Steadiness and ease

I remember quite well when I heard this for the first time; it was in my teacher training and my only thought was: now she (my teacher) lost her mind.

I was sweating my heart out, my concentration at a peak, my muscles sore, my entire body a mess of tension. Ease? Really? I rather felt like made of concrete, ease was a term I wasn’t even dreaming of!

It took some time to get an idea of what this means, to find steadiness and same time ease in a posture. Stability and consistency without effort. When holding a posture, while being in correct alignment, there’s a certain moment when it feels just easy, almost like a relief! This is ease.

The best postures to understand the concept of steadiness and ease for me are headstand and handstand. There is this moment, when all of a sudden you feel weightless, your body is in every detail in the right alignment. As if you can stay forever in this posture, almost levitating.

This happens when it all comes together: concentration and an inward view through drishti (focus point), proper ujjayi breath, stability through activating  the bandhas and correct alignment. For me it’s additionally about not thinking how to do a pose, but just do it. 

Then your yoga starts.

Mindful Practice

“Remember, the main thing that shapes our body is how we feel, so don’t waste your sacred moments in senseless distraction.“ (Samadi, Bali)

When I start a class, I usually ask my students to allow themselves for the next 60/90 minutes to be present, in the room, on their mat, and most important with themselves. I ask them to practice mindful as a commitment to being here and now. I know this isn’t easy, particularly when practicing over lunch, when students arrive stressed and might have challenging stuff to do or lots of appointments in the afternoon. The more important it is to grant our monkey minds a break. The morning is past, nothing to do about it and the afternoon not yet there. Integrating the attention of presence in action, this is what it’s all about. Sounds simple, anyhow, not always easy to realize.

There are a couple of things that might help:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Direct your energy and your full attention to yourself
  • Keep your focus on your breath (and simply bring it back each time you lost connection!)
  • Be gentle with yourself
  • Feel what you are doing
  • Relax and enjoy the process

Next time when you hit the mat, give yourself permission for the time of your practice to just do that, nothing else, physically AND mentally. Any thoughts that pop up, let them come and let them pass, knowing they will get the required attention after your practice. I promise this will change your practice significantly!

Let’s go Bali

Yogis! There are still some spots left – join us! All levels welcome, let’s have a most beautiful week in a stunning surrounding – bring a friend and get 10% DISCOUNT!

We will enjoy together a magical self-pampering week in Bali; we will flow and sweat, stretch and relax, breathe and tune in, talk and laugh, relax and enjoy…see all details here:
https://tuneinyoga.com/yoga-retreats/

 

Leverage your practice with essential oils

My new favorite addition to my practice are essential oils. Or is it already an addiction? I’m just in love since I know how to deal with them. I like a good smell, but also clearing and channeling energies. I started with perfumed candles, but even if the quality is high, I find them too strong. I also used incense sticks and even if the intensity is easier to handle, I only use them for a couple of minutes, as the effect on my respiratory system isn’t a good one. When using them before class, I should not forget to turn them out, as I feel it in my throat, I can hardly talk if it’s too much. Not really healthy…

Essential oils are my number one choice! Each of them has a certain impact on our health and emotions and they can be used in different ways, it’s quite interesting to play around. Just be sure to only use good quality! This is how you can use them in your practice:

Start your practice with a couple of long deep belly breaths
Pour a few drops of peppermint oil onto your palms, then cup them over your nose. With your eyes closed, breathe in deeply to help open your nasal passages, allowing you to cultivate healthy breath.
 
During practice
I like to use a diffusor, but please don’t overdo, keep distance or even better use the interval option if your diffuser has one. Less is more for this one! Use your favorite oil – when I put mine in first time, I recognized it’s not working well, interestingly the smell fits better my skin or the bathroom, but not my practice! My choice now is a mix of Sandalwood and a tiny bit of Jasmine.

Wind down during shavasana
Amplify this peaceful state with Lavender – it helps relaxing… either use it in a diffusor or just put some drops on your wrists and collarbone and let the magic happen!

After practice when your muscles complain
To relieve sore muscles add a few drops of Peppermint essential oil to a carrier oil and massage those areas. Peppermint’s cooling sensation helps alleviate those post-workout aches and pains.

If you don’t want to use the essential oil directly on your skin, just put some drops in a small spray bottle, fill it up with water and go for it. Another option would be to mix some drops with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil and massage your skin. Some essential oils are not meant to be used directly on the skin, so read the instructions and always use a high quality pure product.

Be creative, play around and see how it effects your practice!

Unexpected feelings

We put so much focus on our physical wellbeing, but what about our emotional and mental? When practicing yoga, we do both, we work on our body and mind. I’m not referring to any yoga practice off the mat, for now it’s still about practicing asanas.

A way to recognize that we are working on other layers too, is when unexpected feelings pop up. Are you sometimes getting emotional during or after practice? No worries, you’re not alone! Sometimes all of a sudden we face certain reactions in class, that might feel strange. We feel tears running down our face, we get upset or sad… without really knowing why. As if a button was pushed and the doors are wide open for any kind of emotions to flow.

What happened? Well, yoga isn’t just a workout for our muscles! When we reach deeper levels, we do exactly this, we open doors. Particularly in yin yoga, when we’re working on the connective tissues and facia, it’s all about opening and release. Yin yoga is the art of letting go. When touching areas where we store our emotions, such as the hips, it can be really liberating, but same time we also face those emotions we’re about to let go.

Yoga works on different levels. And if you feel emotional, no matter what kind of yoga you’re practicing, it shows you, that something happens within and this is just stunning beautiful. Accept it, embrace it! Allow these feelings to be there, go into them, see, look at the details, feel, give room, be a mental observer, without any judgement.

Guide your breathe into this sections, take a deep inhale and exhale everything out that you don’t need anymore. Let it go. Try a little smile, enjoy what you are capable of! You’re pure magic!

Good things are on its way!

I’m back from the island of gods – a most beautiful time to slow down, relax, release and reconnect. Finally fully back to my own practice, which was so easy and playful over there. The first days back home were made of extreme ups and downs, but that’s the chili of life isn’t it? We don’t want it being just smooth and boring 😉

Yogis, I’ve got some news for you! Please check this website, it’s full of new pictures, done by the wonderful Dee Gandhi! The photoshoot was such an awesome experience, which leaves me in pure gratitude. No make-up, no perfectionism, just the pure me.

So, what’s in for you? This summer will be a workshop summer! I worked on some ideas and think I’ve got some really nice topics for you. Will figure out the details soon, stay tuned!

Last but not least, tatatataaaaaa: I will host a yoga retreat in Bali next year! Boom! A stunning beautiful place is waiting for you and I can’t wait to work on the details. Dates and all information to come soon. I’m sooooo excited!

 

Photos by Dee Gandhi, www.AlokaCreative.com