The beauty of Aging

Many of us experience some changes around the age of 50. I’m not talking about any kind of midlife crisis or menopause for women, while this might also be a trigger to rethink where we are in life. No matter the reason, it seems to be the time to reinvent oneself.

A friend of mine, who turns 50 this year, takes this as an option to rethink what he wants his life to be and he takes the necessary changes. Those changes can be quite big things; it might even come to a real turn over.

I heard from another friend who had a rigorous 6 days a week Ashtanga practice, that with her menopause starting, she allowed herself to be less strict and her yoga practice turned to be more calm, slow and gentle, always listening to what her body needs that day.

This time might be an entry point into a new phase of life, with new options, new strength, and the courage to change and eventually start something new. It might concern the job, the place we live, relationships, our practice or the entire life set-up; no matter what direction we’re aiming to go, if you feel called, do it. Even if aging shows us at this stage the first indications that not only the outer appearance is transforming, but also the body complains more. And hey, where is that fear coming from all of a sudden?

Many yogis start taking it easier at that point, while for me the full story started then. At the age of 49 I did my first teacher training and instead of getting calmer, my yoga journey took off and was at its best around 52. I’m 54 now and my body talks to me loud and clear, mostly not what I want to hear and I learned that it’s not always about doing the full Ashtanga series each day, it’s about showing up. Being on the mat every day, doing what I can. Luckily, my body is still improving, still learning, adapting, bending more, even if progress takes much longer. My practice teaches me to be patient, the most difficult thing to learn for me! To accept, that it’s totally fine where I am on my journey and not just that, it is phenomenal how my body and mind changed over the past few years.

We move on, the three of us, together, body and mind and soul. We keep on changing, improving, learning and the very new thing: we take it easy.

4 TIPS TO SLOW DOWN

Many times meditation has been a topic I wrote about, and in these times of intense stress, I won’t stop to point out how important it is to slow down and be in stillness.

Our minds tend to be overloaded, and many of us experience a constantly buzzing busy mind. Just ignoring this fact and allow the stress to manifest can lead to health issues. Stress can take a serious toll on your body on all levels, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This makes it so important to have breaks, clear the mind, calm down and be still. Your health needs a relaxed and calm starting place to function optimally.

Here comes meditation into play, as this is a great tool to calm down with effects on all levels. You don’t like it? Can’t do it? Give it a different name. Get behind the idea. It’s crucial to quieten your mind and be in stillness, no matter how you do it or how you call it. As an important note, it’s not about just getting rid of your thoughts. Even if shushing your many inner voices is the main goal, you should let them have their say, so you can discover the all-encompassing stillness. Allow thoughts to pop up, appreciate them and let them go. This is the whole exercise. Let’s repeat: it’s all about accepting the thoughts as they come up, and then releasing them. 

Sounds easy, but it only works if you stop judging yourself when your mind starts to wander. Sitting in stillness isn’t easy, so why don’t you start with this to help you stay focused and reel you back in if your mind gets too busy:

  1. Focus on your breath: Bring your attention to your breath. Let it go into your belly, long, slow deep inhales and full exhales. Whenever your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to your breath. Again and again and again. Just that.
  2. Guided meditation: Use a guided meditation to focus on the voice your hear and following that voice, so your thoughts don’t have much space. You can use an app for this or check my meditations on YouTube – I will record more for you and upload there. Go with the voice that makes you feel calm and settled, otherwise it won’t work well.
  3. Start easy: just some minutes will do the job when you start. Slowly you might want to increase the time, but be gentle and allow yourself to get used to it!
  4. Practice regularly: Make it a regular practice and go for the same time each day. This way it becomes a habit and you can stick to it. Start once a day, maybe right after getting up in the morning or before sleep in the evening. When feeling comfortable with it, you might want to increase the duration and/or ad another short slot during the day.

Learning how to quiet your mind and have a regular practice can have a big impact on your life. And your health!

A new Chapter

No, I’m not bored. No, I don’t have any spare time. But. I love essential oils – PURE BLISS! – and I love dōTERRA. Essential oils are a trigger. They stimulate and calm, they support on an emotional, mental and physical level. I was very skeptical at the beginning and wondering if this is more than a nice smell – it is indeed. But essential oils and yoga? Yes, same here, it took a while to convince me, but I love them in my practice now, at least in shavasana…. read more about it here.

Slowly they became part of my daily routines – in my drinking water, in the diffuser, on my skin, in my yoga classes and reiki sessions. But what really convinced me is that they are an important tool when it comes to my health. Their awesome smells do not just pamper my soul, but they help my body to stay healthy.

That’s why I took the next step now – not just using them, but become a dōTERRA Wellness Advocate. No matter how this continues, I just want to share what I love and what makes a difference.

So beautiful people out there, if you are curious now, let’s chat! And if you are interested, read more here or visit my dōTERRA page for some videos and an introduction of the best oils to start with.

Get back on track

I lost myself a bit over the last weeks, well even months. Under the flag of „common, let’s enjoy life“, I finally lost the connection to myself, which was so hard to build up. The good news, I know what I have to do. The difficult thing is, not to get distracted. But just do it.

My theme is all about ahimsa. This is one of the yamas (ethical precepts), part of the yoga sutras. Ahimsa translates into non violence — violence in all aspects, physical and also mental violence, such as words or thoughts.

