On my mat I’ve learned

I’ve learned so much on my mat. In the yogaclasses of Bikram Yoga Arnhem, Affordable Yoga Paris, RYoga Rome. At my yoga teacher training with Samyak Yoga in Mysore, Inda. During my self practice at home, in hotels and outside in parks.

Of course I’ve learned about how to move my body into a posture. How to hold it. Steady and comfortable as it should be but also sometimes unsteady and uncomfortable. I have learned how to teach, to adjust, to assist.

There is so much more to learn.. but until now….

Continue reading “On my mat I’ve learned”

YepYoga’s guide to Chiang Mai : Yoga, vega and more

I’m now one and a half week more than a month in Chiang Mai, Thailand being the happy yogi. And I love it, don’t want to go away. It’s small but so much to discover. The people are always smiling and friendly. I got hooked when I found out that every day, especially from around 4pm, the Nuong/Suan Buak Haad Park in the southwest corner of the old city is filled with people doing yoga, partner- and acroyoga, slacklining and juggling. In some periodes of the year there may be less people (rainseason, smog/smoke etc – see below) but now (december/january) there are plenty! These people there are very chill and open. If you want to “play”, just ask somebody. A total difference with the beerpong backpackers on the Khao San road in Bangkok 🙂

Attention: from february until march (included) there is a lot of smog because waste is burnt. So avoid Chiang Mai in these months (link / Google)

Here are some useful links for the yogi’s and yogini’s

  • Yogaschools

    Drop-in classes are around 250 bath (ca. 7 €/$).

    • Yoga tree – A lot of different classes per day. Also classes specific for beginners. Has a cafe in a garden.
    • Namo Yoga. Class was okay, but the mats are very, very old. So take your own! Various classes per day (Gentle, hatha and ashtanga), 220-250 bath
    • Wild Rose yoga – mostly ashtanga/vinyasa flow based. A lot of people love it there, but I’ve heard also the term ‘too much ego’ once.  Also workshops etc.
    • Freedom Yoga – two or three classes per day, various styles. Has also a cafe. Outside the Old Town, East of the Tha Phae gate
    • Yoga Kuukan – Mostly two classes a day, mostly gently or alignment based. Also interesting workshops
    • Blue garden – two daily classes
    • Bodhi tree cafe 2 – Guesthouse/restaurant who offers daily yogaclasses at 9am and 18h with guest teachers (so different styles and quality)
    • Mahasiddha Yoga / Tantra Yoga Thailand The most esoteric based of the schools (tantra yoga). Offers also workshops and retreats.
    • Yoga Ananda – two a three classes per day, in Nimmanhaemin area
    • Satva Yoga – two a three classes per day (of which Iyengar yoga with -as somebody told me- a good teacher), in Nimmanhaemin area
  • Facebook groups
  • Meditation
    • Green Papaya Sangha – Every thursday evening 7.30pm at the Yoga Tree
    • MCU Buddhist university  – retreats” from one or two days – see my review
    • Doi Suthep Vipassana – programs from 3 to 21 days
    • Wat Srisuphan – every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 5,30pm to 9pm
    • Wat Ram Poeng – Vipassana
    • Pa Pae – three day (extendable) retreat between Chiang Mai and Pai
      • Monkchat – talk with the monks and ask them everything! You information, they free English lessons
        • Wat Suan Dok / MCU Buddhist University – Monday until Friday (incl.)  From 05.00 p.m. – 07.00 p.m.
        • Wat Chedi Luang – all days except sunday 12.00-18.30
        • Doi Suthep – Daily 1-3pm.
        • Wat Umong: Available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5:30pm-7:30pm.
  • Retreats / resorts
  • Yogamats and -props
    • Unfortunately there is not yet a yogashop in Chiang Mai. A big miss. Also on the market I didnt see any mats. But after a tip on Reddit of Sobri909, I found some good mats in the big Super Sports shop in Central Festival. This is their selection, from cheap to the equivalent of the Manduka Pro. Finally I’ve adviced for the hotel where I stayed to buy one of the ‘X Pro‘ of Jason brand, unknown but seems to be good (don’t know about the durability though since we’ve bought the mat only two days ago).
      • Decathlon, near the airport- quality is not very high
      • Sports World at the ‘Kad Suan Kaew’-mall next to  the North East of Old Town  – low to moderate quality
      • YogaAum, distributor of Manduka (and other brands) in Thailand. With a webshop
  • Yoga Teacher Trainings
  • Vegetarian restaurants It is not difficult to eat vegetarian in Thailand.  Here is a page with essential vocubalary. My favorite restaurants, in rough order of preference
    Pad Thai of Reform Kafe
    • Reform Kafe / (FB) – very good food and friendly service, part of the wonderful Green Tiger House, my home in Chiang Mai.
    • Peppermaint (with ‘ai‘!) – a place where I’ve almost always met someone I know or get to know.
    • Morning Glory near the South Gate
    • Tien Sing – near the south gate, plate of rice and sidedishs for only 30-35 bath!
    • Karma Kitchen – nice burgers
    • Blue diamond – good restaurant, not only vega(n), but has a bakery with a lot of (sweet) vegan products
    • By Hand cafe – Pizza’s, almost like in Italy. Good choice of vega(n) pizza’s
    • Taste from Heaven – nice restaurant. Has also a sister, Vegan in heaven
    • Punpun– at the Wat Suan Dok
    • AUM – has good reviews, I have been two times, at the first time I was not that impressed, the second time was nice
    • Amrita Garden. Very good, very popular but expensive (probably because the food is organic)
    • May Kaidee. Part of a chain. Very delicious, but very small portions.

