Posts Tagged With: happiness

Looking back after 3 years in Kiwiland

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Stubborn Adventure

Stubborn, sensitive and impatient, these characteristics are all known to me. I see them as strengths, they have brought me where I am today: New Zealand. Three years ago, I stepped on a plane to follow my heart with two suitcases filled with clothes and shoes. What else do you need? I said goodbye to my dear family and friends. My mum was crying, I wasn’t this time, since after being separated for six months; I was finally going to see my love again. All the preparations were finished, I was going to step on a plane and start a new adventure. I couldn’t wait! A one-year-try out, that was the plan. We had hardly been together since the first time we met. He went off to China and I went off to Africa. After 4 months I finally came back in The Netherlands and in the meantime he had booked his one-way ticket to New Zealand. We fell in love anyway and enjoyed our time together for the next two months. In the midst of a starting relationship, when the butterflies are abundant and the love is intense, we had to say goodbye. He had made his decision to go back to his beloved New Zealand, a final short love affair would be a good way to end all his years in Holland, was the thought in the back of his mind. I don’t think he realised he was dating a pretty stubborn young lady, who was going to follow her heart, no matter where that would lead her.

Sensitive Challenge

Three years later, we have bought a house and I am teaching yoga and guiding people through inner Journey. I could never have imagined my life would be like this, if you would have asked me five years ago. I exchanged my pushbike for a car and my apartment for a spacious home with a bit of land, chickens and a veggie garden. I exchanged my busy life for a more back to earth relaxing lifestyle. My birthday is now in the middle of ‘winter’ and Christmas is celebrated on the beach. I have exchanged the plenty of good shopping opportunities in Holland for plenty of beautiful quiet beaches in Northland. Lots of change and challenge have appeared for this sensitive soul and will still appear. When I was in my teenage years, I decided to get my driver license as the first one of my sisters. My parents were a bit surprised, their sporty, spiritual, environment friendly daughter was going to get a driver license? Most of the time in my childhood we were without a car, we did everything by bicycle. I really treasure those memories, of our special cosy family. I have never been a fan of driving a car, although I really love my car now, especially on a rainy cold day, so I stay warm and dry. My one secret reason to get my license, was the idea I had in the back of my mind: working in the midst of Africa doing development work and driving around in a jeep. I imagined myself making a real difference to the world, and to truly assist others living a better/happier/healthier life.

Finally feeling and finding love

After several trips to Africa, my eyes opened. Do I really make a difference? Why do I want to make a difference? Do I want to boost my ego? I realized I had so much more work to do on myself, before I was truly able to assist others. The people I met on my trips appeared to look more joyful and happy than the average European. Who needs to learn from whom? I realised that I was trying to do good, while my inner world was rumbling: insecure and restless. If you haven’t connected with the peace, quietness and contentment within you, how are you going to create more contentment in the world, outside you? The Journey was extremely helpful for me to live a more joyful, happy, content and truthful life. One of my last trips to Africa involved Journey Outreach: this was a rewarding, fun, challenging and interesting time. Doing journey work while in the so-called developing countries and my beloved Africa, would be the perfect combination. While occupied with travelling and where to go and live, my love suddenly arrived. As impatient as I am, I had been longing for romantic love for a long time and had written down plenty of pages in my diary on how my ideal partner would look like, behave and so on. I often doubted if I would ever meet the right guy. I promised myself, I would rather stay by myself than choose for a relationship that didn’t feel 100% truthful, fulfilling and happy.

Togetherness

We have learnt and experienced so much together. I can’t imagine living apart anymore. So yes, I would recommend everyone to follow your heart, no matter how scary, unknown, uncertain or awkward that might be. If you really trust your heart, your life will be an amazing journey. My uncertainty and doubts about work has completely disappeared when I decided to teach yoga and meditation. I feel immense grateful to be able to share my passion to follow your heart and live the life of your dreams. I believe that if I can assist in creating more inner peace in myself and others, I truly make a difference in the world. It is rewarding and so empowering to do and live your passion. My dear friends in Africa, I haven’t forgotten about you. My intention is to promote a more mindful way of living to benefit the whole world. Yes, I dream big. I hope to arrive again on African soil one day; to integrate my practice on and off my yoga mat. As a thank you for how Africa taught me to slow down, to appreciate the little things in life, to truly live like we are all connected as ONE.

I deeply bow to all the teachers in my life, especially to one of the most inspiring, wise, empowering and enormously missed woman in my life: my mum.

