Start walking for your dreams

Interviewed by Dominik Hoffmann @WasHeldentun

I want to share another beautiful and inspiring interview with you. The interview is in German, so I will summarise the most important insights and key learnings for you through this blog post:

Start walking for your dreams.

My message from the bottom of my heart to yours: Start walking for your dreams. I want to encourage you to live in alignment with your true self, so that you can live a happy and fulfilled life from the inside out.

Pin it

What do you truly want for yourself? What is your message to the world? Write it down on a (pink) post-it or several post-its and put them onto your mirror in the bathroom. No chance you’ll oversee that and hence you’ll be reminded of your message at all times.

Reconnect

We are all unique; we all have something beautiful to share with the world. If you don’t know what that would be at the moment, then reconnect with yourself. We all actually know who we are, however the challenge we are facing is that this awareness of our true self often gets lost and so over time we forget who we really are. You can visualise this as a dusted diamond. It is (still) shining underneath, but you need to de-dust your diamond in order to go back to your true self, to who you really are.

Want it

You really must want this though. If you don’t feel the desire to change your life to the better, if you don’t want to transform, if you don’t want to live a lighter and happier life, then it’ll be impossible to de-dust your diamond, so developing a real desire is key to your success.

Be brave

I know that we are surrounded by so many rules and regulations, by family and friends, by their expectations, by their desires. However, imagine this as a very tight suit (or dress) – wouldn’t that make you feel really uncomfortable and restricted? Wouldn’t you want to set free? Do you realise just how tight that suit is and how it restricts you from living the life you truly want to live? Yes? Then the suit will explode pretty soon and that is okay. Dare to step out of what is supposedly the norm. Be brave and start walking your path, not someone else’s. Question and reflect the existing. Because only then will you able to de-dust your beautiful diamond back to the shining bright light, that it used to be.

Start your personal development

Why? Because once you tune into your body, once you start observing your thoughts, once you feel your emotions, you’ll gradually de-dust your diamond and you’ll have beautiful Aha-moments. And you’ll realise that there are things within you that you want to look at. Because this thing is basically shouting at you. It wants to be seen, it wants to be set free. Trust me, this process is beautiful.

Create your dance for your life

I have the feeling, no, I know that everyone holds something very special, something that is only waiting for you to set it free. This is an active process, this doesn’t just happen, but if you truly want to transform and if you want to dance through life, then personal growth is the fundament that you need to build on. And from there, you can go anywhere. If you follow me on Instagram and read my other blog posts, then you will know that I am a passionate dancer. It is the one thing that has always – since I can think of – been within me and whilst I’ve been dancing almost all my life, I got a different understanding of the word ‘dance’. Dancing is not only about taking the right steps in the right order, it is about creation, putting your true self into these movements and aligning them with the rhythm of your life.

How you transform

I strongly recommend connecting with your body and tuning into your body, especially yoga helped me a lot to feel my body on a deeper level. It helped me to observe my thoughts, even though I came over thoughts that I really didn’t want to listen to. Painful thoughts. Sometimes shocking. Sometimes just ‘stuff’. I wondered ‘Is this really me?’ 

However, trust me, if you want to transform, there is no way around feeling all of it. You need to let it all come up again, so you can look at it and then process it on different levels, be it physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

But isn’t it great to know that you hold the power to observe and control your thoughts? Isn’t it amazing that you are a human being who can change massively by taking that first step of being aware?

Are you ready, but need help?

If you want to change your life, start walking. Reflect yourself, visualise your dreams and start walking for your dreams. I am more than happy to facilitate that first step for you. Come into my workshop FEEL UNDERSTAND HEAL #2 to feel your body, to understand your thoughts and to heal from within.

Yours, Nina

 

 

 

 

The defined life

As you know, my articles are always based on my own life and experiences. Lately I’ve been wondering where our urge comes from to define things.

I am in a phase of my life, where I am ‘redefining’ things and so I couldn’t help but notice that most of us have an urge to define things, to fix things, to determine things. We define our lives by defining the world we live in. And I have a feeling we do that in all systems of our life. Be it the job, the living situation, friendships and especially relationships. Everything is defined. But why?

We rate by stating.

