Yoga Teacher Training-Episode 6

For consistency reasons, I’ve titled this post “Yoga Teacher Training – Episode 6”, but really it should be titled “Dissolving of pain”. Dissolving pain might not sound too great, but oh it is. You ‘only’ have to trust the journey.

Hip Openers

On Friday, we continued our yoga teacher training. Our teacher Nella already advised us beforehand that we will be working with hip openers majorly that day. Just hearing hip openers and thinking about it, I actually get warm and slightly nervous and so I did, when I read my teacher’s email.

Here’s why: when I travelled through Latin America and started looking at myself and my life in more depth than I ever did before, I stranded in Tulum, Mexico for a yoga retreat. During this retreat, I worked with a healer for a few sessions and I told him that I had been suffering from tight hips and groins for a year already (this was in Oct 2016). And for the first time in years, just by the healer mentioning words like “love”, “hurt”, “heartbroken”, “truth” and “trust”, I started crying. My tears were rolling and rolling. These tears, I knew instantly, were long overdue. I had very obviously locked up emotions and feelings – maybe in my hips? – for too long. Maybe because at the time I was not ready to really see and feel them, so me and my body thought, let’s put it aside for now. Problem is, this “for now” ended up being for years, which is why the words of the healer triggered me so quickly and heavily.

Fast forwarding to January 2017 after I had just returned from my travels, I visited a yoga and meditation workshop in Munich. Guess, what was a major part of the workshop called “A journey to your inner self“? Yes, exactly, hip openers. And again, I remember tears running down my face.

Listen to your body

I’ve had a few similar scenarios since then, where I felt emotional and nervous whilst practicing hip openers, but when we practiced them again last Friday, it was intense! Knowing of my physical and emotional challenges I’m obviously not that keen on hip openers, but I do know that I need to address this part of my body, that I need to look at it, that I need to feel it, so that the healing process can continue and that the pain can dissolve.

Just like water has cleansing properties, body work holds healing properties.

It was no coincidence that I was in the first row that afternoon and I was struggling,

  • physically (my thought: why for f***’s sake am I so tight?)
  • mentally (my thought: I cannot do this, it’s uncomfortable, why am I doing this?)
  • emotionally (my thought: what exactly happened, what is stored in my hips?)

If you are a yogi, you probably know what they say about the connection between our hips and our emotions. It’s said that our hip area is strongly connected with our emotions. Hence, an intense hip opener practice can bring up feelings of rage, sadness and anger.

Hips don’t lie!

During the practice I smoothed over the physically and emotionally challenging practice, but I could not hide my feelings anymore in Savasana. My tears started rolling, I experienced mixed feelings of sadness, relief, confusion and maybe a bit of anger not knowing what exactly these emotions are that I’ve stored in my hips.

And today (Monday) – whilst writing this blog post – I’ve decided to let it go. I don’t need to know which emotions exactly I’ve stored in my hips, but I do know that I want to go deeper here, that my body is telling me to look closer and that I really need to look closer in order to dissolve the pain. And only by being aware and mindful, we have the chance to change, for the better! So, from now on, I will be dedicating 20 minutes every day to hip opener exercises – happy hips, happy Nina!

Yours, Nina

PS: No, I am not using a picture of me in a hip opener pose… I chose the pic because water stands for cleansing and practicing hip openers will cleanse too. Pic taken in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

 

 

 

Big Five for Life

My success story and hence realisation of one of my Big Five for Life already started when I was 17 years old. But I didn’t know anything about the Big Five for Life, needless to say that I didn’t understand then that I was about to get closer to realise my dream.

Back in high school, one teacher offered Spanish classes as an extracurricular activity. Since starting school, I was interested in languages. I like the idea of being able to talk to other people in their local language. I already knew German and English, so I signed up for the Spanish classes, with 100% enthusiasm. Only 6 months later my teacher organised an exchange programme to the beautiful and cosy town of Linares, Jan in Andalusia. I was really happy with my host family and my exchange partner Ana, who was 3 years older than me. Jackpot at this age, since I would be hanging out with 20 year olds. The family only spoke Spanish, nothing else, so I really had to make an effort to make myself understood. The result: after only 2 weeks in Spain (plus the 6 months before), I spoke enough Spanish to get by, to order drinks and food, to ask for directions or to introduce myself.

