A movement teacher’s life in Hamburg

Nikolai Pawlas – The Art To Move.

Good coffee is almost a religion to Nikolai, so we meet at Nord Coast Coffee Roastery — his second living room. Nikolai has a tall and strong physique, and doesn’t stop moving during the interview: from his seat on the couch he moves into a squat position on the floor, and back again.

How does your day normally start?

“After getting up in the morning my breakfast is coffee with 3 whole eggs in it. It’s pretty delicious and it looks pretty disgusting but it tastes like cookie dough. I look forward to it every morning. We can also call it Uovoccino, it’s a fancier nickname that sounds much better than egg coffee. And with just around 700 calories I would say it’s a well rounded breakfast.”

What are your morning rituals?

“I have different rituals but sure: I wake up like the rest of the mortals, no earlier that 9 am because the body needs to have a proper rest. In the morning I usually wake my body and mind up with some movement and some kind of consciousness practise.just the regular stuff you know.

The evening is for my own practise and then teaching classes, learning, studying or meeting up at some of my favorite cafes in Hamburg: good coffee is something people within the movement community take very seriously.”

If your breakfast is a Uovoccino, is your lunch also that weird special?

“I try to just eat real food. I don’t follow any special nutritional plan but I try to cook a lot at home. Of course, I also enjoy good burgers! In Hamburg, for example, my favourite ones are at The Burger Lab or Brooklyn Burger Bar.”

How did you get into movement training? Is that cooler than going to the gym and lift weights? Cooler than crossfit? Convince me!

“I was a really active kid so I jumped from course to course. When the time at school came to an end I did different training licenses and worked as a regular fitness trainer for some years. Then I realized it’s pretty boring and leads to nothing, it’s kind of empty. Movement is just an umbrella term for the relationship with your mind and body.”

Did you ever get obsessed with training?

“Well yes, of course. However, I believe if that kind of obsession is based on fear or negative emotions – yes it can have a horrible effect. But if you become obsessed just because you enjoy it so much then it’s safe, and it’s an entirely different story.”

Why is it then that you look fit as fuck super fit? Is that not the aim of movement training?

“Let’s say many people do traditional training to get validation from other people and look good naked. But the motivation behind movement training is being conscious about every single muscle and movement you can do with your body. Develop a body that is capable of moving without limitations. That takes a long time, patience and discipline.”

How do you run your trainings? You mentioned meeting in the park to climb trees. How can that work in Hamburg? Are you kidding me?

My classes are always different and cover a big variety of topics. Often it involves games, coordination, timing, feeling for rhythm, solving movement problems with your body. I also teach specific classes to develop strength and mobility. For people who are very committed and want to move forward I offer online coaching, which involves a program especially tailored to your needs and weekly check ups on the progress. but I also run online coaching sessions. You get a program and feedback about its execution. The classes are for everyone, don’t get scared about my videos (laughs). Those only show what’s possible and what you could eventually achieve.”


“Movement training is about practice, mindset and awareness. It’s more like a lifestyle: you practice it — you don’t train it.”


How long do you train per week on average?

“Around 15 hours a week. However, when you develop a certain relationship with your body, you’re actually training all the time: you take advantage of every opportunity to explore movements, for example jumping up a flight of stairs or running to catch a bus.”

If you want to join Nikolai for a session do not miss his handstand classes at Flashh every Sunday . You can also contact him for a private session or coaching and follow him on Instagram.

Here you can find more information about the facilitator and founder of the idea of movement training from Israel: Ido Portal 

Author: Sabela García Cuesta
@HHSabela (Twitter / Instagram)

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