1074 JA Amsterdam
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1074 JA Amsterdam
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Overlooking the flow of the Amstel River in central Amsterdam can be discovered the sunny studio of MangalaM yoga and meditation, providing true ‘micro-retreats’ for students amidst their active city life.
In an intimate group setting, personal guidance in the classical systems of Hatha and Raja Yoga are given on weekly courses and drop in classes. Regular weekend workshops highlight specific practices, such as Yoga Nidra, the Chakras and the meditations Antar Mouna and Ajapa Jap from the Tantric tradition. Also some of the lesser known practices like Neti (nose cleansing) and Shankprakshalana (intestinal cleansing) are introduced. Each class addresses all levels of our being, the physical, energetic, mental and emotional layers, to achieve a sense of contentment, clarity and strength.
The teachers at MangalaM are both highly certified in their respective fields and have decades of experience in guiding others on the path of yoga.
Monica Padma Shakti is a certified Raja Yoga teacher incorporating the rich techniques of Hatha Yoga and the eightfold path of Patanjali in her classes. She is also involved in guiding new yoga teacher aspirants on a four year Raja teacher education and is well versed in Jnanyoga, the yoga of knowledge.
Matsyendra, originally from Bristol, has been guiding others in yoga and meditation for more than 20 years, teaching from and to the heart, connecting the outer (Bahiranga) yoga of posture, movement and breath to the inner (Antaranga) yoga of concentration and meditation, influenced by his own practice of Kundalini Tantra and Kriya Yoga.
They frequently attend retreats with extended periods of silence in Europe, and take pilgrimages to India, most recently to the Maha Kumbha Mela, to return to the source of their being, and the source of Yoga.
”There can be no perfection if Hatha yoga is without Raja yoga or Raja yoga without Hatha yoga. Therefore, through practice of both, perfection is attained.”
Chapter 2, verse 76. Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Swatmarama, 5th century CE
The practice and science of Yoga can be traced back thousands of years. Two of the older branches are Raja and Hatha Yoga, which go hand in hand and complement each other.
Raja Yoga, the royal path, is laid down in writing by Sage Patanjali around 800 BCE in the Yoga Sutras. Hatha Yoga, sun/moon yoga, by Sage Swatmarama around 500 CE in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Both practices are much older than that though and influenced by the Tantric tradition. Tantra literally means to expand and liberate. They incorporate the use of physical exercises and breath contol, as well as various relaxation, concentration and meditation techniques.
From Hatha Yoga we also learn about Shatkarmas, techniques to cleanse and purify both the physical and energy body. The philosophy of Hatha Yoga states that by cleansing and strengthening the physical body to begin with, the mind becomes peaceful and calm and ready for deeper meditation experiences.
Through Raja Yoga we also learn about the psychological and philosophical aspects of existence. According to Patanjali it consists of 8 particular limbs.
1. Yama – social recommendations, how we relate to the outer world
2. Niyama – personal recommendations, how we relate to ourselves
3. Asana – physical postures and exercises
4. Pranayama– breathing techniques
5. Pratyahara – sense withdrawal
6. Dharana – practice of concentration
7. Dhyana – meditation
8. Samadhi – culmination of meditation, state of Oneness
The Hatha Yoga tradition encompasses all the above, with the exception of the first two, as the attitude is that these evolve by themselves naturally when the rest are practiced.
Ultimately, the intention of Yoga is liberation – Kaivalya. This is the highest state in Raja Yoga and what the practice of Hatha Yoga leads up too. Patanjali states the goal of yoga to be ‘Yoga Citta Vrtti Nirodha’ then ‘Tada Drashtu Svarupe Vasthanam’ – ‘Union ceases the fluctuations of the mind’ then ‘The Seer is at ease in its essential form’. This is Kaivalya – liberation.
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.
Yoga Nidra is both a state of being, a union with sleep, and a practice, where consciousness is guided to that deeper level of awareness. The sleep of the yogis is something we experience daily, although only fleetingly, those transitional moments to and from sleep. Yoga Nidra prolongs these moments, known as the hypnagogic stage through western eyes, and provides a gateway to the subconscious to generate creative insights and understanding.
Sunday 19th March 14.00 – 17.00 Price: 30€
Experience the sleep of the yogis with the ancient tantric practise of yoga nidra, a
systematic unfolding of physical, mental and emotional relaxation that gives deep rest and rejuvenation. It is accessible to almost everyone, as the only requirement is to lie on the back for some time and follow the guidance with interest. The body remains still while awareness moves gradually on a journey of discovery through the physical body and to the more subtler dimensions of the breath and mind.
While consciousness floats on the tipping point between waking and sleeping, momentarily disengaged from the temple of the body, a clear path is provided to the subconscious, intuitive mind and is used to generate creative insights.
As a therapeutic tool, numerous medical studies demonstrate that it has both a curative and preventative effect on a number of conditions, such as stress, anxiety, frustration, insomnia, high blood pressure, and their consequences.
