Posts Tagged With: strength

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!

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

Categories: Chakra, Happiness, healing, Inspiration, Sharing, spirituality, Uncategorized, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Afro Flow Yoga

Have you heard of the latest dance-yoga combo yet? Nope? Neither did I, till yesterday. This combination is especially close to my heart, since I am deeply in love with yoga and have a strong connection with Africa and its culture as well. African dancing is an energetic, fun, powerful work-out and I always felt so much better after having danced and connected with my fellow dancers. As if I left all my worries behind and arrived back in the moment.

Leslie Salmon Jones, a professional dancer, holistic personal trainer, yoga instructor, wellness coach and public speaker founded Afro Flow Yoga in 2008. Her inspiration was her connection with African spirituality, yogic principals, the intrinsic expression of movement through nature’s elements and a transformational journey throughout Africa and the Caribbean.

Her Afro Flow Yoga classes usually start with meditation and breathing like many yoga classes. After that Afro Flow Yoga takes a different unique approach, you begin to dance in ‘moving meditation’ to the beat of African drums. Your focus is on your breath and mindfulness as in a vinyasa yoga class or a walking meditation. The use of African drums represents the heartbeat; and African dance enhances the feeling of being rooted to the earth. Leslie Salmon Jones:

“We’re all different, and Afro Flow Yoga celebrates those differences. We’re not separate either. We’re all here on this earth together.”

The good news is you don’t have to have a dancing background to be able to participate in a Afro Flow Yoga session. It is about being comfortable in your own skin and letting go of judgment about yourself and others.

“It is about find liberation and freedom, and then moving it off the mat”.

I am so excited to learn about this new movement! 🙂 I hope you are enthusiastic too to deeply connect with the soulful rhythmic drums, energize your chakras, gain strength and flexibility and rejoice in the bliss of feeling renewed, grounded an peaceful! For now, I will do a happy dance in my living room and realize that the world is an interesting place, ever-evolving, ever changing.

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What do you need today?

Cool-compassion

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Viniyoga – Personalized Gentle Yoga Style

Personalized Yoga

Personalized Yoga

Viniyoga is an individual approach to yoga which is all about adaptation. Viniyoga is an ancient Sanskrit word with multiple meanings including ‘separation’, ‘use’ and ‘application’. This yoga style is based on a teacher-student relationship and is designed to meet the specific needs of the individual by giving tools to individualize and actualize the process of self-discovery and personal transformation. The goal is to enhance wellness, healing, flexibility and strength of joints. Viniyoga includes asana, pranayama, bandha, chanting, meditation, personal rituals and study of texts. The emphasis of viniyoga is on coordinating breath and movement, in fact each movement is led by the breath. Viniyoga is usually taught privately, one on one or in small groups, since poses and flows are chosen to suit the student’s abilities.

Origin

Viniyoga is created by T.K.V. Desikachar, the son of Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the 1970s. Krishnamacharya prominent students include Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the most prominent figures in yoga’s dissemination to the West. His son Desikachar carries on the guru’s legacy as the world’s foremost Viniyoga authority. His conviction is that yoga practice should be adapted to fit the individuality and particular situation of each practitioner. He later distanced himself from the term.

What to Expect

The yoga poses are synchronized with the breath in sequences determined by the individual needs of the practitioner. Since Viniyoga is so adaptable, it makes yoga available to those with physical limitations, whether through injury, illness or age. The postures are modified to meet the needs of the individual student. It can be very gentle, but not necessarily or exclusively so. If a student is more adept, then so will the yoga practice. This adaptable approach requires an understanding of a person’s present condition, personal potential, appropriate goals and the means available. Because of this personal and adaptable approach, viniyoga teachers have had extensive training to create a personal practice for every student based on factors as health, age, physical condition and past or current injuries. Therefore teachers tend to be experts on anatomy and yoga therapy. In addition, they are well trained in creating a practice which addresses every level of your being – not just the body – but also on a spiritual or religious level through for example praying, music, chanting, rituals and intentions. This may also include emotional challenges managed by for example breathing practices.

Compared to other styles of yoga

The flowing movement seen in Viniyoga is similar to Ashtanga Vinyasa’s dynamic series, but it has a much less vigorous pace. There is a strong focus on alignment and poses are held for a consistent number of breaths with rest in between. Though compared to Iyengar Yoga, Viniyoga has a more relaxed approach to placement of the body, the emphasis is placed on lengthening the spine. A standardized program as seen in Bikram or Sivananda Yoga is not used, since the yoga practice is made suitable for the individual. The teacher will usually inquire about your condition, injuries and needs and then create your yoga practice based on your information. For the same reason, a viniyoga teacher will never push you into a posture nor encourage you to use force. The overall aim is to feel energized, strengthened and relaxed after your yoga practice. A yoga practice which is perfectly designed for you and includes the right challenges. How wonderful is that?

Vini Yoga Therapy

Vini Yoga Therapy

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Graceful Yoga

Dru yoga has its roots in Hatha yoga and is based on flowing dynamic movements, directed breathing, mudras, positive affirmations and empowering visualisation. It is a gentle and graceful form of yoga and is designed to be practised by people of all abilities, fitness levels and age groups. Dru comes from the Sanskrit word dhruya meaning ‘still’ and ‘unchanging’. It refers to an inner space which is still and spacious. In this stillness you are able to sit back from anything that may be happening around you no matter how stressful your life can be at times. In this place you will find inner calm, strength and tranquillity.