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Categories: Freedom, Happiness, Inspiration, Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confessions of a White Yogini

More Confessions! Read my latest article on Elephant Journal:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/06/confessions-of-a-white-yogini-jacinta-aalsma/

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The Manipura Chakra

The third or navel chakra is the energy centre of the life force and is located behind the navel in the area of the solar plexus and digestive system. The manipura chakra is associated with the element fire and it represents personal power, self-esteem, vitality, digestion and assertiveness. This chakra can give you the sense of complete satisfaction and contentment and is the seat of the intellect. It is associated with the colour yellow and it corresponds with the fire element in the body. Fire is required in the body for digestion and assimilation, both on a physical and mental level. Glands and organs associated with the third chakra are the pancreas, liver, spleen and the organs of digestion (small intestine). The emotion associated with this chakra is anger. The sense for this energy centre is sight and cognitive thinking, sometimes referred to as a ‘gut feeling’ when you try to figure something out.

Manipura Chakra

Manipura Chakra

Blocks in the navel chakra

If your third chakra is blocked, you feel powerless and frustrated. It can lead to low levels of energy, motivation, low self-esteem and difficulty making decisions. You are unable to move forward in your life and you may be unhappy in a current relationship or career or struggle with addictions. Fear is an emotion that will block this energy centre, for example you are afraid to make changes in your life. If you allow yourself to feel this fear and visualize the worst possible situation you are able to diffuse it. Your confidence is often diminished when there is criticism of fear of being criticized, fear of rejection or fear of making a fool of one self. Individual personal strength allows you to make decisions in your life that are not governed by your fears; instead it gives you the ability to act without always worrying what others may think. A weak third chakra can also result in feelings of anger and aggression or holding of guilt and self-doubt within. You may find yourself looking outward for validation and feeling deprived of the sweet things in life. This imbalance directly affects your ability to project your will into manifestation. On the other hand, over-confidence, pride and being too assertive indicates imbalance as well and could be the result of an excessive third chakra. Over-confidence and showing off can be a cover-up from your lack of personal power. Perfectionism, anger, hatred and too much emphasis on power, status and recognition are all signs of an excessive third chakra. An excessive third chakra could lead to too much heat in the body. With too much fire in your body, it is highly likely that you develop digestive problems.

Fire in your belly

Fire in your belly

Balance the third chakra

A balanced third chakra results in a healthy level of confidence and the ability to manifest your intentions and desires. In order to open the third chakra, you must utilize your personal will power and take personal responsibility for you life and your current situation. So stop blaming other people or external circumstances, since playing the victim, will certainly keep your third chakra closed. If you stimulate your personal ability to complete tasks and make choices that are not a reaction to your fears, then you strengthen your confidence and will power. If you have a balanced third chakra you have unlimited energy, excellent health, strong will power, the ability to make commitments and a solid inner balance. Practice acts of personal courage and doing things you are good at and love to do can nourish this chakra. If you do what makes you happy and not what makes everyone else happy, others will recognize your individuality and they will know what your limits are. They will respect you more and this allows you to be an exemplary leader and to be fully aware of the effects of your actions have on others. This leads to a strong sense of self-worth, self esteem which in turn increases our ability to help others.

And enjoy!

And enjoy!

Yoga and balance

Nowadays, people tend to pay little attention to their body’s natural energy levels. It seems like we have become masters in ignoring our longing for rest and manipulate our bodies with caffeine, sugar and other stimulants to create a false sense of energy. Yoga can offer you a different choice: to listen to your body and to truly nourish yourself, using appropriate asanas and pranayama practices to create more energy or relaxation. This way of nurturing and taking care of yourself can create a taste of your true personal power. In terms of asanas, strengthening the abdominal muscles is a great place to start to balance the third chakra. Restorative poses and passive backbends cool off the belly’s fire and therefore act as calming agents for third chakra excess. If the third chakra needs stimulation, you can work with Kapalabhati breath (breath of fire) or Bhastrika Pranayama (bellows breath). These breath exercises isolate the abdominal muscle and thereby bringing fire and heat there, which in turn radiates into the body as a whole. Practicing Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutation), abdominal strengtheners like Navasana (Boat Pose), Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) and Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Leg Lifts), Warrior Poses and twists all energize the third energy center. I practice quite a lot of Vinyasa Yoga flow which seems to be a perfect yoga style to turn on the heat and energizes the body, because of the combination of flow and breath. Practicing arm balances and inversion can also really stimulate your third charka.

The seat of the intellect

The navel chakra has been called the ‘fire in the belly’ and represents transformation. This fire or personal power provides you with the energy to change, grow and act in your life. The first chakra can be represented as a form or a vehicle (our body), the ability to move and change is represented by the second chakra. The third chakra gives you the intelligence, spark and power to move our body into action and makes you peaceful and generous.

