#10 Victoria Hyndman

Victoria Hyndman is an Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher, who studied with Dr. Vasant Lad at The Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. I recently met her at Delight Yoga in Amsterdam, where I joined her Foundation course on Ayurveda. This course left me feeling inspired and enriched, not only by the knowledge and insights that I received, but also by the way Victoria was sharing these beautiful practices of Ayurveda and Ayuryoga. On the YAY!YOGA podcast we dive deeper into Ayurveda and Victoria’s personal story of how she got into this ancient wisdom. We talk about the cycles of life: birth, death and dealing with loss. Victoria shares Ayurvedic tips on how to ease into fall and make it through winter and also gives some advice for women that want to live in sync with their moon cycle.

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quote and photo victoria Hyndman

Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about

  • Dr. Vasant Lad is Victoria’s teacher. He’s the founder of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. You can find many online lectures and resources on his website.
  • Marma points are energetic points that are linked to specific functions and organs in your body. In a Marma treatment one touches the marma points with gentle pressure to stimulate energy flow in the body and to balance the system.
  • Yamas and Niyamas are the first two limbs of the eightfold path that Patanjali writes about in the Yoga Sutra’s. They give direction to the way you live life.
  • Abhyanga – oil massage. According to Ayurvedic traditions daily oil massage adds to your over all health in terms of immunity and especially vitality. You can do this to yourself or your partner or kids for instance with sesame oil or any other oil that works well for your dosha and the season you’re in at that moment. To see how it’s done, check out this video.
  • The three doshas are Vata, Pitta & Kapha. These are all representing different elements that we hold in our body/mind too. According to Ayurveda, each person is born with a certain constitution of the elements. Vata is air and ether, Pitta is fire and water, Kapha is earth and water. The doshas bring different qualities and when it comes to finding a balanced lifestyle, we look at the qualities and its opposites to find that balance. So in short, what a person needs, depends strongly on his or her dosha, the change of seasons and his or her lifestyle.
  • Dry skin brushing is another technique to massage yourself. It’s mostly done from February during early spring time to shed anything that’s build up during winter time. It’s especially helpful for Kapha types.
  • Pippali – a long pepper that is heating but not too spicy. Adding this pepper to your food keeps your lungs strong and clear.
  • Trikatu (3 peppers) – helps if you have any stagnation in the lungs. Especially helpful from December until March.
  • Triphala (3 fruits) – this is mostly taken in as a powder, mixed with boiled water just before bedtime to the colon clean and add to the health of your digestive system.
  • Ashwagandha – a herb that has a calming effect on the body and mind. It’s especially balancing if you’re dealing with stress.
  • Satsang – a gathering in which spiritual texts and philosophy are shared.
  • Sadhana – a daily spiritual practice
  • Andrographis – a herb that supports the health of your liver and your immune system.
  • Castor oil – this oil has many benefits. In this conversation Victoria emphasises the benefits of castor oil for women.
  • Shatavari – plant/root that has great health benefits for women.
  • Ashoka – this herb helps women who don’t have a regular cycle to regulate the bleeding.
  • Svadhyaya – a Sanskrit word that is often translated as self-study.
  • Resources for deepening your knowledge on Ayurveda:
    The Science of Self-Healing by Dr. Vasant Lad (book)
    The doctor from India (documentary)
    A Pukka Life by Sebastian Pole (book)
    Ayurveda courses and workshops by Victoria at Delight Yoga
  • Recommended books:
    The Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda
    The Living Gita by Sri Swami Satchidananda

Connect with Victoria

Instagram: @victoria_tory_raven_hyndman

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#9 Susanna Barkataki

Susanna Barkataki is a yoga unity activist, teacher, speaker and author of the book Embracing Yoga’s Roots (to be released in November 2020). Susanna’s main work is about sharing ways in which we can teach and practice yoga in the modern world, while honouring it’s roots. In this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast we talk about cultural appropriation and how colonisation influenced the way yoga was introduced to the West, the ethics of yoga, how to preserve yoga culture, whether you should speak Sanskrit and say ‘Namasté’ at the end of a yoga class and so much more.