When I returned home, I was sure to continue learning Spanish, but my dream had grown bigger. I was inspired by my teacher who spent 6 months in Argentina plus I was driven by the idea of speaking several languages.

So, my dream suddenly became clear: I want to travel through Latin America someday. I want to improve my Spanish skills and most importantly I want to feel this feeling again. My inner joy like a child, that swings back and forth, a feeling of warmth and openness, that I experienced during my exchange programme, a feeling of extensiveness and independence, and trust that

Everything is possible.

And so one of my biggest Big Five for Life was born: Travelling through Latin America. I didn’t have any idea, when or how, but it was crystal clear why and that I want to do this.

I’m fast forwarding to my time as a student of business administration. In 2005 I had the opportunity to study in Wales, which I grabbed instantly. Why? I felt this feeling again. Of course I was there to improve my English skills, but the university also offered Spanish classes, and so I signed up again, studying Spanish for another 8 months. I mean who says that I couldn’t learn two languages at the same time? Right…!

I moved to London in 2012, as my boyfriend at the time worked in finance, and because I simply wanted to. I had this feeling of travel pleasure again, the desire to experience something new. Of course, it was also my plan to find a job in London as marketing manager, but what drove me most was the desire to speak a different language, to dive into a new culture and to meet new people. It was simply exciting.

After 2 years in that job and a feeling of having settled into the job, I felt the urge to learn something (new) again. And there it was again, my thoughts about Latin America and Spanish. I asked for recommendations for Spanish schools on Facebook and one school that was recommended most was Instituto Cervantes. Said and one. I called the school, arranged an appointment for a level test, and started my classes only a few weeks later. I pushed through all classes, once a week, every Monday, after work, even in summer.

In 2014, my boyfriend and me broke up, but since I was happy in London with my job, my friends and everything else, I simply wasn’t ready to close this chapter. So I stayed, against the exceptions of family and friends.

Do you know this feeling, when you know? When you intuitively know what is right for you? I felt exactly this feeling. I simply knew that my journey wasn’t over. Not here, not now.

Trust your intuition.

In June 2015 I got together with my new boyfriend from London, who was my colleague at the same time. Only a few months later, we were told that our company would be sold to a German company. I saw a big potential for my career at this company, since I was the only one speaking German and English fluently and understanding both cultures. However, during the acquisition, I realised that I didn’t want to continue working for this company. And still, my thoughts were going in circles for weeks, what to do next, back and forth. But suddenly there it was. Clarity. About quitting. Moreover, I was 100% sure that this would be the moment. I long had this dream to travel through Latin America, but still there were always reasons against it (in my head), why this wouldn’t be possible, for example due to a relationship, a job, not enough money, not enough time etc. But in this moment there weren’t any obstacles any more. Not even my relationship at the time was an obstacle for me. I took my boyfriend aside and talked him through my dream of travelling through Latin America and that the timing just seemed perfect. I told him that I swore myself that next time I’d quit a job, I would go on this journey. And he liked the idea.So we both quit our safe and well-paid jobs in London in February 2016.

Our research started. Which countries, how long, when to start, which Spanish school.

I just couldn’t believe that my dream of travelling through Latin America would finally (at the age of 34) become true, yet at the same time it felt so natural, as if was meant to be. I was so much looking forward to this journey and my travels kicked off on the 5th June 2016. Me, Nina, with my 15kg backpack, on her way to the first stop, Havana in Cuba. The return flight was planned for the 26th September, so we had just under 4 months of travelling and adventure ahead of us. The adventure came, but differently.

We travelled from Cuba to Guatemala, where we stayed for 2 weeks in Antigua in a Spanish school. We continued to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I really wanted to go to Mexico, but my boyfriend wasn’t so keen on it, and since it was more a feeling than anything else, I couldn’t really argue why I wanted to go. We then travelled to Colombia, to Ecuador, and here we visited a Spanish school again in Montañita, a surf town, where we spent 2 weeks in a hotel right at the beach. Next stop was Peru and on the peak point of this country, Machu Picchu, our relationship also arrived at a peak named end.

