than rolling out the mat
This will be another blog post.
Meanwhile while I am writing that one I would like to know from you:
What means Yoga for you?
I look forward to all your answers <3∞
Before I start – what is winter solstice?
It is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. On the day after the night is still long but not the longest anymore and we head towards the season of long days and short nights. So it is literally the return to the light out of the darkness. You can transfer this to your own life if you like and analyse the past months.
A time to reflect and make plans. If you google it you will find many rituals and traditions for this day in several cultures and religions. For me it was always the time to go through 108 sun salutations (and untrained this is really painful towards the end and days after).
I do sun salutations to welcome the sun back into my life and 108 is the number of spiritual completion. You will find 108 beads on a mala necklace which is used for meditation.
Is it just a series of movements or where are the benefits of sun salutations? One sun salutation has all a full yoga practice needs. You have back and forward bends, inversion and pranayama included. If you repeat it 108 times it will liberate your spine, your body will be revitalised and it surely will clear your mind, which has a meditative practice included as well. If you are able to think of anything else than moving with your breath and still counting to get the 108 done, then you are a genius.
I went through a couple of winter solstices since I started to practice yoga. I always ended up sore the next day. This year marks for me the year where I want to change my approach. 2021 was the year of change when I look back.
After I had a year off and a yoga teacher training in the middle of a pandemic I started a new job this year. My approach towards many things in life changed, not only work wise. After I finished my yoga teacher training in February I started to use my new gained knowledge, not on the mat but in my life.
Whenever I start to be mad (and let’s be honest, this year gave us lots to be mad about) I try hard to put myself in the shoes of others. It works sometimes, rarely for certain topics, but I’m on my way. How could I bring it to perfection shortly after I started? The little steps, the intention to be better, this is something to be proud of.
My new job proofs to me that I did nothing wrong in my job ever since, and this is an assurance I needed so much after a series of bad experiences where people wanted to make me believe a “truth” which never has been true. I let this go this December!
Letting go is hard and we often need some assurance that it will be fine. I got mine and am so grateful for it. Letting go of practicing 108 sun salutations on winter solstice is not on my plan. This year I want to proof to myself that I am perfectly able to finish without being sore the next day.
It needs only one thing, a proper preparation.
Although I love yoga I am not daily on my yoga mat. Yoga is great as practice and I want to do it daily, but let’s face it – some days, like today, there are time slots where I could slip it in, but this is not what I want. I want peace, my mat rolled out, a candle lit up, music in the background. I want to indulge into this moment in time. Ok, seems to be something else to put on my “letting go” list because I rarely get these moments between work and kindergarten and playdates and household.
The solution for me, I will put daily reminders for myself beginning on the first of December. DO SUN SALUTATIONS (and if you like a few more asanas).
The more I practice, the better I become.
We all know this but often laziness takes over.
Why do I love this winter solstice so much? Isn’t it a burden?
It is not, it is another chance, each year it is another chance to rise and learn.
I will start my winter solstice preparations beginning of December and it sounds more complicated than it is.
Return to Innocence
See it as the return to innocence. You let go of the past and start fresh. You think about your goals and realign them, you think about what wasn’t good and what no longer has a place in your life. Setting intentions is a wonderful start but don’t be rigid, let them be flexible and adapt them from time to time. Nothing is worse than intentions which are out of reach. This all is about you and your future and well-being. I like to compare it a bit to my yoga practice. If I want to learn how to go into the wheel pose I start little and have blocks as support. If I am not able to do a proper wheel then I acknowledge and work towards it with little steps and support. I may not reach it at all, but what I reached is a constant practice, this is a great achievement. Life is about adapting, about finding peace where we are because we are here for reason.
If you need a ritual you can burn a list of things you want to let go. Toss them into a fire and watch them burn.
Fire places are great to have during these dark days, so if you have one just sit there and soak in the heat of the fire.
If you don’t have one, there’s plenty of food to get us heated up from the inside. Especially in the Ayurvedic kitchen you will find hot food for its heating effect inside of our body. Black pepper, ginger and garlic – you can combine them with potatoes, broccoli and spinach, then add some root vegetables (carrot, turnips or radish) and some herbs (basil, mint or oregano) and you will have a wonderful warming soup or stew.
Be the light in someone else’s darkness is also a wonderful thing to do and sometimes it doesn’t need more than a smile or the truly meant question “how are you?”.
Embrace the light and welcome it back into your life. Day by day our days will be longer and the nights shorter. Make sure you go with the flow (as best as you can).
As cosy as I made it for us at home, once the days are longer again we will embrace the time we can spend outside and soak in the still cold air and a few rays of sunshine. The balance is all that we need, like with everything in life.
Are you preparing for the year’s end?
