Struggles

This year is a challenge for many and it is for me. No, this isn’t another covid post, my challenge is a different one. It’s seems to be the year of pain for me. It all started when I broke my ribs in February. After months of recovery, the other side of the ribs made trouble. Not broken, but bad pain. Recovery again. And a third time. It’s end September and I’m still not fully through it. Exhausting. 

Additionally my leg plays games with me, that bad, that some days even walking becomes a problem. I had a bad accident about 25 years ago and my leg likes to remind me here and there, but not as bad as it does now.

How does this affect my yoga practice? A lot! I had to step back from a 5-6 days Ashtanga practice to „let’s see what I can do“. From absolutely nothing, followed by a bit of yin yoga to a modified Ashtanga practice, and backwards and forwards. A mix which is difficult when used to a rather strong Ashtanga regime. I always liked yin, it’s a beautiful change and add on to the Ashtanga world, however, being forced into something isn’t the same.

I’m suffering on the mat. 

Physically due to the pain and trying to gently figure out where to stop and not overdo, but also find the right level of challenge. To not forget the mental dimension, thoughts such as „I will never make it to where I was“, „I can’t do it“, „my body get’s weaker and weaker“, you name it. Same time, I also feel grateful that I still can practice! Unfortunately this doesn’t stop those slamming thoughts. 

There are these days, when I practice, even with modifications, and just feel happy. Yes, I’ll be back soon. It’s a damn rollercoaster.

I’m suffering off the mat. 

Physically due to a lack of strong practice, all of a sudden my hamstrings complain a lot, guess they thought, great, let’s go on holidays forever! Well, many muscles, tendons and joints tell me, you should have relaxed on the sofa, let’s get rid of that mat!

At the end, this makes me rather laugh, this is the „sweet“ pain. It’s my mind bothering me more. „Give it up, you just can’t do it anymore“, „at your age, go find something matching“. But also thoughts like „you don’t have any discipline anymore“, „you don’t have any will, you’re just weak“, „you should have done this“, „you’re so lazy“….

All my challenges show me how important my practice is, physically and mentally, and yes, I will continue, no matter how difficult it is, as giving up has never been an option.

Feel it darling

Where are your feelings coming from? Check in to yourself and figure that out. Where do they sit in your body? Are they truly yours? Or are you adapting to the mood of the person you’re talking to? To the news you’re reading? To what you think you should feel? Do you know the situation when facing an angry person and how this affect you? Even if the anger isn’t pointed to you? It is ok to be compassionate, but not to take these feelings over. They are not yours. At your core, stay with what you feel, what’s yours. It might not seem to be appropriate in certain circumstances, anyhow own them and stay true to yourself. 

We are driven by our thoughts and believes, which express themselves through what or how we feel. Your feelings are dependent on your thoughts and vice versa. Meaning, allowing yourself to smile and feel happy (even if you don’t feel like at that moment) will also change your thoughts. A powerful interaction!

Put a drop of your favourite uplifting oil into the palms of your hands, rub them and hold them in front of your nose, so you can inhale the support they give. They do their work in your body, you will feel it immediately. I love Bergamot to lift me up, Sandalwood to ground me, Cardamon to make me feel cosy and home, Tumeric to make me „fly“ and the new Adaptiv, which allows me to deal much better with my daily duties and not get overwhelmed.

Own your feelings, change them if you want to, but always stay true to yourself.

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?

These days

Nothing but one topic. In the news, social media, the workplace. The world as such is struggling. 

Life changes and it will be significant now. It’s not just a phase we need to go through, nature forces us to change. The best option we have, is to commit ourselves to it. Please don’t be afraid.

Your plans have been boycotted? So have mine. Please don’t be angry. But use this energy to be creative. Release, let go and rethink what needs to change. 

We are used to run through life in high speed – as fast as possible, ticking as many boxes as we can. Stop this madness, it’s time to slow down. Be patient and grateful, we’re still here, we have a new chance to do things different.

This also is a huge opportunity for each individual as for communities. Open your eyes, open your heart, open yourself to the new. Observe, learn, reflect, adapt, change.

We often only learn through pain and to me it seems as if we have to learn and change things now at a larger scale. As we stubbornly didn’t so far, we are forced now. 

Let’s take this chance!

First thing for me is to slow down, get the pace out. I taught a yoga class yesterday and due to my broken ribs, I couldn’t demonstrate, but was reliant on my voice only. An unfamiliar situation, but I noticed that I was much slower than usual, and calmer. Practice seemed to be softer, even if physically demanding. I liked it and so did my students.

It might sound rather contrarily, as we are asked to keep distance now, and same time community and coherence is getting even more crucial. We are technically equipped, so why not using it to collaborate through distance:

My distance Reiki healing sessions are already available and it works perfectly on an energetic level.

So let’s do that for yoga too: I will soon offer 1:1 or small group yoga classes via video chat. Interested? Drop me a line!

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!

Rest

Rest. Oh. My. God. Once again I’m forced to rest. Not being able to move properly, but put down to rest, is the most difficult thing for me. There’s always something I have to do. I want to do.

It’s almost two weeks now, two broken ribs and obviously I can’t practice. Filled with painkillers, issues to sit, stand, lay down. Not even a gentle yin or restorative practice.

