I am finishing up the editing of this weeks exclusive content for the Yoga Vayu Membership site. This week there is a live flow class, which means that there is a new recording for the Restore & Relax Membership. We practice a guided meditation with the kriya Sa Ta Na Ma this week. I am excited to share this practice with you. If you hear the pitter patter of tiny feet you might want to peek at your screen to see a special appearance as Jilly shows off her yoga skills during a quick visit to the yoga mat 😉
I have been having so much fun, planning, recording and editing these videos for the membership. I love getting the chance to dive a little deeper into things here. We are among like minded folk there and we can do a little more than we can in our in person group classes. It’s more like having a weekly workshop, as we step on our mats together.
I hope you will enjoy this week’s new content. The YouTube video (already up for members, and live for everyone on Friday on YouTube!) is all about how to Pimp your Savasana! If the membership is too much of a commitment right now, check out all the free video’s on our YouTube Channel!
How have you been? In the Netherlands we celebrated Kings Day yesterday, which is usually the biggest and most orange celebration we have.
This year was different of course. We celebrated a little by ordering some snack from one of our favorite restaurants (we try to support local businesses as much we can and if we can do so eating, we happily oblige!)
This King’s Day felt quiet even, as I walked Jilly around the block there was hardly anyone out, as it should be of course. But on this day it felt even stranger. So I felt I wanted to check in with you and see how you are!
How are things in your part of this locked down and quarantined world? Are you staying in? Or does your job have you out in these surreal circumstances? I love where I live, but found myself telling Joost that I wished we lived near my dear friend Kelly in California. To be able to walk into nature and not have to worry about meeting other people is a luxury that is hard to find where I live in Delft. But we are doing well. These past few days were spent on our little rooftop terrace, where Joost built us an amazing lounge set (lockdown creativity for the win!) and I spent 2 sunny days staining the reclaimed wood. And I’ve been practicing Yoga. And loving it.
I have returned to my Yoga space in my bedroom, with a little altar with some of my favorite things. My mat always rolled out, ready to step on. My current oil protocol all set up (this one is all about the breath) and I have been joining classes with some of my favorite teachers. This locked down life has also brought some experiences and people closer and I am so grateful for that.
I got to practice with Max Strom again, when our planned live session was moved online. It was magical and beautiful. Somehow spending that time alone on my mat in front of my laptop, but together with many others all over the world felt so intimate. It was inspiring.
Then there was the book launch of Angelus. Written, created even, by Erica Jago and Roos van der Kamp. I supported this book 2 years ago when they were crowdfunding and am amazed by the perfect timing with which it came out. It arrived a week and a half ago, just when we all needed it most. I highly recommend looking into the book. Not only is it stunning to look at, it’s filled with beautiful practices and inspiring meditations.
And this past weekend was like a mini retreat for me. I started the Pranayama Intensive course with 2 of my favorite teachers, Judith Hanson Lasater en Lizzie Lasater. This 4 week immersion has been such an inspiration from the first moment. I love it. Last Saturday we had our first live webinar and it soothed the sadness of not being able to see Judith in London for a 5 day training, as I was supposed to.
To top it off I got to join Lizzie the day after for an Emergency Savasana session. Live Restorative Yoga, from her home in Salzburg into my bedroom. It felt like I really had gone on a little get-away. Even if I got distracted by sounds in my home and I was startled halfway through savasana, even when it wasn’t as perfect as I thought it could have been. It was still perfect enough. It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:
Control is my favorite illusion
Judith Hanson Lasater
So I have been getting inspired. A lot! And I think you will notice that in my classes too. How about you? How have you been? Do your days fly by? Or are you watching the clock waiting for the day to be over? I’d love to hear how you are feeling and what you are doing.
I will try to check back here more often. For now I’m planning on doing a blog on the membership site. Giving you a little tour and tell you a little more about it. If you can’t wait for that, feel free to check the site here now!
A few weeks back I wrote about how my Yoga practice is also my private playground (it’s in the blog about the magic of Yoga 😉) and sometimes when you feel a little blue, enjoying a little playtime is the best thing you can do.
I have been sick with the flu, sinuses have been painful, it just hasn’t been a good few weeks. But now the fever has been gone for a few days and I started doing more on my mat besides Savasana and Restorative Yoga. (Always do savasana babe, it’s the best thing. Ever.) For the past few years there have been poses that have been hard for me. Some of you may know I’ve had several surgeries, my wrist, elbow and shoulder. And even though I can do so much more than we ever thought I could again (thanks to my miracle worker surgeon) I figured some poses just weren’t for me. And that is okay. There are PLENTY poses that I can do and that I love!
But yesterday as I played around on my mat I wanted to see if maybe something changed and I surprised myself when I easily pushed myself up into urdhva dhanurasana. No protest in my wrist or shoulders! Some protest in my head as my sinuses are still bothering me, but that was it! It made me smile.
It also made me think that sometimes you do have to try things you think (or even know) you can’t do. I always have a hard time walking the line between being happy with what you have and can do VS pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to find new opportunities and achieve new goals. Anyone recognize that? I’d love to hear how you deal what that!