We still travelled to Bolivia together, but it was clear that we couldn’t make this work, regarding our communication, our wishes as well as our idea of relationship and partnership. Nevertheless, the end came kind of as a surprise to me and it therefore hurt and it was an end full of tears. But in all this emotional drama, I knew, I had to leave this place asap in order to create space, to have air to breathe. So, 2 days later (mid-August) I was on a plane to Uyuni, to see the biggest salt flats of the world. And to feel this feeling again. My Why.

Whilst approximately 95% of friends and family suggested to come back home (but what was that home, London or Munich?) I felt deep inside me, that my journey was not over yet. That this journey would continue. That it had only just started. And so it was.

What is it that YOU want?

The adventure was bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. In the following days I decided to continue my travels as originally planned, but solo. It was my dream, one of my Big Five for Life, remember? I simply couldn’t stand the idea that a break up should erase this dream. No Way! It simply didn’t feel right to stop my travels, actually I felt the opposite. I suddenly had this deep trust, despite the heartache, that everything was happening for a reason and that it was right and important for me to make this experience. For me, my journey and my path of life.

Trust your intuition.

So, I decided to continue my travels on my own. In my pace, and with a feeling of floating, to simply live into the day. And my journey began and with it the fulfilment of one of my Big Five for Life.

From Bolivia, I flew to Chile and spent two wonderful weeks in Santiago de Chile. Due to the emotional chaos that I was in, I had somehow forgotten that my return flight to London was in 2 weeks already. And there it was again, the dilemma, that we all know.

Heart says, head says.

My heart spoke clearly, but softly to me to extend the journey, but my head, also shaped by the opinion of others, requested to fly back to London on 26th September, as it had all been planned.

My heart won! I was getting warm. I called the travel office and asked for flight options  to somewhere nice and warm, with sun, sand and sea. I just knew what I needed for my heart, my soul and a relaxed finale of my journey. Guess what I booked? Mexico. Yes!

But first things first, because from Chile I first travelled to Argentina. Since I had extended my trip for another 7 weeks, I took my time to explore this beautiful country a bit more. I met a nice woman in Buenos Aires who invited me into her casa in La Rioja.

And I felt this feeling again: warmth, openness, and freedom. When I spotted a swing in a giant garden, I was so happy and I started swinging like a child. Playful and content.

I spent my last 4 weeks in Mexico. Mexico and especially Tulum has become my magic place. A place of reflection, of inner peace, of sheer pleasure and the journey to myself. It was most likely the most important journey in my life. An experience I would have never made, if I had given up on my dream of travelling through Latin America.

And in the last weeks I gained even more clarity whilst sitting at the beach of Tulum: I move back into my hometown Munich. I want to deepen my yoga and meditation practice. And I will finally write a blog, inspired by my (inner) journey.

And these visions became reality. I live in a beautiful flat in Munich, I’m doing my yoga teacher training and I launched my blog, this blog. My heart project. The name Nina’s Pink Notes is based on a pink notebook that was my loyal companion during my travels.

Today, I’m very grateful for my experiences, because they showed me how important it is to trust myself, my heart and my inner voice. My experiences made me stronger, wiser and brought me on a more beautiful and authentic way.

If you are currently in a situation and you don’t know what to do or decide, let me tell you one thing. Really trust your intuition and follow your heart!

Yours, Nina

 

Self-love

Self-love has truly been an affair of my heart, in particular for the past year. For me, self-love is strongly related to moving from my head to my heart, meaning being good to myself as much as I can.

In the past years, I was often stuck in my head and my heart didn’t manage to prevail. I always thought I’m so emotional, and yes I am an emotional person. But I also had to learn to accept my emotions, to feel all feelings I’m feeling and especially to allow for my heartache instead of suppressing it.

I had to re-learn trusting my intuition and gut feel more than anything else in the world, more than the kindly meant suggestions of family and friends, the expectations of society as well as the often heard don’ts in life. Don’t do this, don’t do that. This is too dangerous. This is not safe enough. This is insecure. This is not right for you. You cannot do this. You don’t have enough money. You are selfish. You are egoistic. You are a dreamer.

