Posts Tagged With: emotions

Be Real

Again, I have been blown away by the amazing and powerful effects of The Journey Process. For me it is the quickest way to feel peaceful, happy and at ease, to arrive home.

Dear you,

I am grateful we met! I would like you to know;

  • It touches me if you dare to share the truth – what is going on right now, here.
  • It touches me if you speak from your heart, saying how you really feel.
  • It touches me if you leave the stories for what they are – stories – and really start to experience and feel.
  • It touches me if you share with me, what you usually don’t share at all.
  • It touches me to see your eagerness to come at peace with life.
  • It touches me if I see you surrender.
  • It touches me if you forgive completely and utterly from the bottom of your heart.

Emotions can be the gateway to our soul, to our true desires, to our true being. Don’t fight or resist emotions. Just let it be.

We will become mirrors and invite other’s to be REAL as well. No need for masks, pretending or hiding. It is time to say YES to life!

Namaste!

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My way of dieting!

Positive-thinking.jpg

A couple of weeks ago I decided to prescribe myself a Mental Diet. I became aware how I easy it is to slide back into my old behaviour pattern of thinking negatively about myself, my life or others. Before you know I am complaining, comparing and judging. Time for a different attitude! So my aim for the next couple of weeks (and then months, then years and then always); is to be aware of any negativity I am creating. Are you joining me in this revolutionary way of dieting? Here are five tips to help you getting used to this new way of living:

1)      Tell your partner/close friends/family;

Especially in the beginning it is so easy to complain and moan, since that is what most of us are used to. If you’re really ready for change, your family and friends can help. If they are aware of your mental diet they can remind you if you get stuck in any negative thinking. It can be annoying at times, but this confrontation will be very valuable. At the same you can inspire your network to be more positive as well.

2)      Be authentic;

Being positive, doesn’t mean you’re always happy and content. You’re still a human being with emotions. Rather than identifying yourself with emotions, just experience your emotions, as moving energies. Look at little children; one moment they cry and the next moment they are smiling. They are in the moment and flowing with life. You can develop gratitude for your tears, since it means you have let go of sadness, you have created space for new energies and experiences.

3)      Be compassionate;

Don’t get discouraged, if you fall back into your old negative thinking. If you challenge yourself, it means you’re learning something new. If you make mistakes, it means you’re learning something new. It took years to develop a negative way of thinking, so it will take some time to transform that in a more positive life attitude. Be compassionate with your process and progress and don’t take yourself too seriously.

4)      Find a diet buddy:

As with every diet it will help if you have a buddy to support each other so you can share your experiences. If you live close by you could meet once a week or email or call so you will keep each other enthusiastic and engaged in this life transforming diet. Mutual feedback can be encouraging and supportive. Together you could decide to celebrate your new way of thinking by doing something special together every month.

5)      Gratitude Journal

Keep a gratitude journal by writing at the end of day where you are grateful for. It can be something small or big, a lot or a little. Just try to write something in your journal every day, something positive, even though your thoughts were maybe not so positive. This will also help you to go asleep with a grateful heart which will enhance a good night’s sleep.

Have Fun and Smile!

Ghandi

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Samsara

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Have you seen the documentary Samsara yet? It is a non-narrative film of 99 minutes which combines visual and musical artistry. Samsara is filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents. Samsara is a Sanskrit word that means ‘continuous flow’ or the ‘the every turning wheel of life’. It is the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth or reincarnation. This film brings us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites and natural wonders. For sure, Samsara is not a traditional documentary, more a guided visual meditation. The powerful images stay with you for days and you’re encouraged to develop your own interpretations of the images.

After being in a ‘visual guided meditation’ for 99 minutes, I was still, impressed, almost shocked. Samsara made me a bit sad, seeing how we humans live our lives and how we treat the earth and ourselves. The film started a bit slow; with nature images flowing by slowly, but before you know the pace goes up and you’re drawn into the images and actually grateful for that slow and steady start. People are filmed in the same close-up during the movie with no smiles appearing. It makes you wonder how they feel; are they sad, happy, lonely, desperate or angry? Do they feel anything at all? I was shocked to see with my own eyes how different people in the world life; in slums, in factories, in prisons. I loved the images of the babies and the monastery, it gave me the feeling that there is something good in life as well, something to live for. I felt relieved to be a vegetarian most of my life when I saw images of meat factories and factory farms. I recognized the surprising creative coffins from my stay in Ghana. At times I had difficulties looking at persons, because of scars, burns and piercings. My partner and I were both wondering where the images where taken. If you have seen the movie and are curious as well, have a look: SAMSARA and BARAKA

Above all, it made me realize what is really important in life: Family & Friends and following your passions. Life comes and goes. Opportunities come and go. So let’s enjoy Life NOW!

