YOGA FOR SPINAL LOVE

YOGA FOR SPINAL LOVE

The last article was about posture improvement. A huge part of improving posture comes down to spinal health, or spinal love, as I like to call it. 

The spine is the centre of our body. It houses our central nervous system and supports our torso; organs and all our bodily systems. Actually if you think about it, the spine is core to our health and happiness. Back care isn’t just about being pain free. Spinal health equals wellbeing. Physical, mental, emotional and even psychological. Back care can literally change your life. Spinal love starts with understanding our spines needs and catering to simple but effective back care.  So what’s spinal love? Well let’s see how incredible our spine is and what it needs to keep being so amazing. 

Amazing facts about our spine

– The human spine starts to develop in utero at two months of development – It connects the brain to the body allowing the mind and body to communicate so that we can do all we want to do with our body in this world – The spine has over 120 muscles, 200 ligaments and 100 joints – Luckily the spine is incredibly strong and can hold hundreds of kilograms of weight – It’s also incredibly flexible, if bent forward and backward it does 2/3 of a circle – It can expand and contract, as well as, move in all direction because of all these muscles – The spine has an exceptional memory of posture, so what you create it will maintain – 80 % of all back pain can be relieved through improved posture and healthy movement patterns – Sitting puts around 100kg of pressure onto your spine. Bending forward from standing or sitting puts double that pressure on your back.

Healthy spine happy back, body and brain  

The wellbeing of our organs, digestion, respiration, and the entire muscular system, directly depends on spinal health and functionality to serve their purpose. Our immune, endocrine and neurological system all indirectly benefit from back and spinal health. The human spine is unique in that it’s upright in relation to earth and the force of gravity. So the way we care for it also unique. Our spine developed over millions of years of evolution to the way it is now as a culminative process. The four curves we have also developed according to our needs as bipeds. Each curve of our spine developed at a different stage of our development, accommodating differing needs and purposes. 

When we first get curious about the world around us and lift the head to see at 3-6 months, we develop the cervical and lumbar curve. When we start to interact and want to reach for and move toward other persons, objects and places through crawling, we further develop those two curves. Then as we begin to find our autonomy and start walking, the last curve, our sacral curve gives balance to our upright posture. The natural curves of our spine give both our bones and discs resilience and bounce back. They create the flexibility and strength for our back and all that’s attached to it. Think about it, these curves create the room for movement of both the discs and bones to slide, slip and transition, forward, back, sideways and even to twist.  So our aim is to allow these natural curves its full range of movement. Physical, mental and emotional health are depend upon spinal health. For a full description of the health benefits of healthy posture look click here.

Effects of an unhealthy spine

Without the room to move each movement would be painful, laborious and awkward. The natural curves help our back and spine withstand huge amounts of stress. Without these curves, and spinal health all the bodily functions; digestive, nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, circulatory, lymphatic, urinary, and metabolic, are affected adversely. This in turn affects our hormonal and immune system, our sense of self as a whole connected and embodied person. This spills over to our sense of self and connection to others. Articles have been written on why back pain might be inherent to our upright position. But this misses the point that, we as a species developed to move, walk, run, climb and be active at least 6-8 hrs a day. In active and mobile cultures people don’t suffer back issues. And without daily activity our back and spinal health gives way to aches.

Symptoms of our back needing Spinal Love

– Pain, Tingling – Headaches, Migraines – Dizziness, Foggy brain – Restricted movement – Restriction of daily activites – Radiating pain in leg – Bony growth of cartilage in joint  – Fear of falling, Balance & Proprioception issues – Stiffness – Fatigue – Tightness – Inflammation, Fusion of vertebrae – Postural problems – Breathing difficulties – Altered cardiopulmonary function – Osteopenia, Stenosis, Spondilitis, Osteoporosis – Unbalanced spinal muscles, Muscular imbalance – Changes in bone density – Asymmetry causing degenerative changes in the spine and pelvis.

4 Ways to Spinal Love & Back Care 

If we don’t listen to the wisdom and wonder of our body’s natural intelligence we can end up with spinal conditions, back pain and problems. These changes are the body’s only way to communicate our unhealthy habit. And if we ignore this too long we will be hearing louder calls of communication, “Hey? Hello up there! This part of you needs some tender loving movement! It needs some attention!” So, Let’s listen to our body & give it some Spinal Love!

1. Move Daily

Most important!! Move. Whether its dancing to loud music when you get home, or going for a run, walking in the forest or Yoga practice, do it daily and do it with passion. Preferably a few times a day, get some real motion. Motion is lotion.

2. The Six Directions

Make sure to move the spine in its 6 direction everyday, a few times a day. Forward, backward, sideways L & R, and twisting L & R. That’s why Yoga is so amazing, and makes us feel so great. Because we take the time to do all the postitions and really squeeze, release, free and slide the spinal discs. This allows them to really absorb moisture, nutrients and blood supplies. Remember disc health from the last article. 

3. Body Awareness

Listening to our body is only an option when we have body awareness. Becoming aware of it’s language it a process. And it can be a playful process if we let it be a dialogue, a dance, a deliberate yet dallying of attention. It doesn’t need to be a chore. Again Yoga provides a perfect setting to cultivate this skill.

4. Hydrate

Drink. Drink. Drink lots of water. A hydrated spine is a happy, healthy spine. Tea, green, white or black, is dehydrating, so they don’t count 😉 It’s that easy, and dare I say even fun. So give that spine some TenderLovingCare, Spinal Love. It doesn’t ask for much, when you think of all it does in return. Spinal Love infleunces how we feel, think, move and live. Back care and health is intimately linked to our respiration. Respiration and inspiration come from the Latin root, spirare, to breathe. Spinal health revitalises and brings our whole body into physiological balance! So let’s celebrate the flex-ability, the strength and the amazingness of our spine with Yoga, which so easily caters to all the spine’s needs.  Namaste, and lot’s of love to you and your amazing spine,

Shira.

HOW YOGA BENEFITS POSTURE IMPROVEMENT

HOW YOGA BENEFITS POSTURE IMPROVEMENT

Improving our posture can benefit us on so many levels. Body, mind, energy and emotions all improve. And Yoga can support us in creating and even enhance these benefits. Yoga, when done with body awareness, alignment and understanding anatomy and physiology, not only improves posture, it improves our whole sense of wellbeing and living.

It’s obvious that improving our posture improves how we feel.
A healthy posture gives us resilience in our spine, the ability to breathe fully, move freely and experience wellbeing.


Posture improvement affects
  • Breathing
  • Flow of nerve communication
  • Health of organs
  • Digestive processes
  • Musculoskeletal health
  • Stress resiliency
  • Sleep
  • Hormonal balance
  • Feelings of wellbeing, wellness and energy

How bad posture affects our body

We all shrink as we age, but some of us not so old, are already shrinking due to bad posture. Now shrinking isn’t important to some of us, but it does have detrimental physiological effects.
One of the most important is that decreased height causes the vertebral discs to lose moisture and dry out. When our discs are plump and juicy, they keep our spine flexible and absorb any shock.
When discs dry out they become flat and thin, being less supple they are prone to injury and degeneration leading to chronic back pain, neck pain, headaches. This is the perfect setting for other issues related to spinal degeneration, think neck, shoulders, arms, hips and legs. As soft tissue weakens it’s less resistant to gravity and life’s push and pulls.

But have you ever stopped wander to what degree that spills over to, or how it affects every part of our, body, mind and self?
Well let’s only look at what benefits posture improvement has on our physical body.

The many benefits of posture improvement

When the trunk is well supported by strong core muscles, joints and ligaments, and the limbs work in congruency with each other and in conjunction with the core, all our vital organs are fully supported. This allows our organs to work in harmony with each other so that each is well nourished by healthy blood, oxygen and nutrient supplies.
Just think about the kidneys, adrenals, heart, lungs, and liver.
Healthy kidneys holds our sense of strength through clearing toxins and keeping us vitalised. Our adrenals fill our sense of ability through regulating our activity and resting times. They give us the courage to act when invited and the calm to know when we need to retreat.
When our heart is fully supported we have a good blood supply, circulation and sense of respond-ability. The lungs when totally supported can open fully to breathe deep and enliven our entire bodily system with breathe, oxygen and spaciousness. All the muscles around these organs are massaged and nurtured, which trckles down to all connected organs and tissues.
Our liver performs more than 3000 functions. 500 of those are essential tasks to keep us healthy. Giving our liver a wide range of movement through diverse exercise and bodily movement, our liver is more than happy to serve all it’s purposes. The liver directs all the metabolism and detoxification.


Primary tasks of the liver are:
  • Bile production and excretion 
  • Excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs 
  • Metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates 
  • Enzyme activation 
  • Storage of glycogen, vitamins, and minerals 
  • Synthesis of plasma proteins, such as albumin, and clotting factors 
  • Blood detoxification and purification

Not only that but the surrounding tissues, joints and nerves, are also endowed with this generous supply of life giving properties. Every single cell and system of our body is affected by our posture. Each cell’s ability to regulate and maintain internal balance is affected, for better or for worse.