I could continue this list of limiting beliefs that I’ve come across in my life, like we all have, but the above are probably the ones I’ve heard most often. Looking back, it’s obviously a shame, that I wasn’t strong and self-confident enough to push back or not to listen. Although deep down these beliefs didn’t feel right for me, I still believed them and acted accordingly. Because, what can be so wrong about something that most people do, right?

With two break ups in not even two years and on the road traveling, I got to a point, where I wanted to reflect my life. I felt the urge to understand myself more. Maybe this only came up for me, as I had the time back then? Either way, I booked a yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico and I’m so grateful I did. Because what happened there was magical and Tulum has become my magic place.

During the yoga retreat, I practiced yoga everyday, I meditated, I did a detox from social media, I ate very healthily (especially I discovered smoothie bowls), I solely focused on myself and my well being. I basically practiced self-love, and it came up very naturally for me. But I wanted to go a bit deeper and when one of the yoga teachers mentioned a Reiki healer, my attention was there. I arranged an appointment with him the next day and without telling him anything about my life, he noticed immediately that my heart was broken and that I still hadn’t released some pain from the past. This pain blocked me from moving forwards and from accepting myself for who I truly am. It has also caused my hips and groins to tighten up. The Reiki healer explained that we tend to put all our emotional baggage that we are not able to release into our hip area. Obviously, the tension didn’t build up in a day, but within the last couple of years. But suddenly it all made sense. Just him mentioning this triggered lots of tears, as I felt so relieved and understood.

My healing process was about to start and should continue.

This moment was my biggest moment of self-love, as I realized the following:

  • I’ve always felt that I was a bit different and unique in way, but I didn’t allow myself to really be, out of fear for the reaction of others.
  • I’ve always felt a spiritual connection to something bigger than me (I’m not religious, so I’d say I believe in the Universe), but I was not in the right environment to truly live this spiritual connection and I simply didn’t do (responsibility).
  • I’ve always been a person questioning behaviors, reactions and situations, but very often I was scared of challenging other people for fear of rejection and being regarded as too critical or arrogant.
  • I’ve always felt I was ahead of the game, but I was afraid of overtaking people.

This resulted in me simply adapting to pre-defined standards, without understanding why I should do it this way. So, for many, many years I lived a life without being truly true to myself.

However, only if we dare to be brave and be ourselves by practicing self-love, we can walk the way to happiness!

  • Love yourself so much that you allow yourself to be yourself.
  • Love yourself so much, that you live your true self.
  • Love yourself so much, that you allow yourself to be in your highest alignment.
  • Love yourself so much, that you truly believe you can be everything you want to be.

Yours, Nina

My breakthrough

My breakthrough is what I call the beginning of the journey to myself.

I look at pictures taken in Cozumel, Mexico, and I see pure happiness, in my eyes, in my smile, in the glow in my face.

This happened when I finally allowed me to go on an inner journey to myself. Allowing me to explore who I am, reflecting whether I’m happy with who I am, finding out what I stand for, what my values are. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of this permission, but I felt relieved. I felt light. It felt like the wings that were glued to my body (probably by myself?) for many years were finally starting to open, because I permitted me to open them. Slowly, but surely.

I realised that I’ve always had big wings, but that I had neglected or forgotten them for a very long time. So, when I could feel my wings again, I was able to open them, to use them and to finally start creating a life that should feel as free as a bird.

Which brings me back to my answer (always!) upon the question:

If you were an animal, what would you like to be?

My breakthrough was not one single moment, it was a process. However, I recognised that specific moment of happiness in Cozumel as my breakthrough moment. And I will never ever forget it.

If you are at a turning point in your life, please trust yourself and life. Trust that things will happen for you at the right time and remember that life is always working for you, not against you.

Yours, Nina

 

 

My inner journey

If you are curious to find out how I got to my breakthrough then you will like this article.