If you haven’t seen this interesting documentary, have a look at the trailer:

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The Sahasrara Chakra

The seventh and last chakra is the Sahasrara chakra or the ‘crown chakra’. This chakra resides at the crown of the head and connects you to higher consciousness and pure awareness. The Sanskrit word Sahasrara means ‘thousand fold’ and therefore this chakra is also known as ‘Thousand Petaled Lotus’. This lotus burst open when you remember your true nature and experience enlightenment. The crown chakra is the foundation of your spiritual body and links you to the highest spiritual consciousness. This chakra relates to spiritual will, inspiration, idealism and intuitive knowing. It is about integrating your consciousness and subconsciousness and living in the NOW. The associated glands and body parts are the pineal gland, brain and central nervous system. The element of the seventh chakra is thought or cosmic consciousness. This cosmic consciousness can feel like an ultimate intelligence and a sense of all knowing. The associated colour can be violet or white, a combination of all colours. This is in line with the chakra as an integration center of all the other chakras.

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A blocked Sahasrara chakra

A blocked crown chakra can result in the following physical and mental problems: diseases of the muscular system, skeletal system and the skin, depression, chronic exhaustion, headaches, coordination difficulties, poor balance and clumsiness, sensitivity to light, sound or the environment. Emotional issues related to an out of balance seventh chakra can be; lack of purpose, loss of meaning or identity, trust, selflessness, lack of devotion, inspiration, values or ethics. If you have a closed crown chakra, it is highly likely that you are unable to live in the present and unable to gain closure on unfinished business. You always seem to be either revisiting your past or looking ahead to the future. You are normally confused and have no purpose in life. You may live on poor quality food, exhaust yourself and are probably ignoring your bodily needs. Fear of religion or spirituality and frustration can also be experienced. There is little joy in your life and you are afraid of things that cannot be understood with the physical senses. It can lead to unwise decisions, unhappiness and a sense of indecision. You can feel alone and separate and feel cut off from spirituality. An excessiveness in the seventh chakra can appear as being overly intellectual and feeling superior to other human beings. It can be described as ‘being in your head’ and you may possibly show some hysterical, psychotic and/or manic-depressive behaviour.

In the Here and Now

In the Here and Now

Yoga and other stimulants

There are different ways to balance your crown chakra for example through prayer, (chakra) meditation or colour and sound therapy. The Tibetan Bowl creates sounds that can help you to achieve a balanced seventh chakra. In terms of nature, viewing mountain tops can be helpful. Supporting yoga poses to balance this chakra are Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Salamba Sirsasana (Supported headstand) and all meditation poses. Since meditation is the yogic practice for this chakra, it clears and quiets the mind and connects you with the higher self. A daily head massage is also a good method towards balance of the crown chakra. In addition, you could focus on your dreams and write down your visions. You could also consume violet foods and drinks, wear violet clothing and use violet oils such as lavender or jasmine essential oils. Foods that can help to open up the seventh chakra are foods that generate space, for example raw green veggie juices. Moderate fasting can also activate the seventh chakra. One of the most important elements of physical, emotional and spiritual health is being inspired by your own life and live in the present moment.

Tibetan Singing bowls

Tibetan singing bowls

Balanced crown chakra

If your crown chakra is balanced, you are released from ego driven desires and you are able to trust in your highest guidance. Your sense of empathy and unity expands and your consciousness raises. You can experience another person, place or object as if you are inside of them or as if you are ‘being’ them. You will have wisdom, trust, selflessness, humanitarianism and the ability to see the bigger picture in a spiritual life. You feel calm, deeply at ease and fully aware with a gentle and compassion nature, free of worry. You show the ultimate goal of every human being: inner peace and satisfaction. You are truly in the present moment, living in the ‘Here and Now’. You reach a state of ‘being’, rather than a state of ‘doing’. There is no longer a sense of division, the macrocosm becomes the microcosm and all is in unity and you are in optimum balance. Compassion is the main sense that develops if you crown chakra opens. This ‘crown compassion’ is more about perception and communication, compared to ‘heart compassion’ which is more about emotions and empathy.

