Trained in social and organizational psychology, Jasmijn was thrilled to discover yoga in her mid twenties. A few years later she completed the vinyasa ashtanga yoga teacher training (300+ hrs). She has been teaching yoga ever since: vinyasa flow, slow flow, yin yoga and yin flow. Her teaching style, both in intensive vinyasa and yin yoga is centered around the breath.
Jasmijn inspires self-care by offering intensive individual guidance and modifications in accordance with students’ physical capabilities. Emphasizing breath-work, her classes are both intense and relaxing. She integrates meditation in her classes by allowing space for stillness in and between poses.
The art of yoga fascinates and inspires her. That is why she regularly attends trainings and workshops with different teachers to deepen her insight and practice, as well as her teaching skills. She is flattered to share this meaningful practice with you.
SS: What was the moment for you when you knew you wanted to be a yoga teacher and why?
Jasmijn: I started with an 'Introduction to Yoga course' - how to practice yoga safely and with enjoyment. Sounded nice to me. I remember always practicing in the back of the room - a mixture of always being late and not wanting to be in the first row, afraid to do yoga the ‘wrong’ way. I had my eyes closed during these first classes. By the end of the introduction course, my teacher came up to me and she whispered in my ear: "you can practice with your eyes open". I wasn´t aware of that. This was a powerful moment of waking up to my practice and my body.
Yoga opens up space for me - physical space in my joints, muscles, and also emotional and mental space. It allows me to learn through my body. To me, the alignment that yoga offers reveals the importance of structure and at the same time the freedom it provides - exploration within my body. Yoga connects me with my physical capabilities and limitations. In doing that, it helps me relate to my own being with confidence, insight, gentleness and courage. Additionally, I notice that the way I handle my body mirrors how I act mentally and emotionally in life. This is what makes yoga a full life practice for me. It supports everything else in my life. It fascinates and inspires me -and I like to share this meaningful inspiration with others.
My teachers' observation was not only the first step of waking up to my practice and body, also of becoming a yoga teacher. Four years later, I teach the introduction course as she taught, at the same studio.
SS: How did you get started on your yoga journey?
Jasmijn: I shut my eyes down, closed my heart and seal my mind. I felt disconnected with my body. I was recovering from an eating disorder, stressed out from a new job as manager, working seven days a week while following a study at the same time. I was result oriented, harsh to myself - not giving myself the opportunity to enjoy my learning process. I felt never really in the moment - always with my mind in the past or in the future. It felt I lost my capacity to love and care about other people and my capacity to not be afraid - to trust myself. I needed to open my eyes, sharing my heart and free my mind. My sister pointed out this introduction to yoga course. I joined with a friend. From this moment on the light of awareness shines over me. I see more clearly what is there, be more awake and willing to use this information skillful. I began to think of my life and also embodying life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently. My interest in yoga is ever expanding since then.
SS: What has yoga taught you about yourself and about life?
Jasmijn: Most of all, yoga told me the meaning of impermanence. That everything is moving. That the essence of life is fleeting. My thoughts are changing, my body is changing, emotions and feelings are rising and falling. Yes, this life, being alive is so amazing, and at the same time it's very painful, vulnerable, fragile and impermanent. First it freaked me out. With support of my yoga and meditation practice I feel the reality of it. It is good to realize that I will die, that death is right there on my shoulder all the time. It allows me to wonder. And help me to practice the willingness to die over and over again - like in the pose savasana (corpse pose), which heightens the sense of gratitude and preciousness. Letting go of everything and surrender in - what you do, who you are, who you wanted to be. Yoga taught me more how to relax, and stay open and humble to what's happening - in my life, in that of others and in the world - and experiencing a sense of wonder.
SS: What is the one thing you know for sure about yoga – the ONE thing you are insistent that you share. What would that be?
Jasmijn: Yoga provides self-knowledge. It is a practice of being honest to yourself; no matter how rigid or supple, limited or unlimited your physical capabilities appear to be. Yoga is for everybody and every body.
SS: How do you use yoga to overcome challenges?
Jasmijn: As Pema Chödrön (one of my favorite Buddhist teachers) puts it: "To live fully is to be always in no man's-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh". Each out-breath could be the last, and each out-breath can be an opportunity to fully live your life. The power of breathing exercise helps me to related with my anxiety, or grief, or any other emotions. It grounds me. Also the fact that I am not there for the yoga path, yoga practice is there to support me. I use this practice to step into no man's land.
Through yoga, I learned to be aware of my inner landscape, body sensations and how it affects my breath. It taught me to related to that, to move towards it, instead of push it away or neglect it. That also means doing things that scare me, or that makes me feel uncomfortable. Yoga teaches me to sit with it, listen to it, be with it, and appreciate it, whether it feels painful or gives me pleasure. This is how I can learn and use yoga to overcome challenges.
SS: Something you would like to share about yourself?
Jasmijn: I believe in (self) inquiry or investigation. It is a way to end confusion and to experience internal peace. It is about realizing that all the answers you ever need are always available inside you. Say what you have to say, do what you have to do - trust your own process. Although you want to know the outcome, or grasp to things or be attached to it, without inquiry, without time and space (yoga) - there is no honest and humble ability to transform and grow.
I want to share a poem with you:
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense".
Let's meet each other in that field :) With love and blessings.
Connect with Jasmijn when you are in the Netherlands or at
via Twitter @JasmijnYoga
via FB https://www.facebook.com/jasmijnanne.koelink
via Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/jasmijnkoelink