My Thesaurus of Honest Thoughts

Sometimes I wonder how things work in life; especially the people we chose to be around and where we end up. To be honest, by this time in my life, I thought I’d be married with kids. Instead I have my Yoga Atelier and an adorable puppy. I thought I’d have my PhD and at least one postdoc in Neurolinguistics. Instead I have a continuous love affair with my body and know all its quirks and moves and started deepening my knowledge about Pilates. I thought I’d live in Brooklyn forever and have a summer house in Connecticut and a winter home in Iceland. Instead I’ve traveled far, I’m renting a studio in Thalwil and dreaming about moving to Davos. I thought I’ll keep my heart friends until the end. Instead, I’ve kept a few old classic ones, lost many in between and made new superb ones along the way. I always thought I’d be very happy after arriving at the end — after all the hard work, because that is what I was taught. I think most of us were. What is happiness (in the moment) anyway? 

Then I thought my broken heart will never heal after losing its life lover. Instead, I’ve made myself fall in love with I + Me. A courting and romancing act that took me out of my comfort zone for sure! To be truly at peace by myself and by being alone took a while. Even though I take strength from being alone. Sometimes it wasn’t comfortable at all. Like a new yoga move, it takes a while to work with it and not against it. To make peace with what is and honor where you are right now. Something I teach at yoga. 

Today, after almost five years of craving community in Switzerland, after having worked hours and hours for other people and barely making enough money to pay for life and ergo not having enough time to make friends, I can finally say that I have people that I call friends here, I have created a family branch on my life tree and I am very happy! Even when I’m sad sometimes, longing for my friends far away, I know that my heart is ok. I know that my soul is at home. I know that the beauty around me and on the time on my mat is showing and giving me peace. I know that the lone path of having become a full time teacher of yoga has been giving me all these valuable options in life and I am ecstatic to be able to have created a Yoga Atelier for you to find your own path and for us to be together — a community. 🙏🙃

Life is funny and mostly doesn’t turn out the way you think it will, less than what you plan it to be. But being honest, what would be the fun in always knowing what comes next? ♥️😘 

Much Love +✌️

Chantal 

Chantal Hauser Yoga Atelier 2.jpg

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What does Yoga do for You?

Earlier this week I went to my local coffeeshop and the barista asked me: „You are a Yoga Teacher, right?“ It took me a second to say; yes! I was puzzled of how she could possibly know this? I mean, it’s not like wearing leggings and a tank-top scream Yoga Teacher anymore, or maybe it still does? For all she knew I could have just taken a yoga class. Then again, she only ever sees me in leggings and a tank-top. My hair mostly looks like it’s just coming down from a handstand and if I don’t wear flip-flops, I wear sneakers. My uniform doesn’t look like the perfect suit but it sure as hell suits me in the department of comfort.

She took my usual order and there was a slight pause, we looked at each other. There was a line forming behind me. I tilted my head slightly to the right and smiled at her.

„So, what does yoga do for you? Why do people do yoga?“ she asked. I took a deep inhale and a deep exhale, I didn’t see that coming. What is the purpose of yoga? I asked myself? I caught myself thinking; what an excellent question! Hm, how do I answer that without opening up a can of worms? I looked at her thoughtfully, the line still getting longer behind me, my thoughts scrambling for a short and truthful, yet adequate answer. I said; „It makes you more OK. Yoga makes you more OK with this world and yourself.“ She nodded. My answer seemed like it made sense to her.

What does yoga do for you?

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This happened in late June 2018 – I truly believe YOGA with all its limbs has the power to make you more OK. Keep practicing! 

My Photography Project

A couple of weeks ago a private client I’ve been working with for the past year asked me what else I like to do, apart from yoga? I smiled and thought about it.

Let’s see; yoga is what supports my life. It’s my work. It’s how I support myself and pay for my living. It’s hard work. It’s beautiful work. It’s the only work I can truly identify with.

Do I have a hobby? I asked myself. Is my work my life? Or is it my life’s work? I was thinking, then I replied; yes I do. I like to take photographs.

I went home and pondered on over this question. I talked about it with my soulmate well into the morning light and we ended up at svādhyāya. The inquiry to the self. It has taught me that everything is connected. The limbs of yoga, of union.

So when I teach yoga in a group and prepare a sequence; I create forms in movement. The forms transition into shapes. When I wake up in the morning I invite my breath to dance with my spirit. The prana flows with me on the mat. My practice. Pranayama. When I sit in stillness I become more aware. I am. When I write my feelings onto pages I practice letting go and yet at the same time I give birth to thoughts. Inspiration.

