I have been an entrepreneur in the field of yoga for the past nine years. A small business owner, who like other small business owners is currently struggling with stacks of unpaid bills and government restrictions.
The business has experienced both ups and downs through these years. There has been times when yoga has been “trendy” and the classes have been packed with students and there has been times when only one yogi has found the way to the class.
This isn’t a business where you make millions, unless those millions are counted in smiles during the yoga practice. But I have always managed and I feel such gratitude for being able to work in a field that gives me such immense pleasure. Work that improves the quality of life, gives peace of mind, great health and a sense of happiness.
During this past year I have been overwhelmed by worry for the consequences of the Covid-virus on peoples health and also about the consequences this virus has on my business. We are talking about virus that not only causes serious respiratory illness but also mental health problems. Anxiety and chronic stress can also be harmful and even deadly. For many of us the fear of unknown has found a new meaning.
This week has been especially hard on me. I have been curled up and devastated as Southern Finland Regional State Administrative Agency decided to close the doors to all gyms and yoga studios. For many of the small business owners this was the icing on the cake. The point, where there is no other option than to file for bankruptcy. After struggling for a year with the restrictions, the toll that this decision has on a small business is just way to big to handle.
There is some government support for the small business owners and I’m grateful for it, but this doesn’t even cover third of my rent let alone the the running costs.
I have tried my best to come up with different ways to keep my business afloat. I’ve tried to be creative and see the challenges as opportunities to come up with new visions and strategies. Many of the yoga studios have gone online. I myself thought of starting online classes, but I just feel that the sense of unity and energy we create during the class together doesn’t match up to what one experiences practicing online. I do offer YouTube classes, but for some reason Zoom classes feel challenging to me.
My studio has been a hideaway from anxious and distresses thoughts. A place of freedom and healing for many people. The time spent offering the classes at the studio are my highlights during this year of social restrictions. I’m thoroughly grateful for every single class, for every kind word, patience and that’s why I feel so devastated not being able to teach at the moment.
It sounds wrong, but I must say that I feel bit easier knowing I’m not alone in all of this. Millions of people are fighting every day to make the ends meet. Millions are going through the same struggle and unfortunately some have it even worse.
Got to keep the mind positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel. The thing about all hardship and crises is that they all end eventually. The financial predicament and the emotional trauma left by the virus will stay with us for a while and there is no going back to the old, as I think this pandemic has changed the humankind for good.
All this struggle and stepping out of our comfort zone has grown us heaps. We have learned to enjoy the life outdoors and learned to slow down. A helping hand is offered even more easily and people have learned to support the struggling small businesses. Global sense of connection, kindness and patience are just few qualities that have risen from peoples heart during these times of challenge.
I firmly believe that we will win this together.
Love, light and good health
I wanted to start this little feed, cause I constantly keep telling my students about my favorite asanas, but I never feel that I have enough time to really share why they are my favs, what are the benefits and what are the proper alignments for home practice.
I wanted to start this series with one of my all time faves – Viparita Karani – Legs up the wall – pose. It’s without a doubt one of the easiest poses that you can do where ever. It’s calming and nourishing. It’s soothing and grounding. It is a pose for soul searching and renewal.
Do you feel like you are always “doing” and never have time to “hit the brakes”? Do you feel like you are always tired and your motivation is down to zero? Do you feel like you are stuck on “fight or flight” mode?
When the world gets to overwhelming and feel like loosing faith, its time to pick up this pose – my ultimate survival method. Viparita Karani really gets the fluids moving and purifies me. Not only physically, but it also cleanses out the nasty poison like stress, fatigue and anxiety from your mind.
Inverting the legs has been known as a extremely beneficial way to relieve tension from legs, hips and mind. It is like vitamin C as it helps to keep your immunity strong by stimulating the blood and lymph circulation.
This is the pose that I turn to when the world is getting too hectic and I cannot keep up anymore. This is what I do when my body needs yoga, but I just don’t seem to have the energy to fold forward and backward on my mat after a long day. When my feet feel swollen and heavy, my back is hurting… I get my feet up, and have a mini holiday.
And when it comes to holidays, this is my “must do” pose after a long flight to get those lymphatic fluids cleansing me from bacteria and virus. When I feel jet-lagged this is my “go to” pose for sleeplessness, restless legs, venous drainage and poor digestion.
So how to do this pose, one might wonder…
If “Get y’all legs up the wall mate” might seem a bit to “bogan” for you, then here’s a lead:
Even though this is a gentle and very restorative pose, avoid practicing it if you have high blood pressure or if you are menstruating.
Yours in yoga
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.”
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?
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
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
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:
Yours in yoga
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😊
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?
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
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:
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.
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:
Love and light