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Environmental issues, Health, Safe the planet, self-development, Uncategorized, Yoga

TRUST – easy to say, hard to live by

My personal Mantra is “The universe has my back” and I always considered myself a trusting person – but is that really so?
Now the time has come to see how well I can surrender to what is.

I don’t need to tell you about Corona and its effects, as they are omnipresent as soon as one uses social media. What I can tell you tho is how I handle the fears, the isolation, the financial worries. Because hell yes, I have all of the struggles you have as well.

Let’s be honest – this situation sucks. For everyone. Some are severely affected by illness and some are facing the end of their economic existence and with that dreams are flushed away.
Some are depressed and suffer even more, as they have a flat by themselves and can’t escape the isolation, some are stuck with a violent partner in a tiny flat, some have to decide over who gets help and who doesn’t.
To some extend I have many of those endeavors as well and that’s where I can see how much I have grown and developed.

In hindsight I’ve always had a wrong perception of the term “development”. I thought that, as soon as I have outgrown a pattern, I would no longer feel the challenge, but the truth (for me) is that the way I handle challenges has changed, not the existence of challenge.
Through many years of self-observation I can now see fruitful patterns slowly replacing harmful ones. I can see how my thinking shifted from self destruction to self acceptance and that is what makes all the pain and fear more bearable.
I can now see that the more I avoid all those negative emotions, the more they limit me in letting go of them. As soon as I allow myself to feel those feelings, to accept my weakness in that moment, the easier and faster those feelings shift into a state of ease and trust. It’s called surrender – a big word – but in the end, life is made FOR us and not AGAINST us.

This strange and crazy thing called life often throws situations at us, which we can’t escape and this pandemic is one collective challenge. Besides all the bad effects it has on the economic system and the health sector, as well as for all the high-risk-groups and infected people, it also shows me a lot of beauty. I feel so much closer to strangers, I feel this unity and connection with my human fellas and I know they feel it too. I can see that people are getting creative, fulfilling ideas they have had for ages and that’s what this human experience should be about – creating, fulfilling, feeling, enjoying, loving. I can feel the earth recovering from all the stress human kind has put on it and I can see how all the hectic of everyday life is replaced by doing whatever with awareness, focus (and joy).

As many others I have shifted my business to an online version – you can now yoga with me from all around the world – just look up the schedule on my IG account ulli_lives and hop on your mat.
I also realized that I am now able to spend time by myself and even enjoy it for the most part – this is something yoga has taught me (and no it didn’t happen over night).
In these times especially I am super thankful for my practice, for being able to bring stuff from my mat to my routine and even share it with others.
This crisis also shows me how little is necessary.
We don’t need all the shopping goods, we don’t need to see 5000 people a week, we don’t need dining out and so many more things. All we need is some close contact, some high quality connections, spending time in nature, eating healthy and a lot of self compassion.

If you cannot see those good sides of the crisis right now, that is ok. I can’t always see them either. Whatever you feel right now (or basically ever) is absolutely valid. No feeling is unworthy – there is space for all of it!

I see you.

Uncategorized

Body Positivity

Some weeks ago I had a talk with a friend of mine and suddenly she said: “I really envy how much you love your body – I wish I could love myself that way too.” And I have to say, I was shocked, not only because my friend is like super fit and super beautiful, but because those attributes should not define anyones worth!

This conversation makes me think and wonder how I got where I am, because to be honest some years ago I was far away from accepting and even more appreciating that body of mine. I thought that my hips were too wide, my ass too flat, my legs too strong. I didn’t like my feminine body-type at all, because what I wanted to be was strong and I didn’t want any associations with softness.


Furthermore I even got my nose done – partly because I couldn’t breathe, but if I’m brutally honest even more because I didn’t like the way I looked. I was always wondering if people were staring at me, because of my “big” nose, which I’m now certain they weren’t. I couldn’t stand the pain of feeling ugly and unworthy and so I dedicated my savings to get this (mainly) plastic surgery done. And guys I tell you, this is a kind of pain, that no one could have prepared me for.


Another thing that society really shaped my mindset was the shaving topic. I was always so ashamed to actually grow here all over my body, that I plugged it. From my nose, my toes, my upper lips.
It took my about 20 minutes every shower to become that soft, hairless, version of myself that society wanted me to be.

And I could go on with that list forever and add so many more examples of how much I was at war with reality, with myself.
After really starting that journey towards my true self, pursuing my dreams I realized that I can not reach anything if I can’t step into the authentic version of myself, with all my flaws (appearance- and characterwise).
And I can only say that it was and still is a f*#king long and intense journey.
You might picture that healing comes with some flower rituals, some full-moon circles and some withe robes, but to be honest, to me it felt like I’m falling into this giant hohle. It was a time of darkness, questioning, losing and regaining faith, crying, doubting, and feeling all the feels (and allowing them in for the first time).

After going through all this darkness I finally felt ground under my feet again and I could finally step into my true self, where there is really nothing that I need to do in order to be worthy of (self)love.
And at first it was super hard, I really had to push myself to get to where I am.
I went out unshaved and danced and pretended like I didn’t care, even tho I really did care and felt insecure like hell.
I wore all the tight clothes and really embraced my feminine body, I realized that I don’t have to look strong to be strong and to feel strong. And that’s where the outside world mirrored me my strength.

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.