You know, like a really good friend who sits next to you when you are down to lift you up.
When you complain, your buddy mindfulness will show you that there is no reason to complain.
Challenges we face should be taken as new opportunities to learn and grow.
Thinking outside the box is what this planet needs more than ever and who else could help you in this than your best friend?
It needs not much to be more mindful, in fact, it’s really easy.
Appreciate the little things in life, be kind, lend a helping hand, stop and breathe before doing something.
It’s all no witch art, we all are able to be mindful.
But what we would need more often, at least I would need it, is indeed a mindfulness buddy to give me a small push once in a while.
I read so much about this topic and try my best to include mindfulness in my life, but once in a while (more often than you imagine) I am so consumed from an emotion that I “forget” what I want to do.
In the aftermath I indeed know what I did “wrong” and how I could’ve done it better.
I know that it’s in me and even though my mind would like to blame the situation or others for it, I know it better. It’s me! And there I miss my buddy who pinches me in that very moment.
I still have a way to walk in front of me because I know my friend. Mr. Mindfulness is also within me, and it’s up to me to let him talk, to let him pinch me.
It’s a bit like the story of the devil on one shoulder and the angle on the other one.
The truth is in us and yes, we know what to do and how to it, but we ignore that knowledge to walk the easy way.
One misconception is that the easy way is really easy. I doubt it because the better we become, the easier life will be. The more we are grounded within ourself, the less we will be influenced by negativity.
I’m on my way. My buddy is invited to accompany me and I need to let him talk even when I would love to bury my ears with my hands. This inner voice needs to be heard and followed, only then I will become who I want to be.
I need to become one with my buddy mindfulness – which is your actual sparring partner? Is it mindfulness? Or self-love? Tell me, let’s lift each other up and cheer us on for how far we came already.
Why Yoga is essential and more than a physical exercise
Many people still see yoga as some type of “sports” but with lots of “strange” spiritual people following the yoga path.
Is Yoga sports?
Yoga is so much more than sports and it is accessible for everybody. Truly everybody, there is no reason why not to start yoga.
For me it is a holistic way to create more balance, a healthier lifestyle and a positive mindset for myself but also for the people around me.
We only have this one body, so we should take care of it in the best way possible. You don’t need to over-do it, nobody has to bend into the most complicated yoga poses. It is not a competition, it’s a way of life. Your way to live.
I promise you, it can make you a better person, it’s a way to walk and you need to be consistent, but it works.
Why am I so sure?
Because, if you decide to include yoga in your life you will quickly realise that you change, for the better.
Mindfulness is a big topic – cherishing the moment, being grateful for what you have, all the important thoughts which make you happier with less. Striving for more and more is not the way, it’s rather being happy with where you already are and working on your happiness on the inside instead of the outside.
Another topic is balance, a balanced lifestyle. Instead of rushing through everything you learn to stop and just be quiet. Let all the input we have daily settle and then sort and let go. We carry so much emotional luggage, who is able to cope with so much weight? Almost nobody.
Detox your life but also what surrounds you. Do we really need stack over stack of magazines. Will we ever read them?
Rather go through them and rip out what seems interesting, you will have one file left and read it because that’s all what’s of your interest.
Social Media detoxification is also great, I just went through my instagram and unfollowed step by step – we collect and collect and in the end we spent our time with watching other people cook their dinner?
I’m cleaning up my life and you wonder, wasn’t this article about Yoga?
Yes, and it still is! All of this is part of a Yogic lifestyle. Constantly balancing out and letting go of what you don’t need any longer.
Breathing is a very important practice in Yoga and you can work with your breath. We breath through stress, we can calm our central nervous system during a panic attack with long deep breathing. Pranayama, the breathing techniques in yoga, have many benefits.
If you want to read in more depth I can recommend this book to you written by the wonderful teacher B.K.S. Iyengar:
Yoga is being aware, aware of all that is and all you are. Meditation is nothing else than being an observer of your thoughts, becoming still in a world louder than ever before.
We hear so many noises each day and expect our brain to cope, so it’s on us to become still and breathe and give ourself this time of peace.
All of this and more is yoga
I left aside the physical practice for a reason. All until now is yoga and many do not recognise it as yoga.
We need to erase this picture that yoga is all about the poses and preferably perfect and posted on instagram because it is not.
Not every yogi is flexible, we all carry our own deficiencies and if you are good, then you don’t see it as a deficiency but as a chance. That’s the mindset I was talking about.
