When wishing for the pause button

As the year 2017 came to an end, I reflected and reviewed my big and small wins and well as what I failed at, what I could have done better. No worries, I’m not going to write this all down here, but I think it is important for every single one of us to complete that bit of work. Not to beat ourselves up, but on the contrary. Because I noticed that I actually achieved a lot, there were loads of small wins, that I didn’t give myself enough credit during the year. Btw, I’m not only talking about projects, but also shifts in my mindset, changes in my behaviour and actions taken. Of course I also recognised my failures, but the good thing is, you can only learn from them, you can make things better next time. Just be conscious of yourself, your behaviours and actions. Be mindful of those behaviours and actions you’d like to change and then just think “Oh, I was just about to do it again” and then act differently. Break that habit!

Be mindful and break that habit.

After I reviewed my big and small wins, I also pictured my 2018. I wrote down my vision for 2018 at the end of last year. My vision relating to various aspects in my life, like my job/work situation, health & fitness, love, relationship and my ideal set up to live. I thought to myself “Well done, Nina” until I had a call with my coach on 2nd of January to dig deeper into my vision and my associated goals. Despite my daily gratitude, yoga and meditation practice, there were still a few challenges and limiting beliefs that needed to be melted in order to reach my true vision – speaking from my heart. And we did. After the session, I went back to my vision and it sounded too rational in a way, so I re-wrote it completely. I moved from my head to my heart. And I was brave enough to listen.

Move from your head to your heart. And listen. It will reveal the truth.

My coach also asked me what I wish for my spiritual growth in 2018. And here we go. I have a little story to tell to answer that question.

I’m writing the 31st of December 2017. I wake up with a content feeling. The sun is out and it’s already 12 degrees outside, yes really. I jump out of bed (and that day I literally did!), I quickly changed into my running gear and 20 minutes later I was out of the door, direction Isar river in Munich. The second I stepped outside, I was just feeling so happy, so calm, yet excited about life, so grateful, so whohoooo, a feeling difficult to describe. My almost ecstatic feeling even intensified when I started running and moving my body, feeling the sun on my skin and in my face. I couldn’t do anything about it (and I didn’t want to), but I was running around grinning like a Cheshire cat. Even now whilst writing this, I have to laugh.

And whilst I was fully enjoying the run, the sun, the movement, and simply my own company, there was this second of thinking “I want to hold this feeling.” This thought instantly moved me from being in the here and now to longing for something. I tried to hold on to something beautiful and let’s be honest, if there was the possibility sometimes in life to hit the Pause button, we might all happily use that button.

When wishing for the pause button…

Interestingly I find that the topics that I’m engaging with, suddenly appear everywhere in different shapes and forms. One appearance was in a yoga class. The teacher opened the class with exactly that thought.

We try to hold onto things we like and we try to get rid of feelings we dislike. But how about letting go of all likes and dislikes? How about loving what we love in the moment we love it? How about enjoying what is in the moment the enjoyment is present? How about accepting what we dislike in the moment we dislike it? How about accepting suffering (dukha) as part of our lives to be able to fully enjoy the pleasures (sukha)?

…makes you fall out of the here and now.

So, to bridge back to the question, what do I wish for my spiritual growth in 2018?

I want to let go of all likes and dislikes to be in the here and now, at all times.

Yours, Nina

Yoga Teacher Training-Episode 2

As promised, I will be reporting about my experiences during my yoga teacher training in Munich. Yesterday, we completed our second weekend after we’ve had one weekend off. And that was necessary I believe, as it was quite a lot of information to digest and I also wanted to use the ‘break’ to gradually practice yoga with the lessons learned. And there were already loads, which I’m so happy about and grateful for.

Episode 2 started on Friday afternoon at 4pm and finished at 9pm. 5 hours of asanas practice, assists and breathing exercises. Whilst writing this, I’m realising how much I love doing what I’m doing at the moment and I really wish this feeling will last as long as possible. No, actually, you know what? I’m manifesting this for me, right here, right now.

Yoga is the way to come closer and closer to the real me.

