Radical Yoga

I attended my first Yoga class in 2007. But while so many other Yoga teachers or Yoga doers say they were hooked from the first moment, I wasn’t. I was sceptic.
At the time I was 24 years old, I spent most of my free time doing Martial Arts and loved the action of that training.

So when I eventually tried a Yoga class it all seemed strange for me. People were doing weird postures that were exhausting and at the same time boring. There was no real action going on, like I was used to from the Martial Arts classes. They were mumbling words I didn’t understand and they were breathing like Darth Vader. WTF?

Even though I had finished my Coaching Training at that time, and personal development and Self-discovery had been a very big part of my life for the previous 4 years, I just didn’t know or understand that Yoga is about that. Or can be. Yoga is always what you make of it.

It took me a few more tries before I found a Yoga style that I fell in love with. It was a Hot Yoga Studio downtown Calgary, and I went regularly even though I had to walk through -25 degrees C to get there. Classes were packed and you had to be there early enough to get a spot. It had nothing to do with Bikram Yoga or Hot Yoga, it was just like Vinyasa Yoga in a heated room, with low light and beautiful music and a wonderful teacher.
In every class I fell more in love with my Self and with my life.

Eventually I started to understand more about Yoga and its Philosophy and it became clear to me that Life Coaching and Yoga, and even Martial Arts, are more or less the same.
It’s about contemplating on who we are, on our place in this world, and our relationships with our Selves and others and recognising ourselves in others.
It’s about health, strength, flexibility as much as for the body as for the mind as we need courage to face our inner demons and life’s challenges.

I made it my number one priority to teach in a way so it makes sense to my students. It’s my intention to teach in a way that they clearly see how their practice on the mat is directly linked to their everyday life and how Yoga can be a way to live it in a happier and healthier way.
I continuously study to gain more understanding so that I can pass on all the gifts that Yoga has given me.

Of course, Yoga is not about KNOWING or understanding (everything), actually, that can often get in our way of growth or of enjoying an experience. But I am that kind of person who doesn’t like to just blindly copy and paste without understanding it.

I also encourage people to not take any teaching as a given fact but rather let them think and decide for themselves. Just because things are true for me, doesn’t mean it’s true for others.
And yet what we actually look for in Yoga, or in coaching or Martial Arts, is connecting to the universal truth, that lies within us all and that can be found beyond our egos…

Shiatsu and Massage on Ibiza

Shiatsu treatments are different wherever you go. Some people only use their thumbs to work along the meridians, with very light pressure. But in my school we learned to use the whole hand, our elbows, knees and feet. That’s exactly what I love and need.
If I receive any kind of massage or treatment I need to feel something. I don’t need or want to feel pain throughout the whole session. That would just make me more tense than I was before; it would just lead to even more tension in my muscles from the pain. However, I need a firm but gentle touch.
To stay open, to get and to stay relaxed I need to feel safe and comfortable.
There are a few things a therapist can do to create a safe and comfortable environment so this is always what I prepare before my clients come into my practice:

• Warm and comfortable room temperature
• Scent – some essential oils in a candle to support either relaxing or vitalising effects of the Shiatsu treatment
• Quiet relaxing music in the background
• A space where my clients can switch off, feel safe and taken care of

The preparation time (of the room and myself as a therapist) is as important as the treatment itself. If I get there just a few minutes before the client, being stressed myself, it will never be as relaxing as it could be.
There is always enough time in between clients, so there is some time left in the end to rest a few more minutes before getting up, and also for any kind of questions or support if needed.

If that’s the kind of treatment you’re longing for I’m looking forward to meeting you.

Don’t be authentic… all the time!

Authenticity is not just a word that’s somewhat hard to articulate, to some degree it’s also overrated.
Being yourself and being who you really are, expressing what ever is within you and being true to that – sure, it has its validity. But before we throw unfiltered emotions, thoughts or excuses upon the world and the people around us, and instead of repeating old patterns that don’t get us anywhere, we should hold in and see where the need to be authentic comes from.

Does it come from a space of inner freedom and love?
Does it serve others, the world and me?
Or does it keep me small and stuck and does it feed my illusion of being in control?
Do I just try to get what I want to eradicate a feeling of lack and deficiency?

If we always act in an authentic way, according to what’s “true” for us we would never be able to change, to grow, if we hold our limiting beliefs about others or ourselves to be true.

