Finding the motivation

I have been looking for my motivation lately with cats and dogs? Feels like I have a spine of a gummy bear, and I’m not talking about my backbends. Arghh!


This story is about finding the motivation. 

  
I have been sick for past few weeks, with a horrible virus. I’ve tried every possible natural remedy. Fifty cups of ginger tea per day, running around the house with my Tibetan bells and healing incense sticks, vodka socks (something that stuck with me from my childhood in Soviet Union), but nothing. This was a duff bugger… 
One morning when I was teaching my class I nearly fainted, that’s how bad I was… And I had to go to western doctor, to get western antibiotics. I hated it. My body feels so dirty afterwards. 
Anyway, I couldn’t practise yoga for awhile and having a pause in my practice killed my motivation. It’s hard to get back on saddle and it’s so easy to get stuck on a sofa like a drunken wombat. 
First thing with finding the motivation is to know what motivates us. What’s the thing that gets our asses of the sofa?
I guess my biggest motivation is that yoga literally saved my life, so I have all my faith in it.
Long time ago I was really sick ( and yes, I am healthy sometimes in between my sicknesses)… I had a really bad post-phnemonia-epileptic-burst-outs, that lasted for half a year. I went to doctors around the country and no one could help me. Finally I found a doctor who was specified in tropical diseases and he told me that two out of the five antibiotics injected to my veins in Indonesian hospital were illegal in Europe, because of their side effects on nervous system. No shit… and No cure. Well, not much choice than to continue the twitching… My twitching ended when I found a great yoga teacher in Perth, she teaches at a Hindu temple. I could literally feel yoga healing me and the toxins leaving my body. Day by day I was feeling healthier and I noticed that I could finally go to bed without fearing if I wake up in a morning. 
After that I have been spreading the word of yoga loyally.   
There will be days, when I cannot wait to get on my mat. And there will be days, that I would do anything else than practise. I might be to tired, stressed or lacking the motivation. But I have noticed, that the days I’m avoiding my yoga mat, are the days, that I need the practise the most!
 
I guess my main motivator is being healthy. Physically and mentally, happy, calm and smiley ( mind the occasional collapses)… Also mastering that wicked handstand or arm balance and having  that after class euphoria gets me going. 
I hate to disappoint you guys, but there is also a shallow reason. 
And that’s all about looking good… A boost for confidence. There’s no need to be shamed of taking care of your body, as your body is your temple.

My little tricks to motivate myself:
One of my favourite style is the “psycho torture” or visual motivators:
Having pictures of great yogis in some wicked poses around, maybe on a screensaver or on a phone cover. Checking videos of my favourite yogis from YouTube works wonders. Having an altar or a personal yoga space. Reminders… 
 
Silly, yet a great motivator can also be self-bribery. Make a list of rewards for two month, and at the end of each week, if you done your exercises, bribe yourself. For example, if on week one you go to yoga for five days, you permit yourself to get those super hot high heels. Of coarse there is no better reward than the inner reward, when week by week, we feel healthier and look better and fitter. But I know what you think, “inner reward” blah blah… what’s hotter, than those smoking stilettos with my gorgeous yoga calves. After sometime you’ll see that you don’t need no bribery, your hot body and balanced mind are way greater gifts, than anything you can get from shops…

Another great way of getting yourself going, is not to look for any motivations at all. Just get up and go!
Sometimes when you start to look for motivations, and overthinking it, you’ll only end up with excuses like:”But the Sons of Anarchy is on and what if I don’t make it back from yoga to see what happens to Jax…” or “It’s too far/too cold/ too this and too that”… Excuses, excuses…
Think of that “after class” euphoria and how good you feel. I bet you’re not feeling sorry you went on and pushed yourself.
Also, let go of that “all or nothing”-attitude! Promise yourself that you only practise for 15 minutes, and you might feel so fired up after a little warm up, that you go all the way. Something is always better than nothing!

