It is nothing new that when practicing yoga, the only way is up. That can mean very different things for different people, and some might believe it in more than others. The fun thing is that science is catching up with spirituality more and more these days. In this research, the effects of yoga on your health were measured based on level of mindfulness, BMI, the amount of fruits and veggies consumed per day, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and subjective happiness. Out came, of course, that yoga benefited all of these variables, and of all the ways to deepen your practice and the effect it has on our health, the frequency of home practice was the strongest indicator. People who practiced yoga at home most seemed the most healthy.
It may not have been this research that sparked something in Heather White, but it only confirms what she had known all along. It was through a journey of her own experiences that she started the fruitful concept of showing up at your door with a customized, mindful practice that transforms the way you hold space yourself, and the way your space holds you. In the field of mental, physical, spiritual and even domestic well-being, this is a show stopper - literally.
What does yoga mean to you?
The word yoga has taken on so many different meanings. To me yoga is just putting a piece of time aside and dedicating it solely to yourself, to your body and your mind.
Have you always practiced yoga yourself?
I’ve been practicing yoga since early 2012. The first few years of my practice were quite intense as I dove head first into Bikram Yoga. After 3 years of consistent daily practice I was introduced to Ido Portal and the world of style called Movement, and my yoga practice transformed. I still do yoga but it is only a small part of my whole physical practice.
Have you had a certain point in your life where you realized teaching yoga was your calling? Did it come with a spiritual enlightenment?
I started yoga at a time in my life when I was quite lost. I was working at a desk and living for the weekends. I knew I wanted more but I had no idea how to get it. I really didn’t think anything would come from doing yoga but it made me feel good and it gave me a bit of direction so I kept at it. As far as realizing it was my calling... other people did that for me. My first training was with a senior teacher who noticed my dedication and became a sort of mentor. She pushed me to learn more, dive deeper and eventually begin teaching. As far as spiritual enlightenment…. I’d like to replace that term with self awareness. I think spiritual enlightenment should be reserved for serious meditation.
How would you describe your business/what you do?
Your Place Yoga is my attempt at breaking down the barriers between people and their bodies. I travel around Amsterdam (by bicycle of course) and I visit people inside their homes to give them sixty minutes of mind body connection. We transform kitchens, living rooms and spare bedrooms into an oasis in the city. For this hour all is forgotten and when we are done the person is in a completely different mindset, yet still in their beautiful home.
Amazing! How did you come up with this brilliant idea?
I first came to Amsterdam three years ago. I met a Dutch guy with whom I started a yoga school. The yoga school was an amazing building block for meeting people and establishing strong connections in the community. When the yoga school took a different direction I went back home to the States to decide my future. I started teaching my Mom yoga in the basement, and then more and more family and friends and I realized I was on to something. I also realized how much I missed Amsterdam and so I decided to come back on my own and do the same thing here. I arrived December 30th last year, and by January 2nd 2018 the business was running.
What do you like the most about teaching the way you do?
I love working one on one. It’s an incredible opportunity to teach someone about their body and give them the attention they are unable to get in a group setting. It establishes a real sense of trust and connection and builds a foundation on how to best move forward. With a solid foundation anything is possible, especially when it comes to the body. Of course, some of my home practitioners and other people want to participate in group classes and so I also offer these a few times a week as well. The group classes are where we come together, move as one unit, support each other and spread the word!
So you prefer one on one?
I find it the most interesting. It's very personal and I can make it diverse. I evaluate what kind of mood the person is in, if they are looking for more of a work out or for more of a relaxing session, and then we go from there. With one on one the possibilities are endless. I customize classes to what the person is needing in that moment. At the end of the hour they are usually really amazed with their body and the way it feels. It’s also incredibly exciting to watch these individuals transform week by week, feeling better and understanding their bodies on a deeper level.
And why do you choose to go to people's homes instead of just a private class in a studio?
To go into someone’s home is a very personal thing and right from the start we engage in a trusting relationship. We shift the perspective on where they live and see it as a different space. I like to think we create an oasis in the city if even just for an hour. So many people are worried they don't have enough space but you really don't need a lot of room to create the energy we can work with. It also becomes easier to develop a home practice. It eliminates the barrier of deciding whether or not to actually go to the class. When I show up the decision is made!
What is your history with the Juicery?
When I first moved to Amsterdam The Cold Pressed Juicery was absolutely the only place in town selling cold pressed juice. With cold pressed juice having been a huge trend in the States, especially in the world of yoga, I was so happy to discover it in Amsterdam. At that time there wasn’t a moment where Nathalie wasn’t in store selling the juices and so we established a nice connection with my frequent visits. It wasn’t long before she asked if I would be interested in working for her. I spent the summer of 2015 drinking and selling as much cold pressed juice as possible :)
What is your favourite product at the Juicery after a strong yoga class?
The Fix and the ginger shot will always be my go to combo. I love how many new products are coming out and I always give them a try but there is no greener juice and no better ginger shot in the city than at the Juicery.
How do you think nutrition relates to the practice of yoga?
I think yoga invites you to have a certain level of body awareness and through this you are able to develop a stronger sense of which foods serve you and which foods don’t. I firmly believe it’s different for everyone and that you can only know by experimenting.
So would you agree with the research that how often you practice at home will have the biggest impact on your health?
I think there are so many factors to health. Practicing yoga, whether at home or in a studio, can only be beneficial. We all need to find our own way of how to feel good but I certainly believe having a home practice is a fantastic start!
Ready to book your first sesh? Find out more on her website or email Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.