My parents are yogis and without being consciously aware of it, that’s where it all started. That’s where my brother Tieme and I started learning. Our parents taught us not by lecturing us, but by being kind, loving people and living a modest, healthy life. Taking care of themselves, of others and of nature. I took a little detour through living a hectic life, partying and working in the Amsterdam fashion scene, before ending up on the Yoga path.
One day in the summer of 2014 Tieme called me during his travels I was working at the office in Amsterdam and he was cycling through a rice field somewhere in Asia. I told him that something was off; I didn’t enjoy my lifestyle anymore, I didn’t know what I was doing here and I felt empty and purposeless. He said he didn’t understand why people in the West often seemed to be stuck in jobs or lives that don’t make them happy. He said: ‘You’re not stuck! Just quit your job and come live in Vietnam with me!’ and so I did. I left everything behind and moved to Vietnam, not knowing what life would bring but trusting that it would work out in some way, and it did.
After a few bumpy first months of wondering why on earth I left my comfortable life where everything now seemed so perfect, we went to the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Dalat for a week. At first I felt a bit uncomfortable and it took me a few days to adjust to the strict schedule, the Sanskrit chanting and a totally different Yoga style than I was used to. But after this week I felt the most peaceful, happy and balanced I had ever felt before. The seed was planted, I didn’t know how or in what form, but this felt right, I was going to do something with this beautiful practice.
From that week on I immersed myself into Yoga, I spent a lot of time at the Sivananda center and Ashram; practicing every day, meditating, chanting and just hanging out with the Yogis. After a year I felt ready for the next step, I wanted to share this practice and learn how to teach Yoga. I had this image in my mind of doing this training on a Thai island and the Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher Training with Yoga Veda popped up. I signed up, not really knowing what to expect, but definitely not the huge lifestyle change it brought me. It was an intense month where I learnt so much about Yoga and Ayurveda, but mostly I learnt a lot about myself. After the training everything seemed to fall into place. In Saigon I found the perfect place to teach, a small, quiet education center in the middle of Saigon’s chaos called The Nest, so my studio was going to be The Yoga Nest; a safe place to learn and grow until you are ready to spread your wings and fly off on your own path. Teaching a few classes a week turned into running a proper Yoga studio, which led to organizing weekend and week retreats in Vietnam and Cambodia.
What I thought would only be a few months of travel in Vietnam turned into almost three years, I absolutely loved living in Saigon. I wanted to continue studying Ayurveda, so I started an online course with Yoga Veda. The idea was born to go to Mexico for their Advanced Teacher Training and so I made plans to leave Vietnam. In Mexico I found my dream job: teaching Ayurvedic Yoga teacher trainings with Yoga Veda, I couldn’t be happier! Until life took an unexpected turn, I broke my knee and had to go back home to the Netherlands to recover. I believe that everything happens for a reason and apparently breaking my knee was needed for me to go back home. If it wasn't for my recovery I probably wouldn't have stayed long enough to build something here. Being back after all these years made me realize and see clearly how much I can contribute here by sharing all the teachings and practices that I have learnt over the years. It also brings me a whole lot of new challenges trying to live a Yogic life in Amsterdam.
I strongly believe that when you do what you are supposed to do, when you start listening to your inner voice and align with the universe, everything naturally falls into place. That is what happened and what is still happening since I started following my Yoga path. Even though I absolutely love sharing the physical Yoga practices, for me that is not the most important teaching of Yoga. All these practices are just perfectly designed tools to becoming the best person you can be. My dharma, or purpose in life, is to spread love and light by helping others to find peace and balance within. I believe that by planting the Yoga seeds of peace and love in individuals, eventually the world will become a more peaceful, loving place.