Posts Tagged With: meditation

Looking back after 3 years in Kiwiland

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

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

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.

loving kindness

Categories: Happiness, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being you and me

577761_522360167783886_1674499311_n

 “The closer people get to self-realization the more ordinary they become”

– George Feuerstein –

Recently I came across this beautiful quote. For me this is so true. The more you discover who you really are, the more likely you are to live a peaceful and content life. You don’t have to be a famous guru, yoga teacher or healer to make a difference and inspire others. If that is your dharma in life, you can of course, but it is not a necessity. It is less important what you do, than how you do it. For example, you can run a small café in a remote village and create a loving, inspiring and warm atmosphere for your customers. You don’t sell yourself as an enlightened person, you’re just you and you do your best in whatever you’re doing. During my time in Africa, I experienced the most beautiful moments with the most ordinary persons.

For me it is a perfect realization, when I’m eager to take up more yoga training’s and workshops. I’ve just completed my 200 hour Purna yoga teaching certificate and I’m already thinking about more training. I hardly stand still to celebrate this completion point, my head is thinking ahead. As usual, I start to compare myself with others and feel an urgent need to do more study. It feels like I’ve been on the top of the iceberg and now I’m so keen and curious to experience and learn more about the rest of the mountain. On the other hand, I know that we’ve just moved to another city and I’ve hardly any income. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like the right time yet to undertake and pay for more study.

My doubts fade away when I read the quote about self-realization. It made me realize that it doesn’t make me a better person if I do more study. I’m not going to become enlightened faster (or at all) by paying for another yoga training or spiritual course. All those training’s, workshops and studies around yoga, mindfulness, meditation, spirituality are trying to teach me one and the same thing: it is already here – inside me. Stop the search and the ‘shopping’ instead enjoy this moment, this life, right now. Everything is already here – you only have to realize it. And by realizing and living that you become a true inspiration for others and an enjoyable presence. Just being you; as simple as that.

keep-calm-and-love-being-you-1

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

One-Moment Meditation

My lovely twin-sister recently sent me an inspiring movie about one-moment meditation; a short meditation which you can easily integrate in your normal daily life.

According to Martin Boroson, I am cheating – since I usually meditate longer than 1 minute. 😉

Have a look @ how you can be more mindful in your everyday life:

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

The voice of my hammies

I have a love-hate relationships with my stubborn tight ‘hammies’ also called hamstrings. It seems like my legs are made to be in a 90 degree angle, ready to run through life. In the past I have done quite a lot of running which explains my tightness. After a running session, my hamstrings would be even tighter. Of course, I’m glad they do their job well. Since hamstrings are instrumental in essential and everyday activities like walking. Though, sometimes I wish for a little bit more flexible hammies which would allow me to flow through my yoga practice more effortlessly and gracefully. Stretching the hamstrings need to be done steady and slow. If you force them to stretch, you will run the risk injuring your hamstrings and hamstrings injuries can be among the most difficult and slowest to heal. It is almost if my hamstrings are trying to tell me: “Slow down!” & “Take it easy”. The lesson I can learn is not focusing on the destination only (strong flexible hamstrings), but be in the moment and enjoy the stretch. In the end, stretches like that are merely to prepare you to sit and meditate. ‘I know, I know’, replies my mind and at the same time I just wish to get that ugly bend out of my leg in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Standing Big Toe Yoga Pose) and in many other yoga poses. Yoga is not about how you look like from the outside, but how you feel from the inside. ‘I know, I know’! says my mind again. It is not so much a matter of knowing, but more a matter of feeling. That is yoga. To feel that inner contentment, that inner strength which makes you smile from the inside. These ‘feeling’ moments – when often a tear rolls down my cheek – represent my yoga, when I feel truly connected.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

Here is one of my favourite hamstrings stretches:

Categories: Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The integration of Yoga in normal day life

The Sanskrit word ‘Purna’ means integrated, complete or ‘full’. Purna Yoga represents a holistic approach to yoga integrating all eight limbs of yoga the way it was originally taught in India. The focus is not just on the physical postures, but also on the other seven limbs including philosophy, meditation, pranayama and yogic personal and social code of ethics (yamas and niyamas). The postural instruction is based on Iyengar’s precision and alignment. Purna yoga is suitable for both beginners and advanced students, since the sequences range from gentle restorative to dynamic vinyasa. While yoga philosophies, such as ahimsa (non-violence) are threaded throughout Purna Yoga classes, students are encouraged to build flexibility, strength and stamina of body, mind and spirit. It creates the ultimate mind-body challenge and encourages you to adopt a yogic living: “The art of loving yourself by living from the heart.” 

