A Beginner's Journey...
Where shall I start?
A Chinese family
Yiwen was born in a traditional Chinese family. Her family taught her Taoism philosophy at a young age. “無為 Wu Wei” (Non-action) from Tao Te Ching 道德經 was a life guidance in her personal growth. She learnt Qi Gong from her mother and they often practised together in the park as a morning routine.
Many years later, her mother got cancer. With the combination of medical surgery, Chinese herbal medicine and the practice of Qi Gong, she recovered from the tremendous pain like a true warrior. As a daughter, Yiwen observed the physical and mental suffering of her mother from the cancer and the positive changes in the past 14 years, which gave her more understanding about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a complementary and alternative therapy in a more sustainable way for the body and mind.
Move to Amsterdam
As a young woman who wanted to see the West world and to experience Freedom, Yiwen moved to Amsterdam in 2004. She studied Multimedia and Culture (Master) at the Vrije Universiteit, and joined the scientific research project CHIP at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. In 2011, she completed her Doctoral study (Ph.D.) in Mathematics and Computer Science at the Eindhoven University of Technology.
The long-term academic training and pressure for publications brought a lot of stress in her daily life. Thus she practiced Yoga every day in the five years (2006-2011) and finally became a Yoga fanatic. As a scientist, she was very interested in the relation between Yoga and Anatomy (bones, muscles and fascia).
Back to the Root
After finishing her Ph.D., Yiwen took one year off (2011) and traveled in China and Tibet, together with her husband Dr. Anton Eliens and their newborn baby Yvette. During the year of traveling, they had many special and unique experiences, including living in the alpine village "郎木寺" and joining the Tibetan Buddhism funeral 天葬 “sky burial” from the Tibetan monastery.
For the first time, she experienced the Minimal lifestyle and its relation with Happiness and Freedom. The journey back to the root brought her a new perspective towards life, family and future.
Career Change: Yoga
Back from the trip, Yiwen stopped her research work at the university and made a career change to a Yoga teacher. She started with the Family Kids Yoga teacher training in London and then completed the 500-hours Vinyasa Yoga teacher training at Svaha Yoga in Amsterdam.
To deepen the knowledge and experience of yoga, Yiwen and her family traveled to south India. At the Ashram Sri Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai, she studied Vedanta philosophy and the Self-enquiry method; at the Amritapuri Ashram in Kerala, she visited the hugging mother Amma who teaches Bhakti yoga of love and devotion; and in Mysore, she took the advanced Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga teacher training. The India trip helped her connect the old tradition and wisdom with real experience and new inspiration.
Connected with her Chinese background, Yiwen is also interested in Yin Yoga and its relation with ancient Taoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) system. She studied Insight Yoga from Sarah Power, took the college course "Foundations of Chinese Traditional Medicine", followed the training "Yin Yoga for your bodies" from Bernie Clark, and "Advanced Yin Yoga teacher training based on TCM Meridians" from Jo Phee (Yinspiration) in the direction of "Yin Yoga: The Functional Approach" from Paul and Suzee Grilley. In 2020, she completed the Myofascia release and trigger points teacher training from Fran Gottschlich (Yinspiration).
Qi Gong in Coronavirus
Living in Amsterdam and being a mother helped Yiwen realize the importance of the Chinese background and the relation with her family, especially her mother. Thus, Yiwen started practicing Qi Gong again and took training from different teachers in China, Taiwan and Amsterdam. One of the most influential Qi Gong teachers is Mimi Kuo-Deemer with a smooth and elegant combination of the East and West wisdom and culture. Yiwen took the training "Qi Gong Fusion for Yoga teachers" from Mimi.
The global Coronavirus pandemic 2020 is a serious warning from animals and nature. It pushes human beings to a green and healthy way of life, physical and mental. In the circumstance, Yiwen started to teach more Qi Gong classes in the park, like how she did with her mother in childhood. Compared with Yoga or other exercises, Qi Gong is an ancient art of moving meditation based on Yin Yang philosophy and the Five Elements of TCM. It is gentle and relaxing, which helps us to cultivate the Qi as the internal healing energy and find inner-peace with self and Nature.
Now and Future
Will you meet me in reality?
Keep a beginner's mind.
The journey of Mindfulness and Minimalism continues.
Interview in the IKON TV program "De Nieuwe Wereld" (2015)
Amsterdamse Wereldburger Yiwen Eliens uit China
- Daphne Geerligs (Researcher TV)