We automatically rate our environment based on our perception of the world and whatever we perceive we instantly want to state.

I have to say that based on my personal development and becoming more conscious of my behavioural patterns, I definitely had a tendency, a strong one haha, to define things, too. And it’s okay. However, now, I’m realising stronger than ever just how much I have actually missed out on by defining things in advance and before they even get a chance to develop. Into whatever.

It has all been part of my beautiful learning process. No regrets.

And that is my point. Why do you need to know in advance which direction things are heading to? Why do you need to know today if the job that is okay for now is the job forever? Why do you need to know if the flat or house you live in will be your place of living for the next years? Why do you need to know if the guy you’re dating at the moment is the partner for the rest of your live?

Just think about it: Whenever you are in the process of defining things, you are actually not living in the now. Your thoughts have already wandered ahead of the life you are living now. You are losing touch with being here and now. You are losing touch with this beautiful moment. You are losing touch with enjoying that specific moment or stage in your life, because you are already thinking ahead, you already want to define things.

I have understood that defining things is only a form of control that stems from fear.

Enjoying life is a form of flow that stems from love.

Love for the moment.

All I want to do with this article is to inspire you to let go of definitions, to let go of control so that you, too, can be in flow.

Yours, Nina

Feminine Success

Interview with Henrike Dorndecker about Feminine Success

H: What does Feminine Success mean for you?

N: For me, Feminine Success, means that we, women, use our soft skills more again. I think that we have really good access to our intuition, but that unfortunately we sometimes disconnect from it. However, if we have access to our intuition and if we follow our heart, then I know that we can truly be successful. But first it is really important to use our soft skills and our intuition or to reactivate these skills if they got lost over time and then use them goal oriented. I also strongly believe that the perception of ourselves is key to success. That we are aligned with ourselves and in balance. That we really know who we are and what we stand for in order to be truly successful, the feminine way.

H: Thank you. And which areas are important to you at the moment? What are your successes or which challenges are you currently facing?

N: Well I have to say that since I’ve been going deeper into my personal growth, I’ve succeeded in many ways. Obviously everyone defines success differently, but I looked at questions like ‘Who am I?’, ‘What do I stand for?’, ‘What are my core values?’, ‘What do I want to achieve for this world?’, so I looked at the big picture and I’ve transformed my life in many ways. Nevertheless, there’s always room to grow and I think that for me personally I still want to improve listening and following my intuition, especially faster. I want to shorten the head-heart dilemma, which I think we all know too well. I want to be able to access my intuition even quicker, because I truly think that what we intuitively think is what is right and what we come back to when it is time to decide. However, we often make a detour, because we become insecure by what our mind is telling us.

I also think that especially for us women it’s important that we allow ourselves to be softer again. In a world that feels somehow dominated by men, I think we have un-practised this softness, but it is so critical to Feminine Success. Be strong with softness.

H: Yes, right, I totally agree. What is your profession, Nina? What do you do? What do you offer and where do you see a link to Feminine Success here?

N: I work as Life Strategist. It is my vision to encourage people to reconnect with their true self and to live in full alignment with it. I follow a holistic approach based on body work (yoga), mind work as well as essential oils. Hence, it’s an approach covering body, mind and soul alike. I’m so enthusiastic about this topic as I understood that we cannot be successful only in one area of our lives, but that we need to strive for success in each area of our lives. Everyone of course defines ‘success’ individually which makes it so exciting. To become successful we need to know who we really are, and when we do, our success is unlimited. Moreover, we will be truly happy and fulfilled. If we know who we really are, then we have access to our true potential and we can activate it, but if not, we will never exploit our full potential. And this is what I do, what I’m passionate about, this is my mission.

H: Great, I think the world needs more people like you. Last but not least, do you have a personal advice that you want to share here?

N: Yes sure, my main topic is to encourage people to live in alignment with their true self, because I truly believe that we can only be truly happy, once we know who we are. So I would recommend, don’t be scared, follow your heart and intuition, do not apologise for who you are, feel your body again, watch your thoughts and emotions and reconnect with yourself. And to be very specific, practise yoga, breathe and meditate. If you have never done this before, just start with 1 minute for meditation or lie down with your hands resting on your belly and deeply inhale and exhale into your belly. This is a simple calming exercise, but you’ll notice the increase in your energy for sure.