  

I really pushed myself yesterday. I have had a torn ligament in my wrist for past 4 months, and finally I had enough, I thought to myself that it is time to get back to those crazy arm balances and handstands. So I participated in a morning class for yoga gurus, a class that was dedicated to handstands and arm balances. Well, I’ve always thought that I’m pretty ok with my moves, but hell no. I was looking around in a shock, while my fellow yogis were doing one handed handstands… I love situation like that. What a booster! 
As for most people, these moments are devastating. Everyone wants to be the best and often we like to rely on the failure of others to feel successful. But the secret is: Stop Comparing! Take the philosophy of inversions, Have a different kind of a view. These super yogis are there to inspire and motivate us! They aren’t some mytological beings, from planet spaghetti, they are just humans and they use to be beginners too. And with a little determined practise, in a couple of months, you’ll be as good as they are! Let their persistence encouraged you to get stronger and eat better and exercise more often… 

I keep hearing these funny complaints from people, who I hope to get to join yoga classes, but who might slightly lack motivation… 
Often I hear the statement “yoga isn’t my thing!” 
Let’s start with the question, what is yoga? It’s breathing, it’s connecting your body and mind, taking care of yourself and caring for others. Exactly, what in “yoga” isn’t your thing? Breathing?
Often I hear people complaining, that they are not flexible enough… Rubbish! That is the reason why you practise yoga, to gain flexibility.
Some people say, that yoga is just some weird streches and doesn’t grow any muscles… Ok, wrong again!!! Have you tried Ashtanga yoga or seen those sculpted yoga bodies? It’s not necessarily rugby, but do you even realise how many push ups you do during a proper series..? I had a 70 year old man next to me on my morning yoga class today, and his body was like a creek statue, one could study anatomy from it…
Some say, that yoga is just this ridiculous hippie-thing and some say yoga’s a featherbrained new-age religion… 
First of all, Which hippies might they mean? The mums, that want to dedicate a hour to their selves per week, or that ex body builder, who tries to heal those torn muscles, or maybe that tattooed bikey, or every possible celebrity in Hollywood..? Hmmm. Nearly half a billion people are practising yoga world wide, so we better run, cause these hippies are going to attack us with downward facing dogs and bongs!
And what comes to the religious side of yoga… Yes, yoga started from India thousands of years ago, and is linked with Hinduism more than Christianity… But it’s still just a way of life, it’s a mental and physical practise, dedicated to create the union between body, mind and spirit. 
And so what, if you happen to feel bit more connected or stress free after the class, is it really that bad?
Starting yoga isn’t easy for anybody, nobody’s perfect, everybody hurts at some point or at some pose and it’s a life long journey. But the time goes by, and you will notice that you love it, you yearn your practise, and most importantly you feel absolutely Awesome!

So that was my little story about the motivation. 
Whatever your trigger is, let it be your fuel to get you going. Love yourself, love your body and love your mind!

Namaste, 

Diana


Who is Yogi?

“He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all beings, both in their happiness and distress”
-Bhagavad Gita
  
