Uplift your day with yoga!

I love my morning yoga practice!

One of the main reasons why it’s a win-win situation?

You will RE-set our body and mind before you begin the day.

It’s something like resetting the computer. You bring your energy vibration, the body and the mind back into balance. Giving yourself the very best starting point. Before even beginning your daily tasks and challenges!

So, go on, uplift your day with yoga!

uplifting_yoga

I would love to hear from you. When do you usually practice yoga? Why do you choose that time of the day?

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Balancing act

Keeping balance in our lives is very important.

When we are out of balance, it is like our fuel is leaking. We are in fact losing vital energy (prana).

It might manifest like tiredness, inability to focus or being overly emotional…

As a tree dances with the wind, our balance shifts when circumstances change.

Take time every day to center yourself. Meditate, take a walk, go to yoga class, listen to music. Do whatever helps you step out of the hustle and bustle & tap into your inner balance.

And don’t forget that losing balance is part of life, so just keep smiling! 🙂

balance

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Great expectations

Dear friends, don’t forget to take it easy on yourselves.

Keep a check on your expectations. They can be a heavy burden, limiting you instead of lifting you up.

Life, after all, is fluid and alive. It is created as you go.

By fixing your mind on something, you might be closing the door on wonderful opportunities, that appear on the way.

What to do? Keep yourself open. Set an intent, use affirmations.

All of this will allow you to grow free and live your full potential of creativity, abundance and joy.

shanti shanti shanti

sky

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Vast as the Ocean

Sometimes a poem comes to me in the most unexpected moments…

Your heart is as vast as the ocean
One with all other drops
You look but don’t see the connection
And that’s where your pain arises from.
 
Let go of your fears, my dear
May love guide you gently through life
And there, in the flow, you will know
That you have been home all the way.

ocean
  We are all connected. ♥

What do you think?

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Ditch New Year’s resolutions for 5 yogic tricks & get immediate results

2014 is just around the corner. Besides cozying up with our loved ones and celebrating this special period, most of us also take time to reflect. Looking back on the year that is passing and pondering how to make the one that’s coming the best ever.

Step in the (in)famous New Year’s resolutions! OK, before I let you in on the yogic twist on the subject, let’s take a quick trip back to where it all started.

A tradition dating back to B.C.

JanusAs it turns out, the first New Year’s resolutions date as far back as the Babylonian times (from 1894 BC on). Then promises were mostly made in order to earn the favor of the gods. The actual tradition of making New Year’s resolutions began much later though, during the reign of Caesar, after 46 BC. The month of January in fact gets its name from Janus, the two-faced Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Janus is depicted looking backwards into the old year and forwards into the new one. Resolutions made at the time were of a moral nature, such as being kind and virtuous to others.

Nowadays the tradition is still very much alive. Apparently about 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, 17% make them infrequently, and the U.S. Government’s official website even gives you suggestions on what your resolutions could be.

Low success rate 

If so many people set themselves goals as the year ends, why is it then, that just a few actually manage to achieve them (as few as 8% as reported by statisticbrain.com)?

According to scientists one of the reasons for that is, that New Year’s resolutions are psychologically daunting. And combined with all other tasks and priorities we have in our life, the amount of willpower that they would require, is just too much for our brain to handle. So we eventually drop them.

The yogic way 

In yoga we strive to observe ourselves without judgement, act according to our inner guidance, let go of what is not needed and welcome what’s coming. Paraphrasing Gandhi, we try to “shake our world in a gentle way”.

These 5 simple tweaks should get you surprising and immediate results.

1. Smile your way to happy

MonaLisaSmileBy smiling, when we are actually not feeling happy, we “trick” our brain into believing that we are. It goes like this: when contracting our “smiling muscles”, a signal that we are experiencing joy, is sent to the brain. In return, the brain, now “knowing” we are happy, sends a signal right back to the muscles, to smile some more. The loop goes on and we actually start experiencing joy.

