Living Simple in Abundance

Lakshmi is the Goddess of abundance, good fortune and fertility. She also represents worldly and spiritual success, beauty, love, harmony and kindness. Upon her blessing you will be filled with her own qualities such as gratitude, forgiveness, generosity and healing. She is Vishnu’s wife and their marriage symbolizes the coming together of the masculine and feminine energy. Lakshmi’s energy is nourishing and cooling which balances the fiery energy of Kali and the blazing energy of Durga, all Shakti Goddesses.  Lakshmi is called upon for harmony in relationships, self-esteem issues, fertility issues and/or if you are struggling with a sense of lack in any area of your life. “Above all, she is inviting you to stop looking at the surface of life to see your beauty and success. She cries out to you to stop comparing yourself to others in a negative way, instead turn inside and connect with the magic and beauty already present.” Inspiring and clear words about Lakshmi from yoga teacher Sianna Sherman. She is the Goddess to encourage you to be grateful every day, especially for those ‘normal’ aspects and material in your life that we often take for granted: the house you are able to live in, the food you put in your body every day, the sun you feel on your skin, the clothes your wear, your ability to sense, feel, see, hear and smell, your physical body and all its abilities etc.

You could call upon Lakshmi for more worldly success in terms of money, fame and outward beauty. Though this can easily turn into a so called ‘shadow’ side of Lakshmi which can take form in attachments to material goods, corruption, greed, consumerism, enormous difference between the rich and poor. One of Lakshmi’s lessons is that what we really crave is not more stuff, but the inner experience of abundance and beauty. The sense of sufficiency or satisfaction is a key ingredient for happiness and can be seen as a primal Lakshmi feeling state or the felt sense of having enough. All Shakti Goddesses are an aspect of our life force or prana. Therefore the sense of sufficiency of abundance and beauty in our lives is already within us, it is ‘only’ a matter of connecting with this magical feeling. Lakshmi is inviting you to simply being present and putting our best and most authentic effort in whatever we do. (Source ‘Awakening Shakti, the transformative power of the Goddesses of Yoga’ by Sally Kempton).

This doesn’t mean we all have to turn into minimalists and live from the sun. Lakshmi reminds me of the niyama (observances within the yoga philosopy) santosha or contentment. One of my teachers once explained santosha as ‘living simple so that other people can live simple lives too.’  For me this is a beautiful yogic way of living, taking and having enough for you to fulfil your needs, so there is enough left for others to do the same. This is such a key and important message if we think of the climate crisis. At the moment I am reading a Dutch book about our earth and climate (‘Hoe gaan we dit uitleggen, onze toekomst op een steeds warmere aarde’, Jelmer Mommers) which talks a lot about our CO2 emissions and states that the 1% richest people on our planet are producing the same amount of CO2 emissions as the poorest 50%!! I hope this shocks you as much as it did me! For me this is a reminder that taking much more than you need is damaging your surroundings, all living beings, our planet AND I believe it doesn’t create any more internal abundance. Now more than ever it is the time to wake up and realize what your priorities are in life. Do we all need two cars, a big house and garden, holidays far away from home, the latest phones and ipads and new clothes and furniture according to the latest trends?

I have realized more and more what makes me connect with the primal Lakshmi feeling state of inner sufficiency: for me that is having the freedom to step on my pushbike and go into nature with my beautiful boys, being able to practice yoga and meditate, to have time to prepare healthy yummy food, to have time to bring my boys to school and put them to bed, to be able to spend quality time with my family and friends, to move my body every day and being able to have some time to myself to write this piece! At times I compare myself to college friends; most of them have well earning and well respected jobs. I have received a Master’s degree in International Public Health, though I have never had a well earning or well respected job! Though, I am happy to say that I am content and joyful with my life. I can’t and don’t want to join in the rat race of life and career that I see happening around me some times, also in the yoga world. What are we striving for? What are we trying to gain? Lately I have experienced that turning inward in form of meditation, pranayama, listening to a beautiful song or just sitting can fill my heart with contentment. I turn inward and connect with the abundance already there. What makes your heart sing?


