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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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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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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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! 🙂

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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

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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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