I will start soon to move through the first sun salutations and I hope this was a tiny motivation for you to embrace change and see the end of the darkness coming our way. Nothing stays at it is and never will. I think this is the most important reminder to go sane through a time which is for many scary and lonely. It will get better, I promise.
A pandemic divides the yoga world
I am astonished, if I am totally honest, how the pandemic affects the yoga world. I expected that it will affect the world itself, of course. And I expected, that the yoga community will be affected too, but not in such a harsh way.
People don’t trust people, there are a million theories out there of why it happened, what happened and how it could be resolved. I get that, and I understand that it is hard to find the sources you can trust, but please, there is science and science is not a fairy tale producer but based on facts.
Facts which are even visible, how can you still state that there is no pandemic at all? What I can understand is insecurity. We are bombarded from each corner with news about the pandemic and as much as I like the fact, that we are connected worldwide, as much I do hate the fact that everyone can make up stories based NOT on facts. What we see currently is a huge clinical trial which is open to the public. That was the only solution to get an immense slow down in this pandemic. Scientists and researchers could have gone another way, a way of doing their research, like usually, behind closed doors. But guess what? There would have been even louder voices spreading their theories on why we are not involved.
Fact is that science is needed to overcome it and fact is that this vaccine helps reducing severe cases and therefore full ICUs. Fact is also that this vaccine was fully developed within a couple of weeks. The basis, the mRNA is used already for a couple of years in research, new is the covid-19 virus added to the mRNA, and I am truly happy that scientists were able to get this done!
Vaccine side effects, we know all active compounds have side effects, so please tell me one thing, when you sit on your yoga deck in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle doing one of your magic mushroom ceremonies, are there side effects?
Psilocybin mushrooms have low toxicity, and death from an overdose is very rare. One survey in 2016 found that out of more than 12,000 users who took psilocybin, only 0.2% reported emergency medical treatment. Source: https://deserthopetreatment.com/hallucinogens/psychedelic-mushroom-addiction/overdose/
Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. More than 339 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through July 19, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 6,207 reports of death (0.0018%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/adverse-events.html
0.2% versus 0.0018% – and it is not clear on both sides if there were maybe unknown severe illnesses these people had, right? How can a vaccine now be more dangerous than a ceremony practiced by many of the anti-vaccine yoga folks?
If you talk about people dying, then put it in relation, of course people die. But the number of people dying is minimal in comparison to people dying actually because of a covid-19 infection.
A vaccination side effect is showing us that we are responding, that our immune system is working and starts to build antibodies. This is a great fact and far away from dangerous.
I can understand that there is a big portion of insecurity out there. Insecurity due to different scientists having different theories, insecurity due to the broadcasting of each single side effect in certain news channels, insecurity because our own personal world was shaken hardly.
We see all the people and hear all their stories and for some we believe what they say but for others we don’t. That’s life. But please do not ignore the facts and inform yourself through the official channels.
But, and that scares me much more, what makes me really start to be afraid is where humanity is heading to, the human behaviour “out there”, which seems to become more aggressive day by day. Not only physical, even more psychological – mobbing, dissing, threatening, and lots else happens on social media.
We know this happened before, but Covid turns out to be a driver for this behaviour too.
Call me naive because I hoped that yogis are able to handle this diversity better.
While everyone is asking for more equality and acceptance the yoga world is becoming a war zone for pro and anti vaccinated, for people who believe in the existence of a pandemic and those who believe it is all a big lie, for pro Trump and pro Biden, for pro science against pro spirituality.
Of course I expected lots of discussions, surely not everyone believes the same, but what I see now is similar to a war of different life models and health views.
I know that war is a very harsh word, but I don’t find something that fits better.
I am a yoga teacher myself, means I studied yoga philosophies and read a million articles and books and soaked in everything I could find about yoga, but despite of the inequality of ‘how to life your life right’, I always put tolerance on top.
I have to life MY life, and only MINE. I am not responsible for decisions others make for their life. A certain kind of broad-mindedness belongs to a person who is practicing yoga and I fully resonate with it.
And here I am and I wonder how others understand yoga. For some right now it seems to be an open invite to insist that their opinion is the only valid one and to defend that by all means.
The contentment of being satisfied with what you have? You, not others! You got vaccinated, that’s great! You don’t want because you think your body heals itself, great!
Your self-discipline? It is not only about stepping into your yoga practice, but also not to outrage when someone thinks differently.
Put the ego aside and be in your moment, why would you bully others?
Wise is who is centered and focused on happiness and peace. How can you be happy when you insult others? If that makes you happy you should overthink your own path! Peace belongs to brahmacharia, it has nothing to do with peace to tell others that they suck and their opinions are rude because you feel spoken to.
Don’t harm others – talking mean is harming others! Writing to others they are stupid is harming! Trying to convince others from your opinion is harming, they need to be allowed to find their own way.
