Spend Your Energy Wisely

Let’s apply yogic philosophy to your modern life and learn how to spend your energy wisely.

Brahmacharya is probably the most confusing Yamas of all. When studying the Yamas and niyamas, this one often gets neglected. It’s controversial, which means disagreement’. Brahmacharya is known for being linked to celibacy but it has also been used to simply mean a conservation of energy so that it is used in a correct way. In other words: ‘spending your energy wisely’.

Did I lose you already? Let me help you investigate and discover ways in which it could apply to you. Give you a new perspective and understanding of Brahmacharya in our modern, Western, day-to-day life so you can spend your energy wisely.

Let’s start with an example of ‘wasting’ energy: 

It’s Tuesday morning and you accidentally slept in. You wanted to practise yoga and get some work done, but it’s already 12pm. You’re still in bed, you scroll through Instagram and you feel yourself getting annoyed. You get annoyed because the house is a mess, your partner hasn’t taken the dog out, you haven’t had a coffee and suddenly everything just seems shit and there’s chaos’. 

However, the chaos isn’t really happening externally. The chaos is what you notice in your mind and body. 

To make yourself feel better, you make a massive breakfast. Let’s say brunch. You decide it’s already too late to make this day productive and instead go watch a film, do some online shopping and let the hours pass by.  You realise the sun is about to set and get even more annoyed. You call yourself useless, worthless, and ‘a loser’ because you haven’t done anything (yet).’

Sometimes, we need a day like this. But sometimes, we really let ourselves go. Brachmacharya speaks about ‘the right use of energy’: self-regulation or self-control, but in this example, you also saw how we neglected other yamas such as Asteya (non-stealing) and Ahimsa (loving kindness). Remember, everything is connected. So are the Yamas. 

Then, how can I spend my energy wisely?

Brahmacharya originally refers to ‘celibacy’. Celibacy means that you’re not sexually active or actively looking for it. Basically, you voluntarily give up your sexual energy and only use it to reproduce in the right stage of your life. I understand that doesn’t sound appealing. But, I also believe we can find a way in which you can practise this yama yourself.   

Rather than focussing on sexual activity, we focus on spending energy wisely. Do you do the things you do because it brings you internal happiness? Or do you do it because it’s what’s expected? Maybe you don’t know any better, you’re too tired to find a different way, or maybe there’s fear of judgement or not being good enough. 

To spend our energy wisely, we have to find balance or moderation. To find this equilibrium, I like to ask the questions words starting with WH-. In this case: What? When? And why? 

A few useful questions:

Let’s go back to the example and start at the moment that you realised it was ‘too late’ for a productive day. What if you’d asked yourself: 

‘What do I actually need to do?’ – Maybe there’s a deadline or someone waiting for you, but maybe it’s okay to rest.

‘When do I have time to do it?’ – If it’s work, you might not have a choice, but maybe it doesn’t actually need to happen straight away.

‘Why is it so much effort?’ – Are you truly tired, or are you becoming tired of the idea of doing it? Maybe it’s ignorance and you simply need to get out of your own bubble.

What is the actual reason behind your negative use of energy??

You’re most likely not actually angry with your partner, or the fact that the house is a little messy. When I find myself in a position like this, I most often feel stuck or tired of doing things the same way. No one has ever achieved more without changing and improving the process.

It’s all about balance, baby!

In yoga we search for healthy challenges in moderation. This means that it’s okay to find your limits, but don’t go beyond them. When you find a spot where you are too comfortable, you’re not spending your energy wisely. When you find a spot that’s too challenging, it takes longer to improve and gets too frustrating; you’ll eventually give up or go past your boundaries, provoking all sorts of issues from mental health to physical health or unhealthy relationships. 

If you feel unhappy, unsatisfied, frustrated, or are easily distracted, it’s a sign of imbalance within. I’d highly recommend you read our blog about ‘happiness’ and finding your flow.


Continuing Education Membership

In the meantime, check out our Continuing Education Membership for multilingual yoga teachers. This membership offers professional and personal development for yoga teachers that want to start teaching worldwide; online or abroad. Develop your communication and teaching skills while obtaining continuing education hours with our live and recorded classes and teacher training sessions!

