Life is beautiful

Life is beautiful.

Life is full of little treasures. Don’t fail to see them as they come.

Do you want to be fulfilled? Are you striving for pure happiness? Do you want to live a beautiful life?

Then I recommend you start with developing your awareness. Sharpen your senses. Look, listen, feel, taste and smell. Be mindful. Life is full of little treasures. And these small things are what makes life so liveable and beautiful.

We often think we need to have big things in life in order to be happy, but the opposite is true.  Appreciate the small things in life, each and every day, and I promise they will add up to something big. Something that you have created from the inside out. Something that is unique to you. Something that will make you feel fulfilled, successful and happy.

For your inspiration, I’d love to share the beauties of my world with you:

  • Look into the mirror and be thankful for your life.
  • Appreciate a flower, its look, colour and smell.
  • If you are a cyclist like me, feel the breeze in your hair and on your skin.
  • When the sun is shining, close your eyes for a moment and just enjoy the warmth.
  • Treasure conversations with new people, look into the other person’s eyes and give them a smile.
  • Be kind to other people, like your neighbours, your colleagues, staff. Treat them just like you want to be treated and better.
  • Put on some music and just sing or dance, go crazy.
  • Smile. Think of something positive to support yourself.
  • Before going to bed, appreciate the bed that you will be lying in.
  • When you get up in the morning, be happy to breathe.
  • When you exercise, be grateful for your health.
  • Treasure stillness when it’s there.
  • Listen to all the sounds around you, like birds chirping, people laughing, the wind in the trees.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Meditate.
  • Travel to places to get inspired and motivated.

I am so deeply grateful for my life, I love it, as I’ve come to truly appreciate the small things in life. In reality, the small things are the big things, when you are mindful every day and once you let the universe shine its beauty around you.

Shine your light.

Yours, Nina

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

Reconnect

I’ve heard the words ‘Connect’, ‘Disconnected’ and ‘Reconnect’ a lot lately. Maybe this is because so many people feel disconnected from themselves and want to reconnect with their body, mind, and spirit, or I’ve noticed it increasingly since it has become one of my favourite topics. I truly believe that if we lost connection with ourselves that we can get it back, we can build the connection with ourselves again. We can reconnect.

Reconnect on different levels

In my opinion, this needs to happen on different levels, physically, mentally and spiritually. Reconnecting with yourself means first of all to become aware, of your body, mind and soul. Ask yourself what is going on here? Where are my pain points physically? Where is my mind going? What keeps my mind busy? Is your soul telling you something? Do you sometimes feel restless? Why? When do you feel most disconnected with yourself? When do you most feel the urge to connect with yourself?

Notice and sit with it

Become aware, notice and sit with it to start with. You don’t have to take any action right away. I know it’s difficult, but it’s better not to fight it, because that would mean you are fighting life, and that in return would mean that you are fighting yourself.

So, start with bringing more awareness into your being. De-automize your being and your actions, whatever you do, do it less automatically, more consciously. Bring more awareness into your life.

Maybe you wonder now, what this is all about and how this should help you reconnect?

Awareness

I know from experience that bringing more awareness to my being, to my body, mind and soul is the first and only step required to commence the reconnection process.

How do you think you can connect with your beautiful life, if you don’t start connecting with yourself? How can you see, feel, smell and taste all the beautiful things in our world, if you cannot even see or feel yourself? Awareness and appreciation are your entry to reconnect with yourself.  Use your 5 senses consciously to bring more awareness into your life, they’ve been given to us with reason, so use them and enjoy them.

Feel Understand Heal

Once you feel & understand, you can heal. Once you start your individual reconnection process, you can come closer to your true self. Once you start the journey becoming the real you, you’ll feel lighter and happier. Of course, there will be difficult moments, of course, you won’t feel light 24/7, but again I know from my own inner journey how amazingly rewarding it is to start this process. To walk the liberating path of personal development.

A liberating feeling

It is liberating. ‘Cause every day feels lighter, with less bullshit, instead with more awareness and gratitude, especially for the small things in our life. Because I also noticed one more thing, it is not really the big things that make up our lives, it is the small things.

And if we manage to appreciate the small things, if we manage to appreciate ourselves, we can reconnect with ourselves, we can let go of bullshit and instead embrace all the beautiful new things flowing (or flooding!) into our lives.

Become yourself

The closer you get to yourself, the more you become yourself, the lighter you will feel and the happier you will be. Because you are truly you. Isn’t that a wonderful outlook?

You can be happy only if you become yourself

If you feel disconnected, if you sometimes wonder who you are, if you truly want to start your reconnection journey, but don’t know where to start, then I cannot imagine anything more beautiful than supporting you on your journey and taking that first step.

