Do you remember your first yoga class? Well, I do like it was yesterday. I was 18 and still a big teenager. The class took place at a traditional yoga center and my friends and I couldn’t stop giggling because of the glum yoga teacher. Not fully convinced by this somewhat dry introduction to yoga but nevertheless curious about the mysticism of yoga, I gave it a second try five years later at the gym.
This is where I met my teachers Patrick and Gosta, who were teaching New York Jivamukti style vinyasa yoga. This form of yoga, consisting of flowing sequences guided by music, was far more dynamic and challenging. I was inspired! At the same time, I also took many of the more static, but beautifully structured hatha yoga classes with Sinead Daly. In these classes, I learned the importance and effects of technique and alignment as well as the slow build-up to more challenging poses.
After a decade of practicing different styles of yoga at the gym, I decided it was time to move to a real yoga school. Having felt out of place at university (I have an M.A. in Film & Television) and now struggling in my professional life as a fashion shop owner, I hoped yoga would help me move in the right direction. And so it did…
I tracked down Patrick and Gosta, who had by then opened their own yoga school, Svaha Yoga Amsterdam, just around the corner from my place. In this cozy environment filled with devotional pujas, incense, fresh flowers and candles my practice, as well as my mental and emotional state, received an instant face-lift.
Props such as cushions, blocks and belts and the physical adjustments by the teachers helped to deepen the physical practice. But the traditional chanting of mantras and sharing of yoga philosophies were true (third) eye-openers.
I had never heard these mantras in Sanskrit before, but it felt like someone was finally speaking to me in a language I understood. I did not hesitate for a moment to sign up for the 500-hour Svaha Teacher Training in 2009.
While I had never planned to actually become a teacher, I was offered the opportunity to teach at a gym shortly before finishing the teacher training. The first class was an unforgettable experience. Love at first sight! I realized right after this was what I was meant to do. I taught this class and many others with so much joy for the next four years.