Have a look at all that’s included here.

Truthfulness (Satya) and Introducing the THINK-method

An Honest Guide for Your Daily Life: Truthfulness (Satya) and introducing the THINK-method.

‘Tell me the truth’, my mum said. ‘The truth’, I answered. I was three years old and honestly I had no idea what ‘the truth’ meant. 

I can’t remember if I took something that wasn’t mine or if she thought I had lied. Whatever it was, most of us are taught that lying is a bad thing and we must always speak the truth. Yet, we lie. We lie all the time. We lie about how delicious something tastes, how well we’re doing, how bad we are at something, or how talented someone is. And, we even lie about the fact that we never lie.

Lying takes many forms from ignorance to exaggeration, pride, fear and insecurity. Lies lie in your subconscious, but also on the tip of your tongue. We display them in our actions, thoughts and words, day in day out.

In yoga, the second Yama (social ethic) is called Satya. Satya is translated into English as  ‘truthfulness’. Truthfulness is the opposite of telling lies. Truthfulness quite simply means thinking and speaking the truth or the fact of being realistic. 


Let’s explore the reasons why we lie, what truthfulness (Satya) means and how we can introduce the THINK-method to your daily life.


Why do we lie?

Lying is a deeply ingrained human behaviour. Some of the best liars are criminals and politicians. They lie to create a better image, cover up bad behaviour, or quite frankly to save their asses. But you also lie. You lie to your friends, family, partners, colleagues, strangers and yourself. Research shows we lie to gain financial or personal benefits, protect others’ feelings, avoid certain people, to come across more polite, and more. 7% of the time the reason is unknown; sometimes we simply lie for no reason! (1)

You learn to lie between the ages of 2 and 5 which is when you’re experiencing many things for the first time and testing your independence. While many parents find their lying children worrying, Kang Lee, a psychologist at the University of Toronto, actually describes this as a comforting sign. It means their cognitive growth is on track. (1)

At the same time, you’re developing your morals, values, or at least learning to ‘live’ a certain way. You learn to lie, but don’t lie all the time or about everything. “We lie if honesty won’t work.” – Tim Levine.

However, you don’t live your life expecting others to lie, or verifying everything you hear. You perceive what you see and hear as reality and the truth. You hear what you want to hear, and you see what you want to see. This is especially true when the source is someone or something that you trust, or it confirms or emphasises what you already believe.


Are you a liar? 

Yes. When was the last time you told yourself you’d wake-up in the morning without checking your phone first thing and you did it anyway? Tell me about a time you told yourself you’d clean the house, including the cupboard and you ‘forgot’. Or, how often have you told someone ‘it was amazing’, while inside you’re thinking it wasn’t as great as you made it sound.

When you think of lying, you think of the people you lie to, but creating awareness of how much you lie to yourself is just as important. The lies you tell yourself might not be as obvious or as damaging as you think. But these lies are often your limiting beliefs. 

You tell yourself you can’t do it, you’re not good enough, you need to lose weight and so on. 

Are these beliefs actual truths and facts? Probably not. They are probably little lies or biased versions of the truth, created by your perception of reality: not what is actually real or true.


Journal prompts:

  1. What kind(s) of lies do you tell? Write an example of a lie you told yourself or someone else recently.
  2. What are some of the common or repetitive things you tell yourself?
  3. Do these things express something negative about yourself?
  4. How true are they, if at all?
  5. Do you have proof that they’re true? What’s the evidence?


Satya: truthfulness or ‘to speak truth’

All the yamas go hand in hand. Truthfulness relates to forgiveness, not stealing, and not being possessive or violent. When practising one, you’re practising others. However, all of them have something unique to them. 

“Speak the truth which is pleasant. Do not speak unpleasant truths. Do not lie, even if the lies are pleasing to the ear. That is the eternal law, the dharma.” – Heart of Yoga.

