A little teaser on Mindfulness

Before you already cringe by just reading ‘mindfulness’ – replace it with ‘awareness’ and keep on reading! After all do we not all want to be more aware, in the moment, less img_8789
stressed but calmer?

My attention was recently drawn to a Mindfulness workshop, 2 hrs information on what it does for you and how you can use it for yourself and children. I was intrigued (and happy to have found something in English). And I was not disappointed, not everything was new to me but the insights, ideas and suggestions were inspiring.  And I would like to share my take-outs with you. After all, mindfulness is so much more than just a buzz word! It  increases  your overall well being, your energy, concentration and supports an overall balanced mindset.

Now, if you think mindfulness does not leave you any space to get stressed out, mad, upset, angry and that everything is always smooth and easy then you are wrong. No, that is not what neither mindfulness nor life is about. We will always encounter situations, happenings that get to us. And it is very important to give what bothers us an outlet, but mindfulness teaches unto reduce the time “of the suffering, of the pain”, to become balanced and to feel at ease more easily again. The more we resist and fight something the longer it stays with us, and it will increase our stress levels. But through awareness we will be able to shorten this unsettling feeling. Mindfulness will teach us to take responsibility, to own our emotions and to accept them, to learn from them and to then let the negative feeling go and to be simply present when needed.

“We can`t always have happiness, but we can learn how to “ride” those situations!”

And especially in today`s times when our mind is in a constant overflow of information it is crucial to find a way to empty the mind, to create space again! Through space we will be able to think clearly, to get creative and inspired again! I think you may agree when I say that most of us often have troubles with following through with our thoughts or ideas, we feel easily overwhelmed and distracted with all what is going on around us. Through mindfulness practises, you will have space to refocus, concentrate and evaluate more clearly again, your mind will have more space again!

And if all this does not convince you then perhaps learning that you can slow down your heart rate through mindfulness and awareness will! After all, inhalation increases and exhalation decreases the heart rate. And feeling more balanced will even out our breathing! A controlled breathing, especially being able to focus on a smooth and long exhalation, slows down our heart rate and will have a positive impact on our overall well being.

I hope you enjoyed these ‘teasers’ on mindfulness. I will follow up soon with some mindfulness activities. But for now I leave you with two free apps that can be downloaded to start your journey to make you mind less full.

Be present and aware in the moment and acknowledge and accept any emotions and feelings, in a non judgmental way!

I suggest to start one of the following for now:

Headspace
Meditation can help improve your focus, exercise mindful awareness, relieve anxiety and reduce stress. Headspace is your very own personal trainer, there to help you train your mind.

and  Calm
An app for mindfulness and meditation to bring more clarity, joy and peace to your daily life. Join the millions experiencing less anxiety and better sleep with our guided meditations, breathing programs and Sleep Stories. Recommended by top psychologists and mental health experts to help you de-stress.
I like their “breathe” section where you can really just focus on your in- and exhalation length. I find this very useful for beginners, but as well relaxing for advanced!

Have fun on this journey to make your mind less ful and to become mindful!

Have a lovely day,

AK

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Yoga Summit – come and join!

Want to be part of an interesting journey? Then come and join the 21 day Yoga Summit, starting Feb. 2nd! I am helping to spread the news!

The Year 2017 is still young, the Chinese New Year is about to start, why not use this year to try something new or to dig deeper?

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Go beyond your yoga mat and come and sign up for the free 21-Day Yoga Summit online.    #theyogasummit #21daysofyoga and follow @Globalyogis on Facebook

 

Ask yourself: what acts do you do for yourself every day that help you live a healthy and balanced life? Do you have a morning or evening routine that helps you really take the time for yourself?

Many of us put ourselves last. We push ourselves too hard, deplete our energy, and end up feeling too tired to really care for ourselves. Yoga shows a different way.

Yoga is more than exercise – it’s a comprehensive approach to health, happiness, and wellbeing. But many of us unfortunately don’t have the knowledge or tools we need to integrate yoga into our daily lives.

This is what you will learn in The Yoga Summit!

