Yoga as a Gift

blue yoga mat with a bowI remember my first yoga class when I was much younger, giggling with my best friend as we did the lion pose with our tongues stuck out and making the sound “hhhhhhaaa.” And I also remember how calm I felt after the class. We did the yoga classes in the back of a new age book store and I had bought myself my first meditation cassette tape. It was a guided meditation to the tune of Pachelbel’s Canon. This was pre-internet era so we did not have as much access to online meditations etc. I would lie down everyday after work and listen to it. Shortly after I became pregnant with my first child and I continued to listen to the tape daily and even brought it with me to the hospital for the birth. I took a break from yoga classes after her birth but always seemed to find my way back to a class on and off over the next few years. After the birth of my third child life became more demanding and yoga was my saving grace, especially when I became a single mother. Yoga was the one place that I was able to let go of all my concerns and stress. I went through a depression in my early thirties and believe yoga was the gift that got me through it. Depression felt like a hole I had fallen into and whenever I did yoga it was like being pulled out of the hole for that one hour. I usually slid back into the hole after but over time with the gift of yoga I was spending more time out than in. And with time and patience I slowly came back to life. Yoga was an awakening for me. I started to read spiritual books and my life now felt like a quest of discovering the deeper meaning of life and existence. After visiting an Ashram in 1999 I knew I wanted to be a yoga teacher one day and the seed was planted. I didn’t realize it would happen so quickly but I graduated from my first yoga teacher training in 2001. When I was doing the training I had a thought that “this was a trick to come here to get a certificate” and instead “it was a transformation of the self.” I had grown and learned so much about myself. When I returned home I felt empowered as I had learned so many tools to assist me in my life. And this is the gift of yoga. So when I started to teach others, I felt like I was teaching others how to transform their lives. Sure it came in the guise of a practice of poses and breathing techniques but that was just the lure in. Good thing our society is obsessed with their bodies and exercise because I think that is what brings many people to the mat. But the true gift of yoga is actually to help us let go of the external obsession with ourselves and to go inside to the true inner light of awareness that resides within each one of us. We are all one and connected, and the gift of yoga is to remind us this. Yoga is more about letting go of all the ways we cause ourselves to feel disconnected. Yoga is about becoming more intimate with all of life and in all of our connections, with ourselves, with others, with nature and the even the world around us. I believe Yoga is a gift to our world and I am honoured and privileged to share this gift with others. Namaste, Nienke


  1. Marilyn Dotchin says:

    A wonderful account of how you found yoga to help you through life’s ups and downs. I was introduced to yoga when my children were very young. Unfortunately I did not continue when life got busy with my family commitments. I however never forgot some of the breathing techniques which helped me through the years. I also knew I wanted to return to yoga which I did after all my children were grown and independent.

    You have been a wonderful teacher and I so enjoy my yoga practices with you. I love your teachings on “letting go” of external obsessions and live for the moment. Yoga is always there for me through the rough moments and the peaceful times of my life’s journey. Thank you so much.

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