self-development, Yoga

Self-trust

I’ve had a wrist injury 10 years ago. It made me quit playing the violin and made me lose trust in my body. I didn’t even realize – only in hindsight – that this injury made me feel weak, that it made me think my body is not capable of things I didn’t even consider twice, before the injury. I remember avoiding putting weight on it, even avoiding using my left hand, if not absolutely necessary.
Even after I’ve recovered, that pattern stuck with me.
I’ve started practicing yoga a while after my injury and I’ve always avoided arm balances, handstands and everything that could drain my wrists. I always wanted to do crows and wheels, but only practiced half-heartedly. And I also realized, that I used this injury as an excuse. I was hiding behind it, for it is easier to say ‘my body doesn’t allow me to do this’, than ‘Hey, I’m new to this and I’m not good at it’ or even ‘I’m not new to this, but I’m not good at it’. I was fascinated by that insight, and of course a little bit ashamed of it as well.
And than there came a turning point, about half a year ago. Mid practice, I decided that I no longer wanted to be the victim of those patterns, of my past, of my thought-carousel. I allowed myself to be a beginner, to be not good at it, to fail and fall (over and over again).
And eventually over time, my arm-balancing practice became more steady, more balanced and I gained confidence.
Realizing the difference between what doesn’t serve my body and what is just thought patterns, took quite some practice, as this can be easily confused.
The closer I listened to what my body, my ego, my thoughts really told me, the easier it was to listen to what feels good and the better I got to know myself.
It felt like with the growing confidence, the strength came back into my wrists, into my body and by now I feel even ‘good enough’ to teach those Asanas.

Is there a thing, that you would like to do, but are too afraid of trying? Because you are not good enough in this or that, not strong enough, not tough enough, not adventurous enough, not educated enough, not intelligent enough? (I could go on with the the list of ‘not enough’s’ for longer). And of course the arm-balancing example is just one out of many situations in my life, where my thoughts keep tricking me into not believing in myself, but now that I’m aware of it, it is easier to decide against that harmful self-talk.
One thing is for sure – you will always find a reason not to do something.
But if you look the other way, you might as well find 10 reasons why it’s worth trying.

Movement, self-development

Tricky transition

I just attended a lovely Playshop by Sara Ticha (great Yogateacher and lovely, sweet soul) in Vienna. It was all about tricky transitions, and this could as well be the title for the chapter of my life, that I’m currently living in.
My life seems to be a constant chain of changes, chaotic, confusing and with a lot of adventure in it, while my friends slowly, but surely, start to settle down.
Watching my friends slow down often makes me question, wether I do something wrong, or at least, if I should try to “grow up”.
While my friends plan their weddings, houses and babies, I move to the the third “home” within a year, that I spent 5 months of abroad – so if you happen to need pro tips for moving -> hit me up! 😉
I am planning my 300 hr Yogateacher Training, while my friends think of where in the Caribbean their honeymoon should go to and I am about to start studying (first semester again, YAY!), while my friends graduate from master programs, have already had their doctorates or already got jobs in big corporate firm.

As you can see, there is a lot that separates me from others, that makes me “different”. Often I wish, that it would feel right for me to go in the direction everyone else seams to move towards, but it just doesn’t. And this feeling of separation, of being different makes extra vulnerable.

I am (still) learning to accept my authentic path, sometimes it works better, sometimes it doesn’t, but since I’ve incorporated more playfulness into my tricky transitions, either in my own Yogapractice or in life in general it all gets easier. I am more gentle with myself, more accepting and I approach myself with more loving kindness, either in my Pincha, or while moving places like a gypsy. So if you are at a point in life, where you can feel the tricky transitions coming in, try not to neglect them, because that means you stand in your own way of living an authentic life. Instead, just for the sake of trying, welcome it in like a kid, in a playful manner, with excitement instead of fear and without caring about anyone judging, especially that voice in your head.

Health, self-development

Self talk

Take a few moments and check in with yourself.
How did you treat yourself today? On the outside, as well as on the inside.

Did you give your body some breaks, some rest, where it could regain the energy spent during a busy day. What did you do for your body to stay healthy and feel good?
Some movement, a bubble bath or a nice foot massage?

As important as taking care of our body, is taking care of our inside, our mental health, our heart and soul. What is it you did do for your inside? Meditation, a walk in nature, some reading?

How is your perception of other people, compared to how you see yourself?
Probably you are way harder on yourself than you are on other people.
What is it you think of yourself, how do you talk to yourself.
Try to reflect on that for a day, write down how you speak about yourself. Phrases like “silly me” or “sorry, I am an idiot” are more common than you might think. Write the thoughts and phrases down to remember and read through it at the end of the day. ALERT – You might be shocked.
When I first tried that I was absolutely outraged by myself. There was not much loving kindness involved  in my self-talks or let’s even call it self-judgement, and oh my, what a strict judge I was.
And this made me become the prisoner of my own thought punishments.
For my own standards I was never good enough, fast enough or worthy enough. What stunned me most, was that I actually thought I had a good opinion on myself until I looked closely. The truth I found there left me speechless and made me reflect on what it was that I judged so harshly in my behavior, in my looks, in my profession, in my being.

