The different faces of Motherhood

 

If you are familiar with my story, you know that I have gone through utterly tragic battles to become a mother. From years and years of IVF’s to climbing the mountains to find the holy man with magic potion. You name it, I’ve done it…

In my first marriage there was so much focus around having a baby that eventually it just tore us apart. I lost whole lot of self-worth and confidence while trying to get pregnant. I found my infertility as guilt, inadequacy and failure.

I ended up leaving Australia and moved back to Finland. I started my life from the scratch …and as I look back, I feel solely gratitude and acceptance for the prior. I understand why it turned out as it did.

I turned 40 this year and as I step into the next chapter of my life, I feel confident and open. My old wounds have been healing and I can finally surrender to the beauty of presence. I feel like I have it all – Love, Family, Home, Friends, Yoga – I am lucky and incredibly happy. Getting married in a month to love of my life, becoming a step-mom to a beautiful girl. Watching my adorable nieces and nephews grow up.

Not raising a child of my own, but helping to bring up wonderful little souls in my life.

For years I was bombarded with the social expectations and illusions of not fulfilling my job as a woman without having a biological child. I was haunted by the myth of the motherhood as “motherhood” is considered the primary role for woman.

In the depths of these illusions I had forgotten what motherhood actually means.

Motherhood isn’t a fertile womb. It’s not perfection nor purity, but rather warmth, attendance, empathy, silent tears and imperfections. There is no defined look or way. No rights and wrongs.

Motherhood is in all of us. In every woman!

It took me a long time to embrace the fact that in this lifetime I will be a my own version of mother.

When I snuggle up in a bed with my dog, I’m a mother. When I clean the eyes of the stray kittens I found in a jungle, I’m a mother. When I pick up a litter to protect our earth, hug a tree or water my plants, I’m a mother. When I comfort a distressed person, I’m a mother. When I guide my students in a meditation with a soft and caring voice, I’m a mother.

I’m a mother in the way I was meant to be.

Once a yoga student who had heard about my story came to me after class. She hugged me and whispered “You are mother to all of us. You do know that?”.

I keep returning to these words often.

Being childless doesn’t mean you’re not a mother, it means that you end up nurturing and providing guidance a bit differently. There are so many faces to motherhood. There are mothers with child, there are mothers who has lost their baby. There are mothers who have adopted a baby or mothers who take care of other peoples children. There is exactly as many embodiment’s of motherhood as there are women.

There is no childless women, mostly mothers without portfolios …Mothers at heart 💖

Love & Light

Diana

 

From faith to fury…

I was trying out the healing hypnosis last night. It’s a technique where you use white light to heal your condition and also ask your spirit guides for answers about the recovery and the aftermath. So there I was, trying to practise self-hypnosis on myself …to be honest I’m a girl of meditation rather than the hypnosis, but what the hell, I’ve tried everything, so might just give this one a shot. I was dying to hear the answer to my question “when will I be healed, when will we have a little bundle of joy?”, but there was only silence, nothing, absolutely nothing. Not a image, not a sound, I’m pretty sure that even the wind stopped blowing for a while… This morning I woke up and there was such sense of pure anger, unbearable misery and heartbreaking sadness. It was like all the demons of denial had been released.

And I knew what that feeling was… For the very first time in my life I felt tired of this constant limbo and heartache. I realised, that there might be a possibility that my life will never involve motherhood. What if all those caring wishes of “you will get there and you will be an incredible mother” from my loved ones won’t come true? What if?

Since the day that I met my husband, I have been sure that I want to have a family. And even though for years we have struggled with infertility, there hasn’t been one second, that I’ve lost my faith. Not once have I thought “What if I’m never going to carry a child?” Even though we have had our fair share of setbacks, I have never accepted the fact, that we might just end up childless…

My faith has been the reason why I have never really got down in gutter after failed IVFs, but this morning I was faithless, all there was left was fear and fury…

One our very first cycle of IVF years ago, we nailed it. I thought it wouldn’t happen so soon… but as my husband kept begging me to take the pregnancy test, I did, and the result came back positive. I ran to the hospital, to confirm these news with my doctor, and yes, we were on our way to become parents. Weeks went by and I kept visiting my doctor while staying in Finland, to afraid to fly on my first trimester. My husband was working at mines back in Australia, but we would talk on phone constantly, blessed with our great news. Everything was going so well, we were the happiest couple in the universe… We were expecting a baby.

As my stay in Finland was getting longer, I had to took on my previous job at the restaurant where I used to work. I felt guilty for my hubby doing all the hard work, and I wanted to contribute to our piggy bank.  As I was rushing around at work, uncoordinated as a giraffe at the hip-hop class, I slipt, and fell on my back. I thought it was nothing, but later that day with a tiny bit of a pain, I noticed some bleeding “downstairs”. I thought it was just something that might occur while your pregnant and really didn’t took it that serious. But I still booked in to check up with my doctor the next day.

I was filled with excitement and euphoria as I was sitting at the hospital with my mother, so eager to know how our little one was doing. I had my husband on the phone all the way from Australia, Kalgoorlie, where he was sitting at the local tavern ready to order his mates around just to celebrate our dreams becoming true.

The doctor called me in, and I was over the moon. I got ready, the doctor spread the gel on my tummy and started to move the sensor over it. I was staring at her with the wackiest smile on my face, but there was no echo to my smile. I started to get bit jittery as I was looking for any answers from my doctors concerned face. But suddenly she said in an insensitive tone, the most horrible words any expecting mom-to-be can hear, “The heartbeat is gone. There is no more baby”. That’s all! No explanation, no “My Condolences”… no more nothing. Maybe she was still talking, I don’t know, everything became silent, my heart stopped and I had never felt that lost. I didn’t know what to do from there on, where to go, but I knew that it was only getting worse, as on the other side of the world, he was waiting to hear back from us. I didn’t wanted to accept the fact that we had lost our baby, but I needed to pick up the phone and let my husband know what just happened. I called him, and as I repeated the words, that the doctor had told me, my heart shattered from thousands of pieces into millions. I had now also broken my husband’s heart…

Years went by, more unsuccessful IVFs were done… and then we decided to take a short break. We needed to start to pay back all the IVF loans, I needed to let my body recover from the treatments and focus on my passion and career, yoga.

