Yoga Myths

There are lots of myths surrounding yoga. Sometimes your mind looks for any excuse not to do something that challenges you. So, if you excuse yourself for not having to practise yoga for whatever reason, let’s clear up these yoga myths before you go any further!

***Download here a free worksheet to check your understanding!


1. I have to be flexible to do yoga.

Not true:

We are all flexible to some extent. Opening your eyes requires flexibility, and so does yawning! Many yoga sequences aim to increase flexibility slowly and safely. You can also adapt many poses to work with the flexibility that your body has already. Most yoga teachers explain these variations in the classes. Yoga increases your flexibility and builds your strength over time. So have patience with yourself.

2. I’m too old to start yoga.

Not true:

Generally, yoga is quite an accessible activity, adaptable to most ages and abilities. For example, if you can’t stand, there are plenty of yoga poses for sitting down. There are many studies that show doing yoga improves health issues. Osteoarthritis, for example, which we can develop as we get older. (5) Yoga can improve your bone health, support your immune system and prevent cartilage and joint breakdown. (6) The yoga market is growing and growing, meaning that there’s a type of yoga and a yoga teacher for every body type. Remember, too, that yoga doesn’t have to be physical. It can be a lifestyle more than a physical practice, so if you can’t find the right asana practice for you, you can always start with the morals (Yamas and Niyamas), Pranayama (breath work), mindfulness or meditation.

3. Yoga’s religious and I don’t identify with this.

Not always true:

While there are yogic systems of philosophy, you don’t have to know them or believe in them to practice yoga sequences. Asanas often concern unity of the body, mind and breath, and this concept doesn’t have to apply to a specific religion. To you, your body, mind and soul might exist outside a religious context, so you can choose if your yoga offers you a belief system, personally. But beliefs and yoga can be totally separate experiences if that’s what you feel.

4. Yoga’s religious and it clashes with my own religion.

We think this one’s for you to decide:

It depends on you, your yoga and your religion! There are books, theses and lives devoted to understanding this encounter.

To be cautious, we think that yoga does involve belief systems that could, at times, clash with some religions. However, the practice of yoga is too different from person to person, for us to advise you personally. Perhaps this is first and foremost a point of self-growth for you to explore on yourjourney.

To start with, it depends on the type of yoga you are practising, down to where you are practising, and even who with. Many forms of yoga asana, especially in the West, don’t have to dominate your belief system in order for you to benefit from physical and breathing practices, though some would say you lose the essence of yoga if you consider it only physical. We asked yogis around the world what they thought, and they all had diverse answers. Some say that yoga doesn’t require you to believe in anything specifically, some say yoga has nothing to do with religion; that it is a science. Some do not see yoga outside its beliefs or spiritual experience at all and say the opposite, asking how yoga could be experienced at all without its original and historical spiritual aspects.

We are fascinated by this question but won’t pretend to have an affirmative answer to it.

5. Yoga’s time-consuming and I don’t have time.

Not true:

Yoga sequences are creative, meaning that you can create your own at home that suits your body and your timetable. It can be difficult to make the time you want to spend on yoga if you have a busy life. But even a practice of 10 minutes is a great success! Every day is a day to practice yoga. Every day is a new day to make a change. A little goes a long way.

6. Yoga’s is too slow and easy for me:

Not true:

Like with anything, there’s always room for improvement! If you think you’ve got everything perfectly, do that sequence again but focus on something else. Bring your attention to your breath, the speed of your movement, or the way you transition between poses. Play and discover your body. Challenge yourself to find more advanced variations. And while you’ve been worrying about the physical aspect, what about your body’s unity with your mind: body-mind connection? The process is never-ending; make it your own.

7.  I find breathing patterns uncomfortable or dangerous:

Your breath is for you to take when you need it!

But first, let’s tackle any anxiety. In a yoga class, the yogis aren’t breathing to be in synchronisation with each other. They’re taking a breath that’s comfortable for them personally. The yoga teacher instructs you to transition to a new pose on your next exhale – not NOW! Yoga asks you to listen to what your body needs. If you have a condition, physical or mental, that affects your breathing, remember that your inhales and exhales are on your terms. Breathe when you need to, but breathe well.

Make the most of your breath and enjoy it! Don’t do anything that increases your anxiety: if you need a pause, take one. If you suffer from injuries, mental or physical illness or if you’re pregnant, mention this to your yoga teacher. Most instructors will be able to tell you which breathing exercises you could or shouldn’t do.

8. I can’t do yoga because I’m on my period.

Not entirely true:

This is a very personal subject. Everyone who menstruates has a different body, different cycle and different hormone levels. So this is one you really need to decide for yourself. However, even those of us badly affected by our periods can still do yoga.

