Do you pray?

I never used this term, as I related it to religion and I thought, people pray in a church, mosque, temple or on their own to their god. I even had issues with the term god, as I don’t belong to a religion and don’t believe in god. 

Even if this is still the same, my attitude made a full turn-around when I went to India for my teacher training first time and saw how open and easy people deal with their gods (yes they have more) and how they pray. I learned about the Hindu gods, and I love all the stories around them, colorful and beautiful analogies. And I like that they have a name, a family, a face, a body, certain things around them and everything is representing something important in life. Everything and everyone has a story to tell. They seem real. Even with a lot of arms and other magical attributes.

India took away the strictness and tightness I saw in religion as such and showed me a world full of openness, laughter, ease and same time seriousness. I learned to put my hands in prayer in front of my heart center during my yoga practice and nothing felt wrong with it. It wasn’t religious, it felt and still feels as a ritual.

However I still replace the term god with universe when reading a spiritual text and I still don’t pray, but strongly believe, it’s just a matter of definition. I recite mantras, I talk to the universe, I challenge the law of attraction, I ask and give thanks to my angles.

Well, guess some would call it praying. 

yes yes yes

When I arrived in India for my first teacher training, I faced this plate next to the door of my room. Pincha Mayurasana was all I saw. I started panicking…. was I supposed to do this? I mean, my aim was NOT becoming a yoga teacher, I did this training just to soak up all about yoga. Well, that’s what I thought. You know quite well, I was damn wrong, as I started teaching right after my first teacher training and nothing can stop me since 🙂

Back to Pincha Mayurasana. In times of Instagram yogis, it takes some courage to state what we can’t do, rather than posting fancy postures only. Thanks god I always had amazing teachers, who never pushed, but teached. I learned, that being a good teacher doesn’t require that I can do all postures in perfection. Plus, yoga is not just postures, it’s so much more – but that’s a different story! Finally, teaching is not about me, it’s about my students.

However, some months ago, I decided to work on handstand and forearm stand. I knew the technique very well, I was strong enough, but fear still stopped me. I know I have to learn slowly, as it is all about building trust. Learn how a posture feels, what happens in the body and what my mindset has to be. I focused on handstand for some time and a few days ago, I tried forearm stand once again. My work paid off, it was much easier than before. And today is the day, the first time, I managed to bring my feet off the wall in pincha. OMG. Even if only some seconds, this was a major breakthrough, as now I know that I can do it. Now it’s just a matter of practice, but I’m already there.

Once you master a posture, look back. What did the process teach you? It’s not about the posture any longer, but how you changed, what you’ve learned on the way and what you are able to do. Honestly, I believe this way of slow learning is much more beneficial than just hopping into postures by default. It’s telling me a lot about life and about myself. A process so worth it!

 

 

Meditation vs meditation

I read a lot about meditation. I took lessons. I did the 30 day challenge with Deepak and Oprah. I tried. Again and again. I failed. Again and again. Struggling with my feet falling asleep, my back complaining. Struggling with the feeling, that I simply can’t do it. Due to all the benefits of meditation, I couldn’t accept to not doing it. It was a catch 22.

My philosophy teacher in India was referring to the rising sun in his meditation lessons. He always said ‚I am the rising sun. I am shiva‘. I had to smile, it was kind of matching the situation, but I didn’t understand.

One day when doing my Ashtanga practice, I managed to focus that much on my breath, that my practice was nothing but intense deep breathing, while my body moved through the asanas. This felt so amazing and my only thought after practice was, THIS is meditation! A moving meditation.

This experience made me look closer to my definition of meditation: sitting in stillness, getting rid of all thoughts, calming down, release, finding peace within.

It was this definition, that was holding me back from meditating. Yoga is union and this is where meditation starts for me. Unite with myself. Going internal, connect with my breath. BE my breath. Feeling my love in my chest. Feeling the sun rising in me. Let it spread, let it shine. Being the rising sun. This deep connection is my meditation. And the journey to it is breath.

It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing. It might happen while practicing, or walking my dog. I might be sitting, lying down, or cooking. It might take a couple of seconds, minutes or hours. It doesn’t matter.

There is no right or wrong. This is how I meditate. Your experience might be totally different. But if you are struggling, maybe this is some inspiration for you.

These are MY moments. My silent moments, my deep connection to myself. My meditation. My moments when I am SHIVA.

