Inspiring Yoga Story: Amanda Kraal & Happy Yogi
Over the years we have seen students come and go to our ashrams. We feel lucky to see them grow, to be part of their journey and to see them inspire others. We like to share with you the story of our graduate Amanda Kraal, who started her own yoga school: Happy Yogi.
My name is Amanda and I live in Apeldoorn, a small town in the middle of the Netherlands. In 2014 I followed my Yoga Teacher Training at the Arhanta Yoga Ashram in the Netherlands and the last 5 years I have been running my own yoga studio: Happy Yogi. At Happy Yogi, I am teaching around 8 to 12 classes a week and I help pregnant woman and their partners prepare for delivery with yoga and breathing exercises. I am totally in love with teaching yoga… it is simply amazing. I love all the different bodies and how you can adjust and modify every pose to everyone’s need. I like the things that I don’t know yet and to figure them out, to learn, and to understand. But mostly I love the stories that people tell me, about what yoga did for them in their life. This is why I like to share mine.
Sometimes I get nervous about the people around me taking teacher training after teacher training because I don’t always have the time or finances to go that often. My 8 year old daughter also likes some attention. I did go for a 50 hour refresher course in 2015 and volunteered at the Ashtanga Immersion with David Swenson at Arhanta. (Volunteering is a great way to learn and be in the ashram environment!).
Then I heard my teacher Ram say something in an interview, that re-assured me that I am on the right path. He said that “your teaching is only getting better by teaching as much as you can.” Hearing those words helped me a lot!
Nowadays I also organize yoga weekend retreats, next to the classes I am teaching every week. The retreats take place about 3 to 4 times a year, some with a little bit of luxury while others take place at a campsite. My goal is getting people out of their busy lives and letting them see how they can recharge and reboot themselves and how to enjoy the little things! During these retreat, people enjoy all the little things immensely; the nature, the yoga practice, each others company. Everyone contributes with some karma yoga, they help with house-holding tasks ( I’ve learned that at Arhanta). And by being present in the moment and by doing the best they can, they even enjoy these tasks immensely. Seeing this shift in perspective feels really magical and fulfilling.
I get a lot of my inspiration from other teachers and the differences between people, and I enjoy that. I don’t like it when teachers talk bad about an other teacher. Or a simple argument: like how practitioners or teachers can argue about how an asana should be called differently. For me, how you name or label it doesn’t matter. Everybody has their own way. Another big inspiration are the questions from my students. Those make me try out different techniques or hit the books again. Also I read a lot of books and watch lectures on Youtube from yogi’s or guru’s. It might be on a completely different level but business people inspire me too, and listening to their lectures helps me to grow my yoga school. Because being a business woman doesn’t come at all natural for me. I’m a little bit soft sometimes.
Yes, my life has changed quit a bit since I came back from my first teacher training at Arhanta. It really changed for the better. I have found my love for teaching and yoga. I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life, maybe in a different form but it will always be part of my life. I feel gratitude to all the lovely teachers at Arhanta Yoga for helping me make my life better in every way. Hopefully I get to go back soon!