Last year in India, I was staying in an Ashram at Mysore, completing my studies of Advanced Yoga Teacher degree. It was just another disciplined day of yoga and lectures, but I couldn’t sleep that night, I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t breath correctly. There was a huge obstacle in my lungs that stopped me from taking that deep breath. I told one of the teachers, as she is also a yoga therapist and a master in reiki healing. She took me to my room, and laid me down on my bed. She started the energy healing, gently moving her hands just above my body. Suddenly she stopped and she told me that even though she never talks during the procedure, she has an important message from a little soul. She said the words, that few other healers had told me. There is a soul of child that desperately hangs onto me, not letting me go and this little one has a message to me, “forgive yourself”… I knew exactly what she was talking about. Since the day I fell in that restaurant, I have been blaming myself. And even though I’m the biggest fan of forgiveness, I had forbidden the forgiveness from myself. And I was starting to feel the symptoms of self-poisoning.  It was time to free myself, so I cried and cried, as I opened my heart for compassion and mercy. I fell asleep, after all the sobbing and when I woke up, I took the deepest breath in …there was no more obstacles.

losing-a-pregnancy1

No matter how close I get to the edge, or how bad it hurts, the sun will rise again tomorrow, the flowers will bloom in spring time and I have person in my life who’ll do everything to see me smile. How can I lose my hope with such a loving human being by my side.

Later this afternoon, I opened up the instagram, and the first post that came up, said:” Everything happens at the right moment, be patient.” I collapsed down, and I cried, feeling more and more liberated from the heartache. Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason in all of this waiting…

Yours sincerely,

Diana

Finding hope in my scars…

To fertility and beyond… I’m part of the 12 % married woman who struggles with infertility. There, I said it!

For years I struggled with this all by myself, so ashamed, so humiliated, and the day I opened up my mouth, and said something about it, I realized that I’m not alone. There’s millions of women like me, and they’re stories are pretty much the same. So if you struggle with infertility, please don’t hold it in, talk, find support and solutions. I’m here if you need a friend with working ears who has had every hormone injection possible, has been poked by infertility doctors in different countries, and last but not least have her hopes raised and smashed every 4 weeks.

I’m all zoned out on my bed from pain killers and agonising tummy pain after my hysteroscopy, and removal of endometriosis. I’m staring at all the scars on my belly… and not only the scars on surface, but the scars deep inside. Trying to be super exited about this next step, but cannot help getting also a bit nervous. For crying out loud, half a decade of trying to conceive, failed IVF’s, IUI’s, etc. I should be a pro by now not letting it get to me.

But I guess I’m like a good old deep fried Camembert, all gangsta outside, but silky smooth inside…

It doesn’t seem to get easier. It gets harder, time is running out… And I’m finding myself thinking “how much more?”. How much longer until we get to hold our little one in our arms? How many “Congratulations on your baby” -cards must I send while limboing between excitement and jealousy? Its our turn to be on receiving side of these words…

I know that I’m not alone with this problem, the hospitals are filled with women like me, looking for answers, living their lives trapped in an emotional rollercoaster ,feeling inadequate, broken, guilty, scared and jealous. Covered in scars…

The scars on my belly, they are my battle field with infertility… Every time I have a failed IVF or I get my period it’s like getting cut from an injury, I “bleed”, I scream, I cry… Nothing else exist, but the pain. But I have my loved ones around me to put a “bandaid” on it, to stop me from “bleeding”. And eventually a scab forms above the injury, this strong exterior to protect the more sensitive self underneath.

Somedays I’m filled with hope and I can deal with the “wound being touched” by comments and questions, but on worse days, all it needs is news of unplanned pregnancies by friends to rip the scab off. As the new skin under the scab strengthens, it becomes less sensitive, and life gets back to normal. But the scar always remain, amongst the other scars, it’s there to remind me of my journey. We learn to live with them, we learn to accept them. And we cannot endlessly keep hiding them away with make up, they’re part of us, part of the the way we look. And even though our scars are different, they have one thing is common… No matter how they look, or how much they hurt, the pain will eventually go away… that’s the beauty with scars.

At this very moment while I’m looking at my post-surgery scars, I see strength! I don’t see ugly wounds of misfortune nor failure around my belly, but I see the determination of going all the way for something that matters the world to me, I see dedication, love, willpower and passion. I see the structure of my character, I see my story…

The road of infertility is hard, but like any other road, you gotta keep moving forward, you must not lose the sight of destination because of the obstacles. There will always be unexpected suffering and disappointments, but you need to remember that you are in charge of your happiness and how you react to any of these challenges. You must not let these struggles affect your kindness, compassion and love toward yourself nor your partner.

Yours sincerely

Diana

Finding miracles amongst the struggle

 


Today I’m not gonna write about something delightful, like unicorns eating cotton candy or surfing mermaids. Instead I’m going to write about sadness and how to rise back on your feet, when life has knocked you down.

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.” – Kahlil Gibran

I have been to hell and back during the past months and someone smart once said that writing about your struggles helps. So I’m gonna open an ice-cream tub and pour my heart out….

We all have these seasons in life, when nothing goes right and we tend to hit the rock bottom. Well my past months have been falling down to rock bottom, but my rock bottom has been filled with sharp glass and hungry alligators…

So I’ll just start with a little update. Me and my husband have been trying to start a family for past four years, so there has been a fair bit of heartache once a month, there has been treatments by modern medical science, about five different world famous alternative healers, some “witches”, tibetan monks, stones, oils, needles, etc.

You name it, I’ve done it…

It has been a struggle that I don’t go a day without thinking about.

I’ve had so many failed treatments, IUI’s IVF’s,  hardcore medication, surgeries and more medication.

So basically I have been the punching bag of the universe, literally. It’s hard to believe that I’m not, after you read this.

