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Everything you are looking for is already within you

You are enough.

In fact you are everything.

Though you might not always feel like that, the whole marvelous Universe is reflected in you. So take a moment to close you eyes, look within. And accept, that you already are… perfect.

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This is my personal reminder that I don’t need to look outside for love or approval, because it all already lies within me.

I would love to know what is your mantra or practice that you use, when you feel like you are loosing balance. Let me know in the comments below!

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Why yoga is all about accepting yourself

It’s all about this moment.

If you strive for body flexibility and the performance of advanced poses in yoga, you are missing out on the real “juice” of of this ancient science: accepting yourself exactly as you are in this precise moment. And expanding to your full potential in this precise moment.

I used to get frustrated, because as a yoga teacher, I can’t manage a full Upavishta Konasana (wide angle forward bend). Now I just expand my presence & energy and find ease & flow in the pose. In the moment. And smile! 🙂 ♡ ☮

I would love to hear from you! How do you see your yoga practice?

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The most popular yoga mudra and its “downside”: meet Jnana & Chin!

Mudras help awaken cosmic energy in the body, mind and soul. With hand mudra practice, healing is literally at our fingertips.

nadisOur palms and fingers are filled with nerve root endings, that constantly emit energy and are just waiting to be activated. Like the seven “famous” chakras along the spine, there is a chakra, an energy wheel, in the center of each palm. This chakra is part of a vast and intricate pathway of meridians or energy currents (nadis) networked throughout our whole body. According to many traditional texts we have 72.000 of them!

At the fleshy tip of each finger there lies an electrical contact point. Touching it with the thumb creates a lock, accomplishing a specific effect depending on the position of the fingers.

Jnana Mudra

In mudra science the thumb symbolizes the Divine or Cosmic Consciousness (Paramatma) and the index finger the human consciousness (Jivatma). When the two meet, there is realization, the oneness of humanity with the cosmic consciousness. It is also the symbol of the Infinite. This particular gesture is, as you well know, often used during meditation.

jnana mudra

The other three fingers, the small, middle and ring finger represent the three qualities of nature, the objective world (gunas): tamas (inertia), rajas (activity) and satwa (harmony, luminosity, creativity). This objective world symbolically disappears when union is achieved.

Jnana is a mudra for evoking wisdom.

How to

As all the hand mudras, Jnana mudra too, can be practiced it in a sitting or standing position. The only requirement is that the spine is completely erect – the chest, neck and head are held in a straight line. The hands are relaxed with a gentle pressure of the fingers.

We join the thumb and index finger, keeping the other three fingers straight. Palms are open up, towards the sky, in a position of receptivity. Traditionally Jnana mudra is done in the morning.

jnana mudra

Chin mudra

The name Chin is derived from the word chittha (consciousness). The hand positioning is practically identical to Jnana mudra, only that the palms are pointing down, towards the earth. In this position the energy is being given out to the earth.

Traditionally this mudra is practiced in the evening, like Jnana, usually during meditation.

chin mudra

The benefits

Both mudras can be used to help with loss of memory, lack of sleep, poor concentration and in general to enhance spiritual wisdom.

According to some sources Jnana is a miracle mudra, which regular practice helps to overcome bad habits of any kind, including addictions to intoxicants.

Since practicing these mudras with the awareness of their meaning, and allowing the energy to flow freely through my fingertips, I have to say, I feel a big difference. Mostly in being calmer and more focused. Still waiting for the effect on my bad sugar habit though. 😉

Let me know how you are finding it!

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Read more about mudras: Sarvajit  Mudra, The Lotus Mudra

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Why we all should quit sugar & how to still enjoy *nutella*

No sugar, no problem! Seriously. Take it from a recovering sugar addict.

no sugar, no problemLet me explain. A week ago I have decided to go on a 30-day sugar detox, meaning I am completely cutting out processed sugar. The only “sweet stuff” I use are honey, fresh and dried fruits.

Sugar is poison. It is addictive and  wreaks havoc on our liver, messes up our metabolism and impairs brain function. I never thought about it much and I have always eaten A LOT of it. Until 2011, when I realized that I was always tired, my hormones were a mess and I just needed to have some of it every day. So I cut it out. Completely. For a few months. And it was awesome! 🙂

A few (frightening) sugar facts*:

It can suppress your immune system and impair your defenses against infectious disease.

It upsets the mineral relationships in your body: causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.

It can produce a significant rise in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol.

It causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function.

It feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach.

It can increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycemia.

It can weaken eyesight.

It can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract including: an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

It can cause premature aging. In fact, the single most factor that accelerates aging is insulin, which is triggered by sugar.

It can cause your saliva to become acidic, leading to tooth decay and periodontal disease.

