I wrote this post “The Wind of Change” in January 2021. We are in another lockdown and only get to see each other through Zoom meetings with its screen images. It is my intention to reconnect with everyone who practices Dynamic yoga with me by sharing the latest developments regarding my teachings.
These are times where reaching out for each other is more important than ever. I intend to offer with this writing a bit more than just the steadiness of weekly online classes only. I deeply wish for you to get out of this writing as much as you get out of the classes!
If you haven’t been practicing with me, yet or lately, I hope to ignite inspiration to integrate a worthwhile yoga practice into your daily life that provides you with a basis for calm and trust. A trust in life that goes deeper than our conscious belief, just as the realization that life holds many more dimensions we got yet to explore!
Hello to all of you!
The idea of writing to you has been on my mind for a couple of weeks now. I meant to do it before the end of the last year. I eventually did only the most necessary things during our break, fortunately the inspiration for writing remained.
I want to write to you about our Dynamic yoga classes.
First of all, I would like to express my deep gratitude to every one of you who practices with me. Your backgrounds and interests in yoga are so varied that I don’t even know how to address you: student, follower, attendee, yogi(ni), friend? I’m pretty sure that there’s something about yoga, and maybe you can even say that for you there’s something about Dynamic yoga, that has been bringing you back to the classes.
The most incredible thing is that some of you have been practicing with me for more than a decade which proves honest dedication and commitment! I am also impressed by the few of you who don’t live in Den Haag anymore and based on online option, still practice with me. It feels like a huge compliment and I highly appreciate your choice.
I also want to write to you about yoga and my current approach to teaching.
Paul recently asked me in a private class (that he had requested to clarify his weekly yoga practice) what had happened to my classes as I don’t cover the more physically ‘challenging’ and advanced postures. And that’s only one change I implemented over the last year or so. Change requires courage. Sometimes it requires a lot of courage. I don’t always feel drawn to change, and I don’t always feel courageous. But I can clearly feel when it announces itself! And these changes had done so; loud and clear, for quite some time.
1) You most probably have noticed that I narrowed the posture variety down to accessible and shape-wise simple postures only. I then combine them in sequences that are easy to follow and learn.
This kind of practice allows for a complete practice without having to skip postures or movements due to physical limitations. You can get the ‘full treat’ and at all levels that a practice can impact, i.e. physical, mental etc. You can reap the fruits of yoga without having to physically ‘work hard for it’.
I am aware of the tendency that a practice that holds repetitive elements and is based on a limited and accessible selection of postures and movements might cause boredom at some point. Getting over that point is what I consider the real challenge in yoga, leading to an advanced practice. It enables us to really listen, honestly respond, effectively adjust and deeply enjoy the body based on its feedback and captured by the mind. The simplicity of the practice in combination with the application of sensitivity, gentleness and patience brings nourishment to our bodies, stillness to our minds and soothes our nervous systems.
Once we start to really feel nourished, still and soothed it is up to us to implement this into our daily lives. Scan your daily activities and inquire into the implementation of simplicity and structure, good habits and an attitude that enhances all 3 of them.
2) My most genuine intention when teaching Dynamic yoga is to guide you gradually and repeatedly into the experience of wholeness.
What does that really mean? It for sure is a process and for nearly everyone it demands patience and the willingness to learn and feel. Sensitivity, focus and clarity are qualities that accompany that process. A practice based on accessible postures is a great stepping stone for slipping in and out of an experience of wholeness.
I wish for all of you to witness those precious moments on a regular basis! As a matter of fact, everybody can have experiences of wholeness, nevertheless all of us inevitably feel our own bodies only. Which leaves us the option to put into words what it feels like and exchange about it. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
3) I let go of 99% of (Sanskrit) names for postures and movements. No worries, it still is yoga.
When you practice with me these days, I verbally guide you by referring to body parts and what to do with them in terms of movement only. It is a solid condition for unimpeded embodiment (names of postures most immediately invoke an image of a posture based on its [often exotic sounding] name and our previous experience with it). I trained consciously to become as fluent as possible in my current teaching language. I pay close attention to a consistent repetition of the same instructions when talking you through movements and in and out of postures. Providing verbally clear instructions that bring about a practice in flow for body and mind is my duty as your teacher.
I mentioned a 99% detachment above. The remaining 1% is referring to the posture ‘Upward facing dog’. I couldn’t figure out, yet, how to guide you into this backbend with the available vocabulary (suggestions for it are most welcome!).
4) I play a lot with sequencing these days.
I challenge myself (and you) by introducing new and unexpected sequences on a regular basis. For many years I maintained a fixed order of posture groups in each class: Chandra Namaskar as the opening flow, followed by standing postures and sitting postures, then backbends and a closing sequence of inversions.
When I got more interested in teaching to guide you into the experience of wholeness, I gradually and slowly (over a couple of years) and occasionally dared to change the order. I noticeably made progress regularly starting classes in a supine position.
I now reached a point where I am confident about my long-trained intuition and the flow of the class ‘comes to me’, accompanied by a ‘deep knowing’ that this is exactly what is supposed to happen, while holding on to the pillar of trust. I hardly ever know exactly before a class what will unfold during the practice.
Once we are 1/3 into the class, I begin to understand where we the class content is leading to. After 2/3 of the class I am certain of how to gracefully finish the class. Almost any class leaves me with a good feeling and with a sense of completion. And that has been fueling me with confidence regarding future classes!
I have been teaching for 17 years now, thereof 15 (!) years at Yogashala.
I was wondering repeatedly over the last 2-3 years if being a teacher will be my occupation for the rest of my life. As a teenager I day knew that teaching is my vocation. It took another 15 years before yoga came to me and finally I stepped onto a path that till the day of today has brought me deep fulfillment. Teaching suits me to the bone and my teachings obviously suit others as they meet their expectations and needs. I will continue to learn so that I can improve my teachings. The changes I mentioned above reignited my love for teaching Dynamic yoga anew (this happened several times before over the last 15 years). I am curious about, and looking forward to, future classes with fulfilling practices and connecting experiences!
Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I would very much love to hear from you!
I am curious about your thoughts and feedback regarding i.e. the practice, method, teaching vocabulary, class content, sequencing varieties.
I’m curious what you feel like after a practice and if it leaves you with a sense of completion. I wonder how well you are able to relate to the instructions with body and mind.
And as you know much better than I do, for how long you have been practicing with me and what exactly it is that brings you back to the classes!
May be writing is not your thing (even though a short text will do!).
If that’s the case for you and you would like to respond despite this, we could all together meet in a Zoom-meeting. Not to practice yoga, but to have an easy and open conversation about whatever connects us, starting with the practice of yoga. Please let me know if this idea resonates with you and I will take the steps required to organize it!
If you’re a new to our website and find this post an inspiration to invest into the practice of yoga and learning from me,
Click here to view weekly class times of Dynamic yoga;
Click here to view information about working with me one-one-one;
Click here to read about my Teacher Training on offer.