For the past five months I’ve been through two IVF treatments and one FET treatment. Back in my home country, Estonia, where I was born. Yeah, it has been fun time! The first one started out just fine. I followed the program, loyally, stabbing myself daily with needles straight into my belly daily, as we IVF patients do… eggs were growing, everything looked good, My husband flew over from Australia, where we currently live, to do his bit in a cup, and then started the waiting game, two weeks of praying, chanting and hoping it will work out.. As my husband had to fly back to work, I stayed in Estonia with my mom, visiting every temple, church and monastery we could, begging for a good luck. When the phone call from the hospital finally came, with, yet again, devastating news: ” Sorry, the results are negative”… My  heart exploded into millions of pieces, like so many times before, I couldn’t breath and my mom was just holding me, like the times before, when I have had these horrible news…

Well, no can do… It was time to clue the heart back together, they got seven eggs out, used three, so I still had four embryos in the freezer waiting for the next ovulation to happen and that’s just less than couple of weeks away. It will work this time!

So I started to get all excited for the  FET procedure (frozen embryo transfer). Only couple of days to go… I shot the final progesterone injections to my belly and I was full of willpower and determination …But then I receive an email…. an email!?! Not a phone call, but an email, saying, “We deeply apologise, but there seems to be a problem, we cannot locate your embryos.” Well, ain’t that nice, it’s not like they’re teenagers on a spring holiday, what the hell do you mean, you cannot locate my embryos?! Did you try the bar next door? Did you look under the bed? I don’t get it…

At the end, the hospital game up with a reply, “maybe we didn’t get so many…” Well, I definitely paid them to freeze my four embryos, and I had all the documents to prove it, and two days ago they still had them..? After contacting all the top doctors and lawyers, they advised me to give up the fight, as there has never been a single person in this country, that has won a fight against the government hospital.

I was finished, I was over it and I didn’t have an inch of faith left in my body. But then my husband called and surprised me  with the best news. He had decided that we are going to take the IVF treatment in the most greatest private hospital, the leading fertility hospital in pretty much all of Scandinavia… This place logically charged about four times as much as the government hospital, but you know, what the hell, it’s just money, we can always slap another dept on top of our all exciting IVF depts! And this place is the best, everybody kept telling me, if it’s ever gonna happen, it will happen in this magical marble floored, crystal chandeliered palace, where the gold-plated storks sing on your bedside when you’re giving birth.

Bring it on! I was psyched, yet again! I started the treatments by myself, as my husband had to stay at work back in Australia. But about two weeks into treatments, he flew over to get his part done, froze the sperm for my eggs, and flew back to work. Note. flights 5000 aussie dollars for couple of days in Estonia… But, that’s what we had to do. We went all out  on this russian roulette!

After hundreds of different injections, meds, tens of  hours of bus trips to the hospital, finally arrived the morning of the first operation day. The eggs were coming out! Then they would be fertilized with my husbands sperm, grown in lab for couple of days and popped back in as embryos.

This time I had to go to hospital all by myself. Usually my mom would join me on these delightful road trips, but this time she couldn’t get any time off from work. She has been my biggest cornerstone, amongst my husband, when it comes to overcome these treatments. So there I was… lying on my fancy-pancy luxurious private hospital room, with the pink walls, in a lotus position, chanting my mantra ” Everything will be fine”. Knock on the door interrupted my nervous meditation, and enters my doctor, also known as the head of this fancy clinic. He nervously browses through my hospital papers, and announces: “There might be a problem..” All I could think of was, “WTF! Why, Universe, Why?!”,  I thought that maybe the operation is going to be late and I’m going to have to spend the night at the hospital. But he continued, “I really don’t know how this is possible, but seems like we have lost your husband’s sperm…”. “lost my husbands sperm?”, I screamed. At this point millions of thoughts went through my head, what if they have used my husband’s sperm to accidentally fertilize some other ladies eggs? What am I going to tell everyone? what? what? what? At this point I felt like someone had punched me to my face and then thrown me off the cliff into a cockroach nest! I used every single estonian curse word that I had learnt from my not-so-well-behaved-sailor-grandfather! I cried and cried till I was dehydrated.  I yelled and screamed for two hours straight, while my husband did exactly the same on the phone all the way from Australia. All I can remember from that moment was the doctors vein on his forehead pumping ridiculously fast.

Well, eventually I settled down, and so did that doctors disturbing vein. The sperm was gone, there was nothing we could do about it. My heart was completely broken, as I was still sobbing my eyes out, while transferred into the operation room… to collect my perfectly developed eggs, and freeze them. Coming out of the anesthesia, the first thing I did, was cried. The “full-of-faith, post-operation” momentum had turned into hopelessness, fear and fury.

So one might be right to wonder, if the whole universe is working against her, when doctor apologises for errors in my treatment, that never have been done during his career. Or in a separate case, hospital apologising for unforgettable mistakes, that only happen once in a lifetime. I’d say unforgivable, but I’m a firm believer in forgiveness.

So what makes me so special to universe,that it constantly yearns to conspire against me or shower me in these disappointments?

My mum keeps telling me that these things keep happening to me cause I’m so strong. Universe wouldn’t put a weak person into situations like mine. But it doesn’t seem fair. Do I really deserve all these horrible experiences, just because I’m strong enough to handle the pain?

I’m usually the happiest person ever. I love life. I’m overly sentimental, passionate and blown away about everything. Seriously, like I mean everything. Every sunset is the prettiest sunset I’ve ever seen, and every ice-cream is the best ice cream I ever eaten. And if there is something that I don’t like, I’ll say “hmmm, well this is a little different” and carry on.

And I have been trying to be so positive during this past months, because that’s who I am. Even when it’s been so hard, I’ve pulled a smile and pretend everything is ok. I guess it’s my survival mechanism. But today,  my smile was wiped away, with a mental slap.


Later when I left the hospital, I kept running into the kindest persons. And somehow every one of those strangers brought out the best of me and made me notice how amazing life really is. A taxi driver who pulled me into the conversation about how stunning our country is, even though it’s struggling in financial crises. A lost tourist, who was so happy and relieved when I directed her on a right path and told her about all the cool things to do in our city.

