Pigeon oh pigeon!

The king of the so called hip openers. A pose that shows me clearly the difference of both sides of my body. My right, the yang, the masculine side is very open, while the left, the yin, the feminine tends to be bitchy. Yup, I know. There’s work to do! 

A pose made for Yin Yoga, where we stay 3 to 5 minutes (or even longer) in a pose. This way we can reach the deeper layers in the body, the connective tissue and the fascia. Excellent to unclench where they stick together and release tension.

What I love about staying long in this posture is the power of working with the breath. Breathing into certain places can create space there, literally cleaning up, like a broom. And all of a sudden you notice that you became soft. Floating. Accepting. Releasing. Exhale all the stuff out, that has manifested in your body without you noticing. Leaving with the flow of your exhales.

And to come back to the physical part of it, pigeon pose increases external range of motion of the femur in the hip socket and same time it lengthens the hip flexors.

Asana or tapas?

A posture is achieved when effort stops and the mind is merging meditatively into infinity.

In morden yoga practices, we call the postures asanas. However, following Patanjali’s yoga sutras, the term asana only refers to a seated posture, literally asana meaning „seat“. This could be Padmasana (Lotus pose), or any other seated pose, with the aim to sit firm and still for a longer period of time. Obviously this is not Bharadvajasana, as in the picture!


Interestingly in the early times of yoga, any standing and dynamic postures have rather been named tapas. Studying the yoga philosophy we might find the term tapas translated as devotional austerity, but literally it means „heat“.

So, how comes that we are calling the postures asanas? Shouldn’t tapas be the better matching term for what our physical practice is today? Well, our asana practice today has at least a similar ambition – through steadiness and ease, reaching a state of moving meditation.

Ashtanga

Good morning practice! 

I played with the 2nd, the intermediate series recently – fuuuuun! While some of the super fancy transitions and advanced inversions are still out of reach for me right now, I was quite surprised that many postures are fully accessible for me and I’am quite close to others. 

Someone said once, if you always do the same, you can’t expect different results. Well, I don’t agree when it comes to the yoga practice. In the Ashtanga method we do exactly that, we practice the same sequence, the same postures every day. And with this slide more and more into a moving meditation. But not just that, with practice, the body opens, we go deeper and deeper into the poses. Once in a while I try a posture that I couldn’t access before and notice that all of a sudden I can. Without even working on this specific pose. The body changed.

And I’m transitioning more and more into the next series. A new chapter to start, exciting!

Urdhva Padmasana

Urdhva Padmasana – one of my favorite postures, as it combines inversion, stretch and balance. The pressure at the thyroid brings my attention up and the posture as such allows some fine tuning in the entire body until feeling steady.

Each time you reach this state of steadiness and ease, it feels like arrived. The posture feels stable, easy and makes me wonder why it was such an effort to reach this state. It’s the same for most postures that don’t come naturally. The moment headstand felt like this, I thought, finally, I’m there. Wrong. Totally wrong. An injury threw me out of my practice and inversions moved far away. Once again. Nothing is for granted only because you were there once. Insecurity and mistrust in my body instead. I know this by now and I also know it’s just a matter of slowly getting back. Accepting the weakness through injury, building up step by step. No doubts, but patience. Consistency. Forgiving. Learning. Benevolence. Trust. Ease. And back you are.

Once the body is back, it doesn’t mean the posture can be easily accessed. And no way to push yourself. It’s the mind that need to follow!

Upavista Konasana

Upavista Konasana was a long journey for me and I thought I will never reach the ground with my upper body. Even if not flat yet, I‘m down! It was never a posture that had too much of my attention, as I know it’s a matter of open hips and long hamstrings and it’s an intense stretch of the insides of the legs. Nothing to force, but slowly develop. It’s all about patience. Haha, my strength! Not. At. All.

This posture is a fabulous teacher. Everything is possible and comes when the time is right. When we are ready. The body open, the mind without the intent to push. Allowing the body to immerse into the asana and eventually one day we’re in. And if not? Well, I don‘t worry anymore, I just practice. 

Hesitation

Hesitation comes when there’s something we want to do, but doubt we can do it by just being ourselves.

Ups. Read that again:

Hesitation comes when there’s something we want to do, but doubt we can do it by just being ourselves.

Trust that being yourself is all you need! Love who you are! Life is tailor made for you, life happens FOR you. Take a break if you need one, but never stop. Keep on walking your path, trust your intuition. Put yourself into the driver seat, change what needs to be changed, it’s your life, your journey, your decision.

It’s exactly the same when it comes to your practice. Just feel it and do it. It might be slow here and there, that’s totally fine, just don’t stop. If you can’t practice, e.g. due to an injury or sickness, remind yourself what yoga is. No, it’s not just about performing asanas. Keep on going, keep on practicing, you are on the right path!

Does your morning routine impact your day?