Why is smiling so powerful? Because it stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms. British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars and it can be as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 £ in cash!

>>> What to do: Just smile! With your eyes too. 🙂

2. Look up for confidence

This is one of the best tips I ever got. It comes from Dr. Sai Prakash, an Ayurvedic doctor in a small village in India. He told me: when you walk around, always gaze slightly up, not straight ahead, never down.

Looking up (towards the sky, the higher power, God or however else you prefer to call it) changes our brain chemistry making us feel more confident, positive and assertive. Whereas looking down towards the ground promotes feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

And that’s not all, the fact that body posture affects our emotions and even our hormones is backed by science. Check out this amazing Amy Cuddy TED Talk and this Scientific American article for more info.

>>> What to do: First look straight ahead and then direct your gaze slightly up. Keep it that way all day.

3. Drink water, feel good

body_is_waterWe need water to function optimally. Why? Up to 80% of the human body is water – the brain is 75% water, the lungs approximately 80% water, lean muscle tissue about 75% water (by weight), bone 22% water, blood about 83% water, even body fat has 10% water.

Water helps carry nutrients to the cells in your body, washes away waste products and helps biochemical reactions such as digesting food, producing energy, and building tissue. It sends electrical messages between cells so that your muscles can move, your eyes can see, your brain can think. It helps regulate body temperature, and lubricates your joints. It affects our mood – when dehydrated we feel lethargic, irritable and tired.

>>> What to do: Drink up. The suggested amount is about 2-3 liters (9-13 cups) of water throughout the whole day.

4. Sleep for productivity

A good sleep allows us to function to the best of our abilities, remain happy, positive and healthy.

Sleep is essential for our health, because it lets our bodies recover and repair themselves after the day we had. It also gives our brain time to process short and long-term memories. During the phase of deep sleep the mind is completely still so we can reconnect with the original spirit or consciousness.

>>> How much sleep do we actually need? There are different estimates to be found around the web, usually suggesting 6-8 hours. I personally try to follow the Ayurvedic recommendations – different times for different body-mind types (doshas > find out yours here): Vata 8 hours (10pm-6am), Pitta 6.30-7.30 hours (10/11pm-5.30) and Kapha 4.30-5.30 hours (11pm/12am-4.30am).

5. Think positive.

happythoughtsOur mind is powerful enough to bring things into existence, and the ancient sages knew it thousands of years ago already. As one of the most famous Buddha’s quotes goes:

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

When we feel happy and positive our energy vibrates on a higher frequency, and that’s the kind of energy we attract into our life as well.

Throughout the years we can take on negative affirmations, subconsciously telling ourselves, that we are unworthy, incapable or un-something else. The trick is to replace them with positive and uplifting ones. Ever heard of “Fake it till you make it.”? Something like that… in a good way.

>>> What to do: Here a few affirmations you can try. You can adjust them or come up with your own ones. Then repeat them to yourself throughout the day.

“I am safe, I am loved, all is well.”

“I love myself deeply and completely. I forgive myself deeply and completely. I accept myself deeply and completely. I am enough.”

“I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.”

“I will not be distracted by noise, chatter, or setbacks. Patience, commitment, grace, and purpose will guide me.”

It’s all about being mindful

As you see, ultimately these 5 life-tweaks are simple habit changes, that will nourish your body and steer your mind into a calmer and happier existence.

They are all exercises in mindful living, staying present in the moment and giving it your undivided attention. Because that’s where life unfolds.

What about your New Year’s resolutions? I would love to hear what you think! 🙂

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Happy holidays & a blessed New Year!

Dear friends, another year is ending.
 
I wish you all happy holidays and a blessed new year.
 
May we all leave behind what we don’t need anymore and shine brighter than ever!

HappyHolidays

`•.¸(¯`•.•´¯)¸.•´ `•.¸.•´ º .¸¸.•´¯` (¯`v´¯) .`•.¸.•´

Happy Winter Solstice!