Movement, breath and Yoga for posture

Wide ranging bodily movement that caters to moving all the body parts in all directions creates for support of surrounding tissues and organs through healthy posture, and the nourishment from good circulation a a healthy heart. Allowing our muscles, bones, nerves and joints to get the right kind of movement and freedom which leads to general wellbeing and maintenance.
Any of these affect not just our physical sense of wellbeing but also our mood, energy levels and place in the world. When our hormonal and nervous system function well, we have strong immunity, we have a clear mind, our rhythms of sleep and wakefulness are in harmony too.


According to researchers John Lennon and Norman Shealy in their article in American Journal of Pain Management:
“posture affects every physiological function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.
The most significant influences of posture are upon respiration, oxygenation, and sympathetic function. Ultimately, it appears that homeostasis and autonomic regulation are intimately connected with posture. The corollary of these observations is that many symptoms, including pain, may be moderated or eliminated by improved posture.”


When we have a upright and harmonious stance in body, in relation to our world, we have a healthy stance in life.
Its really that simple and powerful.
Improve posture and improve your entire physiology.

So what is posture improvement?

Its an upright spine held, supported and lithe with all ligaments, tendons, fascia, and other connective tissue, working as one. Not just a straight back, but one who honours its natural curves. And a mind who can inhabit through awareness our embodied experience.
It’s a body whose many systems; nervous, endocrine, immune, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, muscular and connective, function as a whole. It communicates and integrates all experiences. It can express itself with as much ease as the spine is supple and juicy.
In yoga we say, We are only as healthy as our spine.


And our spine is only as healthy as we allow it to move in all its many directions; sideways, backward, forward, twisted or extended. That’s why yoga is so powerful, it moves the spine in all it’s potential positions, postures and the combined possibilities of these.
Just like our bodies and minds, our lives can only be as whole as its range of movement and freedom, so our posture leads to health of body, mind and soul, through every cell and system.

Let’s reclaim our wellbeing!

Namaste, and much love to You, your cells and your Soul,

Shira.

HOW YOGA IMPROVES COMMUNICATION & RELATIONSHIPS

HOW YOGA IMPROVES COMMUNICATION & RELATIONSHIPS

So why do I keep going on about emotions, you might ask, and how can Yoga improve them? Emotions drive our impulses. They filter our perception, relation and reactions, in that order. If we don’t know which emotion prompts us, we react instead of respond. We risk communication and relation breakdowns. 

Communication is the basis for co-creation. And emotions the initiator of that expression.  

Ultimately Yoga is all about having deep, fulfilling and honest connections and relationships. Early on my Yoga road, reconnecting with my inner self, gave immense joy, courage and a sense of empowerment and contentment from the bliss we find within. Somewhere mid journey we uncover our deeper connection to Self, the divine. It inspires us to dive deeper. It dares us to climb higher peaks we never thought we could, and even fly a little, until we hit a very concrete part of our humanity.

As we mature on our Yoga journey we realise the knowledge, confidence and resilience we finally reclaim, are the essence of deep healthy relations, connection and living as complex social beings. The last few years my Yoga path is about realising how to be a better human being. Not a human doing. Nor a human not doing. But a human being who makes the effort, in order to manifest ease, not just for self but for others just the same. Sukha and Sthira. That’s the only Asana, seat, we need to create as the foundation of our expression, gift and work. It’s a fine balancing act. To be a being of compassion and yet proactive. That profound recognition of our responsibility and ability. To create the changes, we need to turn around in ourselves and the Earth. To be proactive and co-create, the first step we need is to learn to communicate.

Importance of Skilful Communication

The importance of power dynamics between teacher and student can’t be understated. Especially since the exposure of power abuse in many of the yoga communities. And communication is key to support healthy interpersonal relationships and create balanced and empowering power dynamics. 

Denial, disastrous communication, or lack of it, leads to frustration, fear, loneliness, anger, grief, emotional and mental imbalances, and even suicide. Just as healthy communication has the potential to free us. To empower us and to create long lasting, satisfying relationships. In two weeks, I begin another Yoga therapy training.

To get the most out of any education, good communication is essential. Even though I’ve made effort my whole adult life to improve my communication skills, I still find myself lacking in trying situations. An important part of Yoga Therapy training is learning skilful communication, observation and deep relation. All key to Yoga being therapeutic. 

Healthy interpersonal communication is vital to happiness, health and success. To transform outgrown patterns, it takes two to see, hear, speak, share and dare to work together toward change. Empowering the individual toward their own healing process. Only guiding them enough to take the steps of creating their own wellbeing. Yoga’s greatest strength lies in it’s potential to empower the individual. And how Yoga does this is through cultivation of self awareness, deeper levels of honesty, sensitivity and skill in action, toward the good, the bad and the ugly. So communication with self is key to healing, self and others, through deep listening and responding. 

Communication as a tool to empower

Communication is key for our relationship to self and others. It helps us recognise our and others needs, strengths, challenges and gifts. When we relate in these, we own our part in the play. This allows the other to own their part. We mutually empower. There’s no power battle when we listen, honour and find a win/win way for all involved. When we’re honest we deeply honour our values, feelings and thoughts. Doing so creates an empowered, autonomous and confident sense of self. 

We’re only as empowered as we are honest with who we are, what we stand for and what we feel in relation with to any given situation. And being emotionally intelligent, means we know what we feel, why and how to communicate that. Being honest and speaking our truth, we give others the chance to do the same. It naturally empowers them in the process. We honour others values, feeling and thoughts too. Because it’s a two-way street. It feels so great to feel honoured and empowered, we only wish the same for the other. Emotional intelligence opens up the pathway to this mutual feeling. Fulfilling relationships and skilful communication come from the baby step of honesty and ability to express it kindly.

Yamas and Skilful communication

The Yamas are the basis of all yoga. Communication rests on these pillars of the Yamas. Especially Ahimsa; kindness to self and others, Satya; honesty and Bramhacharya; keeping our energy within our sense of self, which is actually emotional intelligence. Our ability to communicate depends on our relationship with self; honesty and self-awareness of what we think, feel and belief, kindness and self-inquiry of the way we relate to self and others, keeping our Prana within our senses and how we respond or react to what we discover within and without. 

Without self knowledge and self awareness its difficult to communicate what we want, think and feel. And even harder to create a life that reflects these ideals.   Growing up with the themes of misunderstanding, loneliness, depression, blaming, shaming, are common. We see, live with, accept, and in our incredible ability to adapt, we find ways to even thrive and be happy amongst the confusion and changes of socia But for some these themes are too painful, especially if we lack the ability or urge to communicate. Sharing our emotive visions inspires us. 

Communication connects us, allows us torelate and feel heard, held and honoured. It grounds us when we’re understood. It frees us from the heavy burden of carrying feelings all alone. Sharing allows the intelligence behind the emotion; the impulse to create change to honour our sensibility to what’s good for us now, guides us to improve connection and bolsters healthy relationships. Underneath there is a calm love and wholeness that we all can access. 

Holding the space for emotions to flower, flourish, bloom and wilt, we can hold the space for others to communicate their feelings. Then what we envision can come to the foreground. Behind every emotion awaits a force so strong to create wholeness. Its our job to learn to hear the silent but powerful messengers. To decipher and shift gears. Then we can co-create together. Because alone we will never move mountains. Alone we can dream, together we can do it.And its so much more fun with others. 

Namaste and I’d love to hear how you share your truth and co-create,   

Much Love,

Shira.

One Yoga Pose to Feel Empowered, Uplifted, Improve Energy and Relationships

One Yoga Pose to Feel Empowered, Uplifted, Improve Energy and Relationships

“Since emotions run every system in the body, don’t underestimate their power to treat and heal.”

– Candace Pert. 

How powerful that feeling of total bliss or joy is when we’re elated, delighted and excited all rolled into one. It gives us energy and motivation to do incredible things with ease and confidence.  

Or equally devastating those depths of despair, where happiness seems unimaginable and each step a steep mountainside. Every little bump or challenge sucks our life energy right out of us.
Both these states are due to our emotions. The last months we’ve explored how emotions work and affect our mental states, and vice versa. This week it’s how do emotions affect our energy. And what we can do to reclaim that power and direct it with Yoga and mindfulness.

A Brief History of Energy in Motion

The E-word in the world of science and medicine, Candace Pert joked, for what can’t be measured, can’t be real. Remember our emotions are responses of our inner world meeting the outer world. Ultimately emotions are Love, Bliss and Clarity, according to Yoga and Ayurveda.  
Candace, a passionate neuroscientist, pharmacologist and biophysicist, innovatively sought biochemical links between consciousness and body.


Twenty years ago, in her deeply inspiring book The Molecules of Emotion, Candace revealed how emotions affect the entire biochemistry in of our bodies. Her extensive research led her to discover that emotions are the link between mind and body. More to the point, we are a bodymind.


Emotions change the electricity and chemistry of every single cell in our body, affecting how we feel, what we perceive through the five senses, how we react depending on what we perceive as most important.
This affects our tissues, organs and channels of mind. These filters, the cellular memory and innate intelligence of our body responds easily to the infinite changes.