First image that comes to our mind is a white bearded boney guy, sitting in a lotus pose in a cave, chanting some Sanskrit mantras and continuously meditating to achieve the ultimate Zen mentality… 
Or a kombucha sipping vegan, covered in “Om” tattoos, who only buys organic quinoa and carries her yoga mat every where… 
It’s easy to pin point people in to the boxes like that, but being a yogi is much much more. 
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a yogi, because of the respect for true yogis in India that honoured me by being my gurus, my teachers, on my path to become a yoga teacher. 
Anyone can pick up an instrument and claim to be playing music, and same goes with yoga. In the world, where anyone after a one week yoga teacher training calls themselves yogis, without even understanding which style of yoga they’re teaching, it seems that respect for the traditional yoga has been lost, and also the proper understanding of the concept of “yogi”.
So would you prefer your guitar teacher to be Jimi Hendrix or someone who just learned to tune a guitar?
I guess my inspiration, motivation and dream is to be a true yogi. 
Who knows how many years or lifetimes this takes, but if I have my faith I will get closer step by step.
I admit I have lots of flaws, but I’m working damn hard to get there.
Yes, I have a temper, I suffer, I’m moody. Occasionally I eat meat, but I do love my veggies. I get scared, but I also laugh and love the life to the fullest.
I enjoy my wheatgrass shots, but I also appreciate a shot of Jaloviina (hardcore Finnish liquor). 
On my iPod you can find mantras, kirtans and even nature sounds, but I also shake my head to gangster rap. 
I rock in harem pants, but I also love to wear a little black dress and high heels. 
I love my meditation, but I also love to party.
I’m not enlightened (yet), but I do my best to be the kindest I can.
After all I’m only a human, I do mistakes and I learn from them.
The question remains unanswered, who is yogi?
In my opinion, it’s a persons, who practises yoga in different areas in their lives.
They live their lives respecting their body and mind, breathing, loving themselves and others. Trying not to harm their fellow beings, and working their way to be a better human being.
There is no rules, you don’t have to look like something, or do some weird stuff. You don’t have to have the picture perfect headstand or you don’t have to know by heart all the benefits of coconut water.
We must let those images go, cause the yogi is inside of us, it’s seen by our wisdom of life, our acts, not in the brand of our yoga pants or how much we travel around the world at tropical yoga retreats.
So how can we get closer to become a yogi?
Studying the beautiful wisdom of yoga sutras, which will give you the keys to happier life.
Keeping up with our practise, either if it’s spiritual, or only to gain that bootylicious yoga butt. Whatever your reasons are, your inner yogi will show up eventually.  Suddenly, when you feel more flexible in different poses you might notice that you are more flexible in the different situations in your life. You might notice that your practise have brought you clarity, you want to eat healthier and you will love yourself more regardless of the numbers on the scale. Your journey on your yoga mat might just bring you the compassion and peace you were looking for. And you might even skip the happy hour with an intention to make to your yoga class…
Let yoga be your teacher in life. Take what you learn on your yoga mat and practise it in your daily life. For example, that in life as on our yoga mats we must stay present, there is not much in that past, that can be changed, and stressing about future doesn’t help either. We are living in this moment, and way to often we seem to forget about it. 
So can you call yourself a yogi? Especially if you don’t even know the Eight-Limbed Path of yoga?  What the heck, you can call yourself anything you want, but my opinion is, that a yogi is someone who is familiar with the history and traditions of yoga, someone who is self-aware, someone who lives by yogic philosophies, follows the path of yoga, while aiming to find the true union and connection.  
  

 

Namaste,
Diana

Let go!

How many times in a day I think about the importance of letting go?
Way too many! As I find it one of the most important things we must practice. 
I think it’s the most difficult pose to accomplish in yoga, letting go of your thoughts, as our monkey mind constantly wonders either in the future or in the past. “Letting go” is part of every single pose, for example when practising headstand you must remember to let go of the fear of falling over.
Every time I teach a class, I mention how yoga symbolises letting go, it’s all about letting the unwanted elements in us die, getting the mirror of our soul polished. 
There is a beautiful Buddhist story about letting go.
 A monk was holding a cup full of water, and asked the other monks:” How heavy is this cup?” He answered his own question “At first this cup is very light, after ten minutes it gets heavier. Can you imagine how heavy it gets after holding it for one hour? Very heavy. And what should you do after something gets very heavy? The wise thing would be, that you set it down for a while, rest and pick it up again.”
So simple! What a beautiful story to use in our everyday life, as we struggle through the days… why wouldn’t we give our mind and body a rest, and carry on “lighter”?
I have always struggled with letting go, it’s my biggest battle. I have so much clutter in my brain, I’m way too sentimental, I cherish my memories like gold! I’ve stored silly stuff, like something as little as a plastic cork from my first date with my husband or a moth eaten scarf, that I wore on a special moment.. Not good Diana. And what is the reason for this stubborn attachment? Fear! The fear of loosing a great memory, a fear of not having something when we need it… Sometimes the reason might be as simple as pure ignorance… Or leaving the comfort zone…
In the past, I’ve hanged on to a person in a relationship, even after we both could see that there’s no future. Just because I’ve been afraid of ending up alone, or not being in love, even though the love had turned into attachment.
Attachment often leads us to suffering, either if it’s smoking, a difficult relationship, job, beliefs, or attitude. Anything that stops you from growing or moving forward, is harming us.
Sometimes in life we come across with people that just don’t do good for our energy, they drag us down. And to stop someone from dragging us down,  what should we do? Let go! These people aren’t bad people, but sometimes someone crosses your life path just to teach you the art of letting go…
  