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susanna barkataki quote

Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about

  • Ayurveda is considered the sister of yoga. It means ‘science of life’ and is all about balancing the elements that are within us. Ayurvedic practices include all the senses through diet, pranayama, yoga asana, meditation, mantra and specific rituals of self-care.
  • Dhyana is one of the eight limbs of yoga and is about meditation. Dharana, one of the other limbs, is about focusing the mind.
  • The Yamas and the Niyamas are the first two limbs of yoga; these are considered the yoga ethics or principles of how to live a good life.
  • Susanna studied in the lineage of Shankaracharya, who was an non-dualistic Raja Yogi and is considered one of the greatest philosophers of India. He influenced more modern gurus of India, such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Shivananda, Ramana Maharshi, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (who taught the Beatles) and Paramahansa Yogananda.
  • Jñāna-yoga is the yoga of knowledge. It’s very much about ethics and how to practice these ethics in daily life to find freedom.
  • Vichara is about self-inquiry, a big part of Jñāna-yoga. It’s about asking questions such as ‘Who am I?’, ‘How did this world come to being?’ and ‘What is a good life?’
  • Ahimsa is one of the Yamas and it is translated as non-harm.
  • The Jains are a group of yogis that makes Ahimsa to their main practice. They wear masks and sweep floors to move bugs out of their way so they don’t step on them or hurt them.
  • Susanna’s article about ending your class with Namasté and alternative ways of ending your class.
  • Susanna’s book ‘Embrace Yoga’s Roots’ is coming out soon and you can receive a free chapter.
  • Recommended books:
    Yoga: Ancient Heritage, Tomorrow’s Vision by Indu Arora
    Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s by Shyam Ranganathan
  • Favorite translations of the Bhagavad Gita:
    The Bhagavad Gita by Eknath Easwaran
    The Bhagavad Gita: a new translation by Stephen Mitchell
  • Teachers that inspire Susanna: Jesal Parikh and Tejal Patel (founders of the Yoga is Dead podcast) & Melissa Shah

Connect with Susanna

Instagram: @susannabarkataki
Website: www.susannabarkataki.com

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#8 Lara Heimann

Lara Heimann is a yoga teacher and physical therapist who is specialised in neurodevelopmental training. Through this deep understanding of body and brain mapping, she created the LYT™ method, which we will obviously talk about in this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast. In this conversation we cover lots of interesting topics, such as the importance of touch, mobility versus flexibility, the yoga butt and how to prevent it, the impact of technology on posture, hyper-mobility and yoga, active versus passive stretching and the difficulties in yin yoga from a brain perspective, raising kids when you are a vegan and much much more. 

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lara heimann photo and quote

Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about

  • Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change and grow. This video explains how that works.
  • Why you should engage your glutes in backbends? Lara explains.
  • Hyper-mobility is when your nervous system does not give feedback when you are at or beyond your end range of motion (or somewhere in between).
  • Yin yoga is a form of yoga where you go into seated or supine poses for a long hold (2-5 minutes). These poses are aimed at releasing tension in both body and mind. On a physical level, yin yoga is working into the flexibility in a passive way, so no engagement of muscles.
  • Forward head is when the head is tilted forward as a result of our phone/technology use. This image clearly demonstrates the difference between an ideal posture and a forward head posture.
  • The book that made Lara’s husband turn vegan: Animal Liberation by Peter Singer
  • Recommended book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Connect with Lara

Instagram: @lara.heimann & @lytyogamethod
Website: www.lytyoga.com
Podcast: Redefining Yoga

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#7 Julie Martin

Julie Martin is probably one of the most inspiring yoga teachers right now and I am so grateful to have had this conversation with her. She empowers many students and teachers to step away from traditional yoga asana practice and tune into a practice that allows people to feel and move their bodies in a more natural way. In this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast, we talk about Julie’s Vedantic background, the old school way of becoming a yoga teacher, how and why she moved from traditional Ashtanga yoga towards an embodied movement practise and we talk about the process of elimination as a way to come back to the present moment. 

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photo and quote Julie Martin

Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about

  • Vedas are the oldest religious Hindu texts where the word ‘yoga’ first appeared in scripture.
  • Vedanta is the spiritual philosophy based on the Vedas and the Upanishads (part of the Vedas).
  • Mantra’s are sounds and syllables that are mostly chanted in the context of religious or spiritual practices and rituals.
  • Ramakrishna Vivekananda Center in Hollywood
  • Swami Vivekananda played a huge role in introducing Vedanta to the Western world.
  • Puja is a Hindu celebration or offering ritual
  • Kristina Karitinou – the teacher that trained Julie for 3 years in ‘the old school way’.
  • Gary Carter – movement and yoga anatomy teacher who Julie studied with after getting injured many times during her ashtanga years.
  • Yoga body: the origins of modern yoga posture practice by Mark Singleton (book)
  • Vanda Scaravelli was a student of Iyengar and Desikachar. She realised that her teachers were all men and that a woman of her age needed a different practice so she created a practice that was still very static but more in line with what felt natural to her.
  • Fighting Monkey – a movement practice
  • Ido Portal created a movement practice that is influenced by a mixture of movement practices such as dance and martial arts. He also likes to say that he created a ‘movement culture’.
  • Teachers that inspire Julie: David Kam, Raphan Kebe, Seane Corn and Dr. Joe Dispenza
  • Book recommendations:
    Fascia: What it is and why it matters by David Lesondak
    The great work of your life by Stephen Cope

Connect with Julie

Instagram: @brahmanijulie
Website: www.brahmaniyoga.com

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#6 Megan Mulrine

Megan Mulrine is a yoga teacher who is living on the so-called Island of the Gods: Bali, Indonesia. It makes total sense that she’s living there as she spends most of her time studying and teaching about the Hindu gods and goddesses. I was very excited to speak to Megan on the YAY!YOGA podcast as she was one of the lead teachers in my first teacher training and she told me how the yoga poses that we practice are named after Hindu gods and their stories. In this episode, we talk about Buddhism, Hinduism, how to teach about Hindu gods to students from different cultural backgrounds and the importance of non-attachment when it comes to your self-practice. 

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megan mulrine quote and photo

Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about

  • Bule – the Indonesian word for foreigners.
  • Yoga is often defined as ‘chitta vritti nirodha’ – Sanskrit for ‘quieting the fluctuations of the mind’.
  • Karma yoga is an ancient yogic term that means selfless action: acting without expecting anything in return.
  • Book that tells the Hindu stories behind the yoga poses: The Myths of the Asanas by Alanna Kaivalya
  • Mahabharata is one of the most important books that tell the ancient Hindu stories of the gods.
  • Ramayana is the other most important book that explains the epic stories about India and Rama in particular.
  • Bhakti Yoga is often translated as devotion and it can be practiced by offering with an open heart and full attention to the spirits, gods or a higher self/consciousness.
  • Agni Hotra is a Vedic fire ceremony. Agni means fire and Hotra is healing. This ceremony is a purification ritual for the people and the environment.
  • Siddhartha Gautama was a spiritual leader and is also known as the Buddha and founder of Buddhism as we know it today.
  • Koundinya was the sage who came to visit the palace when the Buddha was just born and he predicted the Buddhas future. He and the Buddha later found the middle path between suffering. Koundinyasana is the yoga asana pose that was named after him – it’s the one where you fly into a split.
  • Hanuman was the monkey that – as the story goes – brought Sita back to Rama. He took a leap of faith from India to Sri Lanka (a very big step) and that’s where Hanumanasana – the front split pose – was named after. Virasana (hero pose) and Anjaneyasana (low lunge) are two other poses that tell the rest of this tale.
  • Japa Mala is a string of 108 prayer beads often used to chant mantras 108 times.
  • Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of arts, wisdom and knowledge.
  • Kirtan is the singing/chanting of mantra’s.
  • Svadyaya – one of the 8 limbs in Patanjali’s sutras that is translated as ‘self-study’.
  • Krishnamacharya is often seen as the founder of modern yoga as he was the one we started to create yoga sequences that are similar to what we practice today in most studios as Hatha and Vinyasa yoga. His most popular principle is to ‘teach the individual’.
  • Teachers that inspire Megan: Mark Whitwell & Swamini Shraddananda Saraswati (founder of Kula Kamala Foundation & Yoga Ashram)
  • Book recommendation: The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar

Connect with Megan

Instagram: @yogatrotter_
Website: www.yogatrotter.com


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Photo by Harmonice Photography

#5 Gregory Lennon

Gregory Lennon is a yoga teacher who grew up in the US and has now been teaching and living in Amsterdam for a long time. He has a lot of knowledge about yoga philosophy and also does a great deal in sharing that knowledge in his teachings. I specifically love his dharma talks at the beginning of class, where he speaks from ancient texts as well as from his own experiences in daily life. He’s a great storyteller as you will hear in this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast. We talk about religion and how that relates to yoga philosophy, how to incorporate the teachings from ancient yogic texts in your classes and we also touch on inclusivity in the yoga world.

