Thoughts on International Yoga Day

 

 

“Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either. people are simply unique, incomparable. You are you, I am I. I have to contribute my potential to life; you have to contribute your potential to life.I have to discover my own being; you have to discover your own being. ”

/Osho/

 

Yoga is like everything else. Everybody has their own interpretation, beliefs and priorities. On international yoga day I am thinking about all the people I got to know through yoga , the diversity of them, different age groups, nationalities , background and attitude. Everybody’s yoga is different from dedicated ashtangis to yoga therapists , the ones practicing for decades and the ones just started.
They all have different preferences for pace, difficulty, the amount of spirituality and beyond the mat stuff they bring in, their favourite poses or the exact opposite, those ones we find challenging
( and very often grow to love them).
But one thing is common: these people once moved out of their comfort zone and attended to a class/started practicing for whatever reason. And most of them continued to practice, discovered new things( or thousand year traditions) and they all know how does it feel to step on a mat( grass, sand etc) with your bare feet, breath in and then…

I would like to think the world will became a place where we accept and celebrate the beautiful uniqueness of individuals.

 

Love. Peace. Respect.

Happy international yoga day!

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Connections

Practising yoga makes you more conscious about connections. You connect movement with breath, intentions to practice, your body to the ground and yourself to the universe. You connect and disconnect yourself at the same time, trying to enter the “yoga zone”. Interesting how a disconnection creates space to other connections. Digital detox can be great sometimes( I think I’m lucky because I grew up before mobile phones became a thing not to mention smartphones..)
I’m thinking of this topic for a while now, and I decided to put it in words, as I’m visiting Hungary and seeing my old friends always makes me a little bit emotional and reminds me how grateful I am to have them.

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But how do I get to friendship from yoga?
Connections are important to everybody, whether it is connections to other people, places, sometimes objects and most importantly to ourselves. I had a few classes when we were offered to dedicate our practice to someone and these experiences were really special, not to mention partner yoga or working together in certain poses. I never forget when I taught a class for a bunch of homeless guys and some volunteers and in the beginning I was very careful to enter their space at all but they looked ( and expressed) they feel very safe in class so we ended up in a circle of warrior III-s, gently connecting to each other, without weighing each other down but giving everybody the support they needed. Sometimes your yoga bubble is expandable and you let other people in:)
Beyond the mat, how you relate to people is part of your practice( Beyond the mat-the 8 limbs of yoga ). Friendships and social connections are very interesting, the intensity or length of connections can vary depending on many things. I think most of us have at least one person in their lives who would finish a sentence they just started and who could pick up a conversation where you left it even if it was a long time ago. The reason why I’m very grateful to life is because I have more than one of these people, and even though we might reside in different countries and our paths are not the same( probably the exact opposite in most cases) but the connections are there, solid and strong.
Imagine yourself in a middle of this network like flexible ropes connecting you together. Sometimes the ropes dissolve as you have temporary connections, they might not be forever but they bring you/ teach you something or simply experience something with you. And that’s okay, you can’t be best friends with everyone, people travel through each other’s lives all the time. Someone might come along with you when you grow up, someone might be there for a few months, years and the connections terminate..suddenly or just slowly fade away. Stepping away from a connection can be as important as creating a new one. Distance and solitude can teach you many of things.IMG_2002
As I said, connections are important but I also think that you shouldn’t let them sole define you. Yoga can be an amazing tool to self discovery, and expanding your practice beyond the mat can develop the connection to your own beautiful self and through this to other people. As an example, I have a very fiery temper, and sometimes this fire burns other people around me without them being the cause of it. Since I practice yoga,I am more careful about how I handle this, I might choose to have a very powerful asana practice followed by meditation ( if I have the chance) or more consciously choose a time when I can talk to people about problems instead of letting the volcano erupt. Being self-aware and self-connected can give you a different view of the outside world.