Train your mind

Train your mind

I’m currently being trained to be a yoga teacher under the Purna Yoga umbrella by Byron Yoga Centre. For me, it brings yoga back to its origin and away from the fancy exercise focused yoga classes in the gyms. It brings me back to simplicity. For now, no fancy arm balances or inversions, but first of all learning the basic postures safely and correctly. The main aim of asana is to train and discipline the mind. I know for myself, it is often way more challenging to sit still or to do a pose very slowly then going to a fast-paced Vinyasa flow. Like most people nowadays, I’m used to rush through life as well as through my yoga practice. My challenge is to shorten my asana practice and lengthen my pranayama and meditation practice. The meaning of asana is not without reason ‘comfortable seat’, the preparation for meditation. Once again, I learn that yoga is not at all about flexibility and beauty, these are just two positive by-products.

The power of meditation

The power of meditation

Categories: Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A meditative journey towards Bliss

Sit and be still

Sit and be still

Raja Yoga is also called the classical yoga. The word Raja means King and therefore Raja Yoga can be translated into the ‘King of Yoga practices’. You can consider your mind as the king. Raja yoga concerns with this king and its fluctuations through meditation. Intense meditation is the focal point of Raja yoga, while embracing the whole of yoga. This approach includes the adherence to the eight limbs of yoga as outlined by Patanjali.

I have just finished my first Teacher Training weekend. It was a profound and amazing experience. It feels special and wonderful to share your passion for yoga with others and learn more about the whole concept and practice of yoga. I’ve realized that my meditation practice has come alive again after this first weekend. First of all, because it is one of the homework requirements to practice pranayama and meditation on a daily basis. This is just the extra push I needed. Normally I would feel guilty to spent an hour or so in the morning to do my asana and meditation practice. Why practice yoga if you have to apply for jobs? Time goes quick and money is urgent, argues my mind. I now allow myself to take that extra bit of time and develop my home practice more and deeper.

The wonderful thing is that I actually save time by starting my day with yoga. I feel more relaxed and at ease with the result of making more efficient decisions during the day. I already knew this of course. Sometimes you need to start fresh over and over again, till it is part of you. I feel blessed that I gave myself the opportunity to start a Yoga Teacher Training. Not sure where my journey will head to, I only know that it feels so right. A yogi friend recently sent me an inspirational speech of Steve Jobs. He talks about the death and how the thought of our upcoming death can inspire you to live life to the fullest. This makes me realize what I really love doing (writing, yoga, counselling, inspire) and that I should trust that life will guide me.

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

From comparing to self-reflection and love

There are four main paths of Yoga: Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Raja Yoga all leading to the same: Samadhi. Most yogis combine different styles of yoga on their journey. I have spoken briefly about Bhakti and Karma yoga in earlier blogs. Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge and wisdom. It includes introspection and contemplation and is the yoga path of the sage or scholar. A Jnana yogi uses the mind to inquire into his/her own nature by systematically exploring and setting aside false identities or the Ego. It looks into the absolute truth about who we are and the main question you ask yourself will be: ‘Who am I?’ It focuses on that in life what is never changing as opposed to the illusions in life which is ever changing. Jnana yoga starts from direct experiences, but also requires development of the intellect through the study of the scriptures and texts of the yogic tradition.

Travel your road

Travel your road

You can relate Jnana yoga to the fourth niyama; Svadhyaya or self-study/self-reflection. Besides the reading of sacred texts and meditation, Svadhyaya can also include our reflections in normal daily life. Since we share our life’s and the earth with so many other people, we receive plenty of opportunities for self-reflection through social interactions. More often than I would like to, I catch myself playing out different ego patterns. One of my really annoying habits is to compare myself with others in terms of intelligence, finance, family, career, beauty, flexibility and so on. I always end up judging myself and/or others and never feel good after I’ve had my ‘compare time’. My partner is most of the time the victim in the sense of having to listen to all my crap and mind chatter. He made it clear for me once again: “Don’t compare yourself with others, just follow your own journey.” I realized and felt; he is right! Each of us has their own individual very special journey in life. Our task is to be true to our own journey in life and give it a 150%! And love your life exactly how it is at this moment.