“The only way to leap, the only way to make a difference is to be better in …whatever… than we think we are.” (Seth Godin)

“Fake it until you make it”
If you want to let go of old patterns and you don’t know how, then start to act like you were free of your limiting beliefs. Resist the urge to act on your fears and the need to control the outcome.
This can be really uncomfortable and you might experience resistance, doubt and pain but once you arrive on the other side you discover a new, a more free and really authentic you.

The feeling of “being a fraud”
When we do what we love and we reach a goal in a shorter amount of time than we had assumed, or if we get to a place we didn’t even dare to dream of, we might feel like a fraud sometimes. But go on, don’t let the fear of failing or the fear of “not being good enough” stop you. Do your work, study, and if you continue to be successful then it’s time to believe that you might actually be good at what you do.
Surround yourself with people who uplift you, who believe in you, who make you be more confident and who have the courage to give you constructive feedback.

The comfort zone
Often, and I know it’s not all the time, being authentic can be used as an excuse to stay within our comfort zone.
And this is the key: Be authentic if it requires to leave your comfort zone and don’t be authentic if it keeps you in your comfort zone. Because life begins at the end of our comfort zone.

DIY-Retreat

Ibiza is full of retreats where you can do yoga, detox, cleanse your body, mind and soul, where you can enjoy any kind of treatments and massages. There are beautiful retreats, there might be some crappy ones, too, but what most of them have in common is, that they are quite expensive. Probably worth the money, but for some it’s just not an option. If you’re one of them then this might be for you!

If you want to
• re-treat yourself
• do yoga
• enjoy the beaches and the sun of Ibiza
• be free of any schedules
• enjoy a massage, Shiatsu or any other kind of treatment
why don’t you create your own retreat? Do it your own way…

It’s simple and you can save a whole lot of money.
Click here on this link to find out HOW…

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… 🙂

What is Yoga…?

Yoga is in everyone’s mouth, behind every corner and there is hardly anyone out there who isn’t doing Yoga or who doesn’t know someone who has done Yoga.

There are so many different styles of Yoga and even more interpretations. So I can only talk about what Yoga is for me.
I didn’t get hooked the first class I took. I was more confused. And bored. But one day I gave it another try and coming out of class I felt completely at ease, nourished and in love with myself. That’s what got me into it.

Yoga is an instrument to reveal your inner world to an outside experience, expressed through moving the body.It is a moving meditation, that keeps your body and mind engaged and it brings your focus to the present moment.

Being constantly distracted from outside events, being constantly fed with outside information, Yoga draws the attention to what’s going on inside of you. Right here, right now.
When we become more present, the mind gets still and we can connect to that which lies behind our conscious mind – our true self.
In Yoga we use the breath and asanas (poses) to unite body, mind and soul. On the mat we practice to be present and focused while our bodies become stronger and more flexible. But Yoga goes beyond that.

Yoga is what happens once our mat is rolled up in the corner of the closet. It appears in all life events, and in all our relationships including, or especially, the one with ourselves.

Yoga is more than just poses. It is not about getting the perfect alignment, but about getting comfortable with our imperfections, with who we are. It’s about finding our Self and our truth.

• Be present •
• Lose track of time •
• Fully arrive in your body •
• Connect to your breath •
• Move and flow mindfully •

Aside from private and one-on-one classes I also teach group classes for all levels at the Pure Om Yoga studio in Santa Eulalia, Ibiza, where I also offer workshops. Click here to find out when I teach.

For more offers click here, please…

The importance of relaxation

There are four main factors that have a direct impact on the health of our body, mind and soul:
1. Breathing: How deep and conscious we breathe
2. Nutrition: What and how (much) we eat and drink
3. Relaxation: How much stress we have in our life and if we find time to switch off; the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of our sleep
4. Movement: How (much) we move (strength, flexibility, stamina, balance, coordination)

Yes, relaxing is as important as eating, drinking, breathing and moving! 
You might live longer without relaxation than you do without eating, drinking or breathing, however, long term studies show that relaxation is a necessity and we all know where chronic stress can lead to.
Sadly many people wait too long and only start to begin taking care of themselves when their bodies show some sign of imbalance, like pain, discomfort, complaints or in the worst case, disease.

If you never recharge your batteries sufficiently you will not be able to perform with your full potential. So make sure you look for and find ways that work for you! Go for Yoga classes, get some comfortable running shoes, meditate, treat yourself with a massage every now and then… Do anything that works for you personally.
Make sure you find time to relax, to switch off to maintain and improve your health and to regularly recharge the amount of energy you have available to go through life.

