Posts Tagged With: heart

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

Home is where the heart is

 

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Three weeks ago we moved into our first home. Exciting times. Scary times. I realized I went into a business mode; keep myself occupied with packing, preparation and at times just running around without a clear purpose. When I finally had the courage, I took the time to stand still and actually feel my anxiety, my nerves. My analysing mind didn’t really understand why? You are still staying in the same town, the same country, with the same partner, with the same job and same friends and family nearby. Why am I nervous at all? For me that is exactly the scary thing; everything stays the same with boredom around the corner. Owning my own home, feels extremely serious, grown-up and indefinite. The last ten years of my life has been full of travelling, change, meeting new people, change of jobs, change of countries and cities. That is what I am naturally drawn to; adventure and excitement. After a therapy session with a friend, it became really clear to me, that I have always been on the run; looking for new adventures, creating new excitement. I never really settled anywhere, because that for me is really scary. Moving to the other side of the world and starting a new life isn’t that scary. And now I am truly settling here; own home, car, chickens, veggie garden. Who ever thought that? When I was young I told myself I am going to travel the world for the rest of my life and live from a backpack, no need to settle. If I look back, I can see clearly I was always on the run for my own fears, even in my dreams. From the outside, people thought I was fearless and dare to do everything. From within, however, I was full of anxiety, insecurity and nerves often about the small things in life that was for me scarier.

And honestly after the first stress and nerves of moving, it actually feels DAMN good! Having your own safe haven, own home feels wonderful! Together we can create a place we truly feel comfortable. It feels nurturing, grounding and I just don’t want to leave home anymore! I feel supported and I am better able to handle the tough outside world after being charged by being at home. I never imagined it to be like this. The last couple of days, I have been feeling very grounded, centred and content, as if I am finally start to root and arrive HOME. Our home and my partner truly give me the feeling I am taken care of. I am nurtured, supported, loved. As if for the first time, I start to feel very comfortable in my body and my life, feeling a deep sense of contentment. The urgent need to do, compare, compete and accomplish slowly start to diminish. I realize I have also started to take better care of myself, allow myself to sleep in and rest without judging myself for being lazy. I allow myself to relax, enjoy and don’t mind so much if I have a less productive day. There is no urgent need to DO anymore. There is just this perfect moment, where I can hang out and chill and Be.

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Be Real

Again, I have been blown away by the amazing and powerful effects of The Journey Process. For me it is the quickest way to feel peaceful, happy and at ease, to arrive home.

Dear you,

I am grateful we met! I would like you to know;

  • It touches me if you dare to share the truth – what is going on right now, here.
  • It touches me if you speak from your heart, saying how you really feel.
  • It touches me if you leave the stories for what they are – stories – and really start to experience and feel.
  • It touches me if you share with me, what you usually don’t share at all.
  • It touches me to see your eagerness to come at peace with life.
  • It touches me if I see you surrender.
  • It touches me if you forgive completely and utterly from the bottom of your heart.

Emotions can be the gateway to our soul, to our true desires, to our true being. Don’t fight or resist emotions. Just let it be.

We will become mirrors and invite other’s to be REAL as well. No need for masks, pretending or hiding. It is time to say YES to life!

Namaste!

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Confessions of a yogini

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I am a stress chicken. I can create trouble, worries & anxiety in my mind, skilfully & abundantly and without much effort. At times it feels like my default nature. This is the main reason why I turned to Yoga in the first place, to ground myself, to create stability & ease in my body and life. One of the first things I can do is to bring my awareness back in my body, through asana (postures), through pranayama (breath), through dhyana (meditation).

Asana helps me to start the journey from my mind to my heart. To start to connect with my creativity and inner child, to move, to dance, being playful and going upside down. Asana while in nature is Divine. It brings me back to my childhood, playing & running outside, being adventurous, trying new things, feeling the wind in my hair & sun on my skin. I hear the birds singing a beautiful song, feel the sand or grass in between my toes. From here responsibilities & worries starting to slide of my shoulders, I start to connect more deeply with the world around me. I come back home in my body and in this moment. My breathe starts to deepen & my heart starts to speak; expressing her desires. Time Stops. Life Starts.

