A couple of years ago, when I was just finished with my masters, and was wandering and travelling in the world in awe, I decided to take a Yoga teacher training in India, just for myself, to learn more. Previously I had attended some drop-in classes and various yoga schools. Yoga was something that had always drawn me in, yet I had no idea about the ‘correct’ techniques or what exactly I was doing in these postures. I have always loved to move my body, to do sports, but the feeling after Yoga was something I had not quite experienced with any other sport. A lightness, a calmness and such strength! Without much preparation, I decided to just dive right in, one month, 250+ hours of Yoga, pranayama (breathing and meditation), yoga philosophy, chanting, anatomy, while sitting on the ground during all classes, eating with my hands and being in silence for most parts in Mysore, India.
Pfiew, if I only would have know what that would set into motion. It was intense, some days I loved it, some days I was almost going crazy, long days in silence, just with my own voices in my head. But as my body got stronger, more flexible and I more calm, I discovered that I really loved teaching Yoga. Something during the teaching lit me up. My fellow students noticed it, and although I never aimed to teach, it was something I just thoroughly enjoyed. After this month the corona pandemic soon had me travelling back to the Netherlands. Because I did not have much of a plan, and as it turned out I loved teaching Yoga I decided to start teaching online.
These months after the teacher training were intense. The world was on lock-down, I was home while I was actually planning on travelling indefinitely and the only thing that really kept me going was this new experience of Yoga. Every single day I woke up at 5 am, laid down my mat and did my Ashtanga practise. In the beginning I was just going from posture to posture everyday, with discipline and sometimes with force. This intense period brought so much, doing the same postures everyday made me more aware of how I felt. Nothing in the sequence changed. It was just me everyday doing the same, but men, how can one day be a world of difference.
Some days I felt this strength and energy running my body. I could easily get into practise and make it all the way through. Other days I felt so tired and I really had to put an effort to even make it half way. My teacher in India was very strict and told us to practise everyday only taking Sundays off. I was dedicated, even though that sometimes meant pushing through while my body actually told me to rest. With the passing of time, I got really familiar with all these postures, could feel into my body more and more.
I got to experience what yoga could do when you woke up with a sad mind, not knowing what was going on. Like everyday, I just went to my mat and started. At some point tears started coming, and I just let them drop on the mat. I could feel the energy shifting in my body, I could feel where it was stuck. With time, the need to do the same postures in the same order everyday slowly started to change. I started to play with them according to what my body wanted to do each day.
I got to experience what yoga could do when you woke up with a sad mind, not knowing what was going on.
The tool to turn within
For me, it has been a profound tool to turn within, to have a space to feel what is going on inside, no need for words just me and the mat. And of course, it is not like that every day, sometimes my mind is so busy it is difficult to even keep going and not let me be distracted by all the other things I could do. Yet it feels like a huge gift to have a place where you can return, a tool to feel and transform when you feel stuck.
It’s always been fascinating for me how the body and its connection to our mind, can be used to make us feel better, to heal, and to grow. It’s been a fascinating journey to discover their intricate connection, and how for example postures of the body practiced in Yoga have effects on our mental and emotional positions in life. Every adjustment and fine-attunement of our mind, body, and breath during concentrated yoga can have profound effects, as your body changes structure/posture, so does your energy. This often gives us such a good feeling after our practise. We create space and let the energy flow, making our bodies and our minds lighter and stronger.
Sharing the wisdom
Yoga has brought me many things, it has shifted much in myself and my body and I love to share that with you. I deeply realize that I am another Westerner having a go at this ancient practise and that yoga contains much more than just physical asana practise. There is much much more to learn, and so much I and Western medicine and studies on Yoga do not yet know, how it exactly works and why it works the way it does. It’s a bit of a mystery and it will probably always be. And although many health benefits nowadays have been scientifically researched and ascribed to yoga (how Yoga can for example, regulate the nervous system, and how this connects to your gut. And how being in touch with your body can help process emotions and trauma): In the end, I think it is something that is best experienced by yourself.
And although I am foremost a student of Yoga, I love to share what I have learned with you. Not by just guiding classes, making sure they are safe and suitable for the people joining, but also to give you something that you can take home. I love to conduct courses that span over a couple of weeks, in which there is a practise every day, to give you a little taste of consistency and a door to your own answers and feelings inside. We focus on the body, on the postures, on the correct technique and breathing, and while doing that you can have a glimpse of what can unfold. During these courses, the postures and sequences are linked to your personal goals, obstacles you face or things you would like to change, these can be emotional, mental, or physical. These will be the guiding principles for the classes. If that sounds exciting to you, you are very welcome to send me a message!
As far as my own Yoga journey is unfolding, I just signed up for level 2, 300 hours of Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore, India. I am excited to go back, learn more, dive into an intense month once again, and have another taste of India, the most fascinating country I’ve ever visited.