Growing up…

…is not necessarily at trap. It can be a wonderful thing, it just depends on how you create it for yourself. If you trade responsibilities for playfulness instead of integrating both into your life, if routine and the need of security eat up all your freedom, and if ease and joy are replaced by pressure and worries instead of accepting both as part of life, well then that truly is a pretty bad deal.

The past few weeks have been a joyful ride into adulthood for me. I am blessed to do what I love: Teaching Yoga all around the island in beautiful places and giving Shiatsu and treatments to beautiful people and help them relax and heal; bringing good vibes, fun and ease, movement and relaxation into their vacations.

I finally started my own business and especially during the time I was doing treatments for the HABITAS festival I have found so much more confidence and trust in myself and in the work I do; I got so much more clarity about who I am and what makes me me and what makes my work special!

If growing up means growing into our potential, releasing the fears of failing, making mistakes, or not being good enough that we picked up somewhere along the way towards adulthood and if we keep or re-learn qualities like curiosity, open mindedness, playfulness, ease and joy then please, grow, grow, grow and never stop for as long as you breathe…

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…

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.

11/11/14 – 11:11…

Thanks to my beautiful friend Lisa, I am sitting here right now, writing this blog post. Only after chatting 5 minutes with her, I have come to realize that I have been avoiding to live what’s really and truly me: being a life coach.

Everything else I have done over the past 10 years (Shinergy (martial arts) – instructor training, Shiatsu school, Meridian Massage training, Yoga teacher training…) now just seem like detours, that I truly love and deeply relate to, but I also used to avoid taking the straight path.

I got my first coaching at the age of 16. Stuck in puberty and tangled in resistance to (almost) everyone and everything, coaching helped me to open up and to find the motivation to take life into my own hands.
At the age of 20 I attended a coaching retreat with about 30 young people and amazing coaches in Cyprus. On day 2 the relationship to myself and thus my life changed completely.
As if that wasn’t enough already, I also finally knew what I wanted to do with my life: Be a life coach!

_DSC4566The following 3 years I was excited about each Coaching Training weekend, or week, I was determined, driven and passionate. And yet, there was one thing that accompanied me along the way.
Sometimes it stared right into my face, at other times it hid, and I let it have its power over me without me even noticing it: The fear to fail.
My attempt to get rid of that (or any) fear ended up in the following insight:
Fear can either be a rock that’s in the way of where we want to be, or it is a stepping stone to overcome – it is what we make of it. In my eyes it seemed like the Himalaya.

I learned about limiting beliefs, comfort zones, dug deep into the topic of self-worth until I finally understood, that there is no tool that can take the uncomfortable feeling away, that we experience when we’re about to do something we’re afraid of.
Actually, there is nothing we can do to get comfortable in the discomfort, there is only something that we need to stop doing: listening to the mind, believing our thoughts.
So meditation became a bigger part of my life and that, too, transformed and improved it and brought me more clarity about who I am.

_DSC4580Just recently I had another conversation with Lisa where we talked about exactly those fears and we went to the root of them, which are beliefs like “I am not good enough” blablabla… Yes, we know. We’ve been there, looked at them, worked on them… tried to change, or to let go of them… but what did it change so far?
Nothing really.

What actually did bring the change, was the thought:
I may not be good enough – so what?
Does that mean I cannot do it? No.
I might look like – or even be a fool, or a failure… And then what?
Nothing. Life goes on.
I remembered the quote: “Don’t take life too seriously, it’s not like you’re going to get out alive.”

Coaching is my path, and today, on November 11th, at 11:11am I have decided that I will no longer use coaching tools to improve Shiatsu treatments, meditations or my yoga classes… but I will improve Coachings by offering Shiatsu, meditations, and Yoga, as well!

So this is me, accepting the challenge, excited to offer Personal Coaching and life coaching to improve your life and your relationships (with yourself and others), and to increase healthhappiness and self-love.
For a limited time I will offer my Coaching services by donation. 

There is no Himalaya in front it me.
It becomes a Himalaya if my mind tells me it is one, and if I believe it, without questioning it.

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.

Love & Connection

Today I saw a video about Tim Harris, a restaurant owner with down syndrome.
I was deeply touched, not just by the fact that he seems to have an amazing family who believes in him and supports him, to make his dreams come true (which actually reminds me of my own family).
But even more so his capability to show and express his love, that he seemed to love everyone and yet when he said “I love you” it seemed special, honest, coming deep down from his heart.

Tears ran across my face at the thought that I wished I was as wholehearted, and able to express and show my love openly to others.
More often than not I let my fears and beliefs stop myself from doing it, many times even from feeling it.

IMG_2981However, I know that what I see in others is awake within myself. My tears were just an expression of the pain that comes from the illusion of disconnection.

During my years of coaching trainings and workshops there was one exercise that I didn’t like at all. I really got uncomfortable when it came up. It was called “Appreciation Exercise”. One person after the other went to the center and everyone else had to say what they appreciated about this person.