I am

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A meditation on Loving-Kindness

I need for a little love? Try this effective and powerful meditation!

As best you can, let your mind be quiet, letting go of plans and preoccupations. Then begin to recite inwardly the following phrases directly to yourself. You begin with yourself because without loving yourself it is almost impossible to love others.

May I be filled with loving-kindness.

May I be well.

May I be peaceful and at ease.

May I be happy.

You can also picture yourself as a young and beloved child, or sense yourself as you are now, held in a heart of loving-kindness. Let the feelings arise with the words and let them permeate your body and mind.

After yourself, choose a benefactor, someone in your life who has truly cared for you. Picture them and carefully recite the same phrases. Then you can begin to include other people you love in the meditation, picturing them and reciting the same phrases, evoking a sense of loving-kindness for them. Then you can even experiment with including the most difficult people in your life, wishing that they too, be filled with loving-kindness and peace.

As you silently practice this loving-kindness meditation among people, you will immediately feel a wonderful connection with them – the power of loving-kindness. It will calm your life and keep you connected to your heart.

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To the right or the left?

Left-or-Right

Often during a yoga class, the instructor tells you to roll to your right-hand side after relaxation or savasana. Most asanas are also performed from the right to the left and not the other way around. Have you ever wondered why?

Symbolic

First of all, rolling to the right or the right side has a symbolic reason. In India, it is considered more auspicious to enter a holy place with the right foot and in many parts of the world we extend our right hand in greeting. The right side also represents the east or the rising sun. Therefore rolling toward the east can symbolize asking for blessings, grace and bliss.

Energetic

The right side rolling can also be explained by using the yogic subtle anatomy teachings. According to yoga teachings you also have a subtle or energy body, besides the physical body. This energy body comprises of chakras and nadis, making up many thousands of energy lines or channels. The main energy line runs along the length of your spine and is called shusumna. Spiralling either side of shusumna are pingala and ida, which end at the tip of the right and left nostrils respectively. Pingala on the right side represents the masculine forces of heat, activity and alertness or the sympathetic nervous system. Ida on the left is more feminine, cooling, passive and restful, referring to the parasympathetic nervous system. Rolling to the right side after savasana can help us to wake up by stimulating pingala nadi. In this way, we prepare ourselves to become more active again after a deep relaxation state.

Physiological

There is also a physical explanation (from the perspective of the Western anatomical model) to roll to the right side rather than the left. Since the heart is on the left, rolling to the right brings the heart on top and therefore puts less pressure on the heart and helps allow the blood pressure reach homeostasis.

So right?!

So right it is? It depends really. For example, pregnant women should lie on their left because it makes the heart’s job easier as it keeps the baby’s weight from applying pressure to the large vein (inferior vena cava) that carries blood from the lower part of the body back to the heart. Lying on the left improves circulation to the heart and allows for the best blood flow to the fetus, uterus and kidneys. Since the liver is on the right side of your abdomen, lying on the left side, will keep the uterus off that large organ.

A state of ease

Personally, I don’t think it matters so much to which side you roll from relaxation. If you do a strong yoga practice in the evening rolling to the left side, could for example assist with preparing you for a good night sleep. It is good to know the reasoning behind right or left rolling, so you can make an informed decision yourself based on your personal constitution and your plans after your yoga practice. Most importantly, take your time to come out of savasana, since your nervous system has ideally shifted to a state of ease (lower heart rate and blood pressure, stimulation of digestive processes, lower body temperature and release of endorphins). Therefore savasana can be considered as the most important pose of your practice. And above all, don’t overthink, but feel. Good luck!