I remember the day approximately one month after the break up. I had reached a very low point, when I arrived at the airport in Buenos Aires, destination Cancún. There was a massive queue at the check-in desks, people were complaining about the wait and when it was finally my turn for check-in, the guy at the desk told me that he couldn’t check me in to Mexico, unless I could prove flying out from Mexico again. And yes, I had a return flight back to London, however, I hadn’t printed it out. So, I started looking up the ticket on my iPhone to realise the Wifi wasn’t working and I didn’t have any more data left. I got very nervous, since the flight was due to leave one hour later and I hadn’t even passed security yet. I started sweating, I was really hot, nothing worked. With the best intentions to remain calm, I could finally convince a shop to log me onto their internet connection and there it was, my booking confirmation, to prove that I would be leaving Mexico on 9th of November. I rushed back to the check-in desk. The guy told me that I didn’t have to queue again, so I went straight up to him. When I was just about to show him my flight ticket, someone pinched my shoulder from behind and shouted at me that I should go at the end of the line.

After everything that happened, this was simply too much, but I managed to reply that I wasn’t jumping queues, but that I had been asked to come forward and that he should please understand. He didn’t, but at least I was able to rush to security. Yes, I was working hard on my resilience in that situation.

5 minutes later, the crazy guy also appeared in the security queue and complained about my behaviour again. At the same time, I was on Whats App with a close friend to message about the break-up, my feelings and next steps.

And there it was, my breakdown. Too long had I kept my tears from falling, too long had I kept my emotions to come out, that I simply couldn’t control them anymore. I cried and cried, I had trouble breathing, I had to sit down in the middle of the queue. I felt out of control. My life felt out of control. Until I boarded the plane, sat down in my seat and closed my eyes. I suddenly felt relieved and light. Because I had finally given myself permission to feel my pain, sadness and anger.

And when the plane took off, I literally felt like taking off to a new life. And life proved me right. Life had better plans for me.

The message from my heart to yours:

Trust yourself and life.

Yours, Nina

 

Reason why

You might wonder why I started this blog.

I first had the idea to write a blog on 30th December 2014 after my 10-year relationship ended. I instantly knew that I needed a holiday. It needed to be a destination far away, a country I have not been to before, and I needed to do this on my own.

I decided to travel to beautiful Mauritius, setting off to new shores. Two days into this friendly and peaceful environment, I thought, sitting by the beach, that this is the perfect opportunity to start writing. About how, for the first time, I travelled completely on my own, to capture all amazing moments in pictures & words and to heal, day by day, week by week.

Fast-forwarding to my return to London 2 weeks later, I realised that everything I wrote into my notebook felt way too personal and intimate, that I wasn’t ready to share this yet.

Turns out the reason was I indeed wasn’t ready. Life held bigger plans for me. As you might know, we always get exactly what we can handle, not less, not more. Very obviously I was able to handle way more.

In June 2015 I got together with my new boyfriend. Yes, it was a rather short single break, but sometimes things simply happen and I just felt in flow.

It has been my dream to travel through Latin America since age 17 and when we both quit our jobs, I knew I had to finally make my dream come true. So, we decided to go on this adventure together, 4 months of travelling, from 5th June until 25th September 2016.

Jumping to end of August 2016, our relationship ended between Peru and Bolivia. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. But I was shocked. Another break up in such a short period of time? In South America? Really? In my head, I already titled this experience, which felt like the stupidest movie ever “Nina left in the middle of nowhere”.

Despite all confusion and heartache at the time, I heard my heart talking to me very clearly. It said that I should keep following my dream, that I should continue my travels, that I shouldn’t give up and that life holds so much more for me.

Fast-forwarding to Santiago de Chile in September 2016. I sat in my apartment planning the next stops in Argentina, when it suddenly hit me that my return flight was only 2 weeks away. I felt nervous, yet calm at the same time, a feeling hard to describe. And yet again, I knew the answer. The answer was already within me. My heart told me to extend my journey, to give myself more time to digest, to continue my healing process and to figure out the next step (moving back to London which had been my home for 4.5 years or back to Munich, my hometown).

So, I re-arranged my flights to give myself more time in Chile and Argentina plus I built in another month in Mexico. Fast forwarding to the end of October in Tulum I was fully relaxed, peaceful and in a very happy place, when I suddenly pictured Munich. And I knew this is it, this is my next step. Tulum has become my magical place. It forms the origin of my spiritual journey, of self-love and personal development and hence deserves the first entry on my blog.

In this very moment, I also knew that I wanted to share my experience of travellingyoga and how I started my healing process with as many people as possible. So here I am.

You are my reason why.

Read more about me here.

Yours, Nina