Generosity

Generosity

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Taming my Monkey Mind

I am barely awake and my mind is overactive already; thinking about the day to come, what to wear, what to eat and if I will take the car or my bicycle to work. Without much notice I digest my breakfast and full of thoughts I experience my bike ride, mostly with my mind focused on the future. This mind you can consider to be a typical monkey mind.

Monkey mind is originally a Buddhist term meaning ‘unsettled, restless, confused, indecisive or uncontrollable’. It refers to the continuous chatter that goes on in your head, a mind that cannot be at rest. Your mind jumps from one thought to the other, producing up to 100,000 thoughts per day! This can drive you nuts for sure. Even if you are reading this, sub-thoughts can be occurring alongside the words your mind absorbs; maybe it’s a silent whisper of judgment, a word of confirmation or what you’ll have for dinner. Swinging from branch to branch, rarely focused solely on one thing, always on the move.

Nowadays there are even more distractions than ever. It is estimated that our brains are bombarded with seven times as much stimuli compared with our grandparents. In addition, most people are working with their mind the whole day, are stuck in traffic jams and experience rising stress levels. Monkey mind alarm!

Luckily, there is a solution for this monkey mind syndrome. Interestingly enough peace is much more nearby than you imagine. More clearly, inner peace is always here, right in this moment: NOW! Sounds easy, isn’t? Though, I know from my own experience that we can make it pretty hard for ourselves. It is rather a process then a single push on a button. A process in which you get to know yourself more, open up, fall and stand up again and always having the possibility to start freshly. It is like looking for your key everywhere, in and around your house and then discover that the key is in your pocket all the time already. So close by, but not aware of it yet.

So what to do? It always helps me not taking myself so seriously and don’t try too hard or fight. What you resist persist. If you feed your monkey mind with attention, energy or fight, it will definitely grow and develop itself, in maybe an aggressive gorilla. It is not the monkey who is the problem, rather our relationship with it. We all have experienced moments of flow. If you do something you really love, time flies by before you know and you’re just doing that one thing you are passionate about. Your mind is still and you’re here, in this moment, in your body. So called peak experiences.

This weekend I was walking in the bush with a group of people. Our planned 4 hour walk turned out to be a 10 hour walk with the last hours barely able to see the marks. There you’re, walking in a cold dark bush, not sure were you’ll end. Not sure how your unfit group member is going to handle at least another hour of tramping including river crossings and steep hills. It makes you aware of this moment while adrenaline is rushing to your body. You’re focused and your energy levels seem to rise in your body even though you’ve walked for hours already. I had thoughts for sure, but not so much as my usually crazy monkey mind. I used my mind as a strength to come to the best solutions and stay focused.

Awareness is the key to transform your monkey mind into a well behaved pet. Through becoming aware of your mind and understand how it work, you become able to change the relationship with your mind. It can even turn out to be a really sweet quiet peaceful little monkey on your shoulder, just here to assist you if you need it. Peace is always here and never goes anywhere. Observe a child and see how joy naturally flows. No mind chattering, just this moment of play and another….  

 

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Satya

Google satya and you will find lots of Indian restaurants and a movie. If you include truthfullness in your search, you will come closer to the meaning of the second yama. Satya is the sanskrit word for truth. The practise of satya goes way beyond not lying. It includes being truthful and honest with ourselves, followed by being truthful with anyone else.

It does not mean that you have to say out loud all harmful thoughts appearing in your mind. Saying: “What a ugly dress are you wearing today”, while your neighbour passes by, is not satya.  This action would interfere with the first yama ahimsa, non-harming. If you can not say anything nice, do not say it all. Moreover your mind and the resulting thoughts are not The Truth. Though, at times you have to confrontate others with their behaviour. For example your brother is addicted to alcohol and this affects the whole family in a negative way. While dealing with difficult situations like these, it is good to remember the first yama: non-violence and try to handle with love.

Forcing yourself in an intense yoga practise, because your mind says you have to while you are not feeling well, is an example of not practising satya and/or ahimsa. If I find it difficult to be truthful I remind myself that every time I am being untruthful to myself, I install an internal block which keeps me from seeing my own divine radiance. In addition, the law of Karma will grab you anyway. Most of us have experienced that at least one time during their life. If you break that beautiful vase of your grandma and you do not dare to tell her, she will find out anyway and you will feel even worse for not telling her straightaway.

Practising satya will result in openness towards yourself and others. And the best part, it just feels great to be honest, to speak The Truth, to listen to The Truth, to live The Truth. It will bring your relationships with others to a higher level. And at last but not the least, I can assure you, it will increase your feelings of happiness.

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