Imagine: you’re in bed with a hot water bottle or castor oil pack, ready to sleep until your period’s over. Before you do so, lie down, relax the body completely and focus on taking deep, long breaths. There you go: Savasana. You’re doing yoga. Then there are specific poses such as ‘butterfly pose’, wide-legged child’s pose with a pillow between the legs, and yin practices that help to relieve menstrual cramps and stomach aches. It’s about adapting your practice to what you can benefit from at that point in your day.




Check your understanding of the yoga myths by downloading the worksheet and doing the comprehension exercise on our Continuing Education Membership

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.

Do you serve yoga or does yoga serve you?

These days and in many places around the world, there’s a lot of pressure for you to ‘work hard, play hard’ and achieve both while looking and feeling healthy, fit and wonderful… all of the time! When you finally find time in this busy lifestyle to practice yoga, meditation or do other kinds of exercise for your mind and body, do you ask yourself why you’re actually doing any of this?

Do you serve yoga or does yoga serve you?

Here’s an example:
You get up early to have a quick shower and breakfast. You run to the station and catch your bus – just in time! When you get to work, you see all the papers on your desk and take a deep breath. Your sarcastic colleague comments ‘well someone is happy!’ Now you try to compensate by being as kind and fun as possible. You rushed your lunch because a meeting went on too long which meant you worked overtime and had no time to do your English homework. You have an extra coffee because you’re tired. 5pm finally comes and your manager wants to talk to you, so you end up rushing to your weekly yoga class. 

When you arrive at the yoga studio, you realise you left your mat at work. You are panicking about getting into trouble with your English teacher, because you have not handed in your task. So you start the practice annoyed with your job, disappointed in yourself, and frustrated with how unfair the day was.

You sit down in a meditation pose, listening to your teacher. Every time thoughts come into your mind, you lose track of their instructions. You can’t connect your body and mind to the present moment. You don’t realise you’ve brought your bad day with you to the mat.
Do you realise that now your stomach is sore with hunger? Are you aware that now your shoulders are right up by your ears and that’s why your neck will be stiff in the morning? Do you notice, even in a meditation pose, your forehead is creased, and that’s why your classmate asks if you are upset? 

Dena Jackson (0) believes yoga gives you a set of tools which you develop during your practices but apply directly to the rest of your life. The techniques of yoga and meditation help prepare us for challenges in other areas of life. It creates a calm foundation inside us that causes us to react to difficulty with more peace and positivity. She also says that we cannot look after other people until we look after ourselves. 

Who or what are you practising for?

Are you practising because other people talk about yoga and meditation? Because you already paid for this class? Or because yoga looks pretty on Instagram? 

Are you conscious in your practices or are you passive during them? Can you learn, through yoga and meditation, to create peace inside yourself that you can always access, no matter what is happening outside?

Before you can expect any results, you need to really look inside yourself to find out why you are here and why you want to practise yoga. What attracts you to practising yoga? Do you see yoga as a workout or are you here to have an experience?

Today, look inside your own mind, and tap into your emotional and physical body.

Ask yourself: What do I need? How can yoga serve me? How will yoga help me be the best version of myself?


Download the worksheet here.

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.

Yoga as a Learning Tool

We’re all so similar, yet all so different. Then why are we taught the exact same ways? Stop wasting your time and use yoga as a learning tool!

Below, download your free worksheet with journal prompts for self-transformation and use yoga as a learning tool today!

‘’Why do some things seem so easy to others yet so difficult to us?’’

That same school system taught us in the same way, we more or less have the same understanding of the basic principles of life, but when I ask you your preferred way to learn, would you be able to tell me? Do you do what you want in life? Or do you feel stuck in society’s expectations of ‘who you should be’ and ‘the way it should be’

Let’s spill the beans…

There isn’t just one magical secret or superpower. 

But, you are not those others, you don’t learn the same way, and you probably don’t even want to follow their path. To become who you want to be and do what you want to do, you’ll need to reprogram the mind, find the things you find truly interesting and fascinating. 

How my failures lead me to yoga.

I was an eager student, a perfectionist, an extremely hard worker, and like many among us, driven to achieve. I couldn’t stand failure, I didn’t allow myself to make mistakes, and was easily defeated when I didn’t pass a test. 

My personal expectations were high, my tolerance low, and it took its toll.

I was good at languages, but terrible at maths, science, and biology. The interest wasn’t there, I hated it, and not because of the teachers, but because I was part of that system. The system that taught us to write summaries, drill new terms, and forced us to pass exams. 

