Oh Nature, Oh Mother Moon

nature

Recently we celebrated Easter, and whether we feel attached to the stories about Jesus, his crucifixion (death) and resurrection (rebirth), for many people it is a respected Holiday.

I always look so much forward to a couple of days off around this sweet transition from Winter to Spring. As previous years I went with my boyfriend and his family to a summerhouse in North West Denmark. The fact that we are surrounded by Nature and has a very poor reception, one of my rituals upon arrival is turning off my phone.

This year I was a little curious what would happen when I did that. Normally I have a very strict rules about my smart phone. No phone and computer activity after 8pm, since it has such a bad influence on my sleep. The months before this holiday had been very packed with work in order to plan European Yogi Nomads in Aarhus and making arrangements with the many teachers and presenters at Copenhagen Yoga Festival this summer. I broke my own rule and had some very late evenings in front of the screen. And I felt how I was using more energy than I was gaining from my personal yoga practice. My phone was becoming as an addiction to me. Every spare minute I had made me reach for it to check what had happened on social media and my emails. I am amazed how fast things can slide when we let it.

I was actually sure I would desperately miss my phone the first couple of days after turning it off. And then the exact opposite happened.

It was quite beautiful. As it turned out I had so longed to turn that thing off and simply soak in Nature. I arrived at the summerhouse the day of the Full Moon. We went for a walk that first evening, just as the moon started to rise. It wasn’t quite dark yet, but the sky had this amazing deep blue color and the Moon… Oh my Goddess! She was huge, round, totally illuminated and the color as she rose was this amazing deep warm yellow. It was stunning! I have experiences quite a few Moons, but this one was definitely one to remember.

I actually did have a moment where I wanted to run home and get my phone to take a photo, but she was spellbinding beautiful and I couldn’t stop starring at her. I had the ocean on my left, her in front of me and the dunes to my right. It was as if everything stood still for several moments, as if I couldn’t move. And when I surrendered to the moment and stopped caring about the phone and photos for Instagram, something amazing happened.

In my head these sentences started to appear, as if someone or something beyond my power began to form a question. I am so very fond of questions and believe they are one of the most powerful practices we have. The minute we stop questioning there is a risk that teachings turn in to preachings. Anyway, these sentences started build themselves and then it became a repetition of these very words:

What is that one thing that I know
That nobody else knows
The thing I need to share
Before I leave here.

Over and over and over again. Nowhere but in Nature and especially in potent moments as under a Full Moon do I have these experiences of a deep connection to self. It is not with my phone in one hand and my mind on social media. This Winter I have been asking a lot of deep questions in the quiet of my meditation practice. And I absolute love the way answers sometimes manifest as new questions.

The rest of my holiday I hardly thought about my phone and when I finally picked it up the last day to take a few photos for Instagram (to prove I was there, haha) the battery was dead.

Aho.

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Rebirth

rebirthAs the sun is getting stronger, I experience a new sense of energy and with that also a very strong desire to get back into writing. For the past six/seven month I have been in a deep practice of studying the cycles of nature. Both by spending time in nature and by listening and re-listening to an online course by Sarah Durham Wilson and Shakti Sunfire called “waking the wild woman”.

Signing up for the course turned out to be perfect timing as I met quite a few challenges shortly after. Coincidence? I choose to call it synchronicity.

I have learned a lot about cycles. I have deepened my experience of “death” and “rebirth”, realizing that every ending is part of a new beginning. I have studied the cycles of the moon and I have surrendered deeply to the darkness and “death” of winter time. It has been a journey!

And now I am waking up to a new season. I feel wiser. I feel more honest. And I am learning to trust the practice I call yoga in a much deeper sense. I have hardly been doing any asana myself for six months and now my body is ready to move again. An inner current of energy is appearing as the accumulated kapha is melting, as if ice from the mountains is melting and turning into strong streams of flowing water again. My next steps is a spring juice cleansing, to help any stagnated winter kapha leave my system.

Welcome spring.

I desire the ocean

When I am in nature, especially by the ocean, feelings of confidence, freedom, trust and honesty starts to rise. This is my calmness, here I feel at home within myself. These are my core desired feelings.

The first time I heard about “The Desire Map” was in December 2014. I bought the book and started an ongoing process of connecting to my personal core desired feelings. The feelings that run beneath all material desires and all desires of achievement.

I have gone through all kinds of words, feelings and sensations while looking for the right ones, the ones that feels right in the deepest core of my heart. I continuously write a diary to check if the words still resonate with my heart. And as the ocean, this is a constantly moving practice.