H: Fantastic, Nina. Thank you. This was a great conversation and I loved your simple but very effective breathing exercise at the end. Thanks. 

N: Thank you for having me.

PS: If you understand German, also watch the live interview on Facebook on my page ninaspinknotes

Watch yourself

When I say watch, I mean watch others and watch yourself. I mean watching in a very positive way. Watching as in observing. To make things easier, watch others first, just observe without any valuation, rating, or prejudice, just watch. Be mindful when watching. Then go watch yourself. Watch yourself from within.

Watch others

I’ve always been an observer. Ever since I can remember, I enjoyed watching and observing other people. When walking, when sitting in a cafe, whilst eating. And although I don’t usually initiate these activities solely for the purpose of observing, I noticed just how observant and ‘watchfully’ I am whilst watching others. So, the process of watching is very mindful indeed. It happens now.

When interacting with people, watch them. For example, if you ask someone ‘How are you?’, watch their reaction. Are they really happy, when they say ‘I’m great.’ or does their body language, tonality and voice express something differently? Are their eyes shining or not? Is their voice trembling or clear? Do they continue breathing or do they hold their breath? If we speak our truth, our body language automatically resonates and aligns with our words, with the content we are speaking. However, if we don’t, our body language and content are incongruent. For the act of watching others, this means that the other person is most likely not speaking the truth. So, watch!

Watch yourself 

It’s way easier to watch others first, to observe, to notice, to be mindful in the observation moment. It’s also a beautiful practice to go a step further. From watching others to watching yourself. Watch yourself from within.

By observing others you will learn how to observe yourself. It will give you guidance. You will be able to transfer your learnings by observing others onto yourself. Watch yourself, when you speak something out loud, for example ‘I’m so happy’. Do you really feel this deep down in your body? Are you happy from the inside out? Are your eyes glowing? Is your breath getting positively excited? Do you feel like dancing? Do you want to hug the entire world? Yes, then I’m sure you are happy from the inside out. But observe. Is your body language really congruent with your words ‘I’m so happy’ or is there something inside you that doesn’t feel right? Are you for example holding your breath? Does your voice sound a bit sad? Do you feel a bit of a tweak when speaking these words out loud? Watch yourself.

If you speak your truth, your whole body will feel this truth, there won’t be any blockades. However when not speaking your truth, which means lying to yourself, your whole body will tell and show you in the form of blockades, retained energies, tensions, physical pain and a disturbed breathing.

Avoid conflict

By watching yourself from within, by observing your words and related body language, by noticing your breath and your entire body, you’ll be able to reveal your truth, your true self. You will be more mindful and aware of whether you speak the truth or not. If you speak the truth you will feel aligned, light and happy. You will feel complete. In order to feel complete, we must avoid conflict. Conflict arises when we don’t speak our truth. Completeness arises when we do.

Aligned Yogi

As you know, I love yoga and here’s yet another reason why. It’s connected with the idea of feeling complete, at peace with life, as we do speak our truth. A yogi is a person who is complete, fully aligned, one who doesn’t face conflict from within, because a yogi always speaks his truth.

Beautiful and complete life

Isn’t it beautiful that by watching ourselves over time, we can learn, we can grow and we can live a true life? We can feel totally complete. Note that the feeling of completeness does not only relate to big moments in life, on the contrary, you can make every single moment complete, as small or big.

You and only you are the creator of your completeness.

Yours, Nina

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!

A moving life

This blog post refers to the great German podcast of Benjamin Bulach “Finde deinen eigenen Weg” / “Find your own way”. It was so much fun. Thank you, Ben.

https://soundcloud.com/benjamin-bulach/folge-5-ein-leben-in-bewegung-mit-nina-sadlowsky

I came across a post on Facebook, where Ben was looking for people to interview in his podcast, people with a different CV, people who changed their direction in life. I found that very appealing, which is why I instantly wrote Ben, that I’d be more than happy to support him and tell my story in his podcast.

Since the podcast has been recorded in German, I will do my best to write a summary of the podcast episode here, in English.

B: How did you know that what you’re doing is not right for you anymore?