Supporting others and feeling supported is also important. How to support someone can be a complicated thing. I think we all have those people in our lives( and certain cultures encourage this as well) who would try to outbid your problems thinking that would make you feel okay.IMG_1998

Let’s say, you fall into a 5 m deep hole , and you only have a 2 m ladder and no torch just a lighter, you share this with someone looking for support who replies ‘oh, that’s nothing, I’m in a 10m deep hole with no ladder’. Should this get you out of the hole? No. Would this make you feel better? No.

As a wise friend once said to me, silent has the same letters as listen. Listening is an element of that flexible rope connecting us together, alongside with many other things( personal to everyone:) .

And to widen this, writing or reading a blog could connect people from different parts of the world, without knowing each other in person. You open a window to your thoughts( or get access to someone’s) to bring on new connections regardless of location. Read, write , be open minded and non-judgemental..and don’t forget to listen😊🙏🏼

The be present project

When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is a miracle.   /Osho/

Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your life deeply.   /Thich Nhat Hanh/

Life in London (or pretty much anywhere in the Western world) is often about rushing. Getting from one place to another, rushing to get a job, a living space, entertainment..it never stops. People are constantly online, absorbed in a bubble, never look up or look around. And all they do really is missing out. As the great thinkers above said, life only happens in the moment. But we are spending so much time in the past , reflecting on what happened to us, or the opposite, worrying about the future and we don’t focus energy on the right now. Before we now it the right now is gone.

Yesterday I decided to challenge myself to try to spend a full day focusing on present. No whatifs, no whatwillhappens,howwasthats ,  just try to experience what’s right in front of me. I have to say that I choose a day when I wasn’t at work (as a teacher who works with young people who have learning difficulties that would be almost impossible).

So, I woke up in the morning and didn’t spend 30 minutes in bed scrolling on Facebook. Good start:)
I had a very beautiful morning yoga practice followed by meditation and pranayama, I just followed my instincts and interestingly I ended up just following a new flow of asanas . I liked that:)  Yoga and meditation is a place where I am used to focusing on the present, although this doesn’t mean that this is not challenging. (see my previous post about The art of breathing and meditation).
Then I had my breakfast. In silence, I left my phone upstairs, so the virtual world cannot suck me into the bubble.

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We did this in India during my yoga TTC, silent mornings, I remember back then some days  I found it challenging..
but today I just enjoyed my breakfast (yummy, isn’t it?), rediscovering the artistic beauty of porridge and how funny a sliced up fig looks like.. the flavour was more intense, I focused on how the colours look and the different textures feel like.

After breakfast, I had to connect as I had some work to do , some emails to send but that was it.

 

A bit later I made my way to the swimming pool. Public transport. London. People in their bubbles. Then this thing happened: a mum got on with a 4-5 year old kid. He was happy looking around (even directly in people’s eyes!)  and playing. And I realised: this is it, they know how to be in the present, they don’t spend their life constantly worrying about future and past actions. I’m not saying that from now on everybody should behave like a 5 year old, but it’s nice to sometimes look at things as one. I did this exercise once for a classful of  teenagers in a psychology lesson. I brought in a bubble machine and asked them to look at the bubbles as they were little kids. the outcome was amazing, everybody(even the ones constantly looking at their phones under the desk) got involved and the usually most ignorant young man had the great idea of using the fan to create a bubble storm in the classroom.

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I arrived to the swimming pool. I love water, I am a proper waterbaby( Scorpion!) , just being  close to any kind of water makes me really happy, swimming in water makes me feel whole. However, as part of the be present project, swimming had an added challenge: I usually use this time to rethink things, plan lessons, develop ideas for the future etc. Many of my lesson plans and yoga class ideas was born in the pool. So this time I tried to let those ideas, concernes, reflections just float in and out of my mind like passing clouds and my 45 minute swimming session became an underwater meditative motion.( I have to admit, for most of the time I was the only one in my lane) It felt really good.

FullSizeRenderkcTravelling back home a walked throuh my favourite corridor at Kings Cross, I alway have a feeling that at the end of that one day I find myself in Narnia or some kind of Wonderland.. this was the first time I noticed how cleverly the little lights sit on the side and I was observing people’s facial expressions walking through it. Many of them tourist, lookig at it the first time, with a curious face what’s in the end( it is just an escalator but maybe one day..:) )

 

 

By the time I got to the afternoon, I went through standing in the queue in the post office having a conversation with a young mum about her son’s excellent shoe disappearing skills ,  cooking and other domestic fairy jobs.

