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.

Island Life P-Review

It’s been almost 2 years since I moved here. Not really knowing what will happen I packed my stuff into my car and drove all the way to Ibiza.
Many times I heard people say to me that they admire my courage for doing this, but you know, it actually didn’t need much. I guess this is something I owe to my parents – not just my trust in life that comes along with the courage to do something new, something that’s unpredictable. But also knowing that they will always be there and have my back and let me move back in if things go down, allows me to take some leaps that might involve one risk or another.

Fact is we never know what’s going to happen, no matter where we go, nor if we stay where we are. Of course, staying in a place or a job, in a familiar environment gives us a sense of security and safety, but in reality nothing is guaranteed.
And at some point you got to choose if you want to feel safe or if you rather be free.
If someone had told me I would live on Ibiza one day I wouldn’t have believed it. What would someone like me (who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do drugs, doesn’t party) do on a party island?

Well, the first months I spent discovering the other side of Ibiza, the side with Yoga, meditations, healing, beautiful nature and beaches; I began to learn Spanish, I made some new friends and finally I moved into the apartment where I am right now and where I truly feel at home.

Things started to come together, opportunities came up, the island basically welcomed me with open arms and showed me clearly that this is my place to be.
Now I’m not saying that everything is perfect and that my life is better than it would have been in Austria…(well, maybe a little better… 😉 ) Of course, I miss my family and friends, on days like today quite a lot, actually. But I know that I am exactly where I need and want to be. And my new family and friends here on the island make my life so beautiful as well!

So I finally decided to commit to the island, to my life here and I started my own business. I’m in the process of getting Spanish licence plates for my Austrian car that moved my stuff about 7 times since I am on the island and that’s now an essential part of my business: For the massages, Shiatsu treatments and the Yoga classes that I’m giving now in 3 different languages all over the island.

IMG_1854It feels like a whole new chapter has begun, I’m taking it up to the next level and I’m so excited for what this season is going to bring.
I feel like I have grown so much over the past 2 years, not just as a Yoga teacher and a (Shiatsu) massage therapist, but also the confidence and trust in myself has expanded enormously.
I am continuously getting out of my own way so I can be who I am supposed to be and do what I’m supposed to do.
I do what I love and what makes my heart beat faster. Sometimes because I am nervous about leaving my comfort zone, but trusting and accepting the challenges.
So bring it on, summer season 2016, I am ready for you!

Love,
Annika

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… 🙂

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.

Yin & Yang and The Five Elements

IMG_6381Once upon a time some people in old China sat around all day and night and did nothing else than observing the continual coming and going of days, seasons and life, within and without.
Ok, maybe they didn’t sit around all the time, maybe sometimes they did something else. But they sat long enough to discover the unity of humanity, nature and the universe.

As a day has its beginning and its end, there is not one moment where you have “the total day” or “the total night”, even in the darkest moment, there is either still a glimpse of the fading day, or already a glimpse of the arising one. The same is true for seasons: Summer solstice marks the end of summer and already carries the beginning of transformation within. The highest peak of the summer contains already a touch of autumn.
Nothing is absolute.
Everything that is alive is ever changing.
Those are the principles of Yin & Yang. Yin and Yang are a quite rough outline of the whole concept so the old Chinese men – or women, who knows? – broke it down a bit more to The Five Elements.
Rather than static elements of nature they are more phases of a cycle.

The Wood Element, also called the young Yang, symbolises activity, new beginnings and growth. The related season is spring, when everything blossoms and expands. This element carries the incredible power that lies within birth and growing up. The emotion associated with the wood element is anger which can find expression if the process of growth gets blocked, or stagnated by pressure.

The Fire Element, the big, or old Yang is about joy, playfulness and laughter, and the relationship to oneself and to others. It’s the spark that makes us feel passionate, inspired and connected and expresses through the ability to love and feel loved. In summer the energy goes outwards and spreads in all directions, it is wild and untameable, and it’s represented in adulthood.

The Earth Element is the nurturing energy, also seen as the period of abundance, where things start to slow down again. It’s about gathering together, and about taking care of oneself and another, feeling compassion, sympathy and empathy. It’s related to late summer, the time of harvest. It’s also the time of midlife crysis – or midlife without crisis, menopause and the more mature age.

