In the yoga community, they often talk about the concept of holding space. For so long I didn’t understand what that meant but I was drawn to the expression and liked the way it sounded. Learning what that means took me some time but I guess you can say holding space feels like you open up space and time to just let your feelings be validated, not judged, or changed. Just letting them show up to the surface and be noticed. It is allowing your voice to take over and letting the truth come out. Letting your emotions be there, whether they are negative or positive.
Communication is the key to any relationship but what happens when you feel like you aren’t being heard? When all you do is listen to other people talk on and on about their lives. Well, then it might be time to question the relationship and redefine your rolls.
If you are a nurturer who cares for people and wants to hear about their problems it can sometimes get overwhelming to have deep relationships with people. Hanging out with friends who won’t stop talking about their own problems can feel draining. You might feel like you can’t express your emotions and end up feeling alone in that relationship.
That is when you have to put up boundaries and let people know you won’t be their therapist anymore. It might be hard to draw that line and make that change but you deserve a friend who actually holds space for you.
I get that everybody feels like their problems are the worst and the biggest but sometimes I feel like telling everybody else to shut it. I try to always listen to other people and I validate them by hearing them out and letting them rant. But there is a difference between being a good listener and being a dumping place for people’s anxiety. Sometimes those people only come to you when they want to chat and hear their own thoughts out loud. They don’t really care about your opinion or what you have to say, they just want someone who listens to their sad stories.
I have realized that oftentimes I feel drained and low after spending time with a person who doesn’t let me talk. Partly it is my fault because I give up my own power and let them take control over the conversation. But a part of me wishes they would have the decency to ask how I am doing. The truth is that if I don’t take the space to be heard in return no one will give me that time to speak my mind.
Giving that gift to others is how you build a strong relationship in my opinion. That is what a good friend or therapist does. They hold space. They give you permission to be yourself, open, and free.
There is nothing better than having a friend who listens to what you have to say. A friend who just listens doesn’t talk about their own perspective or give you advice but just sits still and listens. The only time they interrupt you is to ask questions to make sure they understand you fully. It is rare to find that kind of person who can sit with you and your emotions without judgment. Having that person who just sits with you while you speak is what holding space means.
The magic of it is you can start by giving it to yourself by showing up for yourself and your emotions. You can journal and free-write to see what comes up. Use the concept of holding space to start taking your own power back. Allow yourself to fully express your emotions and then it just might get easier to ask people to hold space for you when you are ready to speak.
I would love to hear what your thoughts are and how you deal with communication issues in your relationships. Let me know in the comment section below.
A year ago I was sitting where you are right now, surfing the web and looking up different yoga schools. Reading reviews and looking at their social media pictures to see if the place would suit me. I eventually chose a school that seemed to fit me and I don’t regret picking it whatsoever.
In this article I will describe my Yoga Teacher Training experience and give you some tips on what to expect. If you are considering doing a YTT I suggest you start by getting clear on why you want to do it. Do you want to teach or do you just want to deepen your practice? You don’t have to become a yoga teacher after the training but you might feel the urge to start teaching after learning all about the magic of yoga…
Yoga Teacher Training – What to expect
Everybody is scared…
Like with all new adventures it might feel a bit scary in the beginning. The feeling of booking your spot and getting your tickets is sweet and can give you a bit of a rush. However, packing your bags and going to the airport to travel by yourself might feel a little less fun and that is when all the weird and crazy thoughts enter your mind. Why am I doing this? Who else is crazy enough to do this? What happens if I back out now?
Traveling is draining and can take the fun out of the adventure. I knew I would be in a bad mood during that first day so I prepared myself on feeling those low vibrations of emotions. Later I learned that I wasn’t alone feeling scared, actually, a bunch of the group also felt the same way they confessed as we had our first sharing session.
Do you like hugs, crying in public and being outside your comfort zone?
Landing into a retreat is always different and can be intense depending on what your energy levels are like before. For me, I was pretty rested before I got to the villa where we had our training in Tuscany, Italy so I could just observe my thoughts and felt that the transition was easy. But if you are coming into this space from a stressful life, prepare yourself emotionally and be aware that the slow and secluded life can feel overwhelming and that it is okay to feel that way.
After meeting everybody and getting acquainted with the surroundings the first evening together, I went to bed early to get some rest. I slept like a baby and woke up feeling eager to yoga.
We had our first yoga session at 7 am in the morning the next day where it all fell into place. Our yoga shala was a wedding tent that they had set up for us outside the villa. It had heaters in the middle of the room and uneven floor but it was kind of perfect to practice there. It was going to be our classroom for the next three weeks so we all adjusted our mats and gave each other enough space to share the experience together. Everyday after we had our intention setting and warm up, the sun would rise outside the tent and light up our space in a special way that felt like magic. That feeling still lingers in my mind and warms up my heart when I think back to that time in Italy.