In the evening I had a meeting bringing some possible bad news. And there was it: the whatifs, the what didIdowrongs, the whatwillhappennows will all trying to drag me away from the present. And at that present moment I was upset. So I tried to live in that moment , experience it fully without going into any further combination. And it was really hard, I kept sliding down on that road bringing more negativity. But this was only my perception, creating therories about the future that’s not even there. Finally I found my connection back to the present, and it helped me to feel calmer and focused.

Overall my be present day was a very inspiring experience, and I know that a lot of times it is necessary to factor in the future or reflect on what happened, but I think it is important to try and be just present as much as we can. We can do this through connecting to people, yoga, meditation, art, any other ways you can think of…or just simply be,  experience our lives as fully as we can, and exist in that present moment before it’s gone.

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Photo:Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Fitting in” and “being good at”

 

A couple of days ago I went to a ballet by Ballet Black, it was a beautiful production, really good choreography with very talented artists. The dancers in this company brought back a memory when my ballet teacher (mind you I was 5!) didn’t let me go on stage because according to her standards I didn’t have the right physique for ballet. I wanted her to sit next to me; be amazed, excited, sad and even laugh(laughing during a ballet , right?) with me and see that art shouldn’t be restricted by body shape or skin colour. Obviously not everyone will end up as a professional artist, but you shouldn’t be told not to do something because you are different (for any reason).

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When you are a kid, you do things naturally for the joy of the action, you draw pictures, you sing songs out loud, dance carelessly until somebody(sadly often from education) says that there’s no purple elephants, your voice is out of tune and boom! Self consciousness steps on stage, holds the pencils,  echoes your voice and the enjoyment of the activity slowly disappears behind the (dis)approval of others. An Oscar-winner Hungarian short film tells a story about this in Mindenki (Sing), watch it, it’s really good🇭🇺🏆👍🏼📽💜

I think it is important to find the way back to that pre-consciousness stage again. To draw a picture, sing a song , dance around the house , loose yourself and feel the happiness coming from the activity itself. And just not listen to the inside voice telling you off, dare to be silly, feel the freedom of expression..whatever form you choose💃🏻🎤🎹🎼🎬🎨🎭.

And about yoga… I heard so many people saying “I don’t have the yoga body”; “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough”, “I’m not the yoga type”… this is just the same voice telling you that you are shouldn’t do something if you can’t be good at it..

THERE’S NO SUCH A THING AS BEING GOOD/BAD AT YOGA

When I you do yoga for kids, I can see how they enjoy the practice without being overly conscious about themselves, they don’t feel ashamed if they fall out of a balancing pose or can’t reach their toes etc.

People full of img_1658doubt should just give it a try, treat it as an experiment, don’t look at other people just feel your body doing something new (maybe weird) and don’t judge… Just enjoy the movement, the breathing, the meditation. Leave your ego behind and sink into yourself, it might be hard at first, but be able to laugh at yourself and take it easy.

It’s just yoga☺️🙏🏼😎

 

 

 

As for ballet, I decided last year to face my demons and I found a beginners class with an amazing teacher. I didn’t receive offers from the Royal Ballet, but I spent a great time getting reacquainted with this beautiful art form, laughing at myself when I missed a step and felt proud when I got them right and most of all, I enjoyed dancing👯💃🏽💕.

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Becoming a yoga teacher

Decision

Sometimes people’s life is straightforward, like a train ride, two parallel lines going to a clear destination with predictable stations.

Well, my life is probably  more like  cross country trekking  without a map. I moved to London 8 years ago ( leaving my  🚂  behind) and somehow ended up in teaching young people with learning difficulties. But my restless mind was looking for new challenges. It was time for a change.