It can cause depression.

So what to do when still want something sweet? I present to you almondella! 😉

Yes, I really wanted to make (vegan) nutella, but didn’t have all the ingredients at home, so I used what was at hand. And the result was delicious!

roasted almondsWhat you need:

> 2 cups raw almonds

> 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

> 1/4 cup cocoa powder

> 2 tbsp honey

> 1/4 tsp salt

> 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt (use the vanilla one, if it has no added sugar)

blenderWhat to do:

> scatter the almonds on a baking sheet. Roast them for 10 to 14 minutes at 420ºF/215ºC. Let cool completely and gently rub the almonds with a towel to remove the skins

> process the almonds in a food processor or blender. I used the latter, it just takes a bit more time and patience. Process until you achieve a butter-like mixture

almondella> add the rest of the ingredients and blend everything until it’s well mixed. Stop the processor occasionally to scrape down the sides

> here you go! use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge

> enjoy responsibly & let me know what you thing about the recipe! 😉

 

*source

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More sugar-free recipes: Raw porridge

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Sarvajit Mudra for stillness of the mind

Mudras are an ancient science that unlocks wonderful secrets. They help awaken cosmic energy to purify the body, mind and the soul. And the best thing is, they can be practiced by anyone, at any time!

We usually don’t even think about it, but through our fingertips different types of electrical waves flow to various parts of the body. Mudras use those energy currents for healing.

Sarvajit Mudra

Sarvajit Mudra helps balance the activities of the right and left hemisphere of the brain. It gives victory over all the senses and surrenders the mind to stillness. It leads to Nirvana, enlightenment.

Sarvajit Mudra

We can practice it in a sitting or standing position, as long as the spine is completely erect – the chest, neck and head are held in a straight line. The hands are relaxed with a gentle pressure of the fingers.

How to:

Interlace the little, ring and middle fingers and bend them. Straighten the index fingers, touching the pads together. Straighten the thumbs, bringing them together side by side, as you see in the photo. A little triangle will be formed above the thumbs.

The mudra can be practiced as a part of meditation. Practice for at least 3 minutes per day.

How to: Sarvajit mudra

The triangle symbolizes the connection between us and the Supreme, and the movement of consciousness away from the many into the One. The sacred geometry of the triangle impels us to surrender, enabling the one Supreme Self to be victorious over the illusion of the many.

Personally I find this mudra practice extremely soothing and calming. Let me know how it goes if you try it! 🙂

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Read more about mudras: The Lotus Mudra

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Quick, healthy & filling breakfast: Raw porridge!

There are days, when you just don’t have time to prepare an elaborate healthy meal. And the good news is, it’s not a problem! Healthy food doesn’t need to take long, a bit of planning, a good intention and good ingredients will do the trick.

So here’s my recipe for a quick, healthy and filling breakfast: it’s raw porridge!

raw porridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you need:

> about 2 tbsp of raisins

> 1/2 to 1 cup of rolled oaths (depending of how hungry you are in the morning)

> 1 apple

> 1/4 tsp cinnamon

> berries of your choice

What to do:

> soak raisins and rolled oats overnight

> in the morning chop a fresh apple and blend it with the soaked raisins, oaths and water

> add berries

> sprinkle with cinnamon

> enjoy! 🙂

Why it’s good for you:

> oaths are packed with protein, fiber, vitamin B and minerals

> raisins are an excellent source of fiber, calcium, iron, potassium and vitamin A (read some more…)

> apples are high in fiber, vitamin A, B2, C and K, pectin and boron. They are cleansing, lower blood cholesterol, keep blood sugar levels up and aid digestion (read some more…)

> cinnamon is warming and promotes digestion. Some research even shows that it helps the body use insulin more efficiently.

There you go, rise and shine! 🙂

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3 ways mindfulness will help you experience your full potential

Just a few years ago you could only read about mindfulness in yoga and spirituality magazines and websites. Today it is pretty much everywhere! The most prominent business publications, such as The Economist, Forbes and Wired, feature it regularly and there’s even an international conference focused on mindfulness in business, called Wisdom 2.0!

But what exactly is mindfulness and how can it work for you?

As yoga teacher and long time meditation practitioner I can definitely confirm the tremendous help it has given me during the busiest times in my law career and later on, in the startup world.

The time is now

Simply put, mindful living means being aware and actively present in the moment. It means noticing and completely engaging in what is happening in your life right now.

By doing that you are not governed any more by fears, expectations or reactions, that arise out of habit, but by a conscious response to actual circumstances. Being rooted in the present moment, you can better assess the situation, notice its various facets, and use all your skills, when taking action.

In fact, research has found, that with increased mindfulness people become more charismatic, innovative, effective and less judgmental. Memory and attention improve, relationships expand, stress and pain decrease, energy increases. In short, we start using our full potential.

