How yoga has changed my life

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Since I made the decision to dedicate my life to yoga, I have often got the question: how did yoga change your life?
Most of the times followed by the question: who inspired you to do this?

This week I was signing up for a next step in my yoga life, a 500 hour teacher training. As part of the sign-up I had to write a short essay on these two questions. So it only seemed logical and fun to share them with you. No edits, no changes, the pure and honest answers!

  1. How has practicing Yoga affected you and your relationship to the world around you?

Yoga has an effect on every single part of my life, physically, mentally and emotionally. The most important thing it has affected is self-love and the relationship with myself. Before I became a yoga practitioner, the last relationship I would take care of, was the relationship with myself. Which had a tremendous impact on my health, my outlook in life, my happiness and the relationships I formed with others.

Through yoga I learned that the relationship with the Self has to come first. Once that relationship is established, you are able to perceive the world differently. Nature and my connection to it has started to play a bigger role, the understanding that you are part of something bigger, something larger then yourself.

I have learned how to take care of my health, notice what goes on in my body, my mind and translate that into my personal needs, in order to be the best I can be.

Yoga changed me internally, or maybe not changed me, but made my connection with the Self stronger, and because of that I can be a better person. A loving, kind and honest human being for my husband, my family, my friends, my students and even strangers on the street and in traffic.

So yoga did not only change my physical body, it changed the way I perceive things. I am able to differentiate the states of my mind and can therefore see more clearly. And it changed me emotionally, to someone who is connected, grounded and able to share her love.

  1. Who has influenced you on your Yoga path?

I have been influenced by a variety of teachers. Below the most important ones:

  • Martyn Hoogstra: my first yoga teacher who blossomed my love for yoga, philosophy and taught me the importance of a regular and serious practice.
  • Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra: The leader of the Yoga Institute in Mumbai. She was the one who really sparked the connection of yoga and health. Yoga as a way to take care of myself.
  • David Lurey & Mirjam Wagner: They were my teachers for my 200 hour ‘Find Balance’ Yoga Teacher Training. They helped me set the foundation for the teacher I am today, as well as they showed me what it really means to love myself.
  • Leslie Kaminoff: an enormous influence when it comes to understanding the body, the anatomy (and not just the bones and muscles). I did his online course and after every class I experienced an ‘Aha’ moment. He opened my eyes about how my body functions, how I could potentially help others and how interesting discovering yoga can be.
  • Kate Holcombe: an amazing and incredible teacher specialised in Vini Yoga and Yoga Therapy. She studied and lived with Desikachar for 6 years and she accepted me as her mentee to get a deeper understanding of the yoga philosophy (in particular the yoga sutras) as well as yoga as a therapy. I also finished an advanced yoga and cancer training under her guidance.
  • Stephanie Snyder: she is an amazing flow teacher, who’s weekly classes teach me about humility, joy and kindness. She is an example for how to sequence a class and add philosophy, joy and singing at the same time.
  • Sri Dharma Mittra: I got introduced to Sri Dharma Mittra by Gerson Frau (who teaches in Brasil, where I lived for a couple of years). I have only met Dharma Mittra once during a class in New York, but I was blown away by his personality, the love and kindness that shown through. I have been a long time online follower and I am inspired by what he does and puts out in the world. I would love to bring his influence a step further into my life.
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