These changes are recorded within the receptors of cells. When changes and experiences are not expressed or digested healthily, they become toxins, ama in Ayurveda. Toxic emotions build up in the unconscious, clogging mental channels of perception. Our ability to receive and accept the full power of Love behind every E-motion as an expression of free flow of Prana, depends on how conscious, embodied and alive we meet the outer world each time. 
Fortunately, science is slowly shifting. We now know that the body is the mind crystallized. The only sure thing in the material world is change. Science is catching up and affirms what Seers around the world have said for millennia. We have all we need within. 

How We Can Make the Shift

The innate intelligence of our body, what Yoga and Ayurveda call Prana, is a conscious force that moves through us knowing what it needs and how to heal. “We have a natural pharmacopeia already within us” Candace stated. We can inherently orchestrate our own healing process through knowledge and application of the practices.


Our body heals when our cells are healthy and clear. We can create the clarity and vibrancy on a cellular level, not just through healthy food and exercise. But by being conscious in relationships and connections with others. That outer relationship is a reflection of the inner relationship. How your cells communicate with each other. How they meet and greet, respond or react. 
That’s why yoga is so powerful. We learn to move our body, breath and mind with consciousness. We can connect to it, and to others. Yoga affects not just the connection with self, but with society and spirit. Connection, relations are our spiritual practice on this earth.
The connectedness we feel of bodymind profoundly changes our emotions into positive states. We’re literally removing old memories from cellular filters. 


These filters affect our thoughts, perceptions and experiences. And we in turn can create new filters any time we choose to make that effort. We can awaken our e-motional state, energy in motion. This energy movement within and through our cells and organs, directly affects our bodymind, and this impacts our energy levels.

A Two-Way Stream 

We can also use our body to change our biochemistry through posture, muscular engagement, to affect our emotional and mental state. We can reverse engineer, we can create the energy level we want. We can let ourselves feel down, relaxed or uplifted, anger, excitement or enthusiasm, contentment, detached or disappointment. 


Emotions are the key to uplifting ourselves and our energy levels. And the way we use our body language, the parts of our body we activate, or soften, will affect how we feel and change our energy levels directly and effectively. 
It does take practice. Like anything in life we need to attempt it many times to become good and feel and see its effects. But this simple technique can be used daily, until you start to integrate that mental awareness, emotional activation and bodily engagement in daily activities and life.

Try it

Sit down, let your body relax, even slump. Let your head sit unintentionally, slightly disinterested. Don’t try to be embodied, rather be disembodied, be in your head.
Now say to yourself, “I feel alive, vibrant, I do everything with joy today!”
And FEEL IT.
How do you feel?
Do you feel alive and vibrant? 
Did you feel you change in the physiological state a flow of energy?
Does this generate a good feeling or uplifted energy?


So a simple stance, or lack of it, let’s our energy run down and out, and it’s not going to give us that vibrancy or upliftment, we actually seek in our waking state.


Now to be empowered means we have power to affect and claim our part in the play of life. And for Yoga to be empowering we need to first know where we are, where we want to arrive at through our practice and what practice will get us there.
So an easy and effective way is to tune into what you’re feeling at this moment. 


Stand up in Mountain pose, plant your feet firmly on the floor, connect to the Earth’s abundant energy supply. Feel the front of your body awake, alive and open, ready to receive that flow of energy. Let the back body soften but with an intent to receive energy.
Now be embodied, feel the sensations in your body, the amazing flow of life moving through you to your head. 
Let the mind be reflective like a lake, awake and clear with intent. Now say to yourself, “I feel alive, vibrant, I do everything with joy today!”
And FEEL IT. 
How do you feel?
Do you feel alive and vibrant?
Do you feel you changed the physiological state?
Does this generate a good feeling or uplifted energetic state?

It’s really simple.
Now if the difference wasn’t so big, that’s ok, you just need a little practice. 
If we have a habit of letting or energy run down and out, we just need to swim upstream a few times and turn the current around.
With practice anything is possible.


Joy doesn’t come to a lucky few, it comes through practice and preparation, understanding and opportunity coming together like old friends.


Now its your turn to take this into the world.
Leave a comment below and tell us how it will change your current situation.

Much Love,

Shira.

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS AND SHADOWS

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS AND SHADOWS

Bottoms up, Top-down & Heart Centred

Practicing Yoga mindfully based on Ayurveda, it’s no longer prescriptive but a process. Bottom up, using the body to regulate energy, moods and nerves. Top down, add psychology and it’s a process of rediscovering deeper layers of wellbeing in self and relationships, uses clarity to bring homeostasis. Heart Centred uses emotional empowerment, works with our feelings, passion and deepest desires.

For decades I believed Yoga alone was the Panacea for all healing. As a teacher and therapist, sure students didn’t need to go outside the realm of Vedic studies for healing and transformation. Until I hit rock bottom. That spurred me on to study all I could on psychology, Ayurveda, neuroscience and anything related to emotions. Top-down. Heart centred. Bottoms up. You name it.


For our Yoga practice to really support our healing process, transformation and growth in our lives, we need all.
Instead of reacting and acting upon subconscious fears and feelings, yoga with a willingness to face our weaknesses, creates space to see and release underlying triggers. Subconscious triggers.


The subconscious is the pathway through which our conscious and unconscious mind communicate. The limited mind with limitless knowing, or pure potential as Deepak Chopra calls it. Limitless potential is frightening because we have no idea what it is, where we’ll be when there, how we’ll be challenged moving into a bigger arena of self or where it’ll take us. Because it’s new and unknown, we can’t compare it to any previous experience.


But there are pathways that we can slowly open up to the limitless potential of mind without being overwhelmed.

Consciousness Pathways, Our Potential and Our Shadows 

Our subconscious reveals parts of our unconscious and limitless mind, or limited and maladaptive aspects of mind, which need to be faced, embraced and replaced. This makes space for our potential to grow, thrive and feel alive. 


Without seeing our weaknesses and imperfections, we’ll never change for the better. We’re only Bhogi Yogis. Spiritual bypassers, seeking pleasure and sidestepping any real transformation. And there are way too many Yoginis and Yogis that skip this vital part of practice. To think or believe we’ve done the work is the ingenious play of ego. We’re here because we are the work in progress. And progress happens by practicing not only what we love and what we loathe.


Meditation creates more space in the subconscious(SC) realm. It allows the SC to flow into the conscious mind, expanding our conscious mind into this SC realm and becoming conscious. This frees up space in the SC for the unconscious(UC) to flow into. And that let’s more of our potential and limitless mind to flow into our subconscious. And so on and so forth.
This is expanding consciousness. Living from limitless self means we have pure potential to create and become all that lays dormant within us.


And in the clearing, not only amazing parts of ourselves come to the fore, our shadows also arise. Dormant are also those suppressed aspects of self. All we’ve learned to reject, suppress and neglect. All we’ve forgotten and felt shame, guilt or fear about never rise to the surface of our consciousness to be seen, felt and heard, grows in intensity from the resisitance. 


These shadows are projected becoming power plays and dominator dynamics. Whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological or sexual. Just look at Osho, Deshen Thurman, Bikram, John Friend, Swami Rama, Swami Muktanananda, Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, Kausthub Desikachar, Satyananda Saraswati, Nirjanjanananda and so many other ‘Gurus’. Their repressed physical, emotional, psychological and sexual shadows later defined their character as authorities. 


To free ourselves fully is to become ourselves fully. Preventing another’s domination means understanding our projections. Stepping into our power is seeing all we project; the glorious, the bad and the ugly. Not just on those we dislike, but even more on those we adore, idolise and look up to. It’s our responsibility to acknowledge, accept and even embrace our failings, shortcomings and progressive, not perfect, actionsLetting this out into the light of consciousness frees us as well as it. Then we humbly and humanly step into ourBeauty & Power. 


Through meditative Yoga practice we not only see the thoughts and feel the emotions underlying our habits, beliefs and perceptions, we actually move through them. We use our embodied experience and release and energy trapped in the body/mind complex in a conscious manner. The issues in our tissues, or the condensation of mental energy solidified is moved through. One way to free our shadows.
There’s only one way out, and that’s through.

Dreams and Feelings

Dreams are one pathway of the SubConscious. 
Dreams allows us to better understand our SC and therefore become more conscious of what we belief, fear, and feel. Dreams are a powerful channel of SC unfolding, if we learn to read their symbols and listen to the dynamics. If we see each personality as different aspects of ourselves, we can decipher the language of dreams and our SC. But some of us aren’t aware of our dreams or their symbolism.


Emotions are another pathway of the subconscious. And we are definitely aware of them.
But can we read them? Are we emotionally literate?
Remember emotions are energy in motion. They’re transient and have no substance, but that doesn’t mean they’re not powerful. They’re very powerful! Underneath each emotion lives our body-mind intelligence. This is the divine communicating with us.


We can actually empower ourselves emotionally. The desire to live fully and express our experiences of being and self, without limitation, is the essence of the life itself. Shakti. And it’s inherent in all of us. Supress this long enough and imbalance in our free flow of energy becomes dis-ease.
We reclaim the power within emotions, by learning their language and speaking our truth. Living from the heart, the desire to live fully will awaken in us again.

Test Your Emotional Intelligence and Language

We often lack the freedom to express emotions because we fear of being rejected, disliked, stand out from the crowd or facing the truth of our lack of… fill in the blank.
How many emotions do you think we have? And can you communicate them to others in the spur of the moment? And what’s your initial reaction towards difficult emotions? 
How many emotions can you think of right now?
Give yourself 90 seconds and write down as many as you can.
Count them.