N: In my first marketing job, I realised that I hardly had any time for myself, I had headaches quite often, my shoulders were aching, so I had quite a few physical signs that I was not at my best. And I thought at 28 years old, that can’t be right. That is not the life I want to live.

B: And how did you then realise that you want to change directions? 

N: That actually took some time and a U-turn. At the time, I thought the issue was the job and it certainly was from a stress level, but I also realised when I changed my job then, that this was not right either. Whilst my first job was too intense, the next one was a bit too boring. It was a long dream of mine to be an actress, and hence I applied to various acting schools in Germany and I got accepted by all 4 schools that I had applied to. So, I felt reassured that my feelings were right and that I held a potential that was waiting to be unleashed. So, I quit my job and visited an acting school in Munich.

But, I also realised that the job issue was only one side of the medal, but that in fact I missed my boyfriend at the time, as we were having a distance relationship. The topics love and relationship were apparently bigger than I thought.

B: Ok, and how did your environment react when you decided for the acting school?

Well, there were some people who were really excited for me and encouraged me to go ahead with my plan, but then there were people, especially my family, who raised concerns over leaving my safe job in marketing and about my financial situation. I heard the word Must a lot. You must have a job, you must work, you must must must. And I suddenly thought “Do I? Must I?” I started questioning things.

B: And then, how did you realise that the acting school suits you more than the classical marketing job?

N: Well, that is an interesting question. I did the acting school for only 5 months in the end, as again I missed my boyfriend at the time and when he decided to move to London, I moved to London, too. I think looking back I just needed the acting school as a way to break out, to leave the marketing world behind for the time being. And it really was the kick off for me to feel myself properly again, to get an idea of who I really am and who I really want to be. I also realised that sitting in an office the entire day is not what I want. I’m naturally someone who likes moving and exploring. And the acting school gave me the opportunity to explore myself and to unfold my personality in many directions. So maybe the acting school served as a kick off for my personal development.

B: Were you always someone who needed to feel herself?

N: Yes, definitely. Since age 4 I’ve been dancing the ballet, jazz dance, and Latin dances. I always moved and I need movement in my life. Movement helps me to feel myself and be in my highest alignment. Without movement, I am not in flow. But I love flowing.

B: And then when you lived in London, you decided to travel a bit further, right?

N: Yes, that’s right. My boyfriend and me broke up at the end of 2014 and 6 months later I was in a new relationship with my colleague. By the way, I worked in a marketing job back then that I really loved, until we were sold to a German company. So, after 3 years in the job, I quit and I said to my bf that I always wanted to go travelling through Latin America when I’d quit my job next time. And he replied that he was in and so we planned our adventure together. After 2 months of travelling, he broke up with me. I was shattered and thought I was in the wrong movie. It woke me up, not gently, but it did. I started thinking about me, my life, about the reasons of what had happened. My sadness quickly converted into anger and that intense feeling helped me to overcome my sadness by redirecting my anger into positive energy. I then decided to continue my travels alone; my first thought was indeed that I will be doing that on my own and that I won’t let someone destroy my dreams.

B: What helped you most in that situation?

N: Basically the fact that I can trust my intuition. I had a strong feeling that my travels were only about to start, but of course there were voices telling me to come home, and also there was my inner voice speaking to me, but I simply knew, that my first thought and gut feel was right and that I needed to travel on my own. Of course I heard my head and my heart constantly fighting, but my heart voice won. Luckily!

B: What were your main insights from your travels?

N: Definitely that I realised that I can trust my intuition and my heart. Hence, I am now able to shorten the inner conflict of head and heart. If I listen … Also, courage. I was quite courageous during my trip and that’s definitely something I want to keep up, as I think it is incredibly important to be brave, to be open-minded, to be communicative, simply to approach people I don’t know (yet). It is a beautiful feeling. And finally, I realised how important it is to live your true self and this is hence my last insight from my travels, that I want to keep going on this path of personal growth expressing my true self. To focus on what I want and what I need. Self-love is the key word in this context. It’s essential to practice self-love as only then we can spread love and serve others.

B: Talking about self-love, I would also like to talk with you about yoga, meditation and physical work in general. I personally find it quite difficult to be still and meditate and since you are a lively person, too, how did you ease into it? How did you start?

