OneFit Teachers: Nienke van Baal – “I find peace in teaching yoga”

Have you ever felt inspired by your yoga teacher? Well that’s exactly what happened to Nienke van Baal. Nienke is a newly trained yoga teacher who loves the freedom that yoga makes her feel inside and out. Nienke chatted to us about her passion for yoga and views about this ancient method in a modern day world.

Nienke van Baal

As a young girl I did gymnastics and dance, I really loved it and did it for a long time. Later on, I finished two degrees, one in Fashion & Management and one in Advertising, Marketing & Communications. Nowadays, I work for Denim Brand Tenue de Nîmes in Amsterdam. I’ve always felt the love for fashion and I still do, but it’s not my only passion. I discovered that yoga gave me an ultimate happy feeling and that’s why I started to combine my work life with practicing yoga. I followed classes by Marlene Henny and she overwhelmed me with her style and way of teaching. I also joined classes by Fleur van Zonneveld and her style is quite similar. I noticed that they had set up a Vinyasa Flow Teacher Training course together, so I chose to enter it. for Denim Brand Tenue de Nîmes in Amsterdam.

Yoga is freedom

For me yoga means freedom, in my mind and in the way I can move. What I really like about yoga is that you don’t need a lot for it. You only need your mat and some yoga clothes – you don’t need to talk or be with other people and no one is expecting anything from you. I feel free on the mat and I hope that my students feel that as well. Yoga is the best way of moving my body because it increases balance, strength and flexibility. When I teach yoga, there is nothing else I think about – while in my daily life there’s not a moment when I’m not busy with multiple things. Solely when I teach a yoga class I have a clear mind. I find peace in teaching.

yoga pose  yoga pose

A spiritual or physical journey

My way of teaching is gentle yet strong and challenging. I use flowing movements between poses to create nice transitions and to work towards more powerful poses. I think a good yoga teacher creates an experience and takes you on a mindful journey, at least that’s what I try to do. It’s about the sequences that take you from one progression to another. I think you’re a good yoga teacher if your students can feel that. In my opinion it doesn’t matter if a teacher focuses on a physical or spiritual level – that has nothing to do with whether they are a good teacher or not, it’s about the journey they create.

The Modern Yogi

Don’t take the yogi lifestyle too seriously, but enjoy it. Yoga is an old tradition that we are doing in a modern world and we have to adapt to that. Sometimes I see people living by what they’ve found in old philosophical yoga books. While I think it’s good to still hold on to old theories, I think it’s nice to mix it with some modern influences. We have to look at the time we are living in and use yoga as a tool to fit into our lives now.

Yoga is not a competition

Yoga is for everyone, but we all have our personal limits within the body. It’s really important to feel what your body is telling you in each pose. Try to not be competitive – yoga is about becoming aware of your own body and accepting what your body is allowing you to do. My Relax & Restore class at Yagoy is great for beginners to learn the fundamentals of yoga.

Why Vinyasa yoga?

If you feel like joining Nienke van Baal for some flowy Vinyasa Yoga, you can find her at Yagoy and Hot Flow Yoga. She teaches Relax & Restore and Hot Vinyasa Flow classes. Check her classes online or visit her website to find out more.

 Written by Laura Court-Jones
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OneFit Teachers: Eline van de Kam – “Yoga brings me home”

As dedicated OneFitters, we are often curious about the stories behind our beloved yoga teachers. They help us to find peace within ourselves and connect with our inner yogis, but what about their personal journeys? Meet Eline van de Kam, former party girl turned yoga teacher who sat down to talk with us about her transition to yogi, yoga teacher and her yoga beliefs.

Eline van der Kam

Burnout to yogi

I was first introduced to yoga over 20 years ago when I was living abroad. I took one class a week but at that time I was much more involved in partying, drinking. Only six years ago I had a moment of total collapse. I had to let go of all my old habits and start again from scratch with a new way of living. I released that life is happening in the moment. I found so much gratitude that I had survived the burnout and the addictions, I got free from that – I really turned. I realised teaching the subject that  made me feel alive and vibrant with energy, was yoga. After that, I started studying to become a yoga teacher.

Yoga brings me home

Before I found yoga I would mindlessly go through life just reaching for the next thing, thinking: ‘’The grass is always greener on the other side,’’ but when I found yoga I realised that the grass is already green, and even if it’s not, I don’t need to long for anything. I often visualise myself in the centre of a storm. The storm acts as my thoughts, emotions and sensations of the body and I find yoga brings me home. It brings me back to the centre. It connects me with my natural self with what I really am. I’m not my story, I’m not my thoughts I’m much more than that.