And so it is… that through my photography my eyes see. They meditate on one focus, one moment in time. It is not a mere expression, nor a projection. Perhaps it is an illusion? There is no reaction other than feeling. A feeling in the present moment — to see. Dristhti. Pratyahara. Dharana.

It goes without saying that to produce art one has to create art.
Make Love. Always.

 

My Photography Project.jpg


I’ve been working with an experienced art critic and a gallerist  to sell limited prints. This one is the first of 5 | Title: “Ísland Loft” | 60x60cm | 490.- chf.
I am moving out of my comfort zone. One step at a time — more news soon

To support my photography project email: yoga@hanumanshala.ch 

The Middle Path – A Poem

When it all comes together the middle forms a path in between ruthless nature. We worry about how things will turn out — when the pieces match long before they fall (apart) and come together (right) in front of you — in a perfect way.

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This picture is taken from a video. I was riding down from Schatzalp into Davos at the end of March 2018. 

Pratyahara – A Poem

Trust the love
you once had
deep inside (yourself)

Folding into ease
Surrender to ahimsa of the Self

Recuperating
a (broken) heart full of life
It takes practice

to believe

To know you will
once
You
trust the love
you once had

Trust Chantal .jpg

Photo: F. Van Hecke @Casa Corvo, Novaggio – Switzerland | 2018

The Way it Dies until Birth

The pitch black deep hole of emptiness. It appears like the sea; vast and endless. But when you look closer it’s contained within. Alone. In that hole there can be a lot of pain. The pain most likely burns. It is more than a feeling of hurt it is a burn, like when fire strikes the top of your skin, eating its way through to your delicate and open flesh. It burns like crude iron before it becomes cold and heavy steel. That exact heaviness locks you down underneath a smooth, glacial slate-like form of a rock. Transparent.

The pain moves. There is this place where the softness of the saltwater shell that holds your heart beat in tact falls apart and your tears break open. The pain moves from that place to every single corner of your body. It takes less than a second. The sting, so deep into the heart, so vicious, you didn’t see it coming and it stays for a bit. Building itself a nest of warmth and comfort. It itches, like the edge of a blade gliding along side it’s target. That pain.

I was reminded of that pain the other day. On my mat. It showed up in Surya Namaskara A. I kept moving through my asanas, listening to my breath. Ignoring it all. Concentrating. Breathing in hard, exhaling as not to suffocate, moving faster, I felt like an empty pot full of disaster. Control your mind I thought, I grasped towards focus and concentration and wished for it to become a place of refuge. Kumbhaka and hold.

Realizing that the pain was stuck. I was at a cross roads, knowing to completely feel the pain is death. It would simply – break – me. In that moment. Was I ready to pick up my shattered pieces again afterwards? Could I collect them all on my yoga mat?

Allowing pain to sit with you and to feel loss.

To completely feel that, makes you want to disappear. To literally leave space. Like you are not there. But yet, you are. Here. You torturously know that with losing that part of your Spirit, you have also lost a little bit of your Self. Because it formed a completion, it was a bowl of water and now it’s missing a piece. You have emptied your soul to the universe.

There is a moment when you know that the space in between your bones and skin is hollow and the air that was hugging your skin snug – is not holding it together anymore. Especially, when you remember the loss you have felt. The loss of all the people that you have walked away from, the people that have left you, the loss of a child that wasn’t yours to keep, because life was too short, the loss of all the energies that have held you up high and together, they’ve all vanished. Gone. Dead. Empty. In that state, the particles that make up your skin feel like crumbling into little pieces of dust, of nothingness.

You are left with no other than your Self, whom you don’t know anymore. You are left searching and looking into the mirror and not even the deepest corners and angles of your eyes will give you an answer. The only thing you see is someone you don’t even recognize anymore from the outside. You see the pain, very clearly. You feel the stifling agony on the inside. This is when the pain hurts and when the loss is heavy. Your body is held together by nothing other, than by your bones and they are struggling not to fall. Within. When you reach that point you have to think of the timeline of your bones, the relics they will carry on. Remember the strength of your muscles and how they help your bones. Remember the vibrancy of the blood, flowing through, letting them make their little rivers of passaging, to create life. Gently start to feel the little caressing strokes of energies that glue you back together and make your cracks into scars of your story.

Most importantly, remember that this is why we do yoga. We do yoga to see the divine in everything, even ourselves.