Now place a N next to all the negative ones and a P next to the positive emotions.
Now look at which ones you call ‘negative’ and ‘positive’.
Why do we do that? Why do we assign N or P to any of them?
Our past experiences and perceptions, influenced by our caregivers’ reactions makes us relate so distinctly.

But we can do it different

According to Dr. Alan Watkins we have a vast universe of emotions. Imagine allowing yourself the freedom to experiencing a limitless range of emotions. See yourself living out immense possibilities of all the visceral sensations that intuite and invite us to live better and wiser lives. Messages from our beautifully wise, nurturing and loving bodies, through a nervous system thats always connected to the mind, and leads us back to our limitless self.


The mind-body pathways are always ready to change, adapt and improve.


We can feel anxiety in a positive sense. Feel nervousness, as a fluttering exhilaration for the new, a youthful excitement and anticipation to explore and be the adventurer once again. It gives us extra energy and alertness to raise our ability and engage our intelligence and consciousness in a more creative and curious way.


Feeling anger doesn’t ‘make us angry’. Anger is a powerful, dynamic and concentrated movement of energy. If we feel it in our spacious awareness moving through our body-mind, we can channel it into a new project. A plan or activity that creates change in relation to that which made us feel anger.
And so we can explore the universe of emotion and learn to move with it.

Transform Emotion into Motivation

By reclaiming the full scope of emotional experience through emotional literacy, we access the power within emotions. It’s here to tell us something is happening and the universe is only waiting for our response. Allowing ourselves unlimited expression to experience our feelings, without fear, allows energy to move through us, rather than happening to us.
Find that joy and immensity of pleasure to pass through us by embracing what you feel. Moving with emotions and letting the intelligence of the divine in our body speak to us, will motivate us to change for the better.

SO step into your power, feel and see the subconscious speak to you through its pathways as wisdom moving with life-energy, or Praana.
Let your universe of emotions expand and your shadows dissipate. Let Shakti free the issues in our tissues. Begin to have a deeper conversation with your feelings.

1. Write down two emotions you have a hard time with and how can you see them and experience them in a new light so the motivate you. Move You in the right direction 😉 
2. Write down two emotions you love to experience and do something this week to make sure that feeling wakes up in you again.


Namaste, love and move with meditative awareness of your energy’s movement,

Shira.

EMOTIONALLY EMPOWERED BY SEEING YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS

EMOTIONALLY EMPOWERED BY SEEING YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS

We can empower ourselves emotionally and live fuller lives. These two simple steps will help you overcome fears and understand your limiting beliefs. Giving you more control, calm and resilience. 

Last weeks blog about was about how feelings and thoughts can’t be divorced. And how our vagal nerve allows us to enhance our relaxation response with a smooth, slow and rhythmic practice, of breath and movement. Helping us switch from active to responsive. Using the body to calm the nervous system and mind.
Yet sometimes, even though we do relaxing activities, our body is still tense and our mind restless. “Where on earth has peace and calm wandered this time?” I find myself wondering.


We all know we have the power in our hands to create health in body and mind. Especially when we educate ourselves and apply that knowledge. But even then, sometimes it’s really hard to switch from active to calm, and somehow, we jump to reactive.Trivial events trigger us. And it feels violent when we have a ‘Creating world harmony’ ideal.
Even after practicing mindfulness and yoga for over 29 years, it’s still a work in progress.
Why?  

Obviously, emotions.

Emotions, those wonderful messengers between body and mind. Energy in motion. They’re transient. They have no substance, but they’re very powerful forces!
There is an inherent intelligence behind each emotion. A message between our inner experience and the outer stimulus. Underneath each emotion lies our body-mind intelligence communicating with us in waves of change. And the way we experience and express that e-motion, depends on many things.
Often our inner experience is strongly influenced by past memories, thoughts and perceptions associated with the outer event.

The crashing of fear

And the strongest wave is that of fear. Because our brain was intensely wired to fear for more than 2 million years, ensuring our survival, we have a fear bias. Fear triggers us to react and fast.
Using the vagal nerve is called a bottom up approach.
This week it’s a top down approach. Using the mind to understand our fear and calm the mind, nerves and soma. Both bottom up and top down complement and enhance each other. To move us away from fear we need to use all tools in our toolbox.

Somatic practice and psychology is a beautiful marriage  

1. Create Mental Space to See Triggers
Using the body, breath and mind to create mental space we can start to see triggers earlier.
The reflective moments we create through yoga and meditative practice, especially breath centred, calms the nerves and creates more mental space. Chittakasha is expanded.
Because there’s more space in our minds, we take distance from our fears. Emotions are like waves, the come crashing on the shore of our consciousness from the unconscious. Spacious mind sees the waves of fear coming from afar.
This spaciousness let’s us see what undercurrent thoughts triggered the emotion. Emotions don’t happen to us, but move through us to change. A better change, a positive change. Opportunities to improve next time round. And there’s always a next time. (Remember nothing is perfect, especially the first time, we have many opportunities to try again.)

2. Find the underlying thought 
As we see the wave of emotion coming earlier the underlying thought also becomes clear. Underneath any reaction surges a fear. And behind every fear lies a good intention. Every negative habit has a positive intent. To protect us. Find that positive intent. Hear the fear behind it. Most reactions stem from one of 5 fears.
Martina Sheehan and Susan Pearse in Wired for Lifespeak of 5 fundamental fears:
1 Fear of rejection or standing out
2 Fear of losing out or scarcity mentality
3 Fear of losing control
4 Fear of failure or not good enough
5 Fear of facing the truth or being responsible
Socially, we need acceptance of our ‘tribe’, to survive. This desire to fit in is deeply ingrained and stems from our brain, the limbic system, the oldest part of our brain. All emotional triggers, especially fear, ensure we please our tribe. That may be our society, family, peers, colleagues or friends.
So find the fear. Hear the story you keep telling yourself subconsciously.

And then take action, move with emotion

Let that energy move through you not to you. 

1 Fear of standing out – Find our voice. Diversity is beauty. Only you define yourself, not the opinion of others.  
2 Fear of losing out – See the abundance. Know whatever you have to offer, there are people out their who need your gift. Think win/win, not win/lose. When others succeed see it as prove that you can too.
3 Fear of losing control – Let go. Accept things as they are. Uncertainty holds opportunity. 
4 Fear of failure – Take the chance, the challenge and grow. Progress not perfection is key to moving forward.
5 Fear of facing the truth – Take responsibility. Own your life, thoughts, feelings, actions and situation. Then take the steps to create the life You want to live.

So, hear the story you keep telling yourself, and find the underlying push your subconscious is trying to give you to move you toward a greater self. A less limited self. And if you dare to be really brave, a limitless self in a world with certain limits.
Namaste dear friend, so much love to You, Be that brave One,

Shira.

 Next time reaction happens ask which of the fears is asking You to change and move forward.

 What limiting belief or fear holds You back?

GET CLEAR, CALM & COLLECTED IN 7 STEPS

GET CLEAR, CALM & COLLECTED IN 7 STEPS

Getting clear, calm and collected in 7 Yoga steps to stop anxiety. 

Yeah!! It’s finally spring for those in the northen hemisphere and autumn in the southern. My favourite seasons. The seasons of change and renewal. Also the seasons of increased Vata. Last weeks article was about emotions and how we can transform them through Yoga and meditation. This week we’ll be looking at anxiety from Ayurvedic eyes and what we can do specific to empower ourselves if we feel overwhelmed. 

  • Understand what causes anxiety
  • Learn how you can change your nervous system with Yogic practices
  • Use your diet and daily routine to balance your emotions and mind
  • Enjoy self care that will calm and centre your body, emotions and mind

Most of my teen and adult life I struggled with anxiety. Most who know me wouldn’t know it, because I was really good at acting like I was fine. I think a lot of us live our lives that way.


You probably experience bouts of doubts, worry, anxiety, panic attacks, emotions changing for no real reason. Or maybe You’re feeling stuck in flight or flight response and want to manage or even master this feeling.


Do feel like you have become a different person compared to how You used to feel?
I know I have many times… 
And You want Yoga practice and knowledge to become resilient and confident again. That’s exactly what I wanted and didn’t know how or what. But after years of trial and error, I have some tools that can make a huge difference. To do that let’s dive into what causes anxiety to better understand how we can remedy.

Anxiety and it’s Causes 

Medically, anxiety is the nervous system stuck in fight/flight response. The fight/flight response occurs when there is any stress, whether the threat is physical, mental or emotional. It releases adrenaline, a stress hormone, preparing our physiology to escape or fight. It diverts the blood away from the internal organs of digestion, regulation and growth, to motor muscles. If our body is flooded with adrenaline we can get stuck in this alert and ready f/f mode.  


(If stress is chronic and consistent over long periods of time, our adrenals become exhausted, medically called Adrenal Fatigue, better known as Burnout.)


Ayurvedically, anxiety is excessive Vata dosha in the nervous system. Vata dosha is the psychobiological function of movement within the body/mind complex. Vata is like Wind; movement, breath, life changes. Too much wind becomes erratic, cold and drying movement of our energy and emotional states and quality of our living.


