the quality of being authentic.
of undisputed origin; genuine.
Lush trees, the sounds of the fullness of the jungle night, heavy warm air and an army of mosquitos are surrounding us. We swing slowly in the hammock as nature around us transitions rapidly into the dark night. It is the first evolation teacher training of 2015, in Tulum, Mexico. We have no cell phone reception, no wi-fi, and very little electricity and hot water. Its just us, the lovely group of trainees, gathered from various corners of the world, the staff of the retreat center, a couple of dogs and a whole bunch of undefined wilderness creatures.
As I stare in the flame of a candle and I listen to the group studying the yoga sutras, I think about what a great way this is to start a new year. Far away from the rest of our bumbling life I feel that I can reconnect with my Self. Its hard for me to do that. I teach yoga and yoga concepts every day. I feel however often challenged to live up to the yogic standards that I hold high. Being a full-time mom of two energetic kids while juggling with the rapidly growing business that evolation has become -with more and more teacher trainings all over the world, and more awesome teachers and affiliated studios joining the network-, often forces me to make concessions in the things that I find important for my personal life.
I often wonder, if should I keep teaching even though I don’t have a regular yoga and meditation practice, even though I lately often lose my temper, give into my cravings, even though my postures don’t look like a few years ago, etc. I strongly believe that we must practice what we teach, that we must live by example, and that we shouldn’t just teach intellectual concepts, but by being authentic, meaning “living” our truths as a everyday practice. As I recently read somewhere: All truths must be lived not just believed.
Being authentic means being true to your Self and the truths you have discovered within. However, being authentic also means looking beyond the superficiality of life and finding meaning and purpose in a way that resonates as truth not only with just our mind but also with our soul and heart. Being authentic means living your truth every day. So what if what you perceive as truth changes? I realize now that it is then that you let your actions change. And if you find you’ve been living a truth that now seems wrong? Then make changes and begin living your new truth.
As I listen to a Toucan singing from a distant tree, at the Tulum teacher training, I strongly feel that being authentic does not mean living the ultimate truth, whatever that may be. To me it means living the truth I know and feel within, today. Acting today in a way that reflects this truth. Being true to my Self. I believe that if we commit to this changing authenticity, it helps us to accept our own changing self. It will help to create compassion for who you are in all your shapes and forms, including what we might call our short-comings. I recommit to not trying to be the yogi that I am not today. Its ok to have my personal challenges as long as I am willing to share how I overcome them. That’s teaching isn’t it? Every day gives us all these amazing opportunities for growth towards and authentic life and with that to be a shining example for everybody around us.
Zefea had her first experience with yoga at the age of 4 when her parents practiced with renowned teacher Angela Farmer in the Iyengar tradition. She forgot about yoga during her teens and twenties and trained for boxing and the combat system Krav Maga. Zefea rediscovered the benefits of yoga when she started practicing Bikram Yoga in her home town Amsterdam. From 2006-2008 she represented the Netherlands as the Dutch gold medalist in the International Yoga Championships, finishing in the world's top 10. Zefea experienced new depths of yoga through practicing while pregnant (up till the day of giving birth).