From all of that inherent power in your bones comes vulnerability. A little bit like the gentle opening of a flower, delicate and courageous. It reminds you that you can grow. I reached Surya Namaskara B and inhaled into Utkatasana – the intense, fierce, powerful posture. Then bowing and striking the Earth, letting it touch the bottom of my hands, smelling its ground in Chaturanga Dandasana and then moving on up. Letting go. Being supported. Coming up into Upward-Facing Dog and resting in Downward-Facing Dog to refocus, reground, and reconnect. Breathe.

To know that there is support, even if it seems invisible, know that the Earth is there to hold you and there are always people watching you. Allow yourself to be supported (even if that means to grab a yoga block or a blanket). When I used to feel that tormenting pain, my exit strategy was to leave myself, to numb myself, to be everything but myself. Since then, I have learned that I simply have nowhere else to go but up. Rebuild yourself from the bottom up, re-rooting and replanting. Like Utkatasana – fierce and intense.

At the end my heart didn’t break into pieces, but it broke open. I realized that all the countless times I have come home to my mat, stepped my feet together and started to move with breath, have let me to allow this. Space. Give yourself space. And when you think that your heart is breaking, it could be a sign of your heart opening. It might be your heart showing you that it can withstand the power of loss, that it is receptive to feel the pain and that it is open let go and essentially move on. Moving on to a place where you can bow to your heart as your true Self.

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This picture was taken at Tim Miller’s shala Ashtanga Yoga Center in Encinitas, California in the late summer of 2016. A place where I always feel supported, uplifted and at home. 

An Intention – June 2017

2017. This is a transition year for so many things in my life. It is a beautiful place to be in. It is a scary place too. Unknown. Whenever I used to find myself in unknown territory I’d grasp for my habits, run into the arms of chaos, and succumb to heavy guilt. A transition can also be messy. Confusing. Whenever I used to find myself bewildered I got lost. Utterly lost in my mind and numb in my body.

This year. I’ve chosen to focus on aparigraha. Again.

Non-attachment has always fascinated me, especially during my time of healing from addiction, depression and heart-break. Moving On. It was the ego that made me do it in the first place. The Letting Go. Without it I don’t think, I’d have ever had the courage to leave my self behind. 

Now, as I’m in the unknown again and looking at confusion in the mirror, I know to breathe and I know to trust the process. Faith. Because I remember the trail I’ve left behind. I know. In front of me. Clarity. There is my path. One step at a time. 

Today, during practice. I took some me time and leaned into Compass or Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana. I opened, stretched and twisted. I have my back. I can hold myself up to the highest standards of my soul. I trust. 

To me. This asana means exactly that; I am the keeper of my Self. Within. 

Hence, when I was asked a couple of days ago, what my intention of the month was, I knew. My intention this month is with āstikya. It is a niyama that means faith. Cultivating our faith to trust the process: on and off the mat.

Compass Chantal .jpg


This picture was taken on Tinos Island in Greece during my self-practice in the summer of 2017. 

A long Weekend in Paris – with a short Note

Dear City of Lights

I just saw you again and spent a whole weekend with you. I needed a break. Perhaps a look into the past. Knowing it is different now. Today. 

Feeling gratitude to be able to come and teach yoga to someone that has supported me since the beginning. Introducing yoga to someone new too. Overall feeling special to having been invited “to come on over” for doing my work. I love. 

Strolling along familiar streets. Feeling fearless about derailing into old habits. Feeling respect for the city that I first moved to with a broken soul from Brooklyn and left with a burned foot from Hveragerði. Feeling excited to go underground  and sink into the lost world with marble statues at “my old office” – the Louvre. Remembering the tears I’ve lost on the metro. Longing for the love that happened in Montmartre, protected by the sight of the Sacred Heart. I feel. Oh love, where are you now? Have we lost it all. On the steps. I breathe it all in. 

Practicing. Yoga; my love, my therapy, my healing on my mat at a shala. This weekend. 

Balancing on one foot is so much easier now than it was 7 years ago. Time has passed.
I am.

Here. 

Respectfully Yours

Chantal  paris chantal.JPG

Dedication – A Life – Perseverance

A thought I had. Some call it marriage. Or a relationship, a friendship. A dedication to something that is bigger than yourself, something that makes you strive for greatness. A practice.

Practicing yoga everyday makes me strive for greatness. It makes me feel connected to my essence, my being.

A relationship is practice, a marriage is practice, it is something to be cultivated between two people and a yoga practice is between you and your Ishtadevata, your Soul, your Self, your Spirit, you name it. It is not about the other person or the yoga in itself. It is about the concept of yoga, the practice. It is what you create. It is also not about your teacher, the teacher is a mentor, there to guide you.

