MEET: Lianne

Lianne is also one of my Shamily (remember Shanghai family ?) members. I met her while she was studying Mandarin in Shanghai, not yet married, not yet a mum, not yet a cancer survivor. I admire her for her "always positive" attitude though she went through so much. She is a great example to me of seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. She is also pure candy sweetness/kindness. You will find her story with her body and yoga very inspiring. A great example of the ever evolving nature of our body and our yoga practice.


Name : Lianne

Age : 34

Nationality : Dutch Indonesian

Current city : Maastricht, The Netherlands

Current job : Hospitality & Guest experience Consultant

Years of yoga practice : 6 years


Could you briefly describe what yoga means to you?

Yoga means quality time with myself. The vitality I feel after each practice, makes me feel happy and proud about myself. It is a treat to my body, to be able to continue the day in a powerful way. Yoga helps me to love and trust my body again, other than being worried about my body, I can enjoy it again.

How did your path to yoga begin and how was the first time?

In my 34 years I have “started” yoga many times. When I was nine years old I started jazz dance and developed to the National highest level. Three times a week practice and every single time we started with “yoga” for 30 minutes. Only in a later stage, I realised we were actually practising yoga before starting jazz dance training!

Six years ago, during my first pregnancy, I “started” yoga again. This time I felt different and very aware of what yoga could do to my body and mind and the goodness for my baby, in a different way than dancing.

Why did you continue your practice? What does yoga bring to your life?

After a long break of physical challenges in my life due to breast cancer, I was happy to start with yoga again as being the first workout after my breast reconstruction and three months recovery phase. Step by step I could get to know my body again, to find out I was able to do more than I expected. I keep surprising myself, which gives me confidence in my body again. It is always eye opening to experience I can actually breath my body into a pose. After a good yoga session, I have the feeling I can continue the day with power.

What insights have you gained through yoga?

The mental part of yoga is important to me, it makes me able to accept the challenges in life and come at peace. It actually empowers me psychologically, which now I even feel, as if I am not in need of any other external help, which often is needed after a cancer diagnosis.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve been facing in your practice in the overall (on and off the mat)?

Ha! It’s the biggest challenge once other (medical) people are deciding what is good for your body, IF you are actually allowed to practice or not. Letting go is the key.

When I was allowed to start yoga again three months after my first breast reconstruction, I was very motivated, practiced three times a week and challenged my body to the max. Knowing that in three more months, I would need to have a second breast reconstruction, with again a recovery period. It was a challenge to accept that I was forced to take a long yoga break again, after being so proud of myself and knowing my body limits. Recently I have received green light of my doctor and started practising yoga again. It feels I have to start all over again, find out what my new body allows me to do, what are my new strengths and weaknesses.

Due to different factors, unfortunately I injured my back a few weeks ago during the “Halasana Pose”. According to my osteopath, I am not allowed to practice yoga for the coming two weeks. It has been a major rollercoaster with my body, I realise this while typing, but I am extremely grateful and proud to have come this far with yoga. Time is precious and I just need a little more patience with my body. The more gentle I am to my body now, the more I will be able to enjoy it later on.

What’s your mantra, if any? Your personal ethos?

During my recovery period I meditated a lot. Although I often couldn’t practice yoga, I could still keep up with the mindfulness part I love. Before my yoga class starts, I prefer to be in the room 15 minutes in advance to start my personal meditation. I used to live in Bali for a few months, walking through the rice fields by myself was meditative to me. So before each practice, I go back to the rice fields in Canggu for a little while, it feels like a little treat.

Outside your yoga practice, what other routines help to support your body and mind?

Following a healthy life style keeps me strong and boosts my immune system. High Fat and Low Carbs is a diet I gradually found my balance in, combined with lots of sinning during the weekends. If I can’t practice yoga, I walk and cycle a lot, I am still a Dutch girl !

I read a lot of enrichment books, to feed my mind and gain new insights in life. These books go very well parallel with yoga. My recent books were “Chi the power from within” from a Dutch writer who even opened a “Chi-centre in The Netherlands and “The way of the Wizard – Deepak Chopra” translated in many languages and almost is like a bible to me. Currently I am reading another Dutch writer “Buddhism in all simplicity”.

What advice from your yoga practice you would like to share with other yogis ?

I would advice to focus in your breathing and stay within yourself, since it’s a gift for your own body & mind. To me focus means I practice peacefully with a little smile on my face, I don’t talk to others and don’t react when some teachers or yogis joke or can’t concentrate. Full focus means I can achieve more with my body. I can even compare it to giving birth; with full focus on mind and breathing, I can take away the pain and my body was able to give birth without any pain, stress and frustration.