If you read some conversations under posts of the recent yoga journal entry “Getting Vaxxed Was My Act of Ahimsa” ( https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/philosophy/covid-vaccine/) written by Wolf Terry, you won’t find ahimsa, brahmacharia, shaucha, tapas or santosha. What you will find there is the following:
I do not believe that a person studying a yogic path wrote this!!!! FAKE <- everyone thinks his/her truth is the ultimate truth and we should not judge others when it doesn’t fit into ours. Calling someone fake is letting me wonder where the commentators yogic path went off road.
You are yoga teachers ? You are supposed to believe in your work ? Frauds all of you. <- Yoga teachers are not allowed to have different opinions? Calling all a fraud isn’t an act of kindness as well.
My act of Ahimsa is not putting poison in my body <- this comment is maybe not what I think and believe in, but it is an example of how to comment without harassing or offending others.
Inappropriate propaganda posting for a site talking about yoga. <- If you haven’t read the article you will comment like this. There has not been made any propaganda, it is simply one opinion, one personal journey, not more not less.
As Wolf Terry wrote, HER opinion is that the vaccine was HER ahimsa – why don’t everyone accept that? Through to the diversity of human beings themselves we will never be all on the same page?
Yoga teaches non-judgement and what you can see in this comment section is far away from non-judgement. People attack the author of the article, they attack yoga journal itself, and they attack each other.
But, and I guess this is the most important part, Yoga (Union) is not about the ego but about the community. If you choose to go all natural and you don’t want to be vaccinated or respect some rules which are needed during this pandemic (like wearing masks), then stay away from others! Don’t walk into public stores, stop teaching yoga not to be a risk for your students.
You choose, it’s your path and that’s fine, but ahimsa means to protect others as well and you can only do this by being aware that a virus spreads. People who don’t believe there is a virus, I guess I have no answer to you all. I spare my words for people who actually listen and am sure you won’t as you didn’t listen to science too.
I love yoga, I love science, I love community and all the benefits of it, but please do not try to harm anyone around you! Respect their choices, even if it doesn’t go along with your truth, and most important – stay away from people you may harm unless you can be sure you will not spread a virus (and yes, here a vaccine can help us all!).
My advise – get your vaccine and be mindful. Stay healthy
I finally did it and am honestly proud of this achievement. Not only that I can call myself now officially “Yoga Teacher”, I also completed additional certificates.
Yin Yoga, restorative yoga, chair yoga and a dive in into Ayurveda, what an achievement! Not only to serve other but for myself, I learned so much during these trainings for myself, it is unbelievable.
The more I dive into all, that Yoga is, the more I feel home in myself.
To register with Yoga Alliance, although based in Germany, was for me the right decision. It gives me an additional feeling of being certified – even if it’s only for me it is already worth it. Many may not see the need and that’s completely fine. Once I registered I started to read through the page, joined the Yoga alliance community and there are so many benefits to learn more that I will never regret. If you are keen to have access to more learning possibilities, just for the variety there it will be worth.
I never new what I want to do exactly after being certified and I am still not sure but I started teaching my sister in law privately and it feels so good! What feels good is that I can share my love for yoga! In the end it is all about loving what you are doing, right? It indeed feels so good that I finally started to set up fiverr and am offering now individual class plans – as first step on this journey. If you want to have a look feel free to check out.
The soulace guru-maa is my other “baby” where I combine my personal experience, yoga and emotional intelligence to help people through a temporary hard time. My yoga mind is what I call it. Sometimes it just needs an ear, that listens, an outsider, a distant friend, a different view on a situation and that can help tremendously to change patterns, situations, a mindset.
I am on my way, on my way towards something unknown which feels already familiar. If you can combine your passion with your income, then working is living and that will be my future aim.
Instead of dreaming I finally start to walk towards that dream, my heart is guiding me, and I can only encourage everyone to do it, whatever your dreams are. We don’t need to jump, we can walk slowly with a safety net, as long as we walk we are on the right path.
Follow your dreams – for yourself!
There are seldom days…
that are perfect
There are seldom days that don’t fly by…you wake up, turn around, and it’s already time to unwind for bed.
There’s snow in April…
…our world seems to be upside down and still so normal.
Why not keep it realistic this time? Not everything will be great, not everything will be awesome, there will probably be times where you want to hide under the duvet and quit.
Before I start – please make sure that you only follow this routine when you are not having any pre-conditions which do not allow you to practice!
To feel good and be relaxed is something many of us need, but as we are all unique, we all have a different picture of what is relaxing
The below yoga poses promote relaxation in your body, mind and soul. It may not work directly if you never practiced yoga before but it surely will after a while. All in life needs time and if we expect the less we will be rewarded.
I love to have a silence surrounding me when taking these ten minutes for myself, which means a quiet place and some incense scent in the air, sometimes relaxing music in the background or essential oil on my wrists.