Not one of the yoga teachers on this planet is perfect, not one of the students is perfect, not one human being is perfect – and that’s why yoga is so wonderful, it can be adapted to your very own unique needs.
I hope you have now a better idea of yoga. And this is just the surface, there is so much to discover and learn that we can spend a lifetime exploring the beauty of yoga.
One big topic in the whole mindfulness area is “Searching for Peace within”.
This is what spiritual masters are telling us. You can buy stickers, telling everyone that peace is to be found within yourself, almost everywhere. The truth is, the majority of people is living with a chaos within instead.
I am one of them. I try to tame the chaos, sometimes more and sometimes less. It depends on my mood, the time I find just for myself and on how I feel.
When I’m relaxed I don’t bother myself with the search for something higher. I assume that there seems to be at least a bit of peace inside of me as otherwise I wouldn’t be relaxed, right?
When I’m completely stressed out and need it the most, then I find everything inside of me but peace. I find thoughts running in circles, I find anxiety, I find millions of things I wanted to start, finish, read, write or think about. But the peace that should be found there seems to be buried under all of this.
Sometimes I start to think that I would be able to find it when I could also sit under a palm tree, a turquoise ocean in front of me and a yoga shed behind me. The truth is, I wouldn’t find it there either.
We cannot leave our mind behind – wherever we go we carry all our thoughts with us.
– Lena Kraima
The chaos would travel with me, wherever I go, I’ll take my mind and soul with me.
A more practical approach to mindfulness is to start with small pieces.
We all strive for the big picture, the successful, happy, content and calm person who seems to rest fully within.
There is barely a person like that alive – don’t get confused by snapshots of the lives of others. We all don’t know what is going on within a person, sometimes we don’t even know what’s going on with ourselves.
Instead of searching for peace start with changing your thoughts, with tiny baby steps. Don’t overload yourself with ‘I should be grateful, I should be helpful, I should be, …’. This is how you get lost.
This is a wonderful page to dive deeper into this topic of mindfulness.
How to include mindfulness into your daily routine?
These are small examples on how to change the way of thinking without failing. The more often we do something, the more likely it will turn out to be a daily habit. Live it instead of forcing it.
Each morning after you wake up drink a glass of warm water and ask yourself what you are grateful for in these few minutes. (Is it the sun raising, the smell of the winter morning air on the open window, a snoring of your cat, the smell of coffee from the kitchen, that you have warm water without many efforts,… there will be million of examples.) What are you grateful for?
If you find more time include a morning meditation into your daily routines.
An all-time favourite, remind yourself of what you think and become an observer
Watch your thoughts as if you watch yourself from an outside position. Don’t allow negative thoughts and instead replace them by positive.
Daily routine you can include any time
Shower meditation – therefore you don’t even need an extra five minutes, you just take the time which is normally probably filled with a ’to-do’ list in your mind.
Read something inspirational- it can be a book or also newsletters, there are some great ones to subscribe to.
Eat mindfully – whatever meal it is. People sit and check their phones instead of enjoying the food they have in front of them. Mindful eating is not only a good habit, it is also a healthy habit. You body will thank you.
Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is not a virtue – better and more mindful is to finish one task before starting the next and put your full attention into each.
Connect to Mother Earth – nature is relieving stress, it is recharging our batteries. Of course we cannot access a forest daily when we live in the city but even the smallest corner of a park can be your place, standing on a river and listening to the water, there are always possibilities to connect. Stare at the heaven above you, watch clouds or birds flying by.
Move your body. I don’t want to call it exercise or sports because whatever it may be, it will be beneficial. You can dance for 10 minutes if that’s what you prefer. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or cycle to work, do some yoga, there is no wrong or right, the importance is to keep your body active and move your muscles.
Deep breathing exercises…this one shouldn’t be too complicated because we need to breath anyway. Instead of reading the news on the train to work, take 5 minutes and immerse yourself into deep breathing.
The more we focus on what we think and how we treat ourselves, the more likely we will find some peace. It all starts within us. That’s the most important part, if stress starts within us (and yes, it does) it will be less if we overlay it with happiness so that stress can’t find its way up. If you are happy you won’t be easily stressed. There is certainly peace within everyone, we just need to set it free. Take away stress, take away pressure and anxiety, also take away criticism and self-doubt, take everything away what you stacked onto the peace and you will find it.
