Biography and development

Heinz Grill in matsyendrasana, the sitting twist.


Heinz Grill was born in May 1960 in Soyen near Wasserburg, close to Chiemsee. He spent his childhood in simple, country circumstances and in close relationship to nature. Early on he was drawn to the mountains nearby and climbing became more and more his true passion.

”But it was not only a passionate desire for achievement to reach the highest mountain peaks, to climb to the highest grade of difficulty that began then already in my twelfth year. It was more the fascination of the mountain itself, it was more the inner colour of the mountain which attracted me. The mountain became like a dream. It became a counterpart, it became a friend and master.“

This unusual motive for climbing, that Heinz Grill often undertook without ropes and all alone, was already then in great contrast to the sport-climbing scene beginning at that time. If that was more about self-affirmation and success in ”conquering“ the mountain, for Heinz Grill the aesthetic of ”pure relationship“ to the mountain was more in the foreground – an aspiration that was to become his life-motive and which came to expression in a wonderful way in ”Yoga out of the Purity of the Soul“ which he developed later.
Through caring for people with learning disabilities Heinz Grill’s path then led to alternative healing, which he ultimately began to practise in his own clinic in the nearby town of Trostberg.

”But soon after opening the practice a question arose: How can a contribution to the wider field of medicine take place and how can people be truly helped? My faith in medicines was quite limited, even in the remedies offered by alternative medicine. I was already aware at this time that healing requires something else, which can be described in its totality as ’becoming creatively active‘. It was already very clear to me that although people can indeed experience support for healing through certain plants, certain remedies, the healing itself must come from individual development. It must proceed from progress in development. The remedy cannot heal, it can only help, it can only accompany the individual, it can only support the organ, it can only balance the inflammation, but it cannot heal.“

With this Heinz Grill develops an essential, basic principle of his work and also of the new ”Will in Yoga“: He gives no exercise, no technique, no outer aid which could advance people in their development. What is crucial is the individual’s wish for greater ideals and – as mentioned above in relation to climbing – the pure relationship to life as something higher. Led by this insight Heinz Grill begins to go into the mountains, at first with small groups, in order to give those searching for better health a stimulus for their development.

”So we went into the mountains, in groups of four to six people. But it was not the knots that were learnt, only essential tuition and rules of conduct. We approached the climbing with a primary, very pure motive, so that people could get to know these elements of fear and overcome them through rhythm, through relationship, through getting to know the circumstances, through love and through innermost connection to the mountain, and in this way gather experiences in the soul.“

In these years Heinz Grill finds in Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy a kind of thinking and feeling, which is familiar to him in his innermost life, and he notices that Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual perspective has also been present in him since his childhood, and in the course of time this perspective has developed more and more, above all through his way of climbing and his relationship to nature. Now the question becomes ever more urgent for him, how to pass these inner experiences on in a suitable form.

”With this came the question of what field was appropriate in the form of a teaching, or in the form of a depiction, a representation, so that the inner knowledge about the soul, or about an inner state of relationship, could be passed on further.“

After weighing up different possibilities Heinz Grill finally finds that yoga is appropriate and completes a training as a yoga teacher. The yoga practice and the teacher-training are not for him means whereby he seeks to come to ”self-realisation“, or something he now wishes to propagate in courses. The yoga is to serve as a medium, as a basis of teaching, to be able represent and convey the knowledge of the soul, which has matured in him more and more over the years. So after his training he begins in his own teaching, not to continue the study-tradition of his teacher-training, but creates with it a completely new kind of yoga, called by him ”Yoga out of the Purity of the Soul“.

Many books are written, among others the text ”Harmony in Breathing“, which to date has hardly been altered since it was written and which carries the subtitle ”Deepening the path of yoga practice“. These books were not meant to describe only yoga-exercises, but also principally to give the foundation for ”deepening“ the path of yoga practice by the means of so-called imaginations, which are thoughts about the soul and spiritual nature of the asana (physical exercises of yoga), which Heinz Grill created from his spiritual vision.

”It was imaginations which gave the main motivation for practising and implementing the asana. Imaginations, or thoughts realised from a creative insight into the spiritual connections, were the foundation of the asana. The asanas were for me more an artistic shaping. And already at this time the emphasis was: Not through yoga should we strive for the spirit, but we should take on the yoga in a practical way and learn to comprehend the meanings from an aesthetic standpoint. Religion does not belong in the asana, if we form the asana precisely and carefully, that is to say the asana should not serve as a means to attain self-realisation and religion.“

At the same time Heinz Grill develops an ever more intense inner relationship and love for the soul and spirit of the well-known Swami Sivananda, the founder of the Sivananda line of yoga, who had already died in 1963. Heinz Grill often visits India and various ashrams.

