Shifting FOCUS

I am trying to shift the focus of my Yoga practice.

For a long time it was all about in fact competing with myself:

“Better, stronger, more!”

And nothing wrong with that per se, but for me it just reinforced feelings of not being enough and keeping me in doing instead of being mode.

Now I consciously set an intention of making my practice a nurturing one.

Which doesn’t mean I can’t engage in challenging poses, but doing so while listening to myself and resting in child’s pose when I need to instead of pushing through which is an all too familiar pattern in my everyday life.

Instead practising being gentler with myself and attuning to my needs.

 

What I am grateful for today:

Felt especially grateful for the sunshine today, that allowed me to sit outside, and soak up the warmth while enjoying my latte and a croissant (and yes, you can’t be gluten-free, super healthy all the time, as long as you eat it mindfully and with JOY :), which I did)

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Discomfort all over…

As I am standing in the bathroom wallowing in my admittedly excruciating period pain, R.E.M.’s Everybody hurts” is floating through my mind.

And true.

At this very moment 1000s of other women around the world are experiencing similar cramps, tensions and/or feelings of nausea related to their monthly discomfort.

I have been occupying myself with learning more about the chakras lately. The one that comes to mind here is the second one, the scaral chakra or Svadisthana in Sanskrit. When unbalanced we can feel stuck unable to move forward. And that again fits with what my TCM practitioner told me about period pain. The smooth flow of blood and / or energy is interrupted, the  blood flow stagnates and depriving the pelvic region of adequate oxygen, nutrients, and waste removal.

So here are some things that may help in balancing the second chakra:

 

Day 2 of my 14 day mindfulness challenge – Labelling Emotions

Image courtesy of “Heart Drawing On The Sand" by arztsamui

Image courtesy of “Heart Drawing On The Sand” by arztsamui

This is Day 2 of my 14 day mindfulness challenge. Every day for the next 14 days I will do a mindfulness meditation.

Today the focus was on labelling EMOTIONS. I had a fitful sleep as I was obsessing about this work project I can’t seem to get a handle on. That send me in an anxiety spin so I spent the first hour this morning working on said project to calm my stress levels before I felt ready to do my meditation.

After connecting with my abdominal breathing, I focussed on my chest area noticing which emotions were present. It turned out that obsessing about my work is a defense against underlying feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness.

How PAINFUL!!!!

Nevertheless, I am grateful to be able to be with this issue and having the capacity for it to emerge.

What I am grateful for today:

  • Insights!
  • My “home brewed” Kombucha tea!
  • Doing my mindfulness meditation this morning!

THANK YOU!

Day 1 of my 14 day mindfulness challenge – Abdominal Breathing

MeditationWoman_myyogalivingThis is Day 1 of my 14 day mindfulness challenge.

Every day for the next 14 days I will do a mindfulness meditation.

Today the focus was on abdominal breathing. The breath is such a great indicator of where we are at. If we are stressed or anxious, chances are that our breath is up in our chest area, either shallow or rapid. Bringing the breath down into our belly has an instant calming effect on our system. Making us feel grounded and soothing our nervous system.

What I am grateful for today:

  • I slept OK!
  • Found some answers to questions I was pondering before going to sleep!
  • Doing my mindfulness meditation this morning!

THANK YOU!

 

 

Back at YOGA – but how confronting

Image courtesy of  "Beautiful Yoga Girl At Sunrise On The Beach" by samuiblue

Image courtesy of “Beautiful Yoga Girl At Sunrise On The Beach” by samuiblue

I am back at Yoga.

What a humbling journey though.

The first sessions were excruciating. Even the slightest stretches send my body into a pain spin. And being confronted with how quickly my flexibility and muscle strength waned. After 6 weeks of a break (I kept up regular walking) my body felt really stiff, inflexible and weak.

The explanation my chiropractor gave that because the body adapts the best way it can often a domino effect is created. As moving is painful, the muscles around the  affected area tighten which results in a loss of motion range and flexibility in this area. Surrounding joints and muscles will compensate for that thus overworking them and eventually creating the same irritation to the nerves as in the affected area.

Because my neck and back issues are still present the yoga asanas I can engage in are limited. Yes, I am happy to be back at all but it also makes me realize how much of my positive sense of self is being wrapped up in physical fitness and taking my body for granted.

What I am grateful for today:

  • That I can practice Yoga asanas
  • That my spine issues have improved and the pain has lessend
  • My increased body awareness

YoGa Interrupted

Image courtesy of "PinkBlue"http://www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of “PinkBlue”http://www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What would you do if your Yoga journey (I am talking about the asana practice on the mat) was disrupted by an accident or other health issue?

That’s what happened to me a few weeks ago and I am still coming to terms with it. A long standing spine issue flared up and forced me to have a break from all twists, back- and forward-bends.