Vata when balanced is expressed as positive mental and emotional states like creativity, joy, intuition, expansiveness and deep spiritual understanding. When imbalance due to excess, Vata creates nervousness, doubts, worry, restlessness, just like too much wind will do to your skin. Because like increases like, opposite decreases. Therefore, to remedy excessive Vata, we need to increase the qualities of rhythm, warmth and moisture and the heavy quality of oils, sweet foods and anything that is not light, cold and erratic.

How to Change Gears of the Nervous System with Yoga

Advice is all too often, ‘Minimise stress’. But when our nervous system is stuck in the fight/flight gear, it can be really hard to switch to the rest/digest response. Luckily Ayurvedic principles applied to Yoga is powerful and effective.
Therefore, like winds’ irregular movement causing waves on the lake’s surface, the mind becomes erratic when we lack routine, rhythm and regularity. This affects our sense of clarity, our energy levels swing and our emotions become unreliable. Now imagine a movement that is soft, smooth, rhythmic within your body, breath and mind. This is the pattern we want to teach our breath, nervous system and mental fluctuations.  Because this will affect our body, energy, emotions and mind. So the key is to go slow, smooth and softly in our day, practice, daily routine and any movement.

The 7 Simple Steps to Overcome Anxiety

The first 5 steps are to calm the nerves. The last one is to strengthen the nervous system.
Or download my Free PDF Yoga for a Calm Mind

1 Routine & Regularity

Eat regularly, wake up & go to sleep consistently, meditate, exercise and relax regularly. Find a rhythm that works well for You and stick to it. Prediction immediately calms the nervous system. Even symmetry and a clean and clear home will create a collected and centred feeling.


2 Stay Warm

Eat warm, oily food, dress warm so nerves are not constantly stimulated by chills. Warming the nerves engages the relaxation response, slows down the mind and grounds our emotional state. It switches us from fight/flight response to rest and digest response. 


3 Breathe Out Slow

Slow breathing calms the nervous system, but the out breath activate the parasympathetic nervous system- the part responsible for the relaxation response. So breathe in for 5 breathe out for 10, do up to 10 rounds. Don’t do retentions, they might trigger nervousness.


4 Grounding Yoga Poses

Any poses that are close to the ground, bringing the energy inward and down will ground the nervous system. Any open and spacious movement will only create more anxiety. So forward bends such as cat/cow, child’s pose, wind relieving pose, forward fold, and garland pose. Even just lying on the floor, and hugging the knees, is very beneficial and centering.


5 Self Care

Self care can’t be overstated for anxiety, we tend to worry and spend too much time in our head. The most grounding practices are a warm bath, oil massage and touch. After a warm bath with essential oils such as Jasmin, Rose or any sweet smelling oils, oil yourself with a warming oil such as mustard, sesame or almond and nourish the soul, through touch.  Touch is major healer of nervous sytem disregulation and anxiety. What every mother knows, when a child or baby cries nothing is more effective than holding, hugging to call the fears and sense of loneliness. More hugs and hand holding activates the relax response. Getting an oil massage its vital in calming the nerves. Also watch a funny film, allow yourself to indulge in an activity that will literally cheer you up.


6 Physical Exercise

This is huge! As a Yoga teacher for a long time I thought this was irrelevant for me, but human body is meant to run, walk and climb. Since 2 million years we have evolved to do just this. Therefore, when we do vigourous exercise our bodies are used to their full potential and that enlivens and awakens the natural intelligence of our bodies. Once the above routine calms your system, start jogging or doing a physical exercise that strengthens the entire body.


7 Proactivity

Being proactive means we do things to progress, not to perfection. Perfectionism causes paralysis and procrastination, cutting confidence. So its opposite is take action, see the fear and do it anyway. Anxiety is also associated to thoughts of the future, whereas depression is to do with the past.  So act on those thoughts of the future, don’t ruminate or become paralysed, just act. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, or someone doesn’t like you for what you do. You can’t please all the people all the time. We are human, not supernatural. Accept yourself and You will believe others are more accepting of You.

Now it’s time to turn ideas and insight into action. Write down in the comments below what You do to contribute to your anxiety and which steps you can take right now to remedy it.

Much Love,

Shira.

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS INTO POSITIVE ACTIONS

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS INTO POSITIVE ACTIONS

From waves of emotion to the sea of self confidence.

The waves of emotions 

Emotions are powerful. They lead to self-confidence when we know how to ride them. They strongly influence our body and mind. They create imbalance or vibrancy. Havoc or harmony, and manifest as confusion or creativity.
They affect our hormones, our mental state, our physiology and energy levels. 


The waves of emotions are created when the inner world meets the outer. The tides of energy exchange. The ebb and flow of the movement of life within us. Every sensation within your body is just an expression of these two ‘strangers’ meeting in myriad forms. 
Off course our fullest expression of any emotion is ultimately Love. But how often do we really feel this love with a capital L daily? A few seconds, maybe minutes at most. And wouldn’t it be great if we could feel a fuller version of that emotion or live, breathe, eat and sleep with more passion, contentment, satisfaction and surrender?  


Well we can. But first we need to understand emotions purpose.

The power and purpose of emotions 

Every emotion has a story to tell. Emotion is energy in motion. Emotions exist to propel us into action. Emotions are the connection between body and mind. The bridge, if you will. Whenever we interact with the world, the exchange creates energetic movement within the body.


We act in response to that energetic movement, E-motion.  


When emotions are positive, we feel harmony and enjoy and absorb that joyousness. But when negative, we usually react instead of respond. Emotions push us to honour our inherent intelligence. Our soul’s purpose wants to be honoured, heard, felt, valued, seen, and can be ignored, negated, supressed, surplanted, uprooted, or neglected, resulting in emotion. An unmet need.

The 5 difficult emotions and our respond-ability

Fear – or anxiety asks us to discern and then act upon the intentions and actions of others. When we align with that we create feelings of safety and trust.  
Guilt – asks us to look at our own intentions and actions. When we honour this, we create feelings of satisfaction and pleasure. 
Anger – or shame is our values, needs and desires being refuted, ignored or trodden on. It asks us to move forward, create change and transform that situation. When we see to this emotion, we create feelings of success, self confidence and autonomy. 
Sadness – asks us to stop, look, and listen to the grief, and feel what it is we are letting go of. When we feel this emotion, we create feelings of peace, contentment and Love. And a little wisdom, as we grow by letting go.
Suppression – asks us to speak our truth, to own our voice and express our values, ideas and opinions, even if thats not in accordance with public opinion. When we own our stance, needs and goals, this feeling makes way for creativity, openness and freedom, and self worth and acceptence become solid ground.  

Knowing the emotion allows us to create positive change

But often we don’t know what we’re feeling. Often we’ve been taught to supress, reject or ignore our emotions. Remember emotions are energy in motion, if they get stuck, energy becomes condensced and becomes a matter.  
Do this too often, too long, and they become toxic. They build up and get stuck in our tissues, organs and systems of the body and mind. Clogging our physical and mental perception and sensitivity. Clouded or insensitive to our feelings, when our emotional needs aren’t being met or expressed, we internalise those dynamics of relationship, relating and living.
Our emotional fire and desire dims, and we lose the ability to connect and relate. Emotions become toxic, often lifelong patterns. 
So what can we do?

4 Key steps to riding the emotional waves

1. Burning up the Build Up

We can burn emotional toxicity by building a healthy energetic fire.
As emotions are divine life energy expressed through us, we don’t need to suppress or reject these feelings. When we surrender, we release them. Just witnessing our emotions, their rise, fall and dissolution, and our reactions and thoughts toward them, will dissolve them.


Now, even though we just have to sit with them, this is hard work. We need to be brave enough to feel and hold them, in all their velocity, intensity and uncertainty. And being with our feelings, and the burning sensation of it inside us, creates the fire that releases toxic emotions.
Doing just 5 minutes each day will build up our courage and self-confidence. 

2. Recognising Emotions

Once we’ve created the fire we want to begin to name the different emotions. This allows us to know what our inner world feels in response to the outer situation and act accordingly. We begin the process of transformation through discrimination. Then we don’t cheat ourselves or the other.


Feel what happens to your energy in relation to the external world. Does the person, situation or activity lift you up or pull you down? Does it move you forward or hold you back?
Take a few moments of time in your day to ask these questions when with others.

3. Hear Their Story

Emotions are always in the present, so what is THIS emotion telling you? Can you allow it to speak the whole story? Allow it to rise, swell, peak and fall away. Find out where it came from. Realise which past experience makes you feel compelled to suppress this emotion.


Then once you get past your own story in relation to it, feel its strength. What power does this feeling convey? How can you ride this wave? Feel it’s intensity, the direction it wants to take and the expression you can channel this into. Maybe in the form of movement in your body, maybe in creating a project or connecting with like minded people to create some change you feel compelled to awaken.

Honour the emotion. The stronger the charge, the bigger you can create, the further this energy can move through you and the world.
When you start to feel, recognise and express this energy, its like riding a wave that’s moving through your core. When I realised this, it was a BIG DEAL! It means we can transform to create through feeling. This blew me away.


Next time a strong emotion arises, feel where you can take that surge of energy. Channel it into something creative.