Though however hard I tried, the material didn’t stick with me and I got stuck in negative self-talk, damaged self-esteem and a pessimistic belief system. I kept comparing myself to others and didn’t appreciate what I did have going for me; still wanting to be better, greater, more. 

Not until I started practising yoga, did I slowly get out of my comfort zone. Even though in the beginning I tried showing off, my teacher’s words soothed my competitiveness and perfectionism, and I suddenly saw that it is ok not to be good at everything. It’s okay to fail and rest.

‘’Gradually, I changed my perspective and started to focus on only the things I was truly interested in; language and yoga.’’

I discovered a new world packed with science and biology. I suddenly liked anatomy, historic texts, and philosophy. I discovered that focusing on the things that excite and intrigued me sped up my learning process. I was attentive to each detail and the best part was, I could actually use it in my life. 

As an English teacher, I stepped away from teaching the system and instead focussed on finding out about the student’s interest. I help them find their core values, passions and goals in life. And surprisingly enough, when we dig deep, grammar, spelling, and sentence structure isn’t always their priority. What they do want, is to be able to communicate, make themselves understood, recognize themselves, and find a personal comparison in their learning process/material. 

Because in the end, when learning anything, we want to be able to use it at work, when speaking to our friends and use it in our day-to-day life, right? 

What we need is to step away from the way you were taught to learn, forget what we know, create curiosity for new learning techniques, let go of fear, and do the things we want to do with confidence, as if we already know what we’re doing.

Reprogramme Your Mind For Effective Learning

Imagine yourself sitting at your desk, reading multiple texts, writing notes or essays, watching instructional videos, listening to your teachers for hours and hours. At the end of the day, how much of that information do you really remember? Let’s say 10, maybe 20%? 

After a day like that: we’re saturated, the mind is overloaded, and we feel overwhelmed. And still, we ask ourselves why it’s so hard to remember new information and apply it to our lives.

Let’s look at some examples.

This is my number one focus technique, and the greatest lesson from meditation and yoga. 

It’s a tool. A tool to process, reflect, digest, and memorize. If you’re not used to moving your body between tasks, it might sound strange, or even uncomfortable. You’re in the flow, want to get things done, but ask yourself, after those hours, how productive have you actually been? 

Mind stimulation requires you to focus, it requires your attention and concentration. But as studies show, (nowadays) after only 25 minutes, the mind gets tired and literally stops saving new information. Instead of keeping your eyes on the screen, give your mind a break and let the body benefit from movement. Now, I like to practice yoga, but really this can be anything. Get up and go for a walk, do a little stretching, stand up and shake it out, anything that works for you. And, it doesn’t require a lot of time, even a 5 minute ‘move your butt’ break can do wonders. 

After moving the body, your mind is charged to be stimulated again. 

Now, it’s easy to fall into that same trap; we’re programmed, we have our habits, and unlearning something is way more complicated than learning something new. 

Learning something new, however, stimulates the mind in a more effective way. Provoking yourself to try new things, finding new ways of registering information, being playful and easy on yourself causes new activity in the brain. When the brain acknowledges this new activity it’s as if it wakes up. Waking up the brain helps you to create healthy challenges, be playful, and focus better. 

Your turn!

Say that you’re learning Camel Pose. I personally didn’t like camel pose, until I started analyzing. 

A camel is an animal known for its humps. What colours do they have? What do you think they smell like, their hair feels like, they sound like? Where do they live? What do they provide life with? Have you ever seen one? In what way is a camel relevant or even relatable to you? 

When you get into camel pose, what body parts do you use? In what way are they connected? Do you know any poses that are similar? Can you do camel pose seated, standing or lying down? What happens in the body when you do so? Are they still called the same name?

Maybe you know a song about camels, maybe you’ve seen one in a film? Explore the word, explore the pose, explore its definition and what relevance it has to you. 

This way, next time you get into camel pose, you’ll remember and probably have more fun doing so.

Variable repetition 

I get bored easily, and once something goes well, I tend to move onto the next. However in yoga, and when learning new things repetition is a must. We need to repeat the matter to memorise and understand it fully.

So what about finding those repetitions in the things you don’t like or are bored of. Let’s go back to the camel pose. You’ve now practiced it for a while. Maybe you can even get your hands to your heels, but still feel uncomfortable dropping your head back. 

It’s easy to get stuck when repeating, as the mind gets used to doing something one way. The mind is programmed to set us up for automation. But let yoga be your tool to reprogramme the mind.

