All about Asanas – Viparita Karani

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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:

  1. Begin by finding a space near a wall.
  2. Lower your back on the floor, move your hips closer and bring your legs up the wall. ( Make sure your legs are above your hips).
  3. You can use a bolster or pillow under your hips for extra elevation. or you might want to use pillow under your head.
  4. Try to relax your whole body, keep your eyes closed and breathe deeply through your nostrils. Slowly start to lengthen your inhalations and exhalations.
  5. Stay in this pose for 10-15 minutes. Maybe put your favorite meditation song on.

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

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

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

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

You are enough!

“I am perfectly imperfect” 

I’m sitting on my bed, eating ice-cream and scrolling down my Instagram account. So many stunning yogis in their most perfect poses. So many friends partying and eating most delicious food in most breathtaking places. I must admit I do feel little jealous. 

Why does comparison makes us feel insecure and incomplete?

Because we all have struggled with it all our lives, since that first art class in kindergarden to that moment where our colleague nailed that job we wanted.  

In a modern world where we are constantly pushed to be prettier, smarter and richer, it’s hard not to feel imperfect.

And it does happen to all of us, even to that super hot Instagram chick in her Ferrari. We all compare and we all get jealous. We are just humans. So what can we do to change? 
   

  

I often notice, that I compare myself to these amazing yogis that can stand on one hand for hours, and do all these things that are physically impossible to rest of us. But why do I do this to myself? Why don’t I ever compare myself to beginners, in a healthy way, and see how far I’ve gone? Or why do I even compare? I should be inspired and learn something from them, and most of all I should be proud of myself, I am gifted and unique. I should count my blessings and be happy that I can do so many things that I could not even dream about doing years ago. I seem to forget that these amazing yogis where once in exactly the same point, and if I have this burning fire inside of me, I can someday stand on one hand too…

So why do we compare the worst of us to the best of others? Cause we forget that even the best of the best have problems, weaknesses and trials in their lives. The images on the screen are not their real selves. Nobody ever posts pictures of their insecurities or themselves arguing or crying. We seem to get attached to this very angled image of someone and not even realise that we might be the person that actually has it better. 

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” -Michelangelo 

There is also another side to comparison. The one where we think we are better than others. This one is even harder to admit, but I do find that annoying feature in myself occasionally. Especially when I see a person that doesn’t recycle or is smoking, drinking and eating junk food like there’s no tomorrow. 

But who am I to judge? What do I know of their difficulties? What do I really know about that person? Have I already forgotten that I’ve struggled with change too? 

We all have felt hopeless and weak. We all have struggled with bad habits and felt bad about ourselves. There is enough critics in this world, so we must be more understanding and supportive, as we don’t know what it’s like for that person. 
  

  
“Look in the mirror… that’s your competition!”

Compare yourself to yourself!

We are work in process so drop that self-pity and be proud of yourself! By mocking your features, whether their your looks, ambitions, brains or fitness level, you end up breaking yourself. You must know that you are capable of anything, just be brave and grow your potentials.

“How can I be better then I was yesterday?”, that’s my mantra.

Ask yourself, what have you achieved in past year? What goals have you accomplished? Have you grown?

Be proud of yourself! Think of, what are the things that you get complimented on? Maybe you are an awesome home chef, or wonderful with kids, or a ray of sunshine?

We might not end up having that supermodel body or billion dollar bank account, but when we’re mindful, happy and confident, we have something so much better.

By appreciating the qualities you already have and being grateful, you’ll build a firm foundation to a healthy confidence. And maybe one day you’ll notice that there is no need to compare yourself with others or to be approved  by anyone, as you already are the best version of yourself.

There’s beautiful little metaphorical story about comparison that I love and must share:

When you were a child, your parents used to have you standing against the wall and make a little mark on the wall to measure your growth. They didn’t measure you against the neighbours kid or a kid on tv.

So when you measure your growth, make sure you only measure your today self by your past self. If you compare your success, relationship or your anything against anyone else, you’re not being fair to you. Everybody has a different path, different pace and different challenges to face along the way. 

So shine on with your day, feeling beautiful, happy and enough. 

And next time you find yourself envying someone’s accomplishments, go inwards and try to instead genuinely celebrate their good times. Turn that jealousy into drive and get inspire!

  

 
Namaste 
Diana

Eat like a Yogi

Eat Like a Yogi
“This much I know. If you are what you eat, then I only wanna eat the good stuff” – Ratatouille 

The people who know me, knows that I Love Food! I can eat, eat, eat, from cupcakes to carbonara… I just absolutely, deeply, truly, passionately love to eat. While other girls can spend hours in shoe and bag shops, I’m capable to spend hours in grocery stores. Dreaming of different, delicious options, that will satisfy my stomach. When it comes to food, there is no stoping me, and I have to agree with Dalai Lama, when he was asked ‘What is your favourite meal?’. He replied ‘The one in front of me when I’m hungry’.

