Sivananda yoga classes in Brussels & online

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Make your own juice, pesto & nut butters at home with your Jazz Max juicer

JAZZ MAXAbout 3 years ago I posted a blog the love for my juicer: Jazz Max.

I bought myself the great gift of a Jazz Max in the spring of 2012. The Jazz Max is a slow juicer that transforms any vegetable or hard fruit into a juice, it doesn’t warm up the ingredients and hence gets a maximum of nutrients out of your (organic) vegetables and fruits.

I still experiment with mostly local & seasonal vegetables and fruits that I happen to have in the house. As I only use organic fruits & veggies, all I need to do is wash them and them cut them into the right size to fit them in the juicer. I’ve surprised many visitors in the past years with my creations 🙂

raw vegan kale pestoThe Jazz Max juicer comes with two different heads, so besides juices, you can use it to make your own nut butter (cashew, almond, macadamia, …) after having soaked the nuts in filtered water overnight, as well as to make oils (almond), baby meals, pumpkin puree and much more. Furthermore, I make a mean parsley pesto, it’s simply divine with pasta.

Some of my favorites juice blends are:

  • carrot, apple, ginger
  • kale, celery, beetroot, carrot, ginger (apple: optional)
  • kale & pear
  • kohlrabi, beetroot, carrot, ginger
  • zucchini, kale, fresh turmeric

You can add hemp or flax seeds oil to your juices to get your daily dose of omega-3 fat.

As I got so many enthusiastic about the juices and the benefits, I recently started distributing the Jazz Max juicers. Contact me if you wish to get your own health machine at home. You will never buy another juice again, as your own creations are simply the best (and cheapest)! Order your Jazz Max through me and I’ll give you a personal workshop for free.

Some awesome recipes can be found here, here, here, here and here.

Recommended books: Crazy Sexy Diet, Superfoods, Green smoothie revolution & Becoming raw.

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Be happy & healthy through complete wellbeing sessions

  • Ambika certificateDo you want to feel happy and healthy every day?
  • Do you want to feel good about yourself?
  • Do you want to nourish yourself better?
  • Do you want to be physically active in a way you like?
  • Do you believe that health is wealth?

If the answers to 1 or several of the questions are yes, then this blogpost is relevant for you !

I now offer ‘complete wellbeing’ sessions by bringing together the best of the two worlds where I’ve trained in: yoga* and health coaching**. The idea is to make you more conscious and empowered regarding your eating habits and level of physical activity.

20140711_194810A ‘complete wellbeing‘ session comprises of a health coaching session coupled with a yoga session (duration 2 hours approximately). In a typical session we start with the health coaching. I’ll analyze your current situation and we define your goals and objectives that we’ll work on in the following sessions. These sessions will be mostly focused on eating habits and physical activity levels.

We can also use the health coaching sessions for short workshops about healthy eating habits (with practical demonstrations of juicing, smoothie & soup making, …).We end each session with a nice and relaxing hour of hatha yoga.

In between 2 sessions, you’ll strive to keep a food diary, which we’ll analyze during the next session.
Recommended number of sessions required: 5.

The objectives of the ‘complete wellbeing’ sessions are that you will feel well informed, enabled and empowered to make better decisions when it comes to choices on your nutrition and physical activity throughout your life. Most of all, you’ll feel happier and healthier and will continue to do so! 

  • Feel free to contact me for a personalized recommendation and to start your happier and healthier life today !

Sessions can be done in English, Dutch and French at a time and place convenient to you.

* Sivananda Yoga Vedanta TTC, 2012
** Syntra ‘gezondheidscoaching’: 2009-2012

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6 September: Join a hatha yoga class in the Woluwe park

AmbikaYoga_treeDuring the PiqNiq in the park of Sunday 6 September, I’ll organise a hatha yoga initiation*: a gentle yoga class for beginners with relaxation, breathing, sun salutations, yoga postures.

Feel free to join the class, bring a yoga mat or big towel, comfortable clothes, a blanket (in case it’s a bit chilly for the relaxation) and your good mood. The more the merrier 🙂

Location: Parc de Woluwé
Price: The class costs 5€ (or more if you like).
Timing: 12:30-13:30
Facebook event.
Class in English/ French / Dutch depending on your wishes.

* If it rains, the class will be cancelled.


How to choose your yoga teacher’s training course (TTC)?

Quite frequently I receive inquiries from students regarding choosing a yoga teacher’s training course (TTC). In the blog post I’ll give some tips & pointers as to what to look for when selecting your TTC.

  1. Certification/ credibility
  2. Timeframe
  3. Which type of yoga?
  4. Where to go?

1.) Certification. First of all, the TTC needs to give you a certification that’s recognized by the international yoga alliance (Yoga Alliance for the 200 hours standard for a Registered Yoga School (RYS200)). 200 hours is the first level, there is also 500 hours: +300 hours in an advanced TTC, or special certifications for prenatal and kids’ yoga. 

