Funny thing is, I’ve always been searching for meaning. I put all my creativity to use looking for added value in products as an advertising creative. Now, instead of brand activation, I’m into physical activation, directly helping people reach their full potential. With broad training and experience in MovNat, Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, Vipassana Meditation, Wim Hof Method and Barefoot Running, I apply proven techniques, offering coaching and programming for self practice.
My story in a nutshell
Adopted at the age of two, I faced a difficult childhood growing up in a foreign country. At a young age both my brother and I were placed in different children’s homes separating us from the only familiair thing we knew: each other. Living in a children’s home teached me many things. A big learning was self-reliance.
At age nine I talked about my feelings to psychiatrists, experienced group dynamics, found out how to deal with different characters and how to claim your personal space without having anything or anyone to count on. At times I was scared, but for the first time in my life in a strange way, I also felt safe. I even felt a certain amount of control over my own future.
Finding a new family and a new home in my early teenage years, I was reunited with my brother. As a teenager I finally got a solid foundation to start building something that would look like a ‘normal life’. Workwise I found my place in the world of advertising. Being a child from the 80’s, living ‘the good life’ and happiness for sale, clearly appealed to me. Starting a career in advertising gave me insights in what triggers people, how framing works, how to present myself and how to sell creative ideas. It was one of the very few arenas where being different was an asset.
Quickly making a name and getting better pay checks, I started struggling after a work relationship breakup and the crisis following 9/11. I questioned my own abilities after 5 years working with the same creative partner. It took me a while to find my groove back, but as my confidence grew I noticed I was actually pretty good on my own. After spending several years freelancing for almost every ad agency out there, I moved more into leadership roles.
Not long after I was asked as Creative Director at an independent agency. This was my opportunity to build a business modeled after my own values. Hard working, open minded, friendly and fun. Unfortunately this dream was short-lived. Another crises led me to my current path. I came to realize the work I enjoyed wasn’t about adding value by better branding. The part I liked best was about fostering a safe environment where creativity could flourish, so people with different ideas, backgrounds and talents could thrive.
Communications still play a big part in what I do. As a coach, instead of looking at the external brand dialogue, I specialize in the internal human dialogue. Internal dialogue can corrupt your actions or help you grow into a better balanced individual. In the end it’s about making better decisions that will benefit both you and the people around you.
Certifications & Training
I completed my 200-hours Hatha Yoga Teacher training course in India. Not in a fancy resort but in an old school ashram. Without worldly distractions, completely focussed on daily teaching, kriyas, asanas, pranayama and yoga philosophy. Yoga is the practice of separation from one’s ego. The goal of classical yoga is to separate the reality of the material and spiritual world. Traditionally yoga poses are meant to prepare yourself for meditation. With your attention inward yoga goes far beyond simply stretching or striking some amazing pose for Instagram. It’s a comprehensive practice of self realization.
Most people are living sedentary lives, locked in buildings behind a screen. A caged-animal type of life that results in chronic pain, immobility, depression and lack of vitality. If you want to fully live as a human being, you gotta move. Our bodies and especially our brains need the input from natural movement. Forget going to the gym, where it’s about looking fit instead of being fit. Repetitive exercises can cause more stress on an already stressed out body, leading to injuries. Why? Because mobility, stability and balance are needed before you can safely add strength. Then strength can become practical. MovNat is designed to help you reclaim your ability to move naturally, in daily life situations or in a rough natural environment. Natural movement focuses on real-life practical things like running, jumping, crawling, balancing, climbing, carrying. It’s about the ability to move well, to train adaptability, efficiency and safety.
In 2015 I started my journey at Wim Hof’s academy. For one year I trained under guidance of Wim Hof himself, studying the Wim Hof Method. Januari 2016 I climbed mount Snezka bare chested, wearing nothing but shorts. With wind gusts of 120 km/hr the wind chill factor was -33 degrees Celsius (-27.4 F) that day. That’s right. It was one of the toughest things I’d ever done especially after falling flat on my face 250 meters before reaching the top. Several people had to abort the final climb, because of the extreme conditions. Although I experienced a complete separation of body and mind, I walked away with nothing but a few stitches feeling stronger than ever. Cold training or cold immersion has many benefits. It boosts your immune system, energy and gives a cardiovascular workout. It teaches you to step out of your comfort zone, to stop overthinking and let your body take control. After my certification I continued my practice only taking cold showers. This also saves me 80% on my heating bill.
Sportrusten running trainer
Sportrusten is a Dutch organization offering training plans for cyclists and runners. At Sportrusten they say recovery is just as important as intensive training. Breathing and heart-rate are key markers to see if you’re training at the right intensity to make the kind of progress you’re aiming for. With their special 100-day training program anyone who’s opting for a marathon can train for it without ever running more than 14k. This claim caused some controversy by traditional runners. Consistency and training within your personal heart rate zone is in fact very effective, getting people past the finish line plus saving them valuable preparation time. Founder Koen de Jong, also wrote the book ‘Koud Kunstje’ translated into English as ‘The way of the Iceman’. Naturally, at Sportrusten they’re fans of cold training as well.
Besides the lessons as part of my yoga teacher training most of my experience comes from daily meditation practice. There are many forms of meditation. I practice Vipassana, a way of self-transformation through self-observation. A technique taught by Buddha more than 2500 years ago. Since the time of Buddha, Vipassana has been handed down, to the present day, by an unbroken chain of teachers. Quite possibly you’ve heard of their 10-day residential courses in which students are taught the technique solely performing the task of self-observation in complete silence. Yes, the course requires hard, serious work. But anyone can benefit from it by learning the technique in Vipassana centers worldwide.
Every human being is born to run. Every body is capable of running long distances. It’s an ability hard wired in our primitive brain. It made us excellent hunters. Unlike many animals, who might be faster than us, we can control our body temperatures by sweating. This makes us endurance athletes capable of running after prey until it is drop dead exhausted. Thick soles have made people heel-strikers leading to higher impact on bones and tendons resulting in heaps of runner’s injuries. That’s why I stopped running after high school. Shin splints were killing me. At a certain point I hated running. Natural barefoot running form let’s you tap into your physical blue print to move efficiently, grounded and injury-free. This changed my view of running all together, bringing back the fun. After starting on minimal footwear first, I transitioned back to completely barefoot for even better grounding and feedback.