The end of 2013 is approaching fast and the holiday season is in full swing. Besides the 8 yogic life-hacks that I compiled for you, here’s some more inspiration for the coming week: Winter Solstice is just around the corner (tomorrow!) and here’s how to elevate your energy & infuse it with light.

>>> Happy Winter Solstice! 

winter_solstice

>>> One of the best and most versatile recipes ever – coconut whipped cream! It’s healthy, easy to make (just 2 ingredients) and super yummy. Plus it’s vegan and looks like snow! 🙂 You can put it on cakes, cookies, muffins or wherever else you like. The only change I make, instead of sugar from this recipe, I use 1 tbsp of honey.

coconutcream_recipe

Read the original recipe at HealthyHappyLife.

>>>  And finally, a clip from an interview with one of my favorite authors, Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate—it’s that we are powerful beyond measure.” – without a doubt her most famous quote from the book A Return to Love (and often mistakenly attributed to Mandela). As she reminds us in this short interview, the cosmic spotlight isn’t pointed at us, but it radiates from within us. Beautiful!

YOU are the light, that you are looking for!

 

8 Yoga life-hacks to get rid of December stress

It’s that time of the year again! The time of lights, love and fun, but also overeating, late night parties and rushing around for gifts. To make it less stressful this time around, here you go, 8 yogic life hacks!

lifehack

Yes, that’s right, reflect on the year that’s passing, get together with your loved ones and celebrate the year ahead calmer and more energized than ever before

1. Drink up for focus & energy
About 80% of the human body is water. With your digestive system doing over-time, all the stressing, and alcohol’s dehydrating effect on top, your body needs to stay hydrated more than ever. Hydration keeps your brain in top condition, your mood stable, and prevents tiredness, migraine, constipation, muscle cramps and bad breath.

The hack: Drink a big glass of room-temperature water right after you brush your teeth in the morning. Also: take altogether about 2-3 litres (8-12 cups) of water throughout the whole day. But don’t drink it right after a meal, especially not a cold drink, it will slow down your digestion.

2. Rise and shine… with a splash
When you don’t get enough sleep and party through the night, it can happen that you wake up puffy and feeling like a zombi. No more of that!

The hack: After you wash your face and mouth with cold water, hold cold water in your mouth and splash some more over your open eyes. This has a double cooling effect. Then blink your eyes seven times and rotate them in all directions (side to side, up and down, diagonally, clockwise, counterclockwise). Hello freshness & alertness!

3. The 15-minute energizer
I realize I might lose you with this one. How could getting up earlier than usually help you, right? Trust me, it’s well worth it.

The hack: Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) is a set of yoga postures best practiced in the morning, to energize your body, mind and spirit. Try it to believe it. It will stretch and tone the muscles of your entire body, improve blood circulation and stimulate your digestive, respiratory, and circulatory system. Regular sun salutations will also improve your intuition, bring more clarity and focus. Do 4-16 cycles and finish with a short relaxation lying on your back (Savasana). You can use this video as a reference.

4. Breathe through it
Breathing and mind are closely connected. Every thought changes the rhythm of breath and every breath changes the rhythm of thinking. Through the art of breath control (pranayama) we can influence the flow of vital energy in our body (prana), and our state of mind.

The hack: The first step is to become aware of your breath. Sit down with a straight spine and tuck your chin in to straighten your neck. Place your right palm on your chest and the left palm on your belly. Slowly inhale in the chest and exhale in the belly. Do 10-16 breaths. Notice the difference. Remember: smooth breath – calm mind. You can also do this after Sun Salutations, before going to bed or anytime during the day.

5. Bye bye hangover
Even if you usually stay away from alcohol, it can happen that during the party season you have a few too many drinks. And when you wake up in the morning… not pleasant.