Silence please

I just return from a two day meditation program of the CMU university of Chiang Mai, Thailand. And it a very nice experience to get into meditation!

We started at Tuesday afternoon at 13:30 at the Wat Susan Dok, a little bit east of the old town. There were around 30 participants. People from all over the world but a lot of Germans. We started with a short introduction about Buddhism near the temple. By taxi we were brought 15 km out of town where they have a meditation center in the middle of the nature. Strange to hear the birds after spending two weeks in big cities.
Continue reading “Silence please”

One week after

It’s incredible how fast the time flies. It’s already one week ago that I’ve been given my certificate for the teacher training. After the ceremony me and one of my fellow students flew to Thailand. So no black hole for us. We’ve started in Bangkok and stayed there for 5 days. I’ve seen a lot of markets, the three most famous temples, ate a lot of nice things, been served and helped by a lot of kind people but I missed somehow the charm that Paris, Amsterdam of Rome has.

After that we went to Chiang Mai. Already in the taxi I felt that I like this city more. More charm, smaller and we were lucky to arrive at sunday evening so there was the Weekend market (another one!).
Continue reading “One week after”

Reborn again – Review Samyak Yoga Teacher Training

It has flown away, the 28 days to do a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in Hatha yoga for 200 hours at Samyak Yoga in Mysore. Exactly two years after doing my first yoga class (ok, two days missing) my diploma was given. Like said at the ceremony, it’s like a rebirth. An old life ends and a new path of yoga starts.

Take a cup of tea or good coffee because here is a long review. I was glad to read those things before starting so I am happy to write one also for those orientating on the huge market or YTT’s.

I never planned to do a YTT (me?) until I saw an enthusiastic blogpost at Ohmybuddha.fr, so I looked at their website http://www.samyakyoga.org.  Very informative and after 28 days I can confirm everything that has been written is true and truthful 🙂 The price (€1400) is a good and realistic price given all the lessons, the housing and the food. My then teachers convinced me (thanks forever Louise and Rosalina) so the interest was getting seriously.

The contacts before entering my adhesion were very hope giving, always quick responses on my questions by e-mail or at facebook. I have looked at some other YTT’s but the feeling that I had with Samyak was so good that I even haven’t considered them really.

After entering the submission form everything went very smoothly. Aryan from the backoffice deserves compliments by doing this process so well.