Things to think of before you book your training…
If you are really considering investing in a training here are some things to think about before you actually book your tickets.
Into the wild…
So, a yoga retreat is very special. You have to have an open mind to the experience because some of the things that goes on there are not things we do in our normal lives. I don’t know about you but in my world, crying and sharing my emotions openly are things that is frowned upon in society for the most part. Even though these things are so human and natural we can sometimes feel the need to hide our raw emotions from people just to fit in. We have to stand tall, be strong, bite our tongues and act nice all the time. It is exhausting trying to fit in to whatever is expected from us in real life but in a yoga retreat all things that are “weird” are welcome.
It is kind of leaving your comfort zone and stepping into a world where you can just be free and people will accept you for you. So you have to give that gift to other people too. And also, be prepared to get a lot of random hugs.
In my training we learned about so much more than just yoga. Our syllabus was filled with lessons of the chakras, pranayama, philosophy, ayurveda, astrology, conscious dance, meditations, mantras and chanting. Some of it required leaving my old programming behind and stepping in to the weird and uncomfortable ways to move my body, mind and spirit. But it was fun to challenge myself and see just how much of me is me and how much of my boundaries are ingrained in me from my parents, society and culture (my samskara).
My yoga teacher training was held in Italy and the scenery every morning made all the difference for me. The villa was located in a small Tuscan town outside of Florence and had an olive grove surrounding the property. The environment definitely made it more magical and gave me the peace and quiet I was searching for. Whether you want to go to Italy, Bali or Costa Rica I think you should consider nature because it helps with the experience. If you are having a tough day moving though a lot of emotional och physical pain nature can help soothe and heal in a way when your normal support system is not there. Consider the location if you are nature person like me.
Back to school
One thing that I forgot to think about is that the training actually means going back to school in a way. There was a lot of information to be taken in during a short amount of time. It can get overwhelming with all the new knowledge that you have to take in and learn so be nice to yourself if you struggle with memorizing things. Learning Sanskrit, taking notes, reading five different yoga books and getting pop quizzes from your teacher can feel too much at times.
Sometimes we can get stuck in our heads trying to get everything right in the first try. Remember to give yourself the time you need to digest the information and have fun while you are in the training. Books can always be read somewhere else at another time but the time with the people will pass by sooner than you think so make sure you take advantage of all that is presented to you and be in the moment.
Leading your fellow students through your yoga routine in another language (if you’re not an English native) can also be challenging. Give yourself time to sequence your classes and think about how you can give the alignment cues in a fun and personal way.
Your style of Yoga
Think about what your learning style is and how you learn the best. A lot of schools offer a 200-hour training that is held during a three week period. It is an immersive training and can be an intense period of highs and lows. Some schools have 200-hour trainings that are divided into different modules that can be spread over a longer time period like six months or even a whole year.
For me, it was nice to have that deep concentrated time of just focusing on yoga for a whole month. It gave me what I was seeking which was to deepen my practice and understanding of my own body. My Yoga is so much more than the asana practice. Yoga is about how we react, how we think, how we love, how we give and how we receive. I learned so much about myself and I am still learning new things about my old self and adjusting it to the person I want to be.
The student becomes the teacher…
Here is the thing, we are never gonna fully master something if we aren’t willing to see things from different perspectives. When we keep on learning and open up ourselves to having that beginners mind as students we become better teachers.
It is funny because when I left the retreat and my yoga community I felt so ready and eager to step away from the role of a student. I felt like I knew so much and couldn’t take in anymore knowledge into my mind.
However, the universe was wide awake and threw me a sign right away as I checked into my hotel in Florence. It was a postcard with the text:
That was a fun reminder to always have my heart open to new beginnings and give myself the permission to keep on learning.
I hope this gives you an idea of what to expect from a yoga teacher training and that you’ll find a kula that fits your soul.
Let me know if you have any YTT tips or questions in the comment section below.
I have been thinking about how we deal with pain lately and I just think it is interesting how we sometimes act as human beings. I really don’t believe in taking pills to make my body feel better because I don’t think meds are the solution to everything. I am not saying I am perfect. I know I have some addictions to deal with. But I try to break free from all the illness that is constantly trying to get me down and mindfully heal my mind, body, and spirit.
The reason why people drink, overeat and take drugs is often rooted in the fact that they are trying to escape from their feelings. They are running away from their emotions and trying to get to peace in the highs. Whether it is alcohol, sugar or drugs the high won’t last forever. Eventually, you will have to come down again and your emotions will lay there waiting for you to feel again.