Open your mind

One of the first steps towards mindful living is committing to noticing new things in your work and home environment. That way you open up your perspective and become aware of new possibilities. In turn this enables you to be more creative and innovative.

Acceptance is key

Despite the fact we all know failure is part of being an entrepreneur, we can easily get discouraged and perhaps even give up, when it happens.

Taking the mindful approach to it, makes all the difference. By acknowledging how we feel and accepting the situation as it is, we can come to a conscious realization, that what has happened is already in the past. Focusing on the present moment, gives us a new perspective – the opportunity to see, that every “failure” also brings a valuable lesson. Perhaps it is about how we can improve our product, maybe it is a pivoting point for our business, or a meeting with a potential new business partner or investor.

Harness diversity

Our reactions, especially when they are not mindful, are based on our own particular experiences and skills. Which are always limited, because we simply cannot know and master everything.

By regularly reminding ourselves, that other people see and experience the same situation differently than we do, we can become more accepting towards them and their opinions. As a result, our relationships with colleagues, friends and family improve, we collaborate better and as a result we can produce more innovative and creative results.

Experience your full potential

experience your full potentialAnd this is just scratching the surface of how mindful living can enhance our life! By taking up a regular mindfulness practice, such as meditation, we slowly develop a more permanent inner stability and peace of mind, an inner joy that does not depend on success in work or private life, and a growing sense of kindness and compassion.

To come back to our starting point, anyone can practice mindfulness in everyday life. The first step towards it, is to decide to be aware and fully present in the moment. Making it a habit, you will undoubtedly notice results, because by only being rooted in the now, we can tap into our full potential for creativity and success. And that is ultimately the basis of innovation and disruption.

Are you already using or thinking to start practicing the mindful approach in your private and work life? I would love to know what are the results that you are noticing!

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I wrote this article for Pitch.rs, a platform for sharing knowledge for entrepreneurs and startups.

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Invite aboundance into your life with the Lotus Mudra

Yesterday we had the super (new) moon, today is Chinese new year – perhaps a good time to try a new practice: yoga mudras.

Yoga Mudra

Mudra is a yogic science, awakening cosmic energy to purify the body, mind, and soul. It heals physical problems, mental and emotional disturbances and leads to spiritual awakening.

Lotus Mudra

The Lotus mudra is the symbol of purity. It belongs to the heart chakra (the energy centre located in the heart area).

It is a hand mudra, that can help us become like the lotus flower – born in muddy water, going through much in its growth, and then emerge to become a beautiful flower. Because the lotus rises from unclean waters to blossom as a pure, uncontaminated flower, it is a symbol of purity and resurrection.

The Lotus also represents the spiritual heart. Mahanarayana Upanishad says:

“In the citadel of the body, there is the small sinless and pure lotus of the heart which is the residence of the Supreme.”

lotus yoga mudra

How To:

Place both hands in front of your chest, so that only the edges of your hands and your finger pads are touching. Open your hands (like the bud of a lotus flower), keeping contact between the tips of the little fingers and the outer edges of the thumbs. Spread the other fingers open as wide as you can.

Then visualise the lotus filling with pure prana and love, giving you all you need in abundance. Offer the flower of your heart, expanding and opening with each breath to receive Divine Grace.

Body posture:

For maximum effectiveness mudras should be practised with a symmetrical and centred body posture – chest, neck and head straight in one line. The hands are relaxed, with a light pressure of the fingers.

Duration:

15 – 30 minutes divided during the day or all in one go.

Let me know if you try it!

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Resources:
– “Hand book on union with God through finger postures”, Aparna Choudhuri, Aparajita Publishing, Puttaparthi, India (2007)
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Yoga Body: The Backlash

Something to think about. Yoga is not about changing your body. It’s about becoming comfortable and accepting yourself… and then the needed change will occcur naturally.

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Two years ago I wrote a popular post titled Yoga Body: The Conspiracy. At the time it was very warmly received, generating thousands of hits, hundreds of shares and loads of positive comments. But lately the commentary hasn’t been very affirmative. In fact, its been making people pretty angry. One yoga teacher was enraged enough to call me an ignorant, lazy, pissed off “fat chick”. Nice. So what I wondered, was suddenly getting people so upset?

A lot of commentators disagreed with my claim that the ‘perfect’ yoga body used to sell yoga mats, clothes, DVDs, books, workshops, festivals, retreats, studio memberships, etc. was not a healthy ideal, that it was a body overworked and underfed. They saw it as a glowing icon of inspiration, the natural outcome of a wholesome yogic lifestyle (i.e. self-discipline and dietary control). And as one person pointed out, if I didn’t have a yoga…

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