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It happened in a weeks time really, from the initial idea that I want to do something  else beside my job ( which is a weird and wonderful, challenging and beautiful area), to the conclusion that I want to be a yoga teacher, and how I’m going to do it. The pieces of the puzzle came together so quickly that I started to be suspicious ( you know when everything happens so smooth and you are waiting for something to go wrong..). With a help of some very supportive friends and fellow yogis I conquered the fear that  “I cannot put myself into a pretzel, how can I be a yoga teacher”, I realised that honesty and authenticity in my practice is more important 😊

Then a colleague/friend suggested to look into teacher trainings in India, specifically in Goa ( his family orignates there and he thought I’d like the place) so I did.

I had to decide the time and I ended up looking for a course in October-November. Imagine my boss’s face in January when I asked for a month unpaid leave right after the beginning of the next academic year… But everybody was really supportive and after some research I found the perfect school: Trimurti yoga(💜). They offer multi-style teacher training, this sounded perfect as I wasn’t really dedicated to any yoga style.

The time flew by really quickly and I did my preparations etc., but it didn’t sink in until I was sitting in my friend’s car and I saw a plane taking off when we were approaching Heathrow. Sh*t, I am going to India!  The beginning of the actual physical journey materialised in form of a Jet Airways plane . 17 hours later I landed at Goa airport, in 35 degrees and bright sunshine.

Goa

img_1816My first adventure in Goa was sitting in traffic ( literally outside of the airport) for 2.5 hours, still in my London clothes, not knowing what’s happening ( later on I found out that there was a big international conference and they closed the roads). India is teaching me patience I thought…

A few days after my arrival the course begin. The location was perfect, in the jungle  between Agonda and Palolem, surrounded by nature  and I had my own little cottage. Happiness:)

During my journey I started to write again, I neglected this for a long time but the jungle seemed to awaken the sleeping spirits and they came out in form of words. This one is about the very first days.

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India. Mother India. It feels like I’m in film
and the rhythmic noise of the fan is coming from an old movie machine.
Suddenly the dream comes real. Blow horn! cow on the beach
First time in India? Where do you come from?birds screech.
Buying overpriced elephant pants from a very nice lady’s shop
I say to myself: one silly tourist mistake is allowed, but it has to stop.
Palm trees and lush gardens, a pink house. The Arabian sea kisses my feet.
I find peace in the noise, quiet in the crowd.Toes in wet sand. I am complete.

Our days were pretty intense, starting at 6.30am with pranayama and meditation, followed by asana practice, anatomy, art of teaching, philosophy, alignment and adjustment and finished with an evening asana practice at 7pm. Some days it was more challenging than others but learning something I was truly interested in made up for it.

And of course the team. I always find it fascinating how various  people can be drawn together and connect via a mutual interest. My Trimurti friends, coming from literally all over the world meeting in Goa, India and going through the same thing, experiencing it on their own level.

I met so many beautiful people, with their own stories and motivation. And I beleive that even though we are spread all over the World again, some things would make us react the same way, our collective Trimurti unconscious is there and alive😊.

They  supported me through classes and beyond,  shared happy moments ( a very special birthday) and challenges ( ashtanga week😬), days off and late night studies and in the end we proudly observed everyone teaching their final practicum.We did it!

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Graduation day!

The guides towards this point were our teachers, representing different backgrounds and yoga styles from the very traditional to modern, helping us unfold our own yoga teaching  path( at least the beginning of it:) .

I also have to mention the staff who made all this happen from organising to looking after us every day, real heroes handling everything with a smile.

The one month flew by, hatha, vinyasa and ashtanga week was gone, and I quickly found myself starting to think ( and stress) about coming back to the “real world” and what will my next steps be.

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My last sunrise at Agonda beach

I was lucky enough to enjoy a few more days of the beautiful Goa with my newly found friends  before I made my way back to London in November.  And there it was. The culture shock. The cold. The darkness. But I knew I had a mission: starting my teaching practice by January.

The first steps

I was quickly drawn back to work, and didn’t really have time to think about anything until the Christmas holidays. My first class was for a few friends, and a kids yoga class followed by volunteering with Crisis@Christmas. This was an amazing experience, teaching really unconventional yoga classes to various people( guests and volunteers), there was a point where I had to trade in my football skills for a yoga class( you can imagine, I’m a spectacular football player😉) . In the meantime, I was searching for a place to hire, silly me around Christmas, when everybody is off. I just had to practice patience again. And in the beginning of January( yaay 2017) I found it, it was the first place I was looking at, a friendly ,small community centre in a victorian building not far away from my home.