How you treat others and yourself, what you say and think of others and yourself. This is where everything has to start, within ourselves. Be kind to the people around you. Be kind to yourself.

Non harming is the basis of every practice and it all boils down to the relationship with yourself. Repeat this: it’s about the relationship with yourself.

On the mat, it means to be kind to your body. To not push yourself into postures that you are not ready for, as you may cause injury.

Off the mat it’s about speech, food, clothing, how you treat others, the environment, yourself. Living healthy. You decide.

I decided to get back on track, back to a life of practicing ahimsa. Particularly when it comes to myself. And you know what? I know it will feel amazing, even if it needs discipline to get back. 

I’m in, how about you?

Urdhva Padmasana

Turn your lotus position upside down. No worries if full lotus isn’t available for you yet, whatever your variation is works – full lotus, half lotus or cross-legged. Even if full lotus is preferred as it makes the posture much more compact and stable, we all know that it’s not always accessible.

Once in the posture and your thighs are parallel to the floor, press the knees into the hands (yes, this way!). Start to lengthen your spine (feels sooooo good!) and lift your chin slightly, so there’s no pressure on your neck.

For the next few breaths, allow your world to move this way. Upside down. Notice what‘s different – is there any difference?

Physically this posture does a lot – it opens the hips, strengthens the shoulder frame, the muscles along the spine, the erector spinae is activated, just to name a few. In addition, your inner organs benefit, particularly as this pose utilizes specific pressure points at the thyroid and the kidneys.

As in all inversions, the blood flow increases and the brain is offered a surge of oxygen.
Don’t you wonder if you would suddenly feel your thoughts streaming with better clarity. If holding this posture a bit longer, maybe even a few minutes, you will notice that all your doubts, blank mental notes, and confusing stimulus will clear up.

Really? Well, you tell me, try it 🙂

Looking for an individual Christmas present?

I’ve got you covered — how about a private session? For a best friend, for yourself or both of you?

Make giving meaningful — a Reiki treatment is a great option for experiencing a deep relaxation while the self-healing capabilities will get a major boost. Read more about it here

A yoga private session is the best way to learn and deepen your practice. No matter what your friends’ and your practice look like right now, be it group classes in a studio, home practice or if new to yoga, a private class will make a difference. It will be tailor made for you, meaning you decide if it’s about receiving adjustments to improve postures, learn something about the yoga philosophy, breathing techniques, meditation, better adapt your practice to your needs, or get a smooth start into it all.

Are you new to yoga? Read here how to get started.

Make a difference! A present like this will be beneficial for body and mind and it’ll be fun! Let’s have a chat, I’ll be happy to design a beautiful e-card for you.

4 IDEAS TO INTEGRATE MINDFULNESS

You might have read already about it, here on my site or somewhere else, however it’s such an important topic, that I will continue writing about it! Just some main values and ideas today on how to implement the mindfulness approach easily, no matter if into your yoga practice or your daily life as such.

A QUICK RECAP

Mindfulness is being in the present moment without judging; being fully aware of what we are thinking and doing, by keeping our focus on just that. 

WHAT VALUE WOULD YOU PLACE ON…

  • A shift from reacting to acting
  • Reduced distractions
  • Lowered blood pressure and heart rate
  • Increased awareness
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Increased clarity in thinking and perception
  • Lowered anxiety
  • Experience of being calm and internally still

4 IDEAS TO INTEGRATE MINDFULNESS INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINES

  1. BE PROUD! Just repeat this phrase mentally again and again and again during the day, as often as possible. What will happen is a shift in your mindset – don’t think about what you are proud of, just be it, feel it! There’s always something to be proud of, don’t care about the details. Not just your mind but also your body will react on it: your posture will improve, your spine will lengthen, your chest lifts, your shoulders will slightly go down and back. You will radiate a positive and confident attitude. Wow!
  2. MOVE YOUR BODY! Of course you do that already when adding the mindfulness approach to your yoga practice. Think of it the rest of the day too! Many of us are sitting all day long, starring at a screen or any other devices. Sitting is said to be the new smoking – move as often as you can. Standing doesn’t do the work, your body needs movement. No need for a workout, just tiny little stretches work perfectly. Sitting or standing – do shoulder stretches, twists, side bends, balance, move the spine and many more. Easy little things that can be integrated without any effort.
  3. BREATHE! One of the most powerful tools with the purpose to either control our prana (life force, life energy) or to heal on a mental and/or physical level. We have loads of great techniques in yoga (so called pranayama) that we can use, however very basic techniques will already do the job, such as equal breathing (count your breath, inhale/exhale for 4) or lengthen your exhales (inhale for 4/exhale for 6) to squeeze your inner organs and get the toxins out. While we are used to breathe in a certain way during the yoga practice (e.g. Ujjayi breath), you can use the described techniques during the day and nobody will even recognize what you’re doing! It will immediately calm you down; do it in a train, car, plane, while waiting in a queue, during meetings, you name it.
  4. BE STILL! Meditation is a great tool to get ourselves into stillness, which is really needed in today’s stressful set up. Many of us struggle with meditation and I suggest to replace the term. Call it whatever works for you, it is just about going into stillness for a moment, you decide if 5 minutes, 30 or anything in-between. Bring your awareness internal, focus on your breath, allow any thoughts to pop up and pass by without giving them any further attention.

Go for it, it will change everything – to the better!