The start shot for my self-enquiry and inner exploration happened when I was trotting along the academic route toward high carrier ambitions. I fell ill while living and working in India, and looking back, this was one of the turning points and signs from the Universe telling me to seriously start a deeper introspection. I soon thereafter met the man I today call my life partner and he was the catalyst for the natural changes that my being had been anticipating and longing for. I called for ‘timeout’, quit my job and gave myself a year to find ‘the way back to myself’. My sole focus became what had so far only been a side activity of mine – yoga and meditation. Soon I realized that this ‘new’ focus and pace was not supposed to be only a phase – but the way to live my life. I have never been more certain about anything in my whole life. I had found the path. Since then I have dedicated much of my time to understanding myself, in order to better understand the world. I dedicate a lot of my time to seva, self-less service, as well as nurturing myself and other beings around me. I firmly believe in what Gandhi said ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’, and I like what Osho said in that regard ‘Be, don’t try to become’. This is, in short, what I see as my life purpose. But just as much as others have been there for me along my path, I want to be there for others. Inspiring and guiding, motivating and supporting others – this is one of my main goals in life.
When the yoga-related changes in my life took place, I was already attending various types of yoga classes, all with the aim to find balance in the midst of the busy life I led. But I soon realized that this was not enough. While living in India, I took an intensive yoga teacher training (200-hrs of traditional hatha yoga, Sivananda lineage) in Rishikesh and soon after my first longer meditation retreat (a 10-day silent Vipassana retreat). Now I can proudly say that I have taken two 10-day silent retreats (on two different continents!) and absolutely loved the depth and insights it provided. It is not always easy to take such deep dives, but needed never the less. All introspection has led me to believe that the inner science is really where I should put my focus and it is through such introspection I can be of service to others, and by teaching the same.
Today my life revolves a lot around Seva, giving freely from my heart. Much of my focus goes toward eating habits and nutrition, as much as toward the ingrained attitudes and believes we hold. On a personal level I work a lot with conditioning and aspire to become as pure, radiant and enlightened as possible. My life partner is both a great teacher and companion in this quest, guiding and inspiring me through questioning and exploring the depths of our inner beings.
My background is in public health and while working in the field I realized that very little attention is placed on preventive medicine. This has been another reason why yoga and meditation took such a strong hold of my life. Since all this began, I have had a deep desire to share and explain what the yogic journey has given me thus far, so I started writing a book. The book itself contains portraits of people who have inspired me greatly along the way, who’s stories I feel need to be shared in order to inspire others to listen to their own hearts and values.
The book also contains recipes for a yogic and meditative lifestyle, as well as other valuable contemplative food for thought. I talk about the yogic philosophy, in relation to my own search and experience, which provides ideas on how to turn some of its values into ones daily life. It also serves as a photographic journey, to hopefully motivate others to start or keep up their own voyage.
Love, compassion, nourishment, energy, health and healing, perspectives, meditation, self-sustainability, heart space, mindfulness, thoughts words and action, conditioning, resistance, letting go, daily blessings, magic, awe and wonder, are just a few of the things that I contemplate daily. The book is a compilation of my thoughts and journal entries, photographs from travels, portraits of amazing people and other significant food for thought. I want to share how one can live the yogic values in our contemporary western world. All of the above, I try to mediate in my daily routine as well, from the smallest encounter to the deepest discussions.
I have jumped across oceans, lived on different continents (as a Swedish native) and I now find myself living deep in the mountains of Colorado, USA. Living as close to a contemporary sannyasin as I can, I find that life is richer than it has ever been. We live very simply, in our small camper, during the summer in our teepee, and most recently in a yurt. We do our daily duties in the woods and love cooking over open fire. I want to go back to nature as much as I can, learn the basics over again and learn about my inner being and light. Today I teach Hatha yoga in our little mountain town and also serve as a photographer and crafts maker, sister, partner, co-creator and fellow seeker of truth. Last summer my partner and I were photographers at the Telluride Yoga Festival and it was amazing to stumble upon a combination of two passions – photography and yoga – shared with him. We want to see ourselves as active co-creators of the yoga community and society as a whole. We want to see the world tuning more into holistic thinking and action. Our aspirations are high but also centered and deeply grounded. We want to see our fellow beings and Mother Nature thrive in co-existence.