For some it might be the very concept of making a child. But then again, it is not about the child. It is about the connection you grow with your child, the moments that happen, and the creation that you were part of.

The practice grows; it is messy at times. It can be oh-so-selfish, driven, full of emotions, selfless and empty too. Most of all it is continuous. Every day. And when an asana (yoga position) gets difficult, we keep on it, we don’t walk away. Practice. One shouldn’t walk away from a commitment without remembering the initial intention. Yet, learn to walk away when something destroys your soul; an addiction, a relationship. I’ve had to learn to walk away (with a lot of practice) —but not from my yoga. Practicing yoga has made me become extraordinary at who I am, not perfect. There might very well be some pouting, perhaps some toying around with ignoring the practice, but at the end we step back onto the mat. “I surrender,” which doesn’t mean giving up or being weak, but instead to staying focused on the big picture, to not be attached, to stop resisting, to step out of rigidity and simply, to practice. Every practice has an intention.

It is not the style of yoga but the practice of it. It is about the relationship or the marriage you create together with the other person, not the person herself. Basic physics and mathematical logic, biology—it’s the connection and the transition. It’s the path of your life and not death, nor the goal.

I’ve learned to communicate with my body, and to listen to what it has to tell me. It’s an ongoing process. I practice. Keep on practicing. Asana. Yoga. Breath. Mindfulness. Perseverance. Nourish what makes you feel complete. As Guruji used to say: “Do your practice and all is coming.”


There is so much more to this. All I can write for a thought is the above. Patanjali’s Sutras, book 2 verses 23-27, inspired this thought process. As well as the ever difficult pose of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B.

Olomana 3 Peaks Hawaii ChantalFinding a moment of gratitude to be alive in the middle of peak two and peak three of the Olomana Three Peaks Trail in Kailua – HI. 

Ode To My Yoga Mat

You are always there for me. Rolled out so that I can step onto you. My feet are pushing into you, trying to ground down, finding stability. My hands are spread out and webbed onto your surface. When my forearms are looking for hold, you provide one. After a while I sweat on you, drops and puddles of saltwater accumulate. You stick around you and you don’t leave. Every once in a while you even let me cry, quietly or with a side of sniffles. I can jump on you without you jumping back. I can hold onto you with my hands, even while I walk on them. Sometimes you hold me up by just one foot. Not quite yet with only one hand. Whenever I am not able to go as far as I want or as I used to (yesterday) you are there holding me in the position I am in, in the here and now. When you are getting a bit smelly, I wash you with twists and soap and you aren’t mad at me. I make you go through a whole washing cycle and you’re probably sea sick….you are there the next day. Ready to hold me together or let me fall apart on you again. The more I use you, the more you change in texture, but stay the same in spirit.

Sometimes out in nature you let me take refuge on you, protecting me from the roughness of the rocks around us. When I achieve a new posture or am able to do something I have never done, trying to show off to you, looking for praise, you lay there, indifferent—reminding me to stay humble, and that what is today might not be tomorrow. Sometimes you make me invite Mr. Block, Mrs. Strap, and Ms. Blanket to our play, diplomatically making me accept that sometimes it’s okay to ask for help and take it. Especially if it is right in front of you!

I carry you with me, like a child carries its favorite stuffed animal. We have traveled around the world together. When I stuffed you into the overhead bin you didn’t complain. When I stuffed you on the top shelf of a busy train, you never disappeared. I call you names and used to even hit you, punching you like a bag, and all I did was hurt myself. I used you as extra armor when I first started and now you have become my close friend. You are not scared when I roar like a lion, filling the room around us with expunged toxins. I am sure you feel how much lighter I am. When I’m approaching my truth during meditation or when I’m listening to my inside through pranayama you lay there quietly. The times I can’t take you with me, I miss you terribly. But I know you will be there when I get back. You might change your color, you usually stay the same size, your character grows but you always foster me with a playground to move around in.

On you, I’ve learned how to let myself feel again. Thank you.
I found my spirit. Home.
Ode to you, my mat!

My yoga mat & I in New Mexico

My yoga mat & I in New Mexico

2015 Note – I wrote this article in Santa Fe, New Mexico a while back. After my morning practice I went to hang out at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and was influenced by all the art; the shapes and emotions made me think about my own.  The shapes I have when doing asana, the emotions I have while practicing, and the one thing that holds me up. My yoga mat! Obviously I was also inspired by Keats’ ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’. It has been previously published at The Global Yogi.