Sunday, June 14, 2015


"And this is the the point of spiritual practice to make us teachable. To open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are." ~Rolf Gates~

Last week I attended a “Yoga Writing” workshop. As I put my mat down I met a woman who was in the same writing class as me 2 years ago. We embraced and her first words to me were: “Has your writing become better?” A simple question, no harm meant and my response came very fast, without thinking. “No it is actually worse!” I sat down and we meditated and I noticed the nagging question and my answer repeating itself in my mind over and over. It made me insecure, confused and deeply worried. A day later the question was still haunting me,

following me like a lurking shadow. The fear of exposure, or writing something wrong, pulled me down beyond the surface of any creativity, it closed me up. Anxiety lingered for 3 days until I sat down and got my thoughts clear. Yes, I do struggle with writing correctly, with grammar and vocabulary. I should mention here that English is not my mother tongue. I often don’t know what to write or how to express on the page, so it makes sense for the reader. But the point is I like to write, I like to express my feelings on the page, I like to get clarity and know which direction to go next. I like to play with the words and create a game of war with them or a play of light. I like to write about my struggles with the world, the pain in my heart, or the beauty of the birds or the amazing flowers in my garden, or how lakes and streams make me feel. I like to swim in the ocean of writing not knowing where it will take me. I like to learn more and become better. 

I have learned from my teacher Valley, that no matter what, keep the pen moving, even if you do not have anything to say, or if you are stuck. We are all writers, because we all have words, stories, dreams and places that cling to us, that wait to come out on to a page, to become alive. Writing down from our deepest insides, from our souls allows us to remove and let go of pain and suffering. Allows us to get clear with our feelings, finding acceptance and then moving forward on that path which is called life. We are allowed to be free on the page and make mistakes. Most of the time the writing is just for us, it is to free our endless stream of thoughts, to make sense of moments, find answers and healing, trust and acceptance, hope and love. If we judge ourselves or are being judged we negate what the writing is all about and provides for us.

Needless to say, enter silence then unleash the power of your soul and keep the pen moving……

Thursday, February 19, 2015

It's All About Awareness

The night ended just as it began, fully aware of her thoughts and stories in her head. Now she sits at her favorite spot in the kitchen, her gaze wandering over the frozen lake. A blanket of snow so thick, it covers the whole surface of the lake, making her believe the lake has become wider and bigger over night. Big trees are casting long gray shadows, providing an interesting and surreal pattern. One could fantasize over those ghostly shades like a private investigator. As the sun moves higher it changes and transforms the obscurities and brings in a new reality. 
She is fully present with all there is; with all the pain in her heart and at the same time the happiness and joy. It feels like there is a split right down the middle of her heart and she needs to investigate every day to find out which side she belongs to or which side to follow. She tries to not let her life be directed by her thoughts of fear, pain and suffering, like an orchestra relying on the conductor in front of them, but playing her own notes to create the music, which makes her joyful and calm. Consistently her soul cries out to her lost loved one, moments of agony and torment. It is at those instances when she is reminded, when the pain wants to take over her whole body, crippling and chilling her, that she is loved, that her little boy is still around in spirit providing her with love, solace and comfort. It is at those moments when she finds acceptance and smiles, knowing with deep faith and love that everything has a reason and is just the way it has to be.

So she keeps sitting near that window in the kitchen at her favorite spot with profound awareness, longing for shorter shadows, brighter days and warm sunshine.

Saturday, October 11, 2014



Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble to read. I picked up a Buddhist magazine and opened it at random. The first thing I laid eyes on was this sentence:

“ Life is suffering!” 

Why does mankind have to suffer so much? Is it old karma or do we build new karma? What happens to us as we grow from happy infants to old adults? When do we start to realize that we are suffering? How can we let go of old pain, anger, hurt, guilt, blame, resentment, sadness and fear? Often I talk about these issues in my yoga classes because I know that everybody carries around a backpack on their shoulders. I was surprised though to  read this sentence from a monk in a magazine. Is he suffering too?

Sometimes we create our own suffering because our ego-mind can’t let go of something and we make our lives harder for ourselves and others. We can’t heal the past by dwelling on it, turning it over and over, or being stubborn.

Marianne Williamson wrote:

“Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change, the world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.” 

