Posts Tagged With: Yoga

Behind every successful man stands a strong woman

Parvati

From Ganesha, Shiva and Hanuman we move to Parvati. Parvati is known to be the most important wife of Shiva. Shiva and Parvati have two sons together Ganesha and Skanda. Together with Shiva Parvati symbolizes the strength to create and destroy. Only Parvati’s presence is enough for Shiva to bring about uncontrollable desires. Parvati symbolizes the marriage and the well behaved wife. She is also the goddess of beauty and often symbolized with beautiful round curves and full features. Parvati, like Shiva is known in many different forms: Durga (the brave goddess) and Kali (the black goddess) are well known incarnations. Parvati has to watch how Shiva easily plays adultery on a regular basis, but he always returns to Parvati.

Prana shakti

Parvati represents our longing to unite in the form of a romantic relationship, as well as to unite/connect with our own essential nature, a vibration we can call consciousness or the “mother energy” that holds everything together. This energy vibrates and pulsates and is also called prana shakti or life force. Through the practice of yoga especially meditation we can reunite with the prana shakti in us and around us. We can recognise and see the prana shakti in the cycles of the moon, the seasons, the rhythm in our ocean tides, the cycle of day and night and the sparkle in the stars. In our bodies the prana shakti is experienced with the blood running through our veins, the beating of our heart as well as the continuous cycle of the inhale and exhale. It is that energy that brings about continuous movement in our bodies, conscious and unconscious movements.

Power of the breath

Our ever present breath represents this ‘mother energy’ or prana shakti and is the life force that keeps us alive. Through our breath we can actively influence our nervous system and thereby affect the way we feel emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Our breathing is such a normal, regular, automatic activity and at the same time such a powerful tool in many ways that goes beyond words. It brings me back to that time I was in the midst of giving birth to my first son and the focus on my breath was the only grip I could hold on to. I went into a meditative state is what the midwife later wrote in her report. Luckily I had my mum (an experienced yogini and mother of four) nearby and guiding me with breathing when the moment was there to push. She reminded me to relax my jaws (something I remind my yoga students of all the time, but forgot to do myself in this intense experience) and there he was and he took his first breath! Magic has happened yet once again. In an instant I became mother and my mother became a grandmother. The ‘mother energy’ that all gives us life and keep us living.

Parvati and Shiva reunited

Prana shakti is a reminder that everything is constantly moving and changing. All is coming and going. This realisation is a way to connect with the life force within us. In our patriarchal society, humans often feel more like rocks and we have lost the sparkle in own eyes, we have forgotten about the passions we had as children and we are unable to connect with the flow in us and around us. Being in nature, moving, dancing, meditating and practicing asanas are all ways to connect with the prana shakti. I think the world could use some more softness, compassion and love that comes with a more matriarchal society. In many cultures and countries women are honoured for their ability to give birth. For example within the Maori culture in New Zealand, but also in the old cultures in Europe before other religions took over. It is not without reason that we call our planet mother earth and the connection of a mother to her child(ren) is unbelievable powerful and based on unconditional love. Some say that man might have been intimidated or jealous by the power of women and therefore try to repress this female energy. We all know the saying: behind every successful man, stands a strong woman. Prana shakti or parvati doesn’t imply that woman are superior over man. This female energy (parvati) when reunited with the male energy (shiva) creates a healing and creative magnetic energy in us and on the earth. We all have the shiva and the shakti energy within us. It is our invitation to connect, accept and embrace both of them. It is my belief that this will bring more balance and healing on our planet. When practicing yoga, you can invite both the female (yin, softening, receiving, cooling) and the male (strength, power, heat, yang) into your practice. I truly believe when you can connect with your own true essence or your prana shakti, it is also easier to connect on a deeper (romantic) level with another person and experience union.

Pregnant with my second son embodying the so-called mother energy (2017)

 

 

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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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Gentle is The New Advanced

What is advanced yoga nowadays? Being able do the most challenging yoga poses? For me an advanced yogi is characterized by its attitude towards life, his ability to calm down his mind, his trust in life and by breathing consciously among others. And the same time I love to challenge myself (and my students) and learn new yoga poses. It is about balance.

The following Sneak Preview of J Brown shows beautifully how advanced yoga can look like without shying away people who are new to yoga and keen to take it up;

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Tightness as a gift

Quite often I come across (potential) new yoga students who say; “I am too tight for yoga”. In my opinion you are never too tight for yoga. Not every pose will be accessible for every body, but this doesn’t make you a better yogi or yogini. A regular yoga practice is highly likely to increase your range of motion. This is definitely beneficial and for some of us the main reason to practice yoga and I see it as a complementary side-effect. When admiring my mum’s flexibility as a child she always said: “Flexibility can’t buy anything”. In other words it is not serving a purpose or is beneficial in everyday life to be super flexible. You can consider flexibility even as a disadvantage within your asana practice, since a flexible body is more likely to get injured due to overstretching. And for the yogis and yoginis with less range of motion, good news; you don’t have to go so far to experience a stretch and your body will give you clear signals if you’re going too far. If you’re up for a challenge and/or an advanced yoga pose; lie down in savasana for 15 minutes with a calm mind. That is the real yoga challenge; slow down your thoughts and ease your mind. Welcome to this lifelong journey, called Yoga.

I usually close my eyes ;-)

I usually close my eyes 😉

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Letter of gratitude to my students

I am grateful for your presence

I admire your courage and willingness to learn new skills

I love to see that you are compassionate toward your body

I honour you when you open my eyes

I smile when you find your inner child

I am happy if you feel comfortable and at ease

Your efforts and practice make me feel humble

Your feedback makes me grow

You surprise me time after time

You are perfect just the way you are

You are part of who I am

When I bow to you and you bow to me we become ONE

NAMASTE

 namaste3

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Greeting Union

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Yoga makes me feel alive…..

Yoga connects me with happiness…

Yoga teaches me to be humble….

Yoga brings joy…

Yoga creates connection…

Yoga guides me to inner freedom…

Yoga is a great way to express myself…

Yoga is a wonderful tool to become more peaceful..

Yoga means UNION

In Northern Uganda, Yoga also means ‘Hello’;

Yoga world, are you ready to play with me?

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