A key part of the practice is to formulate an intention, or resolution, known as a sankalpa, a short and simple statement that articulates a heartfelt desire. This becomes a seed that is planted in the mind and grows in daily life.
“At the point of meaningful rest when sleep has not yet come and external wakefulness vanishes, at this point being is revealed.”
Vigyana Bhairava Tantra ca. 2000 BCE
The aim of the course is to understand the theory and science underlying the practice, examining its history and development, and to be able to adapt and deliver Yoga Nidra appropriately. This teacher training module, created and taught by Matsyendra, offers an analytical and methodical approach to Yoga Nidra that gives a solid foundation and the necessary keys to be able to integrate it competently into a class. It’s an ideal way of concluding a class and is accessible to almost everyone, as the only requirement is to lie still on the back for some time and follow the guidance with interest. As a therapeutic tool, numerous medical studies demonstrate that it has both a curative and preventative effect on a number of conditions, such as stress, anxiety, frustration, insomnia, high blood pressure, PTSD, and their consequences.
Matsyendra has practiced and taught Yoga Nidra for 25 years, having learnt it directly while living for over ten years in the ashram of Swami Janakananda, the oldest living disciple of Swami Satyananda who formalised the practice in the early 1960’s.
Topics covered related to yoga nidra include
● History: definitions, development and traditions
● Science: exploring research into the effects and benefits
● Sankalpa: resolution and intention setting
● Asana: prana releasing exercises and shavasana
● Pranayama: use of the breath to deepen awareness
● Koshas: a journey through the layers of the self
● Chakras: as a framework for understanding our energy
● Visualisations: archetypal imagery and psychotherapy
● Meditation: process of pratyahara, dharana and dhyana
Dates, times and price
20 contact hours (plus personal practice and study)
Sunday 12 February – 7 May 13.00 – 18.00
(space is limited to 8 participants, giving the ideal intimate setting in which to explore the practice)
Yoga for you and your unborn child
● experienced female teacher
● private studio with a view over the Amstel
● small groups of up to 7 women
● suitable for anyone who is pregnant
● both beginners and advanced
Want a conscious and relaxed pregnancy? Need to find a moment for yourself?
Then pregnancy yoga at Mangalam is for you. Together in a small group, you’ll follow a series of 10 lessons with the experienced yoga teacher Monica Padma Shakti Blomqvist. You’ll learn different relaxation positions and techniques to make you more aware of your body.
Monica shares her knowledge about being pregnant and how you can deal with everything that comes with it. These elements are essential to a pleasant pregnancy.
The home studio has space for up to seven women. With views over the Amstel, it feels like a mini retreat. A moment to yourself.
The course is suitable for all regardless of previous experience with yoga.
“It was an enhancement and deepening of my pregnancy, something you have to experience and can’t really explain on paper.”
– Charlotte Le Conge Kleyn
“A serene and safe place where you can completely be yourself, and learn to give love and attention to yourself and your baby.”
– Nina Pierson
These Postnatal yoga classes will aid in resetting your physical body after giving birth.
They will also provide you with a small time-out just for you so you can recharge yourself on many levels, thereby being better able to cope with all the demands in your everyday life. Asana, breathing exercises, relaxation and guided meditations all combine to create balance and harmony, physically and mentally.
|Sunday||8 January 2017||10.30 - 12.00||Pregnancy Yoga 10 weeks||Monica||Full|
|Tuesday||17 January 2017||18.30 - 20.00||Hatha Yoga - 6 weeks course||Matsyendra||Last Spots|
|Wednesday||1 February 2017||19.30 - 21.00||Pregnancy Yoga 10 weeks||Monica Padma Shakti||Reserve|
|Sunday||12 February 2017||13.00 - 18.00||Yoga Nidra teacher training||Matsyendra||Last Spots|
|Sunday||19 March 2017||14.00 - 17.00||Yoga Nidra workshop||Matsyendra||Reserve|
What to wear and bring:
Wear comfortable, lightweight clothing that is flexible and non-binding, such as shorts, t-shirts, and loose fitting clothing. Yoga requires freedom of movement.
We supply blankets and two kinds of mats for your practice, an organic cotton yoga mat which is perfect for exercises requiring extra cushion and an eco friendly rubber mat…..but feel free to bring your own.
Guidelines for practice:
To ensure you have a pleasant, rewarding experience, we ask you to please observe the following guidelines when attending classes at MangalaM:
– as a courtesy to your fellow students, we ask that you have your cell phone off and away, please do not leave it on “vibrate”.
– allow yourself some time to arrive and get ready for class..
– yoga is best practiced on an empty stomach. Wait a couple of hours after a meal before practicing.
– always inform the teacher of any injuries or restrictions before class begins. Your instructor should be aware of any serious health conditions such as neck, back, or joint injuries, recent surgery, high blood pressure, pregnancy, etc.