Ampuku – Abdominal Massage

Our digestive system is sometimes referred to as our second brain. It is a separate, autonomous and complex nervous system that plays an important role, not just in our digestion but also in our physical and mental wellbeing. However, the correlation of the two brains is yet to be researched and understood by scientists.

We might not be aware of our “gut thinking“, but it can detect danger, and we all have experienced that our intuition often has (or would have) saved us a lot of stress or worry.
Speaking (or actually, writing) of which, when we have stress or when we are upset, many times it affects our digestion or appetite.

Relaxation is often times the best way to find release of stress related digestive issues. Effective are techniques like Meditation, Mindfulness training, Breathing exercises or massages.
Ampuku, abdominal massage, can help find relief of bloating, constipation or diarrhea, a lack of or an increased appetite.
It balances and improves the function of the digestive system by increasing the blood flow. It reduces pain and supports your body to release toxins, as it stimulates other internal organs, like the liver and gallbladder.
Performed about a week prior to the expected date of the menstruation a lot of women experience reduced menstrual symptoms or cramping.

Apart from the improvement of the physical wellbeing it also helps to relax mentally and emotionally and to find peace of mind and release stress.
If you are interested in getting a “brain massage” on Ibiza get in touch… 🙂

The business around happiness

Our ego believes if we get what we want, then we are happy.
And our egos might be satisfied indeed, but usually that kind of happiness fades as quickly as it came.
As soon as we see another child with an even more exciting toy, we want that one and the circle repeats. Endlessly. As we grow, the toys and their prices grow, too.

Once I wrote in a friend’s birthday message something like: “I don’t wish you that all your wishes come true, but rather that you are liberated of having wishes, so you can enjoy and celebrate what you have and who you are.”

But isn’t wanting to not having any wishes just another try to be happy?
Isn’t that the same, just better disguised?
Instead of a villa with pool, or winning the lottery, we now wish to not have any wishes and only when we are free of wishes, we will be happy…?
Nope. Won’t work either.

Once we sniff happiness, we want to hold on to it, we get addicted to it, and we want to keep that “high”.
We want to feel happy, joyful, connected, loved etc, ideally all the time, and once it starts to fade, we try everything to get it back, to stop the pain, and we get desperate, if we don’t see immediate results.

_DSC4340Some find ease and relief in alcohol, others in drugs, work, sports, money… the list to compensate for the lack of happiness is endless, and yet, there is another widely known and commonly accepted path, that feeds the addiction to happiness:
Spirituality.
(I just use that word now as a general term for everything that’s about self-help, “healing”, self-reflection, personal growth, higher powers, new age stuff, and even yoga…)

Spirituality has grown to an incredibly big business of promises to make us be joyful, wealthy, connected, successful, beautiful, healthy, loved… you name it.

In our desperate search for happiness we spend tons of money on workshops, for instance, about how to attract money for people who have issues with it. They spend money that they don’t have, so they can learn how to attract it, because they believe that once they have money they will be happy. Because only then they can buy everything they think they need in order to be happy.
We believe, that it works, because we feel happier during and a while after this seminar or that workshop.

But if we use spirituality, to ease the pain, eradicate suffering, and to be happy instead, we just create another well disguised ego driven roller coaster, that keeps us imprisoned in our addiction to happiness, while making us believe that we are free.

And yet, there is nothing wrong with it, as long as we don’t fool ourselves to believing that spirituality will give us everything we desire…
As long as we know that we don’t need it, but rather choose it, to pamper ourselves, or to take a shortcut once in a while.

As long as we see it for what it is:
A source of wisdom and knowledge that can provide wonderful support, and lift some of the weight that we put upon us; that provides trainings and tools that we need to apply ourselves to actually make a change in our lives.

And don’t buy it for what it often is sold to us:
THE solution to limitless wealth, eternal health and happiness (for just a couple of thousand Euros).

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Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

And by the way:
Who said that we are supposed to be happy?

Namasté.