Anyways I wanted to share my joy about finding that even 5 years after my last surgery I am still getting stronger! Now I’m off to class, taking my happy vibes with me. See you on the mat soon!
You are invited to join me for a extended Slow Flow Class. We will flow in a Stretch & Chill way, not only to the rhythm of our breath, but also to a special Christmas Holiday Inspired Playlist to get us in the mood for the celebrations throughout the month.
The flow will focus on looking back at the year you have had. Releasing the things that we want to let go off and taking note of the good things that happened.
STEP 2: YOGA NIDRA
After our slow flow, we cosy up. Put on warm socks, curl up under the blankets and get comfortable as I guide you through a very special Yoga Nidra. As we took time to look back during our Yoga Flow, this Nidra will guide you into a deeper relaxation and while we will look back, we also start looking forward. Focusing on setting your intention for the new year to come. (if none of this speaks to you, don’t worry, in that case you will get a wonderful relaxing and guided savasana!).
If you would like to know more about Yoga Nidra, or maybe try a recording of a Nidra sessions by yours truly, go back to the August newsletter!
STEP 3: HOMEMADE YOGI TEA
Like at last years party, there will be homemade Yogi Tea and some nice snacks and nibbles to enjoy after class! (Please let me know before if there are any dietary needs I should be aware of!) step 4: Take home your Christmas gift! Of course I will not let you go home without a little something to thank you. Thank you for coming to class this year. Thank you for being the awesome person that you are. Thank you for celebrating with me!
75 minute Slow Flow with Yoga Nidra Homemade tea and snacks Christmas gift Price: €22,50
This week we have the second edition of Flow & Restore coming up at Womanhood Studio. I’m so excited about these classes because they give me the opportunity to teach something I love. With a passion. That it’s not just “okay” to rest. No babe, it’s a necessity.
the 2 hour workshop with a flow, warming up our body, moving to the rhythm of
your breath as we get the juices flowing. After that we slow down. All the way
down. I will show you how we can use props like a stack of blankets, bolsters
and Yoga block to make it easier for the body to let go. And the beauty of it
is that you don’t try to relax. The
body will do that all by itself simply because we give it the chance to. The
mind will follow.
stay in the poses for several minutes. And by letting the body slow down, by
resting every little piece of you, we start recharging.
Some questions I get asked frequently:
What does my mind do?
the mind rest too! Not by telling ourselves we need to relax and think of nothing,
but by letting the body be so comfortable, the mind will slow down. When the
body knows that it is safe, the parasympathetic system kicks in. We leave fight
or flight mode and the body starts letting go of tension. The calmer the body,
the calmer the mind. Thoughts will still come, they always do. Simply go with
them, it’s resisting the thoughts that brings stress.
What if I fall asleep?
probably needed it! If you come to Restorative Yoga every month and sleep
through it every month, then maybe you could look into how you can give
yourself more sleep on a regular basis. But if it happens every now and then,
don’t worry about it. Enjoy it 😉
Why so many props?
answer: because you deserve it.
Long answer: because we want your whole body to be as comfortable as we can
possibly make it! Giving support in all the right places makes it so much
easier for the body to release tension and ease into relaxation.
If you know me a little you may know that I love Yoga. With a passion. And not for the pretty poses, or because it helped me lose weight. I love it the most because of how it’s always there for me. It’s my comfort when I’m sad. It’s my medicine when I feel sick. It’s my happy place where I smile and laugh. It’s my playground where I try out new things.
It’s all of that and more.
And someone who has helped me so often to find all that -and more-, is Adriene. You may know her from her YouTube Channel Yoga with Adriene. Adriene offers free Yoga classes through her YouTube channel and there is Yoga for everyone and every mood. There is also a membership site where you get even more Yoga and a few other extra’s (sign up for the free 7 day trial if you’re curious!)! I am so happy I get to call her my friend and I was honored when she asked me to come assist her on the 2018 Roadshow in the UK (understatement of the year!).
The Road Show is a tour that Adriene and her team organize every year. This year the Roadshow came back to Europe and with the help of Adidas the team was able to make it an unforgettable few weeks!
In the UK leg of the tour, I witnessed what happens when you open up Alexandra Palace – the people’s palace – to 2400 Yogis who all KNOW how to find what feels good. Magic, that’s what happens!
After that the venues got “smaller”. At the Oval Space we could still smell that a few hours earlier some serious clubbing was being done there. While the crew mopped the floor, the FWFG team used incense to turn the room into a perfect spot for 200 or so Yogis to roll out their mats. Twice. One morning session and one afternoon session. We then went even smaller. In the beauty that is Kew Gardens, lies the Nash Conservatory. A breathtakingly beautiful location where 100 Yogis gathered just after sunset for the final UK event of the Roadshow. It was intimate and so beautiful.
What all these events had in common, no matter how big the room or how close everyone’s mat was to their neighbors mat, is that it felt intimate. It felt right. It felt good.
During this tour, for the first time I had a chance to look around the rooms and see everybody move (instead of being in the room moving myself). I had so many moments where I felt goosebumps, where I just couldn’t get over how amazing this was to see. It was like a beautiful dance. And no matter where I looked, I saw smiles, I saw how sometimes people were so moved a tear would roll down their face. I saw bliss.