Union or Yoga

If all your energy centers are open and balanced, all selfish desires disappear. You are grounded, grateful, peaceful and visionary. By opening your crown chakra, you have reached the highest state of consciousness. Through firm grounding into the earth (first chakra), opening up your creative energy (second chakra), manifesting your dreams in the world (third chakra), opening your heart (fourth chakra), expressing your true voice (fifth chakra) and connecting with your inner knowing (sixth chakra), you are finally experiencing total unification or yoga by activating the seventh chakra.

Compassionate communication with lightness

Compassionate communication from the heart and with lightness

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Muladhara Chakra

Our first chakra is the Muladhara or root chakra and is located at the base of the spine. Mula means root or base in Sanskrit and this first energy center symbolizes our roots. It involves grounding, supporting and nurturing and establishes the deepest connections with your physical body, your environment and the earth. It is your survival center and your fight-or-flight response is initiated from this chakra. There is an energy stored under this chakra which is often referred to as the ‘coiled serpent’ and Kundalini yoga focuses on stimulating this energy. The associated colour with the Muladhara chakra is red. The associated body parts include the base of the spine, the legs, feet and the large intestine.

The root chakra

The root chakra

First Chakra Imbalances
If you find you are constantly suffering from financial or health issues, your first chakra may be blocked or unbalanced. Circumstances that can cause these imbalances include travelling, relocation, feeling fearful and big changes in your body, family, finances and business. People with busy minds and active imaginations are especially vulnerable to become deficient in this chakra, since they feel ungrounded most of the time, living more in the head than in the body. At the moment I experience a ‘survival crisis’; I have moved to the other side of the world, my temporary job agreement will end soon, I worry about my finances and future job possibilities and feel fearful towards all these insecurities. In addition, I am the owner of an extremely active mind and I have developed a perfect talent for worrying about everything in abundance. I have almost forgotten to relax and trust in my life and especially in my own skills and abilities – also related to the third chakra. Organs and glands associated with this chakra are the adrenal glands and organs of elimination (kidney, skin, colon), bones, hair, nails and legs. If the chakra is sluggish, you might have constipation and if this chakra is overstimulated you might have diarrhea. If I feel stressed, excited or worried, it has an immediate effect on my digestion resulting in many toilet visits.

Yoga and the Muladhara Chakra
Fortunately, yoga exists. There are many yoga poses that correct Muladhara chakra imbalances and thereby bringing you back to your body and the earth and help you experience safety, security and stillness. Standing poses balance and strengthen the first chakra which helps the body to become more grounded and centered. If you are not able to stand firmly, then you are like a tree without roots. There only has to be a small storm and the tree is easily uprooted. You first need to be rooted, before you can grow and move forward. Yoga can provide you with this sense of stability on the matt and in life’s challenges. Other specific target areas for this first chakra are the piriformis muscle in the hip and buttocks and the adductor muscles in the inner thighs. Tightness in hips, groins and hamstrings are related to blocks in the first energy center. These are exactly the places where most of my tightness comes from. A lot of people store emotions in the hips and therefore develop tightness in this area. If you’re in a pose such as pigeon or lizard pose you can start to observe your arising emotions. The practice of yoga can enhance the development of the Muladhara chakra qualities: calmness, patience and a willingness to slow down and stay in one place. Your confidence can be boosted and fears can be eased as you allow yourself to trust the earth and your body. It is helpful to end your yoga practice with peaceful restorative poses, like Supta Baddha Konasana or Salamba Balasana, because this will settle an overactive mind and encourage you to surrender to gravity.

Balancing this first Chakra further
The sense associated with this chakra is the sense of smell and the food for this chakra are protein-rich foods and red foods. Preparing protein-rich food and enjoying the smells while you’re cooking can support you to bring yourself back in your body. As a vegetarian, I probably easily miss out on a lot of red food. If you nourish your physical body it supports you with grounding. For this reason, eating is a first chakra activity and the challenge is to eat mindfully. A peaceful walk in the nature, can also help you to ground and connect with the earth. Signs of excessiveness in this chakra include gaining a lot of excess weight, greed and hoarding. Hoarding keeps the energy from flowing freely, you need to let go to get the energy moving. The challenge is to accept your body, feel it, validate it and love it. For me personally, a massage can help to quiet down my mind and make myself (more) aware of my physical body.