The Metal Element is the young Yin, and the time when the energy starts moving inwards. It’s the beginning of consolidation, and the end of expansion. The falling leaves in autumn are nurturing the earth for next year’s harvest. It is about letting go and exchange. Grief is the related emotion that cleanses us as long as we don’t hold on to it. It’s the time of life of late maturity and the shift to old age.

The Water Element is the big Yin, also old Yin. It emphasizes on the essence of life. It’s the seed and the root of life, and embodied in primordial trust. The water element lies within the essential self-identity. As in winter the energy centers, and it is the time for internal work like meditation, stillness and focus. Wisdom, old age and death are related to the water element, as well as fear. In appropriate amounts it is needed, an imbalance, however, reveals as anxiety and lack of trust.

Over the following weeks months I will be sharing more of my knowledge with you about the five elements, the meridians and their connection to our life. I hope it will support you in some way or another by offering you a new way of understanding yourself and/or others. Maybe it will even connect some dots and encourage you to apply some of the knowledge in your life to maintain and improve your (or maybe also your client’s) health and wellbeing. With love, Annika

Comfortable Illusions

The past few weeks I have been lazy with writing, not because nothing exciting happened in my life, neither because I had no experiences to share that helped me grow. Actually, life has been quite crazy, too crazy to write about in a simple blog post. It would fit more into a book or a screen play.
I also believe, that I haven’t quite understood the whole meaning of the recent events.
And as if that wasn’t enough already, life continues to blow my socks off and leave me startled, speechless and deprived of my illusions.

Which is a good thing on one hand. What’s the use of a created image in my head that I admire and get attached to, and that makes me want to frantically avoid reality?
I do feel safe in my little bubble that tells me that all people are good, honest and trustworthy, except the few ones that already forced me to strip down my illusions.
But losing them (the illusions, that is) is scary and painful, because I don’t know what’s beyond them, or if I’m ready to face reality.

Without even noticing it I created – and we all do, more often that we might think – a perfect little world for myself, with perfect little people who all want the best for everyone, while bad things only happen in movies, in other countries, or to bad people. But no, life screws us all over, no matter what.
And yet, I feel more free, a bit more relaxed than before, when I was busy keeping up the walls of my little doll house.
Because that’s what it mostly was: Little. It kept me small, it made me fearful and often enough incapable of going for the things I wanted.

The walls of illusions are usually attached to the walls of the comfort zone. And, as we all know, life starts beyond them.
I guess life keeps kicking me in my butt because it’s time to really start living.
It wants me to listen to my inner voice, to my intuition, that knows whom to trust.
We do know. Always. We just don’t pay attention.
Time to listen up, my friends…

The Family-Concept

During the past months I kept wondering what purpose the concept “family” has.
Why do people raise kids and try everything to stay together, with more or less success?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, they are wonderful people, but I asked myself what sense does it make, if everyone goes their own way eventually anyway, and if you get along best if you only see each other every once in a while?

I just had my family visiting me for 2 and a half weeks. I tried to enjoy it but I truly failed.
Most of the time I was grumpy, unbalanced, impatient and annoyed, and I had no idea why.
It had nothing to do with them, because they did their thing and they didn’t need me around. They had their own car and often went off to explore the island without me, but then I’d feel guilty and responsible, so that didn’t really work out for me either.

General Atmosphere - 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive FestivalToday I reflected about why I couldn’t stand myself the past two weeks.
I kept wondering why they still wanted to spend time with me and how they still showed me their love even though I was this angry little brat with the face of grumpy cat all the time.

I really had a hard time loving myself during those days and the more love I got from my family the more I pushed them away.

What I finally understood is, what family is about, at least, what my family is about and I am truly and deeply grateful for it!

They let me be.
They didn’t try to change me, they didn’t try to cheer me up.
They didn’t take it personally, although they had their own issues and their own problems to deal with, they stayed centered and never held my moodiness against me.
They never blamed me for anything, instead they kept telling me how grateful they were to be here and how lucky they were for this chance. That just made me feel more guilty at the time, but I also knew that they truly meant it.
They still appreciated their time here – even the one they spend with me.

I really don’t know how they did it. But I think that’s what family is for:

They stay even during our bad days, when our dark side is coming out, when everyone else would walk away.

They stay and love us, even if we don’t know how they do it, or why.

They love us because THEY want to love us and there is nothing we can do about it, no matter how hard we try.

They love and they forgive us because they know who we really are and they are patient enough, even if we are not.

They love us even when we push them away, because they know that’s when we need it the most.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you…

Namasté.