Dru yoga was first taught in the West by a small group of friends working at Bangor University in the United Kingdom. Mansukh Patel and his friends were trained in Dru yoga by Mansukh’s parents. His parents participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s non violence resistance campaigns in India. Mansukh and his family emigrated to the United Kingdom from Kenya after Mansukh’s childhood in the Great Rift Valley.

A Dru yoga class has usually the following pattern: activation, Energy Block Release Sequences (EBRs), postures, mudras and sequences, relaxation and meditation. EBRs are easy-to-perform sequences of movements, breathing patterns, hand gestures and visualizations that help release specific blockages in your physical, emotional and other subtle energies. These blockages can lead to ‘dis-ease’, stress and physical and emotional pain. The success lies in awareness of your movement, rather than your physical accomplishments. In Dru yoga joints are kept relaxed and soft during movement as in Tai Chi. This soft approach creates flexibility and a free flow of subtle energy. The EBRs involve an unique way of movement. It feels like a focused natural and smooth dance to me. A perfect way to release stress and tension and transform your negative thoughts or attitude in a more positive view.

Dru yoga can significantly improve your wellbeing; physically, mentally and emotionally. Practising this form of yoga can boost your energy level, improve your vitality, flexibility and strength, ease back pain and wash away stress. Through the development of stillness and calmness you are better able to deal with the pressures of modern living. You will feel emotionally more balanced and have greater (self) confidence and appreciation of life.

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Western World Yoga

In the western world, Hatha yoga is one of the most commonly practiced form of yoga. It is also called the Yoga of Postures, since it is mainly focused on asana and pranayama, the third and the fourth limb of yoga. Hatha yoga is described by Yogi Swatmarama, a Hindu sage of 15th century India. ‘Ha’ means sun and ‘tha’ means moon. Therefore Hatha yoga is commonly translated as uniting opposites and creating balance. It refers to creating balance between opposites such as female and male (energies) or hot and cold. Another common translation of Hatha is forceful or willful, since it requires a lot of physical efforts. A reasonable amount of time is spent in the poses to discover correct alignment and develop strength and flexibility. Patanjali defines asana as ‘a posture which can be hold for a certain amount of time’. Since you spend some time in each pose, the challenge is to focus on the posture, stay attentive and surrender to the moment. In this way body and mind are connected and becoming more balanced.

Hatha yoga is perfectly suitable for beginners, since it generally is a slow-paced stretching class with gentle basic poses with no flow in between the asanas. It is a perfect way to increase your feelings of health and wellbeing and get used to asana, meditation, breathing and relaxing techniques. My introduction to yoga started off with Hatha yoga as well. For me it was a perfect way to get used to different postures, learn to sit still and observe my mind and especially learn to relax. During my first experiences in savasana or corpse pose I felt restless. While other yoga practitioners around me were almost sound asleep, I became aware of my overactive mind; thoughts and feelings where all over the place. I realized how much I was used to comparing myself with others all the time. How easily I judge myself and others. For sure my initial steps in the world of yoga, were not always smooth, joyful and peaceful. Yoga has taught me to be real and to start accepting myself just the way I am. Yoga not only connects my body, mind and spirit, it also provides me with feelings of connectedness with other people.

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Flow Yoga

There are many different styles of yoga. I have tried Hatha yoga, Bikram yoga, Kundalini yoga, Iyengar yoga, Yin yoga and Dru yoga among others. At the moment I am in love with Vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa yoga is also called Flow yoga, since the poses run together in a smooth way, like a dance. The breath is an essential part during this dance, since the series of movements are synchronized with the breath. Generally speaking, upward movement correlate with inhalations of the breath, and downward movements with exhalations. When I was living in the Netherlands I practiced African dance once a week and I went out dancing regularly. Since I have arrived in New Zealand, my dance experiences have been reduced to some rare moments on a party or a wedding. Surprisingly, I have not been missing the dancing as much as I thought I would. The practice of Vinyasa yoga seems to fulfill my dance needs.    

Vinyasa yoga has evolved from Ashtanga yoga over time. There are now many different styles of Vinyasa or Flow yoga. Vinyasa can be translated from Sanskrit into ‘connection’ referring to a connection between movement and breath. Another translation can be ‘variations within parameters’. A sun salutation sequence is a perfect example of a Vinyasa dance, because each movement in the series is done on an inhalation or an exhalation. Basically, any sequence of flowing from asana to asana can be called a Vinyasa dance. During a Vinyasa yoga practice you can expect a lot of variety; one class is focused on backbends and during another class you spend time practicing arm balances. I love this diversity; no class is the same and this makes my mind go quiet. If I would practice the same postures over and over again, I would get bored easily and my mind would wander off. Variety is helpful in preventing injuries, since it keeps you from doing repetitive movements. There is a reasonable amount of freedom within this yoga style which allows teachers to personalize their classes. The classes are relaxed and unpredictable and supportive for persons with an overactive mind like mine. Vinyasa yoga not only brings my mind at ease, it also increases my strength, endurance and flexibility. 

It is quite common for yoga teachers to have a background in (professional) dancing. This could be a reason that nowadays you can find different styles mixing yoga & dance together, such as: Yoga dance, flow dance, Nia yoga/dance or Afro flow yoga. These styles are blending together the benefits of yoga and dance and are providing you with ways to express yourself through movement and to discover your true self. Be inspired, move & dance!

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