The hack: Courtesy of Ayurveda (Indian system of traditional medicine):
– mix a glass of lukewarm water, 1 tsp lime juice, ½ tsp sugar, pinch of salt and, just before you drink it, mix in ½ tsp of baking soda, or
– squeeze a glass of fresh orange juice, mix in 1 tsp lime juice and a pinch of cumin powder, or
– get organic coconut water, or
– if you are feeling drowsy, headachy, with a burning stomach and no appetite: blend 1 tbs of yogurt, 1 cup water and a pinch of cumin powder – drink 3-4 times during the day. It prevents dehydration, relieves nausea and soothes a burning stomach.
(tsp=teaspoon, tbs=tablespoon)

6. Ate too much? Get back on track fast
Been there, done that… stomach pain, bloating, not being able to concentrate… not pleasant. In any case don’t beat yourself up about it, you enjoyed the food and that’s what matters. Here’s how to make it better fast.

The hack: Fennel seeds! Did you know that munching on a bunch of those will aid your digestion, relieve abdominal cramps, gas and bloating? Yes! Fennel seeds will also freshen your breath and they taste good. Just take a bunch and chew them well! I always keep some in my bag, handy stuff.

7. Sleep deprivation be gone
Yoga nidra, also known as yogic sleep or sleep with awareness, induces a full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness. Slowing down your brain-waves it gives your nervous system a well deserved rest and allows you to occasionally “cheat” through sleep-deprivation. Some say that 1 hour of yoga nidra substitutes 7 hours of sleep. I’m not sure about that, but it always works wonders when I don’t get enough sleep.

The hack: You just lie down comfortably, close your eyes and follow the guided relaxation. The length will vary from 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on which recording you choose. Here’s a shorter and a longer example, but you have many more to choose from on the web. Try it and emerge refreshed! A suggestion – cover your eyes with a lavender eye pillow to relax even deeper. P.S.: I’m preparing guided meditations and relaxations to be available soon on my website. Follow the blog to get notified!

8. Slow down, tune in
When we are balanced we are happy, healthy and we handle stress better. But how do we get there? Meditation is the art of bringing harmony to the body, mind and consciousness. It helps us achieve mental clarity, alertness, effectiveness, and a better ability to cope with a hectic work environment. It also simply means that you gently take what you deserve – space and time in your life, for your self.

The hack: Take 10 minutes out of your busy day to sit in a quiet place. Straighten your spine, relax your body and close your eyes. Take a few breaths as described in hack 4.. Visualize yourself in a place, where you feel calm and relaxed, it may be a forest, a beach, a place where you regularly go, or perhaps you visited it only once, wherever you feel calm. Notice how your breath is expanding. Feel with your whole body and mind actually being in that place. Keep breathing slowly and smoothly, stay alert and relaxed.

If any thoughts come, acknowledge them, but do not follow them. Let them pass by, like clouds in the sky. Continue as long as it feels comfortable. Before you finish, deepen your breath and repeat to yourself an affirmation of your choice three times. “All is well.“ or anything else that you feel you need in that moment. Open your eyes.

May your holidays be full of light & love! 

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Friday inspiration >>> quote, article, video!

The Friday inspiration posts are back! Better than ever!

And it’s Friday 13th too! 😉

>>> Fear is just a thought:

SaiBaba_inspiration
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

>>> One of the best and most comprehensive articles on the chakras, that I have ever read. I highly recommend it to everyone from yoga beginners to experts!

DeepakChopra_article

Read the article at MindBodyGreen.
 
>>> A completely different approach to goal setting – an amazing interview with Danielle LaPorte. Trust me, you want to take the time and listen to this!

A sneak peak into the tips you’ll get: (1) Feel what feels good, (2) Look for patterns, (3) Declare your core desired feelings, (4) Ask yourself: What do I want to do, have or experience to create my core desired feelings? This is the beginning of goal setting with soul. This is where you make connections between how you want to feel and what will actually help you feel that way.

 
See, everything you are looking for is already within you!

Have an inspiring weekend! 

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