, Tim remembers. “I learned many kriyas by heart, but ‘nothing’ happened. And then I hit the wall. I was translating our society’s mindset to the yoga mat. I needed a teacher to see there’s more than that. Mooji baba, a great teacher, says you don’t need yoga to be yourself. Now I train patience, creating space to make mistakes. That’s also what I can give to others. Everything I learn in my own process I want to pass on, including the joy and pleasure my travels and endeavors bring me. That’s what I aspire.”