Then finally I arrived after a long and wild taxi drive, already one month ago. The room is very spacious, single, with a private shower and toilet.  At arrival everything was very clean and everything is cleaned thoroughly once a week.

The food prepared by the hardworking Jittu and Chiboun is of course vegatarian (ahimsa, you know). Officially they do not provide vegan food, but I think that my vegan collegues didn’t have any problem to eat vegan. Every day it was well prepared, not too spicy, enough and most important delicious ! Simply said, it was restaurant quality, it matched easily the food I ate “out of home” (for your info I visited Dhatu and Greenleaf in Mysore)

Also the personal care is high. Sick people got the help they needed and even help was given to organize the trips on the days off !

Then where I came for. The training. Only three words: Very very good. The teachers are all very dedicated, warm and helpfull. We’ve gotten a very good base in yoga philosophy, things as pranyama and kriyas and above all the asana’s, the art of teaching and correcting. These are the big strength of Samyak, the classes are very much based on experiences, competences and insight.

The philosophy is beautiful explained. At a certain moment I was dissapointed that we didn’t study the yoga sutra’s, but at a certain moment I was reading them and recognized what was told by Arvind. By the way, it is handy that you have a base knowledge about the eight limbs of yoga and the principe of duality (parusha/prakrit) because there is a lot to learn in a bit of time.

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Around hundred asanas (postures) are reviewed deeply with all the possible corrections you can give. The nice thing is that you’ll get the information on an (self to be brought) USB stick.

Maybe unique for this training is the fact that you get to teach and learn to teach so much from day two until the final exam of fourty minutes to one hour so you can learn to deal with performing stress and start to develop your own style. (by the way last week you teach only during the exam, but also in this period you have a lot of opportunities to practice with your fellows).

Another strong point is that Samyak has maximal 18 students each course! (Some more in their Paris summertraining I think.) 18! I see class pictures from other schools with more than 50 students. So enough attention for everybody and time to answer questions which I wisely used of course. (Though I’m waiting for an instagram picture of the Marichyasana D :))

Besides the many, many big strengths there is always a small weakness. For me that is the fact that we did get only a bit of western- and  yoga anatomy. I knew this before I came, as it is written in other reviews and part of the school’s philosophy (“you only need anatomy if you want to give yoga therapy classes”).

Unregarding whether it’s a real need or not, there is my personal interest and questions of students (why can/can’t I do this, can you really physically stretch/lengthen a muscle etc.) and luckily this is something you can study this easily on your own with some good books (for example by Kaminoff, Long or Clark) and Youtube videos, so it’s a very acceptable trade off for me (more attention for teaching and asana’s versus less anatomy).

For me personally it was not too hard physically seen. No big pains and only few small pains in my body. But it is really wise to have a regular practice of at least three times a week for a longer period (six months or more) as indicated. Sometimes I thought “What made me think that I was eligible to do this” – (Module 2!) but everything was very doable for me. Also mentally it was less hard than I had foreseen. No big emotional rollercoasters (except two days at the end of the first week) in my head. Also less than foreseen in those of the colleges, although you never know what they don’t tell you. But it is a fact that everybody has undergone changes in feelings and mindsets. I’m so very curious where everybody stands in two years, as teacher and in personal life (who will still be with the current partner;)). Remember, two years ago I started with yoga and see the path I walked.

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It’s “only” 200 hours and there is so much to learn. I just feel like I opened a box and only see the surface. Do I know enough to be a teacher? It’s a long discussion. The teachers indicate that the course is a base and advice to deepen your practice first for a while and slowly start teaching friends etc. Really teaching as a job should be able in one or two years after the training. It also depends on your own background.

But seen the joy and relatively easiness while teaching the daily classes (except feeling being in a TV show) – and also earlier this year combined with all the knowledge and experiences that I’ve gotten here at Mysore I’ll be absolutely not afraid to offer already classes here and there, replace a teacher who didn’t arrive (*), do pop up yoga or give sessions at the campsite where I’ll hopefully work next summer (It will be Fabulous, be prepared ragazzi :)) Fact is that I’m already orientating on what to learn next. Vinyasa Flow? Kids Yoga? 300 hours in some years?

