It has been almost 10 years since I first practiced with one of the online yoga classes of Myrna van Kemenade. I am so grateful to share the story of this amazing woman about energy, dharma and yoga. Read in this column, among other things, about how intuition plays an important role in her life and why she was attracted by different yoga styles over time.
About Myrna van Kemenade
Myrna is the founder & owner of yoga studio Yogadreams in Zaandam, which offers many yoga classes, but also a lot of workshops and yoga trainings. She has been teaching yoga classes such as Mindful yoga & meditation, Ashtanga vinyasa and Stress relief for more than 15 years. In addition, Myrna is also a certified Life-Coach. But above all, she is the proud mother of daughter Amy, who is a great inspiration in her life.
"For me, yoga is so much more than just the postures. I would like to encourage you to integrate yoga into your daily life in order to find your goal in life and to celebrate life! "
How has your yoga practice changed your view on the subject ‘energy’?
My yoga practice has made even more clear that my life (and therefore what I decide) has everything to do with energy! As a child my intuition was already the source for my actions, such as for how I made decisions and which words I choose to use. I am so grateful that this is my first nature, which I can always trust.
I used to think that everyone was living like me and I didn’t understand people who were 'nagging' or 'being so difficult'. Just like I didn’t understand persons with depression. I just wanted to give them a kick in the … ;-)
I have come to understand people and their background better through yoga. Everybody has a story! Everything is energy and therefore also the energy in which you were born. Did you feel safe and welcome? Were you allowed to be who you wanted to be? Etc. All that determines how you act and live your life.
I took energy as a matter of fact and did not really think about it. Nowadays, I set intentions to use it very consciously. Every morning I put my hands on my stomach and I set the intention of the day. For example love, rest or strength; just what I need that day. I always use the first thing that comes up in my mind: apparently that is what I need that day. That is the energy that I feel from the inside out, radiate and again receive. This is the law of attraction and it really works! For me, a natural thing that I also teach others to apply in their lives, making them live more in the flow of life and working with their feelings.
What does the word dharma mean to you? And what is your dharma (as you understand it today)?
For me, Dharma means the goal in life or why I am here on earth. This can sound so intense, but I really feel that way. I think everyone has something beautiful to offer to the world. This can be on a small or larger scale, such as doing something for your neighbors or contributing to world peace. Both are equally valuable.
Right now (I think that life has stages), my Dharma is passing on how you create inner peace and growth in your life. Through yoga, meditation, insights, coaching, beautiful conversations and meeting people. Everything works together in your life, if you put the right focus on it. "Where attention goes, energy flows." I love to give people new insights that make them feel better and whereby they (be less limited to) make their dreams come true. That makes me happy! In the end, the thing you would like to give or teach another is also what you have to give or learn yourself… :-)
What are the elements of your yoga practice? And if that is more than practicing yoga postures, could you tell us more about this?
My yoga practice has changed a lot over the years. I started about 18 years ago and then my practice was really on the mat: practicing the ashtanga series about an hour and a half. I perceived everything else as boring and slow, haha! But also understandable; I was a professional dancer. Dancing was my first passion (since I was 4 years old) and movement is my middle name. ;-)
I had done yoga before, but I found that very dull and it gave me a ‘Jomanda’ feeling. It didn’t suit me at the time. But when I had a 6 week break between two musicals -I worked for Joop van den Ende as a dancer/singer-, I went to Thailand. There I discovered the Ashtanga yoga and it suited me perfectly. I didn’t find it boring at all, but actually really liked it and found it complementary to my dance career! I even thought "Why do not all dancers know about this?! This is super good to maintain your body, learn to listen to it and to not go beyond your limits.” Because that is something that can happen with dancing since it’s about creating shapes, where you push your body in a way that it actually wouldn't do naturally.
To make a long story short, after an intense ashtanga practice, I listened to my body more and more over time. However, I became older (I am now 46 years old) and my body screamed for a softer approach. Yin was a step too far (and yes boring too) at first, so I started to develop my own style called 'Stress Relief'. Many people do not know that I created this term, but nowadays many people teach this style and I take that as a compliment. Each of them does that in their own way and that is beautiful, as long as it’s pure.