All of this made me realise, that even when I’ve just faced the worst news, there is so much beauty, and even there’s no guarantee that life works out as I hope it would, there’s still reasons to smile and be happy. I just need to keep my eyes on that sunshine that arrives after the storm.

It’s so easy to confuse the path with the destination, so I need to trust that this struggle is part of a bigger process. I must trust that no matter how hopeless things seem, as long as I’m strong and push forward, I will make it and I will get what I want.

Later on the day, I started to wonder… Maybe the universe isn’t punishing me, but merely trying to tell me something. I still have the most my husband, awesome family, wonderful friends, beautiful home, exciting travels, adventures and a job that I love. Sun is still shining and flowers are still blooming.

I do have the best support network a girl can ask for. And it’s so import to have people who care and run to comfort you, when you’re waving that flare down at your rock bottom.

I’ve been so buried into my troubles, that I’ve actually forgotten how incredibly lucky I am.


I’m starting to realize that I’m not that special. Because the universe isn’t trying to get me, it’s trying to get all of us. Everybody struggles and I have an entire floor of patients at the hospital to prove me that. Maybe the universe is just trying to make us exceptionally strong? Maybe we are just purifying from bad karma, getting the stuff out, to find the ultimate bliss?

I don’t know, but there is a lesson in this terrifying day. Shit happens… to me and to everybody else, but also really amazing things happen.

So maybe I should change my perspective from “why these horrible things happen to me?” to “what else could have happened, yet didn’t?”.

Maybe I should be thankful instead, or perhaps “thankful” is bit early to say, but not as disappointed?

So yeah, my ice-cream tub is empty, and the bed is calling. And thankfully tomorrow is a new day!!!  If you struggle with stuff too, than I hope you found some motivation in my story. If you like to leave a comment and share how you’ve found a silver lining in your difficulties, please do. We all need some inspiration.

Struggling with infertility is torture, and it’s much more tortures if you struggle alone, so talk, share and find support groups. There is millions of us struggling with the same problem, but everyone’s too scared to mention anything. When I started to tell people more openly about my worries with this matter, I noticed that there was seven other girls in my life that struggled with exact same problem. And six of them have had a IVF baby since. So there’s hope for all of us.

Stay positive and focus on the good! Peace out!

Namaste
Diana

Dia-Yoga

My Story


I’m sitting on a plane to Singapore, bored as can be and I have an epiphany…
I shall start a blog! I don’t want to call it a blog as I’m not your typical blogger. 
I’m as spontaneous as a thunder and as weird as a Siberian summer. 
I write this as my diary, or maybe just as some funny and weird scribbles of life, yoga, health, hardships and the things that I’m grateful for…
 All I know is, that someone once said that its healthy to write about your thoughts and that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m going to be healthy! 
 If someone can find something helpful, or motivating, or maybe just even a laughter from my obviously disturbed sense of humour than thats great 🙂
Namaste
Diana 

 

Talking taboos or suffering in silence?

For years I have been very honest about my infertility. I have taken my mess and made it my message. And every time I do so several people reach out to me and share their personal experience about this heartbreaking journey. 99,9% of these messages are private witch proves the point that infertility is still a taboo and most of us choose to suffer in silence. But considering from the amount of response I get, I can see how many people really want to talk, cry or even laugh over their struggles of infertility. 

I got married two days ago and I’m over the moon, feeling ridiculously happy and complete. There was a moment though at the beginning of the ceremony that got me thinking. The priest started the speech with words: “The purpose of marriage for the individual is to start a family and create a happy home. The social purpose, in turn, is reproduction to preserve society.” 

Wedding Day

I felt like I got punched in the stomach. I knew I shouldn’t have. I knew that these are nothing but words, by someone who doesn’t have a clue of who I am.  But this is my biggest weak point.  This topic silently slits my scars open and leaves me gasping for air. 

So in a nutshell: I suffer from unexplained infertility. There’s no reason for my inability to get pregnant. Everything works, but nothing works. After nearly five years of failed infertility treatments and one miscarriage me and my ex-husband called it quits… in everything. 

I think its a widely held expectation that if and when we choose to, we are able to have a family. Person not having a kid by their forties is considered somewhat a diseased outlaw, who is not doing their part “going forth and multiplying”. This is also the root for why so many infertile couples hide the problem.  Thinking that they have failed. Living day in day out with pain and loss. Feeling ashamed about something that isn’t their fault and they have no control over. Infertility – it’s the loneliest disease.

Somehow I find it important to bring more awareness to this avoided topic; for the society to understand the impact of the problem. It’s a disease that 1 out of 6 couples have to battle with and a disease that not many people know about unless they have dealt with it. I want people who suffer with it to know that they are not alone and people who know nothing about infertility to learn to respond better. I know that this is just because people don’t know what to say, but that awkward silence and quick change of topic is getting a bit old. I wish people would actually listen and look beyond the empty lap with compassion and awareness.

I understand that most of us don’t feel eager to talk about infertility, cause such exposure can add up to the pain. There is also a lot of shame around the topic, because pregnancy should be natural thing, and the moment it becomes a challenge, person feels inadequate. Sometimes even when you wish to talk about your infertility, it’s not easy. Cause let’s be serious, when is it ever a good moment to talk about the sperm count or motility, the state of your ovaries or insemination? While having a banana split with your friends?

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I find that for me sharing my story and breaking taboos is part of healing. So I hope you give it a try, if it feels like a right thing to do. Let’s create a safe place, where discussion and support is recognized.

Love & Light

Diana

 

Brain Wash – Detoxing our minds

Healthy outside starts with healthy inside 💕

Spring has always been the time of renewal and rebirth for me. A fresh start that means tidying up the house and giving my body a nice detox. It’s time to let go of what doesn’t serve us and make room for fresh and new.

It’s not only our bodies that need the detoxification, but also our minds needs a good flush. Reenergising our mindsets and let go of old habits and beliefs will do miracles for our entire system.

It doesn’t even have to be spring, but whenever you feel the symptoms of your mind getting to cluttered – like: stress, health issues, fatigue, unhappiness, etc – it’s time to tidy up your mind from emotional toxins.