To create your own place is limitless – you do what you like and then roll out you mat with the intention of going into a calm space for the next ten minutes.
Sit in Easy Pose, cross your shins with your right shin in front. Raise your arms above your head and lengthen your spine with a deep inhale and then bend forward on your exhale all the way down to the floor. Stay and hold for one minute while breathing deeply. Lift yourself up in a seated position and change the position of your shins, put the left shin in front. Again raise your arms above your head and lengthen the spine with a deep inhale. Put your hands on the floor, then straighten both legs into a Standing Forward Bend. Now again bend forward on your exhale all the way down to the floor. Stay and hold for one minute while breathing deeply.
This is a very simple yet so relaxing way to reduce stress, tension and worries. It is also a wonderful practice before bedtime to end your day at ease.
Calms the brain and centers the mind. If you support your head (rest it on a pillow or block), it can help you to ease neck and back pain. Folding forward balances body, mind, and spirit.
Your feet are parallel to one another and you can place your hands on your hips. Inhale deeply while lifting your chest. When you exhale bend forward from your hip as far as you can but keep your back straight. Now you can place your hands on the floor or on a block. If you want variations you can also interlace your fingers behind your back and move them towards the floor (like this you add a bit more pressure on the forward fold). Hold this pose for one minute, breathing deeply in through the nose, releasing the breath through your open mouth. When you are ready roll up the spine slowly back into a standing position. Or you get out of the pose the way you went in, place your hands on your hips, engage your core and lift up into a standing position.
A calmed min. I can be a wonderful relief from stress, anxiety and mild depression. You lengthen your spine which may relief mild backaches. The blood flow into your brain is increased. Any tension in your neck and shoulders is released a bit, especially when you can rest your head (if you don’t reach the floor you can use some yoga props as support).
The easiest to start with in this case is mountain pose (Tadasana). Once grounded and steady you inhale and lift the right foot. Place the right leg over your left leg (thigh). Then you wrap your right foot around the left ankle, the right toes on the inner side of the left ankle. The right shin touches the left calf. Breath calm and balance. Once you are balanced you can lower the hips. The arms next. Start with bending your elbows and place the left elbow on the right upper arm close to the elbow joint. Now you can move your hands together. The palms of both hands should face each other. Keep the balance in garudasana is easier if you focus on one certain point (a spot on the wall, a candle, whatever you choose is fine). Your back should be straight and not rounded. Remain in this pose for a couple of deep breaths (if you manage 30 seconds it is perfect for a start). You can release and come back into a standing position. To balance your body repeat it now with the other side in the same way.
Garudasana is a twisting pose and therefore detoxifies your body. Your kidneys are flushed and blood is circulated to your reproductive system. The joints are filled with fresh blood. And of course the balance of your body is improved which also enhances concentration.
We start for the side stretch sitting in easy pose which means you cross your shins, widen your knees and slip each foot beneath the opposite knee. Relax the feet, so that their outer edges rest comfortable on the mat. Now you place the right hand on the floor next to you with your elbow slightly bend. Reach your left arm up and over the head and lean to the left side. Make sure that you don’t shift your whole weight but still are seated nicely, your hips grounded. Hold for one minute and then switch to the other side. Repeat and hold as well for one minute.
This pose is very soothing and relaxing. You neck, shoulders and back receive a gentle stretch. It can help you to relax your mind and also relieves stress and anxiety.
This is the easiest to explain and for many the hardest to stay in. Just lie flat on your back, legs straight, your arms are laying on your side. Your feet can fall naturally to the side. For your hands, if you need to ground yourself let your palms face the floor. If you are open to receive then rest your hands with the palms facing up. Your head rests, close your eyes and release tension in your body by feeling into all parts of your being. Let your breath come naturally. Nothing is forced in this pose.
For this 10 minute sequence I added 3 minutes only, but you can stay as long as you like in Savasana and enjoy it fully.
Savasana can help to relieve a mild depression as well as high blood pressure, headaches and insomnia. It can calm your nervous system which results in a release of stress and an ease in your body, mind and soul.My 10-minute Yoga Routine to reduce stress Click To Tweet
Your body is magic, be gentle and treat it as such.
Many people still see yoga as some type of “sports” but with lots of “strange” spiritual people following the yoga path.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Why should everyone include some Yoga in life?
Ok, I know, I told you that I am attending a yoga teacher training and of course I think that everyone needs yoga. Cliché? Maybe, maybe not.
It’s not easy to answer a question like that because obviously Yoga Teachers need students to teach and the more a teacher can teach the more he earns.