Writing down my self-talk and the thoughts I had about myself really opened my eyes. I still do that “exercise” from time to time to check-in again and to work on my self-love-ability.

If you feel like you could need a little more self-love from time to time, I can warmly recommend looking on the inside as closely as caring for the outside. I know it might not feel as good as a spa day at first, it might feel more like work, but I promise you, when the work is done, you will be left with the warmest feeling for yourself.

Health, veganism

Facts about meat consumption II

A few months ago I wrote an article about why consuming meat is bad for ourselves, the environment and of course the animals. As it is way harder to change habits for something, that is not US – like the earth, the sea or random cows, one doesn’t even know personally, I will start with US, with OUR health.

Cancer, especially in the stomach, colon and liver, is often caused by meat consumption.
Particularly nasty are red meat, sausages and cold cuts.
Sausages and cold cuts contain a lot of nitrite. This further develops into nitrosamine, which is HIGHLY carcinogenic.

Red meat contains a carbohydrate with the name Neu5Gc, which is a component of many living beings on earth, but NOT humans.
This carbohydrate is mainly processed by our liver. It has shown that it’s 5 times more likely to develop liver cancer, because of red meat consumption.
As our body is very intelligent, it builds antibodies against Neu5Gc, because it’s identified as foreign matter. Our body does that every time we consume red meat and this production of antibodies against the Neu5Gc leads to a chronicle, systemical inflammation. (Systemical means in the whole body).
Furthermore the WHO (world health organization) graded red meat to be as carcinogenic as tobacco.

As well as meat, milk products are responsible for a huge imbalance inside our bodies.
Especially cow milk contains way too much estrogen for the human body, this can provoke prostate and breast cancer.
The high level of estrogen is caused by the industrial milking process in mass production. (called “concentrated animal feeding operations”)
The cows in mass production are milked up to 300 days a year, even during their pregnancies (when the estrogen level is 33 times higher than normal).

This post should not be any offense against people who consume meat or milk!
This should only encourage you to investigate your consumption habits.
And as always, it’s not about hop or drop, go for that special-occasion-steak if you feel like it, but replace it with something else in your daily life.
Get curious and creative and find new habits, new tastes and with it a healthier lifestyle.

 

Health, self-development

Naming and shaming

Either, you’re too fat and don’t have any control over your life, or you are too skinny or fit and are arrogant as you use so much time for your looks.
Either you’re eating meat and don’t give shit about animals, slaughtering and what you put inside your body, or you are vegan and a hippie who has no idea about real life.
Either you are a relationship type, who just can’t stand being by him/herself, or you are single, which means you have a bad personality, bad looks or even both.
Either you are a mom who stays at home, which means you gave up your life, or you start working again, which means you don’t care about your kids and don’t deserve any respect.
Either you are a dad who stays at home, which means you are under your wife’s thumb, or you don’t stay at home, which makes you a conservative snob, who doesn’t know his kids.

As you can see, no matter what you do, you definitely do it wrong.
You can never be good enough, your decisions can never be the right ones and generally your life is a complete disaster according to society and the ‘shamers’.

But you know what, if you act according to your beliefs, I’m proud of you.
I’m proud of every person who tries to eat less meat, I’m proud of everyone who buys consciously and informs themselves, I’m proud of the single mom who has to work, of the dad that provides for the family, of the singles, who love their freedom, of the chubby girls and boys who don’t define themselves over their looks.
I am not proud of people, who make others feel uncomfortable, unloved, unworthy! I’m not proud of vegans shaming vegetarians for eating eggs and I’m not proud of flexitarians shaming vegans for following their strict rules. I’m ashamed for women making other women feel small for working or not working, for making the decisions to have kids or not.
The thing is – IT IS NOT YOUR DECISION TO MAKE.
You can only live your best life, you cannot control someone else’s life.
On the other hand it means, that instead of shaming others, take responsibility for your actions and choices and stand up for it. That’s not easy either, but it’s 100% in your hands.

So, if you ever get shamed for who you are, or what you do, keep in mind, that the person shaming you, probably doesn’t have her/his life under control and it’s way easier for them to point their finger at you. Don’t take it personally. It actually means, you did something right, you triggered something in them. You are just their mirror, nothing more, nothing less.
You can go on and live your life, don’t waste your energy on people who make you feel bad, bring your focus on the life you want to create, work your way towards it and stand up for yourself.