I have been little down lately. My dog is really old and senile. So everybody keeps telling me that the end is near… It breaks my heart, how will I live without her, my little Bumbastico? She has been by my side for 14 years, she is the only one who knows everything about me, and wouldn’t never criticise me. I love my dog. 
I have found myself daily stressing about “the day” when she needs to leave, but everything must end and after thinking about it for a while, I decided that she has done the best job as my little best friend, she has taught me so much about true companionship, and as much as it tears me apart, I must accept that her journey is continuing and her beautiful energy must carry on to a new adventure. When the day arrives, I must be able to let her go and for the days we have together, I shall do my best to show her how much I appreciate and love her, I’m gonna laugh, run in forest and kiss her. I need to let go of the negative and destructive thoughts, because of the effects of these thoughts on my relationship and on my health.
It’s so hard to let go though, and even if we are the best yogis and practise two hundred sun salutations a day, we’re still only humans. 
There is a beautiful practise about “letting go” that I learned at my times in India: 
Before going to sleep, write little notes on a recyclable paper, to people who are not among us anymore, or cannot be reached, or it might be too hard to say it to them in person. Next morning wake up with the sunrise and go to the beach (lake, river, forest will do fine too). Hold the note close to your heart and give that moment your full attention, then send of this notes to the universe, by throwing them to the waves, etc. I felt so light and clear after that, like a weight was lifted of my shoulders. This moment had so much spirituality and power in it.  
I have managed to force myself to get rid of some of the old emotions, habits and some items, that kept me locked in past. Little by little I’ve noticed that they don’t serve me anymore and I’m still alive even though I have one scarf less.
I’ve managed to let go of the “plan of life” too… That damn strategy about how the life should be, fed to you by society, adds and family. Go to school, get a job, make lots of money, get married, buy a house, have children and retire… Yeah, not so keen on that anymore. I rather freak everybody out by telling them that I’m going to be a super-hippie-grandmother, with dreadlocks down to my knees and I’ll be living in a tree house with my 17 squirrels. 
Never forget, Life is so much more than what they tell you! Life is travelling, adventures, falling in love, falling over, freaking out, doing things in different order than everybody expect you to do, making mistakes and learning from them… Life is magic! 
Everybody is different, and we must let go of being what the society expect us to be, we need to let go of the fear that we won’t manage if our car is smaller than our neighbours or if we don’t have designer clothes. We need to live our dreams and stop being played by the corporate puppet masters.
You are the most precious individual you’ll ever know, only you know what’s best for you, and only you can tell yourself how to live your life. Have the strength to change, to follow your passions, to let go of the part of you that’s holding you back. 
Let go of the fear, that you won’t be strong enough!
  
After reading this text, turn into yourself and let something go. Choose a habit, emotion, behaviour or a memory of yours, close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and when you exhale, LET IT GO! 
Let go of that old breath,  and great a beautiful space for the new, fresh breath. 
See, letting go isn’t scary, cause there’s always something new and fresh waiting to fill that space. 
Namaste
Diana

Be a Giver!