Yes, indeed, that’s not so easy. I actually got in touch with meditation for the first time when I visited a yoga retreat in Gran Canaria in 2015. I just couldn’t sit still, not even for a minute. I couldn’t bear the stillness. I got hot & restless, I had to move all the time, it wasn’t nice to realise that I wasn’t able to sit still. It made me think. And so I started meditating for a minute and gradually increased my meditation time. But I had my real breakthrough in Mexico at the end of my travels when I visited another yoga retreat. The combination of the sea, the sand, the beach and the right people surrounding me helped me to let go and to run along with it. That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to travel to Mexico now in order to find their way into meditation, but it means to give it a try, and not to overwhelm yourself. Just start with a one minute meditation and gradually raise it to 10/15 minutes, depending on how long you wish to meditate for. The most important thing is to do it daily. Rather meditate every day for only 5 min than trying it once a week for 15 minutes. It won’t work. It’s difficult to sit still for 15 minutes, if you never meditated before and if you are a lively person by nature. So, you need to be patient with yourself and practice. I can now meditate for 15 minutes and longer and yes, of course I have days where my thoughts are still wandering, too, but I notice it quicker and hence I can bring my focus back to my breath way quicker. It also helps visualising that you observe yourself from above, how you sit there on your mat or cushion. It gives the mind something to do, which means you can focus on your breath. Worth trying.

B: And how does yoga and meditation go together for you? How are these two connected?

N: They are strongly connected. Yoga is meditation. And actually I only found my way into meditation through yoga. I’m a person who needs to move first before being able to rest and I’m sure many people can resonate. Practicing asanas on your yoga mat is meditation and everything else around you dissolves. Now after years of practice I can also rest without the physical exercise.

B: Great. What are your plans now relating to yoga, meditation and coaching?

N: Meditation is something I’ve really incorporated in my life. And yoga is so much more for me than the practice on the mat, it’s about being mindful and connected with yourself. Of course, I want to continue teaching yoga, I would like to hold yoga retreats and workshops globally. In April, I will furthermore start a coaching education. Hence, my goal is to combine these themes and to complement them with essential oils as well. I really want to build my own business doing what I love. Living a life that I love.

B: Imagine you would meet your younger self, little Nina. What would you tell her?

N: I would tell her to trust herself. Listen to your heart and switch off the voices outside, as best as you can. Trust that your decision and the ways you are attracted to have their right to exist. Everything makes sense looking back, everything has its positive side. Trust me. Sometimes we need triggers to leave our comfort zone, and whilst it might hurt at the time, these triggers can catapult you to a totally different level. Also, look inside yourself, find silence, find peace, switch off, spend alone time, don’t fear alone time. Give your emotions the chance to come up.

Just imagine you are a crystal and the crystal is completely covered in dust, and gradually you blow off the dust, bit by bit, layer by layer and your true self is being revealed.

B: That’s a wonderful picture, thank you. What would you recommend people how they can find silence if they simply don’t know how…

N: That is difficult. But I’d say one approach is if you really want to change something, then you will. For example start by taking 30 minutes every Sunday, which are just for you, reading, drinking tea, sitting in a cafe, taking a bath. Whatever it may be, do it for yourself and alone. Or sometimes if a change is triggered by external factors, then listen to yourself and your body what it is you need and acknowledge it accordingly. For example you feel tired and exhausted then take some time out, a day, a few hours or whatever you can do to find back to your inner peace. Don’t lie to yourself and really listen. Our body speaks to us and most people are great at hiding and covering up the symptoms and feelings, but exactly then it’s so important to have access to yourself and listen to what your conditions and emotions are telling you. And if you do listen, beautiful things will be revealed.

B: Like you know my podcast is called Find Your Own Way. And of course, there are always different paths to take. What paths do you want to take?

N: I have definitely visualised my future life. In terms of business, I want to build upon yoga, coaching, meditation and essential oils. From a private point of view, well I’m single at the moment, but I do wish for a beautiful relationship with a guy who is on a similar way or is at least open to accompany me on my way. I also see that I’ll have a house by the sea and that I work from there. Nina sitting by the sea, with her husband and her laptop writing articles, her blog, teaching yoga, and so much more, with the picture of living a dream of freedom, happiness and love. I do know that there will still be obstacles along the way, but I also have the confidence that I will master them, based on my experiences, my knowledge and my growth. There will always be obstacles, but it’s important to know that we all have the capabilities to overcome them and succeed.