I would lie if I tell you that a yoga teacher does not want to earn money, of course, like for anyone else money is needed to cover costs, to live, eat, stay warm. But one truth is that not every yoga teacher wants to earn ridiculously high amounts to afford a beach house in the Caribbean, a yoga temple in the jungle or a fancy studio in Manhattan. There are teachers who love to teach, simple as that, who work to see students succeed on their own personal path.
What social media is often telling us about yoga is not the deeper sense. It’s great to have pictures of awesome yoga poses in stunning places, but that’s surely not the sense of yoga.
Let me give you my opinion as an almost graduated teacher about yoga.
It’s not the latest fashion of yoga pants and shirts – you can do yoga in any comfy clothes, even in jeans if you like.
And no, it is not about being as flexible as a bow. Nobody needs to be able to practice every available yoga pose to include some yoga in their life.
You cannot touch your toes and that’s ok – you still can do yoga, and eventually are able to touch your toes in a while.
Studios are too expensive for me or I don’t like to practice in front of others. Don’t worry, you just need to find a place at home where you can start, that’s all you need.
Wherever you are in your life, it is never too late to begin with yoga.
Yoga is a way to bring your body, your mind and your soul together into a state of serenity.
You read right, it is not purely moving your body, it is much more than that. Many use Yoga simply as sport, which is fine and beneficial, but it’s not all which yoga has to offer. And just because it offers lots you don’t have to indulge in all aspects, it’s your choice.
The main point is that whatever you choose from the yoga buffet – you put it on your plate.
You may choose chanting because you love to sing, perfect. Or you may choose asana practice but only to relax, that’s perfect too. Maybe you may choose to read the yoga philosophy and gain deeper knowledge, a wonderful choice. In the end you may stand in tree pose each morning for 10 minutes breathing deeply in and out, you are doing great.
Maybe in one month I am too stressed to get more done than 15 minutes each evening before bedtime. But these 15 minutes are grounding me and allowing me to have a restful sleep. One month later I have enough energy to do power yoga classes twice per week and start each day with a meditation.
Why include yoga in your life? Because we realise very quickly what’s good for us. And to listen to this inner voice, this feeling deep inside of us, is one of the most important parts on our yoga journey.
If it does not feel good, then please don’t do it!
We should never go beyond our abilities, because we can hurt ourselves. We all can work towards goals. If we set these goals for ourselves you will realise that some are reached easily and some will take time. Yoga teaches us patience as well.
In the end a yoga journey is different from person to person. You yourself choose what you want to include. One thing is sure, whatever out of the various fields of yoga you will choose, it will be beneficial for you. Chanting, Pranayama, Asana, it all sounds exotic but if we call it mindful repeating of intentions, breathing, moving it is something many already do without calling it Yoga.
The most important for me, and this is what I want to share with others is the following. Nobody is perfect, everyone has worries and struggles in life. When Yoga can be one part which brings peace and joy and relaxation, then it already does a wonderful job.
I did it – I signed up for a 200 hour yoga teacher Training.
This day will be marked in my calendar as the first step towards a major shift.
When, where, why, what for – all of this will be something I may share in future posts.
For now I just want to shout out that I finally made the decision to sign up and to start this journey.
I’m literally burning, I want to soak in and learn, dive into the depth of my being and move from one Asana to another. I want Yoga in my life and I want to understand more about it.
It already feels like a wonderful decision and now it’s up to me to start.
Yoga Plays a role in my life since several years and this decision was already overdue I guess. I wrote several Posts About yoga already – one for example is this one https://misssfaith.yoga/2017/05/18/yoga-isnt-my-religion/
Now I will sit back and celebrate this first major decision of 2020 – off to new ways!!!
What has been your first major decision in 2020?
If you are interested in becoming a Yoga Teacher, I can recommend you the book “Teching Yoga beyond Poses”. It was one big inspiration for me and made it easy to finally sign up for the training.
It’s a lifestyle I can’t Escape, even if my inner lazy self would love too, once in a while.
I think I’m totally lost (some would say), lost in the sense of being unable to live without Yoga.
This journey started when I was lost and down to earth.
I was literally down on my knees because I treated myself not in the way I should have.
I guess everybody reaches a time in his / her life where you are forced to change something; something profoundly.
For me this change happened in 2011 and it was just the starting point. I wasn’t sure if my way would bring me up on my feet again or if I had to seek professional help one day.
Books and Yoga was my way and on top a single vacation which was needed more than I was aware when I planned it.
The adventure of my vacation is also on the blog:
Ever since the decision to change my life the term Yoga is a present part of my life. Some days more and some days less, like waves. On days which are exhausting the waves are stronger and the urge to dive into my yoga is more present than on peaceful days.
Yoga has been my therapy. No, yoga is my therapy!
My drug, my realm, my happy place, my hideaway…it is bigger than visible for outsiders because so much takes place inside of me.
I may not be a typical yogi which raises the question what a typical yogi is.
