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.
Originally from England, I hitch hiked to India in the 1980’s and chanced upon the Kumbha Mela in northern India, the largest gathering of people on Earth. Over 25 million pilgrims, gurus, shaman and yogis come to bathe every 12 years at the confluence of three holy rivers, the Ganges, Yamuna and the mystical Saraswati.
Living among these foremost authoritative experts for the months the festival lasted inspired a search across the country for a deeper understanding that lasted a couple of years. Visiting monasteries, ashrams, temples and mountain caves, and blessed with numerous encounters and initiations, I still found it difficult to follow the most simple instructions of ‘sit down, shut up and be still’.
Sitting for extended periods produced all kinds of pains and agonies, shutting up the thoughts resulted in even worse thoughts, and stillness was a concept in a book.
Realising that there wasn’t any short cut and the journey was longer than anticipated, more preparation was needed.
Returning to Europe I entered the ashram of Swami Janakananda, in the lineage (parampara) of Swami Satyananda, to recieve a thourough training in the depth and breadth of the various aspects of yoga, lasting ten years.
Deep in a Swedish forest he provides a space to explore fully ones physical and mental capacities and to loosen the knots that bind. Teaching on retreats and internationally was just one aspect of regular life, it also included biodynamic farming, offset printing, forestry, cooking, construction and whatever else needed to be done.
Bathing once more at the Kumbha Mela of 2001 marked the completion of this phase, and I embarked upon being an independent yoga teacher creating my own yoga space in Copenhagen.
After meeting Monica on a month long silent yoga retreat and bathing together at the Kumbha Mela of 2013 signified another transition with a relocation to Amsterdam to establish Mangalam Yoga.
I teach a number of traditional meditational practices, such as Kriya Yoga, Antar Mauna and Yoga Nidra, locally and internationally in classes, workshops and teacher trainings.