B: Thanks so much, a beautiful picture to finish on. It will be very interesting to see where you stand in 10 years time. Thank you, Nina, for being here. Dear listeners, I hope you’ll find your dream picture, too. All the best for you. 

N: Thank you, Ben. Ciao.

 

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.

 

 

 

Bursting knots

I already sensed last year that I’m on a good way to reveal my true self. To get really close to myself, to the person I really want to be, living the life I really want to live.

Now, this of course didn’t come overnight or by coincidence. No. I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to my personal growth. I’ve started working with a spiritually inspired life coach a year ago, I invested more time in Instagram to connect with like-minded people, to learn from them and to pass on my experiences, too. I started this blog. I went to a workshop from one of the top motivation trainers in Germany, Christian Bischoff. I listened to various podcasts about personal development. I read various books. I practiced yoga to strengthen my body and to quieten my mind. I started meditating on a regular basis. I started journalling in my pink notebook more actively again. I implemented a daily gratitude practice. I went to networking events. I arranged meetings with interesting and fascinating people outside of these networking events.

In summary, my personal growth, self-love and creating my vision has been key to me and still is.

Just because I’m writing the above in past tense, does not mean that any of these activities are completed though. No, the contrary is true and I tell you why.

On my way to where I’m now – a much happier, lighter, more positive, more saying yes to life Nina – I’ve been facing quite a few obstacles. Emotional breakdowns, tears, fights (with myself and others), ‘lost’ relationships, frustration, procrastination, sadness, fears, to only name a few. It is not the easiest of all ways to really dig deeper into personal development and spiritual growth. It’s not easy to reflect yourself so intensively, to question existing relationships, to question existing behaviours, to ask yourself what it is you really want, what it is you really need and especially what it is you really want from life and I mean from the bottom of your heart.

What do you really want from life from the bottom of your heart?

The process described above requires you to look at your life first, to be ready to change, to tidy up, to break habits in order to set yourself free, for the life that you want!

I can’t mark the day when my development exactly started, but for me, it’s probably the day when I had my breakthrough in Mexico. And this breakthrough was a feeling. That I want to change something in my life. That I want way more from life than what I had up until then. That I have so much more potential to live the life of my dreams. It was simply a feeling that my story is only just starting. If you are at a similar point in your life, and you are wondering about the feelings you are feeling, I can only tell you to feel them, to let them be there, not to judge them and to just go with the flow.

Flow for me means to follow my heart, to increasingly switch off my head, my mind, my thoughts, which usually want to keep us in our comfort zone, away from risks, away from any potential trouble. Our heart on the contrary leads us the way outside of our comfort zone. But this means risks, unknown circumstances, something new.

Stepping outside of our comfort zone, however, is where the growth is.

You need to be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and you will only do that, when the pain around the current situation is too big to just hang in there. From my experience, especially in the last 2 years, I can only recommend you to keep going, to believe in what you stand for and to just run with it.

It will be all worth it, trust me! Here’s why I’m so convinced about this. Because now, all the seeds that I have been sowing in the last years, are starting to come into fruition. All the time and effort I’ve invested into my personal development and my projects, are now starting to pay off. Knots are bursting. This year 2018 is my year. I just know it and I already felt it coming on 31st December 2017, when I felt so content and happy that I wanted to hug the entire world.

Knots are bursting.

When my knots started bursting from the inside out, like limiting beliefs, restrictions I’ve imposed on myself and a lack of self-confidence in certain areas of my life, eventually things started happening for me. Things shifted. Opportunities arose out of ‘nowhere’, but these opportunities did not come from nowhere. They came from me, my efforts, and my sowing. They were the universe’s way to say Thank You for my consistent sowing.

Keep sowing consistently.

Of course, I had fall outs too, where I lacked motivation, where I was tired, where I couldn’t get out of bed, where I forgot why I’m actually doing this, when I thought why on earth am I on this way, why is this so hard, why do I do this. And yet again: I would always do it again.