*) In fact I did, not even a month after the training and due to the practices and experiences it went very automatically like you’ve always done it. 🙂

Like said the teachers are very friendly, knowledgeble, accessible and warm. So I recommend Samyak, Trupta, Rakesh, Arvind, Stephanie with their support staff with everything I have in me. Definitely worth it! It was a great time being with Andrew, Chloé, Gaelle, Sabrina, Elin, Elene, Christel, Marek, Jean Pierrre, Sebastien, Jeanne, Elisabeth, Huyen, Laure, Lyla and Maria. With some I’ll cross paths again for sure, some are less likely but you are all part of the month that pretty sure will be seen as the best time of my life if I’m (really)  old. Thank you all. Namasté. Happy to be member of the Samyak Family 🙂

I know it’s not easy to choose a YTT, so if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

Summary
Amazing life changing experience  with good teachers and solid curriculum
+ teachers are very knowledgeble, experienced, friendly and accessible
+ classes are very much based on experiences, competences and insight
+ you get to teach and learn to teach very much from day two until the final exam.
+ small class size; maximal 18 students each course
+ delicious food and comfortable housing

– only a bit of western- and yoga anatomy (easily done with selfstudy)

(Post not endorsed. regular price paid)

P.S. Click here for all the articles on this blog about Samyak

P.S.2 Click here for my collection of links about Samyak at Delicious.com (some in French)

Om namah shivaya

The course had ended! The last day of the yoga teacher training started with a lesson of two hours that I gave together with lovely Elene to all the fellow students. We were last in line and we made the theme of the class “gratitude”.

Gratitude for all the beautiful moments, for the beautiful souls we have met, the 1000% dedicated teachers Trupta, Rakesh, Arvind and Stephanie, the delicious food (thanks Jitou and Chinboun!), for doing the sun salutations (12 each day) when the sun was rising (we were lucky to have that coincidence one or two weeks, amazing feeling!), the beautiful sunsets and nature around Samyak, all the knowledge and experience we were given here. We have seen each other being changed by all the wisdom around us.

At a certain moment this week the teacher asked us to give a description or compliment to the person right of you. A rainfall of nice words were spread in the atmosphere. Also I was very touched about the things said to me.

The class of today went very good and also the written test was passed well. Two tests on one day, quit heavy. I felt empty afterwards. The day ended with singing the mantras. I had to concentrate on the letters in my book and certainly not watch others. When I look back at the video I see that I was not the only one.

As said, it was a though day. I didn’t feel nervous but unconscious I was, otherwise I wouldn’t be awake from midnight to 3am. I did do my letter-to-myself writing assignment though because I was totally awake. It will be funny to receive that letter in one and a half year. Let’s see how many of my wishes and goals have been fulfilled.

In the evening I still had a mix of energy, tiredness and emptiness, so I did a yin session on my own in the yoga room. When I went back to my room the stars shined bright. What will be true from the theory about universal energy, personal energy and oneness of that. Can we become one? Are we all one? Amazing thoughts, if it wasn’t that cold I would have laid my mat in the grass and slept outside.

Today I started the day with 12 sun salutations (tapas, discipline!) and we have gotten our certificate and we had to say goodbye. A very sad moment after such an amazing and intensive month. But every end will have a new beginning.  “Om namah Sivayah”.

I have nothing to complain, I will go to Bangkok, Thailand to backpack and doing yoga of course. Keep following the log and Facebook page to stay tuned! Goodbye dear teachers, goodbye dear Friends, goodbye Samyak, goodbye India. Namasté!

P.S. A review of the Samyak hatha yoga teacher training can be found here!

Becoming a Yoga nomad

When they ask me about my perfect future it would be something like this: summers in Italy, winters all around the world being a yoga- and digital nomad and in between a month in the Netherlands. Making websites combined with teaching yoga and doing other things that make the difference and life more worthful for me, others and the world. Shouldn’t be totally impossible, isn’t it? I believe there will always be opportunities when the time is right!