It is not an easy journey and I notice how irritable and frustrated I am. My regular asana practice was such an important part of my life and also helped me cope with unpleasant emotions, stress and tension. Not to mention the endorphins that would be released into my bloodstream, greatly enhancing my mood.

I have good moments as well, where I am grateful that I can still walk, but often frustration creeps back in and I just want for things to go back to the way they were. I guess some of you will remind me of practising yoga OFF the mat. That the asanas are just a very small part in the overall Yoga practice. Yes, there are the other limbs of Yoga like the yamas (how you treat others), the niyamas (how you treat yourself), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawl of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (state of ecstasy).

I know there is learning in every experience but at the moment I am just riding the roller coaster of emotions. Frustration. Sadness/Depression. Impatience. Fear.

What I am grateful for today:

  • That I can walk
  • My pain has lessened in the past few weeks
  • That I have faith I will practice Yoga asanas again

Staying with WHAT IS – Becoming UNSTUCK

Ever felt gripped by that feeling of “STUCKNESS”. When there is no CHANGE, nothing seems to move and you don’t know any constructive steps forward?

This is quite a familiar feeling for me. So finding Jennifer Louden’s 15 Radical Ways to Get Unstuck felt like a real gift to me. So I would like to share some of them with you. Here are her 15 suggestions of getting you unstuck:

  •  Acceptance – Decide that whatever is stuck will never change.

  • Forgive yourself for everything you believe lead you to this stuck place.

  •  Tell someone the FACTS about your stuckness to prove that you are really stuck.

  •  Go into a room with nothing for 3 days (no internet, phone, TV, books etc).

  • Hire the best and put your entire attention on solving this stuck.

  •  Keep an action journal in which you write down the actions you take everyday to get unstuck.

  • Interview your stuckness through left hand right hand writing, let it answer with your non-dominant hand. Questions to ask:

  • What is your name?
  • Where did you come from?
  • What gift do you have for?
  • Why do you love me so much?
  • How do you love me?
  • What do you need?
  • How can I help you get it?

If you want to read more about getting unstuck click on 15 Radical Ways to Get Unstuck!

What I am grateful for today:

  • Jennifer Louden’s post.
  • Looking out of the window and seeing the sun shine.
  • Catching up with a lovely girlfriend.

Staying with WHAT IS – Being PULLED

Image courtesy of “Idea go” http://www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On some days it seems more difficult to hold the polarities of life than on others, to stay present to the tension of both sides.

Especially, if you have a tendency like me to experience the EXTREMES.

But nothing is ever just all good or all bad.There are opposites, pros and cons in everything we  do and experience.

Polarities are a normal fact of life, the issue lays in how we are dealing with them.

Whenever I feel those strong pulls in either direction and I notice myself reacting rather than making mindfully an informed decision, I try to be still. Find some space to sit with and journal about what is going on. To help me discern what is true to my AUTHENTIC self  and what is a defensive reaction to manage my anxiety about uncertainties.

What I am grateful for today:

  • My mentor who helps me name and contain those strong pulls.
  • My capacity to learn and to grow.
  • My space: Emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically.

Staying with WHAT IS – How to be successful as a Yoga Teacher

Image courtesy of Ambro http://www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ever wondered what it takes to be successful as a Yoga Teacher? Do you know why some teachers strive why others not? Brooke McCarthy from Yoga Reach has written two interesting articles on why some teachers become known around the world while others struggle to pay their bills.

As success factors she lists the following:

  • Being confident that you your yoga teachings are valuable
  • Being able to adapt your teachings to individual needs
  • Being consistent and committed in your professional efforts
  • Being driven and able to leave your comfort zone
  • Being clear and articulate about where you want to be
  • Embracing Karma Yoga

For more information read the full articles:

http://www.theglobalyogi.com/home-featured/why-some-yoga-teachers-thrive-and-others-just-survive/

http://www.theglobalyogi.com/home-featured/thrive-or-survive-as-a-yoga-teacher-part-2/

Staying with WHAT IS – Balance versus Acceptance

“Image courtesy of wandee007 FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Haven’t visited this space for a while. Went on a trip and travelled to new places comes. Finding my focus being re-directed from the internal to the external.

Guess what’s required is more balance.

I seem to fluctuate between these two extremes but in the long-run I hope I will find some middle ground.

Or maybe I need to make peace with exactly that.

Namely that there are phases of self-reflection and internal processing and then there are phases for these new learning to be implemented in real life. Because whether you have truly integrated new learnings only shows itself in your interaction with others.

As with everything in life, its a cycle.

Thank you!

What I am grateful for today:

  • My yoga class this morning
  • The yummy Thai curry my partner cooked for me
  • Walking in the sunshine