Nowadays, my practice consists of setting an intention, rolling over my therapy balls (see morning ritual at Yogatv), varied slow exercises on my high pile carpet (yep, not on the yoga mat) and short meditations during the day. Those meditations vary from 1 minute to 20 minutes, usually 1 to 3 minutes. So I do what I need that day and that feels really good and natural. I believe that you need a different form of yoga at each stage of your life. I also believe very much in alternation: yin and yang. I’m personally a very yang type, so I need the yin as a counterpart. ;-)
To practice yoga daily, year in year out, asks for a lot of tapas (discipline). What has helped your to create this habit?
I don’t believe in discipline in the sense that you feel that you have to do something. The discipline is created because you feel that you need it or that it works! Than it is a completely different kind of discipline than when you impose something on yourself because your mind says that it’s good for you. That only works in the beginning (= short-term). Just like I don’t believe in diets. It’s about a healthy lifestyle that makes you feel good and that works. And that’s your discipline; not because you have to, but because you want to! If I ‘had to’ do yoga, I would choose something else, because if I ‘have to’ my hair already stands on end by just the idea!
Would you like to tell something about a challenge that you faced (with regard to living your dharma)?
Like experiencing resistance or not yet making the impact you wanted to make. And what have you done to face this phase?
I really like this question because I am now in the middle of such a struggle! And I am just making the first few steps to go beyond it, to express what I feel that needs to come out. Recently, I published a Facebook post with a picture of a butterfly in a cocoon that slowly breaks out of this cocoon. I have been in a cocoon for 3 years already and was not 'allowed' yet to come out of it.
This might sounds strange when you check what I already do and create with both Yogadreams and beyond. But inside, it’s bubbling like an almost erupting volcano! Very frustrating, because I say to myself at such moments things like: "Myr, just be normal, just be satisfied with everything you already do!" So I started to explore where this is coming from. Is it the need to proof myself, is it ego, or do I just want something new....? Maybe it’s a combination of all of them, I don’t want to rule that out, but even more important is what I found out. That ‘this thing’ that wants to come out is really authentic and what I want, no MUST, share with the world.
And well, than there arise completely different feelings like "Who am I to do this?" Or: "Who is wanting my help? Can I really help those people? Do I dare to put myself on that stage again, but this time while really being myself, with all my vulnerabilities, figments of imagination and feelings that I would like to share?"
In other words, feelings of uncertainty come up and sometimes prevent me to just ‘do’. But I am on the right track and I try to come out of that cocoon step by step. To have the courage to create that whereof I feel that I am allowed to do and share, so that I can help even more people to develop inner peace and growth. Sometimes it feels like growing pains, but oh… I also enjoy this process so much! Than you feel that you are alive and can really be yourself. And yes, that is super scary! My mantra at this moment is: "Face your fears and do it anyway!"
Which insight has impacted your yoga practice substantially? For example something from the yoga philosophy or a cue from a teacher?
One of my first teachers (Tonnie) said: "Yoga is Love, Patience and Discipline." That stayed with me all that time and I often use it in my classes. Love: be gentle to yourself, we are our biggest critic. Patience: yoga is not a quick fix, but once you are on the yoga path, you will benefit from it your whole life. Discipline: do it! As I mentioned earlier, discipline is not about having to but comes from a place of wanting to.
Which (yoga) book do you recommend?
The yoga book that I have used the most for my physical practice and still look into is the Ashtanga Workbook by David Swenson. It describes the ashtanga yoga very clear and step by step, including all options. So it is usable for each body type and level.
Many people will mention the Bhagavad Gita as a book that has brought them a lot, but oddly enough books such as: Path To Love by Deepak Chopra or Lynne Mc Taggert's The Intention Experiment have brought me closer to my self-examination of the soul and my energy body.
How can we support you in your dharma? And how can we connect with you (website, social media, etc.)?
You already support me by giving me a podium through this interview. :-)
I would really like to reach more and more people with how you can get inner peace and growth and living your full potential! I am thrilled to see more and more people follow their hearts and let their dreams come true.
You can follow me at Instagram and Facebook via Myrna van Kemenade and Yogadreamsnl. At www.yogatv.nl there are several yoga videos and you can also find the course Yoga for beginners there.
- Instagram: @yogadreamsnl and @myrnavankemenade
- Facebook: @myrna.vankemenade and @YogadreamsNL
- Website: https://www.yogadreams.nl/ andhttps://myrnaonline.nl
- Online videos and course ‘Yoga for beginners’ (in Dutch): https://www.yogaonline.nl/yogatv/
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