The Whangarei Falls, where the water flows abundantly

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Angelina Jolie as a Shakti Goddess

Durga is the warrior goddess of inner strength, protection and courage. Like Parvati and Kali, she represents the Shakti, the feminine divine power. Though Durga remains independent and will never be married to a man. Durga can be translated as a fort or a place that is protected and thus difficult to reach. Besides a warrior goddess, she is also a mother goddess and a beautiful attractive woman. Angelina Jolie holds the Durga personal archetype in many of her films, as well as in her activist and personal life. This great Durga woman example and more details about Durga in this blog comes from the book: Awakening Shakti. The transformative Power of Goddesses of Yoga by Sally Kempton. This is a wonderful book if you are passionate to dive into the characteristics and qualities of the different goddesses. Like Angelina Jolie, Durga is a powerful and confident woman or force and at the same time irresistibly beautiful and sexy, but not in the need or having the desire for a man to protect and care for her. Instead she is the one taking care of those in need. You call upon Durga for protection and a safe place literally or more symbolically.

Durga rides a roaring lion or a tiger. She has long flowing hair, bangles, necklaces and a crown. She is a warrior woman with eight hands carrying weapons: spear, mace, discuss, bow, sword, conch, lotus (representing fertility) and a rosary. Durga also possesses three eyes which represent agni (fire), surya (sun) and chandra (moon). Durga, also called divine Shakti protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces, such as: negative energy, arrogance, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, greed and selflishness. Durga is the other half of Shiva, he is the form, and she is the expression. Shakti (Durga) is considered to be the mother of the universe, while Shiva is the father. It is believed that by chanting “Om Sri Durgaya Namah”, Durga will remove the physical, mental and worldly problems in life and shower us with her unlimited blessings. Durga is the one who takes us through difficulties, a crisis or when you are struggling to make a decision. No challenge is too big for her and she has unlimited amounts of patient and always keeps a sense of humor, even in the most challenging (spiritual) fights. Durga’s fierceness arises out of her uniquely potent compassion. She is the deity to call upon when you are in deep trouble. She will always appear when we need her to protect our world and she promises to move mountains to rescue us from every form or evil, including the evil we ourselves create.

Her key teachings are to never doubt your own power to stand firmly in your own truth and to call forth your fearless heart. You can recognize her in the strong winds, crashing waves and in powerful leaders who take groups of people through a crisis or war. For me the current prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern is a wonderful powerful yet compassionate example of a Durga woman. Durga is one of the most popular goddesses in India, especially young Indian women, the icon of liberation and power. Durga Shakti doesn’t cradle you. Instead she lends you strength to do what you have to do. Durga women don’t cry easily. In fact, they often don’t show emotion, especially not negative. Questions to ask Durga can be:

  • What is the major inner obstacle I have to face now?
  • What do I need to let go of?
  • What should I be paying more attention to?

I am not sure about you, but for me this brings up enough things to consider. At times I feel like the opposite of a Durga woman, I cry very easily and I am sensitive and therefore emotional at times. I would love to invoke more of Durga’s courage and inner strength and at the same time not ignore my sensitivity like I have tried to do in the past. What I would like to let go of is the perfectionist in me, especially as a wife, householder, woman and a yoga teacher. Therefore I need to trust more on myself and that all will turn out well in the end, probably different from what I had in my mind or expected. A major inner obstacle for me at the moment is to be patient on my journey to balance. After hectic stressful years, life is starting to slow and settle down, though my mind isn’t always calm and settled and a lot of seemingly enjoyable activities can bring up stress. That realization can bring up stressful thoughts in itself! The way to this obstacle isn’t ignoring or trying to fight it, instead acceptance and compassion is the key. That life is already good as it is including the ups and downs. Paying more attention to this very moment and the joy of my still little innocent and wise kids is the key. In this way, this very moment becomes the fort, the save place that Durga symbolizes. A symbolic place right here and now that protects me from all my disempowering and worrying thoughts. You can ask yourself the question: “Is there a problem right here in this moment?” This very question returns me back to my fort.

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Letting my wild woman roar

Kali is the fierce powerful goddess we all have in ourselves and an incarnation of Parvati. She was born out of the third eye of the goddess Durga, who got so enraged that her anger burst from her forehead in the form of Kali, representing hatred. Kali is the one full of confidence and strength. She is also known as ‘Crazy Kali’ and her feature confirms that: she looks scary and wild and has wide open eyes with her tongue sticking out and four arms. She is usually symbolized with a sword in one hand and a cut off head in her other hand. She is also called the ‘Black Mother’, ‘the Dark’ or ‘the Awful One’. Kali is the female counterpart of Shiva and is symbolizing transformation through destruction. Her energy is purifying, since she destroys all demons and evil that keeps us from living our life to the fullest and in order to let the light of good triumph.