Did anything changed for you in this time? Over the last few weeks I managed to implement a new morning routine – thanks to the lockdown. I love working from home! It’s so important how we start a day…. Usually I got up very early in the morning to go to the office before the major traffic makes driving impossible, so I was in a rush. Which means I started into the day already with stress. As I have issues sleeping, there’s no point to even get up earlier, I’m grateful for every additional minute in bed. A catch 22. 

These days are very different. I start with hot lemon water and a shower, I check my work emails, meetings and to do’s for the day and then I sit to meditate for 30-40 minutes. In silence with the only sound of my diffuser, enriching the air with beautiful scents. Additionally I put a drop of either Sandalwood or Blue Lotos on my 3rd eye, crown chakra and collarbones and just sit, doing nothing, not physically, nor mentally. It needs about 15 minutes for me before my body gets heavy, movements are not even possible anymore and my mind to pause with the incoming thoughts. Slowly I start seeing. Images, that can be clear or only show parts or colors. No judgment, no wondering, no questions, no answers. Just taking it in, letting it happen, what ever is there for me. Sometimes I go into these scenes, not being the observer anymore. Sometimes when I see myself, I merge with that part of me to experience this particular moment. This also happens naturally, I don’t force anything.

After that I enjoy a matcha latte outside, no matter the weather. Sitting on my dining table in the garden, enjoying nature and my precious state of calmness. This stillness inside is magic. This moment is magic. Now I’m ready for the day, fully connected to myself, calm and open. Any yeah, still in time for the business world.

I wish I could also fit my yoga practice into the morning, but still, sleep is important. I do this on the weekends and it’s a huge difference to practice in this state of calmness! Anyhow, for now, the yoga practice finds another time during the day or evening. Having this too in the morning might be a next step 😉

What’s your morning routine and how important is it for you?

Yoga & Reiki

Together with a yoga teacher buddy, we hosted a beautiful workshop last weekend. For the first time I was giving Reiki to each participant individually, while they were guided through a yin yoga practice. What a thrill!

New for us was the combination of Reiki and yin yoga, as well as giving Reiki to individuals in a large group. I can hardly explain what was going on in the yoga shala, but I can tell, it was an amazing experience! My hands were almost roasting, energy was flowing like never before. Strong, rich, to the point. And the feedback was awesome, people felt it and some were deeply touched.

The entire afternoon was different for me. I noticed, that I was driven by intuition and I allowed it. Whatever I did, whatever I said emerged from my belly, not my head. While this made my head feel a bit like covered in mist, I knew it was the right thing – to listen with my body and trust my instincts.

Now my brain rules again and I’m planning to do more of this. I don’t think this is something one teacher can do alone, as this would reduce the focus. To be able to offer full attention to both, yoga and Reiki, to instruct, align and care about people, and to merge into the Reiki energy, it needs two to tango.

Stay tuned, I will come up with news on this soon!

Savsana

The most difficult posture for me. I know! When I teach, my students are always looking forward to savasana and would love to stay even longer. However, it’s different for me. I need to force myself to get into savasana, not to mention staying there! 

As soon as I’m in, my mind seems to be back in the day. Thoughts are popping up and my body just wants to stretch and get up. Damn. Savasana is important to get the practice settle in. In other words: while much of the asana practice is designed to up-regulate the body, stimulate, and even provide healthy stress, Savasana is the down-regulator, by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (your rest and digest response) and calming your sympathetic nervous system (your fight, flight and freeze response), so we experience a calming, sweet release.

It‘s not about a minute or two, no, 10 minutes. I tell you why: somewhere around minute 6, there is a profound shift in the body and in one’s mental chatter. You feel the weight of your body drop, and so does your mind. This is where you get to swim around in a calm body, quiet mind, and easy heart. 

So back to me. I found a trick that helps me to go through the first minutes and ready to fully enjoy my savasana: essential oils!

I follow my feelings to choose the right oil. So far I have great experiences using Lavender, Neroli or Peace (a beautiful blend mixture from doTERRA). This is what I do: I put 2 drops into my palms, rub, bring my hands to my nose and inhale the oil for 5 seconds – it goes into my brain. I hold my breath for 5 seconds – my nervous system calms down and I exhale for 5 seconds – to release my body. I do this 5 times and slide into savasana. It works!

Drop me a line if you want to know how essential oils can leverage your practice and support your health – I would love to help you getting started!

Meditation — the myth

I recorded something for you — my thoughts about meditation. Why you should do it, and what might be a good way to get started. 

When thinking about meditation, what comes up first in your mind? Sitting for hours like a pretzel with an empty mind? Nothing for me? I can’t do that? I can’t stop my thoughts? I don’t have time for that?

Well, this is what I thought. And I can tell you, it’s wrong. It can be easy. Meditation will change a lot in your life. To the better. 

Listen to my new audio and get started. It’s so worth giving it a try!