Use these following steps for detox of mind:

• Get outdoorsy! Go for a walk, explore the forest and parks, dance in the waves or work on the garden. Sun is shining, birds are singing and you can feel your stress levels drop. Fresh air is magical and it can help improve our mental health and quiet the mind.

• Leave your phone off! Silence your notifications for few hours or leave your phone home as you go for a walk.

Ask yourself, “Do I really need that info or do I need something else?”

• Meditate before you medicate!

Do this for few minutes daily:

1. Get comfortable and prepare to sit still for a few minutes. After you stop reading this, you’re going to simply focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath.

2. Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath most? In your belly? In your nose? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale.

3. Follow your breath for two minutes. Take a deep inhale, expanding your belly, and then exhale slowly, elongating the out-breath as your belly contracts.

• Take an inventory about your life!

Write a list and be honest with yourself:

⁃ What do I really want?

⁃ What is working in my life and what is not?

⁃ What am I ready to let go in order to make space for something new?

⁃ What is standing in my way of achieving my goals? This could be either limiting beliefs or relationships, job or emotions.

⁃ How do I want to grow in my life? What does my heart desire?

Set an intension for this next chapter in your life. Dream big!

⁃ Listen to your heart and find a word that describes what you want to achieve in your life. write the word down and place it somewhere where you can see it daily.

⁃ Now close your eyes and visualise yourself living your intension.

⁃ Notice how you feel in your imagined future. How does your life look like? And what comes with your intension?

Whenever you feel like you need to de-stress, de-clutter, and detox your mind, follow these steps and enjoy the clarity that follows.

Also if you are looking for body and mind detoxification in a form of yoga and posture practise, head down to my YouTube channel:

https://youtu.be/iREsDX8IVqM

Yours in yoga

Diana

Create your own calm…

The crisis in the world teach us a lot about staying calm and patient instead of panicking. That’s what crisis do, they stop us so we have to breathe and observe what really matters.

But sometimes only the idea of slowing down feels overwhelming. All the chronic rushing and achieving keeps us on the constant fight or flight mode.

Today we are going to learn the importance of stillness and talk about few easy techniques.

Now turn off your phone, close your eyes and your mouth. Sit quietly in a comfortable position and stay there for 3 minutes without doing anything. Externally nothing happens, but the benefits internally are massive.

First step of meditation isn’t harder than this. It might feel challenging though as we are not used to stillness.

Studies show that already three minutes of calming down has a positive impact to brain chemistry.

As the living condition have radically changed pass these 20 years. Mindfulness practise is necessity for everyone not an alternative lifestyle for some hippies. The strain on our brain has increased massively, yet biologically we have the same brain capacity as humankind had 50000 years ago.

The estimate is that our brain can handle exact same amount of stress as a caveman, which is forty stress reactions per day. Caveman freaked out and stressed as there was few dinosaurs running after him, and his brain recovered when the threat was over.

Modern day man gets stressed as a car drives pass or the phone rings at the middle of the dinner and he doesn’t necessarily recover that fast as there’s constant stimulants and the flood of signals is never ending.

Our brains has around 40 000 stress reactions daily. These stimulants come from computer screens, phones, traffic, our work places, etc.

Do you understand now, why it’s so important for us to slow down and withdraw into silence?

There’s a five point method I’d like you to try: Breath, be quiet, stay positive, smile and accept.

Deep BREATHING reduces stress fast. Especially exaggerated and long exhalation helps to calm anxious mind and relax the body.

Deep breathing helps us to QUIET DOWN. This power couple supports each other.

STAYING POSITIVE betters the quality of life and works as antidote for negative thinking. Our brain tends to get stuck at stress-mode, thinking about undone projects and things that might go wrong. So “positive thinking” is actually a practise as a practise on your yoga mat. It’s not easy, but it releases a lot of assets.

SMILE has such incredible strength! It was one of the earliest thing humankind learnt to use, and to this day it is a power signal to calm the world around us. It connect us, as smiling looks the same in all the cultures. In China smiling meditation has been a thing for thousands of years.

ACCEPTANCE is something that drives us on, regardless of hardship in life. For example if you suffer from insomnia, accepting the fact that you are going to wake up during the night is a big help. Acceptance is calming and can help you to fall back to sleep faster. Anger doesn’t abate with anger, but accepting the anger could reduce it.

Acceptance also helps with meditation. If you rebel against stillness, thinking you cannot meditate, it becomes harder. It’s a brutal fact, starting meditation ain’t gonna be that easy! Just accept this: you don’t have to do anything and if the enlightenment happens that’s great, but if not, at least you gave your brains a bit of a break from all the rush.

So take these five keys and let them give you the strength you’re looking for. Better immunity, more energy, balanced life, inner calmness… All these benefits, while you just sit and do nothing.

Love and light

Diaba

My cup of tea…

MY CUP OF TEA 🍵

If you know me you know I’m all about the tea!

Tea is something that has been around for thousands of years. It has been a favourite drink from India to England. It’s delicious, refreshing and full of healing antioxidants.

It’s a natural companion to yoga practise. It gives a little boost before the practise and gentle warmth after.

I could never get bored with tea, as there’s endless amounts of different ones. Green, black, white, matcha, rooibos, herbal teas, etc. Let me share some of my favourite go-to’s.

GREEN TEA

In mornings I love a balancing and energising green tea with some ginger and lemongrass tea.

Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. These include improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other impressive benefits.

TULSI TEA

With my yoga practise I go for Tulsi tea.

The “Queen of Herbs,” also known as Holy Basil is the most sacred herb of India.

Tulsi contains essential oils such as camphene, eugenol and cineole that help in relieving congestion. This herbal tea is loaded with anti-bacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that can help in fighting infections as well as inflammations and allergies of respiratory tract.

Tulsi extract found in the herbal tea is abundant in magnesium, which is a vital nutrient required for the prevention of heart disease. The magnesium in holy basil helps our blood vessels work properly. It prevents deposition of cholesterol and promotes free flow of blood, and also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.