Fully

And your Life

Categories: Inspiration, Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 Ajna Chakra

The sixth chakra is the Ajna chakra, but is also known as the ‘brow chakra’ or the ‘third eye’ and is located between the eyebrows. The Sanskrit meaning of Ajna is ‘command, knowledge or monitoring center’. It is the center of insight and also called ‘the eye of intuition’ and it is the place where you integrate all the information and intuition in your life. The qualities of the brow chakra are inspiration, intuition and inner vision. In the Indian philosophy the third eye is the symbol for enlightenment and also referred to as the ‘eye of wisdom’ or the ‘eye of knowledge’. The Ajna chakra has control over seeing, not only in the physical sense, but also in terms of intuitive seeing, clairvoyance and other paranormal forms of knowing. The symbolic representation and the mantra of the Ajna chakra is the syllable Ohm which represents the beginning and end of all things. The associated colour is the indigo which represents self-mastery, spiritual realization and the attainment of wisdom. Light is the element most associated with the sixth chakra, but some say it is time. The gland associated with this chakra is the pituitary and pineal gland. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the ‘master gland’, because it secretes a hormone that controls the activities of the other glands of the body. For example the pituitary gland controls your growth, skin coloring and the contraction of a woman’s uterus during childbirth.

Ajna Chakra

Ajna Chakra

Balance

When it’s open and clear, you feel deeply connected to your inner wisdom, trust and intuition and it guides you in your choices. You’re able to see yourself and others as energetic and spiritual beings and you can create your own reality by using your imagination, freedom of choice and enhanced insight. You can rely on your self-reflection, perception, interpretation, telepathy and past life experiences. An open Ajna chakra results in compassion and forgiveness. This energy center is directly related to mind. If you awaken this chakra, your mind is able to gain information by subtle means, rather than by the experiences felt by the sense organs. In general, you gain knowledge through the information that senses conducts to the brain. Though, the Ajna chakra has the power to gain knowledge directly without the help of sense organs and thereby the mind becomes purified and evolved. This requires discipline, firm belief and persistent effort. It is about understanding how training can change your behaviour to always be open and loving to everyone, not just close friends and family. There is no ego involved, instead our conditioning, habits, false ideas and misidentifications are dissolved as a result of a healthy active Ajna chakra. Notice really extraordinary people and become aware of their humble character. A great way to open and balance the third chakra is through meditation and visualisation. The sixth chakra is all about reconnecting to the wisdom that is available to all of us from within.

Cherish the humble things in life

Cherish the humble things in life

Blocked Ajna chakra

However in most of us, this ‘inner eye’ remains closed. You have a sense of self-doubt and you don’t trust your inner voice. You are convinced that there is not something like a non-material world, since this is beyond your capacity to reach. A blocked Ajna chakra can result in the following physical symptoms; migraine headaches, eye strain, blindness, brain tumors, strokes, learning disabilities, spinal dysfunctions, nightmares, panic attacks, deafness, insomnia, high blood pressure and seizures. Difficulty concentrating, memory problems, fear of truth, confusion, judgment issues, lack of concentration or discipline are also connected to a sixth chakra imbalance. If the energy in your sixth chakra is not flowing freely, you can become quite superstitious and afraid of your own thoughts and everything you can’t explain with logic. You have difficulties making decisions, procrastinate a lot about any plans made and you don’t know what you want. You strive for routine and are vulnerable to developing depression. If you third eye chakra is overactive, you may be unable to be practical in your daily life and irresponsible. You’re not connected or aware of the world and yourself, everything seems to be external and not part of you. There can be a victim mentality; you will blame everything that happens of a negative nature on someone or something outside yourself. Just as the pituitary gland is the ‘master gland’, the Ajna chakra governs all other energy centres. If the sixth chakra is out of balance, all others chakra won’t be perfectly aligned either.

The power of intuition

The power of intuition

Yoga

Postures that support the opening and balancing of the sixth chakra are Balasana (Child’s Pose) or any other posture in which the forehead touches the ground. Other helpful postures are those in which the gazing point or drishti calls for movement of the eyes such as Marichyasana (Sage Twist). Alternate nostril breathing is a supporting pranayama exercise to activate the Ajna chakra. If you are practicing your asana, pranayama or meditation, notice when your mind becomes quiet. This quiet, clear and peaceful space will allow you to experience a glimpse of the possibilities of the Ajna chakra. This chakra can shine an insightful light on your life that you were previously not aware of. You can concentrate and focus and imagine something and bring that idea into reality.

Turn inwards for stillness, peace and clarity

Turn inwards for stillness, peace and clarity

Categories: Chakra, Freedom, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.