I am a perfectionist and this perfectionism is my stopper – once you know it you can work with it.
Learn that you are allowed to relax even though you could work, or clean or write or whatever – there will always be something to do and if I never take time for myself I won’t relax at all. It is hard to let go of something and there were times when I wasn’t able to sit on my couch as long as there was something to clean and sort in my flat, means I barely sat there just to relax. But believe me, the dishes won’t run away, they wait until you come back to the kitchen and they are not worth giving them the allowance to disturb your peace of mind. The little dust layer you see on a shelf won’t kill you while sitting in meditation, it will wait until you are ready to wipe it away.
Let the “peace within you” be a part of your life – don’t neglect it because you are too busy to enjoy peaceful moments.
– Lena Kraima
Mindfulness is nothing out of reach and surely not unreachable. Every tiny step towards being mindful is already lived mindfulness.
Don’t be blinded by big words, extensive ceremonies or spiritual rituals. All of it won’t diminish your mindfulness – you do what you can and this is perfectly fine.
We all struggle and fail and we all search for a deeper meaning in our life, don’t we? But what is that deeper meaning – it differs from person to person. In the end all that counts is that you are feeling good! Go for what makes you happy.
Namaste you beautiful souls and thanks for reading <3
Seriously, we often forget how easily we can have small time-outs because we are too stressed to realize.
Life is not that complicated, we make it complicated.
Are you showering? What question is that you may ask now.
Did you ever try to shut down your thoughts while being in the shower and started to be aware of the moment?
Raise your awareness instead of thinking about what to do next. Listen to the sound of the water, smell the soap, really smell it. Watch the water and follow it’s path, one drop against the tile, it’s slowly running down and ends up in the puddle your’re standing in. Realize how your hair becomes softer when it’s getting wet, see the chicken pox on your arm when you turn the water off. This shower experiences is like a little spa visit for free. You will feel better afterwards than before if you give yourself these little brain time-outs.
Another daily mindfulness idea is going for a walk. You don’t have to walk an hour if you don’t like walking because it’s not really about the walking itself, it’s more about the whole experience. You step outside and actively feel and see and smell where you are.
What sound does it make when you walk, are your shoes making a sound or the surface you are walking on and how does it change when you step on another surface from tar to grass for instance. What are you doing with your arms, are they swinging, are you walking with your hands in your pockets? Is your breathing different? Listen to your breath, try to calm it down while you are walking and inhale deeply, how does it feel?
Do you see the little birds along the way or the trees which are loosing all leaves right now? There are so many little things we don’t see when we daily rush by and it’s beautiful to realize them one after the other.
So, and for how long were you walking now, because the best thing is that you start to loose track of time and all of a sudden you were walking much longer than anticipated. These are the precious moment which energize you and give you the power to go through the really stressful times for example at work.
I have lots of other examples but will end up with giving you my favorite third one.
Lay down – yeah, that’s a great one, isn’t it?
If you read my blog for a while you know that I love Yoga and when I say “lay down” I mean laying down in a yoga way.
One wonderful asana (yoga pose) to relax is Supta Baddha Konasana or the reclined bound angle:
Actually my aim was to show you a picture of me in one of my favorite relaxing positions but try to make some yoga pictures when your toddler in running around you.
The result was the following:
That’s life with children and it’s so worth it!
You’ll find millions of pictures on the web but this moment will last a lifetime.
Back to the relaxation pose – besides this reclined bound angle there are several other Yoga poses which are not complicated at all but give you instantly a time out and also time to focus on something completely different.
Child’s Pose is one, it relieves back pain and when you lay your forehead on the floor you will have new sensations I assume you never did since a while – did you smell the floor? I like our wooden floor as it has a wonderful smell which I only can realize when I am like that on the floor.. Outside in the grass is great as well, when the grass is tickling your nose and you close your eyes and just feel the earth below you.
If it comes to relaxing yoga poses I could go ahead for a while I assume, but the essence is that you do what feels good for you and that you just start to open your mind to what surrounds you at that very moment.
It’s indeed much easier than we think as life is not that complicated, it’s all about feeling, tasting, smelling, being, living – mindful moments are present every second of our life, we just have to raise our awareness to appreciate them instead of rushing through our life as if we are hunted. We aren’t, we are here to live this life we have.
What are your mindful moments? What do you like to do to feel yourself again?