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gregory lennon quote and photo

Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about

Connect with Gregory

Instagram: @youarehaum
Website: www.youarehaum.com

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#4 Moena de Jong

Moena de Jong is an Amsterdam-based yoga teacher who has studied a variety of yoga traditions and lineages, ranging from Hatha to Vinyasa to Jivamukti. I invited her to the YAY!YOGA podcast as I visit her classes whenever I can and always leave feeling enriched and inspired by the way she structures her classes with music, dharma talks, pranayama and asanas. Her classes are a complete package of nutrients for the body, mind and soul. In this episode we talk about a lot of interesting topics such as Yoga Nidra, critical alignment, getting addicted to your practice, and the importance of holding space and creating a safe environment for students to practice. 

Listen, subscribe and leave a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

moena de jong quote and photo

Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about

  • Yoga studios that were mentioned: Delight Yoga, Svaha Yoga & De Nieuwe Yogashool
  • Jivamukti – a yoga ‘method’ that was created by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984. Their original New York studio is now closed, but the method is still highly popular and practiced around the world.
  • Bhakti stems from the Sanskrit word ‘bhaj’ which is translated as ‘to worship’. In the ancient Hindu texts it is described as surrendering to the divine or the universal consciousness as part of the path to self-realisation.
  • Neti – an ayurvedic nostril cleansing technique
  • Agni Sara – a kriya helps to cleanse the system and is said to reduce stress as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Kapalabhati – another cleansing breath exercise that helps to wake up the body and mind as well as releases any toxins.
  • Tsa Lung – a Tibetan breathing exercise that harmonises the vayus.
  • Yoga Nidra – a form of meditation where you enter a state of consciousness that feels like being asleep but staying half awake. Depending on the intention and type of Nidra that is practised, you can work on different aspects such as healing, creativity and resting.
  • Teachers that inspire Moena: David Life, Jules Febre & Rima Rabath.
  • Book recommendations:
    The Tree of Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
    The Mirror of Yoga: awakening the intelligence of body and mind by Richard Freeman
    The Myth of Freedom by John Baker, Chögyam Trungpa, Pema Chödrön & Marvin Casper

Connect with Moena

Facebook: Moenayoga
Website: www.moenayoga.com

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#3 Daphne Koken

Daphne Koken is a prana vinyasa teacher, who inspires me a lot and also showed me the true beauty of this practice. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to study and practice with her a few times last year. In one of her teacher training modules, she taught me the art of lunar sequencing and that vinyasa is not only an active and energising practice, but it also has a very gentle aspect to it. In this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast we talk about prana vinyasa, the importance of teaching from the traditions of yoga, how to connect with the cycles of nature, how knowing your own body doesn’t always mean you know what works for your students and much much more.

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photo and quote daphne koken

Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about

Connect with Daphne

Instagram: @dayogini
Website: www.daphnekokenyoga.com

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#2 Sebastian Valensi

Sebastian Valensi is a teacher in yoga and Eastern philosophy. Born and raised in Patagonia, Chile, he was introduced to Eastern philosophy early in his life as his dad was a Thai Chi and Qi Gong teacher. However, it wasn’t until later that he chose to change his life completely and explore the ancient Eastern traditions. I was so lucky to have Sebastian as a philosophy teacher during my 200 hours teacher training at Santosha and I am very grateful for this opportunity to reconnect with him again for the YAY!YOGA podcast. In this episode we talk about Eastern philosophy and Tantra, how to teach from these traditions with integrity and authenticity, and much more interesting topics. 

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sebastian valensi quote and photo

Stuff & people we talked about

Connect with Sebastian

Instagram: @aries_sv
Facebook: Sebastian Valensi
YouTube: Sebastian Valensi

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#1 Anna Scott Miller

Anna Scott Miller is an Amsterdam-based yoga teacher with an extensive background in both practicing and teaching movement. From a very young age she started practicing gymnastics and throughout the years her practice and teachings gained more and more focus on self-development. In this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast we talk about Anna’s self-practice, her teaching style and how she empowers students to explore their own needs and capabilities. We also talk about Black Lives Matter in the yoga world and Anna shares some great resources to educate ourselves on this topic.

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anna scott miller quote and photo

Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about

Connect with Anna

Instagram: @annascottmilleryoga
Facebook: Anna Scott Miller Yoga
Website: www.annascottmiller.nl

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Photo by Coni Hörler