You might read this quote and find it a little confusing. Does this mean you should speak about the truth you like, but ignore the truth that you don’t like? 

I believe that we should be able to speak about everything, even if it’s unpleasant. However, it’s the words and the moment you choose that make all the difference. 


Apply truthfulness (Satya) and the THINK-method to your daily life:

To start consciously acting instead of reacting on impulse, you need to learn to THINK before you speak. 

THINK stands for: True Helpful Inspiring Necessary Kind.

Next time you catch yourself ‘wanting to lie’, reacting from your emotion and telling someone the truth as you see or feel it in that moment, pause. 

Stop your urge to act on your impulses and bring your awareness to your breath and sensations. Then, ask yourself: ‘Is what I want to say True? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind?’

You can tell the truth if you think it is necessary and in a helpful, inspiring and kind way. Even if the truth is difficult for you or another person to face, using this method helps you do it in a way that is honest but not detrimental.

This requires strong awareness skills, but you can definitely train yourself! The THINK-method will help you to better understand yourself, other people, communicate more respectfully and verbalise your needs, wishes and desires accomplishing a healthy outcome. 

Do you want to learn more about this topic or start integrating the THINK-method into your life, training specific scenarios and situations? Have a look at ‘The Ways We Love’: a course designed to create awareness around our relationships, your relationship with yourself and the Yamas (social ethics as described in yoga philosophy).



(1) Why we lie –  Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, National Geographic
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, a contributing writer, has also written about deception in his new book, The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell. He wrote about baby brains in January 2015. Dan Winters is an award-winning photographer based in Austin, Texas. This is his first feature assignment for the magazine.

Honest liars — the psychology of self-deception: Cortney Warren at TEDxUNLV

Catch me if you can – Steven Spielberg

The film about compulsive lying. This Steven Spielberg film is based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who successfully performed many different professions without having obtained a degree in anything.

Continuing Education Membership

In the meantime, check out our Continuing Education Membership for multilingual yoga teachers. This membership offers professional and personal development for yoga teachers that want to start teaching worldwide; online or abroad. Develop your communication and teaching skills while obtaining continuing education hours with our live and recorded classes and teacher training sessions!

Have a look at all that’s included here.

Loving Kindness and Ahimsa

Loving kindness & Ahimsa, if you practise yoga regularly, you’ve probably heard of these before. But, what do loving kindness & Ahimsa actually mean and how can we practise them in our day-to-day life?

There are many types of love. The love you feel for your pet, your friend, your siblings, your partner, or your child. They are all different and special in their own way. In earlier blogs we’ve already discussed self-care, self-love and self-compassion, and you might know that to love anything and anyone truly, you must first learn to love yourself.

If you lack self-esteem, confidence or self-acceptance it’s likely that this is reflected in feelings such as frustration, jealousy, envy or even hatred towards others. You can’t like everyone and not everybody will like you, but practising self-acceptance and especially loving kindness, will help you reduce such strong feelings, as well as criticism and destructive thoughts.

What is loving kindness?

Loving kindness is most commonly known as a type of meditation. It’s also called ‘Metta’ meditation. The ultimate form of generous and selfless love. It combines several qualities of love: friendliness, mutual understanding and peace, compassion, goodwill and an active interest in others. It’s originally a self-healing practice that traditional Buddhists consider a pathway for creating happiness, appreciation, satisfaction, and ultimate acceptance (Bodhi, 2005; Shen-Yen 2001).

With loving-kindness meditation comes a profound spiritual transformation and the urge to reflect on our positive emotions (Kabat-Zinn, 1990).

This week we’re looking at the relationships we have with our friends and family, and practising loving kindness and Ahimsa. Before we say anything else: 

Journal questions:

  1. Describe the relationship you have with your best friend.
  2. Why do you love this person?
  3. What are their best characteristics? 
  4. Why do you consider these their ‘best’ characteristics?

Practising loving kindness and ahimsa

Meditation is a great way to practise loving kindness. It allows you to create awareness, understand your obstacles better and make space for wiser decisions. Meditation is a limb of yoga. Yoga is a lifestyle and something you also practise off the mat in your daily life. 