While for some people it was hard to be in the center and to hear all the good things about themselves, I always feared the part of giving feedback and to not be able to come up with something great about the person in the center.
This exercise was not about feedback like “hey, I like your haircut” or “your jeans fit you well”. It was not giving feedback about what they have or do, but about who they are, and in that sense actually about what I see in them and therefore about who I am. But back then I didn’t know that and it stressed me each time.

And yet, by the end of the exercise I loved it and I felt truly fulfilled, because when it was my turn to express my appreciation of something about someone, I just connected with that person from a space of love and acceptance.
IMG_2353Words came out of my mouth and I wondered myself where they came from. It was like I was breaking through to the barriers of my thoughts and beliefs right into the center of love and connection.

We don’t even need to know a person to be able to say something good about them. I have also made the experience that I don’t have to know a person to feel love for them. But this is going to be another story.

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.

Daddy-Issues ?

klein.Cala d'Hort Vati & ichIt was the first time ever that my Dad and I spent a week together, just the two of us.
Frantically I tried to keep him entertained in order to have a great time together. I wanted him to have fun and be comfortable.

The word ‘frantically’ might already give away that those plans didn’t quite work out. I was actually pretty tensed and even though I tried to hide it, my Dad got stressed, too, of course.

I realized that I used to be like that in relationships, too: I used to focus too much on the other person and his needs than on what I need and just do my own thing. In partnerships I have learned from past mistakes over the years, but it was now that I found out where all of the patterns and fears come from.

The fear to make mistakes, to not be loved, the attempt to “earn” love out of fear to not be (good) enough, just to mention a few that just come to my mind.
Even if I didn’t succeed this time, I am now learning to leave the responsibility for the other one’s happiness where it belongs: with him.
And I also start to trust that I am loved for who I am, not for what I do or don’t do. Including my patterns and fears that I am slowly getting more and more aware of to let them go, step by step.

It’s not in our control if someone loves us or not, even if we want to. The harder we try and the more we do, the more we are holding on to that person and simultaneously push them away from us.
That is another painful experience that I had to make.

vati&ichAs a matter of fact, the fears are unfounded because I know my Dad loves me just the way I am.
The little girl that I used to be, just didn’t understand that grown ups sometimes have a hard time showing the love. But it is always there, and it always will be.

Namasté.

The uniqueness of my massage treatments

With this post I am trying to put into words what makes my massage treatments unique, and why it might be exactly what you need right now.

_DSC2503Writing this, however, might also narrow down the number of people who want to come for a treatment. But I have come to the conclusion that I rather work with a smaller number of people and be as fulfilled and excited as my clients, than to sell myself and work for the sake of earning money.

In my practice I treat a maximum of 5 clients a day with enough breaks in between, because I want the last treatment that I give, be as high of quality as the first one.
A treatment is meditation for me: Being present and mindful to the client’s energy and to what I feel, I just breathe and send a signal of safety and acceptance of what is. Staying in the present moment and keeping the presence guarantees the quality of a treatment.
It allows my clients to let go fully and in a state of deep relaxation, their body mind and soul find the stillness to recover and activate the powers of self-healing.

roseI am curious about the people who are on my mat.
In order to support them on their way to get where they want to be, or to find out where they want to get, I am not focusing on their problems, their tensions or complaints. I try to look behind the mask, and listen in between their words and together we reveal the potential that waits to be awakened within them.
The potential to health, happiness, inner peace and freedom.

Namasté.

Our body – our garden

The energy supply system of the body is comparable with the one of the electricity system. In order to get light, we need the following things:

  • A cable – meridians
  • A light switch – acupuncture points
  • A light bulb – organs

If even only one of these parts show some kind of defect, the electricity (qi/chi) cannot flow – the light will not shine.
You can also compare the body with a garden, like in the following little story that I heard about in a Meridian Massage class. It gives us a good understanding about what could happen if we don’t take enough care of our energy system.

A gardener, who got tired of carrying the can with water (energy) around in his garden (body), to water the flowers, trees and bushes (organs, muscles, tissues), started to plan an irrigation system.
He built a smart channel system (meridians) with automatic flood gates (acupuncture points) that carried and spread the water.
With blind trust in his system he sat down in the hammock and got lazy.
After a while he got up because he noticed vermin and bugs (disease) in his garden. He found plants that were rotten, others were dried out and some were infested by parasites.
He first thought if he should replace some of the plants (surgery) and if he should use poison (medicationdrugs) against the parasites. He took a close look and discovered that his watering system wasn’t working properly. At some places the channels were too deep and too full (full condition – too much Qi/Chi) and the plants started to rotten. At other places the channels didn’t carry enough water and the plants dried out (empty condition – not enough Qi/Chi).
He kept exploring the garden and soon found a rusty flood gate. In front of it the water had become a stinky reservoir (stagnation).
The gardener repaired the flood gate, went over the channels with a spade and brought the water on stream again (Shiatsu, Meridian Massage).
The garden recovered quickly.
The gardener decided to regularly take inspection rounds (take care of his body) and to service and maintain the watering system (living healthily and preventively).

Namasté