Arnout Louis M. Gielen

ACT psychologist

Yoga teacher

My yoga- and meditation-path started rather odd.

I was a ring-fighter with aspirations to start my own martial-arts school. This path led me to the birthplace of all fighting sports (Henan, China), practicing kung fu with Shaolin monks. Undesirably and unexpectedly, they made me sit still for two hours a day without instruction. After 3 months of hating this part of the day, I got an insight that changed me in a profound way.

I learned to observe mind, without participating in the incessant stream of thought it creates. Thoughts of wanting to leave the meditation due to the intense pain of cross legged sitting for over an hour, the boredom, the want to have fun instead, … I realized that observing these thoughts, and bringing awareness back to the body, makes this suffering so much lighter.

This triggered me to educate myself so I could teach this insight well in my future martial-arts school. I learned about self-control, motivation, mindfulness, and the mind-body-link through two master degrees within psychology.

The dream about my martial-arts school was destroyed in 2013, when all the fighting damaged me to the point that I had to quit. This, along with a break-up, created a spiral of negativity that poisoned my existence for several years.

At the end of 2015 I stumbled into an Ashtanga yoga class at Yogaplace Maastricht, and here I found my remedy and my true calling. I wasn’t meant to fight to make people’s lives lighter, this is what I was meant to do.

I found out that Shaolin Kung Fu was founded by an Indian monk that migrated to China, and he based this martial art on yoga. My dreams were not wrong, I just had to dig deeper into the roots of what I loved all my life. I wanted to teach “presence” all along.

In 2017 I had the privilege to spend seven months mostly learning yoga from a (then) 92year old yogi that was a student of both Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois (named Sri B.N.S. Iyengar) in the birthplace of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (Mysore, India). After this, I learned Vipasana meditation and a healing deep tissue massage, and I am currently studying ACT therapy.

My ambition in life, as a holistic psychologist, is to empower people so they can improve their physical and mental health themselves. I love teaching all 8 limbs of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and the other kinds of yog-asana I base off of this form, and I am happy to be able to teach presence through ACT and mindfulness as well.

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