It’s about you.

When you step on your mat next time, no matter if you’re in class or practicing on your own, do one thing: take your practice serious. It’s not a fun tool, a fitness regime or anything to tone your body. It’s about you. It’s about quietening your mind, while your body is moving.

No matter how many people are around you or if you’re on your own: your practice is about you, only you. Don’t care about the postures. Do it. Flow through.

Keep on going, stop complaining. No, it‘s not too hot, it’s not too cold and no, you are not too busy. Practice. Move your body and give your mind a conscious break. Find peace in yourself. This little smile that no one can see and everyone sees.

Just that. 

There’s more

Many people practice yoga as their fitness regime – which I believe is totally fine, if this is what they want. However, yoga shouldn’t be placed in the fitness realm. Getting a strong and flexible body might happen through regular practice, but yoga isn’t just moving from one pose to another. It’s about ourselves, establish a deep connection to the self and learn on the way.

If you’re after competition and judgment, the yoga studio is the wrong place to be, as yoga isn’t competitive at all, it’s not about can or can’t, it’s not about the student next to you. We are using asanas to quieten our mind, to slide into a moving meditation.

That doesn’t mean we can’t do some of the fancy stuff that is popular right now! Go, try everything that catches your attention, but also understand there is more. 

When attending a yoga class, be prepared that you might not get what you want. Instead, be open to receive what the teacher is ready to give to you. Encouraging and guiding you to look inward, and become rooted in the deeper sense of yoga.

It’s a slow process, there’s no rush.

Photocredit Pasindu Madushan Photography

Too hot to practice?

Finally! Summer arrived with very high temperatures and this week makes us sweating by doing nothing, no need to be in the sun for this. In the radio they advised to not do any fitness during the day. That hot. 

And I love it! How about you?

So, is it too hot to practice yoga? To be honest, I really don’t get the point. I see many yogis traveling to countries where they face high temperatures and humidity, and there’s no question to practice or not. So why here? 

There are some options and it depends on how your body deals with the heat. I love the fact that my joints feel like lubricated, my body is soft and flexible. However, one should be more aware of any cardiovascular problems, and effects such as dizziness should been taken serious. Not much difference to what we do anyhow: listen to our bodies! And yes, practice early morning if any possible, as this makes it easier for your body.

Another option would be a slower pace. Reducing the sweaty parts and choose more calmer elements. Yin yoga would be great too. 

There is no right or wrong, let your body decide what’s right for you and be aware, so you notice the signals. Care for your body, keep it hydrated – this is what you should do anyhow.

No excuse for the lazy ones or those who are too busy to practice 🙂

Photocredit Pasindu Madushan Photography

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.

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.