This picture of how a yogi should be is changing fortunately because a yoga lifestyle is as individual as human mankind is. Nothing is typical, there are no rules on what need to be fulfilled, the only important point is: be authentic and live in a way you are feeling comfortable with!
Every yogi out there is following an individual path and none is better than the other. To learn not to judge others is a big lesson because we all tend to judge others.
How can she call herself yogi if she never stepped into a yoga studio?
How can she write about Yoga without being able to do a handstand?
How can she tell others she’s leading a yoga lifestyle if she is not rolling out her mat daily?
I can and I do because of all of this.
Who is able to tell you who you are, if not you yourself?
The first person being sure about how your life is going along, what path you are on, how you feel about certain topics, how happy you are is: YOU YOURSELF!
One of the biggest lessons in life for me has been that nobody except of me can tell me how I feel or who I am or what I need. I am in charge of it and I decide what I need and what I don’t need. I decide what I want and what I don’t want.
I tell you who I am and nobody else is telling me who they think I am!
Trust your journey and walk your path. This is the best advice I have to give simply because this is what I do. I may be wrong on my way but that’s fine, only if you walk in the wrong direction once in a while you will be able to readjust and turn things upside down to find your right direction.
You are worth to live in a way you want and if this includes yoga, religion, music, literature, any interest you have to feel better, then DO IT!
My way is the yoga way and this includes many side ways as well and at the end of the day my theme is “Yogain’t a choice any more” because it lives within me. Yours may be “Vegain’t a choice any more”, “Shambalain’t a choice any more” or whatever you choose / have Chosen for your life to have a profound impact-
Trust your journey and live it. Lots of love <3
This will be another blog post.
Meanwhile while I am writing that one I would like to know from you:
What means Yoga for you?
I look forward to all your answers <3∞
Practice love until you remember you are love
A wise sentence which is not from me – Swami Sai Premananda said it once and it contains pure truth!
I want to practice Yoga, I desperately want to, but so often I am barely able to finish what I need to do on a normal day so that this aim falls behind, again and again.
BUT, and this should be a reminder to all of us, I practice love a thousand times per day – I try to be the best version I can be day in and day out. I fail along the way, and I learn, and I start all over again and do what I suppose is the right thing to do.
Every human being can relate to this I guess, because that’s life!
I have many examples where I try and fail and try and love as the mom of a terrible two toddler who is the most awesome mirror you can ever imagine.
I have many examples as a wife as well.
But the most important is that we all, regardless of what we are else, we all have to practice love as a person. You interact with people, be it the waitress, the fuel station guy, the postman, the whoever. Be kind and watch yourself how you interact in life.
My Yoga is kind of messy hair, half-dressed, morning asanas, far away from rolling out the mat, lighting up incense sticks, having some chilly music in the background, and what should I do now?
Cry about it won’t make it better. I love it, I embrace the fact that I can have these messy hair asanas once in a while, I embrace the fact that the main reason that is stopping me (be it my son, my work, whatever) will pay out for the misses yoga time because I handle my life with love.
No regrets, this is very hard to learn on many days but in the end we need all of this to grow and to learn.
When you start to love yourself and to practice love you will see a major shift, just for yourself and after a while from the outside.
What’s more important than love and be loved? Nothing!
Who can relate to messy hair yoga and the try to be a better person day by day?
Show me your asanas 😉
My favorite these days is the child’s pose – pampering myself and get grounded on wooden floor. You are your Yoga! That’s the most important.
Take care and Namaste my dear followers.
And before you leave, one small wisdom from my side:
Mommy time is night time…
…or better said the time when everyone is asleep besides herself.
When to relax and finally have just a little “Me” time?
When nobody wants something from me. When no child is tired or cranky or needs mommy. When my husband is completely busy like now on the phone with his Libyan guys or if he sleeps next to our son.
Time for me and instead of actually DOING something I’m laying next to a snoring toddler in a half dark bedroom and I type. I type my thoughts out of my brain and onto this blog (which started as a combined yoga/relationship/life wisdom blog and feels now like a one in a million mom blog).
I have so many things I would long to do but right here right now I’m too lazy to go back to the living room even if I know there’s some nicely prepared fruit on the table and that means what?
I am exhausted and tired.
Moms are sometimes exhausted and tired and yes, that’s ok!
Even more, it has to be like that!
I mean, seriously, let a man do what we accomplish day in and day out and hear what he will say.
I don’t doubt that there are some men out there who are able to handle our job perfectly, absolutely! But the focus lays on ‘some’. The majority will break down latest on the morning of day two (if not already after a messy day one).
Did I just mention my husband?
He came in and told me that he ate ALL the fruit while being on the phone and now he cuts a nectarine for me and I eat it in bed 😊
We need to be pampered once in a while!