The Yama ‘Ahimsa’ is very closely linked to loving kindness. Ahimsa means non-harming and non-violence in thought, word and intentional behaviour and acts. Now, when your brain sees all these negative words; ‘no, non, never’, it doesn’t know what to do instead. So, let’s have a look at some examples and let’s be super honest (practise truthfulness: Satya.

Journal questions:

Do you easily judge…

  • someone for the way they look? 
  • what they have(n’t) achieved?
  • what they eat?

Do you (negatively) speak about others…

  • when they are not there?
  • to laugh at them (with another friend)?
  • in a passive aggressive way?

Do you consciously…

  • speak nastily to others?
  • exclude others?
  • Avoid telling the truth because it seems easier? 

Especially around the people we feel most comfortable with, we forget our social ethics. I’m guilty of this too and honestly also think it’s healthy to express your negative feelings and experiences from time to time. But way too often, we express ourselves without thinking and use words that are very harmful and damaging.  

When I studied Ahimsa I learned to read between the lines and now see that it’s not just about the absence of violence, but rather it teaches us kindness, friendliness, thoughtfulness and taking others, as well as our duties and responsibilities into consideration. 

“World  peace, please!” 

I’m not telling you to start vegan propaganda, spread-the-love cult, or tell you to go on  strike for climate change, but I do believe in the meaning behind these practices. They simply beg for your attention; treat yourself, others and all living things the way you’d like to be treated.


Continuing Education Membership

In the meantime, check out our Continuing Education Membership for multilingual yoga teachers. This membership offers professional and personal development for yoga teachers that want to start teaching worldwide; online or abroad. Develop your communication and teaching skills while obtaining continuing education hours with our live and recorded classes and teacher training sessions!

Have a look at all that’s included here.

Are you a thief?

Are you a thief?

Integrate Asteya and Aparigraha In Your Life.

In yoga we often speak about the Yamas. The yamas are social ethical principles. They include non-stealing, non-greed and non-hoarding, in yogic terms: Asteya and Aparigraha. Let’s dive into the meaning of Asteya and Aparigraha and learn how to integrate them in your daily life.


A couple of weeks ago, my friend Paula posted a quote on Instagram that touched my soul.

“You say you love your children above all else and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”

Paula spoke about ‘Asteya’. Asteya means non-stealing. Non-stealing means not taking anything that doesn’t belong to you. To take only what’s necessary, even when it’s free. I believe it goes hand in hand with ‘Aparigraha’. Aparigraha teaches us non-hoarding, non-greed and non-attachment. In other words, to share and give to others.


Are you guilty of neglecting Asteya and Aparigraha?

You might think you never steal. You probably don’t do it intentionally anyway. But non-stealing refers to everything in life. We steal time, food, energy, confidence and feelings. We steal to fill up emptiness in our bodies and souls. In yoga we practise for ‘union’. We aim to connect to a deeper meaning to fill the gaps we experience within ourselves, and share this with others.

Journal question:

‘When was the last time you stole something?’ ‘Do you take more than you need?’

Stealing from yourself

When you practise yoga asana, do you go beyond a healthy boundary? Do you push yourself to the max? Do you tell yourself you’re not good enough, you must gain flexibility, become stronger or that you’re not doing it right? This also is stealing. You’re stealing from your experience in the present moment. Your confidence and ability to allow and accept yourself for who you are, right now.

Stealing from others

Think of a time you were late for class or a meeting. You came in out of breath, puffing and groaning about the traffic, apologised, but still disturbed the peace in the room. And, took away focus and stole time from the person or people involved.

You get the picture. I don’t want to blame you or call you a thief. We’re all guilty of this and although it’s very often accepted, I do think it’s a good thing to create more awareness of how we steal from ourselves, our loved ones and our surroundings.

Whenever we think about ‘The Ways We Love’, we generally think of the relationships we have with our loved ones, but where I’d like to start today is your relationship with nature.