Compassion and generosity

“You have not lived until you have done something to someone who can never repay you”

When I was in India, I had to lead a morning meditation session on a subject that is close to my heart.
Generosity. Generosity has been such a big deal for me since the early days, when I was just a little  girl growing up in a communist country… Soviet Union.
I guess the universe was generous to tech me a great lesson already in my younger years. The lesson of having “everything” to having “nothing at all”, or that’s what I thought, I actually ended up “richer” than I ever thought I would.
Living in a communist country wasn’t rough on us by any means, my daddy was a politician, a very important man.
I ate caviar for breakfast and counted diamonds in the evenings. I got only A’s at school, as the teachers were to afraid of my dad (I might have also been a genius, but I’m still leaning towards the authority issues). Everybody wanted to be our friends, and the reason was money, not my quirky personality. I never cared much for money, as money showed me the evil side already when I was only a child. That’s why I never really freak out when I have times in life being a total broke-ass, I rather give away the last of the coins, as there are always people who need them more. I can always add an another feather to my hair and let my fashionista sisters sue me for being an hippie. Honestly I couldn’t care less, all that matters is that I’m happy, I’m healthy and I can always and forever afford to be generous.
My weak spot has always been elderly, “poor” and “unlucky”.
I always tried to take care of the “underdogs”, I have tried to give people who struggle in life a helping hand or a nice smile. There is something truly beautiful about generosity, it gives you the sense of making a difference in the world.
Remember that generosity isn’t just about transferring $1000 to Red Cross account with your name on it in capital letters. You can be generous and give away your time, your advice, a kind word. Being generous is sharing your compassionate smile with the mum of a screaming baby on a train, instead of staring her with evil in your eyes. Maybe she hasn’t slept in days, you don’t know her story…
We can be generous and give away our time. When someone’s driving 40km/h in front of you, on a highway and erratically changes lanes. Instead of calling them names, honking your horn, or waving that baseball bat out of your window, relax! You don’t know what they’re going through, maybe they’re being attacked by cockroaches…
Be generous, cause you never know when it’s your turn to receive generosity. And if you have heard of that little fellow called Karma.. What comes around goes around.
At the early 90’s,  my parents got divorced and we moved to Finland with my mum. Soviet Union was falling apart and so was my life as I knew it.
We moved into a one room apartment, with another family. The apartment was smaller then the area I used to have for my toys back in Estonia. The floor was covered in mattresses and kitchen had a sink, yeah, only a sink…
We didn’t have anything and I’d never been happier. Everything in my life was suddenly real. Real friends, real grades at school, real problems. My mum did everything to keep us happy, working three jobs, getting us that occasional ice cream cone. You got to understand, that it’s not simple to go from helicopter rides to suddenly have to walk on your own two feet 😉
I adore my mum, she is truly a generous lady.
We didn’t have much, But we did well because of the generosity that we got from each other.
At the end, family and friend is all you need. I don’t miss any of that glitter that we used to have, but  I do miss my family and friends when I’m apart.
Let me tell you a secret, the less clutter you have and the less you own, the less stress you have!
Proof number one: when I was traveling in Brazil, I noticed that some people who had little, had the most to give. people in favelas (slums) were helping each other, they were so smiley, dancing and singing (some of them were just probably high), and the people in rich areas, like Ipanema were stressed and angry looking.
I asked, why is this. And the answer was to simple, to logical.
The “rich” people are frowning cause they are stressed out, scared to death that any given moment they might loose it all. The less you have the less you need to stress of loosing.
Proof number two: whilst living in India, my earthly possession could fit in a backpack, I’d never felt more free. What do I actually need? A moon and a sun, some clothes, few books, a bed and some food.
I know western society ruined me every time I returned, little by little the consumerism got a hold on me. The promises on adverts and social media on that bit of heaven you get, when you buy the new iPhone. Suddenly I found myself looking for a matching shoes for my new bag, and the promises of never watching tv turned into a long “game of thrones”-nights.
But I can honestly say that I don’t have so much crap anymore, mainly cause I moved to Australia and my crap is collecting dust in my sisters storage…
But still once a year I go through all my possession, and I contemplate, do I need this? Have I used this? Could some one actually gain something from it? Decluttering yourself is the new black!
I love driving to shelters to hang out with dogs and occasionally stop over to have a chat with an elderly, who might have no one else to talk to. It can be as little as giving information or giving away a true smile to cheer someone’s day…
Studies show that people who are involved in acts that benefit others scores significantly higher in life satisfaction, and have less depression and anxiety.
So instead of lying on a sofa like an intoxicated seal, go out! Do some good! Even if it’s just going out on your street to pick up some rubbish that the wind has blown over from your local fast food joint. Offering to babysit your friends semi-monstrous kids, so she can have a well deserved night to her self. There is million things you can do to practise generosity.
Our family thing has always been helping homeless animals. Since the day I remember, my twin would carry home stray puppies and kittens that she found on a market and the next day my mum would give them as a birthday presents to her friends.
We love animals, once we even performed a c-section to a pregnant cat that was hit by a bus to rescue its kittens. We were eight years old and we didn’t succeed in our first attempt as a surgeons.
As long as I remember I have always loyally and regularly visited animal shelters, bringing them food, medicines and blankets. Even though sometimes I’ve ended up with rabies shots in an Indian hospital… But that feeling you get from helping our fellow beings on earth, is the best!
Also remember that the universe isn’t the only one who needs your generosity and compassion. Everything starts with you, so be generous with yourself, give yourself some time to relax or enjoy a hobby you love. Have a bubble bath or a nice meal. List your priorities, and leave the less important stuff on your fully packed “to do”-list for another time. Don’t think that your being selfish, rather think that you are also worthy of receiving some of your generosity 🙂
Find joy in giving, not getting!
Namaste
Diana
 