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A Heart Healthy Pasta Salad

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 17 million people die of cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart attack and stroke, every year. That is a pretty impressive amount I would say. An unhealthy diet is, besides smoking and physical inactivity, one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Nowadays a lot of attention goes to lowering cholesterol levels. Though, there is also a ‘good’ cholesterol component in your body: High-density lipoprotein or HDL. HDL counteracts ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL by helping to remove LDL deposits from the arteries. Consuming natural fat foods which are high in unsaturated fats increase your HDL cholesterol level. Therefore eating avocados, lots of fish (especially oily fishy like salmon and tuna) olives, olive oil, seeds and nuts will lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases. The following recipe is a perfect and easy way to increase your HDL levels and great to eat after a yoga session. You can easily make this recipe suitable for vegetarians or vegans by replacing the fish for haloumi or tofu. 

How do you keep your heart healthy?

How do you keep your heart healthy?

Servings:             2 persons main or four persons as a side dish

Total time:          35 minutes

  • 250 gram wholemeal pasta
  • 200 gram green beans
  • 1 avocado
  • Handful olives
  • 150 gram salmon or tuna (fresh or from can)
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Cook the pasta and green beans al dente. Slice up the avocado, fish and sundried tomatoes. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and if you wish add some olive oil. You can eat the salad either cold or slightly warm.

You can drink a glass of red wine with your meal, since this can also increase your HDL levels, if you keep it in moderation.

Natural fat food is great!

Natural fat foods are great!

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The Sahasrara Chakra

The seventh and last chakra is the Sahasrara chakra or the ‘crown chakra’. This chakra resides at the crown of the head and connects you to higher consciousness and pure awareness. The Sanskrit word Sahasrara means ‘thousand fold’ and therefore this chakra is also known as ‘Thousand Petaled Lotus’. This lotus burst open when you remember your true nature and experience enlightenment. The crown chakra is the foundation of your spiritual body and links you to the highest spiritual consciousness. This chakra relates to spiritual will, inspiration, idealism and intuitive knowing. It is about integrating your consciousness and subconsciousness and living in the NOW. The associated glands and body parts are the pineal gland, brain and central nervous system. The element of the seventh chakra is thought or cosmic consciousness. This cosmic consciousness can feel like an ultimate intelligence and a sense of all knowing. The associated colour can be violet or white, a combination of all colours. This is in line with the chakra as an integration center of all the other chakras.

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A blocked Sahasrara chakra

A blocked crown chakra can result in the following physical and mental problems: diseases of the muscular system, skeletal system and the skin, depression, chronic exhaustion, headaches, coordination difficulties, poor balance and clumsiness, sensitivity to light, sound or the environment. Emotional issues related to an out of balance seventh chakra can be; lack of purpose, loss of meaning or identity, trust, selflessness, lack of devotion, inspiration, values or ethics. If you have a closed crown chakra, it is highly likely that you are unable to live in the present and unable to gain closure on unfinished business. You always seem to be either revisiting your past or looking ahead to the future. You are normally confused and have no purpose in life. You may live on poor quality food, exhaust yourself and are probably ignoring your bodily needs. Fear of religion or spirituality and frustration can also be experienced. There is little joy in your life and you are afraid of things that cannot be understood with the physical senses. It can lead to unwise decisions, unhappiness and a sense of indecision. You can feel alone and separate and feel cut off from spirituality. An excessiveness in the seventh chakra can appear as being overly intellectual and feeling superior to other human beings. It can be described as ‘being in your head’ and you may possibly show some hysterical, psychotic and/or manic-depressive behaviour.

In the Here and Now

In the Here and Now

Yoga and other stimulants

There are different ways to balance your crown chakra for example through prayer, (chakra) meditation or colour and sound therapy. The Tibetan Bowl creates sounds that can help you to achieve a balanced seventh chakra. In terms of nature, viewing mountain tops can be helpful. Supporting yoga poses to balance this chakra are Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Salamba Sirsasana (Supported headstand) and all meditation poses. Since meditation is the yogic practice for this chakra, it clears and quiets the mind and connects you with the higher self. A daily head massage is also a good method towards balance of the crown chakra. In addition, you could focus on your dreams and write down your visions. You could also consume violet foods and drinks, wear violet clothing and use violet oils such as lavender or jasmine essential oils. Foods that can help to open up the seventh chakra are foods that generate space, for example raw green veggie juices. Moderate fasting can also activate the seventh chakra. One of the most important elements of physical, emotional and spiritual health is being inspired by your own life and live in the present moment.

