Introducing Henriette Berntsen - Yoga Teacher, Norway Training 2018

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Henriette learned to teach yoga in Bali in January 2016. In that training, Henriette was inspired to learn about and to teach yoga in a way that centred and aligned body and mind. This meant that, whilst moving through asanas there was a positive shift in emotions and thoughts that she could bring forward into other areas of her life. Once Henriette committed to a regular yoga practice, her body and mind responded by providing greater flexibility in her body which turned into a flexibility in her mind that improved her sense of self worth.

Henriette can identify with the challenges that refugees face due to her own health issues. In particular, the unfair stigma that refugees face, and the hurdles that need to be overcome by body and mind with problems, like trauma, that are unseen by the human eye. Yoga has been a tool for Henriette to re-learn and remember that people have layers that are unseen to the world  but all people have value inside themselves to unveil to the world. Henriette has learnt how yoga is a beautiful way for refugees to begin integrating into a new country and community. Yoga has enabled the refugees that Henriette has been teaching, to reconnect with themselves and the new world around them, to share their stories and make sense of their experience.

Henriette’s background is in linguistics and this means that she communicates in her classes using positive, clear language that supports students with understanding instructions irrespective of their fluency. Henriette began teaching the Norwegian language to refugees in Norway as part of a cultural learning programme offered by the Norwegian Municipalities that is intended to support refugees with integrating into Norwegian society. She quickly realised that yoga had a role for these refugees in both digesting their traumatic experiences and helping with transition into their new lives in Norway.

Henriette hopes that she can translate the OMPowerment manual into Norwegian for future trainees in Norway.

Favourite asana: Extended side angle pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana). Henriette likes this pose because it looks simple but it takes a lot of power to align correctly so learning to hold this pose without adjustment was empowering.

Favourite place to meditate: Henriette fuses meditation with prayer and uses this practice to remember her connection to God. She uses breath work and a focus on the heart centre to open up and accept and respect the range of emotions that can arise. Henriette loves to meditate by water, listening to the waves or in a forest listening to the wind or in the safe space of her own living room.

Post yoga food of choice: Raw vegan cakes

Teachers that have influenced Henriette the most: Tara Judelle, Emily Kuser and Felicia Tomasko

For more info about Henriette's teaching and classes find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/henriette.edvarda