Less is more…

Consumerism

I’ll start this story by telling you a secret…
Inside of me lives an old French man, every morning he takes over my body. He loves long mornings, sitting in my local cafe, enjoying a great cup of coffee, and a proper old school news paper. He loves staring at strange people, making up stories of their lives, he loves thinking, he contemplates where this world is going, he worries about the future. Suddenly he notices that hours has gone by, he leaves me and I run off suffering from heartburns that he gave me with all those coffees…
That’s what I do in the mornings…
Me and my deep alter ego have noticed that news papers have turn into adds, page after page adds, manufactured dreams and happiness, promises by products that if we buy them, they’ll change our lives and we will be the coolest people in town. Another secret about me, there is something that I hate from the core of my heart, laziness, greediness, violence and Consumerism,
People working their asses off, stressing themselves crazy to get that latest items on market… People are more loyal to their brands than they are to their friends…
It’s all about making that Visa card sing, so we can get something, that makes us better and approved in our society… I don’t bloody get it!!! If someone approves you just cause you look hot in your latest season shoes, that are made by slave labor and sold by billionaires, then why the hell you care? Why would you want people like that in your life? If they’re your true friends, they should approve you even if you wear flats from your local recycle shop!
Ok, I know what you thinking “I’m not doing this to impress my friends, I just wanna look hot!”
That’s fine, but get down from that castle you managed to build yourself with that credit card! Think of yourself, think of the earth and your future! Non of that is left if we continue like this… It’s so damn easy to close your eyes from truth, but our behavior is killing our environment, this “throw-away” culture is tearing this earth apart. Factories are full of abused people, our beautiful seas, lakes and rivers are full of chemicals, closets are so full of unnecessary clothes, yet the junkyards are bursting from our yesterdays wear. People are to lazy to recycle, reuse, rebuild, repair, make, swap or borrow. People are to lazy to think, that they can make a difference.
I know that consumerism is here to stay, but we must have the strength to think of our Mother Earth, the future of our kids, as they are the ones, who will live with our mistakes. Let’s do our best to avoid products that harm animals, the environment, or other human beings.
Next time when you look at that expensive jewellery or trendy sneakers, think twice and invest your money on something more long lasting than that designer bag. Cause next week that same designer comes out with a new bag, and guess what… You’ll be so last season. Invest in traveling, invest on experience, memories and knowledge.   What really matters to you? That you have the iPhone 6 in your brand new Michael Kors purse before that horrible chick at gym, who always tries to look hotter than you? Or all those amazing memories and new friends you make while backpacking on the beaches of Sri Lanka?
Hmmmm. A life experience vs. the latest item on your wish list?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t reward yourself after two weeks of hard work with something nice, but don’t become a slave of capitalism.
Remember we, as well as the overpriced items we ache after, are products of the society… changing every season… but you can choose which way you change…
Namaste,
Diana