Sunday is “Retreat Day”

When I returned to Vienna, after my almost 3 month trip through Thailand, I reserved Sundays for myself.
I created an all-day-appointment in my calendar, repeating each week, named “Retreat Day”.
Those days I kept free from work, appointments and obligations as much as possible.
I reserved that time to do things I wanted to do for so long but never took (enough) time to do them, like reading interesting books that were patiently waiting next to my bedside table, taking a hot bath, writing, meditation, yoga, getting a massage or Shiatsu treatment, taking a walk in nature, going to the sauna, sometimes also meeting lovely, inspiring friends I haven’t seen in a while, cooking a lovely meal for myself, or trying recipes that I was curious about…

The list goes on and on, and I did whatever felt right and good that day.
Sometimes it was not possible to reserve the whole day, so I just used the time I had.

Don’t we all need more time for ourselves?
But don’t we find so many excuses why we just don’t have the time for it?
“I don’t have time” is just a thought in our head that becomes true, if we believe it.
We all have 24 hours a day available and it is up to us, how we use it.
Yes, of course, we need to sleep, work, eat, and all of that uses up most of our time.
But there is still enough just for yourself.
The key is to take time and to write it down, as if it was an appointment with a very important client – which it actually is, and let nothing else come in between.
Even if it’s just one hour a week.
To support you, and of course, also myself, to take the time for ourselves I offer weekly meditations.
They are every Thursday from 7.00pm – 7.30pm and afterwards I teach a gentle 75-minute Hatha Flow Yoga class at the Pure Om Yoga Studio in Santa Eulalia.

I hope you find some time for your lovely self soon.

Namasté

5 (maybe not so) easy steps to increase your health and wellbeing

The internet is full of well meant advice about how to get healthy, to have great relationships, to find the perfect partner… And they all say it’s easy and simple and all you got to do is this or that. Well, often it’s not as simple as they make it sound.
Changing behaviours or patterns in our every day life often is everything but easy.
So with this list I tried to focus on some important areas of our lives which have quite a big influence on how we feel and how fit and healthy we are. No drastic changes within the next 24 hours are required. Adding little things, step by step, are way more effective than forcing big changes.

1. Food
The first and most important thing to focus on, in order to improve our health and wellbeing is the fuel that we supply the body with: Food (read more about it in my next blog post “Foodism – A new religion?”).

It’s not just what we eat that effects our energy level, but also when, and how we eat.
If we eat just before going to bed, our body will need energy to digest and when we wake up the next morning, we might not feel well rested.
Quickly rushing to eat something between appointments will cause our system to work harder to digest, too, leaving us with less energy than we would have if we took enough time to eat, chew and enjoy.
Also, eating our meals around the same time each day can have a big effect on your energy level and wellbeing. I know this is a hard one, and often we might not be able to do it. That’s fine, don’t get stressed about it, just do your best and it will be possible more often than you think.

2. Physical Activity
Often we feel tired and don’t find the drive to do something. The paradox is that we actually gain energy, once we start moving and after exercising we are usually happy and fully energized.
Start small. Even if it’s just a 10 minute walk around the block today. Tomorrow you might want to take a longer one, the day after you might walk faster… Take small steps and slowly increase them, or sometimes, don’t increase them.
Maybe a friend or a neighbour wants to join you. Then you can motivate each other. If you don’t like jogging (like me), hop on your bike, go inline skating, swimming, slacklining (that’s a really good one, actually!), do yoga either at home or at a studio… There are millions of possibilities, the key is, though, to start small and to do something that’s fun for you!

Overcoming laziness is a training. Train it like a muscle. Start small and with exercises you enjoy.

3. Relaxation
In my last blog post I wrote about the importance of relaxation.
Exercising is good, but not, if we do it too much and don’t give our body breaks to recover.
Sleep is important for the body to rebalance. If we don’t sleep enough, or if the quality of our sleep is poor (troubles falling asleep or waking up at night), our body will have a hard time gaining energy.
If you sleep enough (there is no exact number of hours that you have to sleep, but you might want to consider sleeping from 6 to a maximum of 8 hours) you will feel recovered when waking up.
Also at night time we sleep better and more deeply than we do during the day (when it’s bright and louder outside).