4. Honour your needs

We need to feel, see and recognise our emotions to meet our needs. We need our needs met to feel ALIVE. And we need our emotions to meet our needs. So vital and key, they complement each other. It’s like a cycle, upstream or down.


Movement is a great physical need we have. We’ve evolved over 2 million years to walk, climb, run, dig, swim, dance and jump. And off course yoga! Taking all these different forms and expressing their energy! Doing this daily to feel fully alive. To let that divine life energy flow through us just as the spring breathes life into the woods and world!


Let Your aliveness guide you not your imbalances.


Needs are different for each person, but most of us need love, safety, nourishment, connection and purpose. When these are met, we can meet powerful emotions with calm, collected clarity and curiousity.


Self knowledge gives birth to self Love. When we know what we need, want, what we are great at and what we are crap at, we know what actions we need to take to move out of an emotion that limits us. Step Into Your Power & Beauty is a in-depth training to learn how to work with your emotions and turn them into positive actions.


So let’s ride the waves of emotion. Let’s ride the wave to self-confidence, vibrancy and manifestation of a world we want to live in. One where we’re emotionally intelligent, literate and empowered.


Let’s open ourselves up to a vaster range of emotions by first diving into the not so delicate and delicious ones 😉

Tell me, what do you do to ride the waves of your emotions?

Much Love,

Shira.

WE, Women that live and breathe from their core values

WE, Women that live and breathe from their core values

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy and Honourable Power, Love and Dignity to All Women everywhere!
What amazing creatures We are!!

Women celebrating their force for good, women are the future of a WE culture, rather than ME culture.

How often does this happen to You?

There is a heated discussion, emotions arise and words fly. We know what’s being said is unjust, or just complete nonsense, but you can’t quite put it into words. Or we know exactly what it is, but don’t dare speak our truth. Or we speak our truth, but we are ignored, disregarded or belittled.

Personal values and core beliefs are being trodden on. Everyone gets passionate about their point of view. But when we look honestly and see that the others vision, values and formulation of the subject, in anyway takes the power of perspective away from another, this is abuse. Yes very slight, very subtle. But still very real.

And these things don’t only happen between men and women, but also between women and women.

Any of these are a breech of power balance. An implication that the power is not equal for all to say their piece and play their part.

These daily dynamics overtime cut others down into tid bit tiny pieces, easy to manage, mould and manipulate.

It infleunces the way we relate, communicate and delegate. If there is any imbalance, this trickles down, seeps in and permeates all our thoughts, words and actions, and lastly our creations!

This conditioning can also be caused by women who do not see they themselves are conditioned, or refuse to see it. This is what we see when women attack, limit or try to belittle other women. Mother/daughter, friends, sisters or total strangers. No one is exempt when it’s uncoscious. ANd the trouble with the unconscious is that it’s UNCONSCIOUS! It’s only by talking about it, that we can open anothers eyes.

A ship that sets off without true direction, heads far from the desired destination.

We all have different core values and we all see those being honoured or downright disrespected according to our lens of understanding and experience.

Sure women in the west vote, drive, go to school, earn money and own their homes. But if you look deeper, men have many certain privilages, that women don’t.

Differences in women’s and men’s access to resources, status and well-being, which usually favour men and are often institutionalised through law, justice and social norms. Men earn more for each hour a woman works. Men ‘naturally’ get jobs in higher positions, they have more self confindence to ask for pay rises, extra holiday pay and bonuses. Add on to that domestic physical, psychological, sexual, verbal abuse or violence, and you discover there’s many layers to gender disparity.

This is all due to the above power dynamics which are ingrained in our psyches as infants. Boys are unconsciously taught that they can choose for themselves, go out there at get what they are after, whereas a girl will be more nurtured toward helping others and taking care of the family, house and guests.

This makes women more likely to choose not just for herself, but all included. She will sacrifice much more willingly.

In the book ‘A Path Appears’, by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof, you read again and again how most projects start by empowering women, through education. Most Non-Profit programmes and initiatives uplift communities in poverty by educate the women and girls, not the men and boys.

Men will more likely spend money on alcohol and sex. Whereas women will without a seconds hesitation choose the wellbeing of others, her family. She will invest in the longrun, working with others in her community, being an entrepreneur and empowering the lives of those who follow her example.

In high school I did a study of the demographics of all African countries. One thing that jumped out of that study was that in the countries where women had higher levels of literacy, health was improved, child mortality was lower, life expectancy higher and children literacy was up.

Every movement is about adressing an imbalance which has become so gross that it has degraded the human to animalistic behaviour and acts.

A women’s movement is about the inequality of two different forces, the male/female, active/receptive, expressive/experiential. It is about bringing back the balance that leads to a sustainable and harmonious life. One that chooses growth over gratification, longterm for Her family over shortterm, inclusivity instead of exclusivity, community of capitalism.

Sure we know there is a lot of injustice, imbalance and dishonesty in the world’s dire situations, disgusting abuse of power, and complete contempt for women in the world. And yes in other places we can’t compare. Sure we in most western countries feel priviliged, empowered enough to walk away when we don’t agree. Or not let it affect our lives.

But how often do we reflect on the power imbalances being played out in our own lives? How often do we take charge of this offcourse ship and steer the dynamics away from dispute, into guideposts for solutions?

What would the world be like, if I take a stand for what I believe in, not only in my heads, or in my family, but in the larger world?

We can, through our disputes and discussions, find a path that rectifies a power imbalance at hand, or in the home. Thereby empowering our selves, family, and transform and empower family dynamics. Transform our world.

It would be a WE place, rather than a ME place.

But how often do we actually take actions to really make changes, changes that impact not only our lives, but those of others by being more honest, open and curious to our level of conditioning?

If WE want to feel grounded in ourselves through understanding our human history, our roots, the good, bad and ugly, reading, understanding and soul searching, we can see how those dynamics were handed down and how we still, on some very subtle levels carry on these power abuses unwillingly, unintended.

It’s only when we dare to see how deeply woman, and man, is still to some extent conditioned to think women are powerless. Where, why and how this great imbalance, or bipolar culture has arisen from. And how we can find balanced and sustainable solutions.

We all have the expressive/receptive ability, and response-ability, to create a WE world!

Power to All Shero’s!

Jai to all those who speak their truth no matter what the consequences!

Soul Warrior, the Journey of Empowering Ourself

Soul Warrior, the Journey of Empowering Ourself

The Soul Warrior is the ultimate journey of all humans. It is the transformation of our physical self seeking power in the world to becoming an empowered being.

Finding that power within.

Feeling, standing and living IN-our-own-POWER. Living lives that come from our own sense of worth, courage and confidence.

The journey of the Soul Warrior, is one we’ll all one day have to make.

It’s the classical Hero’s quest we have to take part of at some point.

Like Frodo in the Lord of the Rings, there are so many moments we fight and are driven by our passion, only to want to give up. We deny the reality of our situation, or we pretend we don’t know what is being asked of us. Again and again, we are stumped, stuck, shot, surrounded, struck and shocked. How many times are we surprised, surrounded by companions ready to help, satisfied and successful, only to find we are not at the end of the road?

Like the heroines Malala Yousafzia, Rosa Parks, Annie Bessant, Mary Wollstonecrafts, Queen Elizabeth I, Rani of Jhansi, MiraBai, Boadicea, and Hypatia, we all have to face the powerful shadows of our, and others,’ psyche. We will be forced to face the most horrendous demons, forces and situations. We will be challenged to the point of exhaustion. We’ll be asked to take fearless, faithful and brave steps, not with blind trust, but with our eyes wide open. We’ll be asked to surrender our lives, to walk the plank and trust the Divine plan that only we can make and the path we must walk. We’ll need a mind crystal clear, strategic and discriminating to assure our successes in this mythic world.

My Soul Warrior path is like many lives rolled into one. It has had me turn around many times and question, how did I get here?! Sometimes I joke I’m like a cat with nine lives. The transformations seemed sufficient to me, but Life always has another plan. I walked that plank and dived into the Deep Blue and swam an ocean few. I climbed up mountains, lived in forests, wrestled with demons and God knows how many times I’ve died only to be reborn.

From this journey we distill the wisdom from our wounds. From this path that only we can walk, we live the Dream that only we can dream and breathe life into. From this vision and project, we create a world worth living in, for our Soul and the Souls of all our children, sisters, brothers and parents.

My battles, and eventual victories, with lack of self esteem, depression, anxiety, anorexia, bulimia, and drug abuse, have made me the inspired, courageous, honest, deep, strong, empathetic, caring, understanding and empowered person I am today.

I believe all people have the right and the ability to be empowered beings! And I know that understanding Ayurvedic principles and applying them to Yoga and daily living is the key to transform a practice from feel good, to Empowered!

Only an empowered person has the congruency and capacity to empower others. We can only teach what we know. The deeper we go the more we grow.

Here is a practice in Honour of the Warrior within You!

Enjoy, Embody, Empower and Embrace!!

Walk the path only You can.

Namaste and till next we journey together, Shira.

Manifesting our Dreams by Daring to Prosper!

Manifesting our Dreams by Daring to Prosper!

Namaste dear beautiful, bountiful and brilliant All!

I have finally taken the plunge!

I finally dare to reach out, to take and to receive!