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So now I teach every Monday, sharing yoga with lovely people( most of them never done this before), I feel happy after each class, and I know this was the right decision. And I keep writing.Maybe one day Liz’s Yoga Space will explore the world (or if the NASA going in this pace even space  🚀 )  but for now I spend my time developing my practice and learning from my students. Every single time.

How did yoga affect my life?

If you practice yoga, you know this feeling. It starts when you step on the mat and fully forms after shavasana. When all the tension melts, the world seems to be a better place to be ayou have that “yoga glow”.

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But if I reflect on the whole process, from my first yoga class until today, I can see the bigger picture( at least the part that’s revealed by now). Sitting at the airport in Budapest( I spent last week in Hungary visiting family and friends) , and thinking about tomorrow’s class I realise how my life is strongly influenced by yoga. I’m pretty sure some people find this annoying 🙂, but yoga pops up pretty much everywhere. It changed the way I think, the way I speak, the way I think about my body, how I feel my body ( like when I’m sitting here subconsciously correcting my posture pulling my shoulders back and down ,engaging my core) and how I relate to other people. ( the 8 limbs ey? Beyond the mat-the 8 limbs of yoga )

But how did this start.. and when?

Breathing
After a few yoga classes I became really aware of my breathing. I am using it more purposefully in daily life, and I am rarely out of breath( even after climbing stairs etc) any more. Being more aware of your breathing influences a lot of things, I found that it’s easier to calm myself down in stressful situations or just simply “keeping it it together” at all.
Sports
I do love sports, I enjoy swimming and cycling, dancing ( I was taking ballet classes for a while) and look:yoga, like a little fairy figure sitting on my shoulder is always there. It changed the way how I relate to my body in these activities, I’m more aware of certain muscle groups( you know, the ones you didn’t even know they existed before your first class😉), it tells me not to injure myself , to look after my body and to respect it as (like everybody else) I only given one..

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Walking
I have a typical walk( my boss would describe it as marching:) ), since me and this yoga fairy are closely acquainted the way how I walk changed as well, I probably seem taller and my posture is much better. The energy is the same but I don’t “‘march” with my head down any more, my back is straighter and I feel the ground with my feet in a different way, my balance is better, I feel more connected to the Earth.

 

Body

Obviously yoga changed my body a big deal. I wasn’t flexible at all, and I had body image issues to an almost unhealthy extent. Then I learned that with regular practice I can develop( slowly but surely), and I started to feel really empowered by the fact that I am actually able to do certain things.( don’t think big, just reaching an inch more forward or bending slightly deeper, balancing a little bit longer:). Also love and respect came along with that towards myself and my body. Even now and then those negative thoughts still come up, however after acknowledgement I just let them go. This is a really important part and I emphasise positive body image  a lot in my classes as well , our bodies are not the same, and no one should compare themselves to others during practice. Every body is beautifully complex , individual on its own, and we should be aware of that. Self love and self respect is essential in your luggage through our yoga journey☺️.img_1593

Gratitude, peace and change

Regular yoga, pranayama ( breathing) and meditation taught me peace. I am a fiery person( pitta-kapha ayurveda-wise), I can be really passionate about certain things and I used to be quite impatient and short tempered. I’m not saying yoga completely changed my character, I still have the same passion , I just channel it differently. I’m learning to let things go and accept those I cannot change. But I also developed an attitude towards things I don’t like, I don’t just suffer in silence or moan about them, I change ( either my thoughts about them or the situation) as that’s the natural way of life. Evolve, observe and learn… 
This doesn’t mean I take everything with a peaceful smile on my face, oh no.. but how I perceive situations ( including my own or other people’s emotions towards them) is different.