  • Try new asanas before and after camel pose.
  • Try a class with other teachers, listen to their vocabulary, instructions and ways of explanation. 
  • Try new techniques, find a book, browse the internet, or ask your yogi friends.
  • Stay curious, and look for something new, practise for yourself and instead of placing the palms down, bring your fingertips up; find what way works for you!

In the end, I believe that you can learn anything. Whether it be a pose, a language or some mathematical structures, as long as you can find personal relevances and experiences, it’s easier to remember than if they’re just facts.

Now here's where your transformation starts.

1. Join our Continuing Education Membership and download the worksheet with journal prompts for self-exploration and transformation.

2. Carve out some time this week you can sit down, think, reflect, and really take the time to get to your most honest answers.

3. Let us know your new insights, goals, and who you hold yourself accountable to from now on, OR find an accountability partner in our FB community!

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.

What is Yoga?!

“Yoga is primarily a practice intended to make someone wiser, more able to understand things than they were before”.

Ask 10 people, and you will get 10 different answers. Conviction, exercise, diet, lifestyle, immersion; yoga has a different meaning to everyone.

However, yoga entails constant development. Traditionally, yoga is a lifestyle, rather than a physical practise. It requires openness, curiousness, exploration, acceptance and patience. Yoga does not know any age, gender, profession, or cultural background. Yoga is for everyone.

“Yoga means union”

Yoga, as I was thought in my teacher training is much like written in my description of the Yamas and Niyamas, following the same believes and viewpoints, following my understanding of ‘The Heart of Yoga’, book report.

One day, I decided I wanted to do a Teacher Training. I went to Costa Rica, excited to be surrounded by beautiful people with the same interests, eat healthy, learn about the human body and develop my knowledge of yogic history, but most of all; be practising asana all day!

Wrong! Very wrong!

Yes, I was surrounded by beautiful people with the same interest, eating healthy and studying anatomy and history, but it wasn’t as easy and fun as that sounds.

Due to my lack of knowledge, I got a lot of mixed signals and was very confused about the whole concept. Described was the idea of being kind to ourselves, and to one another. To listen to our body and recognise when we need to take a break. To be truthful, sincere, show determination, and at the same time be discreet, selfless. To be with and live yoga is such a beautiful principle, but to live up to the traditional standards, is damn hard!  

Once I finished my teacher training, I desperately needed to take distance to order my thoughts, impressions, and feelings. It took time to digest this load of overwhelming information. I lost my passion for practising asana and gave up on the idea of teaching yoga for about 9 months. I lost my interest and felt angry with myself for spending time, money and energy on something I did not even want to be part of anymore.

“Everything happens for a reason, and if the outcome is not what you expected, it is meant to be a learning point.”

That is also yoga. No blame-games and no finger-pointing.

I believe I have found back the desire to develop, the urge to learn and help others with that what I love so much. However, I am approaching yoga my way. Just as you should. Just as many others do.

To me this means taking care of myself the way I feel good about and the way I can make progress gradually, while serving others. I set goals, but I am flexible. I am forgiving, but realistic. And when something does not sit well, I search for alternatives, move on, and let go. All of this serves me more than I could ever imagine in my asana practise, as well as day-to-day life. 
The better I feel in my own skin, the better I can serve others, and this, I believe, applies to everyone.

“Yoga is you; content, serene, open and thriving”.

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 Heart of Yoga – My insights.

The Heart of Yoga - My insights.

Developing a Personal Practice - Book by T. K. V. Desikachar

Thoughts and philosophies by (Sri) T. K. V. Desikachar, an inspirational and exceptional yoga teacher, on yoga. The book displays the significance of his schooling, the importance of having a knowledgeable teacher and the eternal studies on these believes, or conviction.
T. K. V. Desikachar grew up as son of Sri Krishnamacharya. A Sanskrit scholar, healer, and yogi who was among others schooled in Samkhya, India’s oldest philosophical system on which Yoga fundamentally is based. It states the establishment of the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram institution (1976), a foundation in which yoga is used to treat sick people, applying Ayurveda and yoga as healing agents.
Most prominently, it will hand answers to the many questions in your beginning yoga journey. Including the different stages, various phases, viewpoints and perspectives, results and consequences of a (un-)regular practise.

The Heart of Yoga defines the diverse understanding of the yogic philosophy. Attempting a constant, present state of mind. “To be one with the divine”, “to come together,” “to unite”, “to attain what was previously unattainable”. As I’d interpret: union of body, mind, soul or spirit. Being present, observant and acceptant, making way for Samadhi, “complete integration with the object to be understood” and Nirodha, “total clearance”.

The book portrays the teaching techniques used by (Sri) T. K. V. Desikachar and passes on, despite being the offspring of a more traditional yoga practitioner, his modern and technical appreciation of this centuries old tradition, coming as close as possible to a complete understanding of yoga as a lifestyle.