When I sit, stand, walk, run, jump, scream, sing or practice asana by the ocean, there is no doubt. Words or no words, I know this is how I desire to feel in all aspects of my life.

Namaste

Don’t wait for illness

dharmaThe ongoing pain and restriction in my middle spine puzzles me.

My recent studies of Ayurveda talks on heritage, especially how women should look at the generation of women before them. My mother told me years ago that osteoporosis run in our family and that me and my sisters have to be aware of this fact when we grow older.

For a year I have experienced restriction, stiffness, stagnation and pain in my middle back. My western doctor doesn’t want to test me for osteoporosis until I turn 40, so I am on my own. I tend to forget that I practice yoga, that I have a healthy lifestyle, that I have an Ayurvedic practice to keep my dry vata balanced. Instead I focus on the fact that I love chocolate and licorice, and blame sugar and “my lack of self-control” for what is happening.

Sure sugar isn’t good for osteoporosis. But neither was the eating disorder I struggled with in my mid-twenties. And what would happen if, instead of blaming the past, my genes and sugar, I started to look at my options.

First and foremost I probably don’t have osteoporosis. And if I did, I would go to Bali to do a full panchakarma and adjust my yoga practice before I would even consider taking the prescriptions a western doctor would give me.

One of the first lessons I received in regards to Ayurveda was that it is supposed to prevent illness rather than cure it. That made me grab my dharma yoga wheel and fool around a bit.

Backbends are super challenging for my middle back, I am constantly scared to do too much, I am scared that my spine will lock as it did last year in July. But what I experience is that with sweetness, a lot of deep breathing and gentle rolling back and forth on the wheel, progress is already happening.

I have left my wheel in the middle of my living room to roll on several times a day. I am super excited about what healing this practice will bring to my spine, when the stiffness starts to dissolve and the flow of energy returns to this area of my body.

Better late than never

child1_sh_1440x600Shortly after I finished my first 200 hour yoga teacher training I got a desire to write a blog, and what else to write about than yoga. That’s 120 posts and three years ago.

Lately I have had some resistance towards writing. I found that the posts I shared varied a lot in terms of educating, sharing experiences, writing reviews etc. I found it messy, part Danish, part English, I even had a general definition of “what is yoga” and seriously who am I to define what yoga is in general.

I have a definition on what yoga is to me, but that definition is constantly changing. Which is actually my current definition of yoga; constantly changing.

It feels wrong for me to educate through my writings. In general I don’t like to educate yoga. I love to share it, which is what I do as a yoga teacher. I didn’t invent yoga and I only know so so little of the wisdom contained in this practice.

So I changed the design on my blog slightly. And I finally defined what I want this blog to be, after 120 posts and three years.

This blog is a sharing of my personal practice. I want to share a realistic and honest view into how I am affected by my yoga practice, and how my yoga practice helps me act in a crazy world. It’s an attempt to make the writing of my practice to part of my practice.

Namaste

Yoga connects, provokes and transforms

yogaconnectsBesides being a yoga teacher I am also a yoga student, and I travel a lot to get inspiration for my own practice, that I then later share with my students. This summer is no exception and among different workshops with teachers that are well-known to me, I decided to go to Yoga Connects, a brand new yoga festival in England.

I left Denmark with great expectations, since the ticket was a bit pricey and there had been a lot of fuss on Facebook and Instagram, that this event was about to be the best event this year. The line-up of teachers where amazing and the venue was an old castle in nature.

What happened was, that I was challenged in a lot of ways during the 3 day festival. Thursday night started with a ceremony with a message that the people arranging the festival had a call from the universe to do it, and that we were all called to be there too. I am a spiritual practitioner and to some extend I understand the idea of putting it that way, but at the same time I was provoked.

This experiences of being provoked continued throughout the weekend with classes canceled, a time schedule that was constantly changed, in regards to times and locations, without much information supplied from the team behind the festival. There was some “blaming” on the universe and various feelings and sensations, in regards to canceled classes. And then there was a lot of putting the forehead on the ground to bow to Earth.

I am left super puzzled that I was so provoked by these things. I honor Mother Earth in many ways already, using as little plastic as possible in my household, ordering drinks without straws when I go out, picking up plastic from the street etc. I don’t necessarily need to put my forehead on the ground, to know how much damage we as humans have caused our planet, but again every practice is different and the gesture is beautiful, even if my practice of honoring and synchronizing with nature is slightly different (I hug trees, haha). And I even know how much work it is to put a yoga festival together and therefore shouldn’t be surprised that changes happen to the schedule and everything doesn’t go as planned. Especially the first year of a new event.