Perception is the key word. Perception of myself, others, the universe we live in. If I have to put it in one sentence, yoga changed my perception. And I do hope it will keep changing me, helping to reveal that bigger picture…

Namaste ☺️🙏🏼❤️

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Beyond the mat-the 8 limbs of yoga

Patanjali was the scholar who recorded the long existing theories and practices of yoga in his yoga sutras around 200BC. He talked yoga being a system based on 8 practices, and asnas(physical poses ) is just one of these 8 practices.

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Patanjali himself is a quite mysterious figure, we don’ know much about him. Here is my imaginative drawing after our beloved philosophy teacher made the joke :Yama, not Yamaha 😀 )and I instantly pictured Patanjali on a motorbike(this would be a great book title btw).

But back to the 8 limbs ..

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The 8 limbs describe the practices one should follow.

Yamas:  is the attitude towards the World around you, practices and disciplines towards others. There are 5 yamas: Ahimsa(non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Astea (non-stealing) Bramacharya(conservation and mastery of energies) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)kind

Following the 5 yamas means to me means how I generally react to the outside World and other living creatures. Being kind, saying the truth(or don’t say something if it serves no-one!), respecting other’s possessions(including confidential information), living  a moderate life and use/take what I need in the moment and learn to let go… This can be difficult sometimes, especially with the values being culturally  promoted this era.  But I try my best and I think it’s easier than one would think, start with small steps..and the rest will follow.

Niyamas: is how you treat yourself, the attitude towards yourself, to create a positive environment that would let you grow. The five niyamas: Sauca(purification, inner/outer cleanliness), Santosha (contentment), Tapas(spiritual austerity, internal fire, self discipline), Svadhyaya (self -study), Isvara Pranidhana(devotion, dedication, awareness of the divine, surrender)selflove-dylanglynn

I think to practice Yamas you have to get your Niyamas sorted:) It is really important, how you treat yourself, starting with rethinking  words to yourself such as “Oh, I’m so stupid..” etc.  Looking after yourself, living your life with gratitude and compassion and awareness can lead to a happier, healthier life which would provide the soil for your higher spiritual practices to grow. It is really nice to incorporate these into your asana practice as well(e.g. poses about compassion and gratitude or  detoxing and purifying techniques) 

Asana:is to perform a yoga pose, this according to Patanjali should be steady and comfortable.

I think it is amazing when a yogi(ni) puts a lot of hard work into their self practice and perform advanced poses. Truly is.
However asana practice should be available to everybody and people should’t feel like they can’t practice yoga because they can’t do advanced poses. Or they never done yoga before and/or they are not flexible.. Bio-individuality should be a common knowledge, learning to respect and love our bodies and accepting it’s limitations should be a really important part of asana practice. Diversity is beautiful:)

Pranayama: controlling breath and through that controlling life force
Dhyana:meditation

About these two see my post about breathing and meditation:

The art of breathing and meditation

Pratyahara: is sense withdrawal -it’s all about changing the state of mind

This can be practised through actually withdrawing senses (tip: try to eat a meal with your eyes closed), or just being able to block certain things out and focus on aempowerednother( I used to practice yoga on Sunday mornings at a studio very close to a local market. Chatter, smell of kebab, children playing , all you can imagine. On days when I was really focused, none of that mattered …some days when my focus shifted I had delicious falafel wraps floating in my mind during meditation:) )

Dharana: is focused concentration

This goes hand in hand with the previous limb, once you withdrawn your senses you can intensely focus on your gaze, on your breath, on your body.

Samadhi: is the final stop of a yogi(ni)’s journey, it refers to enlightenment, realisation, being one with the Universe.

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So these are the 8 limbs, it is interesting to observe how many of them you are applying already.

Bring on the yogi(ni) life:)

Namaste😊🙏🏼

The art of breathing and meditation

When someone says mediation, people generally think of somebody sitting in lotus pose with a serene facial expression surrounded by a beautiful landscape, like these ones:

However if you live in a Western country with information overflow , pollution,everyday stress and people simply culturally not designed to just sit down and let go, meditation can be challenging.