I have been on this journey (still am, it’s an ongoing process) and whilst it was tough at times, I am deeply grateful to have (had) people by my side supporting me.

If you resonate with this blog post, then check out my 3-hour workshop FEEL UNDERSTAND HEAL that I will be holding in Munich on Tuesday, 22nd May. I’m so excited about this journey and it gets better every day (with some exceptions haha).

Love to life, love to you and love to myself.

Yours, Nina

 

 

 

Oh Cambodia!

I’m so grateful!

  • … for travelling.
  • … to have visited Cambodia.
  • … to have stayed in a yoga & meditation temple.
  • … that I found yoga & meditation for my life.
  • … that I meet beautiful people wherever I go.

Meeting new people is such a wonderful experience. When I travelled through Cambodia, I enjoyed this experience every single day. I stayed in a yoga & meditation retreat in Kep for 2 weeks. Check out Vagabond Temple, if you are looking for spiritual inspiration & growth, great yoga classes, guidance in meditation and meeting like-minded people from all over the world.

I also booked an Ayurveda detoxification package with sessions spread over 5 days, so you should be a guest for a minimum of 5 days. The package included 4 wonderful Ayurvedic massages plus a session with the founder of the retreat Kobi. My healer Maayan and me started with feet reflexology and seriously this woman has magical hands. I noticed fairly quickly how tight certain parts in my feet were, ouch!, but it all made sense, since these points related to my lower back and hamstrings and yes, they were tight. This session was incredible. Whilst I thought that Maayan was still massaging my feet, she suddenly stood next to me informing me that the massage was finished. What?! This showed me how deeply relaxed I was. For the afternoon she recommended to just be and relax and to take the afternoon yoga practice slow.

More being, less doing.

This is something so valuable I learned during my time at the retreat center. Not only Maayan mentioned this to me specifically to rest more, but also Pazit held an incredible Dharma talk about the topic More being, less doing. Why? Because most of us are so caught up with daily To Do lists, tasks & self-imposed responsibilities, social media and overall distraction, that we forget to simply be. Without looking at our smart phone. Without doing anything. Just being.

Just sit and be still.

Another aha-moment for me was when I visited Maayan the 2nd time for a full body Ayurvedic massage. She hugged me tightly and from her heart and asked me how I was doing. I replied: “Actually good.” She asked: “Actually?” Me: “Hm, no I’m really good.” This situation showed me that I was relativising my mood, although I felt awesome, freaking great, amazing. And so we started reflecting on this conversation and our impulse to relativise things. I instantly noticed for myself that I get the impression it’s more accepted in society to hold back, to be not that great, to moan. But if you say you are doing really great, then you are kind of weird. Different. Maybe arrogant. So, maybe that’s why we make ourselves worse, because we might also get more attention if we say “I’m okay.” Followed by the next question “Why, what’s going on?” as opposed to no question, when you say you are doing great. Well, at least that is my observation, as the entire blog is, just as a reminder.

We continued with a full body massage and again/still, my hip area was tight. I fully relaxed and even saw bright white and yellow lights. Maayan explained that the tightness probably comes from my will to push forward. Because I’m doing too much and being too little. She assured me that I’m still young and that I still have enough time to get to where I want to be. That it’s important to accept that life throws us back at times or makes us go left and right, but that we can continue our path anyways. Accept what is. Accept the throwbacks, meander and changes in life.

You will continue your path.

This inspiring conversation took me straight to my pink notebook wondering where the urge to do comes from. Am I afraid of dying before having fully lived the life that I always wanted to live? Do I do, because I want to live my dream life as quickly as possible, for as long as possible? Am I scared of regretting not to have done enough?

If you are following my blog since the start then you will know that I had my breakthrough in a Reiki session in Mexico, whilst travelling through Latin America for almost 6 months. And so it happened that Maayan and me included a Reiki session into my package. I would love to share with you my main learnings from this session.

  • Follow up on what you see in your dreams.
  • Follow your path.
  • Take care of yourself. Self-love first.
  • Do not absorb negative energies.
  • Go for it.

Go for it!

The last part of the Ayurveda package was with Kobi. After a few minutes of talking, we found ourselves in a very exciting talk about astrology and my sign (=Gemini). Kobi is an absolute expert in this field, so if you are into it and you visit Cambodia, schedule an appointment with him now. Again, details of this conversation would go beyond the scope of this blog post, but let me share with you my learnings which I’m sure will be so valuable for you, too, as these are independent from your astrological sign.

  • Letting someone read my astrological sign made me understand myself more, it gave me more empathy for me, my behaviours and my decisions.
  • Do not compromise on yourself. You are who you are.
  • Set your boundaries. Write down your red lines in the different areas of life.
  • Appreciate validation from others, but do not seek it.
  • Believe in yourself.