Numbing the pain is so common and frankly, an easy way to not deal with any issues going on in the body or the mind. As a society, we always seem to struggle with letting pain be just pain. We always want to cover it up with quick fixes but all we really are doing is resisting to look at the truth. The pain won’t heal if we can’t feel.
Learning to sit with pain is so important. When all we want for it to be over it really is as easy as feeling it out. When we let the pain pass through us, it won’t fight back. I know it sounds contradictory to everything you’ve ever heard growing up. But try it out.
Sit with the pain, talk to the pain, ask it questions. Why are you here? What are you trying to teach me? What can you give me and what can I let out? What is it that you want me to know? What am I missing? What is the lesson?
Sometimes the pain lies only in our minds as hurtful memories from the past or negative stories we believe to be true about ourselves. Learn to observe your mind and let the thoughts pass you by without reacting to them.
When you experience pain next time, let it pass through you and see if it disappears. Learn to ride the storm out. Wait for it to pass. It can’t hurt more than it already does, right?
I would love to hear how you deal with pain and what you do to find relief in hard moments. Leave a comment below if you feel like sharing.
I’ve felt so misplaced all my life, like where I am is not where I am supposed to be. Have you ever had that feeling? Walking around with that feeling of being the odd one, the weird one who doesn’t fit in, it does something to the soul. It creates a feeling of separation, it forms a distance to other humans. It has made me more careful around people and made my mind suspicious to everybody who tries to come close. I have had my guard up for so long that my body has become like a shield that wont let anybody else in.
The truth is there is a distance in my own self that makes me operate the way I do. There is a separation in my body and my mind where I feel the two are disconnected and lonely. My mind hasn’t been able to connect to my body but in yoga, those two can meet and be soft to each other.
The word yoga means union and I never understood what was so wrong with me before but now I get that it was the connection in my own body that was lost.
My yoga practice makes me feel centered because my body and mind work together to find stillness. The war that goes on between the two can sometimes drive me crazy but in yoga the two meet and peace happens.
I need to practice weekly. I notice myself losing ground when I fall off my practice. Yoga brings balance to my body, mind, and soul which makes me feel more authentic when I step off my mat. Yoga heals the broken pieces inside me and the trauma that is stored in my bones can start to lighten. When I step on my mat, move my body, close my eyes and shut down my mind, that is when my soul comes to work. It brings me through my emotions in a beautiful way and all that is left for me to do is relax one breath at a time.
Do you practice yoga? If so, I would love to hear what makes you return to the practice and how you feel after a yoga class.
My intention with this article of the best yoga mat review is to help you find the best yoga mat for your practice. The benefits of having a good yoga mat are many. Whether you are an experienced yogini or a beginner there is no reason why you shouldn´t have the best yoga mat out there.
Best Yoga Mat Review
The last couple of years I have been falling in love with yoga. It is such a loving practice that teaches so much about how to live life. Yoga doesn’t stress. It just lets you try again. And again. And you will fall. But the yoga mat will catch you. Having a beautiful mat to practice on can make the ritual feel more fun.
Depending on what kind of yoga you practice there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are buying a new mat. Are you practicing at home or in a studio? Do you love Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga?
There is no right or wrong yoga. You know what works best for your body. The best yoga practice is the one that keeps you flowing so make it a habit to always return to the practice so that you can live your best life.
Yoga keeps the body humble and the mind in check, the ego can’t be present in the different poses and it is such a beautiful way to honor life. Being alive feels so real after a yoga practice. It is important to remember that the yoga practice doesn’t always have to be so serious and strict. For me, it is a lot about breathing right and feeling the sensations of my body fully. It is about showing respect for the body and honoring the mind-body intelligence. Earth keeps you grounded and the law of nature helps you remember that you need to focus or else you will fall.
Yoga is a balancing act and the best way to listen to your body is to slow down and notice where you are tense and what you can let go of. You can have your head in the clouds but just remember to keep your feet on the ground.
Yoga is a practice, not a competition.
They say that who you are on your yoga mat is who you are in life. That is so true and it changed my perspective about falling and failing. Sometimes the balance isn’t as strong as you want it to be and other times we can’t stretch as much as we want to but yoga allows you to be yourself. It always has your back.
I have been playing with this idea and trying to change the way I respond to life by just letting my body tell me when it is enough. The same way that I can’t always stretch down my hands to my feet on my yoga mat, I might not be able to reach certain goals in life when I want to. But practicing every day or once a week I know I will one day reach down and make a comfortable stretch so I let it take the time it needs.