Kali is the one to call upon if you would like to transform or change aspects of your life and shed unnecessary baggage or to connect with the fierce goddess within you to cultivate courage, inner strength and confidence. Kali often appears in dark tough times when change is unavoidable and necessary such as illness, heart break, financial loss and career change, when boundaries are being pushed. She is done with the old way of doing things. Without her husband Shiva, Kali’s power could go unchecked and destroy the universe. Shiva’s clear light of consciousness gives direction to this powerful energy. Kali’s energy isn’t only about destruction, power and strength. She also reminds us to incorporate a feminine energy that is creative and playful. Kali is also connected to the first chakra and therefore has a grounding and stabilizing effect.

I can definitely use some fierce Kali energy. I recently discovered that I carry an unhealthy vow or belief with me. I felt responsible for the emotions and happiness of those people around me that are vulnerable or can perceived as weaker. When I discovered this (with the help of family constellations and journey therapy) I transformed this belief into a more healthy and supporting one: My happiness inspires people around me to choose for happiness as well. I can be that fierce and crazy Kali lady that walks her own path and chooses happiness without being responsible for the reactions of others.

This for me represents Kali: to shed away any dark layers and unhealthy habits that prevent you from living your life and follow your dreams. A couple of weeks ago, I also decided to delete my facebook account which has given me space and time to live my own life and be more focused on my immediate surroundings. I kept holding on to my facebook account, because I kept telling myself that it is necessary for growing my work as a yoga teacher. However, it was mainly an energy and time sucker and it feels much more peaceful and calm not to spend my time on social media platforms.

Kali also reminds me not to carry my sensitivity on my sleeve. Instead, share my struggles and worries with the right people at the right time. Lately, I have received plenty of reminders that sharing my emotional and mental world can often be misinterpreted. When I let my inner Kali be present, I can stand firmly in my shoes and beliefs and not to let me throw off balance by other people’s opinions and judgments. The reality is that not everybody will like me or what I am doing. So instead of pleasing others, I focus more on pleasing myself. I invite you to let your inner Kali roar too and be a bit crazy like Kali at times and stick your tongue out!


Goddess Kali standing right on top of her husband Shiva (Source: http://www.drsvoboda.com/resources/articles/when-kali-comes-to-call/)

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New Beginnings with Ganesha

My son holding a little Ganesha

Ganesha, the friendly and loving elephant God, who is placed in front of many doors and entrances, the remover of obstacles, the gatekeeper. Ganesha, like other Hindu deities, invites us to connect with this energy within us, not to worship outside of us. The start of a new beginning like a new year is the perfect time to connect with Ganesha’s playful energy and attitude. Ganesha isn’t only seen as a remover of obstacles (inner and outer), but also as the one who places obstacles on your path for you to grow and learn.

2018 has been a year with many challenges and obstacles while remigrating to The Netherlands after 7 years of living in New Zealand. I arrived in New Zealand with two suitcases filled with clothes and shoes and 1 year work and holiday visa while being crazily in love with a special Dutch-Kiwi guy. After almost 7 years far away from my family, I came back with a family myself and a container filled with belongings. Last year we sold our home in New Zealand and bought a home in The Netherlands, we packed all our belongings and unpacked those 6 months later. On my birthday, the 17th of June we said goodbye to Whangarei, the birth place of both our sons and the next day we boarded an airplane only uncertainty ahead. Those long flights, first to Bali and then to The Netherlands, aren’t something we are keen to repeat in a hurry. My eldest son still tells us he doesn’t want to go on an airplane, because it is “too long”. I am still traumatised by the memory of having to change his poo nappy while screaming and kicking in a tiny airplane toilet when he finally did poo after a long time of holding it.

Fortunately, we experienced two summers in a row last year! And Holland had the most warm and beautiful summer in years, as if, with all those obstacles being faced and overcome, ‘something’ let us know we were supported. My husband found work easily (we also got married in 5 minutes on a Monday morning last year) and my family has been extremely supportive and helpful. We ended up living in a small cabin on a camping for 5 months. Let’s just say that I am glad this tiny house living experience with two active young boys, is over. Those boys + my crazy mind, sensitivity,  worries, thoughts and emotions have giving us many sleepless nights last year. Being sleep deprived and then still not being able to sleep is something I don’t wish upon anyone.

