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

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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 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!

 

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! 

P.S.: I’d love to meet you on Twitter: here.
And if you enjoyed this post please consider sharing it on Facebook or Twitter below.

Nelson Mandela, an inspiration for your life and your yoga practice

It would be hard to write something about Nelson Mandela (a.k.a. Mandiba), that that you haven’t heard of yet. He was a remarkable person, a force of nature and an inspiration for generations to come. He was a true yogi!

Despite having spent 27 years in prison, he didn’t loose his spirit, in fact he emerged from the experience stronger. He was living proof, that we can be powerful beyond measure and that, when our inner fire is lit, it can never be extinguished. We can indeed change the world.    

Nelson Mandela’s life was his message, teaching us about compassion, inner strength, perseverance, hope, love and acceptance. Much like yoga does. 

So let’s always be reminded to extend our practice off the mat as well, and live the principles that we learn in yoga class.  May our life be our message too.

1. Believe 
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2. Always keep moving forward
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3. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can

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4. Acceptance

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5. Be good, do good

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6. You have the power 

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7. Let go

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8. Love

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9. Be present

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10. We are ONE

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Rest in peace, Mandiba. God bless!

Video

Love your life

Watch this beautiful woman inspire you with her love for life.

And don’t wait another day just hoping that something good will happen, that your life will change.

You are in charge. And you are stronger than you think.

Take action today!

What is that one thing that you have been putting off, because you don’t believe you can make it? Or you simply think it’s not possible?

Let me know. And then go do it.

Weekly Inspirations – Archive

Here you can find the inspirational messages that I have posted on the page so far. Others will follow in separate posts as we go.

Week 5 (4.2.-10.2.2013): 

“Pain and fear are just an illusion. They are thought patterns based on past experiences, that keep arising because we keep on repeating them. They have nothing to do with our capability, appearance, financial situation, relationships etc.. Next time it happens stop the thought, acknowledge how it makes you feel and replace it with a positive affirmation (f.e. “I am safe, I am loved, all is well.”).”

Week 4 (28.1.-3.2.2013):

“One of the ways to practice awareness every day – LOOK UP. Literally – when you walk around, observe, where your gaze is directed; many of us actually look down to the ground or straight ahead. Try directing your gaze a bit up, do it consistently and observe, how it makes you feel, how it affects your general outlook and attitude. You just might find yourself more positively attuned!”

Week 3 (21.1.-27.1.2013):

“View impermanence, uncertainty and change outside of you as opportunities – teachers in showing you the way to timelessness and peace within.”

Week 2 (14.1,-20.1.2013):

“Trust in the infinite Wisdom of the Universe to take you exactly where you need to be. The best discoveries are usually made, when you let yourself wander into places and experiences, that you didn’t plan.”

Week 1 (7.1.-13.1.2013):

“The time is NOW.”