The RYS200 level is a requirement for most studios if you want to work somewhere as a teacher afterwards.
Even if you don’t want to become a teacher (just yet), the credibility of your TTC depends on whether or not it’s a certified course.

  • =>>> The Yoga Alliance accreditation is a way to find out if the course is serious about its teachings.

2.) Timeframe. Some TTC are organized during a full month gurukula-type intense course: you’ll spend the entire time in an ashram immersed in yoga. Other programs offer the TTC spread out over 2 years or more.  Either way, you never stop learning, you learn most when you begin to teach.

  • =>>> The type of TTC that works for you is a personal choice. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

3.) Which type of yoga? First consider which type of yoga you like to do and then which type of yoga you would like to teach (if you consider doing the TTC in order to become a teacher).  You’ll naturally be drawn to the yoga you’re doing right now, however, is that the yoga you should be doing? Is it the yoga that suits you best? You might want to try different styles of yoga to see if there’s one that’s more your type. Also look at where you’ll want to teach, what type of teachers are most in demand?

  • =>>> I would recommend doing a hatha yoga TTC to correctly learn the basics of traditional yoga: the philosophy, asanas, breathing & meditation techniques, chanting, teaching techniques, … Afterwards, you can take other certification courses such as yin, prenatal, flow yoga, kids, acro, Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga.

4.) Where to go? Talk to your current teachers, as well as to other teachers and listen to their experiences and recommendations. If possible, go and visit several ashrams to find out whether the energy of the place suits you. Call or email the ashrams that you are interested in but that are too far away for a short stay and ask them all the questions you have. Try to find reviews online (such as on yogatrail or even on Tripadvisor).

  • =>>> Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it’s your time and money and energy that you’ll invest in their course. Go to the ashram or the course where you feel there’s a connection between the place and its teachers and yourself. Try to take enough time to be able to make a well-informed decision.

My own experience was definitely a life-changing experience.
Based on my preferences, availability and budget I chose the 1-month intensive TTC in the Sivananda Yoga Ashram Camp in Val Morin, (Montréal) Canada. What I loved about this TTC is that there’s an option to continue with an advanced TTC anywhere in the world in a Sivananda yoga ashram or center.

I chose this 1-month intense program, as it was the best way to get my certification during my holidays from my fulltime job. A lady I met while in San Francisco told me she’d done this TTC and that she absolutely loved it. It is traditional Hatha Yoga and I’d been doing that for a couple of years already.

swami_Vishnu_peaceplaneI chose the Sivananda ashram yoga camp outside Montreal as this TTC was the first of its kind outside of India, it has existed over 50 years and in this time delivered lots of graduates all around the world. It was actually Swami Sivananda’s disciple Swami Vishnudevananda who started the first ashram outside of India right there in Canada !

In order to prepare myself for my TTC I’d gone to the ‘sister’ ashram in France beforehand. This way I became familiar with the daily schedule, the asana classes, Satsang, the philosophy, the teachers, the food. The beautiful and peaceful ashram inspired me to choose their TTC.

The yoga camp in Val Morin (just outside of Montréal, Canada) is simply amazing. The energy there is so powerful and pure. The grounds are splendid, well taken care of by the karma yogis), the accommodations are really good: I stayed in the dormitory which had recently been built and we each had our own little room with a bed, table, lamp, cupboard and window. You could close it with a big curtain to have your privacy. The vegetarian/ vegan food is amazing and the teachers are too. There’s an Indian temple on the hill where we went for certain pujas (Indian ceremonies) as well as an outside pool. Nearby is the small town of Val Morin where we would go on our ‘day off’ to stroll or have some brunch. There are washers and dryers. We would often go for morning meditation silent walks at 6AM and that was such a great way to start the day.

TTC 2012 Canada (82)During the actual TTC, I disconnected from Internet for 21 days. This social media disconnection helped me to immerse completely in the teachings, without any unnecessary distractions. Living in a big (75 people) group, having a strict schedule every single day (except Fridays) and hardly having any time to myself was equally intense. Additionally, Karma yoga is part of the TTC and I found myself cleaning the washrooms every single day… A wise Swami explained me that it was intended to teach me something and in my case it was most likely learning to let go: clean, and then offer the clean washrooms to the community and NOT get upset when somebody would soil it. I can share here, that it wasn’t that easy to do.

Ambika certificateLiving together with people you didn’t know beforehand is not always easy, but it turned out to be a very enriching experience. To start with, there was already the yoga connection between us. I’ve met some truly wonderful people in the ashram that I continue to cherish and consider as friends wherever they may be around the globe.

The TTC days were long and filled with lots of information, knowledge and actions. It was sometimes tiring, but always inspiring. It taught me to be more in the present moment, to be humble as a person, teacher as well as a student. That we never cease to be students of life and yoga. Yoga = life.

I sincerely hope that if you’ve taken the time to read through my story, that it’ll help you to decide on your TTC and that your own experience will be at least as good as mine.

Don’t hesitate to share your personal story here or to drop me a message if you have any questions or remarks.