So 2019, I am so ready for you! The year of plenty of new beginnings: new country, new surroundings, new home, new yoga studio and community, new pre-school for my eldest, new social network to build up, new jobs. Even though I am very happy that we made the decision to move back to The Netherlands, I also have many sweet memories to New Zealand and all the friends and family living there we have to miss now. Hence the decision to (try) keep writing this blog in English, to stay in touch and connected. So please excuse spellings errors and mistakes and embrace my perfectly imperfect self. My intention for 2019 is to feel and experience JOY in every aspect of my life. Something I have missed a lot last year.

Ganesha with his beautiful round belly represents abundance as well as the ability to digest emotions, food, impressions and thoughts with ease. He also symbolizes strength and stability. Qualities I would like to call upon in this year of new beginnings. Ganesha, also known as Ganapati, is often seen with a friendly smile on his face, reminding me to love myself and others, especially when life throws you curveballs. When the going gets tough Ganesha might have placed obstacles on my path for those stubborn parts in me which can do with some more learning. You could see it as tough love.

Ganesha has big ears to remind me to listen carefully and his trunk is a reminder to be careful what you put in your body and mind, be discriminative. If I think of elephants, I also think of playfulness and strength and the courage to keep going in the direction of your heart and to embrace an attitude of playfulness in all you do. When you look at Ganesha what do you see and feel? Yoga is for all of us a unique experience and yet the same. “Same, same, but different”, they would say in many countries where you can find elephants in the wild. What I have realized (again) in the last year, is that yoga keeps me sane, joyful, happy and inspired. Therefore I am very grateful I have yet found another wonderful yoga studio to share my passion for this powerful practice. You can join met on Saturday mornings 10am at MK Studio in Waalwijk.

From my Ganesha-heart to yours,

Jacinta Lammers


Can you connect with your inner playful Ganesha?

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Inspiring books about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood

After my last blog, I decide to write up another list of inspiring books. This time about Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood. 🙂 I will also link to recommended reading on another website, which I thought to be awesome! Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood can be amazing, very hard and challenging and wonderful all at the same time. I often say, being/becoming a mother is the most wonderful and the hardest ‘job’ I have ever done in my life. You only know and feel this through experience. I feel that in our society being ‘just’ a mother is underestimated and looked down upon. While in my eyes it is one of the most important and most hardest (unpaid) ‘jobs’ you can have. Suddenly you have a precious human being in your arms, you are a mum, with not much or none training or experience and you are left to take care of this little baby. The last 16 months of my life, have been as a mum and it is so beautiful and I love my little boy immensely and it is also Damn Hard Work and mentally exhausting. He is never been a good sleeper, so since he has been born I have never had quite enough sleep myself. I am not looking for compliments or sympathy, rather I encourage and invite other women and mums to share our struggles as well as our wonderful moments. So instead of the one sided picture often portrayed at social media, (new) mums and our society get the real deal. I hope this is helpful to you and of course Merry Christmas and a Fantastic New Year. My mum duties are calling, so I will leave you to it.

Pregnancy & Childbirth books:

Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Hypnobirthing by Marie F. Mongan  ( I also enjoyed reading similar work often titled ‘Gentle birthing’)

Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby: Ayurveda and Yoga for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth Book by Margo Shapiro Bachman

Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful by Gurmukh (I actually haven’t read this book myself, but the description of it, sounds perfect. I would definitely try to read this book when I am expecting again. This book is from the recommended reading from another website as mentioned above, for more great recommendations: One Heart Yoga recommended reading

Mother’s Breath: A Definitive Guide to Yoga Breathing, Sound and Awareness Practices for Pregnancy, Birth, Post-Natal Recovery and Mothering by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli (This book is also still on my to read list, I have the feeling this is a wonderful and practical book)

Mum and Baby yoga books:

Baby Om, for Mothers and Babies by Laura Staton and Sarah Perron

Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby, The Yoga Workout for New Moms by Jyothi Larson

Yoga and Motherhood:

Spilt Milk Yoga, a guided self-inquiry to finding your own wisdom, joy and purpose through Motherhood by Cathryn Monro (The book I am currently reading at the moment, lots of inspiration and wisdom, as well as a reminder that Motherhood is a spiritual journey in itself).

Mothering from your center, Tapping Your Body’s Natural Energy for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting by Tami-Lynn Kent (This book is also on my to read list. I have read several of her books, which I thought were interesting, inspiring and enjoyable)

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