Design your life

Do you schedule personal development time into your everyday life?

When you intentionally make time for yourself, you are making time to design the life that you want. I’ve been on my journey of personal development for 2 years now, whereof the last 12 months were more focused, hence more productive and overall got me first results. Bam!

I’m so grateful to have been accompanied and supported on this journey by my lovely connection coach, healer and spiritual catalyst Ollie Trew, based in London. It was only when I started my coaching sessions with him, that I realised that I can do anything I want, that I must allow myself to be myself and create the life I really want to live.

Once I’ve embraced the change this ‘work’ will bring with it, my life began to improve. Slowly, but surely. I got rid of habits I didn’t need anymore and instead established a growth habit. My thoughts changed to the positive, my approach to challenging situations improved, my perspective shifted. I understood that I can choose every single day who I want to be and what life I want to live.

You can choose every day who you want to be and what life you want to live.

Scheduling time for my personal development meant that I was finally focusing on myself again. I started practicing self-love. Only when I was able to spend time with myself, I got to know myself and started walking the way of becoming the best version of  myself.

Make your personal time as important as everything else (if not more), because it will lead you to a natural balance from the inside. Once you really know your worth and your time’s worth, you will surely think about who to spend time with and what activities to say yes to, because you will instantly review it against your vision, if the activity is serving you or not. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should become unsocial and not go out anymore or spend time with your friends, but you might want to check upon the intensity, the frequency and its impact on your vision.

If you truly have a vision that you are working towards based on your goals and milestones, then it will be inevitable to review your personal time vs. the time spent elsewhere. Hence, as part of your life design, you might want to look at your time design.

I want to be honest though. This is not always easy. You might feel bad about rejecting certain people or activities for the time-being, you might feel ‘alone’, since you will be spending quite a bit of time on your own, and maybe the words ‘egoism’, ‘preferences’ and ‘negligence’ might fall. Some days it will throw you off, some days it won’t. Just accept it as part of your personal growth, as a sign of self-love.

Accept the consequences of your personal growth as a sign of self-love.

Time design

I’m still experimenting with that. Generally, on Sunday evenings I write a schedule for the week, just like back in school. What are my tasks, projects and goals to get accomplished this week. Are there any fixed dates, for example for my blog, where I publish a new blog post every Friday morning. Or my yoga classes, that I hold Mondays and Wednesdays etc.

I used to block hours, e.g. 9am-12pm for my blog, 12-14pm break, 14-16pm yoga, 16-18pm  reading, 18-20pm teaching a yoga class, 20-21pm social media promotion, etc. I have days where this works perfectly, but also where it doesn’t. Reasons vary: I’m not in the right mood for reading or I don’t feel creative enough to write my next blog post. So apart from the fixed dates, that approach doesn’t always work for me. Now, I’m trying a more flexible approach; I’m still scheduling the fixed dates in my diary, as well as setting out my weekly goals, e.g. ‘Pre-write 5 blog posts this week’, ‘Submit 1 article to John Strelecky & Friends‘, or ‘Plan up the yoga classes for April’. But I’m allowing myself the space and flexibility to complete these tasks whenever I feel like it, as long as I get them done. For me this leads to a higher level of satisfaction, whereas a very strict schedule seems to cause procrastination at times, especially when I’m not in the right mood for a specific task. On the other hand, I’m wondering if this enables me to perform at my full potential or if I’m operating only at half of my potential.

One last note: WhatsApp. Whilst I love this app, as it enables me to be in touch with my friends who are spread across the world, it’s also a very time-consuming activity, so use it wisely. I used to have my phone on silent anyways, but whenever I walked past my phone, I would check my incoming messages, emails, Instagram, etc. One thing led to another and suddenly I’ve lost 30 minutes of my valuable time. So, now, I have switched off my WhatsApp notifications fully, and if somebody needs me urgently, they simply have to to call. Done.

Owl or lark?