Day 1: We started with a yoga practice on Friday. I was fine for the first 20 minutes, however, afterwards, my arms felt weak after we practiced the 20th downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). I kept sinking into my shoulders and I didn’t stretch my arms properly. Phew, good thing is, I’m so conscious and mindful about these things, that I can directly correct myself. The bad thing is I was really fighting to hold the asana. And then we even practiced Chaturanga and upward facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), but I somehow found my breath, strength and will power from within to flow through the sequence. And I really loved it.

The second part of day 1 consisted of breathing techniques and body scan methods. We went through them last time and our homework was to guide a small group through one of these 2 exercises. We went into groups of 5 and one person led through the meditation and breathing exercise. I started in our group, not because I’m a geek, but it actually enables me to really do it how I would do it, without the influence of the others and their ways of working. I decided to lead my participants through an active Savasana with the help of a body scan. I do love body scans, as we can all use a bit more feeling and mindfulness regarding our body, that walks us through life day in, day out.

Take good care of your body and yourself. It walks you through life, every single day.

I realised as well, how much we take our breathing for granted, but how do we know that there will be another breath in after we breathed out? I will leave this with you. Just think about it and treasure your body, your breath, everything that you are to the fullest. Be grateful for everything that is already there.

Don’t take your breath for granted.

We ended the exercise with feedback and discussed things like timing and pace, whether to address your students with “you” (Plural) or “you” (Singular) – yes in German there is a actually a difference. It’s complicated… We were recommended to speak in Singular in order to make people feel treated as an individual. Makes total sense!

Day 2: We started at 9am with a yoga practice with Nella. I set my alarm that morning for 7.25am, but you know that’s the thing it didn’t go off. So, I slept until almost 8am which was tight timing, considering that I always need breakfast. So, I tried multi-tasking, getting dressed and preparing my porridge plus packing my stuff out. Who created multi-tasking anyways? It is completely stressful and in the end things take even longer, or is it just me? No, I really want to go to single-tasking, it is less stressful, and focus is key, as we all know. Whilst I’m still struggling with this at times, I can feel my progress and my self-discipline is increasing. We revised asanas from the previous week and also learned assists on warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2). Really helpful and I can see how, if done properly, the assists have such a great impact on the posture in this asana. It’s fascinating how our bodies work and how they always try to compensate for body parts that are less stretched, for example. We also did other standing poses such as warrior 3 (Virabhadrsana 3). Haha, after practising this pose in the middle of the room and literally everyone letting the standing foot slip inside, we moved over to the wall to practice this pose, with more resistance. And again, I felt that my body always wanted to move away from the wall to compensate what my balance and strength wasn’t able to deliver.

After this pretty sweaty asana practice, we did a bit of theory in our script and started with sequencing. It seemed clear to me in which order you’d put various asanas, however I found it difficult once we added asanas that I’m not practicing as often, so I wasn’t too familiar with how you’d integrate them into a sequence. But hey, that is exactly why I’m doing the YTT, I want to learn as much as I can, as deeply as possible. We also got some homework on sequencing as well as categorising standing poses, so let’s see how this works out. So happy to be able to learn something that I love!

Day 3: We started at 9am again, but this time with our yoga philosophy teacher Ralph. The day commenced with some lovely breathing exercises that calmed us down and made us more grounded. The highlight for me was to breathe in when you go into a stretch with your body, instead of breathing out. Usually when doing a forward bend, we tend to breathe out automatically, however in order to widen the lower back area, it is great to breathe in. I felt different and lighter in a way. We practiced different ways of Pranayama and I indulged in Savasana before the break.

The second part of the day was yoga philosophy with focus on the ‘Yogasutra’. We work with Ralph’s translation and interpretation of Patanjalis’ Yogasutra and I keep thinking just how helpful it is to make this piece of yoga accessible for us through someone so experienced and wise. The core message for me so far is that we need to free ourselves from pain (dukha), that we need to become silent and still, that we must realise that we are nothing of what we believed we are in the first place and only by giving up this thought, we can be freed and free of pain. In school, I never liked subjects such as religion and history, but now I’m fully hooked to the topics we discuss during the YTT. Of course, I’ve chosen to do this, but I also find it fascinating to really understand the word Yoga, where it stems from and where it can take us, if we keep working on ourselves. And as I understand it, it can take us to Purusha, which is when the seer in us has become fully silent and peaceful.

Yours, Nina