Silence is the new gold

Most of the classes I teach are very slow, meditative classes. It all starts with silence, to ground yourself and to become really still with what is happening. I invite the students to observe the sensations in the body, observe the thoughts drifting past to observe the emotions coming in and out so they step back from their busy lives and watch. When you’re young your very active, always reaching out and using the body and sometimes we need some yin yoga to level our lives out. But young people normally don’t want to do a yin class. So when they come in by accident I’m always happy because then they can experience resistance, and wonder why they are restless. It’s interesting. I just want to offer people the peace that is already inside themselves.

Strong back vs soft front

The real goal in yoga is to calm the mind. I invite my students to observe – this a core Buddhist teaching and there are a lot of heart openers during a yin class. One of my core teachings is ‘strong back and soft front.’ You need a strong back to stand your ground and be able to walk around with a soft front – to be vulnerable and open up the qualities of the heart. When we get flexible bodies and are happy in our skin, I call those happy side effects.

Discover it all

My advice for newcomers would be to try different styles, from Power Bikram to a Yin class and everything in between and observe what is happening in a class with yourself. Also realise that a practice in the morning can be totally different from in the evening. Listen to your energy levels during the day. If you’re a morning person start with a vibrant workout, if you’re an evening person maybe you can do this class in the evening or maybe you need to calm down, then go to a yin class. Go and discover all different types of yoga!

Here’s a short message from Eline…

Eline currently teaches Yin Yoga, Flow For All (all levels) and leren mediteren for complete beginners. You can join her classes at Sukha Yoga, De Nieuwe Yogaschool, Yogaspot and Hot Flow Yoga Jordaan. Eline is wearing Urban Goddess clothing. 

Written by Laura Court-Jones

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OneFit Teachers: Emese Fodor – “Yoga is being one with the Universe”

11 October, 2017 • Tags: , , , , , ,

Yoga is one of the most popular activities for OneFitters and each teacher has their own style and beliefs of yoga. Meet Emese Fodor, a former teacher at Studio 191, Rasalila, Sukha Yoga and Hot Flow Yoga in Amsterdam. She offers spiritual yoga classes and is currently in India leading a Vinyasa teacher training program. Emese let us in on her personal experiences with yoga and how it has influenced her practice and guidance to others.

Emese Fodor

From Gymnastics and Dance to Yoga

I started gymnastics at the early age of 6. I’m Hungarian and I always wanted to become a dancer, but back then it was not easy. I started dancing at 18 and teaching fitness at 19, but already I felt that it was limited. I’m really a person who wants to be free, fly with the Spirits and experience the flow of life. I was travelling for work (fashion) extensively and dancing at the same time but I was pushing myself, my hips were worn out and my body was tired. I thought – how can ground myself? And that’s how I found yoga.

Yoga has become about fitness

Yoga is getting very physical, it’s like working out in the gym. It’s fashionable and popular, but it’s really more than that – it’s MAGIC. In 2005 I was practicing Hatha yoga and dancing at the same time. I noticed how amazing it was to feel grounded and centered and I started to feel something that was not physical. I’ve now been guiding yoga practices for five years and for me yoga is a spiritual practice. It’s about opening and connecting with the Divine and our deepest essence. I know I can affect people in my class and some people aren’t ready for that yet, and I respect that. There are some teachers who only touch the surface of yoga and just the physical and I want to guide people to be connected with themselves and the universe. But you know, people who say yoga is not for me, are the ones who need it the most.

Bring back femininity in a masculine culture

‘Yogadance’ is a concept I want to work with because it’s a fusion of yoga and dance elements but it’s way more than just physical. Each song has a story, it’s feminine, fluid and free. I work a lot with directions and elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Space and Ether), chakras and breath/prana as a life-force. I also work with the zodiac wheel and moon cycles. Women are becoming men in a corporate world and I’d love to get them to reconnect with their inner wisdom, intuition and creativity as the essence of the ‘Divine-Feminine.’

Emese Fodor

Stay rooted and connected to the world

Yoga is like a mysterious dance with the universe. We work with the breath, with inhalations and exhalations, opening our bodies and then daring to relax into it. You set your intention from the heart and give it to the universe knowing that if it comes from the heart, it will come back to you. Once you know that, why force anything? When practicing if you force your body into something – that is coming from the mind because there is no force in this Universe. People should understand that if they are willing to spend an hour to love themselves a little then they’ll experience that their body will give them so much back. Everything starts within… don’t take it too seriously, just close your eyes, feel and enjoy it.

Emese Fodor is currently in India leading a Vinyasa teacher training course with Himalayan Yoga Bliss. If you wish to experience a deeply spiritual and flowing practice with meaning and understanding then you can catch her after she’s back from her yogi adventures. 

