Yoga School Puja Yogi
 

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Strength

When I'm going through something tough, something that feels absolutely horrible, a thought crosses my mind: 'I can't handle this.'

I am very good at consistently underestimating myself. Whenever I feel this way, 'I can't handle this', I remind myself of all the things I've handled already. I look back at everything I've already overcome.

Everyone goes through difficult moments in their lives, so you probably have too. And no matter how difficult or painful it was, you're still here... right?
You have survived whatever heartache came your way. Some way, somehow, you have handled it. You dealt with it. And here you are now, stronger than you were before that experience.

So, what is different about this tough time that you're going through now? When you know you have the strength to have overcome all of your past painful experiences... how could you possibly think you can't handle this current experience?

This is what I tell myself when the thought 'I can't handle this' comes up. It always helps. I feel stronger when I look back at how much I already survived. And soon the thought of 'I can't handle this' makes way for a new thought: 'bring it on, I can handle ANYTHING.'


What is Yoga?

Yoga is an everyday practice, because it's not some exercise... it's a lifestyle.

Yoga is a mindset, a way of life, an art of living.

Yes, Asanas (Yoga postures) can be difficult, but the real challenge is way bigger than any posture you do in Yoga class. The real challenge is incorporating the things you learn on the mat in your daily life.
So, how do you do it?
How do you change your lifestyle?

Being kind is a skill.
Being loving is a skill.
Being joyful is a skill.
You are not born with skills, you learn them. Step by step, by practicing every day, you will get better at these skills.

How to practice every day?
Start with yourself. Be kind and loving to yourself, be joyful and forgive yourself when you make a mistake.

Practice these skills off the mat next to your training on the Yoga mat and then you can call yourself a true Yogi!



Unhappiness

Like day and night need each other, you can't have happy moments without unhappy moments.

How else would you recognize the feeling of happiness, if you didn't know the feeling of unhappiness?

So just let it be, this feeling of unhappiness. Don't stress about it, don't think you're doing something wrong, just relax.
Like everything changes, this feeling will also change with time.











Yoga Teacher life

For a long time I thought giving was so important that I forgot to take care of myself.

I hated hearing 'you can only love others when you love yourself', because I desperately wanted it to be the other way around: if I'd love others enough, it would eventually turn into love for myself.
But that obviously never happened...

When I started my Yoga Teachers Training I expected to learn how to bring happiness to others, and I did... But first and foremost I learned to bring happiness to myself.
In Yoga I found the source to loving myself first, which automatically leads to loving others and the world. And when you truly take care of yourself, it becomes easier to care of others.

Now I still feel that giving, caring for others, is very important. But I also know that caring for others can never surpass caring for myself. Simply because, if I don't care of myself, I am not able to take care of others properly.
Caring for people when you don't care for yourself is an illusion, one that Yoga brought to light for me, while it also showt me the beauty in sharing from a space of peace and love for myself.

Now I get to share the gift of Yoga with the world, without losing myself.




What is meditation?

Many times when people think meditation is not for them, they say it's because they have too many thoughts, their mind is too busy.

But who said you need a quiet mind to meditate?


Meditation does not mean turning off your thoughts.
It doesn't mean shutting off your head.
It doesn't mean turning off your mind,
becoming mindless.

Have you ever had the experience that your head said one thing and your heart said another?
I did. And I tell you, it didn't feel good. When my mind says something is good for me, but my heart wants something else, I feel conflicted. And feeling conflicted is very stressful.
Meditation helps with this.

You see, meditation doesn't turn off your head. Meditation doesn't mean only listen to your heart. It actually connects the two. It functions as a translator between the two, so they can better understand each other.

When you meditate regularly, you won't feel torn between your head and heart. Not because one of the two got switched off, but because they start working together.
That way they won't tell you two different things, but start telling you the same thing. Then the conflicted feeling will disappear and you will automatically have a more peaceful mind.




Bodypositivity

Have you heard of the bodypositivity movement?

It teaches us to love our body.
No matter what it looks like.
No matter the size, weight, colour, age, gender, scars, pimples, burns, bruises, hair (a lot/none), birthmarks, exessive skin, fat, shape, height, health and anything else I might have forgotten to mention (but is just as important!!).


