S.T.O.P. practice

We all know those moments when we feel upset, pressured, overwhelmed or uncomfortable. Especially in such situations we tend to become disconnected to what is actually happening around us. Here comes a little awareness exercise I got to know during my mindfulness course. It may come in helpful to be be more “there”, in the present moment, to get out of the auto-pilot and disconnection we may experience.

But it can as well be an interesting practise to try when we experience something positive, or something neutral as it brings back awareness to what we actually do and experience at that moment.

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S– Stop; Pause – Check in with your thoughts / feelings / sensations. Even if uncomfortable, acknowledge your experience.

T – Take a deep breath in, exhale with awareness. Use the breath as an anchor

O – Observe; Look – notice what is happening around and within you, bring awareness to your body, your posture and facial expressions (head, heart, body)

P – Proceed; Continue; Participate explore your options, how does it feel to respond mindfully rather than to react mechanically? Make a choice of action.

Sometimes a quick halt in what we are doing can go a long way to find the balance back!

Have a lovely day,

AK

Thoughts – they can be so simple

I recently came across the “flow mindfulness workbook” and one article got my immediate attention, it was about “a busy head” (written by Otje van der Lelij). Going deeper into why we do take everything that we have in our mind so seriously.

Do you find yourself imagining the worst case scenario, a situation where you encounter embarrassment, anger, sadness? Do you worry before you even started? Well, you are in good company, a lot of us do that, me included! But as the writer puts it:
“Thoughts are just thoughts and not a reflection of the truth. […] Often, we are sunk so deeply in thought that we forget to be present in the now.”

Thinking and escaping into our mind is good, if we manage to not go into the wrong direction, to not allow our thoughts to drag us down; but instead manage to catch them before we go down that path. And Mindfulness brings awareness to this thought process. We become aware of our thoughts, the behaviour and emotions that may result out of them. And by being aware, we are able to act on those thoughts, to not let our mind go into that direction.

“You can’t influence which thoughts you have, but you can decide what to do with them.” (Brandsma). And a friend put it so spot on during a recent Skype call when we spoke about my concerns and worries; “anxiety comes from focusing on the future, stay focused on the present!

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Well, those are thoughts I will take with me and try to focus on. Time to put Mindfulness into another area of my life now, too. Time to be aware of hindering thoughts, to be present especially now, when I start venturing out into new fields.
How about you, can you relate or are you already at that stage?

Have a lovely day,
stay present,

AK

you can as well follow at ease under https://www.facebook.com/ateaseandmore/

 

 

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

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

Tired of being tired…

I reached the point where I feel emotionally, mentally and physically drained.

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It is not that only bad things are happening, not at all, a lot of good stuff is going on but the exhaustion makes it difficult to enjoy and to see them at times. My mind seems to be in a constant overflow, I constantly seem to do something. I am trying to channel all the good, tough and negative thoughts. Learning to distance myself from the negative and take energy and power from the positive. But mentally I seem to have reached an overkill with all that.

Emotionally I find myself on a very short leash, am easily irritated and do not want to do anything once the kids are asleep, but to be left alone. At times, I have to force myself to enjoy when I am out doing fun stuff. That is not me and the feeling is not a nice one and gets me frustrated – and I then I find myself going even deeper into the mental exhaustion, trying to find a way out.

As well physically I feel tired. l am out and about everyday but not really doing enough for myself. And I know that one part of getting more stable and stronger mentally and emotionally is to pick up my physical activities again. I use my jogging to sort my thoughts, get ideas and feel at ease. And I do not jog regularly these days/weeks, and the impact is there. Being sleep deprived surely does not help the mix I am already in!

But today, I got tired of it all – tired of being tired! And feel like this statement I found today:
img_7724I am surely not alone when I say that I tend to use my ‘battery’ pretty much to the end and then need to urgently recharge it. I am usually aware of when I reached the lower percentage of my battery. But even if I am aware of it, I don’t step in and I let it go too low! I need to find a way to step in earlier to keep it on a steady level! This constant “go-go-go” in all areas is not good for anybody, there will come a time when we all crack and we do not want that, the time to recharge the battery will take even longer!