We’re all connected

Remember the quote I wrote at the start: “You say you love your children above all else and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”

Loving your loved ones even more deeply starts with Mother Earth: all of our oceans, beaches, woods and forests, the countryside, all sea creatures, animals and wildlife.

When looking at nature, we see how everything is connected. All species work together as a big family and rely on each other. Trees for example are connected through underground networks. They share their water and nutrients through these networks, and also use them to communicate. They are so deeply connected that when a tree is stressed or malnourished, the other trees send them extra supplies.

We, just as all other species, rely on our relationship with trees. Trees release oxygen, helping us breathe. Just what you focus on in your yoga class. Trees are used for the production of (toilet) paper, cork, medicines, sponges, hair dye, rubber and even chocolate, just to name a few.

Practise Asteya & Aparigraha: take care of each other

In 2021, global warming, plastic and air pollution, agricultural emissions, extinction and other environmental issues are probably not new to you. Yet, when speaking about these topics, a lot of us tend to look the other way and change the conversation. I’m not going to lie, didn’t used to be a big fan either. But I believe that not addressing these topics is purely because we don’t know enough about them.

It’s very hard to stay up to date with all the news that we’re being exposed to. It’s even harder to choose what’s true and trustworthy. I can’t decide for you, but I believe that you’re very capable of doing your own research and understanding what you could change to practise Asteya & Aparigraha and live a more sustainable lifestyle for you, for the planet and for others. If you think of the people you love and your relationships with them, I reckon you’d like them to have the resources they need to be healthy.

By taking care of your surroundings for example the paper, water, food and materials you use, and managing how much of them you use, you help preserve resources and a healthy planet.  By doing this, you care actively not only for yourself, but also for your children, your loved ones and their children.

This is where I stop my speech about caring for the environment and practising Asteya and Aparigraha, but if you’d like to get into this topic I’ve referred to some resources below.



Resources to dive into:

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
A shocking documentary about environmental matters, sustainable production and how the government and big companies such as Greenpeace hide the biggest issues.
If I had to choose one reason I’d consume a whole food or vegan diet, this would be mine.

Day 0: Cape Town’s Water Crisis Approaches Day Zero

An incredible documentary about the effects and consequences of climate change including extreme drought that led South Africa to take extreme measures we could all learn from.

The Minimalists – books and documentaries

Declutter your life from your home to your relationships. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus help others to truly let go of what you don’t need and focus on life’s most important aspects.

The Natural Capital Project 

An organisation that focuses on improvement of the well-being of people and nature through sustainable partnership and combining science and technology that enable people and nature to thrive.

Marie Kondo – Home Cleansing Practices

Clean out your space. Pay respect to your belongings, give what you no longer need a second chance by giving it away. End up with a spacious house, room, and/or closet.

Bim, Bam, Boo – Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper

Sustainable, high quality toilet paper made from bamboo that doesn’t only save trees, but also protects your skin, health and well-being.

Practising Asteya & Aparigraha

Book 1: The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice 

Book 2: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Continuing Education Membership

In the meantime, check out our Continuing Education Membership for multilingual yoga teachers. This membership offers professional and personal development for yoga teachers that want to start teaching worldwide; online or abroad. Develop your communication and teaching skills while obtaining continuing education hours with our live and recorded classes and teacher training sessions!

Have a look at all that’s included here.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Whereas you all know yoga asana, the practice of positions and poses that you help to release tension and stress, become flexible and lean, etc. (old news); yoga as a whole has much more to it. The eight limbs of yoga are the pathway to fully immerse yourself in the yogic lifestyle, they include breath, meditation, (personal) healthcare, and even your actions and the way you deal with your relationships.

Sounds heavy already, get ready…

The eight limbs of yoga described in one sentence.

  1. Yamas
    The five “restraints” counting nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-excess, and non-possessiveness.
  2. Niyamas
    The five “observances,” incorporating purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender.
  3. Asana
    Positions, posture, movement, steadiness
  4. Pranayama
    The breath – control of the vital energy of the universe.
  5. Pratyahara
    Focus, withdrawal of the senses.
  6. Dharana 
    Concentration, single-pointed awareness.
  7. Dhyana 
    Contemplation, absorption, meditation.
  8. Samadhi
    Self-transcendence, complete integration with the object to be understood.