You only have this life.
It is your life.
It’s your decisions.
It’s your choice to make. Be wise. Live in peace.

Health, Mobility, Movement, self-development

Embody your Movement.

Maybe you’ve asked yourself what this mysterious thing is that I’m so passionate about, what it is that I call Embodied Movement.
Well, it could actually be anything and everything – and that’s the thing about it.
There are no rules, nobody that can tell you the right’s and wrong’s, do’s and don’ts. It’s neither dance, nor Yoga.
This will probably not be a satisfying answer for you.

So I will let you know, what it is and does to me.
I always wanted to be a dancer. Started Ballet at a young age and gave it up a few years after, I tried gymnastics – it wasn’t for me. I loved dancing in clubs, where nobody was looking, where I could move freely, but the atmosphere was toxic. During studying I came across pole dance, which I really liked, but it didn’t get to my core.
I have always been looking for more.
More than those rigid patterns that someone has invented, but that never really fitted for me. I came to the colclusion that dance is just not for me. That it’s something you have to be very flexible for, where being able to do splits is a necessity and where you need to be able to follow a choreography, which I would always forget. So i just gave it up. I stopped dancing. And I stopped listening to the urge, my body felt.

During my long Asian Yoga travel I was at this Extatic Dance, which I absolutely adored. Nobody was drinking, it was daylight, no talking, no phones, no nothing, but you and the rythmn of the beat. I completely let go and danced it out for hours.
When the music became quieter and people slowed down util they layed on the floor to relax in Savasana, I kept sitting and feeling.
And I saw this couple. They were dancing. Without choreography, a style I didn’t know, something modern and passionate and honest and raw and everything that filled my heart with all the love for dance that I had forgotten about for so long.
Tears kept running down my face and my heart was bursting.
This was the moment I knew I had found something profound.

This moment kept me digging and seeking for a danceform, a form of expression that allows me to be me. Suddenly all those amazing teachers came into my life, just at the right time.
I went to so so many dance and bodywork classes, I gained all the knowledge possible. About animal motions, solo dance, partner movement, self-trust, intuition, flexibility-strength-workout. acrobatic styles and much more.

But in the end, all the knowledge didn’t make any difference. Because all the knowledge was already inside of me, it just needed someone to guide me to that place inside of me, to that spring of joy and expression and passion. Watching the dance of those two people and finding my inner voice healed so many parts of me and allowed me to stand in my power.

If you silenced your inner desires a long time ago and didn’t dare to release them since, then take a slow step, allow yourself to open up. Find someone that guides you gently to your inner wisdom, it can be whoever and if it is me, it will fill me with so much gratitude to be part of your growth.

Health, spine, Yoga

It’s just bones

To be exact – 24 freely moving bones with 23 intervertebral discs, as well as sacrum and tailbone. So why is everyone making such a big thing out of those tiny bones?
Because it’s the spine that allows us to stand upright.

“You are as old as your spine.” – Chinese proverb

and this proverb could not be more right. if our vertebrae or discs suffer, our whole being suffers, movement gets painful or impossible and even sitting and breathing can cause tremendous pain.
Not only the elderly are affected by those sicknesses – like slipped disks, pinched nerves, skoliosis, or “just” severe backpain caused by years of too little movement or wrong posture. More and more young people need to frequently visit their physiotherapist or use painkillers and this is alarming, especially as there is so much you can do to prevent to avoid or enhance your condition.

This is where Yoga got me first.
I’ve never recognised back pain, I seriously thought this tension is normal, feeling stiff is part of every-day-life and needing a massage therapist is not only popular but necessary.
It was maybe my fith time trying Yoga that I realised the lightness and difference after practising and I was astonished to feel relief where I didn’t know there was discomfort.

This is where Yoga really got me. It made me feel good on so so many levels. It made me feel young, energetic and gave me the freedom to move in any way wanted.
Yoga has evolved over hundreds and hundres of years and has gathered so much knowledge about the spine, what it needs and how to preserve the fountain of youth coming from it. All the stretches and motions into different directions, the circles the gentle stretching and squeezing (consiously with a lot of awareness) awakens what our spine is for, as we tend to lose all those abilities of it over our monotonous (non)movements.

If I had any advise for you to strengthen your health, it would be – strengthen your spine!
Get up, stretch, hop on your mat, draw circles with your body, get tiny, get big. Create seperate movements with the different parts of your spine – cervical , thoracic and lumbar spine. It’s like a wake-up call for the hidden magic inside of your vertebrae. You only need to give your spine 5 minutes after geting up and work in the 6 directions of

  • flexion
  • extension
  • lateral extension (right and left)
  • twisting /revolving (right and left)

and you will soon feel the benefits of this powerful practise.
Give it a try – your body will be thankful!