Being of the sannyasin mindset, where money is not the primary focus but a side effect of our giving, another teacher training may sometimes feel very distant. Though I feel that now is the time. I usually try to emphasize to the students at the end of my yoga classes, that they need to treat themselves royally during their day ahead. I often give that as their ‘homework’. And with that I don’t mean that they should go home and splurge, but be mindful to treat themselves to what strengthens and nourishes their body, mind and soul.
By giving ourselves this, we can strengthen and inspire others, which in turn will empower our community as a whole. So, their homework is to do something that inspires and delights them. Whatever nourishment is needed, they are asked to accommodate the space and energy to whatever that may be. And I realize that this application for the advanced yoga certification is my own personal attempt to strengthen and nourish myself – in order to inspire and empower others to start, or maintain, their own path to expanded awareness.
And I want everyone to experience the revelation of the ultimate truth we all hold within. I highlight this kind of food for thought to my fellow yogis, but just the same do I try to practice what I preach. So, this entry is an attempt to open the next door on the path of my own spiritual evolution. I feel that the time is mature and that my heart is fully opened to new input and learning. I would love to dive deeper into the yogic sea of knowledge and to share that knowledge in my community to strengthen the whole.
I truly see all the people I have met along my path as a teacher in one way, shape or form. Yoga is so much more than just asanas and I have been blessed with various teachers in all realms of yoga (meditation, self-enquiry, pranayama, yamas and niyamas, kirtan, diet and nutrition, devotion, seva etc). If we choose to see everyone as teachers and fellow co-creators, this world would be so much more harmonious. And we all have to learn from each other’s experiences to evolve as a species. I have been truly blessed with MULTIPLE inspirational and guiding beings crossing my path, as well as learned much from just looking within. We all are teachers, to ourselves and to others.
As I learn more about myself and more about yoga each day through my sadhana and through interaction with the world, I realize that my path has merely begun. There is so much more to the depths and I feel that it is time for me to share my journey with other yogis with the same ambitions. I feel that this kind of exchange will be nourishing and much appreciated. But most of all, I want to learn more about the prana, the chi, the life force, whatever you want to call it – the science behind all of life.
I realize now that this is the piece of the puzzle I want to investigate next and with the guidance from the teachers at Tribe Yoga. I want to explore the depth and the width of what they offer. Something about the school really resonated with me and that’s all I can explain. Synchronicity and timing has a lot to do with it and trying to read the signs from the Universe, now is the time and Tribe Yoga is the school for it!
My life has been guided to where I am today and I have full faith that with even more yogic wisdom under my belt, the situations where I can share what I learn through this advanced teacher training will be manifold. I already hold classes and I want to complete my book, and I will always continue to reach out to people who seek my guidance. Whatever is next will unfold. But what is certain is that I want to be a strong living example of someone who was on the ‘right’ path (according to our western society and thinking) and who took a u-turn into a simpler but richer life. I want to inspire others to have the courage to do the same.
There is no doubt that I am on the right path, now it is only a matter of diving deeper into my own practice after giving and serving a lot. There has to be a balance and this is what will be the focus of the next few steps of my own personal path. The training would give me the confidence to be more of myself and to radiate just that. I want to shine as an example and provide alternative ways of thinking, communicating and acting in our world. But the changes we want to see on a global level has to start with the individual, hence the advanced teacher training is the next step for me to take.
I sincerely hope that we will all find the balance and inner peace we strive for. And I hope to share my story as a reflection of a fellow yogini’s journey to find balance.
Lokaha Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free
and may the thoughts, words and actions
of my own life contribute in some way
to that happiness and to that freedom for all
2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay
By: Hanna Pernefeldt
If you liked this article and want them to win a free yoga teacher training, then make sure to vote for her by leaving a comment (scroll all the way to the bottom), and sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter. Each comment, Facebook, and Twitter share counts as one vote and you can do all three!
Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher? Then visit our Yoga School Directory to find the right teacher training. Or, visit our Yoga Retreats page to explore beautiful yoga vacations from around the world.