According to a study done in India, the leaf extracts from holy basil help in lowering blood sugar levels, by as much as 17 percent in fasting glucose and 7 percent in glucose readings immediately following a meal. Daily intake of tulsi tea facilitates metabolism of carbs and fats, and ensures that the sugar in the blood is utilized for energy. By keeping the blood sugar levels under check, tulsi tea reduces the risk of diabetes.

TUMERIC TEA

When I’m after a good cleanse I go for “golden milk” – tumeric tea with milk and honey.

Add a hint of ginger, lemon juice or black pepper and voilá!

Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia and is a member of the ginger family. It has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

As an anti-inflammatory, tumeric tea may help reduce the most prominent symptoms of arthritis . Several studies have shown that tumeric can also protect against liver damage.

MINT TEA!

There’s nothing as soothing as a cooling mint tea after a heavy meal. I love to kick start the metabolism with this one!

Native to Europe and Asia, it has been used for thousands of years for its pleasant, minty taste and health benefits.

Peppermint relieves digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating and indigestion. Additionally, in a review of 14 clinical trials in nearly 2,000 children, peppermint reduced the frequency, length and severity of abdominal pain.

As peppermint acts as a muscle relaxant and pain reliever. It helps to diminish certain types of headaches

In one clinical study with migraines, peppermint oil applied to the forehead and temples significantly reduced pain after two hours, compared to a placebo oil.

Peppermint has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, peppermint tea helps fight clogged sinuses due to infections, the common cold and allergies.

CAMOMILE TEA!

Need a good snooze?

Chamomile has some unique properties that may benefit the quality of your sleep.

It contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia, or the chronic inability to sleep.

Something different:

SEA BUCKTHORN TEA!

Meet sea buckthorn! Delicious immune and metabolism boosting magic sea buckthorn tea will support your health and make your skin glow! Being an amazing source of nutrients and vitamins, this healing tea is worth to try to stay healthy through the winter!

Sometimes referred to as the holy fruit of the Himalayas, sea buckthorn can be consumed in mornings and evenings.

A popular remedy in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines, it may provide health benefits ranging from supporting your heart to protecting against diabetes, stomach ulcers and skin damage.

Sea buckthorn helps protect your body against aging and illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

What’s more, its berries boast potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. They also contain good amounts of folate, biotin and vitamins B1, B2, B6, C and E.

Interestingly, sea buckthorn oil may also be one of the only plant foods known to provide all four omega fatty acids — omega-3, omega-6, omega-7 and omega-9.

There you go!

Now go and have yourself a cup of positive-tea 😊

Smile, my favorite medicine!

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If you ask pretty much anyone who knows me to describe what I’m like, you’d possibly get an answer like “happy person” or a “contagiously goofy smiler”. This is something that I’ve heard about myself since I was little, and I couldn’t ask for a lovelier description. I might not be the prettiest duckling in the row and I might have few lines in the corners of my eyes, permanent marks of my happiness, but what the hell? If my wrinkles come from smiling in the sun, than I don’t care.

Smile, the universal symbol of happiness, the sign of infinite love in our hearts!

I love smiling! I love that moment when I’m looking into someone’s eyes and they smile back at me. I love the sense of balance that smiling gives me. I honestly believe it’s the most powerful, yet most underrated ability we possess. And that most of us don’t even realise what we can achieve by smiling more often.

If you’ve been to my yoga classes, you know that I equally remind you guys about the importance of breathing and the importance of smiling. Even when your limbs are shaking in a warrior pose, I keep telling you to smile, to trick the brain to think you’re enjoying the moment. The power of smile!

Don’t believe me? Try it out. Just close your eyes for a second, you might feel neutral right now, but bring a smile to your face, maybe try visualising someone/something that makes you smile. Can you feel it? That lovely fuzzy feeling in the bottom of your belly rising. Can you feel the energy change as you turn the corners of your mouth upwards? Still not feeling it? Well, go to a mirror and look at yourself, and smile! Don’t force the smile, but allow it to arise, feeling the cheeks rise and the eyes smile too. Maybe wink to yourself and whisper ” You are spectacular”. Can you feel it now?

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Smile? Hot or Not?

Sadly, I have heard and read few times now, that if you want to look younger you should stop smiling. If you want to seem more successful or physically imposing don’t expose those pearly whites. And to avoid horrible photos, you shouldn’t smile, as they bring out all the wrinkles! I curse in chosen situations… but WTF! Absolute bollocks! I think that a frowny face just doesn’t suit anyone. Smile just generally makes people look more attractive, and even research has proven that we find others more attractive when they are wearing a smile. They are more approachable, forgivable,  friendly and trustworthy.

Smile to Feel Good!

Striking a smile makes you feel better! Studies show that smiling releases serotonin – a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness and wellbeing. One smile stimulates the human brain the same amount as eating up to 2000 bars of chocolate, how cool is that? “Smile and you feel happy, you feel happy and you smile!” Even when you’re not feeling great, fake it till you make it, try smiling, genuinely, and see how you feel! While at home, walking around or standing in line, I tend to smile, doing my own little research. Observing what happens within me when I’m smiling regardless if I’m feeling happy or down, and also observing how people react to me when they walk by. I highly recommend it. No matter what’s going on in your life, smile! So often we battle through our days, struggling, waiting for something to happen to cheer us up, forgetting that we are our own cheerleaders.

Smile Smile Smile!

Tap into your superpower now, make yourself and the people around you feel better. Get out there groover and smile your socks off! Smile at yourself, smile at others, lovers and strangers! Do whatever makes your soul sing and do it with a smile on your face!

Love and light

Diana

The Power of Shinrin-Yoku

Yesterday I was sitting and chatting with my sister and a friend about the power of nature. About the harmony and balance that nature can offer us when everyday life gets too overwhelming and stormy.

One of my favourite hobbies in nature is Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing”. You might have heard me speaking about this on our yikes (yogic hikes) several times. Shinrin-Yoku is the art of connecting with nature through our senses. This practise has helped me find even a deeper connection with nature and also the wisdom of forest. Forest, that has always been like a second mother to me… a sacred place, the paradise of healing, that never fails to to fill me with a sense of wonder and happiness.