”In a place in South India, where Sivananda himself had once spent time, the knowledge came so very close to me, through spiritual vision and intense experiential awareness, of the unity of the soul in the self, or in the light of the after-life, that the profound question of the “I am” became truly established in a cosmic way. The spirit, or the innermost life, the innermost mystery, the form in the after-life, the true vision and intensely glowing love for a holy person led to the experience itself that is in Sanskrit known as brahmavid, brahmaiva, bhavati – that which we see, that which we feel, that which we experience, that is what we become.“

But Heinz Grill does not only link to the Indian yoga tradition through these experiences, but also to an esoteric, inwardly-witnessed Christianity:

”These experiences eventually became clearer through dedication to the Gospels and other Christian spiritual writings. The experiences increased as a result of what I had witnessed. A quite remarkable, glowing experience was had on a journey to Lake Trasimeno in Umbria. With the reading of the Gospels and the true insights into these documents, my spirit became transported entirely into a holy sphere of untouchable worlds. There, in these untainted worlds of light, lay the home of my soul, which united with the gift of grace of Jesus Christ.“

Both the experiences of the East as well as the mysteries of Christianity had now opened for Heinz Grill and so it is not surprising that Heinz Grill in his book “Yoga and Christianity” does not build an outer, theological bridge between East and West, but completely out of his own inner experience smooths the way for a connection between these opposing streams of spirit.

In 1989 Heinz Grill began to train yoga-teachers himself. The training courses  were initially reminiscent in their outer framework of the Sivananda trainings: an unbelievably intense four-week yoga programme with exercises, meditations, lectures, pranayama, from early morning until late at night. Those who completed the course noticed very clearly that, apart from the enormous effect of a four-week yoga programme, still other more inner changes took place: They felt as if they had been touched and changed in their soul. They sensed that an initiation had taken place.

So these teachers were then also capable of astonishing achievements and began to teach yoga in a way that had a fascinating attraction for the participants in their courses. Through the growing success of the yoga school, the Catholic church also became aware of what was happening in the small village of Soyen. Rumours of a sect were spread and sharp Sunday sermons preached. Instinctively the village priests and the Church authorities in Munich realised that the principle of self-becoming and I-development in this yoga was much closer to the directly lived spirit of Christianity that their own fusty tradition.

Over the years many significant texts were written. Alongside the above- mentioned book ”Yoga and Christianity“, came ”The Spiritualising of the Body“, a book about advanced practice with yoga asanas. In 1996-1997 a cycle of public lectures were given by Heinz Grill, mainly in south Germany. Some of these were published in the volume ”About the Unity of Body, Soul and Spirit“. These lectures were mainly about the causes and treatment of depression, but other themes were caring for the souls of the dead and the effect of the media on children.

In 1999 Heinz Grill moved his main place of work to north Italy, close to Lake Garda. The reason for this was principally because some of his students wanted to group around him, more in the sense of passive devotees in a like-minded community, rather than courageously and independently treading the path of self-realisation.

Alongside small individual seminars and one-to-one talks, between 2000 and 2003 the main thing to take place was the Initiatory Training courses. These were detailed introductions to the path of yoga, which Heinz Grill had in the meantime begun to describe as ”A New Will in Yoga“. The content of these training courses were condensed into the 6 volumes of ”Initiatory Training in Arco“, which were published between 2000 and 2003.

In 2007 renovation commenced of a house in the heart of the village of Tenno near Riva del Garda (TN), following the architectural ideas of Heinz Grill. It was known as “Spazio d’incontro” (meeting space) because it was intended as a place of meeting between people as well as a place of meeting with new thoughts and perspectives on many areas of life. Regular seminars and courses took place there until 2013.

Today Heinz Grill works independently from the projects of his students on a small scale and in his own rooms above lake Garda. In recent years, alongside the work he has continued until today as author, seminar leader and lecturer, he has opened an abundance of climbing routes in the Sarca valley.

Many subject areas and professions have been expanded during this time through spiritual vision, and through the encounter with Heinz Grill many people have found new perspectives on life and often better health .