Our mind and soul need to rest as well. Meditation, treatments of any kind, holidays, switching off the phone for a while, enjoying alone-time, or quality time with beloved ones, reading a book, or spending time in nature can do wonders.
Breathing techniques are a really fast and simple way to reduce stress, too. I’ll get into that in a later blog post.

4. Relationships
I am not just referring to romantic love life, but to all people that we spend time with. Most importantly the ones we live with, since we spend a lot of time with them. How do I feel when I am around them?
Of course, this changes, depending on the current situation. But in general you can ask yourself:
Do I feel energized when being around them at least half of the time, or does it feel draining and exhausting?
How about your colleagues at work?
How about your closest friends? And your acquaintances?
Is there something you can do to improve your relationships?
Nothing helps more, than a clear, honest and authentic communication from a point of love and understanding.

5. Work
Yes, this is a big one. I’m not going to tell you, to quit your job if you don’t like it, and to take the risk and start doing what you really like. Many of us have a family to provide for, or are simply not in a situation to change jobs, or to choose another career.
We live in a society with limitations, even if they are just in our minds, but it’s a fact that we have to pay our bills. Some might have managed to break through the limitations and became successful and now they tell us what they did and if we do what they did, then we too, will be successful.
For some it’s easier to take the risk than for others.
Because they also say, to be successful we must be willing to fail. And we will fail. But some cannot afford to fail.

So if we are unhappy with our job, we have more options than to walk away from it.
We can try to change whatever possible so we can enjoy it more. Often, it’s not enough.
Then we can also start to change our mindset about it.
Whatever it is that we don’t like about our job, there are also good things about it. Focus on them.
If it’s your colleagues that you like, connect with them.
If it’s the feeling of security that lets you sleep at night, then be grateful for it.
If it gives you flexibility that you wouldn’t have with another job, embrace it.
If it allows you to live a life according to your standards, enjoy it.

And if none of this is working, remember:

toilet paper

Namasté.

About relaxation & healing

I must admit that I often felt a bit disappointed after a massage or shiatsu treatment, when I received the feedback of my client saying that (s)he is now relaxed. Something within me always thought “What? Just relaxed? Not more than that?”
Maybe I expected them to throw away their clutches, yelling “It’s a miracle, I can walk again!”, or a blind person being able to see again.

It was just recently that I understood the importance of relaxation: It is the base for healing, change and growth.
My job as a coach and Shiatsu and meridian massage therapist is to create a space where people can fully let go and just be.

Relax and HealWhen we relax, we give our body the chance to rebalance its energy and to activate the self healing powers and we can more easily relax our mind, too. And the soul will happily join in.

I used to be quite judgemental about the word “relaxation”. I put it in the corner of “wellness” and “spa”, that I connected with people who don’t take care of themselves 364 days a year and then spend one day at a spa and expect others to take care of their (poor?) health.
This might be the life style of many people. Doctor’s waiting rooms are full, and I assume, many people are just waiting for a prescription to reduce pain and to numb symptoms.

How many people are really interested in being cured?
Most people would say that they want to heal, but I believe only a few are really willing to do what it takes to get there, because it’s whether a comfortable nor an easy path.

Healing is both an active and passive process. It’s not something someone else can do for us. It means taking responsibility of our body, of our health. It means accepting the fact, that we can only heal ourselves.
Others can help us to reduce pain, treat symptoms or create a state where we can relax, so the healing process can start. That is essential, however, the real healing work lies in our own hands and it all starts with the ability to relax.

Do you want to be healthy or comfortable?
Be honest with yourself and whatever is more important to you at that moment, is fine.

In my next blog post you can read about 5 steps that may or may not be simple, but will definitely increase your wellbeing and health.

Namasté.

For Moksha. With love and gratitude…

“You are really hard on yourself” she said to me with a quite shocked expression on her face when we were lying on the beach yesterday.
Within seconds I went from resistance to disbelief over to justification, but instead of getting into any of it, I just let her words sink in.

My eyes filled with tears when I finally allowed myself to see she was right. I had not even realized the subtle battles within me, that had been going on for months.

