Ok, my first blogpost is going to be an honest one. Starting in a good way is half the work, right?
So let me reveal that I don’t feel like the typical spiritual yogi that loves to read Patanjali’s yoga sutra’s or anything like that. I had to read the sutra’s, because of my teacher training, but I was a lot more interested in the facts, like in anatomy. I have always been the rationalist (although it took me a long time until I was able to say that about myself). Coming from an unstable family with psychiatric problems and having EDS, I learned how to observe human behavior and neglect my own needs. After my parents divorced I had to take care of my brother and mother. I always needed to choose my actions carefully (no wonder that I studied a bachelor’s degree in social work). I have read so much about psychology, psychopathology and so on. It got me in a very good job as a parole/ probation officer for many years. And now, working as a non-verbal profiler I never stop observing and analyzing human behavior. This is a completely other job than me teaching yoga and hoping to inspire other EDS patients. These aspects are all a part of me; being a rationalist, but also a caring one I guess. Last January I found that my rational part and my sensitive part are actually in good balance, and that’s what this blogpost is all about. It took a lot of energy to set aside everything I have ever learned and developed over the years in order to immerse myself completely unjudgmentally. Just when I was young, I just had to observe and feel….to find myself in complete surprise about what I had learned.
Hilde and I met through a facebook group for Dutch ambitious women. Hilde introduced herself as a spiritual coach, looking for yoga teachers to create a new program for a retreat in Morocco. It sounded very good to me and something in me told me to just take a leap and to check her out. So, I told Hilde I was interested in getting to know each other to see if we could find some common ground. After a few days we had a skype call. We did click almost immediately, but I found myself thinking more about the possible difficulties, than about the possibilities. The only way we could find out if we were a match, is to just meet and try some things out. Hilde suggested to meet her in Belgium for one of her workshops. Later we would talk about what I do, combining yoga and my knowledge about psychology and body language. Alas, the workshop had not enough participants. Just one participant was left, but exactly that one client decided to take a leap with Hilde and I, to see what she could learn herself. Hilde gave us the instruction to come into the workshop in silence, without making contact with each other. She did ask to bring some crayons, but I joked I did not have any children, hence no crayons. Hilde offered to bring them for me.
So, on that day in January, I drove to Belgium. The workshop was set in a beautiful ‘non-nonsense’ spa, called WuWei. I had to look for the right room and when I found it, the door was half open. I did not even notice a small piece of paper on the door with some additional instructions. I just stepped in. So, there they were. Two women (definitely older than I am), on the ground, with a piece of paper and crayons. “I was in the right room”, I found myself joking. The room was fairly dark though. One of the women, who I later found to be Hilde, was moaning and groaning and drawing on her piece of paper like a wild woman. “Ok, what to do”, I thought. I could just leave. Or maybe not. I just remembered why I came and what my intentions where. I just took a piece of paper and some crayons myself …. and started drawing. First there where obviously forms, a triangle (a form I use often, explaining a non-verbal instrument I use), four dots (my partners in my business), but after that I was stuck a bit. I knew this drawing session was taking longer than for me to draw a triangle, so I tried to stop my thinking process to see what would happen. Suddenly, a dark crayon was scraping all over my paper, around the triangle and the triangle was getting brighter with every scrape I made on de paper. So, there I was, observing my drawing, until suddenly Hilde (still didn’t who was who) took her phone and put on some music. She asked us to let go of our drawings and just let our body move.
And this was another “thing” for me, because I practice Ashtanga yoga, a rigid series of movements. A practice is always the same, so that you can observe and reflect from day to day what your mental state is doing with your body. Very psychological I guess 😉, but I loved how other yogini’s move more creative. They move more Vinyasa style, and less rigid, (where in my humble opinion) Meghan Currie is best at. I could never do that, I thought. But now, Hilde was asking me to just move! WTF. How? But like an obedient girl, I just started in some seated forward folds, going into downdog….. etc. But suddenly, with this music, my body felt like it needed something else. Like it needed to be free in motion. And there it happened. Definitely no Meghan Currie, but pretty damn less rigid for sure 😉
After some movements, Hilde started to draw again. She brought me her little drawing. Later I understood she wanted me to take over the session, but to me it felt rude to disregard her ‘gift’ like that. So, Hilde tried something else. She brought some children’s toys with her and started to lay these toys on the ground. Again, I was not sure what to think about it all. Then she started talking for the first time. She wanted us three to connect with each other through play, just like children do when they are very young. We started to play with blocks and a little ball, rolled the ball over several times and made a mini castle with the blocks. After a while Hilde took her additional drawing back into the game. We started to draw together and suddenly we connected. How interesting was that! Eventually we started to introduce one another. We talked a bit and laughed about the fact that I just walked in that morning without reading the instructions on the door. “You must have thought we where two crazy women”. Euhmmmm yes, maybe I did, haha. But letting go of my judgements gave me the opportunity to experience something new and interesting.
After a tea brake I told Hilde and her client about what I do and how I give my yoga workshops. For me (being a rationalist, loving facts and knowledge) I see a lot of yoga classes were the teacher just give instructions about a pose, but rarely talk about the pose itself, why it’s good for the body and what people can learn from the poses mentally. Hilde’s client for instance was not able to focus while in a balancing pose. Just giving her some attention, breathing techniques and asking her to not overthink it, made her realize she was able focus and balance, instead of telling herself she was not able to balance at all. After the workshop Hilde told me, she now understood the goal of yoga poses. She promised herself to try asana more often and give it a change. Suddenly we realized that we just helped each other experience new things about ourselves, through having an open mind, play like we where kids, without any restrictions of our minds. “How could we not work together, combining our crafts and creating something new for our clients”. This day was one to never forget. Thank you, Hilde, for having such an open mind too!
For our Dutch and Belgium followers: you can find her website over here: https://www.alpha-hilde-omega.be/
We hope to soon be able to develop an awesome yoga retreat in Morocco, both Dutch and English spoken. So, stay tuned if you are interested!