The Fire Type

Summer is here! The season of the fire element. This element represents transformation, versatility and rebirth. It is about celebration, happiness and love.

Fire has contradictory qualities, as it gives light and warmth, prepares food and forges metals and on the other hand it can have an enormous destructive power.
It is the element with the strongest Yang-character and the energy is concentrated on the surface which enables ease and openness.

While the wood element represents growth, the fire element is nature in full blossom. With excitement, curiosity, enthusiasm, and joy the fire type burns through sensuality, inspiration and strives for finding a deeper meaning behind things in order to live life fully, rather than to survive.

If the fire energy is balanced he knows what fulfills his life and that he will keep struggling if he doesn’t follow his path. He is sensitive to other people and gains energy when he gets attention and recognition and when he inspires others.

Imbalance
A lack of fire energy shows up as a lack of excitement. Doubts, worries and insecurity capture his courage to open up, to put himself “out there”. Drama, irrational feelings, attachment and the inability to draw boundaries are not just in relationships a huge challenge for everyone involved.

An overflow of fire can result in fanatism, jealousy and in the dependence on attention.
The rising energy of the fire needs an anchor and grounding: Learning how to be alone is essential for the fire type, and also to find time to focus on what he really wants.

On a physical level an imbalance affects the main organ of the fire element: the heart.
When there are no organic disorders, a lack of expression of the fire energy can result in symptoms like a racing heart, twinges, etc.

Too much fire on the other hand can result in an imbalance of his psyche, like anxiety, nervousness, or an irrational emotional rollercoaster. Also sleeping problems and speech disorders are linked to an imbalance of the fire element.
The passion of the fire type, however, often leads to high highs and low lows, which is quite common and just a result of his strong and open heart.

How to balance the fire element
Movement is important for the fire type. Running marathons, however, or achievement-oriented sports does not exactly express the bubbly and lively energy. Dancing is the best way to do so, or any form of movement that is fun and where he can express himself and bond with others. Especially physical sensuality and sex are an important expression of the fire energy.

Nutrition-wise the best thing a fire type can do is to eat in good company. Also, bitter foods and drinks have a cooling effect that helps to balance the fire.

Finding joy in what he does keeps him sane and healthy. So does taking some time out to go inwards to re-focus the dispersive energy. Yoga can be an incredible tool for that.
Working with people, anything that involves communicationart and the expression of the self, and to live his full potential is more important to him than the financial aspect.

Fire is not tangible and constantly changing its shape, reacting to external influences; hence the physical characteristics of the fire type are less significant than his nature. However, some of his visible features can be: small hands and feet, a rather short and compact body, liveliness and that “spark in his eyes”.

What’s the state of your inner fire? Are you allowing it to burn, taking the risk to burn yourself sometimes? Or do you rather keep it small and controlled? Then you might be interested in my blog post about the metal element which will come… when the time is right 🙂

Watch out for the next blog post about the related organs of the fire element: The heart, the small intestine, the pericardium and the triple heater.

Liver & Gallbladder

The wood element is the expression of our individuality. Suppressing who we are has an effect on the organs of the wood element – the liver and the gallbladder.

Often they are also called “the general” (liver) and “the chief officer” (gallbladder), sometimes they are considered as “the architect” (liver) and “the master builder” (gallbladder). The architect is the planner and the creative energy that wants to find expression, the builder is the executing energy that makes decisions:
Considering options, wondering whether to go left or right, therefore the meridians run along the sides of the body.
The liver on the inside (yin-meridian) is the energy that gives us the possibility to plan our life’s journey. It’s the view within to finding our potentials and our individuality. The gallbladder meridian (yang) runs along the outside of our body and is in charge of carrying out, it is the active expression of who we are.

Liver
The word “liver” contains the word “live” as it has this strong force to maintain and express life. It is the “mother of emotions”, so any disharmony in the wood energy is most likely caused by emotional issues.
We are able to realise our plans and intentions when the liver is in a state of harmony:
We have the energy to work hard on reaching our goals and to create and express ourselves. If there is a disbalance it’s possible that the plans exist but don’t get executed.