I finally dare to admit to myself I have desires and want to manifest them!

Thanks to the work of Molly Birkholm, Judith Anodea, Ashley Turner, Tama Kieves, Stephen Covey and Sheo, the circumstances of my life have taken a 180 turn around journey.

I honour the deep desire to prosper and live abundantly, without feelings of guilt, shame or superficiality. And I finally dare to believe there is enough for all of us!

I choose to live an empowered life!

I finally dare to step into those New Shoes!

The shoes I always pretended I didn’t see, or thought were too BIG for me. Too afraid, too lacking in self worth and confidence, I saw myself as too inexperienced. Under the pretension of being ‘spiritual’, identifying with the Self, I swept myself under the carpet. But truth be told, I was afraid to face certain aspects of life…

Since one year I have been working through many vital aspects inclusive to living in this world as a whole person, rather than a ‘spiritual’ one. Money, success, business, home, failure, commitment, my desire for, as well as my fear all of these essentials. I never once thought to include, honour or embrace these aspects of living as a part of the Whole that I was so diligently trying to realise! To be totally honest, I had completely ignored these aspects for the greatest part of my adult life!!

Reflected back to me was my lack of ability to respond to these aspects of life. While a superstar in Vedic knowledge, discipline in practice and study, healthy living, a genuine compassion for all life, no desires for material objects and totally devoted to teaching yoga, I was a complete drop out when it came to earning a living with my passion, expertise and knowledge.

I imagined the abundance of universal Prana from my spiritual practice, devotion and discipline would naturally flow into prosperity in this material world! Without actually having to take material steps

Well that’s all it would remain, imagining, if certain and specific steps weren’t acted upon…

Reading Siddharta, Autobiography of a Yogi and The Way of Zen at age 15, my only desire was to become enlightened. After 20yrs of this desire, a mind blowing experience of enlightenment wasn’t enough. ( Scarcity mentality?) Self-realisation was the end of the road, my relentless and unceasing desire for spiritual blessings and bliss, became a latent desire for more, a Vasana of scarcity, spiritual ‘advancement’.

For years, I never stopped to question where it was taking me, and what my life actually looked like from another perspective and posture.

When I was ultimately forced to face my present place in the world, I was turned upside down, inside out and back to front. I saw it, loud and clear. I’m sure if you saw my face in that very moment of brutally honest realisation, this fellow being embodies my feelings spot on!

Wow!

Reflected back was a wise, worried, tired, wild woman of 43 who never in her life asked for help. The warrior who moved from place to place for education and perfection of a very important part of her life. But was that aspect a vital foundational part of her present-moment-life in this experience of planet, right now?

Now a single mother living with her mother and daughter in a tiny appartment, with no permanent home since 4 yrs, no visa, no work, no school for her child!! What is vital, what is real, and what is really vital?

A failure in the eyes of the many, lost in the eyes of others, free and wild to some, trusting and brave to my former self. The Fool, curious and in awe, ready for another adventure, carefree and young.

But what did it mean to the ‘me’ I am now?

What does it say about my choices in life? What is this teaching my daughter if our wellbeing, wellth and satisfaction with Life is not centre stage? What is the underlying mindset of this experience? How could a mind and body so often flooded with bliss, knowledge and deep devoted practice end up here!??!

So, what was the universal and divine Guiding Light telling me?

I realised I had charged my scarcity mentality!

Never enough practice, never enough bliss, never enough insights, never enough to give my students, never enough knowledge to guide them safely, deeply and inspirationally!!!

I saw these were the intentions I had after my everyday practice these last 3 years.

Through Asana practice we create a clean, strong and receptive vessel of Prana, through Pranayama we fill that vessel with individual Prana, through meditation and Mantra we charge the mind with Prana in a certain form or of a certain quality. But what if after our practice we focus on the desire for more understanding, more to share, more whom to share it with?

I unknowingly created a charge of wanting, lack, scarcity…

And that scarcity mentality slowly leeked into every aspect of my mind and life.

I didn’t see money as a river of condensed energy flowing through our lives. Or success as a deep sense of satisfaction that lives through acting in accord with our Souls desire. Nor business as manifesting our desires into realities to touch the lives of those we love and others who cross our path.

Namaste, Shira, wake up!

Time to get up and act out what you came here to do.

Once we know that we have desires, we can take charge and turn our Prana from wanting, to a feeling of already having what we so long for. For in our desires lie our deepest yearnings and our unique gifts. That gift that only You came here to share with the world.

Know Your desires, be honest about them, honour them. It doesn’t make us less spiritual. They will lead you to the joy, satisfaction and bliss in both worlds. Find their essence and bring them into the world!

Now that I have seen the full extent and power of intention, visualisation and the charge of Prana we create through our practice. I create a magnet not for what I want, but rather for all the abundance I already have. I have a roof over my head, I have food every day, such luxury. I have a beautiful daughter, and a loving mother, I have amazing friends and students that shower me in loving words and thoughts. I have this amazing body, mind and soul that daily offer me infinite paths, ways and perspectives to opportunities and possibilities.

When the focus is on All That Is, we attract That.

Each and every single moment in our lives there is a window, a doorway, or a flooding river we can walk into and Be part of. In that rushing, we can choose to feel prosperous and abundant, or lacking. We can let the Prana flow into that desire. For Desire is the essence of Life itself!

Desire is Devi!

Devi is the infinite Will to Live, Give and Thrive. To come alive and bloom in a bounty of beautiful forms an brilliant minds. She knows no bounds, she lays no claims and desires all her children to know her bounty. It is our fears and doubts that hold us, and the world, back.

By knowing, directing and seeing the opportunites for our abundance and being grateful for All That Is, in all, we grant Devi entry into our lives, into our loves and into the Light of our minds!

Manifest your deepest desires!

Honour yourself. That is the deepest respect you can pay to the world, and yourself. No one can walk your walk or talk your talk. No one can change the world the way You want to see it transformed. Only you know that Dream. Only You can bring it to life.

Only You can breathe Life into the desire that was born when your Soul came into being with its first breath.

Declare, I dare to dream BIG and I belief I can do it!

I have the freedOm to choose, to love, to act.

So, be the change You want to See!

Now, I don’t just want to inspire you. We need to act. I want to give you some clear tips or ideas how to start this process. We still need to dream, see the vision, and create it by taking the small steps each and every day to work toward making that dream a Manifestation.

For such a long time I truly believed the simple notion that, if you practice devotedly and diligently, all you seek will come as you clear your Karmic garden and the world will pour its grace upon you. You probably believed this, or still do.

And it does, but not without clear actions and planned steps to pave the way. To manifest it and make it a reality, we need to take action.

Here are six steps that are helping me on my way.

1 Dream BIG 

Through first tuning into our Heart of Hearts, listen to its’ message, its’ song. Asking your heart and your deepest sense of self, what does our Heart need to be truly happy. Meditate, reflect, contemplate. Then to feel it, sense it, taste it, hear it, touch it and let it slowly become a vision. This process allows imagination to move through the Fire element, into a real Vision. This might take weeks, months or years. Maybe you already know what it is. If not, What in the world really motivates you to change, to do better? What cause speaks very poignantly to your Heart? Know that by stepping into your New Shoes, you are not just uplifting yourself and your life, but all the lives of those who you love, all those who you exchange small parts of your life with, and the world at large will benefit from You stepping up and being brave enough to make a change, no matter how BIG or small.

2 Take it from a Vision and Make it into Manifestation 

By writing down your Dream, you turn it from etheral to something 2D on paper. Something you can hold and see becomes real, something others can look at, read and comment on. You too can read, reread, and yes rewrite, how this Vision or Dream can manifest through further steps. Share it with others, get their feedback, by speaking and hearing others ideas, we manifest it through the space element. And then as you find people who do support your idea, let these friends hold you accountable. Tell them what you want to get done this month or week, and ask them to check up on you to make sure you did it.

3 Take 3 Steps Toward it Everyday  

Make what you wrote down in step 2 into a plan. See how you need to break it down into smaller steps over a year, month or week, depending on your plan, so that it doesn’t just stay as some wishful fancy. See who, what and where you need to enagage. Break it into even smaller steps that you can take every day. Just start with 3 small things that move you toward your goal, day by day, step by step. Sometimes just writing an email, making a phone call, researching the subject, connecting with others motivated or moving in that direction. Set yourself a set time each day to do each thing, so you don’t waste time or procrastinate. Be realistic, be honest and keep the ball moving. If you leave it too long too often, you will doubt either your ability, your drive, your motivation and your gift.

4 Focus on the Positive and Stay Motivated

Know that you can do this. Don’t give up. There will always be the inner critic giving you ample opportunities to give up, to doubt, to minimalise, to belittle or laugh at your efforts. Do it anyway. But focus on how good you feel when you see this coming alive little by little. Focus on the end in mind. Every day when you do your thing be happy with them, pat yourself on the back. A to do list is ok, but not motivating. Better is an overview of what needs doing, write it down for the whole week, and when some of the things you wanted to do are done, put a big smiley face next to it. Leave it up all week, be happy, proud or and feel satisfied. Treat or reward yourself after a week, month or term of working towards your Dream. And be grateful for what ever arises on your path. Know that good or bad, it is not the outcome we aspire for but the changes we make to ourselves and our lives as we go through this process. It will refine and ultimately reshape your Dream to fullfill your Deepest Life Purpose.