Tibetan Singing bowls

Tibetan singing bowls

Balanced crown chakra

If your crown chakra is balanced, you are released from ego driven desires and you are able to trust in your highest guidance. Your sense of empathy and unity expands and your consciousness raises. You can experience another person, place or object as if you are inside of them or as if you are ‘being’ them. You will have wisdom, trust, selflessness, humanitarianism and the ability to see the bigger picture in a spiritual life. You feel calm, deeply at ease and fully aware with a gentle and compassion nature, free of worry. You show the ultimate goal of every human being: inner peace and satisfaction. You are truly in the present moment, living in the ‘Here and Now’. You reach a state of ‘being’, rather than a state of ‘doing’. There is no longer a sense of division, the macrocosm becomes the microcosm and all is in unity and you are in optimum balance. Compassion is the main sense that develops if you crown chakra opens. This ‘crown compassion’ is more about perception and communication, compared to ‘heart compassion’ which is more about emotions and empathy.

Union or Yoga

If all your energy centers are open and balanced, all selfish desires disappear. You are grounded, grateful, peaceful and visionary. By opening your crown chakra, you have reached the highest state of consciousness. Through firm grounding into the earth (first chakra), opening up your creative energy (second chakra), manifesting your dreams in the world (third chakra), opening your heart (fourth chakra), expressing your true voice (fifth chakra) and connecting with your inner knowing (sixth chakra), you are finally experiencing total unification or yoga by activating the seventh chakra.

Compassionate communication with lightness

Compassionate communication from the heart and with lightness

Categories: Chakra, Food, Freedom, Happiness, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The realisations of my dreams are journeys, not destinations

I’m so happy to share my latest news: I have registered myself for a Yoga Teacher’s Training!!!!! I’m so excited to have made this decision. It is a part time training; one weekend per month for six months and will start in February 2013 in Auckland in New Zealand.

Last night while I was lying down in savasana (corpse pose) to end a great yoga class, I realized how good it feels to follow my heart & dreams. All the decisions I have made using my heart, resulted in beautiful life changing experiences. For example, I remembered the one day I just felt I had to register myself for The Journey Practitioner’s Programme of Brandon Bays. My mind worried a bit about how I was going to pay for costs as a student, but my heart just screamed for it. So I did and it caused a breakthrough in my life.

When I moved to another city in The Netherlands without a clear purpose or reason, I felt lonely in the beginning and blamed myself to have made this crazy move without job or a social network in a new environment. Hindsight has taught me how I have grown personally and developed myself because of this spontaneous move. In addition, I met amazing people, including my perfect partner.

And then the BIG move to New Zealand to live with my partner. A lot of people say I’m brave and strong to move to the other side of the world far away from my family and friends and again without work. Though, I have never made a decision so quick and easy. My heart almost begged me to do this. Even though, we had only been together for a couple of months. Here I am, living in New Zealand for about 14 months already. Of course, I have my difficult and emotional moments at times, but in general I can say I feel really grateful & happy to live in this beautiful country together with my lovely partner. My new life in New Zealand has provided me with time, energy and space to develop and deepen my yoga practice and to finally make the decision to start a Yoga Teacher’s Training. It feels so right.

Now and then my mind disturbs me with doubts and worries; ‘It is a lot of money and your temporary agreement is almost ending!’, ‘You’re way to insecure to be a Teacher’, ‘Your English is not perfect enough’, ‘You’re not flexible enough’ and so on. Then I remind myself, it is not about the destination, but about the goal. So maybe my journey to become a yoga teacher will take a lifetime, so be it. At least, I have dreams and goals to live for and from. 

Categories: Happiness, Inspiration, Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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