The Nature of Change

I am in Italy. For two weeks I’m teaching yoga at the Mandali Retreat Center. The center is located in the mountains, with a view on the lake in the valley below. The surroundings and conditions are offering constant opportunities for reflection. As the weather...

Go with the Flow

Last week I was on a 5-day Silent Meditation Retreat. Besides no talking, there was no reading, no writing, no music, just nothing to distract me from the present moment, other than my own thoughts. I loved it, and hated it. I love being silent,...

Is stress really bad for you? – part 2

In my previous blog I described that experiencing a - real or perceived - threat triggers the fight-or-flight response in our body. This reaction makes our brain even more hyper alert to threat. It works in reverse too: negative thoughts trigger stress responses in the...

Is stress really bad for you? – part 1

After reading this first paragraph, close your eyes for a moment. Bring to mind your biggest fear. Imagine yourself being in a situation where you have to cope with this fear. What does the scene look like? Who is there? What do you see? What...

Why I don’t like making Resolutions

I am not a fan of making resolutions. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I don’t write big This Is Where I Should Be in Five Years plans, and I won’t even have a fixed plan for my day if I don’t have any appointments...

Why Yin Yoga is a great morning practice

Practicing Yin Yoga poses offers the opportunity to find profound release of tension in the deeper lying tissues of the body, and significantly increase range of motion. Because the nature of this practice is one of passive ‘stretching’*, students often think they need to ‘warm...

Stop the Glorification of Busy

Nowadays - and especially this time of year - many people answer the question: “How are you?” with: “Oh, I am very busy.” As if being busy equals “I am well” or “I am not well”. However, being busy is not something we are, it...

What is ‘Real Life’?

The most common question I’m being asked when leading a yoga retreat (or even after a weekly yoga class) is: “How do I hold on to this when I get back to ‘real life’?” This being: this good feeling, this daily yoga practice, this routine,...

True Freedom – Part 2

In my previous blog I wrote about the importance of cultivating Mindfulness. We need to train our mind to not attach to our outer circumstances, in order to find true freedom. Each moment brings us the liberty to choose how we relate to it. However,...

True Freedom – Part 1

On Tuesday we celebrated Independence Day (4th of July) in the Unites States. Today is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday (July 6). Two reasons to reflect on what freedom really means. For some people freedom means they can say and do exactly what they want....