Heinz Grill-writer, mountain climber and philosopher
International Yoga

Heinz Grill and the artistic way of yoga

A short biography of the author of The Spiritualising of the Body.

1960 – 1985 Heinz Grill as a young mountain climber

Heinz Grill was born in 1960 near the Bavarian town of Wasserburg am Inn. He tells that he was a very nature-loving child. His mother had also promoted this by leading her children – three in number – to beautiful places in nature. His parents liked to go to the mountains. From the age of twelve, they took him to the Bavarian Alps. There he discovered his passion for the mountains and especially for rock climbing. Bert Lindauer of the local mountain club was his teacher not only for the basics of climbing, but for a feeling of closeness and respect for the mountain. Following his nature inclined to movement, Heinz Grill soon spent every free minute in the mountains. Also the teachers at school seemed to be sympathetically, when the weather was good and the place near by the window was empty, because the boy has gone by hitchhiking to the mountains.

Since he was often traveling alone for lack of comrades, Heinz Grill developed forms of solo climbing with only the most necessary equipment. This gave him a considerable speed. So it came about that at the age of 16 he already earned the reputation of a “miracle climber”. For those days when there was not yet the modern and lightweight climbing equipment, he accomplished such outrageous things as climbing two peaks up- and downwards in a single day. Because of this deep desire to be in contact with the mountains and to arrive at cosmic heights, the school and then a first professional experience as a caregiver in a home for handicapped people remained a more minor, but not indifferent matter.

1986 – 1999 Heinz Grill as a Yoga teacher

Vasishthasana-Heinz Grill
Ease characterizes the yoga positions of Heinz Grill as well as his climbing style.

As he became more and more desirous of sharing his experiences with other people, the question of the right profession became increasingly apparent. As a carer, he enjoyed being there for other people. In order to have a proper professional basis, he decided to take the naturopathy exam. Finally, he chose yoga as a future field of work to accompany others in their personal and spiritual development. So he took the way to Canada to the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center. There he got to know and to appreciate Swami Vishnudevananda. Back in Germany he opened his own yoga school. Very soon he started to train yoga teachers himself.

When the rooms of the yoga school became too small due to the work, he was able to continue working in nearby Austria. The management of the refuge house Wilhelmine, however, was no longer in his hands, as it had been in the yoga school before. He made this decision regarding the fact that the most important concern in his work as a yoga teacher was, as I said, to promote the individual development of man. For this reason it was for Heinz Grill from the very beginning a central basic principle in his work, that in a teacher-student relationship no restrictive and authoritarian structures were allowed to exist. Therefore, he was very careful not to make him a guru or to restrict the freedom of choice to those who wanted to learn about yoga, spiritual development and the like.

From the turn of the year 2000, he also spent more and more time in Arco on Lake Garda and started setting up new climbing routes with the help of some friends. He paid attention to both the beauty and the rhythm of the lines as well as to a degree of difficulty that took into account the increasing interest in climbing as an activity possible for everyone.

2000 – today, Heinz Grill as an author, philosopher and spiritual teacher

Klettern-Bild von Free-Photos auf pixabay
Arrived at the summit the mountaineer has moved closer to the cosmos

This activity to arrange climbing routes not only in Arco, but also in the Dolomites, Heinz Grill has maintained until today. In addition, he works as a book author, lecturer and seminar speaker and as a spiritual teacher with counseling interviews. – What are these teachings , which he has worked out more and more in different areas of life over the years? In the brevity, this is hard to reproduce, because  literature the created by him now includes about 100 works. Therefore, I only take a single example regarding the yoga. There are several books about yoga, written by Heinz Grill, but the most important seems to me The Soul Dimension of Yoga. The title is significant, so the yoga should be extended to a mental, a soul dimension.

In order to summarize the concept that he has newly introduced in yoga, Heinz Grill sometimes speaks of “a path from top to bottom”. This means that the practicing of yoga begins with spiritual, so-called imaginative thoughts. By these thoughts the body is guided into a specific shaping. In contrast, the traditional yoga path according to the ancient indian author Patanjali is structured in eight stages “from bottom to top”. It should lead from the body via the breath, the concentration and meditation finally to the union with the highest, universal cosmic energy as the last stage of human consciousness development. Heinz Grill now emphasizes the great temporal distance that exists today for the heyday of yoga in ancient India several thousand years ago.

This brings with it some difficulties for a direct adaptation of traditional content in the context of modern time requirements. The “path from top to bottom” is now an opportunity for spiritual deepening for each current yoga direction and every modern style of yoga. According to the statements of Heinz Grill, the New Yoga Will he developed should not be considered as an alternative method within the many modern types of yoga. It means in a concrete way that emotional life is first attuned to the imaginative thoughts chosen. Finally, this deepened sensation is expressed artistically in the execution of a position. This process can be taken into account by anyone, regardless of the chosen exercise sequence or the yoga style.

Heinz Grill and the Yoga Online Exhibition

Purna Dhanurasana-Heinz Grill
pūrṇa dhanurāsana

As I began to notice with great astonishment in my preparations for the Yoga Online Exhibition, there seem to be circles who are not well-disposed towards promoting the uniqueness of human individual development, such as there is the Catholic Church of Bavaria in Germany. Evidently there are efforts in such circles to exclude persons who are as independent as Heinz Grill, from the social context. I have personally experienced that these are serious violent and dishonest attacks, see also The History of this exhibition.

If you are further interested, you can contact Heinz Grill personally via his website Contributions to a new Yoga Will or you can have a look to his books in English language.

Text sources (19-03-14): Heinz Grill reports on himself in an autobiographical booklet from the year 1996. Further information on his career can be found in the interview published on youtube Künstler-Porträt eines universellen Talentes (in German language) as well as on the website citated above. Autobiographical interweaving can also be found in various books and lecture speeches.

I have taken note of the following works while working on the biography: The Soul Dimension of Yoga (see above), The Spiritualising of the Body, Das Hohelied der Asanas (not translated in English), Erklärung, Prophylaxe und Therapie der Krebskrankheit (not translated in English). On the Internet: “Gesprächsrunde” Daniele Ganser und Heinz Grill, Heinz Grill – Sekte – Sektenmerkmale, Podiumsgespräch mit Axel Burkart und Heinz Grill (all videos in German language)

Image sources (19-03-14): Featured image-wikipedia, Vasishthasana-Image scan from Heinz Grill, Das Hohelied der Asanas, p.71, mountains-image from Free-Photos on pixabay

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