I pretty much eat anything, but I prefer my chicken free range, my eggs happy and my veggies organic. Every single cell in your body is made of what you eat, so if you live mainly on packaged products and Big Macs, the changes are that you’re not in the greatest shape of health…
So with great passion, I write this story about foods, good foods and bad ones, Ayurvedic and yogic diets.

Eating clean and keeping your nutritional needs in check is one of the most precious things you can do to yourself, to keep yourself full of life and cancer free. 
For years I was vegetarian, but because anaemia runs strong in our family, doctors told me to start to eat meat, as the iron from the vegetables didn’t absorb to my system. As a vegetarian I felt very tired, so there is a great lessons, listen to your body! There is no point in going vegetarian if your body suffers from it. You can tell you are eating the right stuff, when it makes you feel balanced. Veganism, vegetarianism, Paleo don’t suit everybody, so find your own combo, to keep yourself happy and satisfied. 

But always think of the impact of your food choices on the earth and on yourself. Try to choose organically grown and ethically raised meats, meats that haven’t been genetically changed. While eating fish, choose species that aren’t overfished, farmed or high in mercury. 

So what is this Ayurvedic diet? Ayurveda is one of the oldest healthcare systems in world. It comes from India and is deeply connected with yoga.

You might think that foods that are prescribed in India thousands of years ago wouldn’t suit the nowadays society, but there is definitely some foods that will bring you lightness and clarity, while keeping your body nourished and mind clear. 
In India my Ayurvedic doctor, Dr. Rohit Borakar, told me that I’m an absolute Vata, which is my Ayurvedic dosha. Dosha is a body type, and every body type – vata, pitta, kapha- comes with certain types of food that suits the body type and keep it in balance. Air and ether are my elements, and I drive on excitement, adventures, passion and temper, when my dosha is out of balance I get anxious and suffer from insomnia. (Check out your dosha, it’s so interesting and opens up so many doors to self discovery)…

   
 

Anyways, as a Vata, my doctor recommended me to avoid spicy food, bitter foods, salads, coffee, ice cream, etc. I was like “No Ice Cream? Why don’t you just take me behind the barn and shoot me?” I was in shock! But he said that most importantly never suffer, if you really want an ice cream, have an ice cream, just remember to have a ginger tea afterward. Well, I consume approximately seven ginger teas daily…

In Ayurvedic diet there is three types of food. Sattvic foods, Rajasic foods and Tamasic foods. 

Sattvic foods are fresh, pure and vibrant, easy to digest. They make us feel happy, promote purity of mind, intelligence, and clear decision making. Examples of Sattvic foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, rice, grains, beans, lentils, yogurt, honey, sesame and coconut oil, nuts, etc. 

Rajasic foods are stimulating, salty, spicy, bitter and sour. They give us motivation, keep us attached to ego and make us feel restless. They should be used with moderation. Examples of Rajasic foods are peppers, citrus fruits, coffee, eggs, spicy food, chocolate, etc. 

Tamasic foods are dull and lifeless, mostly artificially processed. They lower your immunity to diseases and promote negative feelings. Tamasic foods are, red meat, fast food, canned food, soda, refined sugars, alcohol, leftovers, frozen foods, microwaved food, etc. 

  

Couple more points about bringing the yogic philosophies on your plate. 

Don’t take more then you need or can eat! Don’t go mental in a shop when you’re hungry and exited! It kills me, when I see food going into bin. The United Nation says that just a quarter of the food wasted globally would be enough to feed the 870 million people who lack enough to eat. So think wisely what goes into your grocery cart. 

Try to spread some good karma, by choosing your local farmers market. Supporting your community, your country. It might cost you few cents more for being organic, but I at least rather pay that few cents to the farmer than later on to the doctor. 

We also seem to eat for other reasons than hunger. We eat when we are bored, depressed or even when we are full. So next time when you rush to kitchen, ask yourself ‘am I really hungry’. Maybe glass of water is enough, or a fruit? I like to keep some nuts handy.

Last but not least, love your food! Cook with passion and care. Make the meal with love.  Use awareness while eating. Notice the smells, tastes, presentation. 

Don’t multitask, your Facebook account doesn’t get shut down if you don’t look at it while you’re eating. Take your time, enjoy every mouthful. That way you’ll notice when your full. 

Try new things, explore! Open yourself to all the delicious culinary experiences that world has to offer. Have an adventure in Mediterranean, Mexican and Indian cuisines. 

I’m off to my kitchen now, as all this writing made me a little hungry. I went a little loco at our new organic market earlier, so let’s see what delicious adventure waits ahead.

Namaste, 
Diana