Next level

Puh. Whatever this means! Just received my confirmation: I’m a RYT 500 now! Huuuuuuhhhhh…. And you know what? It feels amazing. Yes, surprisingly different. My knowledge in terms of anatomy and Yoga philosophy increased a lot and finally settles in my head.

Today I teached first time since I’m back from India and my students mirrored why I love teaching so much. Their faces are adorable – I’m so grateful for getting so much back 🙂

What’s next? A Yoga shala in my garden for workshops? Yeah! Teach more classes in Yoga studios? Yep, I’m ready!

Hiphip hurrahhhhh!

India’s calling

So excited! Am nearly on my way to India once again. Really can’t wait to be back, reunited with some of these amazing souls I know from last time. And open for new loving souls, walking a part of our individual journeys together. Challenging times for body and mind and I’m sure it will be a great experience.

Chasing myself to take it easy, stop aiming for perfection, but just flow, love, breathe and shine. Will be back in a month or so, eventually with a new certificate in my backpack 😉

Take care yogis!

There’s no way to rush the growth of a tree

My Visa arrived! Huuurraahhhh! Just a couple of weeks and I’ll be back in India for the next level teacher training. This time I know the place, the teachers and it feels a bit like coming home. When looking at the pictures people are posting from there, it warms me up internally, I’m filled with gratitude and peace.

It will be once again a huge challenge, for body and mind. It will be life changing once again. And I’m looking forward to it!

I want to be prepared as best as I can. Meaning reading and doing my asana practice 6 days a week. I haven’t expected not being able to do so. Since some weeks, my body refuse any, well let’s say cooperation. A little injury here, issues there. Terrible pain forced me to leave the mat after some minutes recently. Interestingly it was quite similar last time before traveling to India. What stops me to prepare myself properly?

Hello ego. My ego is driving me. Telling me, „you must be fit. You must be better. You will fail when you’re not able to do at least these postures. You’re not good enough right now“.

Even if I’m usually practicing gentle, listening to my body, respecting the limitations of the day, I’ve got something sitting in my neck right now, pushing me with fear. My practice turned into mastering postures, instead of being a mindful flow.

So my main task right now is telling my ego to jump in the lake and implement the believe of ‚I am good enough exactly as I am‘. Practicing to release and let go, while accepting when my body says no. The best preparation seems either to pamper my body, instead of pushing hard.

This is what Krista Shirley, an authorized level II teacher of traditional Ashtanga yoga, advises Ashtanga practitioners (love no 3!):

  1. Love yourself where you are
  2. Don’t take yourself too seriously
  3. Go to India as soon as you can
  4. Don’t question; just do
  5. Take your day of rest each week
  6. Bring awareness to your latissimus dorsi muscles in nearly every asana. For women this is an especially vital understanding
  7. Wash your feet before you take practice, everyday

Be careful yogis, never work against your body. Feel what you’re doing, be mindful and treat yourself with love.

India, I’m ready.

What does yoga teach me?

When I applied for my 200hrs teacher training, I didn’t expect to become a yoga teacher. My aim was to just fully immerse into all aspects of yoga. Jump into the sea of yoga, swim and dive, all day long, every day. I went to India full of fear and self-doubts – I’m too old, my asana practice is not good enough, I won’t pass the exam…. And finally I didn’t had much time to think about these doubts, I just did it. It was tough, but I enjoyed every single second. I came back as a teacher, teaching 2 classes per week since then. And I can’t believe it, I LOVE teaching.

Yes, I prepare my classes, but I allow myself to be flexible, add things or remove, change the plan on the ride, just following my students and the energy of the day. I surprised myself, I didn’t know that I can do this. I didn’t know that it’s easy to not comparing myself to other teachers, but just give the best I can and let it flow.

No, it’s not about having a huge experience, but a matter of confidence. Let love guide me, breathe, smile, get soft and just do whatever feels right in this moment. Then my mind is doing yoga. Priceless.

So, what does yoga teach me?

In 3 words: TO LET GO. Let go of everything. Expectations, limitations. Emptying myself and forget about everything I know. Because all my learnings are within, in my cells. They will guide me anyhow, without me even be aware of them. Allowing my knowledge, experience and intuition to merge; this is exactly what makes me act authentic, following my own truth.

By the way: this doesn’t stop when leaving the mat!

Yoga in all its gorgeousness has got me hooked. Going back to India next year for my 500hrs teacher training. Another chapter to start. Sooooo excited!