While I am tired today, I am not yet on my lowest and I stepped in just in time, I hope. I took the day slow, ensured my toddler takes his nap time at home and used that time for me – to simply be. No washes, dishes, dinner preparation, studies or anything. Just me, tea and a book. I even took the sun loungers out – using lovely sunny weather to speed up the charging!

But I need to find a way of not feeling guilty of doing that regularly, to keep my battery loaded on a healthy level and not reaching close to 0%! Today was a good start, I feel more charged than this morning and ready to tackle the afternoon – I am actually writing this while sitting on the balcony, my little only playing around in the sun. Writing about my exhaustion, taking time to notice ways how I can recharge again, feeling the sun, taking a time out; all this makes me finally smile today – a free smile, not a forced one!

But I have to keep doing this, my battery is not properly loaded yet, it is still charging. After all our batteries are always in use and need a constant charging! So tomorrow I need to do the same, the day after and thereafter and and and.

We owe it to ourselves to keep our own battery loaded and
not wait until it turns low or even empty! 

Be aware of how your mental, emotional and physical state are all connected and how you feel when one or more reach an unbalance. Make sure they are all treated well and charged! Feeling energised is so much nicer than exhausted, wouldn’t you agree?

For me, this means after my today’s mental charging session, I will put my running shoes on this weekend, no matter what! I know it will charge me physically and mentally, and usually helps to balance my emotions, too! And day by day I will learn to remind myself that I don’t have to feel guilty to take time to recharge myself in all three areas!

What do you do to recharge yourself mentally, emotionally and physically? Please feel free to share your best tricks!

Have a lovely, energised day,

AK

 

 

Who am I?!

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Have you ever paid attention to how quickly we are categorizing people based on what they do as a profession, or on their lifestyle? Without any further or deeper thoughts we put a “stamp” on a person. Like “Oh he / she is XYZ that`s why…”

And yes, surprisingly often that person even seems to fit into that category. And more often then not we even seem to make us fit in, even if it does not represent who we really are. But we are not defined by a title or profession or lifestyle! Who we are is within us and that can come in all sorts, shapes and colours in every group.

In the past I found myself saying something like “I am a yoga teacher, I do my own style but I am not really living the Yoga way.” Not only did I put myself down, no I as well created a stigma for a Yoga teacher. And what does that even mean – do all Yogis have to get up at dawn to meditate, be a vegetarian, eat super healthy, look skinny and be super flexible?

No – not at all. I am the kind of Yoga teacher I am. I do not follow a certain scheme, I stay true to myself. But I still have to learn to really own it, to not sound apologetic!

So I found it utterly refreshing that this kind of labelling and hiding “behind our accomplishments, our degrees, our bank balance, our carefully cultivated personas” was addressed by Baron Baptiste in his book “Perfectly Imperfect”.

“It is just important to acknowledge who we are in all our forms and personal expressions, even if sometimes those forms are not how we`d like ourselves to be”[…] “because hiding behind a mask costs us so much and leaves us with so little.” […] “hiding our true self saps out life energy and robs us of the freedom to express ourselves genuinely, from the heart.”

So I would say –
Explore, try, discover and take away what fits for you and make it your own, do not force yourself to fit in everywhere! And do not pretend to be something/someone else.

Step away from giving an immediate stamp to your opposite, you may be surprised what lies beneath the outer layer!

Own your uniqueness – because that is who you truly are! 

Have a lovely day,

AK

 

How much is enough?!

In the summer when it got pretty hot here I posted a blog to “Stay hydrated”. That gave me a little bit of a base to start writing today`s blog which is an assignment for my studies. In short “write a personal blog post about beverages” – healthy beverages that help us to stay hydrated, I may add!

And funny enough, a few days ago the water intake came up with my husband, too, him not truly seeing the need of drinking a lot of water, while I am the one pushing to increase the intake, especially with my kids.

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The `8 glasses of water a day` saying is out there, as a rule of thumb, not really scientifically proven it seems. And I found it rather interesting that when searching `how much you should drink`, the search engines tends to switch it into `how much water should you drink`. It leaves the impression that only water is important and seen as a healthy drink. And I would like to get more into that, as I find that is sends a wrong message.