This topic came up a few times since I started to practice Yoga and now I want to tell you that I can be a Yogi without being a Hinduist or a Buddhist!
Not everyone who is running into a Yoga Studio or carries a Yoga mat with him or her has suddenly a religion.
It’s not like “Buy one mat and get a religion for free”.
It is a fact that yoga works with each and every religion.
I am married to a Muslim and therefore I am in a couple of Facebook groups out of curiosity to read how other non Muslim women go along with their Muslim husbands.
What I realized quite quick is that many converted or reverted and are even more strict than a born muslim is.
We had the Yoga topic and I was bombarded with statements like “The wife of a muslim shoulnd’t do this!” as if I would instantly worship a “forbidden” religion.
Here’s my answer:
First of all, yes, my husband is a Muslim, but that doesn’t make me one automatically – like the buy one yoga mat it’s not “marry a Muslim and get his religion for free”. I’m still capable of choosing my own faith!
The second point is that I have never seen Yoga as a religion, why would I?
Many are discussing if you can practice Yoga and still hold your faith.
The history of Yoga started around 5000 years ago and was connected to the Vedras which play a role in the roots of Hinduism.
What you can see nowadays, as they share the same language, is that some chanting refets to hindu gods.
Ok, but not every yogi is sitting in a class and is chanting in hindu (many are not even speaking nor understanding hindu so why would they do it?). There are many many people out there practicing yoga regularly whithout having chanted even once! I’m one of them.
I use mantras from time to time – uhuuhhh, what’s that?
A mantra is nothing else than any repeated word or phrase – in meditation you can use it for yourself to manifest certain things for your own life like for instance “Let go of …” or “Trust yourself and love yourself” – whatever is important for you rat that moment. Mantra comes from the Sanskrit word ‘meaning’.
The Yoga language is simply Sanskrit, the same way Christianity is in Latin but Latin itself is not a religion, Islam in Arabic but Arabic itself is not a religion and Judaism is in Hebrew but Hebrew itself is not a religion.
Yoga was even rejected by Hinduism because yoga would not insist that god exists. It didn’t say there was no god but just wouldn’t insist there was.
For me this is another proof that Yoga is not a religion and should not affiliate with any religion.
There’s not one religious creed to be found.
You don’t have to follow certain rituals, such as baptism or confirmation. You don’t have obligations like in several other religions, such as visiting the church or mosque for prayer, fasting, celebrating feasts or receiving sacraments.
What is it then if not a religion? Is it sports, fitness, a hobby?
No, yoga was formed as a way to sit for hours, days, months, maybe longer in a meditative state, as a spiritual practice.
It is a spiritual way of living.
It is a way that teaches you mindfulness, how to take care of your mind, body and soul and how to be a good person.
What about the yogis that eventually would like to reach the state of enlightenment?
This enlightenment will not turn them into a god or a worshiper of god!
It means that they are able to experience a state of inner peace, bliss, some are saying they’ve seen their inner light, they connected to their deepest inner self. But that’s indeed all – no religious sign.
It’s a journey to our inner self.
If I step on my mat I feel calm, I connect with myself and listen to my body, mind and soul.
I breate consciously and fade out the stress of the daily life.
It’s my time to unwind and relax while going in and out of different yoga poses that strengthen my body.
I listen to myself or am still and take the stillness as a recreation for my mind.
The time while I’m doing Yoga is simply the time where I am able to honor all I am and the people around me.
I feel blessed because in times of stillness you are able to connect to what really matters.
If it’s not my religion, why do I post Buddha quotes on my social networks from time to time?
Because I am in charge of who I am and what I like or dislike.
I love Buddha quotes but that doesn’t mean I am a Buddhist, I love quotes from ancient philosophers as well – there is lots of wisdom to be found in many directions and I don’t decide if I like it based on which religion the authors belonged to.
I choose what I like based on the words I read.
One last question was why I can say Namaste without being connected to Hinduism?
Do you have any idea what Namaste means?
My soul honors your soul.
I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honor the light, love, truth, beauty & peace within you, because it is also within me.
In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.
Said that I give you now my personal explanation; I’m open-minded and one rule for my life is to respect and tolerate every living being on this earth.
I would dare to say that I am a better person than someone else because it’s not my right to put myself in a higher position.
I appreciate my life how it is and therefore also honor or thank others because people teach people lessons.
I wouldn’t be where I am without all those people on this earth.