Also, I’m exploring whether I’m more of an owl or a lark when it comes to my productivity & creativity phase as well as sleeping patterns. I like the idea of getting up at 6am every day and having loads of things done by mid-day already. The reality however is that I might go to bed later one night, hence I cannot get out of bed the next day, which leads to frustration and procrastination. Plus sometimes, I get writing late after a yoga class, simply because I’m in the right mood or something evoked a thought that I’d like to capture… And then it’s rather hindering to have a very fixed time schedule.

Experiment, experiment, experiment 

If you are currently thinking about time design, then experimenting would be my best advice to you. Ask yourself, when in the day you are most productive or creative, whether you are an owl or a lark, if you prefer the night or the morning hours to get things done. No matter what type you are, avoid procrastination by all means and design your time purposefully to design the life you want.

Make your personal growth a must

Amongst all experiments though, one thing always – each and every day – finds a place in my schedule and that is time for myself and my personal growth. This can be reading, listening to a podcast or audio book, taking a relaxing bath, meditating, practicing yoga. The list is long, but do make it a must.

Why?

To constantly grow and never stand still.

Start designing your life now, so that you can jump for joy!

Yours, Nina

PS: I’d be very curious to hear your approach to time and life design, so please leave your comments. Thank you!

Yoga Teacher Training-Episode 5

The last blog posts about my yoga teacher training were a review of the asana and philosophy practice, but this blog post will be different. I don’t feel like writing a summary of these last 3 days, I feel more like writing how I’ve experienced this intensive training from a mental, physical and emotional point of view.

We started on Friday 4pm again and I was so happy to go back to the yoga teacher training. At the same time, I realised that the completion was about to get closer, so I don’t really know if it was pressure I felt or excitement. Maybe both.

Nevertheless, once I stepped into the yoga studio and sat down onto my mat, I just felt ‘home’. I’ve been practicing yoga many times per week, in the studio or at home, but being in this peaceful and protected environment again, just made me feel at home, silent and loved.

We did loads of forward bends on Friday and whilst I’ve been making massive progress on going deeper into the poses, especially in Uttanasana, I really felt my hamstrings and my inner thighs working, to make a long story short, I could feel my entire body working. I don’t know how you feel about physical work, but I love it. I simply love it. I love it from a physical point of view to go further, and I don’t mean pushing myself into poses, nevertheless, yes, I am challenging my body by practicing and executing the poses properly, by really working those muscles, by being in proper alignment and trust me, doing that, builds up loads of heat in our bodies. And then again the challenging yoga poses reflect life for me. That’s the mental and emotional aspect.

The 2nd and 3rd day focused on backbends. I am not the kind of person that you would call bendy. Bendy Nina probably wouldn’t be my nickname, but you can call me Ninja. I had respect for backbends especially for the wheel, Urdvha Danurasana. Since childhood, and until I started practicing yoga, I’ve not been doing the wheel or bridge at all. Simply because I didn’t really like it and I thought – for whatever reason – that I cannot do it. Here we go: another limiting belief that I imposed on myself. The good news is with being on the yoga way, I realise just how much more I’m trying out, I say yes to things way more often, I experiment more, I am just offering even more openness.

This life attitude made me realise that I’ve actually got a good chest opening and that I am pretty ‘strong’, but there is definitely still potential in my shoulder opening. After day 2, I was so physically exhausted (but happy), that I just ran myself a bath with some herbal salt that my closest friend got me as a present from Peru. I listened to a podcast about health and essential oils whilst relaxing in the bath tub and I noticed just how happy and grateful I was.

I started day 3 with feeling literally every single muscle in my body, especially the ones that very obviously I’ve not been using a lot or intensively enough. Getting out of bed this morning was not easy, I felt my hamstrings, my quadriceps, my triceps, my hip flexors, and the area between my shoulder blades. Phew, plus I knew that today’s practice will lead to Urdhva Danurasana as peak pose.

