Hi all and welcome to the first anniversary of OHM ­– the yoga and spirituality association of the TU Delft. I feel honoured and happy to speak to you. I feel honoured and happy that we have met, and that we are taking this journey together.

OHM started as a small group of yoga aficionados, or fanatics if you will – back then we were with only 5 people. I remember that we had events in which only 3 new people showed up, or that we had progress meetings in which only two of us were present. Now we have 95 members in total. Now we are having meetings/ gatherings/events almost once a week. OHM is growing, OHM is expanding, and on Thursday evening, we are extending.

I want to you know that the name OHM is rooted in an attempt to connect eastern spirituality and western science – by the way, that is what pralaya yoga pursues as well. Although I have studied civil engineering here at TU university which is about building physical bridges, I prefer building the metaphorical bridge between, as said before, eastern wisdom and western science. To my understanding, science is about the exploration of the world around you and to quantify that, whether spirituality is about the exploration of who you are, and of the deeper layers of existence, not only of yourself but also of the entire cosmos.

OHM is a group that inhabits many different angles concerning the interests in yoga. Some of us do yoga for injury prevention, some for neuromuscular connectivity, some for stress reduction, some just for fun – exploring the body, some for mental clarity, personal development.. you name it. I think this diversity is something to be proud of! But what binds us? What is the common denominator of people of OHM? I think its openness – not only in the sense of open-mindedness, but also in the sense of expression. The non-judged expression of who you truly are. It’s easy to show your beauty – to post on Instagram or Facebook only the best images of your life, and of yourself. But it’s hard to show your imperfections, your vulnerabilities, the things you are ashamed of – and we all have them. It takes strength and self-honesty to bring these unpopular topics to the surface. It’s not a weakness to talk about your (perceived) shortcomings and your fears, it’s a strength. I believe that people connect by showing their vulnerabilities, and that what makes OHM so powerful. I feel blessed that we have created as a space in which you can truly be your crazy self. An environment with like-minded people in which all can flourish like never before. And that ladies and gentlemen, that is were the healing happens. Trust, intimacy,  and non-judgement, towards yourself and another, are the basic ingredients for self-acceptance and self-love, which on his turn perpetuates growth, on an emotional and spiritual level.

I have studied many paths, and I concluded that authenticity is the way – at least for me. Knowing theyself, and then, being thyself. By doing so you express integrity not only towards yourself but also toward the rest of the world. How can other people find you, or notice you, if you don’t express yourself as you truly are? You will not find your true friends, soulmates or whatever If you don’t express yourself as you truly are. There is Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher, telling that you should always stay present and alert no matter what, thereby erasing your emotional body. NO, be joyful, be exuberant, and be sad from time to time. Depression is the opposite of expression. Buddha was about forgiveness and compassion – although I see (and I have experienced) the beauty and the wisdom of his teachings, forgiveness should come organically/naturally, which is a result of working your own empowerment. Jesus was about love. But we all have periods in which we don’t find ourselves in a loving state right?
If you walk the path of authenticity, self-honesty, truth, confrontation and growth, you will naturally come to love, forgiveness and compassion. These values should not be forced, but they should be a result. A result of what? The inward journey. Whether you believe in the existence of a soul or not, we all evolve, we all mature, thereby coming closer to – and are able to live from – our very essence. I call this soul-directed living. I have found that everything I need in this life in terms of fulfilment, is inside. It’s not about everything you want, like materialistic objects, like a Ferrari, a huge house, big boat, no, everything you need for a rich life – in terms of love, connection, purpose, freedom, desire and contribution – can be found right here! Notice that the body is always with you. When you wake up, the body is there. When you go to sleep, the body is there, when you are on the toilet, the body is there. Even when you masturbate, the body is there. So you better be good friends with it. The best relation is a good relation with yourself.. Don’t look outside for answers, don’t look at others, but turn your senses inward. All the answers are inside, and yoga provides the key. Your divinity lies within.

And that is where yoga comes into play. YOGA – the thing that connected us initially. Did you know that the word yoga literally means unity? It’s about uniting the consciousness of the individual with the omnipresent/ divine consciousness, although in my opinion, it also stands for us; the universal intelligence uniting US as OHM.

Yoga is beautiful. It catalyses the inward journey. It strengthens the heart-mind coherence. Doing yoga allows you to rip out all the weeds, all the things you don’t need in your life. It uncovers your true purpose in life – and if you haven’t found it yet, I highly encourage you to find it. I know, it takes courage, I know, it’s necessary to start a love affair with the unknown – but it’s all worth it. I believe that every human being is a part of the large cosmic being, like a body contains trillions of cells. If you find out what you – as being a cell – are made for, life will flow by itself. I got some liver cells made for detoxication, some skin cells to protect by body etc., If you know what you are made to do, life will flow effortlessly, and you will be pulled towards your destination. The life of your dreams is the most adventurous yet simple life you can take.

I want to guard you against one thing. Never see spirituality as a means of escape, as a means to avoid facing yourself or the problems you have. I have met many people in spiritual circles who don’t like their life – they are addicted, they suffer severe trauma, or they cannot handle responsibilities. As a result, they abuse spirituality as a way to legitimately run away from their mondaine problems. They use meditation or yoga as a coping mechanism – they literally ‘meditate their problems away’. And its true – I have noticed this myself; as I do yoga more than three times a week, I start becoming careless and apathetic, as the external world sometimes looks conceptual rather than real, but I know for myself that if there are any problems, I try to fix them by biting the bullet, by looking honestly into the mirror. Spirituality for me is an excitement, an adventure, a call from within, and by no means an escape. I just want you to be aware of this.

Enough for now. Let’s celebrate the first anniversary. Lets celebrate life. Let’s celebrate OHM– a group of yoga aficionados, a group of ordinary people, but with a special twist?

Happy Birthday to all of you and Merry Christmas