Holy moly. That sounds rather restricted, but I promise it is not at all that bad…

Let’s dive in a little deeper and see how yes, it is a litte serious, but the limbs are there for you to adapt to YOUR lifestyle. Your life. Your personality. Your rhythm. Your preferences. To your contentment.

The eight limbs of yoga described in a little more detail.

1. Yamas

Yama is your entrance, your presence, not so much the way you look from the outside, but who you are within and how you communicate this with the rest of the world.  Ask yourself how you come across? Are you kind and compassionate? Do you act and speak truthful? Do you practise non-stealing? Do you hoard? All of these, literally and figuratively. The Yamas say all about how you deal with your relationships.

2. Niyamas

You might have guessed already. The Niyamas deal with the relationship we have with ourselves. How do relate to yourself? Are you content within? Do you keep your mind, body and soul clean? Do you search for development? Do you question and study? Are you disciplined? Do you dare to devote time to something bigger, higher or unknown, like e.g. God? The Niyamas include your entire personal care-taking.

3. Asana
The one described at the start; the physical aspect of your yoga practise. The poses, stances and movement that trim your body. At least that might be the reason you started practising. Yes, that lean and flexible body are a great benefit, but really, why we practise asana is building a connection between your mind, heart, breath, soul and body. To show up for yourself (accountability) and be determined, to push your boundaries, find acceptance, patience and laugh at yourself when you fall.

4. Pranayama
Prana stands for energy, life force. Simply ‘the breath’. That what keeps you alive. Pranayama (breathing techniques) go hand-in-hand with asana.
Your breath tells you all about your current state and condition. If you are out-of-breath, you have gone beyond your limits. If it is irregular, you might want to question why exactly. Having an even, steady, and controlled cycle is the sign of healthy breathing (and is very necessary for an effective asana practise).

5. Pratyahara
Pratyahara is where it all gets a little more abstract. Pratyahara guides you to withdraw the senses from the outside world to let them shine within. This implies focus on the senses one-by-one, instead of being on the phone, while watching TV, eating dinner and checking your e-mail at the same time!
You do not have to shut out the world completely, just be mindful.  Benefit or disadvantage? When you see yourself clearly, you will see others clearly too.

6. Dharana
The first step towards meditation. To still your mind. To become steady. To focus on one entity. This can be the pose you are sitting in, a mantra, your breath, a body part of even a photo or a statue. In Dharana we pay attention to only that one object and is held in the mind, without consciousness wavering from it. The point of Dharana is the preparation for meditation, a tool to get deeper, to get closer to the ultimate.

7. Dhyana
Once you master the practise of Dharana, it is time for Dhyana (meditation), training of the mind. Withdrawing your senses from automatic responses, leading to equanimity, awareness and concentration. In Dhyana there is no specific object of focus, but total absorption that makes you forget to even think. Like as if you forgot the time while running through a forest, or reading a book. Letting go of focus, becoming immersed in the present.

8. Samadhi
The ultimate goal; union. Yes, you could put it on your bucket list, but this practise needs aaaaaa lot of exercise, and still I would not want to keep your hope up, as even the masters do not always reach Samadhi. It does however occur as a result of a consistent practise and can therefore happen spontaneously.
It defines a state of simply ‘being’, ‘eternal truth’ and ‘connection’. The complete understanding and a total immersion in presence, becoming one with the Universe.

Grab your journal and answer the following questions: 

  1. What limb is most important to you?
  2. What limb would you like to practise more?
  3. What limb do you think we need more of?
  4. What do you want to know next?

Continuing Education Membership

In the meantime, check out our Continuing Education Membership for multilingual yoga teachers. This membership offers professional and personal development for yoga teachers that want to start teaching worldwide; online or abroad. Develop your communication and teaching skills while obtaining continuing education hours with our live and recorded classes and teacher training sessions!

Have a look at all that’s included here.