My love life is full of stories with men not willing to commit. At some point I got tired of the shallowness and I decided to rather have no love life at all, than investing my energy in encounters, obviously doomed to fail.
And then I met someone. Out of the blue I felt this strong attraction towards him, without knowing anything about him. We got to know each other and spent one of the most beautiful times of my life together, watching sunsets, swinging in a hammock singing together, meditating, doing yoga, having sex, long conversations, moments of stillness, just being who we were and loving each other for exactly that.
He told me about his life and its circumstances, saying (just in other words), that he was at no place whatsoever to commit. I didn’t hear or understand any of that at the time. All I heard was “Blabla.. bla.. blablabla.. I love you.”
patchworkheartMy heart shattered into pieces once more, when he told me that he was going to go. I knew that eventually we’d go separate ways again, and yet, I had hoped for a miracle that didn’t happen.

I kept thinking about what it was that I only seemed to attract men, who are not willing to commit. I wanted to understand and dispel my patterns and beliefs behind it, to make sure it won’t happen again…
But I have decided to cut the crap!
I will no longer look for things to fix inside of me, that I consider as “wrong”.
I surrender.
To who I am and to life as it is. I will gratefully take the gifts life is giving me, instead of cursing it, when I want more than it has to offer, or when I try to hold on to what is not meant for me.

Thanks to the conversation with Moksha, I finally realized, that I had tried to shut down my sexual energy.
This energy goes way beyond sexuality on a physical level. It is the force that creates life and aliveness, and I believe it’s also the power that connects all human beings, all life.
It actually is a big part of myself that makes me feel alive and nurtures my soul. This force is my nature that I was fighting against for the past 6 months and I hadn’t even noticed it. Yes, I had felt disconnected from the world, from myself. I often felt empty and I can’t remember the last time I had cried of laughter.
When I come to think about it now, “You are really hard on yourself”, seems like an understatement…

There is nothing we can do to be happy, to be connected, to feel love or joy. There are only things we need to stop doing. If we stop the millions of wars inside of us, peace will set in by itself.
Namasté.

make peace

The Meaning of Life

When I started to watch this video the first time I quickly turned it off again.. I thought “Pffff… what a freak. I can’t watch this until the end.”
After I stumbled across the video two more times I thought “Ok, well, let’s give it another try.”
And I am really grateful, that I did.

The Meaning Of LifeClick here to watch the video.

Someone commented on this video: “People might see him as crazy, but I don’t really think he is. He’s actually pretty damned smart, he just expresses himself differently. He’s trying to get a point across, it’s a lot easier to get a point across if you’re the center of attention.”

I totally agree with him. It doesn’t matter if he is crazy, on drugs or just acting: if you listen to the message without judgement, if you let it deep into your heart, it can set you free.

“…Live in the moment. Don’t get old. Don’t judge people. Because you can’t be free if you judge people…”

And don’t worry about other people judging you… They are most likely worrying about being judged by you…
Namasté.

It is what it is. Says who?

I had a dream. Last night. Another one as Martin Luther King, however, I just understood its main message, and I wanted to share it with you.
In this dream I was in Paris with my Dad. I had just moved there and I didn’t know anyone yet. I was scared and I was sad because I had no support system whatsoever.

I cried. I cried a lot just before my Dad left to go back to Austria.
Seeing me in that pain he told me that I didn’t have to stay in Paris. I knew he was right, but going back home was not an option for me. My Dad didn’t understand why I’d rather stay and be scared and sad, than going an easier path, one that was less painful.

sunsetwoods2

When I woke up, I still felt a heaviness upon my chest. I knew that there was something right about this dream. I wondered if there are still some suppressed emotions coming to the surface, that were connected to the pain of saying good bye to everyone in Austria. And maybe it is one part of it.

The message that I now understood is not pretty, yet (or better ‘because’) it’s the truth:
Don’t avoid pain, just because you can.

Now that doesn’t mean that we have to take every risk that life is presenting us, but deep down we know what is right and what is not.
If we learn to trust our intuition, and start to rely on our gut feeling, we become willing to be uncomfortable and capable of going through pain and challenges. We open up to the unknown.
We even invite all of this into our lives, because we know that they are an unavoidable part of it. An important part, actually, because we either learn and grow from this experience, and/or we heal a part of ourselves, that needs to be healed.