We started the training with a lovely opening. It always grounds me, it gets me to my happy place. Literally 10 minutes later and an intensive warm up – especially for shoulder and chest opening – I had built an immense heat in my body. And yes I had seconds of thinking ‘Why is this so damn hard?’ but the next second I focused on my breath again thinking

Wow, it’s incredible what my body is capable of.

I felt so strong and empowered mentally that I was able to work even deeper into my muscles, because I was flooded by positive energy. We did an intensive training of 3 hours in total repeating forearm stand (Pincha Mayurasana) as prep pose and then reaching our peak pose, the wheel. First of all, I held the forearm stand for a satisfactory duration, but secondly I was so so so happy to be able to go into the wheel, whilst applying the correct technique. Trust me, if you do work it properly, it’s really an intense and advanced pose. If you don’t work it properly, it is still an intense pose, but there is a risk of injury (like in any other pose), so please be careful. This practice made me feel empowered, self-confident, content and strong and it definitely proofed my point of being open to new things, playing around and just trusting myself that I can do this.

Trust yourself. You can do this.

We finished the practice with a beautiful Savasana, gosh, how I love this asana and my teacher’s closing words were

I trust myself and life that all I need to know is already within me.

Match! I left into lunch break feeling very happy despite the physical exhaustion. After lunch, we continued with yoga philosophy and the Yoga Sutra. We talked about the 3 Gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas), how everything existent is a combination of these 3 qualities, and how the gunas affect our mind (Chitta). It’s like a rainbow. A rainbow wouldn’t be a rainbow with only one colour. No, it needs 7 colours, whilst each colour shows up in different intensity. The same principle applies to the Gunas in Chitta. However, the closer we get to Sattva or even beyond, the less we are being controlled by our ego, which in return leads to a calmer mind.

Since Friday, I wished for a Yoga Nidra session with our yoga philosophy teacher Ralph Skuban.  And when he wasn’t sure today whether to continue with the topic Chitta, I suggested a Yoga Nidra session. He said yes and led us through a wonderful Yoga Nidra journey.

And for the first time, I experienced something truly beautiful. The left side of my body felt like it was lifting off the floor, like it was floating, being very light, whilst at the same time, my right side felt totally grounded, touching the floor.

And I happily realised that I was coming closer and closer to a sattvik mind symbolising light, ease and clarity in life. I hadn’t realised just how emotional I was about this experience, until I left my closest friend an audio message on Whats App with tears in my eyes.

I would like to conclude this article with the following words:

I feel truly grateful for my yoga path, as it is leading me to my true self.

Yours, Nina

 

Give yourself permission

These 3 words mean a lot to me. They have touched me right in my heart. They left me speechless and wiser.

These 3 words stem from my Reiki healer whilst spending my last weeks of my Latin America journey in Mexico. What I am writing here is obviously very personal, however, I feel the urge to share my experiences & feelings with you, as I’m sure, many of you will resonate with them. And I’d be more than happy to know that I’ve given you at least one Aha-moment.

When I arrived in Tulum for my yoga retreat back in October 2016, one of the yoga teachers recommended a massage therapist with spiritual background. Only this description fully hooked me and I booked a session right away. In my 1st session, I honestly expected a full body massage with a bit of therapeutic and spiritual inspiration, however it turned out completely different and better than anything I would have expected.

Without talking to the Reiki healer about my current life situation, my emotional pain and my lack of orientation, he immediately sensed my pains and restrictions, just by moving his hands over my body without touching me. Only by feeling my energetic blockades in my body. He stopped in my chest and heart area a few times as well as on my hips. I’ve been experiencing severe hip tightness before my trip and I was hoping that this guy could help me.