I don’t want to make statements, so I’ll only  speak about my experience , being at the very beginning of this journey myself. I practiced asanas for years without letting the spiritual side of yoga in( little I know back then that I´ll become a yoga teacher and I’ll actually find it very important to include  meditation in my classes). I have a very busy mind, coming from a psychology background just emphasised my analytical skills and I have a very keen interest in understanding EVERYTHING around me. So when it came to the point that I should sit down and calm the flow of thoughts, I failed… At the first few attempts I probably had more thoughts crossing my mind than cars in London peak time traffic.

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My personal path to meditation was (and again this is not ultimate wisdom, just sharing my experience in the hope of it might help others) through pranayama. Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga (Post coming soon  😉 ), and it literally means controlling the breath, hovewer prana also means life force, so through controlling breath one can control the life force, energy within. There are many types of pranayama, combining the four functions : inhale ( puraka) and held in( kumbhaka), exhale (rechaka) and held out(shunyaka). Learning pranayama guided me on the road to meditation, as controlling your breath , observing how your body feels after an intake of fresh oxygen,how you let all the bad stuff go with an exhale really helps to withdraw your focus from the outside word.

Physiologically speaking(nerd alert!) we are  gaining control over our breathing ,the respiratory system , this is a part of our autonomic nervous system that we can consciously control .img_1744Through breath control we can help to activate the parasympathetic branch(this often associated with “rest and digest”and “calm and control”) so our body will achieve a state when we could  let go the constant alertness of the sympathetic nervous system(associated with “fight or flight”).

So pranayama was the first step. It helped me to calm the “traffic” of thoughts. I also learned that restraining my thoughts won’t work, I should let them in, like I’m in an aquarium watching fish floating around, observe them without connecting them to others and let them go. If I’m in touch with my breathing and stop stressing about what I should or shouldn’t do when meditating (like “Oh my God,I´m still thinking of something!”) it will happen. And there’s always place for learning new things.

I benefited from meditation.I am generally calmer and face stressful situations with greater inner strength and stability. I still struggle sometimes with the “traffic”, but then I just laugh at myself and focus on my breath. In and out, right? So I can only recommend it, even if it´s just a little bit, even if you not doing it by the book( what is by the book anyway?) . Meditation is a powerful tool , use it 😊!

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🙏🏼😊🌬

☀️️Sun salutations-a perfect start of your day

Sun salutation-Surya Namaskar

Sun salutation is a sequence of asanas traditionally practiced at sunrise.The name translates “to bow to”or “to adore” the Sun, our primary source of light.

They are beautifully designed to  warm up the body if practiced correctly alongside with controlled breath. The asanas slowly wake up the joints and muscles,energising the body and mind so it’s ready for the day. There are a few variations of Sun salutations depending on yoga style, the image below shows the traditional hatha one.img_1808

Useful tips

1. It is advisable to do a gentle warm up before Sun salutations, especially the wrists and to go VERY GENTLY with the first round (knees bend to protect hamstrings,slow movements and as always:listen to your body !)

2. Focus on your breathing , it should flow easily with the movements, generally inhale when you are opening the chest and exhale when bending forward (to create more space in the body) and don’t worry, it will come with practice naturally 😉 .

3.What you do in the morning can influence your whole day, so don’t forget that beautiful smile, it will have an effect on you. The science behind it is called the facial feedback hypothesis (your brain detects your facial muscles smiling and sends “happy” signals. Yaay.)

4. It is up to you how many times you repeat the sequence, traditionally it could go up to 108 rounds.. If you practice the hatha sun salutations 3-6 rounds on both sides is a very nice start, it can be your warm up or your stand alone morning practice.

5. Traditionally each asana has it’s own mantra (sacred word(s) that create special vibrations/energy in the body). You can chant sanskrit mantras or create your own(I am a big fan of that:), just do whatever is organic and authentic to You, it is your practice after all. Sometimes I like to listen to music, starting with a slower paced song for the first few sets moving into more energetic ones.

6. After you completed the Sun salutations, always give yourself some time to rest, Savasana time:) . Pranayama(breathing) and meditation should follow your morning routine as well to prepare your mind and body for the day.

More about that next time 😉!

Namaste 🙏🏼