Every day for 21-days, The Yoga Summit offers free teachings that will help you to go further in your yoga practice. You’ll get access to ideas, tools, and techniques to bring yoga into your daily life – how you eat, sleep, breathe, sit, move, and think.

Join teachers like Radhanath Swami, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Dharma Mittra, Seane Corn, Elena Brower, Dr. Richard Miller, and many more, as they share strategies, stories, and some of the best ways to help you live better with yoga.

How does The Yoga Summit work?

Beginning on February 2, 2017, you’ll be invited to listen to world-renowned yoga experts speak on TheYogaSummit.org .

These experts share their genuine experience, knowledge, and wisdom with you in 30-minute interviews that often include live practices.

Here’s how to enjoy The Yoga Summit:

  1. Sign up for free to gain access to one free interview per day with a renowned yoga expert
  2. Tune in. Every day of the 21-day event there will be new interviews and guided sessions uploaded to TheYogaSummit.org. These will be available for free for 24 hours from when they are uploaded. If you miss a session, don’t worry, you can upgrade with a paid Premium all-access pass using this link.
  3. Follow @GlobalYogis on Facebook for more inspiring conversation and content.
  4. ShareThe Yoga Summit on social media so your friends can also enjoy the benefits of yoga. Use hashtags #theyogasummit, #21daysofyoga and tag @GlobalYogis
  5. Be a healthier, happier, and more peaceful version of yourself.  Believe that when you change yourself, you change the world!

Have a lovely day,

Stay at ease,

AK

Expats` loneliness

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I came across this a article from Washington Post on “The expat life is full of adventures – and loneliness“. Not only did the title catch my attention, no the article touched me on many levels. It is such a heartfelt piece, I feel for the writer and her emotions.

I am an expat, too, have been for 12+ years in various countries by now. And while I may understand and see her struggles, especially in the situation she finds herself in, I have a different outlook to some of her points. I picked three points out of her article that moved me the most.

  1. “There is a line you are not supposed to cross.”

I believe that not every friendship is meant to go deep. Over the years I recognised that some friendships are meant to be situational, kind of “survival” friendships for that period. They are not worth any less, by no means, they just simply may not go that deep or go on for long after. Nevertheless, are they super important and vital to make your new place your home, to feel connected! We simply cannot have deep friendships with everybody we cross paths with. That would not be the case if we stay in one place only, either. Friendships differ and that is ok! But hopefully  you find at least one person where you feel you can “cross” the line. And perhaps the person opposite is just waiting for somebody to cross the line, to be able to open up, too. Don`t dismiss that thought, keep it close to you!

By holding back and thinking that there is “a line we are not supposed to cross” we may actually miss out on some special connections! At times I feel myself doing that, holding myself back, not opening up.  And I do indeed feel I that missed out on making some deeper friendships in the past. Something I regret.

And if indeed you feel that  you cannot cross the line but you feel good by having the person around you, then that is ok, too. Not every friendship will and has to go deep. Some friendships and connections are meant for the moments when we “go to cafes together and set up afternoon playdates.” Do not dismiss them, they are vital, too, especially when you are an expat and move around often, or live in a place with high turn over!

2. “[…] desperately turning small moments from the past into meaningful ones.”

This part really got to and saddened me as she goes on with “nobody here can give him the eulogy he deserves.” Again I get where she is coming from but do not disregard the small moments! It is not always about the amount of time we spend together with somebody!

I often find the small moments the most meaningful ones. More often than not it was a small encounter, gesture, chat, coffee talk that uplifted and inspired me the most. Do not dismiss the small moments as they can be the most powerful ones! And if you can touch a person with small moments it may actually mean the world to him/her!

3. “Although my life is filled with wonderful, colourful people, they are temporary people.”

We cannot always plan to meet THE ONE with every move, and it may take time to find that person. But you never know from the beginning, so never see a person as temporary only. I found some of my best friends years ago, we crossed paths, shared meaningful, wonderful and tough moments, and even with thousands of kilometres apart over several years now we still remain close and they know more then anybody around me. And with others I may not be close regularly but I know they are there if there is ever any need!