We suffer our pain as often as is necessary, to learn our lessons.We must lead the way with love and light and let go of the ego-mind.Sometimes suffering is created by outside forces, like when a loved one dies  or illness strikes us or if an accident happens. Some people are also deeply affected by watching the news and they take on other people's suffering. 

As I lost my son last year I felt a deep pain entering my heart, not only spiritually but physically too. I felt as if my heart had been ripped out of my chest and somebody had hit me with a hammer on my head. My legs went weak as if the floor gave out under my feet. My eyes and my mouth were dry and wide open and there was this silent, no, no! After a few days I thought I would not be able to live anymore.

Through the teachings of yoga I learned to become mindful, to create intentions and to be in stillness. In the stillness is the answer to creating peace love, compassion. We find the courage in our hearts to let go of pain, and at the same time acknowledging those feelings. Being present with our feelings and sensations helps us learn to accept the unacceptable. Through meditation we learn to awaken, to watch instead of react. We are invited to make friends with the whole of ourselves, just the way we are and to forgive others and ourselves. We can let go of the ego-mind, the stories in our head and alter our attitudes. We can truly surrender and  love what is!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Sunny Day In April

"Meditating is a warm up exercise for the mind, so that you can jog through the rest of the day without getting agitated or spraining your patience."
~Eknath Easwaran~

After a long break from writing on my blog, on this sunny day  I have decided to continue my journey of thoughts about yoga, mandala and life. Experiences of growth,
love and pain all mixed together are my motivation to share!

Spring is here and all of my students are practicing diligently and finding their own growth on the mat and in their lives. They always awaken a feeling of courage in me to move forward on my own path.

This week we are practicing Ahimsa. On an extreme level Ahimsa translates as non-harming and non-killing. On a more subtle level it means to have no angry, harmful or judgmental  thoughts towards yourself or others. Often in the course of the day we criticize ourselves for things we do or don't do. We become impatient with ourselves on the mat, in the car or in any other areas we think we are not perfect. Some books tell us that we should first find compassion and loving, nonjudgmental thoughts for others. I believe that we need to start with ourselves. Being kind, thoughtful, loving and compassionate towards ourselves is a practice we can then convert towards other people and in other areas of our lives.

Practicing Ahimsa brings awareness to our daily lives on and off the mat.

So, I encourage my students to sit in stillness and be a witness and observer to the quality of  the thoughts that arise, staying present with them as they do.  

Be happy on this sunny day and treat yourself to some chocolate after your practice.

Love Sonja

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I am guided by my heart

A new beginning, giving myself permission to be!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cherai Beach

Cherai Beach Resort is located outside Kochi on a small island! I reached it yesterday after a one hour cab ride and a three hour train ride! I was so happy to come to a nice place! Actually it is beautiful here and for the first time I have a clean toilet! The shower is still cold but in this heat it does not matter anymore. To reach my tiny hut, i have to cross a lovely bamboo bridge! My hut is standing in the water and at night I can hear the fishes jump and it almost seams that they want to come to bed with me.
I started my day with a yoga practice just outside my front door surrounded by water! I went to breakfast and after that I treated myself to an Ayurvedic massage which ended with a steam bath, shower and then a face massage! This was truly heavenly and most amazing and I enjoyed every minute of it! The rest of the day I laid on the beach, did my meditation and then created a Mandala! What a day and how I needed that after all the traveling and being sick for a while. It is good for me to build up my strength again before I make my journey home!
After laying on the beach for one day I had to venture out again. I decided to go to Ernakulam the big city from where I arrived with the train. I did some shopping then took a ferry to Fort Kochi, the next island. I had a wonderful time to watch the fisherman bringing in the big beautiful nets full of fish. Walking along the shore, who was lined with beautiful little restaurants, got me contemplating about my journey! I examined my path in every possible angle. I will write new blog about thoughts and contemplation on the way home, for now I want to finish writing about Cherai Beach first! Today I visited an Elephant rescue camp and helped to wash the elephants in the river! They all layed down so that I could comfortably reach and scrub them with my brush. One of them played with me with his trunk. That was truly wonderful and it was a fantastic experience! The elephants where so grateful to get cooled off! Then they had to go back to their camp and got tied up, which made me very sad. I could not understand why they could not walk around freely, because I saw that their was a big fenced aerea! Today is the day that I also will pack my bags and say goodby to India. My journey home starts when you have Saturday evening and I will arrive in Richmond Monday night!
Thank you for listening, all your prayers and comments!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Amritapuri Ashram