What is Shinrin-Yoku?

Shinrin-yoku was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of precautionary health care in Japanese medicine. Researchers in Japan have established scientific proves on the health benefits of spending time in forest and now their research is helping to establish shinrin-yoku and forest therapy throughout the world.

I just cannot help but love the concept of it! If a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way, there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits. While walking we smell, we see, we touch, we taste and we hear the nature. It truly helps to open the senses, and every walk is a unique experience. Great thing about forest bathing is that it’s pretty much possibly where ever there’s nature, either it’s forest, a city park or beach, these all are great natural environments that help us open up our senses.

Benefits of Shinrin-Yoku:
For past several decades there have been many scientific studies that are demonstrating the healing effects of simply being in wild and natural areas. The scientifically-proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku include:

  • Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body’s Natural Killer (NK) cells. Part of our immune system’s way of fighting cancer.
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep

How to get started?

First of all, leave the technology behind! Yes, phones, cameras, etc. You don’t need any devices where you’re going. Allow your body to be your guide. Learn to listen to yourself, follow your nose. Let it take you to the place where you feel comfortable, where you can heal. Don’t rush! Remember this is not a hike. The slower you go, the more you can notice things. Don’t plan! It doesn’t matter if you don’t get anywhere, cause you’re not going anywhere. You are just going to walk aimlessly, calmly, opening up your senses, your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands and feet, allowing the nature to get in.

Shinrin-Yoku is all about reconnecting, sensing the nature. So feel your surroundings, gently stroke a tree trunk or a leaf, feel the texture, dip your toes in a river, or just lie down on a grass. Take in a deep breath and taste the fresh air. Smell a flower, or the nature around you in general. Open your eyes to what’s around you, to sunlight filtering through the leaves or to forest bursting into green at spring time. Listen to the water flowing over rocks, the birds or the breeze. Cross that bridge to happiness by opening up also your sixth sense, drink in the beauty of the forest, bathe in the peace and tranquility.

Yikes!

Sometimes we just struggle with slowing down and have forgotten how to stand still. Sometimes we need a guide to help us to get connected again, and that’s what we do on yikes. I will offer exercises and instructions to use senses to connect, help to unlock the power of forest. It doesn’t matter if you are fit or not, we don’t rush, merely we learn how to let forest in again. Also a guide will plan the trails, so it takes away the stress of thinking about the destination or trail, allowing you to enjoy, reflect and pause.

Find the upcoming Yikes here:

https://www.dia-yoga.com/yike-yoga-hiking

Love and light

Diana

Nature – My favourite yoga studio

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When ever I feel I need to charge my batteries, when I feel stressed or anxious, I head to nature. Away from man built concrete jungle, away from the wi-fi signals and the competitive city life. The landscapes, aromas and the sounds of nature helps me to forget the worries and chores. I’ll lay myself down on grass or sand, and I take a deep breath in – the positivity, self-confidence and my balance is back.

Nature gives me the exact same things that yoga does – the silence, the calm and the sense of unity. Both of them offer me the chance to stop and to be present. Either I’m on my yoga mat or hiking in the woods, I’m breathing with consciousness,  I’m taking time to listen to my body, it’s needs, it’s edge, and it’s time to have that precious pause. So why wouldn’t I merge these two things? Why wouldn’t I take my yoga where it first came from?

To share my passion for yoga outdoors has luckily taken off. More and more people start to grave that deep connection with nature, more and more people are taking their yoga mats on a hike. I’m eager not to only teach yoga poses and yogic philosophies, but also bring to people’s lives a hint of buddhist teachings and the magical practise of Shinrin-Yoku, forest bathing. I’m eager to show people what it feels like when you take yourself back to your native habitat and give your soul the ultimate spa treatment.

Yiking = mindful hiking, yoga, walking meditation, pranayama. This is something that I have created, a combination that offers people – who enjoy yoga or hiking – something deeper. A practise that allows us to connect with nature in more powerful way. Nature’s prescription to cultivate more calm in our lives. More info about Yikes on: https://www.dia-yoga.com/yike-yoga-hiking

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Even though we live in a country with such breathtaking nature, we have lost our courage to step off the beaten track  …getting ourselves to hills and forests seems beyond the reach. Studies are showing how urbanization is linked with increased levels of mental illness, how allergies and chronic illnesses are on the rise cause we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, mainly attached to screen. The fact, that being in nature has such incredible benefits, from increasing the activity of cancer-fighting cells to lowering blood pressure and stress hormone, seems to be easily forgotten, when thinking of “comfort” after a day in office. According to studies also memory and attention span increase by 20 percent after being outside for two hours or longer. And if we add yoga to that – flexibility, mobility, clarity, awareness of body and mind, focus – we are talking about making superhumans… if we only make the effort.

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I challenge you! Pick a preferable spot in nature. Take off your shoes if possible. Root yourself. Practise some half sun salutation, some side bends and gentle twists to awaken the muscles and spine. When you have opened up your body, just stand and enjoy your breath for a moment. Enjoy the elements of nature, the natural beauty around you. Bring your hands on your belly, take a deep breath in, feeling the diaphragm and ribcage expand, and then slowly exhale, deeply and completely. Eyes gently closed, keep breathing, envisioning your senses opening, exhaling the busyness of your mind. While working your breath, remind yourself that the trees breathe in as you breathe out. You are part of the nature, and that is just freaking beautiful!

Half sun salutation and morning swim on sunrise at Nuuksio National Park, Finland.

Love and light

Diana

How to make time for yoga?

It’s 6 am, the alarm clock freaks you out on a cold winter morning. You push the snooze button, every five minutes, for nine times, thinking that it will give you all you need to be ready for this day. In 45 minutes you crawl out of the bed, feeling even more tired than before. You are running late. You’ll get the coffee started, jump into clothes, while getting the mascara on. Multitasking at the best… drinking the coffee while driving to work, thinking about the hundreds of chores that you have piled up for today. Dinner, bills, kids, etc.

