Let’s get to know captain Janke a little bit better, she is not only a captain of EUROPA but also a yoga enthusiast! Find out more about her tips on staying relaxed while sailing the high seas!🌊
Q: How do you manage to balance the responsibilities of being a captain and a yoga instructor?
I only practice yoga for myself at the moment. Maybe in the future I would like to teach yoga, but then I would have to be home regularly. I can’t expect people to try to stick to my sailing schedule. And while being a captain I already have to instruct people a lot, so when I’m off the ship I do feel more like following instructions a bit. At least in that part of my life 😉.
Q: Can you tell something about the poses in the pictures?
I just love hanging upside down….it refreshes your brain when the blood flows through it and it makes people laugh and therefore having a good moment. Specially when it is a bit rough a little distraction might make people feel better by taking their attention away from being seasick. I also love to stand on my head, but that is not always possible when sailing, but, I do try regularly. The folding forward pose gives a good stretch to legs, hips and back. Plus it makes it easier to pull the attention inward.
Q: What type of yoga do you practice?
I mainly practice Dynamic Hatha yoga. Recently I also started to learn Ashtanga, in that I’m a beginner.
Q: Has practicing yoga influenced your leadership style or decision-making as a captain?
Yes, my yoga practice started 12 years ago. At first it was mainly a physical practice, stretching my body, gaining flexibility and strength. Of course as an advantage I got calmer and more balanced, but I did not notice that straight away. The last 5 years, and especially the last 2,5, I am capable of paying way more attention to the process. My approach of yoga has gotten more attentive and inward focussed. By that I found out that although my mind sometimes wants a lot of things, I can only do what is best for me at the moment. So that means that I should not always listen to my head telling me that I have to achieve things, or push myself. It shows me to take the situation as it is and make the best out of the possibilities that are really around, not the ones that my mind makes up. This has led to a much milder approach to myself and therefore also to others. This saves a lot of energy from going into being annoyed or angry. That leaves energy to attentively assess a situation, see what is really needed and then act upon that. In the end it has made my decisions more thoughtful, firm and clear. Nicer for everybody on board.
Q: How do you find time to continue your yoga practice while on board the ship?
That is a hard one. The last years I mainly sailed to Antarctica. The watch system does not always allow for time to do a real long practice. I try to squeeze in some time on the mat when I can. But…of course those circumstances are not always the easiest. Sometimes it is already hard to stay laying in your bunk or sit on a bench. In those situations doing proper yoga is not really possible. Then I try to meditate or take a moment to focus on my breathing. And sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Then I leave it for a while and start again when the situation is easier.
Q: Are there any specific yoga poses or other tips that you recommend to voyage crew while on board?
No, only if people have specific things they experience. The main thing on board is to try to do something that is relaxing, safe and not causing any injury. I mainly stick to telling people to try to stretch every limb regularly. I makes the blood flow and relaxation more possible. Specially after rough weather it is nice to get the tension out of your system and remember the body to relax again.
Q: Are there any other sports being practiced on board?
Yes. Often there are people organizing some kind of workouts on the deck when possible. And I’ve seen some nice contests throughout the years. Still wanting to join a planking contest again, or the pull-up one which I could not do anymore due to an injury. Luckily that is going much better, so who knows in the upcoming future...
📷 Richard Simko