For the first time in my life, I am going through a phase where I feel pain that I can’t classify, yet, I don’t try to understand it. I don’t take it apart, I don’t analyze it, I don’t avoid it and I don’t try to make it go away. I’m sitting with it, but I am also not holding on to it. Not knowing what it is.

“It is misfortune
says calculation
It is nothing but pain
says fear
It is hopeless
says insight
It is what it is
says love”
      ~ Erich Fried

Namasté.

Worthwhile pain

As exciting as it is to start a new chapter of my life, somewhere on a beautiful island, with crystal clear water, beaches and sunshine almost every day, it also has a pretty painful downside:
photo 2 (1)Saying good bye to the beloved ones I that I am leaving behind.
Even if it’s a ‘see you later’ rather than a ‘good-bye’ , we don’t know when ‘later’ is.
Nowadays with whatsapp, skype, email and pretty cheap international phone contracts, it’s easier than ever, to stay close to each other, no matter how big the distance is. However, it does not replace the physical closeness to family and friends.

Sitting together and having long conversations (in 3D) with old friends are not possible anymore. Horseback riding with my sister, or giving a friend a call to meet him or her spontaneously in the city center, running into other friends by chance, is also a beautiful thing that now belongs to the past.
New friends have to be made and we all know that this is not quite easy.

I love my life on the island so far. I have met some really wonderful people but it’s only been three weeks, which is not a lot, so I can’t really say much at this point.
The last days I have been back in Austria to organize some important stuff. I had the chance to meet some really good old friends again, and I spent a lot of time with my family. It was beautiful being reunited with people I love. But with that comes the pain of saying good-bye.

I came to realize that it’s the fear of exactly that pain, that often stops me from feeling and showing the love that I have for others. Not just once have I tried to hide my tears the last days, trying to be tough and strong, probably more for myself than for others. Admitting that I am sad and feeling the pain, might make me question my decision to live abroad.

Salinas2Yes, of course, there are moments where I wonder, what I am trying to find somewhere else in the world, that I don’t seem to find ‘at home’…
And even if I don’t have a satisfying answer (yet?) I trust, and trust is all I’ve got.
No journey I did by myself was ever comfortable because during each one I faced truly painful moments. Moments of loneliness, of good byes, of realizations, moments of letting go of others, as well as parts of my self, that didn’t serve me anymore.
So far I have learned, no matter how far I travel, I am always getting closer to myself, finding another piece of ‘home’ within me. And that’s worth every pain that comes along the way.

Namasté.

Courage To Vulnerability

I was hesitating about publishing my last blogpost “Daddy-Issues?”.
It felt really personal to me and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share this topic with the world. Of course, I have posted tons of personal blog entries before, but for some reason it was different this time.

“Doesn’t it mean that I admit that there is stuff going on in my life that ‘I should already be ok with’, issues, that ‘should already be resolved’? Does it make me less professional, showing, that there are still unhealed wounds?”
It was the fear of imperfection speaking out of me that was not ok with me being who I am. But I am done with making demands of myself that are impossible to keep up with.
When I sent it to a friend and she said that she was really touched when she read it, I decided to post it. Yet, I felt quite uncomfortable with it.

imperfectionBeing open, transparent and vulnerable, showing my ‘imperfections’, is not an easy and definitely not a comfortable step.
However, I have learned, that it’s all I can do and be if I want to grow, if I want to live an honest and authentic life.

I rather am who I am, with all my ‘imperfections’, than trying to be someone I am not;
I rather take the risk to lose people who can’t handle me the way I truly am, than being stressed all the time about playing a role of someone who I am not.

Now, does that mean that I have to let the whole world know about my imperfections?
No. But I decided to do so, because I have learned that transparency helps other people in their own process. Might it be through the feeling of “I am not alone” or because they find ways to use the information I provide for their own healing.
Being seen, being understood creates a feeling of connection and connection heals hour hearts and our souls.

Namasté.