Please meet the founders and main teachers of Yogashala Chris and Anke, and guest teacher Carolien.
Ask Chris why he practices yoga and his first response will always be: ‘Because it makes me feel good and it makes life easier’. Chris encountered yoga at the age of 13, by that time he practiced postures from a book. His experience is that yoga asanas, awareness and working with the breath and the peace that yoga can bring can have such an impact on the consciousness that it enables us to look at things from various angles and allows us to experience the world with an open mind.
For Chris there is no yoga, no life, no love without passion and teaching yoga without passion wouldn’t work either. His intention is that others too might experience what has happened to him through yoga! His drive as a teacher comes from being around so many personalities, possibilities, demands and wishes and the sincere interest of the people that take classes and workshops in the Yogashala or consult him at his practice ‘De Gouden Handen’.
He teaches that which he wants to share and teaches what he believes in, what he feels comfortable with and what he has to offer, always remaining true to himself.
Chris looks back at his first encounter with the founder of Dynamic yoga, Godfrey Devereux, with much fondness. An intelligent yoga teacher with a gift for words and an incredible knowledge and insight into yoga, the origins and the implementation of it. Godfrey is especially dedicated to the exploration of yoga; ‘passionate investigation’ is one of his favorite sayings. Dynamic yoga is the basis of all yoga that Chris teaches: it is a method and can be applied to all forms of yoga. It makes sure that yoga becomes ‘yoga’ and not some wishy washy thing but instead an -almost technical – groundwork to what can be built on in the classes.
Yogi Bhadjan, the man who brought Kundalini yoga to the West in the seventies, was the first real yogi for Chris – ‘No fake at all. A wise and knowledgeable man! He lived what he taught.’ In Chris’ experience Kundalini yoga almost forces a self-reflection: it easily frees emotions, recalls memories and guarantees a change of consciousness within a short space of time. It also created drive and the strength in making decisions, which became easier for him.
Meeting the Yin yoga teachers Paul & Suzee Grilley a number of times was truly inspiring, as both are passionate about their work. Paul’s knowledge was a great complementary addition and clarification to the knowledge that Chris had already acquired. He uses this then in his yoga teachings and in his work as a therapist in his own practice ‘De Gouden Handen’.
Anke’s main passion and strength in teaching yoga is intuition. Experience gathered over many years in drop-in classes and one-on-one interaction has helped crystallize her perception and approach of someone’s reality and need. Besides wanting to learn about yoga and how to practice it efficiently, people come to her and request yoga to heal wounds and injuries, or to recover from work-induced burn out or emotional overload.
Based on her ongoing journey of self-inquiry and quest for self-healing caused by a life-long history of disease, she can strongly relate to her students and clients. Anke does that with heart-felt yet safely distant empathy and the ability to adjust to situations so as to turn negative into positive while acknowledging that life forces us into situations that in the end make us grow and allow us to live it to its fullest.
“For me yoga is a tool for empowerment, it’s through yoga that I have found my strength. It helps me put things into perspective and it’s a way of expressing myself.” Anke is one of the few Senior Dynamic yoga Teachers worldwide.
She regards Godfrey Devereux as her inspiration and mentor as meeting him led her to change. His approach to life opened a whole new dimension and yet, at the same time, it was so familiar. Her desire to teach was given form through yoga.
Teaching suits Anke to the bone, she does it with ease. In both private classes and group classes Anke creates a comfortable atmosphere that encourages depth. She dares to use her teaching capacity and knowledge to stimulate growth – and all of this within a view of teaching yoga as well as the whole person.
She approaches her lessons from the connection she makes with people and from this dynamic she chooses her teaching language. A respect for people and exchange of awareness are important to her. Rather than instructing, she invites participants to learn to discover the capacity of their body. “No body is the same and there is no standard protocol for the perfection of a pose.”
We are proud that Carolien Steenbergen regularly teaches Sunday morning classes at Yogashala. Carolien is a trained Dynamic yoga teacher. As she practiced Dynamic yoga under Anke’s guidance for a couple of years, she followed her passion for Dynamic yoga and attended Godfrey Devereux’s teacher training.