According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the liver stores the blood and regulates the free flow of Qi. In case of poor distribution we can experience phases of high motivation, followed by exhaustion.
Other imbalances of the liver energy can be: physical and mental inflexibility, PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), mood swings, intense or unreasonable outbursts of emotions, aggression (seeing others as obstacles on our path) or shyness (the lack of courage to walk our path).

If we don’t get the chance to make our own decisions from early on, and if we cannot unfold our individuality we become incapable of living our potential. When our true self doesn’t find expression, we often develop conditional excessive behaviours, such as drinking, or over-eating, anorexia or drug abuse. The pain might get numbed temporarily but it stresses the functions of the liver.

Gallbladder
The gallbladder is the officer in the field who makes decisions. That requires determination and the courage to take risks. The expression “to have the gall” is therefore used in the sense of “boldness”. In order to make decisions we need to have a clear vision and we need to free ourselves from biases.

The meridian runs along the sides of the head, laterally along the body down to the feet. Migraine and related vision disorders are a common symptom of a disharmony, so are complaints with shoulders, hips or sciatic pain and anything in the lateral body area. Stiffness in our muscles or hyper flexibility are influenced by the gallbladder, as well.

Sometimes we feel like we are split in two – one side of the body shows a different level of tension than the other. This can be caused by being in conflict of two facades of the personality:
For instance the gap between how we want our life to be, what we value in life and what’s important to us versus what we do, how we act, and how we live our life instead. We cannot suppress our nature, no matter how hard we try.

You can find release of complaints through movement, relaxation (yoga is ideal as you gain strength and flexibility, you find relaxation and you step into awareness as the goal of yoga is self-realisation) and also through involvement in your patterns, beliefs (coaching, therapy). But any kind of sports that you love and enjoy doing will balance your liver and gallbladder energy, as long as you find the time to relax as well.
When the liver and the gallbladder work together in harmony we have a healthy judgement and make the required decisions to follow our life’s plan.

The Wood Type

In spring nature awakens and grows almost explosively in all directions, it’s shining in all colours and shapes. In no other time of the year we experience such a dynamic expansion. This also lies in the nature of the wood type. However, so much concentrated energy can, and most likely will create chaos, as it is not his strength to organise and structure.

His strengths are creating and doing. Creativity, activity, adventure, determination and initiative, freedom and a huge compulsion to move are characteristic for the wood type.
He is full of energy, restless, ambitious and driven. It’s not just the planning, but also the execution of the plans that lies within the power of the wood type.
Change is a necessity, and so is the protection of his personal space – space to grow and to expand. Not just on a physical level, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

One of the qualities of the wood element is aggression. Aggression is commonly linked with destructivity, however, in psychotherapy to a certain degree it is seen as a necessity to move on, to get things done, and to overcome obstacles. It is a natural impulse of expansion, and if it meets resistance in most cases it will lead to anger.

Anger is the related emotion of the wood element which easily arises when it meets stagnation, pressure or a lack of freedom. Anger is an important force to get or to stay in movement.
However, if you find yourself exploding over little things you can start taking a look where in life you might feel restricted or limited.

Challenges
A challenge for the wood type can be finding the balance between activity and relaxation. To avoid exhaustion or burn out, it is vital to find the time to slow down, and to relax. Being very competitive and an achiever makes this even harder.

If the wood energy doesn’t find its way out it can result in quick temper, frustration, depression, and if aggression doesn’t find a valve it usually turns against oneself, becoming a ticking time-bomb.
On a physical level it can lead to migraines, irritable eyes, high blood pressure, to a stiffness in hip and shoulder joints, to rheumatic diseases and much more.

Body type
Wood types are athletic, wiry, muscular, they are flexible and have strong hands, big feet, and are usually tanned from outdoor activity. They have a high muscle tone and are very energetic.

Balancing the wood element

  • The strong energy of the wood element needs to find expression, the best and most effective valve is movement. Wood needs to burn to release energy. A burning fire brings joy – the emotion associated with the fire element.
  • Find challenges, set clear (and just a few) goals and follow through. Instead of spreading the energy on many different things it is important to focus the energy on the most essential ones. Because many plans that aren’t put into action can also lead to frustration. Find out what your heart is burning for and take action.
  • Nutrition-wise it’s more important for the wood type to take the time to eat, to chew, to digest rather than focusing on what to eat. Sour is the taste related to wood, and anything that cooles down the heated body of the wood type is good for his often overloaded system.

Read here the next post about the related organs and meridians: Liver and gallbladder.