5 See Failures and Rejections as Necessary Steps 

Be prepared for the negative responses, rejections, people calling you a dreamer, or absolutely no responses at all. There will always be people who doubt your ability, usually because they unknowingly doubt their own ability to manifest their dreams. There will always be people who think you can’t do it. Do it anyway. There are two kinds of people in our lives when it comes to motivation, those that inspire and uplift, or those that don’t. Find and bring people into your life who inspire you, hang out with those that uplift, not those that love to cut your wings off before you even try to fly. Any Any failure is just a step to show you that that’s not the way for this project. Any falls, show weakness, and also the places where you need to spend more time, energy or get some advice from someone who has done it before. Know that people love to share their success stories, don’t be shy or think you are not worth their time. And rejections to your plan will happen, many times. For every YES! there will be at least ten NO!s, so see each NO as success, now there are only 9 to go 😉 Build your confidence by accepting these experiences as stepping stones. Do practices that build confidence.

6 Don’t do it Alone

Last but not least, don’t do it alone. Speak, share and invite others. If there is no interest from others, either the dream doesn’t effect others lives because they are not looking at life in the same way, and you need to speak to different people. Or, you need to look if this Dream has potentials to benefit others as much as yourself. Or maybe the way you present it isn’t speaking to other people. Again, look at finding those who will support you, physically, emotionally, mentally or financially. Don’t be shy. Try. Try, again.

Isn’t that what Yoga is all about? If at first you do not succeed, try try again. Why is Yoga a practice, because you will never get it absolutely wonderful the first time. That is why we have so many wonderful teachers. So many amazing teachings. Because what speaks to me today might not tomorrow. And so again, see and ask “Do I have a scarcity mentality about Yoga?” About the teachings, the teachers, the demand for more yoga taught in diverse ways at diverse levels of being, seeing, thinking and feeling? Do you believe there is enough for all of us?

If not why do you think that? Go deep into the question and se where it leads you! And be happy and grateful to yourself for doing so!

Namaste!

My Declaration to Prosper!

I release myself from the heavy net, debri and entanglements that have restrained, suppressed and led to my struggling with my self, my life and dragged down my essential affluence. That river of abundance and joy that flows from the very centre of my being, with every single beat of my heart.

I no longer hold myself back, no longer willing to feel small or unworthy. I choose to Shine. I choose to awaken and enliven all whose path crosses mine. So they too see, feel and know the Beauty, Bounty and Brilliance we all Have and Are!

I release my Soul, my consciousness and mind from the tethers and trappings of the threathening Doubter, the Fearful Know It Alls’ voice. Instead I hear my inherent and integral Hearts’ voice of honey. It speaks of Belief, Bounty and the birthright of Fullfillment dwelling within each moment of full Presence. This Voice who sees beyond the parts and knows the Whole as a Journey Full of Wonder.

From this very moment of now I allow myself to feel fully alive, prosperous and exuberant!

I allow myself the freedom and richness of self expression in absolute confidence, without denying others their essential fullness and satisfaction. I hold a warm fearlessness that welcomes and beckons all to stand in their daring sweet self.

I am willing to step into a new, fresh innocence of the unknown self, ready to walk into a world where wonderful things come with ease. No longer do I pay heed to the persuasive painful put downs of shame, guilt and criticism. I no longer need to play out the ascetic or the puritan, nor the martyr or authority. Spreading my Prana too thin, in the unrestrained pursuit of expanding consciouness, I cut my Hearts wings with an unreachable aim of ‘becoming pure’.

I no longer need to justify my fundamental richness. I choose to spread my wings instead! I fly into the sky of brilliant bounty of potential and dive into the sea of sparkling bubbles of sufficient satisfaction.

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The Journey Begins

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Thank you for joining me in this adventure!
So here I go again. Another dive into the wild waters of change.

Another journey of seeking the right space that aligns with my core values, whilst living as best as possible attuned to the purpose of my life.

Again leaving a country to live in another. Once more leaving behind the beautiful and dear friends, family and community that began to grow of its own accord, due to Life’s grand design. A plan so great we have no way to fathom it from where we stand. Especially when the waves are wild, and the current strong.

We can only accept our fate as a fish that can’t fly.

Once more to meet new friends, and dear old ones, connect with people, discover another school for my daughter, be part of a new culture and create another community of fellow friends who seek meaning and a positive way to express that, a Sangha.

I have just done this thrice in the past 4 years, and I am actually tired. As I get on, a little, I begin to find this arduous. Whereas before this was the zest of my life. Change, adventure, challenge and meeting the new with enthusiasm and a passion.

But these last 2 years I become so highly Vattic, so imbalanced, to say the least. The moving, meeting old and new, brings up so much doubt, insecurity and a sense of loneliness amongst so much familiarity. Lately I feel relationships seems so disconnected and distant. Not just new ones, but even very close family ones. Instead of connection, being linked so that energy, warmth, understanding and true compassion, can flow.

Is it just me, I wonder. Did I do or say something wrong? If so, why don’t people just adress it? Or are there many of us feeling this way, and just pretending it’s all normal? Sometimes it all seems so insane. Then I go back to the question ‘Is it just me’?

Or is this the way life is going while we consume an “all is well, as long as I am well” attitude, or is it just an evolutionary small but steep bump in the road? Is it my attitude?

There is one thing I have discovered in this 43 years of being very self-willed, diligent and to be honest, a little self-righteous, that the mind and will can only get you so far. Sometimes the will will not help you out. And you can get yourself stuck into a very tight and lonely spot. Doing it my way, all alone, all the time.

At a certain point I came to a total collapse. A burnout. Actually, this has happened twice in my life. Both times I was going full steam ahead with what I felt intuitively wasn’t good for me, but for some unreason, I could not let go of this willful steering wheel either.

Eventually I came to a total dead end, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. All was black. The light within me had dwindled these last 2 years, as it had done 15 years ago. I saw it get smaller.

I thought it was necessary, work hard, struggle and suffer, just like the rest of most of my fellow humans.
But this winter the light was gone. I felt nothing. And as a Yoga teacher I felt like such a hypocrite teaching and guiding others to their inner light when mine was non-existant! Not only was it gone, I was a liar!

But as I spent days in nature with my daughter trying to be as present as possible, and to connect to this source that had once filled my whole mind and body, I finally succumbed to surrendering. To letting go of all that had taken so long to grow, the friends, commmunity, my childs amazing school and her funny loving friends, and reconnecting with my family from childhood. I learned immense things there, I felt that the connections we allowed to grow and strengthen have healed many wounds on both sides, not just family but also friends.

Yet here I was standing in a forward bend, head between my legs. Completely depressed, burnt out, trying to let go. When all of a sudden the symbolism of the position made me realise- if I just let it all go, if I just open up to going backward, not forward. Actually letting go and turning around. Instantly a faint light came and it flowered. My Heart began to come alive again. The light is still tiny and my cup do not runneth over yet, but it is slowly filling up again.
Now I never have had such a clear message.

I played with this insight for weeks. 3 days trying to make it work to stay, to find a way, and 3 days of letting go and starting it all over again. Well on the days that I decided to stay, I met unkind people, things went awry, I realised I was reluctant. On the days I decided to leave, people were kind, helpful, life went smoothly, my spirits were up.
This is when the unconscious speaks to us. When we are very focused on the subject we are dealing with we realise what our reluctance is about. What is it that we are doing that we actually don’t want to be doing anymore? The unconscious is coming into the conscious mind.

Horray! I am moving forward. Yet this also leads to more questions about choices and patterns. There is also an immense feeling of failure. Non completion, running away, repeating past patterns that have not been digested or transmuted.

Even though this was a clear message, it is still scary to let go of everything that has been lovingly tended, nurtured and encouraged to grow. Can I do it again?

How can we best discover the wisdom and strength from our difficult past experiences? Which at present feel like wide open wounds. No matter where I am, there they are.

Yet through writing and speaking with friends about my past, present and future, I slowly start to see and understand the underlying gift. The jewel manifests where our experiences reveal what is left after the waves have calmed. When the water is still, we reflect and the light of our consciousness frees this pattern. Releases this shadow from our unconscious.

Whoever says spirituality is for the light hearted has not a clue of what he speaketh!
And the travels we all go through to find our purpose, our meaning, our jewel to offer in this world, are never for nothing.

I have found that the practice of Yoga is my place of reflection everytime, no matter how high and rough the waters are. Understanding through my own body, mind and heart. A journey that churns my being, to reveal the only thing that always remains there waiting for us. Because the gold that remains after all base metal has been alchemized, lights up from within each of us. That transmuting of ignorance into wisdom, the alchemy of changing dark to light, can be a space we hold open for each other.

The way is not always easy or fun, and surely not tempting, yet like Bob Marley said so simply, “You can run, but you can’t hide”.

What experiences have you distiilled into gems?

Write them down look at your suffering and the patterns that bring it about, find what life is trying to tell you. Free that small part of shadow or darkness, shine your light of consciousness.

What is your wisdom path?

And it is this precious element I wish to discover with you.

Much Love,

Shira.
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