Believe in yourself.

Oh Cambodia! Thank you so much for having me and enriching my life so strongly and positively that I feel freer and more confident than ever before. Thank you to all of you wonderful people who accompanied me on this journey.

Love, love, love.

Yours, Nina

 

 

More being, less doing

If you are following me on Instagram, then you’ll know that I’ve just returned from a trip through Cambodia and that I spent 2 weeks in a yoga & meditation retreat in Kep, in Vagabond Temple. I will write a separate article about my travels through Cambodia and the yoga retreat, but for now I will focus on one of my biggest learnings in the last few years. Something that was confirmed again during the yoga retreat. Something that will accompany me for life.

More being, less doing.

If I had to rate where I used to be on a being-doing scale, then I’d say 9 doing and 1 being, meaning I was constantly in action, in movement, restless. I felt like I constantly had to be productive, that I had to do something, that I couldn’t just sit there doing nothing.

I questioned myself during the retreat, why that is and thought, probably because it made me feel lazy and being lazy is not accepted in our society. Wherever we go and look, there is doing, action, activity, rush, hurry, pressure, so I’m not too surprised anymore that I wasn’t able to just be, but that instead I was constantly in doing mode, in fear of being unproductive, unsuccessful and lazy. Maybe this is a fear of not being good enough, too? A fear of not being seen? Of not being acknowledged? Of not receiving validation?

If you relate with my words, maybe ask yourself as well, why you do so much and why you are so little.

Now, being on my path of personal development, I have adapted the scale of being and doing. More being, less doing. It’s important to say at this point that doing is not a bad thing, we need to do in order to progress, but it is equally important for us to be, to process, digest and grow. The critical point is, as often in life, to be conscious about our being and doing and to find balance between the two.

Imagine that your head represents doing and your heart is being. When you do, allow your heart and your soul to follow. When you are, invest the energy you gain into doing.

Find silence when needed. Step into action when required. Then rest. Allow yourself to simply be. Listen to your body, it talks to you.

If you acknowledge being and doing of the same value, then you will feel more balanced, at ease and more relaxed, which ultimately leads you closer and closer to your true self.

Yours, Nina

Reveal your true self

Inspired and based on Patanjalis’ Yogasutra by Ralph Skuban

Reveal your true self by ‘vairagya’

I chose this topic as part of my yoga exams presentation. Whilst dealing with the Yogasutra in more detail, I realised just how much of a code of practice this book is for life. At least for me. This blog post is inspired by the book and Ralph Skuban, however, it only reflects my way of approaching the topic and is written in my own words.

The word ‘vairagya’/letting go is one of the most important words and statements in Patanjalis’ Yogasutra. Whilst it appears more than once, I focus on chapter 1, verses 12-16.

However, my starting point lies in chapter 2, verses 3-4, where it’s said that we humans suffer, because we don’t know, who or what we really are. Also referred to as ‘spiritual blindness’ or ‘avidya’.

If we are now conscious and mindful enough, we will probably seek getting out of this suffering and spiritual blindness with the objective to reach inner freedom. For me, this means being, who we really are.

Start walking as to reveal your true self. 

In the Yogasutra, this is a higher level of ‘vairagya’, it is ‘paravairagya’, a complete detachment of everything.

Where to start

I would recommend to start at the beginning, just like Patanjalis does in chapter 1, verses 1-11. He states to dedicate yourself to yoga, to self-realisation. Yoga is basically a way to heal, it means healing to the grounds of our being, through a process of cleansing.

One way to cleanse is by calming down and quieting our thoughts and mental patterns, which are continuously changing and evolving, making it even more difficult to quiet them. The stillness of our thoughts is referred to as ‘chitta vrittis nirodhah’. And once they become still, we will be at rest, feel peaceful and find inner peace.

How to find inner peace

In chapter 1, verses 12-16, there are some insights on how we can quiet our mind, and the most important finding for me is that we need to understand that we are NOT our thoughts, that we are NOT our emotions and that we are NOT our memories. We mustn’t identify with our thoughts, if we want to quiet our mind and reveal our true self.

Also, it’s beneficial to establish a ‘practice/abyhasa’ like a regular meditation and yoga practice, and most importantly we need to cultivate an inner attitude of letting go.

Vairagya

By practicing ‘abyhasa’ and ‘vairagya’, we will be led into stillness and hence closer and closer to our true self. With the help of letting go (‘vairagya’), we can find our inner light, our true essence again and we will start shining our (moon)light again, that has been hidden and covered with dust for a long enough time. We can begin to walk the way to our true self.