Tree pose

Tree pose

True transformation
Fear of survival, fear of abandonment and feeling insecure are all first chakra emotions that can be stored in your body. Emotions can leave deep impressions within your body and often cause illness. By targeting the muscles where these emotions are stored, you can begin to unblock emotional toxics that are trapped. Yoga is a great tool to do this. For sure all of the seven chakras are important and interconnected with each other. Therefore balancing one chakra will usually create change in another chakra as well. However, it is important to balance the root charka first to create stability and centeredness, necessary for true transformation and personal growth. Safety and security are required for real growth and change.

Balancing your first chakra

Balancing your first chakra

Categories: Chakra, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yoga Inversions and Menstruation: Yes or No?

The other day I had a discussion on whether to invert or not while having your period. Opinions about this subject vary widely. On the extreme ends you have people who say you don’t need to change your yoga practice at all while menstruating and others say you should not do any yoga except for some gentle restorative yoga poses while menstruating. If I’ve my period I usually practice inversions like headstand and shoulder stand. I think your body should be your guide, since every woman has different experiences. For sure it is a controversial issue. Most yoga teachers always offer other options, if you don’t feel like doing inversions, because you’re having your period or for any other reason. A lot of women choose not to invert while menstruating, because the blood flow can be interrupted or disturbed. I think it is important to honour your body, for example you should give yourself permission to take it easy if you are experiencing  discomfort such as low energy level, pain, mood swings, fatigue, bloating and irritability.

Turning inward

Naturally, menstruation is a time to look within and explore. Women have an increased awareness and sensitivity during this period. Therefore, existing problems and issues in your life can affect you more strongly. Your period is a time to nurture and heal your body and mind. The menstrual cycle is also very delicate and easily affected by stress, travel, diet changes and emotional issues. My menstrual period started irregular, but when I was living in Senegal for three months my period became regular to my surprise. During my stay in Senegal, I felt relaxed, enjoyed the lovely weather and was eating fish regularly. The state of your menstrual cycle is a reflection of the state of your physical and mental health. Your mind can have a great impact on your cycle as well. Therefore it can be helpful to include meditation and reflection into your practice.

Inversions

Certain asanas are said to be avoided during menstruation, especially inversions or any asana that makes the uterus upside down. Once again, my opinion is that every woman needs to decide for herself, since we all have such different experiences. The reasoning is that if you practice inversions one type of prana, known as apana, which normally flows in the downward direction from the manipur chakra (navel centre) to mooladhar chakra (cervix) is reversed. This can be useful to increase the prana in the body and to help awaken the kundalini energy. Though, if you’re menstruating it goes against the natural flow and in some women this can stop or disturb the menstruation. Another reason for not practicing inversions during your period is that the uterus is pulled towards the head and causes the broad ligaments to be over stretched. This can cause partial collapse of the veins and leaving open arteries to continue pumping blood. This can lead to vascular congestion and increased menstrual bleeding.

Powerful asanas

Besides inversions, strong asanas in particular strong backbends, twists, arm balances and standing positions that put a lot of stress on the abdominal and pelvic region should be avoided. Also, because these positions need more physical strength and exertion which can be lacking during your period and can be depleted further by intense practice. Bandhas should be avoided for similar reasons. In the end, it is all about listening to your body and accepting that menstruation is a time of introversion, acceptance and balance. If you decide to practice yoga while on your period, do not push or strain and instead do some more gentle poses, but hold them a little longer.

Yoga for menstrual discomfort

Gentle yoga poses can actually alleviate the painful symptoms of your period. The following asanas are great choices if you’re experiencing menstrual cramps and bloating:

  • Bhadrasana or butterfly pose
  • (Ardha) Paschimottanasana or (half) seated forward bend
  • Marjariasana or cat pose
  • Pavanamuktasana or the wind relieving pose
  • Viparita Karani or legs-up-the-wall pose
  • Vajrasana or diamond pose
  • Savasana or corpse pose

A gentle restorative yoga practice can ease away any period or back pain, balance the emotions – mood swings, anxiety, anger, depression, irritability and gentle open the pelvic region, relieving any congestion. Other techniques such as pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation can be very beneficial. In general, it is recommended to practice positions that allow one to become more grounded, to alleviate any emotional disturbances and to gain inner strength. Or any poses that relax and lengthen the abdomen, since they are great for menstrual cramps. It is not the best idea to spend a long time in child’s pose, contrary to most women’s urge to curl up into fetal position while experiencing cramps. Since the already tense muscles tend to stay tight in child’s pose.

 

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