Well, it’s just broken ribs! Nothing major, it will heal. I deal with it. Honestly, it’s quite new for me to not overreact and be angry with the world. Instead, I’m very grateful that I’m healthy, it’s just broken ribs. 

As Yoga has become a life elixir, important for both body and mind, it’s a challenge to not be able to practice at all. Yoga is my choice to move out of my head and into my body. Now my patience gets tested. I know, I don’t have much of that! I have experienced these kind of tests quite a few times, but I feel this time is different. Maybe the practice works out. I feel somehow at peace, I can’t change anything, so I accept. And I will slowly go back into practice. Starting with meditation, followed by some gentle yin and extend wherever I can. Careful, mindful, grateful. 

All I have to do right now is to allow myself to expand into possibility, even if there are a few pains along the way. It might be more about spiritual practice at this time and learning to face resistance with kindness.

The picture shows a card of @the_moondeck

Yummy workshop!

Deep dive into yourself – pure nourishment. It will be a very gentle and calm practice, where you will be guided into yourself. Releasing tension and allow the process of healing to start. No matter if physically, mentally or emotionally – all you have to do is let it happen.

We will start with Yin Yoga in combination with Reiki, the Japanese hands on healing method (read more about Reiki here) and we will finish with a beautiful Chakra healing, which comes as a guided meditation. I will take you through a beautiful visualization, which will not only be a deep relaxation, but also work on your chakras.

Mark your calendar on the 7th March, 4pm – 6:30pm! Sign up here, places are limited!

Practicing while sick?

Well, I can’t give a clear yes or no, as I believe the most important thing is to listen to your body. It’s always crucial, but in that situation, mindfulness is mandatory. Never ever force anything only because your ego tells you to practice no matter what. Bullshit.

It’s that time of the year in this part of the world where we’re facing colds and flu and it hit me too last weekend. My body felt very weak, but same time shouting for some deep stretches. I listened and practiced gentle yin yoga. It felt good. Next day, no practice at all. My body was fighting and clearly needed nothing but proper rest. Today I’m feeling a bit better and asked my body what to do. I wasn’t sure. I went onto my mat, started a bit of warm up and stretching, followed by some sun salutations. I was surprised to have the energy and strength for it. However, there’s no point in overdoing! I continued listening to my body to figure out what it needs and how much. I ended up with yin again, so a bit of both and it felt perfect.

When practicing Ashtanga, it’s quite tough to decide for a different practice. Yogis out there, it’s important. Always listen to your body, not your ego. Only do what supports your health. Otherwise everything might even go worse. Another indication is your breath. If you can’t breathe properly, don’t practice anything that requires e.g. ujjayi breath. Better not practicing at all or gentle yin or just stretching, if that feels good. Maybe meditation is your choice of practice!

Are you using essential oils? They help me a lot, not only taking them internally to support fighting the cold, but also to breathe. I put two oils in my diffuser today while practicing: Air and Petitgrain. A great support for my breath! Text me if you want to know more about it.

Yogis, stay healthy and always decide and practice mindfully!

PAUSE

Today is new moon. The moment of stillness. The old does not longer exist, the new is not yet there. Time to rest. Time to look inward. Get clarity on what you really want and set an intention.

I never felt like this before. My body is tired and so is my mind. Empty. Done. I need a proper rest. Not just a few hours. It‘s time to leave the business behind and take it really slow. Do something different, go where there‘s nothing to do. Start breathing. Feel the nature around and also feel me.

Connect to my floors:

  • The bottom, re-ground myself and connect to my stability
  • The middle, appreciate my ability to handle the world
  • The top, activate my vision to play imaginatively

One week to keep on going in the center of the craziness. Followed by some time to exactly do that. Pause. Reset. Refill.

Go for some yummy yin yoga today, respect the new moon and its energy. Practice slow today. I just did, it felt so good!

Concentration

My practice is different each day. While practicing the same series of postures, everything else differs. One day my body is soft and bendy, the other day stiff and kind of heavy and obviously, anything in between. My mind sometimes very focussed, sometimes distracted. Not to mention my mood…

These factors shouldn’t be underestimated, as they need to be managed. I have these moments when all of a sudden, I don’t have a clue where in my practice I am. What asana comes now? What did I just do? No idea. Or I notice, that I even missed some asanas out. 

Well, does it matter? It does! On a physical level we need a strong focus to challenge our body exactly the right way. No one needs injuries, right. On the other hand, we also don’t want to go through the practice on a low level, just doing some movements without meaning. Finally, our practice is supposed to help us going into a meditative state. For all this being possible, we have to take it serious and create the base for it. 

In Ashtanga Yoga, we use drishti, or focus point, as a tool to concentrate and guide our attention same time inwardly. Engaging the bandhas gives us balance and stability, while ujjayi breath creates the rhythm of our movements. 

There are these moments, when I loose connection and my mind jumps in, starting to wander. Not noticing it is exactly the point. I am not here, not in the moment, I’m not practicing properly. As soon as I bring my focus back to my breath, drishti and engage my bandhas, I’m back. Back on the mat, back in my practice. 

Practice properly yogis! Respect your body, your mind and your spirit, guide yourself with full awareness through your practice. No matter if you practice on your own or attend a class, always keep the connection to yourself!