I love the image of a crystal here. We all are a crystal, but over time, our crystal, our true self, may begin to dust based on wrong identifications or at least identifications that we didn’t really question and hence accepted. The good news is we can start blowing off the dust, today, right here, right now. We are free to dissolve beliefs and limitations, that don’t serve as any longer, and we can create and absorb beliefs that well serve us. By dissolving our old beliefs, we approach our true essence of being, slowly, but surely.

We understand that our happiness does not depend on external factors, but only on what’s within us. We will break out of the prison that we built ourselves, we will break up accepted dogmas, we will free ourselves from living the life that others want us to live and will develop back into our true essence.

Yes, this is somehow rebellion, we rebel to get our lives back and to live the life we really want to live. However, that’s good rebellion, if you ask me.

Let go

To summarise, Patanjalis biggest calling is to practice letting go.

  • Accept what you cannot change.
  • Forgive as if it never happened.
  • Do not judge everything.
  • Let go of what is hurting you.

Imagine a full glass of water. Only by letting go and emptying your water glass, you can create space for new, beautiful things that make you lighter, freer and happier.

For me the most beautiful effect of ‘vairagya’ is that I will be able to love and serve even more, as I develop more empathy for others, more strength to support others and I gain clarity for my life.

A matter close to my heart

This is a topic close to my heart due to my personal experience. Through yoga and my travels to Latin America, I became more mindful and conscious about me and my life, hence I started to reflect and question the existing.

Knots were bursting and I started going my way to reveal my true self. I began blowing off the dust of my crystal and gradually saw parts of my true self again, my inner light that I had somehow forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind.

I’m still in the process of dedusting my crystal, but knowing that I’ve already broken open a few chains and limitations, makes me feel so happy and free that I would always walk this way again.

Yours, Nina

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.

 

 

 

The fear of losing oneself

I realized that there is one topic that keeps popping up in my head which relates to the combination between personal development and distraction, especially relationships with men (well in my case). This article is – as always – written from my perspective; hence I’m relating to guys only. However, this article can be applied to men and women alike, I’m sure.

When you are so deep in your personal development journey as I am at the moment and as I have been for the past 6 months, when you realize just how wonderful this journey is, when you really enjoy it to the fullest (even if damn hard at times), when knots are bursting, when your life is shifting, when you feel like your whole world is rocking (mainly to the positive), then you obviously want to keep this momentum going and growing. Right?

What do you think it is we need to keep the momentum going and growing? Yes, we need discipline and consistency, but most importantly we need the will and hunger to keep going. In January 2018, I experienced this will and hunger stronger than ever before, I write weekly action plans to stay focused and disciplined, I have a daily yoga, meditation and gratitude practice, I listen to podcasts and I watch relevant videos on YouTube. I realized that my will is growing stronger, as my Why is growing stronger with every step I take on this beautiful journey.

What I’m trying to get at is that this journey and the beautiful outcomes fulfill me so much, that I sometimes fear being thrown off this journey. By distractions, whatever they may be. However, majorly I noticed a fear of distraction by men. I am a happy single at the moment, yet I do wish for a beautifully fulfilling relationship amongst equals. At the same time, isn’t that exactly the challenge? To find the other half that wants to support you at all times, that wants to see you grow, who is himself grounded, positive, and is aspiring a healthy, free and abundant lifestyle? A person who you can be 100% authentic with, a person who is motivating you, a person who you can look up to, yet at the same time feels inspired by your energy and positivity and not threatened. Are you still with me? Can you resonate with my feelings? My impression is that guys are indeed scared sometimes, of themselves, of a woman that knows what she wants, of really living the life they want to live. I want to emphasize though that this is my impression only and that I don’t want to generalize this statement, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Then there is me, self-confident, convinced that I’ve chosen the right way, simply because I feel it, my flow and happiness, with the universe making things happen for me. Yet, there are moments, where it’s like I’m ‘forgetting’ my values, my boundaries, my wishes for the next relationship, my big vision for my life. But why? Does it depend on my mood, on the day, on the weather, on the guy? I don’t know really, but in case you bond with what I’m talking about, then let me tell you one thing. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Accept that you may have weak moments just like I had in the last few months, accept that you may have a ‘down’ phase, but know that the next day will be the start of an ‘up’ phase again.

The other thing I would like to share with you is that I strongly believe that the right partner, my soul mate will come into my life, when it is right, when I am ready, when he is ready. We attract what we express, so just be in your flow, in your higher self, and your other half will step into your life.

As for me, I’m sure I will be able to stand my grounds, stick to my values and life vision and set my boundaries, meaning that I don’t need to fear distraction by a relationship. Because in the right relationship, you don’t need to fear such things. So, don’t be afraid of your spiritual growth, keep shining your light, keep going and live the life you really want to live!

And maybe we sometimes need to lose ourselves in love to find real love? Just a thought.

Yours, Nina

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