In addition to that, it is so Scandinavian of me to have printed the schedule beforehand and marked all the classes I wanted to attend. If I hadn’t been so overly organized, I probably wouldn’t have been so troubled by changes in the schedule. Which is a huge lesson for me! Does all the planning and scheduling in my everyday life actually cause more stress and trouble than ease? What would happen if I start to loosen up a little, plan less and leave more space for coincidence (or the universe).

What I find really interesting is, that despite my first reaction “it wasn’t worth the money” this festival is turning out to have had the biggest influence on my personal yoga practice for a really long time. When I am provoked, I am forced to work on my shadows, and that is transforming work. That’s what the practice of yoga is about to me; TRANSFORMATION.

Namaste

Competition

wall

I woke up last night, had to pee. But on my way I misjudged the distance to a corner wall, walked right into it and hurt my lip so much that I fell back on my bed in pain and started to laugh. Like crazy laugh! I found the whole scenario so funny. And then I couldn’t sleep. My nervous system was right awake and my thought wandered to my teacher Douglas Brooks who always say: “you have to amuse yourself at least once a day“. Well does nighttime count?

From Douglas, and my own amusement over a painful lip, my mind wandered. At some point my thoughts circled around health in general. I spent many years in fitness studios, working out. I even had a personal coach at some point, because I thought I lost my motivation. So I paid a guy to yell at me once a week in order to burn calories and tone my muscles. I needed to get back on track. Cause working out a lot was healthy?!

Working out is healthy, don’t get me wrong. But…

Recently on my facebook wall there was a link to an article about a girl I know. It was about her winning a fitness competition and how she struggled with an eating disorder afterwards, cause she didn’t know normal anymore. I felt really sad reading that article, cause I always knew her as really happy and really funny. Yesterday a post popped up at my wall about another girl getting ready for a fitness competition. It’s not as crazy a competition and I am sure she will be fine. But last night I felt sad about this situation and thought to myself: Why does she have to do this? She is so incredible beautiful, why does she have to change herself and prepare herself to be in some competition?

I know that models and modeling has been about looks and getting on a stage for ages. But this is different. Models have never, at least not in my mind, been considered very healthy.  But these two girls mentioned above always seemed healthy. They care about their bodies, they workout to stay healthy. Or used to workout to stay healthy.

Today in society I see competition almost everywhere, even in yoga studios. It seems as if we have to be better, faster, different, more original, more relaxed, more healthy etc. There is so much focus on the fact that we have to change, that we have to become something more or less or something else. It is as if it is not okay to be as we are right now. And when we think we loose motivation we have to do, find or invent something or someone that can help us find that motivation again. And I believe that competition is a great motivation for a lot of people.

But what if lack of motivation is a sign that we should just take a chill pill? What if our body is burnt out? What if lack of motivation is the body’s way of saying: “I don’t want to run those f*** 5km any faster!” Or I don’t want to do legbehindmyneckandtoeinmymouthasana. I am already fit and healthy enough to outrun a tiger or strong enough to kill it. The nervous system is very rational and it doesn’t really care about being on a stage looking slimmer or fitter. The nervous system care about survival. And stressing the system constantly over a period of time is going to leave us in a physically and mentally burnt out state.

I never went to university and I never did a Ph.d on this, but I burnt out myself. I went through an eating disorder, stress, and depression. I went through therapy and I looked for all kinds of techniques to calm my nervous system and to rebuild myself. And even today I need these techniques to stay balanced. I am very human and I have plenty of days where I want to do more, achieve more, be more like people I admire, eat even healthier, compete, compete, compete… But that urge or that lust is not really leaving me relaxed and satisfied.

Making health into a competition and being on that stage, or crossing that line one minute faster than last time, how is that really truly making us feel? Proud? Yes I am sure, and probably with very good reason. But what comes right after pride? Can we rest in that satisfaction or do we want more? And what is that more? And how will that leave us? We get high on adrenalin and hormones and the brain is happy and all these chemical things happen within us. But as far as I have understood, we are left with wanting more. It’s like a drug and we become addicted… to health?!

So how about this. Make a sigh and just chill a little. Run, workout, stretch, lift heavy things and use your muscles. But don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t yell at yourself when other people don’t listen. Definitely don’t pay people to yell at you, pay them to help you understand how to take care of your body and your health if you are in doubt. Eat that piece of really good chocolate and love yourself for doing that. Have fun, amuse yourself, be silly, run like Phoebe and if you had a really rough day, then lay down on the floor with your legs up the wall and flutter your lips to let it go. But most important, don’t do it just because I suggest it, do it because you really want to. Because it makes you feel awesome before, during and after.

Oh, and whatever you do, be mindful of walls…