“That which was impossible becomes possible; that which was unattainable becomes attainable; that which was invisible can be seen”.​

Accessibility & (personal) approach

Yoga does not know any limits, no target group, and no one way of ‘doing it right’. Yoga is available to everyone alive. If you can breathe, you can practise. That does not mean that you should practise any kind of yoga. “It has to be the right yoga for each person”. Knowing what is right for each person, is the responsibility of the teacher through teaching only that what is truly relevant to the student.
There is not one approach, treatment, or solution that is right for “every-body”. Yoga objects the mind, and every ‘mind’ is unique. It is the only thing we all have in common; distinction.

In modern yoga, where we dominantly practise asana in groups, this personal approach can be achieved by a simple touch of assistance, or a sweet word. By getting to know and observing your students, making (eye-)contact, and trying to find their needs, either mentally or physically. To be clear about what asana you are teaching, and how to prepare for it to avoid distress, injuries, or frustration.

Importance of the breath

The most essential part of each yoga practise is the breath. Each movement, each pose, even each thought, originates or is assisted by our breathing. Without our breath, we are nothing; it is the sign of life.


“This balanced union brings harmony and order to our bodies and minds”.


Each day is different, we are not the same person as we were yesterday. We do not move the same as we did last week. No better, no worse, different. Therefore, it is necessary to practise your asanas without judgement. Our breath is the measurement of a valued practise. If we fail to maintain a calm, stable, quietly sounded breath, we have pushed ourselves too far. The quality of the breath is the strongest indication of the quality of our asana practise.

Yoga to impress

When practising yoga, we are not performing a show, we are not aiming to entertain anyone, and certainly not trying to impress others by embellishing the Internet or adorning Instagram. Each practise is as personal and unique as we are ourselves, and that is special enough. We should not need competitions.

That aside, remaining flexible, being able to change expectations, paying more attention to the spirit in which we act and focussing less on the direct results, our actions may bring progress in our overall yoga practise.


            “Get rid of dukha and avidya, and make room for purusa”.


Each action has a positive and a negative effect. In yoga asana, but certainly in life. Being able to identify which effects are positive and which are negative is extremely important to balance out your actions and choices. In yoga asana, we need neutralizing postures, or counter poses (pratikriyasana) to optimize the body. Knowing your body, they often come automatically. With time, you will know what your body needs.
In life, this means we need to become more aware of this action-reaction effect and think through our choices thoroughly. Make ourselves conscious of the outcome, the consequences in the short and the long run. Listen to our needs mentally, physically and emotionally. I often take things as they come and adapt to it. Learning that we have a bigger say in these results, can change your perspective.

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During my teacher training we focussed a lot of the Self. ‘Where am I? Who am I? What am I?’. Chapter 8 “Things That Darken the Heart”, took me back to these therapy-like sessions, in which we got scarily close to getting to know our true, inner-selves.
The four types of avidya: asmita (ego), raga (desire), dvesa (hatred), adhinivesa (fear), are always present, and always will be. The volume of their existence and the impact of it in our life, is our own responsibility. Yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation, together with conscious time for reflection, can and if practised regularly, will help you control these emotions or even eliminate them. Striving for the ultimate; wanting, or controlling something, trying too hard to have something, will result in the opposite effect (duhkha) of your desire.


“It is precisely those who are searching for clarity who often experience duhkha particularly strongly”.


The eight limbs; yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi, and five states of yoga; ksipta, mudha, viksipta, nirodha as described in the book caught my serious interest. All terms of which I had heard before, but never came to visualize the meanings of so clearly. Recognizing and now being able to name these common states and behaviours we see daily, and the realization hereof is truly intriguing and would be something we mankind, should create more awareness around.
In our world now, it can be seen hard to let go and ‘live yoga’, but ‘living yoga’ has a unique meaning for every individual. To me this means letting go and care less, or not care at all about what people think. Obviously, without hurting anyone in any way, but little by little let myself be less influenced. I am not striving for samadhi (complete integration with the object to be understood), neither nirodha (total clearance), which effectively go together. I am not seeking for the ‘oneness’, as a ‘real’ yogi or yogini may would. However, I am searching for solutions, willing to see mistakes and rectify faulty perceptions and have opened up for new and further discoveries. Being me now, I think it is only fair to sometimes be stressed, feel hurt, be upset or the total opposite. To me, yoga also means being who you are in the present moment, without drowning in emotions, or seeking stimulants to make you feel better. To practise a change in the quality of the mind, so that we can live more balanced and unaffected.

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