Monica – Padma Shakti
My first contact with yoga & meditation was in the summer of 2003 during a 14-day course at the retreat centre of the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School, located in the forests of Sweden. A sense of home coming.
Back in the Netherlands I joined the four year Raja Yoga teacher training at Samyama Yoga in Naarden. At the end of the training I was invited to teach at this school. Since then teaching yoga and meditation has deepened my own practice and understanding of this vast and beautiful science and continues to do so on a daily basis.
During the years of training until now I’ve participated in numerous longer and shorter courses culminating in the 3-month Sadhana under the guidance of Swami Janakananda Saraswati, initiating me into the practive of Kriya Yoga. I’ve also joined Elleke van Kraalingen on her retreats in France and travelled to India on various occasions to enhance my experience and knowledge. My ‘love affair’ with yoga continues to deepen.
I have been walking the path of the yogi for 30 years, after hitch hiking to Asia in the 1980’s and chancing upon the most curious scene. A gathering of over 25 million pilgrims, gurus, shamen and yogis at the Kumbha Mela in northern India, who come to bathe every 12 years at the confluence of three holy rivers, the Ganges, Yamuna and the mystical Saraswati.
In the following couple of years, inspired to search for a deeper understanding of what I encountered there, I visited mountain caves, temples, ashrams and monastries across the country. During this period I was blessed with numerous initiations, and was fortunate to be granted a private audience with the Dalai Lama at his home, where we discussed the complexities of the human experience over a cup of tea.
Upon returning to Europe I entered the ashram of Swami Janakananda, the oldest living disciple of Swami Satyananda, hidden deep in a Swedish forest, and stayed here for ten years to explore fully the depth and breadth of the practices of yoga. To celebrate the end of this phase, I went once more to bathe at the Kumbha Mela of 2001, and embarked upon being an independant teacher running my own yoga space based in Copenhagen.
The Kumbha Mela of 2013 signified another transition, and I moved to Amsterdam to be with my partner, Monica, whom I’d met a few years earlier on a month long silent retreat. My focus now is on the meditational practises, particularly Yoga Nidra, which I share in classes, workhops and a yoga nidra teacher training.