The same goes for real life. You have to make it a practice to always return to the things that you struggle with and find a new way to reach out and touch the things you have your eyes on with your hands. Sometimes it is completely fine to ask for help. Just as we use props in yoga class to get closer to earth or use a strap to get deeper into the stretch we can apply this thinking to life. Call a friend to help you out if you are struggling. Use a tool to help you accomplish your goals. It is not cheating, it is being smart. Admitting to yourself that you need help is a beautiful way to practice self-love.
Roll out your mat!
For me, one thing I struggle with is, returning to my yoga practice. Sometimes it feels hard to roll out the mat and get started. There are plenty of excuses I can come up with as to why I shouldn´t work on my practice. The most common ones are;
I don´t have enough time. (Even though I always do.)
I am too tired. (Get moving and the energy will flow.)
I have pain in the body. (1 hour of yoga will clear the pain away.)
If you are struggling to find time and motivation to practice yoga I have one tip that will help you get started easier: Get a beautiful yoga mat that you love to roll out and that makes you want to spend all your free time on!
How do I know what mat to choose?
Below I have listed a couple of questions for you to help decide what mat to choose for your practice.
Grip – Do you sweat a lot? Do you find yourself slippering in the more intense asanas? How does your mat react to the floor?
Thickness – Do you need a mat that supports your knees in tabletop position? Is it good for your body to have a soft mat? Do you need a 2, 4, 6 or 8-mm mat?
Weight – Are you carrying your mat around or is it always at home? Do you travel a lot? Do you need a heavy or a lightweight mat?
Eco-friendly/Vegan – What kind of material do prefer? Is the material sustainable and environment-friendly? Is it PVC-free? How does the mat smell? (Your nose will touch the mat a lot…)
Maintenance – Is it easy to clean? Does it absorb the sweat or can it be wiped easily?
Design – Is there a specific color or print you like? Is the design of the mat important to you?
After you have answered these questions I hope you have a better understanding of your own needs and that it helps you to figure out what mat to buy.
I hope you found this review of the best yoga mat to be helpful and that you found it interesting. If you practice yoga I would love to hear about your practice and which mat is your favorite. Please, leave a comment in the section below and let me know more about your yoga experience. Also, if you have any questions about this review I will be more than happy to answer them below!
Every summer growing up I had this idea that I was going to diet myself down to a size zero. My finish line was a skinner, happier me. I started walking in the mornings and eating healthy food every first Monday of the week. It always lasted until around 7 pm when everything broke and I just felt deprived and quite honestly miserable for not being allowed to eat sugar. In my head, I made up all these plans of how I was going to get back on track and finish my diet but I never did. When I gave up this is what I said to myself; I tried that and it didn’t work and I went back to the couch feeling sorry for myself stuffing my mouth with chocolate and crisps.
In my mind, I had made up these pictures of myself being hardcore and running every morning and eating a restricted diet. False optimism and it is when you use positive thinking without actually trusting that you can achieve a goal. I trust my ability to accomplish the goal but lack the trust in myself and that made me fail every time.
I like to think that I hit the pause button and that I can just restart everything when I am ready but motivation can only come when you take action, it doesn’t hit you in the head while you are dreaming. It is about making bold choices, being determined and choosing to get up every time we fail. They say seeing is believing, but the reality is we need to believe it first in our minds in order to be able to see it with our eyes.
I know what I have to do but why is it so hard to do it?
The truth is I feel good when I am eating healthy and exercising. I feel my body vibrate and my cells actually feel alive. So why do I always stop and why do I go back to my old habits?
Fear usually stops me when I am going through a change and I feel like I am going to be missing out on something if I change my lifestyle. That is why it is so important to have the right kind of mindset before you start a new diet. It took me a while to learn this and I still struggle with it a lot, but the bottom line is you have to keep the right attitude.
The mindset of a winner is to never give up. Realistically you should prepare yourself for hard times and know that there will be struggles. Shit will hit the fan. The key to success is to know what to do when that happens. Decide how to react from that in order to move forward. That is the only way to get to the finish line.
Today my focus is on eating good food that gives my body the right kind of nutrients and energy. I exercise to feel good and to get those nice endorphins running through my body. My goal is to have a strong body which in return gives me a healthy mind. I eat a plant-based diet and my exercise routine is a combination of yoga, cardio, and muscle-toning. To my younger self who was so obsessed with the numbers, I would say start with loving yourself and everything will get easier.
Have you tried to diet and did you succeed? I would love to hear your stories about weight-loss, your relationship with food and exercise. How did you overcome difficult times? Leave a comment below if you feel like sharing.