Sounds familiar? Would you be feeling little less stressed, little more centered, calm and focus, if you would have taken a few minutes to find your breath? Would you feel more energetic if you had done couple of sunsalution while the coffee was dripping?

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I think one of the main problems about making time for our yoga, is that we actually think of yoga as something that needs to be fitted into our life, instead of thinking of yoga as something that is our life. Also a problem is that we think of being a yogi as somehow less than being a partner, or a employee, or a student or a friend.  I know I might sound like a broken record, but I do really believe that yoga is much more than touching the toes- It is a way of life, practise that is not only physical, but also emotional, spiritual and mental, practise for self-transformation. Something that gives us much more than it takes.

How often do we think that the day will be or has been too hectic or stressful for a yoga class? It is so easy to look at that yoga class as another chore on our to-do list, but in reality, the moment we feel the life getting too hectic and stressful is the moment that yoga has most to offer. When we commiting to a yoga class, we should commit like we commit to a date with our best friend. Unfortunately very often the commitments we make to ourselves seem less important than the commitments we make to others, and that sucks! We need to love ourselves and show up for the precious time we get to spend with our beautiful SELVES!

And maybe we don’t always have that time, or finances to make the class, but that’s where the “yoga as a way of life” kicks in. The major focus of yoga is not the postures at all and most of my personal practise happens off the mat. Not saying that I wouldn’t be an ultimate asana-addict, but focusing only on posture practise, is like studying only one subject at school, never finding out that there is a world of knowledge in all the other classrooms.

Here is my favourite tips for Yoga of the Mat:

I love, love, love to practise yoga nidra before I jump to bed! (Here is a link to my yoga nidra recording , and there is heaps more on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGGqQ8TWPbM&t=349s)

Gentle hiking in nature with complete awareness and sense of presence, grounding myself by standing bare feet on grass feeling the earthly energy.

Reading yoga-related literature,  listening to podcasts.

Instead of lounging on sofa, try sitting on the floor in bound angle pose while watching the “Game of Thrones” 😉 Why not try standing in mountain pose or why not even in tree pose while queuing in shops (my personal queuing pose at the moment is standing pigeon… slightly disturbing but so good for my piriformis). There are limited occasions to “strike a pose” off the mat.

When waking up, don’t check the phone first thing, but give yourself a gentle spinal twist, and feel the energy starting to flow, feel the digestive organs waking up, When you release your twist there will be a rush or fresh blood that will flood your digestive organs with fresh oxygen and nutrients. Twists are wonderful postures also if you deal with stress or anxiety. These postures will help you to decrease feelings of anxiousness. The stored tension is released in the body as you twist, which can have a positive effect on your mental state.

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As my final words for today’s little blog, I recommend you to let go of utter control. Every day is different! We cannot make it to every class, every day, so choose your yoga. Go to a class one day, go for a meditative walk to a beach on another, read some motivating yoga literature and feel the gratitude wash over you as you rise your hands towards the sun in the early morning hours to salute the new day. This type of daily yoga commitment might sound different to what you had in mind, but let’s get real, that’s all pure-organic-soulful-disciplined-intentional yoga. Yoga isn’t just a perfectly aligned warrior pose, but it’s part of you! And the moment you open your eyes to that, you can find the light of yoga, learn to express your yoga with your every action, thought, speech and breath. Become a yogic being.

Wishing you all a yogalishious day!

Love and light

Dia

 

Good Morning

 

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I LOVE mornings! I’m one of those super annoying morning persons, who jumps up and is overly exited about the new day.
Today I’d like to share some of my morning rituals that can be a great help for a perfect day.

I’m a firm believer in syncing oneself with the clock of the nature. Going to bed latest at 10 pm and waking up at 6 am.
Before electric lighting dominated our world, we lived by the cycles of the sun and moon. We arised with the sunrise, were active in the daylight, and gathered around the fire as darkness fell. This way of life isn’t only appropriate, but it turns out to be vital to our physical and mental functioning, our moods, and even our survival. In fact, many researchers believe that being synchronized with natural light-dark cycles is the basis of good health.
“Morning and evening are especially significant times for resetting our inner clocks. Awakening gradually with the sun, which stimulates the hormone serotonin, allows our body to peacefully resolve its sleep cycles and prepare us for the day. If we are in tune, our heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and cortisol (a hormone that defends against stress) level increase before we wake up. In the evening, these functions should decrease, while darkness triggers increased production of the sleep-inducing hormones melatonin and prolactin.”

Nowadays I wake up without alarm, or if I need an alarm, I like to set it to a gentle bird chirping, that gradually becomes louder.
I slowly bring my body into a reclined twist, one of my favourite poses, it feels so good from the inside out. It offers me an opportunity to feel the power of wringing out the body from its core. It can improve breathing, ease back and neck tension, and soothe frazzled nerves. Its reclined position lets us linger in the posture’s curves and spirals, inviting the twist to penetrate deep into the spine. If you’re anything like me, this pose will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and rinsed clean.
I aim to not open social media and email for the first hour of my day, so I can actually connect with my self. This is sometimes not easy for me, as I do suffer slightly from workaholism.
Instead I like to read a short text of something that is mentally and spiritually inspiring, at the moment I read “First in the Morning” by Osho. It gives me a different option to start my day. A more meaningful and meditative way. There is a short text for each day of the year and the message carries me through the day.
After a moment of contemplation I like to close my eyes and repeat my sankalpa (an intention formed by the heart and mind). It can be my personal vow , like “this is going to be a perfect day, filled with joy, fulfilment and well-being” or my favourite mantra “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” Sankalpa has an incredible powerful and magical impact on my life.

I bring my hands to heart center and I bow my head. 3EC1E845-6686-4A0B-8C86-546741F9FB97
As I jump out of the bed I start my day, always, with a pint of cleansing lemon-ginger water. This powerful yet simple detox will energises me, helps me to jumpstart my metabolism, boost my immune system, get rid of toxins and tells my gut that I love her.
A cup of green chai tea, and I’m off to a yoga class with a peace in my mind and smile on my face 😆

Lots of love
Diana