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The beginning, middle, and end of my yoga practice

In the beginning, it was the physical practice of yoga-asana that got me intrigued. I wanted to master Sirsasana - headstand to be specific, and yogic philosophies seemed strange, old fashioned and conservative to me. These days it's the yoga philosophy that keeps me interested in Yoga; how it applies to my physical practice, my life, and how to deal with the reality of this world. Maybe I'm just getting old and conservative, or maybe there is an underlying potential of change and transformation in this shape-making, shape-shifting practice we call yoga asana... maybe both? ;)

It took me many years to come into liking, and eventually love the practice of yoga; let alone aspire to a yogic informed lifestyle and yoga-teacher career. During my first experiences with yoga I had no patience towards my insecure little self, and too much embarrassment to withstand being in the same room as someone practicing 'lions breath'. I was in my late teens, too busy trying to become someone great, with little time or interest for self reflection. Looking back, I'm trying to remember when, why and how this 'not-liking-it' changed to 'I like it', and the decision to start teaching yoga.

I found yoga through movement based interests and work in dance, fitness, and personal training. My motivation for an 'on-and-off' yogapractice was to stay free from and prevent injury. At the time I was a yes-yes-yes person, taking on way too much, with serious 'fear of missing out' on any opportunity coming my way. That's how I ended up doing a short yoga-instructor-course; an opportunity presented itself and I jumped it... Not sure why (?) since I didn't really like yoga that much; I guess FOMO makes you do unexpected things, and so this lead me to stumble into teaching and the decision to travel to India. My obsession with the physical aspects, and desire to master headstand was well in bloom. As our date of departure to India got closer, I would wake up from nightmares of getting kicked out of the shala for 'not being good enough'.

A couple of weeks into our India adventure, and getting up in the middle of the night to go practice, I would say a silent prayer to not be let past Marichyasana D and just sent home to 'take rest'. I was exhausted by the intensity of the practice, exhausted of myself and the intensity I brought into the practice. It would take me several years to learn to ease up, slow down and listen, to be more present, curious and playful. The Jivamukti Yoga method played a significant role in making that shift happen; it challenge my rigid little head by offering up some freedom and creativity to sequencing, it challenge my perceptions of the world by integrating and exploring philosophical concepts as a part of my physical obsessions, it offered tremendous support by allowing a great love of mine to be a part of my practice: Music <3 I found a community of friends and teachers who I admire and with whom I can share and explore ideas, experiences and be inspired by everyday.

My practice and outlook on what it means to practice surely has evolved and changed over the years. In form and structure I've found (with the guidance of incredible teachers) what one can call cornerstones or building blocks that brings a certain consistency, and allows for a deeper experience and exploration of who I am beyond balancing the headstand. When I step into my practice space, it's from a clear starting point and then I gradually work my way towards the end. What happens in between these two points, the beginning and end, I allow to change and evolve. It's an evolution, but not necessarily a progression. Any potential physical progression is often firmly set back by the ups and downs of life, good and bad, happy or sad days.

I don't know yet, what the potential end to it all and my days as a yoga-practitioner and teacher looks like? It started with a desire to master Salamba Sirsasana, and back then I was convinced that that would be the end of it. I would move on to explore other interest and challenges, but I stayed, I've kept it and I'm still doing it... I frequently entertain the thought of: What or who would I be without all this? At some point this question became an important element of what I consider 'my yoga practice'. Maybe the real practice? If not real, it surely enough brings about something important; a sense of freedom to move on when it doesn't make sense anymore, to say that I'm done if I should choose to do so. But for now, I choose to stay.


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