I talked about it with some friends and I offered them to make a list with useful websites. Just in case that we don’t open our own yogaschool annex bed- and breakfast on a sunny island in Indonesia. So here it is 🙂

All the websites state that it’s good to work on your personal branding. So find a name and start a weblog and Facebook page. That’s why I made this site as soon as I knew a bit about my plans and dreams so I have a bit of content to show once the time is right. Do you also need a site? I know somebody who is very handy in that… hint hint hint… 

If you know more sites, let me know!

Full moon week

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The third week is over. This was the week of the full moon. On 14 November 2016, a super full moon occurred closer to the Earth than at any time for the previous 68 years and it was  another special week. Full of training of course.

That was another amazing day and evening here in Mysore. The moon was like a light bulb. When praying for the father of our fellow students I felt energy between my hands, an amazing discovery. I hope that even a little bit is transferred to Scandinavia…

Last but not least my birth horoscope has been read this week. I’m sociable and sensitive, meet always a lot of people, like discipline and might going to earn my life with something spiritual or yogic around the world. How cool would that be if that becomes true. And handy to know: the love of my life seems to live somewhere in another country (“not surprising if you move so often between  countries like you do”). Unfortunately it couldn’t be told where she lives exactly and when I’ll meet her (maybe I’ve met her already without knowing it, who knows?).

We’ve started the preparations for our final presentation / lesson. Together with Elene I’ve the honour to finish the series of lessons on the last day with a nice sequence of around 90 minutes that we’ve prepared for our fellow students. We have to present also a short meditation and breathing exercise. The process of planning a class, studying the postures and her corrections, working together is as educative and important as the  teachingof the final class  on itself. Of course our final sequence will be shown on this weblog when we have done it, it has to be a big surprise of course!

Somewhere was written that the third week is the week of the crisis. Luckily I didn’t suffer from it, neither do the others very much as it seems. But of course you don’t know what they don’t tell you. And for some of us the process will start here but the crisis and changes will occur once they are at home.

My body is still very okay although sometimes I wondered what made me eligible to do this training (Module 2!). Although others have small and bigger pains due to four hours of yoga each day  I’m really blessed with my body. I still have enough (some people say ‘a lot’) energy in general and my mind is still fresh as always, although some phrases said by me and others make things boil in my head. (‘Because you’re worth it’) The results will be visible after some processes I guess. And I thought that yoga was meant to stop the movements in the mind…

Anyway the conversations get more interesting every week now we get to know each other well. Such a pity that I have to say goodbye in a week of these beautiful souls. Don’t think about it, don’t think about it. Saying goodbye is also part of the way for new paths and Mr. Destiny will make you meet again those who you need to meet again. But don’t think about it for now.

Let’s see what will be in our future. I always was too scientifically for that but I might start to believe that everything is written in the sun, the moon and the stars….

Becoming a yoga teacher, one verb at the time

One verb at the time, that’s the mantra of this week. Each day we have to prepare three poses and to teach them to our fellow students. Softly the pressure and the standard is getting higher to get us at the best level possible. The feedback given to me is that I give to much instructions at the same time and sometimes I mix things up so the students get confused. When I started the mantra of one verb at the time, like “Put your left feet backward. Lift your arm. Go down”, it’s getting better and better.

One of the reason of the confusion for the students but also for me that is that I have to work on my motoric and body awareness. And on the syncronisation of  thinking, speaking and demonstrating. Due what happened in my first year of my life I think that that part of my brain is not as good developed as other people.

Also I’m very nervous for the daily presentation. The problem is not that I have to give the lesson to the fellow students but the fact of being judged. That was the reason that it took six(!) examens to pass for my drivers license. It feels like I’m in the TV show So you want to be Yoga Teacher and that every day somebody is eliminated (The final price is of course a yoga shala on the beach of Goa). The teacher had a good laugh when I told him so and of course I know that’s not the fact. But to know and to feel are two different things.

But we’re full in the process and that feels damn good. Who knows I’ll win the show at the end 😉