Why? To set free. To live my dream life on the highest energy level imaginable, spreading love and positivity into this world.

Here’s to love.

Yours, Nina

 

 

Perception

Do you love what you do?

In order to explore this question in more detail, I went to a workshop hosted by Do Work You Love. The workshop was about visualising my dream job as part of my dream life as well as planning the first action steps to achieve this goal.  This process was supported by a big poster named Canvas, comprising information and knowledge from different areas, such as personal development, business development, coaching and psychology.

The canvas looks at different areas in your life, such as

  • Who do you want to be in the future? How do you want to live?
  • Which role does the job play in your life?
  • How does the job need to be in order to achieve self-realisation and to use your skills and strengths accordingly?
  • What are your immediate next steps in order to get closer to your dream job and dream life?

After an introduction of all 8 participants, we teamed up in pairs of 2 to become sparring partners or dream life buddies for the next 6 weeks in order to support each other, but also to challenge each other on our visualisations. We worked on the Canvas for 2.5 hours by talking about our dreams and by asking each other questions. When the workshop was about to end, we did a final round to talk about our experiences during and after the workshop. When it was my turn to talk, I said something like “Well, my topics seem to repeat themselves, and I don’t seem to make much progress. I feel like I’ve been working on the same stuff for a while now.” When I shared this with my workshop buddies, they clarified – against my own perception – that I actually made progress and that topics didn’t repeat themselves, but that I developed them and moved them into a new dimension (e.g. more frequent, bigger etc.). The workshop organiser listed the ‘projects’ I had already started and that I was currently working on. It was only then that I realised how much I had already achieved in 2017, but that I didn’t give myself enough credit for it. I didn’t acknowledge my achievements sufficiently. Just to give you a few examples: I currently do my yoga teacher training, I hold yoga classes on a regular basis for friends and friends of friends, I have launched my blog, I have established an Instagram account called ninaspinknotes and only recently I have set up a fan page on Facebook for the same account. I read books about yoga and personal development, I listen to podcasts and I network with people to seek and give inspiration.

Hence, how can I say that I’m not making any progress? I’ve learned the following from this workshop and the feedback, thank you!!!

There may be a discrepancy between self-perception and perception of others.

Acknowledge yourself, your progress and your achievements.

After this workshop, I decided I wanted to go a step further concerning self-perception versus perception of others. I wanted to understand how I’m perceived by other people, and to reflect on what I like or dislike about the results, to understand discrepancies between self-perception and perception of others and to confirm my strengths whilst working on my perceived weaknesses. So, I used a questionnaire from the workshop and sent it to friends, family and acquaintances. It holds questions about associations with me, about emotions felt, which colour/animal or furniture I could be and what I could do more or less of. I gave people about 1 week time to get back to me and up until now I have received 20 responses.

The feedback was lovely, interesting and touching. Luckily, there was a good match on my strengths and potential for improvement, which means I am pretty well aware and have a good self-perception, yay. However, I also received a few comments that I wanted and needed to understand in a bit more detail, so I can make sense of it. A few comments to work on in the future, as they repeat themselves. And some comments to simply take note of.

Obviously I am me, with all my experiences, emotions, feelings, character and personality, and it’s not like I will become a new person based on the feedback received, but I think it’s essential to reflect on ourselves in order to grow, to improve. Hence, my path of self-reflection included being brave by asking others for their honest and direct feedback, but at the same time to trust my intuition. . This means that I can make use of my strengths even more, just by having moved them more into my conscious mind, and to be more aware of my ‘weaknesses’ or things to do less. At the end of the day, it’s like Anais Nin says:

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Everybody sees the world through their own filter, and very often we are mirrored by other people. For example, if we dislike something about another person or we get annoyed about someone’s behaviour, we most likely hold this characteristic within us, too. Or it could be something we’d like to have, hence the annoyance about someone else having it or living it. If criticism gets to us, then we should probably think about the reasons why, because it is very likely it has got to do with us. If that is the case, we can and should solve this limiting belief for us first, as otherwise we will always doubt our capabilities. Once we have solved these limiting beliefs within us though, we are free, we feel good and we can simply enjoy…life!

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