People water plants day by day but they forget their spouses.
If your wife is having a warm dinner ready for you EACH evening, show her that you appreciate it – we need these things like plants need water!
I want to do some yoga since weeks and what am I doing instead?
Laying in bed eating nectarines. And should I tell you something? That’s OK! My muscles are sore anyway because I went the past two days with the bicycle to the kindergarten and as always last minute, so I simply deserve this moment now because I do enough!
I run through my life, from kindergarten to work, from work to kindergarten, from kindergarten to household to cooking to grocery shopping to playtime in between all of this and to being a wife in the evening when our son sleeps.
Isn’t that schizophrenia?
I understand each and every single mom out there who is about to shout a loud Stop once in a while.
We are no machines and we need time to be just ourself.
At least a few minutes. Please.
I go ahead and eat my nectarines now and just take this moment as a “that’s exactly what I need right now ” moment!
Take care of yourself my dear moms – you all are doing a fantastic job!
Balanced Mom or how to relax with a toddler
Who said motherhood is easy-going?
Or better said, it isn’t always!
I was practicing Yoga before pregnancy, almost until the very end of my pregnancy and I started about six weeks after birth again to roll out my mat and loved it but what happened then?
My baby started to move around. I think that was the point when I began to let go.
You prepare the place and it looks so inviting and before you start he wakes up after a 5 minutes nap that should have been a 2 hour nap.
And for sure you want your baby to grow and move and explore the world but not just at that moment when you are on your mat.
But that’s life – babies don’t care at all what you want and it is their right!
I’m always saying myself that I wanted him so much and that he deserves my attention. Life without him is unimaginable so what am I complaining about? But still, there’s a tiny voice inside of me saying that I deserve also some time for myself so I just started to check where to find this time because my yoga mat was invaded now by a toddler.
In general letting go is something wonderful, letting go old nasty habits, letting go people who stress you, letting go old wounds, letting go bad memories BUT why should I let go my personal realm?
I didn’t want to let it go, it just happened and I was too weak to scream STAY.
There were these endless nights of no sleep and days without one free arm, hours and hours of carrying a baby followed by hours and hours of breastfeeding. And then you see these super-fit moms on Instagram who breastfeed their babies while being in a state of complete relaxation while standing upside down – yes, this is what I needed to be more frustrated even.
I love Jen Pastiloff’s No Bullshit Motherhood because that’s the truth!
We struggle more often than you can even imagine and all of a sudden the baby is asleep and then we worry if he or she is fine instead of using the time to relax, we think we need to be perfect but hey – we DON’T NEED to be perfect – we need to survive this crazy journey of being a mom to be there as we promised our babies in the very first second after birth.
“I’ll be there for you until the end of my life and beyond, my love for you will never die!”
My son is now 14 months and have no idea where all this love is coming from but I love him more each day although I thought it cannot be bigger than when we first met. BUT I am also tired on some days and stressed on others and sometimes both.
My Yoga practice is, let me call it, slightly irregular but I found out that I need less time to relax than before I was a mom. Less time because I know that I need to grab every second as this will be better than nothing so I relax while folding clothes, I relax while having a shower, I relax while being out for a walk when he sleeps, I relax these 5 minutes on the playground when he’s happily eating the sand again (it will improve his immune system, that’s what I tell myself because I cannot stop him anyway).
Today I had really time for yoga, my husband and my son had an afternoon nap and finally I rolled out my mat (to realize that I’m stiff like a wooden stick but who cares) and yes, it felt so so so good.
But more often the truth is that I try to squeeze in 5 minutes with a messy bun on my head just to have the feeling I haven’t lost my yoga at all.
I know that this is just a phase and that things change, until then I will embrace this motherhood exactly the way it is! Mostly the best ever and sometimes just beyond my strengths.
Stay strong dear moms out there because you know what – WE ROCK (no men can even imagine what we are capable of and we should be proud of ourselves!)
Standing on the mat for a few deep breaths is sometimes all we manage but that’s fine because we feel alive and know that one day these few deep breaths are just the start of a whole new yoga practice because our children grew up and we miss them on our mats so deeply.
I am thankful that I am experiencing all of this, even if it’s not easy from time to time, I just see my son and know it all is so worth it and everything happens for a reason!
Namaste ॐ Yogamamas
Yoga isn’t my religion
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.
Sending love & light.
The 11th day of Yoga
I’m a bit proud as I stopped and started so many kinds of “sports” already but it was always the same, after a couple of days I put it aside. I wasn’t able to conquer my weaker self.
I think now that I haven’t found what I was searching for.
Having a stressful job I didn’t want too much pressure on myself in the few private hours.
I was thinking about Yoga several times but to be honest with you, the typical picture of Yogis I had was not the best and I didn’t want to belong to this “group”.