I've always struggled with accepting every part and aspect of my body. There was always at least one thing I found unacceptable.
Yoga and the bodypositivity movement came into my life around the same time and together they have changed the way I look at my body and the way I treat it.

I realized that accepting my body while making an exception for one or several parts, was not acceptance at all. It is like saying 'I love you, BUT...' to someone.
All that person will remember is the part that came after 'but'.
I know it's difficult to accept every aspect of your body, to accept every imperfection, every flaw and every unhealthy cell.
Do you want me to tell you what the secret is?

The secret to bodypositivity, to selflove, is...
...accept that it's a journey, not a destination.
Bodypositivity and Yoga helped me accept my body totally. But that doesn't mean the acceptance is ALWAYS there. Now and then I have my moments when I want to change (parts of) my body, when I wish something was different. Having those moments does not mean I have failed at accepting my body. It means I am human and I have my ups and downs.
The biggest difference between now and before, is that NOW I know how to get back to that state of acceptance.


Your thoughts

Like the infinity of the sky remains untouched by clouds, remember you are beyond your thoughts.

I know it's difficult to refrain from giving value to your thoughts, to see them as clouds drifting by. But look at it from the other way around: try and take EVERY thought you have seriously. Act on EVERY - SINGLE - ONE.
Now, isn't that even more difficult?

We have so many thoughts, you can barely act on one when another one has already appeared. And another one. And another one.
It is impossible to act on all of them, isn't it?

So let go of thinking you should attach yourself to every thought, let go of thinking you ARE your thoughts.
You are so much more
You are not the clouds, you are the infinity of the sky.





Vulnerability

Sometimes people reach out to me, telling me they admire my personal sharing on social media. I know sometimes sharing personal things on social media can seem like oversharing or it can feel awkward or even painful...


For me it has actually become a liberating thing. Often we feel ashamed of our thoughts, feelings or behaviour, which means we hold back from sharing it. But shame only survives in the dark, in the shadows. When you open up and let in the light, shame disappears.

So that's what I do when I share my story on social media, I share and all shame and negativity disappears. It feels empowering to let go of whatevers is holding me back.

It's so beautiful when people feel connected to me and when they are able to grow thanks to my sharing, but other people are not the reason I show my vulnerability. I do it for me.

The first time was extremely scary, but when nothing bad happened, the second time was less scary. And the third time was even easier. And now... it feels like a special thing I do for me. Something to gather my thoughts and to let go of any negativity in my life.

I'm not telling you that you should also start sharing your deepest, darkest thoughts and experiences on social media. You should do whatever you want. But you should never feel limited by what feels comfortable. Because the biggest leaps in self growth are taken when we do something that feels uncomfortable.

Set yourself free, take a leap.


Yoga Quote

'When the excitement in the mind has calmed down, the mind becomes silent... The whirlpool is calm... and when the waves are calm, you are able to see the depth of the water, the depth of the ocean... and in your depth, you are Divine, you are God!

In the depth of consciousness, to see the depth, to unite with the depth, is Yoga... The wave uniting with its depth - that is Yoga.

Though a wave can never be away from the ocean, it still cannot enjoy the depth of the ocean, if it's too turbulent.'

- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar






Self love

I didn't love myself for a really long time. And the tricky thing is, for a big part of that time I was convinced I did love myself.
But, what is self love?



To me it was simply looking in the mirror and thinking 'yeah, that's allright, I love that.' But self love isn't just about the thoughts or feelings you have about yourself. Because... what do you want when someone else says they love you? You want them to show it, not just say it. Right?

So how do you show your self love?
I didn't, not really. My self love didn't really go far beyond my thoughts.
I was still really hard on myself, I still ate all the wrong foods, I switched from extreme exercise for a period of time to periods of time with no exercise at all, I spent a lot of time doing things I didn't really want to do, not doing the things I really wanted to do, saying 'yes' to people when I wanted to say 'no', and so the list goes on.
Tell me, do those sound like actions out of self love?

When Yoga came into my life, I started seeing how twisted my expression of self love was. I also started learning the true meaning of love and how I could love myself honestly, truly and compassionately. I started taking care of myself.

That is why I love Yoga so much and why I think practicing Yoga is the best thing you could do for yourself.
To me, practicing Yoga is the purest way of expressing (self) love.