The theme of this Roadshow was Up Your Connect. And that’s really it, isn’t it? What Yoga does? Where the magic of it is? It connects us. To our body. To our breath. To the people close to us. During the classes, our assists consisted of bringing that “extra layer of love” as Adriene calls it. Not to push or pull you into a pose, but to give you a little extra warmth, or that soft touch to help ground you. Never before have so many people reached out to me to squeeze my hand after an “assist”, or whispered “thank you”. We are connected.
After the classes in the Oval and at Kew there was time for Meet & Greets and while people were in a queue (a long one mind you), they were all smiling. And chatting. And connecting. It didn’t matter that they had to wait. I got to talk to most of the people who queued up and it was such an inspiration to meet them. Some traveled from afar, some came to more than one event. Some had their very first public class right there, some had stories to share. I felt honored to talk to them, to hear their stories. It confirmed to me yet again, the power of Yoga.
I am grateful that Yoga has a voice like Adriene’s. Bringing it to so many people. She was and is one of my biggest inspirations. Not just in Yoga but also in kindness and in just what a bad-ass woman she is. I was so lucky to be a part of this tour and I hope that if you haven’t already, you may look her up and find something that feels good to you.
Okay, it’s been here for a while, but I haven’t gotten around to writing a blog about it sooner 😊 One of my favorite things is practicing Yoga outside. Standing in mountain pose, feeling the sun and breeze on your skin, makes it easier for me to go deeper, to connect to my breath and to notice how I am feeling. We have been taking our practices outside quite a lot already.
These last weeks every Saturday morning on the Pier was just perfect. The 10 am sun is not smoldering hot yet, the beach is not crowded yet and I honestly can’t think of a better way to wake up.
We also took our yoga to the park with Womanhood Studio, when we did 2 sessions of Yoga & Kek Breakfast at a beautiful spot in Delftse Hout.
It was such a great day and I get such an energy boost when I get to lead a class surrounded by beautiful nature. We are taking Womanhood Studio to the Delftse Hout again on August 12th! Book your mat HERE!
If you are like me and love stepping on the mat outside, you might want to check out www.buiten-yoga.nl. They have the best database of all outdoor classes in your region. You can find my weekly classes at De Pier in Scheveningen on there too and I am very proud to say that I am an ambassador for Buiten Yoga. On September 30th we are organizing a special event on the Pier. I will post more about that soon, but I can tell you it will be an awesome day above the sea in the Buiten Spelen Sunday afternoon sessions.
Wishing you all a wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing you on the mat!
Like most yoga teachers and instructors will tell you, when you start teaching it’s sometimes hard to hold on to your own practice. You spent much time preparing the classes you’ll teach, sometimes researching, finding the exact right music, the theme, mulling over the message you want to put in to your class. You have to promote your class, write the right social media posts, make sure everything is in order. Before you know it a week has passed and you didn’t step on the mat for YOU. And everyone knows that your teachers will tell you “don’t lose your own practice”. Just last Sunday in my Nidra teacher training, our teacher told us:
“the more you teach, the more you need your own practice”.
Mind you, I do still get on my mat almost daily, for me. But not always with the same intensity as I did before I started teaching. Sometimes the passion isn’t there. I practice Restorative Yoga most when I get on the mat for me, which I love. But sometimes I miss my more active practice, I miss the flow. There are days I will not get up early enough, or wait to go to bed until I’m too tired and I only give me myself a few breaths in Tadasana. “A little goes a long way” as one of my favorite teacher always reminds us. But sometimes a little is just that. A little. And there are times I long for more.
So when I decided to go to Cornwall on a Yoga and photography retreat with my amazing friend Eva, that was my main goal. To relish in my own practice. To not focus on how the class is taught, but to surrender and give in to the classes. All of them. Not just the yoga, but the photography and surf classes as well. And I am so happy I did.
The By the Sea retreat was perfectly organized by the amazing Jo Riley and Julia Rose. All we had to do was show up, be present and we would be guided through amazing workshops and then told where we could go next for our next beautiful moment.
Oh the yoga. It’s hard not to pay attention to how the class is being taught, when it is taught by Julia Rose. The sequences, the flow, the attention to the body. It was like rediscovering Yoga all over again. Such an inspiration. Our photography classes were such a treat. Lara Platman took us back to the beginning and got us to look. Really look and see, before you even take our your camera. And then she taught us how to use our camera’s to capture what we saw. The evening Yoga classes with Jo Riley where right up my alley. My beloved Restorative Yoga was there among Yin and Hatha, and it was perfect to end the day on our mats listening to the waves rolling in and out that breathtaking Porthmeor Beach. I found passion, my practice. I fell in love even deeper with it. And I brought it back, intending to take it with me in every class I do. As both a teacher and as a student.
I haven’t even mentioned the amazing women I met, the beautiful Cornish scenery, the delicious food and the laughter that accompanied every day. I fell not only deeper in love with Yoga, I fell in love with this place. St. Ives, I can’t wait to see you again!