Another point was that I could not imagine myself in a yoga class sitting between strangers and saying ‘Ommmm’ from time to time, I thought I would rather laugh out loud instead of starting this in a serious way.
Nevertheless, the main benefits of yoga remained in my mind.
So once again I picked this topic up and tried to find some guidance on how to do it without attending classes.
I once tried a CD with a small booklet attached but it wasn’t convincing me at all. I made stupid posing on the floor without any improvement and threw them after a short while.
Don’t ask me what my intention was now to start a new yoga DIY search once again, there wasn’t a particular turning point or “calling” or whatever reason some may have. I was just curious as I couldn’t believe that there isn’t a way. So my reason was curiosity.
And yes, there is a way!
My iPad brought me to the AppStore and I went through so many Apps, looking at the pictures and reading through the descriptions they provide before you hit the buy & install button. The app which was most appealing to what I had in my mind wasn’t free, as usual, but also not as expensive as some others, so I bought it.
And here we go, I went through the introduction, curious to try it directly and again I found myself on the floor doing what? Yoga!
But this time it was different, the yoga instructor explained perfectly with videos what I should do and all videos had relaxing music in the background. You could choose if you want to hear the instructions and music, only instructions or only music. I went with the first, instruction and music, for a couple of days and now I am already able to go along just with the music.
Is this what I was looking for?
Yes, it is!
After ten days only I start to be more confident in each asana, yoga pose, and I start to feel muscles in parts of my body where I would never have assumed them.
My general mood and feeling is better, this may be a result of being focused.
I realize that I’m more focused and that I can shut off thoughts during the sessions and just listen to my breathing and body.
What I have to admit is that I was desperate for something that enables me to relax after work, so I was searching for a “remedy” that gets me quickly into a calm state.
Maybe this isn’t working for everyone as every person is approaching things differently. I can just speak for myself and my experience here and for me it worked.
On the third day I went to the city centre to buy a yoga mat. I needed more grip than my carpet or wooden floor could offer me, as well as something not too hard or too soft. But knowing myself I went home with the cheapest one for a start. It is sufficient for now and if I hit day 100 for constant daily yoga I will congratulate myself with a better mat. Still a way to go but I’m confident that I have found something for myself.
The general benefits of yoga you can read almost everywhere.
One description in general is the following:
Who doesn’t want permanent peace?
Another one says:
I read lots about yoga and what I found is to be taken with caution for sure as there are many ‘so called’ professional yogis out there who want to attract with yogic cancer healing or other suspicious thesis. But what I found as well will be listed below.
For me there are many aspects which makes sense and if we are all honest with ourselves we know that we all could improve our lifestyle and health.
I only list what I think is reasonable – BUT I don’t say it is true or proofed.
These items were just the ones which attracted me more to give it a serious try.
Change your posture and you change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change your nervous system.
– Increase of happiness.
– Improves coordination and reaction time.
– Tones your body and gives you a better body feeling.
– Improves your flexibility.
– Yoga and meditation build awareness.
– Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present.
– Improved flexibility and stronger muscles.
– Yoga helps to quiet your mind.
– Yoga gives you the tools to help you change, and you might start to feel better the first time you try practicing.
– A heart rate in the aerobic range lowers the risk of heart attack and can relieve depression.
– Yoga promotes breathing through the nose, which filters the air, warms it, and humidifies it, removing pollen and dirt and other things you’d rather not take into your lungs.
– Just believing you will get better can make you better.
– Yoga can provide relief from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
– Yoga can help your blood circulation, especially in your hands and feet.
– Yoga gets more oxygen to your cells.
– Yoga can strengthen the spine.
– Yoga improves your posture.
– Yoga may also inspire you to become a more conscious eater.
– Regularly yoga improves balance and better sleep.
More about these as well as more explanations are found here:
What I discovered as well is that there is a whole philosophy around yoga, means it’s not just about doing physical exercises, it teaches you more.
I would call myself a pretty realistic person but although not everything may sound realistic in first place, I can see that there can be a deeper sense behind. The word faith, which is not just a joke in my name here, is important. You have to believe in many things to reach them and from my point of view it’s the same in Yoga.
If I would just sit down and start to stretch my legs or raise my arms I would end up with giving it up. What keeps me doing it is: I realised while breathing per instruction that I started to calm down. The more sessions I did the more I realised that I’m feeling good while practicing and afterwards.
I believe that I need a certain portion of relaxation and if that’s the way to reach it I’m fine.
Our life is full of stress and distraction and noise – just a few minutes per day to calm down and focus on yourself can’t be wrong, at least not for me.
I know that I need some more changes. Working for more than eleven years in a row without major relaxing time-outs brought me to a point of searching for changes.
Yoga is one of them as well as writing here, let’s see what else I discover on my way.
Take care and keep the faith in whatever you are doing!