I may add to that that I did have some wonderful and deep meaningful friendships at times and thought they would go beyond but then they did not. There is no real reason for that only perhaps that life got in between. But I do not dismiss what we had, it was wonderful and I am absolutely sure that if we should ever meet again we would go on where we left off. But what I am saying is  you never know so please do not view friendships as temporary, they do not have to be! And that “temporary” thought will automatically make you hold back. I have been there, done it and as mentioned before I think I missed out.

After sharing the Washington Post article on my Facebook page a friend wrote back “There are both deep friendships and deep loneliness” (in the expat life) and I may add to that “a lot of in-betweens”. But I noticed as well that you will rarely meet anybody who will turn you down if you are in need, or if you “cross the line.” But this is two sided. Too often we want to appear strong, optimistic, energetic. We do not want to let others see the other side of us; we do not want to appear vulnerable, especially when we are new somewhere, when we are out there making new friendships! We seldom let our guards down, thinking we cannot “cross the line”. But if and when we do that, incredible friendships can blossom, not only temporary but sometimes for life!

Dear all out there, dare to cross the line, ask for help, support if and when you feel you need it, do not hold back! Asking for support does not make you weak, it makes you stronger!

Yours,

AK

 

 

2017 – stay focused and pick the good seeds only

As usual over the recent years I use the end of the year to think about the past one and to set my intention for the new one. Long time ago I rid myself of new years resolutions as I barely stuck to them but rather added additional pressure to myself. Instead I reflect on what I learned the year before and what I want my intention to be in the new one.

2016 was was our first full year in Tokyo, Japan (we arrived late September 2015). And it was a roller coaster year at times. We were busy with getting our apartment settled until end of 2015, so 2016 started full speed ahead as it often is when you move – getting caught up in the “I want it all”. The sightseeing, the discovering, the getting settled, language, meeting people, yet still doing all the things on the have-to and must-do lists, household and family time. It often works for a while until it all comes crumbling down and it just gets too much.

I reached this point closer to summer. I felt drained and unsatisfied. This was a mix of happenings I brought on to myself and by the outside. I felt emotionally, mentally and physically drained, like a hamster in its wheel, running and running yet achieving nothing, respectively stressed by all the things I tried to achieve while running in my wheel!

So when we got to the summer break I took a break for myself, too. To regroup again, to figure out what was important and necessary for myself and my family.

Some of the elements that overwhelmed me where important to me, but simply overshadowed by other not so important things. And I had to decide what I can and have to let go off to stay true to myself and feel more balanced.

One element I decided to sadly let go at that stage was learning Japanese (for now). I simply never managed to focus enough on it to make it worthwhile. And while it really made me sad to give up on my lessons, it free-ed me at the same time. Once I made that decision I felt a heavy burden that I put onto myself go. I could now really focus on other important, yet neglected areas without feeling torn anymore.

Being focused means to me as well to really take time to think thoughts and ideas through, to find time to get inspired, to allow emotions and feelings.
But this is not possible by always being on the go, physically and mentally. 

Stepping away from certain areas is not always easy. But by freeing ourselves, especially when we feel overwhelmed/stressed, will make us see clearer and get us more balanced and focused again!

And that is something I want to take into the New Year 2017 – to stay focused.

2016 taught me a lot personally and educationally and to take this further into the New Year I need to continue to stay focused, stay true to myself. But I need as well to keep in mind that being focused does not mean to cut myself off from all the fun, it is not a black or white situation! It is about finding a balance to focus on what and how I want to accomplish my plans yet as well about enjoying the exciting city and its lovely people!

Nobody ever said it will be easy, this staying true to yourself, not letting yourself being
sidetracked by other happenings. But I want to get stronger for myself in that
area, meaning to focus on my core values, my ideas, my believes! And combining this with our new wooden plaque for the Year of the Rooster this will mean my 2017 intention is
“to stay focused and pick the good seeds only”.

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Do your have any core values that need special attention, any good seeds you want to pick? Now is a good time to write them down! The pages for the New Year are still white, they are waiting to be filled by your story – and make the story as colourful as you can!

Lots of love,

May 2017 be a healthy, joyful and balanced year!

AK