I arrived at the Ashram after traveling for 22 hours totally exhausted. When they asked me if I liked a shared room or single I opted for single! I do like my privacy especially with so many people here! Right now the Ashram is not as crowded, because Amma is not here. This Ashram is a big village with several high rise buildings, a big Temple and huge dinning hall.  The Ashram is able to host 5000 people and  there will thousands more, when Amma is in the Ashram, here for eating.  It is a well organized and very busy place!Like a big village crowded into a small place. There are whole families who give up their lives in their country's, to live here forever! Everybody who stays here has to work, do Seva, and help for several hours a day. I was gluing on address labels yesterday and today I had to sew little hearts filled with flowers. I think I am lucky not to be in the kitchen and prepare food early in the morning or wash dishes, clean toilets or floors! Meditation starts early in the morning and then chanting until breakfast. There is another meditation session from six in the evening until dinner time which is at 8pm.  I feel the amazing energy, which gets created with so many people meditating together. Then I had to teach two yoga classes and I felt a bit out of practice. Nonetheless the classes were lovely and the people liked them! There were people from all over the world in my class!
It is very, very hot here in the south and the proper  Ashram clothing's are long sleeves and long pants. Needless to say everybody sweats all day and night. There is no air condition either and Amma forbid for us to go to the beach right now, where we could get cooled of. She is concerned about another tsunami! Well I do long for the beach and so decided to go back to Kochi for my last 3 days in India and spent it in an nice Resort and let myself spoil with Ayurvedic Massages! So again I will be on the move tomorrow as I travel four hours north to Cherai Beach!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

More from Arambol

The next day I walked to the village and found a yoga teacher then I  practiced with him every day.Along the shore are a lot of little Restaurants where I got fabulous Indian food and lots of different kind of  fruit drinks.I decided to rent a motorbike to explore a bit the near area in  north Goa. Daria a Woman from Russia joined me. We went south along the coast over little mountains. We ended up in  Chapora.a small village by the Chapora river.We climed up a mountain to an old Fort and could enjoy the most beautiful view to the ocean and on the other side we saw the inland and where the river met the ocean! The land in Goa is very green with coconut plantations and other fresh produce!
The next day I climbed another small mountain near Arambol to an old Bajan tree. It is there where Baba, an enlightened being lives! People go visit him and bring small tokens of  fruits or tobacco. Everybody sits around a circle smokes and talks to him. When he saw me he started shouted out loud and opened his arms and said "Mama oh Mama you com here finally, finally i see you, oh Mama sit with me!" so i went to sit next to him and he kissed my cheeks. Then he was holding my hand and said you I will  be healed. He said my legs will be better soon.Well, I really look forward to that! After going back I went to lay on the beach and rest. But there is no rest at Arambols beaches , because there are a lot of woman in beautiful Saris walking around to sell their goods. Every two minutes one of them stands in front of you and says:"Madam want to see my things, give good price , make me happy , you bye!"  And if I say no they never will never go away and start unpacking all they have, put it on your leg. I made the mistake to bye something after one day being harassed and  that makes it all worse., because then everyone is coming to say: " Why you by not from me, me have better price better things!" and you have to know they are all friends, it is just a endless game! one day I made the mistake of giving a begging child some money! It took him only five minutes to bring back the whole village! At the same time a boy on a bike came by to sell ice cream and so i decided to by them each one. Now the crowd got even bigger and even the woman in the saris came by and said they are children too. It was a real spectacle at the beach. In India everybody makes their own prices, so I had to barter with the ice cream boy and still ended up with a big bill! As they all still where eating their ice a boy pushed a big wagon along the beach with a grill on it and he made corn on the cob! Now the children came to ask me if I would bye them dinner too! It is never enough no matter what I do.  Smiling I left the beach!
Arambol has a lot of tourists, especially from end of November to beginning of April! So the season comes to an end now! I still met a lot of people from all over the world. Daria from Russia and I became friends and I talked to people from Germany, Israel, Nepal, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Switzerland, France, Spain, Belgium, Australia and Austria!  Amazing isn't it?
I considered the five days I spent in Arambol as resting days and did not so much sightseeing. My train  15 hour train ride leaves tonight to go to Kochin  south India!
Please forgive me if I make mistakes, the time is always short to be on the CP and I do not have time to read and correct the blog!