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Interview: Ann-Charlotte de Zoeten van Hot Flow Yoga Jordaan

22 August, 2016 • Tags: ,

Als OneFit lid kun je inmiddels bij meer dan 200 locaties sporten. Ieder heeft zo z’n favorieten. Maar wat is het verhaal eigenlijk achter jouw lievelingsstudio? En wie is die leraar precies die jouw wekelijkse les geeft? Vanaf nu plaatsen we iedere week zo’n verhaal op onze blog. Deze week gingen we langs bij Ann-Charlotte de Zoeten van Hot Flow Yoga Jordaan.

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‘In Amerika, waar ik een tijd gewoond heb, probeerde ik ooit een paar keer yoga. Oersaai vond ik het! Waarschijnlijk was het Hatha, wat gewoon voor geen meter bij me paste. Ik was echt een aerobics-fitness-pilates-girl! Ik wilde zweten! Toen wist ik nog niet dat dat óók kon met yoga.’

‘In 2002 verhuisde ik van Amerika naar Bali. Voornamelijk voor business: we hebben er meubels gemaakt, hotels en villa’s gebouwd en ik zat in de sieraden en tassen. Dat waren fantastische jaren! Bali was toen al het mekka voor yoga en spiritualiteit. Ik ben les gaan volgen bij een Indiase vrouw die daar een prachtige yogastudio in haar tuin had, pal aan zee. Bij een Iyengar teacher uit Sumatra ben ik toen 8 jaar in de leer gegaan.’

‘Maar toen werd ik ziek, een hersenontsteking waardoor ik uiteindelijk in coma belandde. Het duurde ruim een jaar voordat ik weer de oude was. Yoga was toen hét middel om weer sterker en fit te worden en alles weer heel langzaam op te bouwen. Dat lukte, en na die geweldige resultaten heb ik besloten om yogalerares te worden. Ik koos voor Vinyasa omdat ik op zoek was naar afwisseling. Het is een dynamische yogavorm waarin je kunt spelen met de poses en waarbij je ademhaling ook heel erg wordt betrokken.’


Hot Flow Yoga
‘In 2013 verhuisden we terug naar Amsterdam. Ik leste toen bij Joanna van Hot Flow Yoga aan de Koninginneweg en vond het Hot Flow concept geweldig. Langzaam was het idee al ontstaan om een eigen studio te beginnen, dus ben ik op zoek gegaan naar een huis in het centrum dat ik kon combineren met een studio. Zo kwamen we hier in de Eerste Looiersdwarsstraat terecht.’

Boutique yoga
‘Het hele “kling klong” yoga gebeuren met wierook was er al genoeg in de stad, daarom is Hot Flow Yoga het tegenovergestelde: fris, urban, boutique-achtig. We zorgen dat alle teachers die hier lesgeven van topklasse zijn.’

Naar binnen
‘Een van de belangrijkste dingen die je hier leert is focussen op je innerlijke en je adem. Je ademhaling is iets waar mensen vaak niet eens bewust van zijn wanneer ze sporten, terwijl het een hele grote invloed heeft. Hardlopers bijvoorbeeld, die hoor ik na een aantal lessen zeggen dat ze hun adem ineens horen en kunnen controleren, en dus langer kunnen rennen. Ook leren we students om zichzelf te centeren, al is het maar een paar minuten aan het begin van de les. Even tot jezelf komen en de rest buiten de studio laten.’


‘Infrarood warmte werkt heel therapeutisch. Het maakt je spieren en gewrichten soepel en zorgt ervoor dat blessures kunnen healen. Je detoxt je lijf en je kunt je beter focussen. De meeste mensen ervaren eerst Bikram-yoga en komen dan hier en verzuchten: oh my god, dit is heel anders, zo heerlijk! De warmte is minder heftig; we oefenen op 33 graden zodat je niet uitgeput raakt. Ik was eerst ook een Bikram-fanaat, heb alle challenges twee jaar lang gedaan, maar ik wilde meer afwisseling. Vinyasa is voor mij de perfecte combinatie tussen traditionele en hot yoga.’

‘Steeds meer mensen snappen nu dat yoga veel kan bijdragen aan je sportroutine. Knetterhard cardio doen, CrossFitten en andere snelle impact sporten, daarvan krijg je alleen maar korte spieren. Je wordt wel sterk, maar die balans waarbij je ook lenig bent en krachtig hebt van binnenuit, die krijg je van yoga.’

‘In het najaar krijgen we een paar nieuwe lessen op het rooster, waarondereen yogales met lichte gewichtjes (0.5 tot 1 kilo). In de Warrior 2 staan met in iedere hand een gewichtje, dat is zwaar! Ook gaan we Yoga/Pilates lessen toevoegen. En nog meer leuk nieuws: over een paar maanden openen we een nieuwe locatie in de Rivierenbuurt waar ook alle OneFitters welkom zijn.’

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