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 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