And whilst we all hope that physical pain comes exactly from that same area, we all know, that we must dig a bit deeper in order to understand the real origin of physical pain. In my case, my hip tightness was caused by emotional pain. Heart pain. Pain that I had not released yet, but instead had put it into my hips over months. The Reiki healer explained that we often tend to store all emotional pain, especially heartache, in our hips. And when he said that I could feel his words right in my heart. I had goose bumps everywhere. I felt really hot and sweaty, as the energy started to flow again after a long period of time. And of course, it made sense after a broken 10-year relationship and another break up in Latin America that my energy didn’t flow freely anymore. I think it’s fair to say that this is quite a lot to digest. Don’t get me wrong now, I don’t ask for your sympathy.

This post is more about allowing ourselves to feel the pain we are feeling, whenever we do feel pain. We mustn’t hide it in order to be strong. No. We are allowed to be weak as well. It is okay to feel sad, emotional, hurt and lost. I realised in this moment that I had kept myself together for so long, as I felt like I had to perform and that with the feelings of pain I couldn’t do so. So, I basically became pain resistent to be able to manage my life, which had to continue. I had to manage my work and finances, I had to manage a move, I had to keep myself busy at least for a certain period of time. In a way there wasn’t enough time to take care of myself. Or in other words, I didn’t allow myself to take care of myself.

As the session with the Reiki healer continued that day, there was another big emotional moment for me. He said that I could feel that I am different and that I have a strong connection to something superior than me, but that I wasn’t allowing myself to be different, because of fear. Fear for rejection, fear for the reaction of others. Fear to stand out, fear to outgrow other people in my life. Fear to be the best version of myself.

He urged me to come back from my head into my heart and to give myself permission to trust my intuition and feelings again. A door I had left closed for some time.

Give yourself permission to be the best version of yourself.

This moment felt like game-over and reset at the same time. I felt caught and relieved.

That day (24/10/2016) was my breakthrough. I knew this was only the beginning of something wonderful. What started as a journey through Latin America turned into a journey to myself. And I’m so grateful it did.

Yours, Nina

 

Embrace change

Our lives can change to the positive, once we start embracing change.

It is funny how things changed my life in only 6 months after I left London to travel through Latin America. Once I started embracing the changes, I found that my life changed for the better. I trust that life has a plan for everyone and I guess in my case, the  relationship was simply not meant to last, but it was meant to bring me on this journey that would change my life fully. Life had better plans for me. Once I trusted myself and life, it all started working out by itself. Like a puzzle finally coming together.

Life has better plans for you. Trust the journey.

I believe we all want to control situations, other people, reactions, behaviours and life. But we also know that gaining control is impossible. If a person is meant to be in your life, he/she will. If you are meant to have that job, then you’ll get it. If a relationship ends, then it wasn’t meant to be. Just trust that life has a plan for you. Let go!

We also behave in certain ways and patterns hoping and expecting other people to recognise this and to act likewise and then we are deeply disappointed, if our expectations are not met. Expectations are a big challenge in today’s world, as most people look for their happiness outside of themselves. However, happiness can only ever be sought within ourselves. This means it is essential to be fully happy and at peace with yourself.

Once you are happy with yourself – and this is of course a process that you need to be ready to start – you’ll find that you can let go more and more, that you don’t want to control as much anymore, and that you’ll have less expectations on other people. That doesn’t mean by the way that we shouldn’t live up to our best possible standards and values, but we can’t expect other people to guess our expectations and to act the same way.

Disappointment is usually the result of miscommunication or lack of communication, based on our beliefs. In order to avoid disappointment, it’s therefore critical that we communicate our beliefs, values and wishes in every relationship, be it professional or personal. Dare to speak your truth and the right people will come into your life and those people who were meant to accompany you only for a certain period of time, let them go.

Be grateful that you had them in your life, as you can learn something from each and every person and every situation. Just think about it. I am for example grateful for the relationship that ended during the trip, as life waved at me saying that I needed to be true to myself and my values. I’m grateful that this relationship somehow brought me on that journey. Who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have done it on my own…?

Let’s embrace change, love ourselves and be grateful.

Yours, Nina