I think we will all agree that it is important and crucial to have enough (healthy) liquid intake throughout the day and that (clean) water is the healthiest beverage, but is is not the only one. And not everybody likes to drink that much water. I for example, remember that I distasted water during the first trimester when I was pregnant with my second child. It tasted horrible to me, left me with a metal taste. But we lived in a hot and humid country and it was crucial to have a sufficient healthy liquid intake.

I eased the taste of water during this time by adding pieces of lemon, cucumber, ginger and/or apple to the water. I still do that during times when I drink a lot of water and get bored by it.

And if water is not your thing, or you get bored by the taste, try out some teas – hot or iced – they are a great healthy beverage, too. As long as you prepare them yourself – especially the ice-teas as the store-bought ones are usually very high on sugar! That is something you do want to avoid, especially when you want to increase your liquid intake. There are some great webpages for ice-teas out there, go and try some of them, try to eliminate sugar or at least reduce it to the very minimum when preparing the teas!

Having a healthy and foremost steady beverage intake through the day is important and healthy for several reasons. Some of the below are my own experiences some are based on information found on http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water#1

  • It helps to wash the toxins out of your body, supports the liver function.
  • It helps to keep your body energized – whenever I do not drink enough throughout the day, I feel kind of sickish and very exhausted during the late afternoon/evening. Filling myself up with 2 glasses of water helps me to perk up again, but a steady intake makes me feel better throughout the day and into the evening.
  • Drinking 1-2 glasses of water before eating can as well help if you want to lose some weight, as it fills you up before you even start eating and helps the digestion.
  • It helps to balance the body fluids, after all our body is composed of about 60% water. That means it can help your digestion, absorption, create saliva, transport nutrition.
  • It helps to maintain your body temperature, especially important when it is hot, when you do work out, sweat a lot or when you have a fever.

But that still leaves the question of how much fluid intake is enough? While the 8 glasses a day is a good rule of the thumb I would say it varies per person, for example:

  • It depends on your own feeling, some people need more then others, I for example need more then 8 glasses a day.
  • It depends on your weight, if you weigh more you need more water/liquid
  • It depends how active you are throughout the day
  • It depends what kind of sports you do and how much you sweat during your workout
  • It depends on your diet, some foods make you really thirsty
  • It depends how much water your body is used to, the more you increase the intake the more it may crave after a while

A clear sign that you do not drink enough is when you start to feel thirsty –  thirst is a sign of dehydration, and a steady intake of healthy beverages will help help you to reach that stage.

Having said all this, people often overlook that a healthy liquids does not only come in a glass or bottle. Even if you are not a big “drinker” foods, especially fruits can bring you fluids, too. One overview on high water content fruits can be find under my above mentioned blog. And another one listing different foods I found in the Yoga Journal, please see at the end of the blog post.

And obviously, whenever you drink a fruit juice or soda you get a fluid intake, too. But I did not mention them yet, as they are not meant to be your daily `go-to`drink as they contain too much sugar. If you drink them, try to reduce them to a glass a day and/or dilute them with water. Teach your body and mind to start liking water and unsweetened drinks!

Happy, healthy drinking

Have a lovely day

AK

drink your food
No more eight glasses a day: New research says you can get your water from food and even coffee.

  SERVING SIZE AMT. OF WATER % BY VOL.
lettuce 1/2 cup 1.8 oz. / 53 ml 95%
broccoli 1/2 cup 2.7 oz. ./ 80 ml 91%
grapefruit 1/2 cup 3.4 oz. / 100ml 91%
raw carrot 1 medium 2.1 oz. / 62ml 87%
apple 1 medium 3.5 oz.  / 103 ml 84%
spaghetti (cooked) 1 cup 3.3 oz. / 97 ml 66%
watermelon 1 cup 5.1 oz. / 150 ml 92%
skim milk 8 oz. / 237 ml 7.5 oz. / 222 ml 94%
coffee or tea 8 oz. / 237ml 7.9 oz. / 234 ml 99.5%