Yoga

One of the best things that I remember from my childhood is my mom’s passion for yoga. Often I would ¬†join her on the mat and try to copy her poses. I could walk on my knees, put my legs behind my neck and stand on my head. Not so much anymore….. ūüôā — but I have always wanted to start yoga and get into the yoga groove. My problem is, I really don’t enjoy¬†big, filled-to-the-brim yoga studios. ¬†I like to be in my own space, I like the peace, and I like to enjoy yoga when it fits into my schedule.

Breathe

Breathe

That is why I was so happy when I found Myyogaonline and Doyogawithme.

Two fabulous programs, videos of different lengths, different levels, different styles, different teachers Рyou pick and choose what fits you best.

I absolutely love it!

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. Rumi

There are so many benefits to doing yoga. It’s quite amazing what happens in just a few moments of deep breathing, slowly moving the body into poses, simply being on the floor reduces stress and before you know it, you feel more relaxed!

P.S ¬†Please listen to your body and don’t do too much – let your body be your guide!

Here are some great articles about the benefits of yoga:

One from Harvard University on how yoga helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Another by Science Daily, an interesting study shows that yoga reduces stress and anxiety among prisoners and has a positive effect on impulsive behaviour.

And a third by the Yoga Journal about the overall health benefits

On a finishing note – I am moving my blog to be self-hosted – this means my blog might be down for a day or so – Looking forward to seeing you over there ūüôā

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Stop Shame-attacks

Shame is brutal  Рit robs us of life and happiness. It undermines our health, self esteem and overall well-being.

While we are feeling shameful, it’s impossible to enjoy life. We bombard ourselves with hurtful self-defeating messages. Messages like; I am not good enough, I am hopeless, I can’t believe I am so stupid, I am a total failure………………..

It’ s like drinking poison for the soul.

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When we are feeling shame, we feel awful. We feel there is no hope for us. It’s like a never ending spiral of self-loathing and self-reprisal.

In psychodynamic therapy, shame is considered as a defense mechanism. A defense against emotions. Whenever we feel shame, there are emotions of anger, guilt and grief underneath.

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression and low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes” William Gibson.

I use shame as an indicator, when I feel shame coming on, when I start to blame myself or be hard on myself. I know something is going on underneath and I remind myself to look deeper and ask questions like:

  • Was there something someone said or did that hurt me?
  • Was there something someone did or said that reminded me of something painful?
  • Is there a need I have not acknowledged and or expressed?
  • Are there feelings I have not acknowledged and or expressed?

 Shame is like turning anger inwards and we end up blaming ourselves with no mercy.

This causes tremendous stress and pain in the body. When we feel shame, we are much more likely to make unhealthy choices that undermine our health and even feeds the shame.

We don’t talk about it, we keep it to ourselves and bottle it up.

We may drink, take drugs, binge, over -work, or sit in front of the computer to numb out the painful feelings of shame. We are caught in a spiral of shame.

What we really need most of all when we are caught in shame is:

  • First of all notice what is going on and that shame is at play.

Then we need:

  • Empathy and compassion
  • Self-compassion
  • To share it with someone we trust. Someone who will listen with compassion and without judgement.

Dr Brene Brown is a researcher of vulnerability and shame. She is an author of 3 wonderful books. I recommend them all!

1. The Gifts of Imperfection

2. I thought it was just me

3. Daring Greatly

Her messages about shame and vulnerability are profoundly important.

The last 2 Sundays she has been interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday.

Watch the first episode here

and the second episode here

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

The power of music

This past week I have been reminded about the many powerful benefits music has on us. What a huge positive impact it has on our lives – Imagine a world without music! Music is in our lives in so many ways. When we listen to music, it awakes all kinds of emotions in us – joy and happiness, sadness and sorrow. Music holds memories and music speaks to the heart. It connects us in a special way.

Where words fail, music speaks – Hans Christian Andersen Continue reading

Daring greatly

We all strive to be happy and to live a fulfilling life. This means following your dreams, speaking your truth, daring to be authentic and stand up for who you are and what you believe in. Speaking your truth even though some may not like it.

That takes courage!

Courage Рcour means heart in french. Courage means to listen to and follow your heart. Go out and do whatever it is you have to do to follow your heart, even when your knees are trembling and your heart is racing. That is daring greatly.

I know that feeling so well – don’t you? ¬†When it comes I remind myself, ¬†if I want to live a balanced fulfilled life I must, listen and I must dare.

When I am too scared to do it I really feel I am betraying myself and it creates imbalance, I feel discontent. Not that I always get what I go after, but I have to try.

Trying is a success in itself – because even if we fail, at least we tried. We feel the emotions that comes with failing, we let go and move forward.

“It is hard to fail , but it is worse never to have tried to succeed” Theodore Roosevelt

Dr. Brene Brown is a researcher of vulnerability and shame. When I think of courage I think of her. In her books she puts herself out there. She tells the world about her shame and her vulnerabilities and she shares from her heart.

Her new book Daring Greatly is about the courage to engage wholeheartedly in our lives. About embracing vulnerability and imperfections. About Daring Greatly.

“I failed my way to success” – Thomas Edison

Friendfluence

A really important part of life is friendship Р Crucial!

Friendship means everything!

 

Nothing in the world as good as a deep belly -laugh with a great friend. And everything else we share:

  • ¬†hugs
  • smiles
  • chats
  • deep intimate talks about life
  • ¬†a shoulder to cry on or offering a shoulder to cry on
  • hanging out together
  • discussions
  • honesty
  • play
  • going to the cinema
  • a long walk
  • a swim
  • a dance
  • fooling around
  • getting/giving honest loving feed-back
  • and so much more………………
All of this adds to releasing “feel good” hormones in the body – which, don’t underestimate it – truly adds to our wellbeing, and greatly supports our health mentally, as well as physically.

Friendships are so precious. Friendships are life.

There is a saying:

“Show me your fiends and I will tell you who you are”

A new book written by Carlin Flora called “Friendfluence” – talks about how friendships make us who we are. It just came out and I can’t wait to read it!

Gretchen Rubin interviewed Carlin Flora about her new book, in Psychology Today – read the interview here

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Give yourself a break

When did you last spend 10 minutes doing absolutely nothing? Just 10 minutes?

We are busier than ever, running faster and faster, expecting more and more from ourselves.

 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Stop procrastination and succeed with your new years resolutions

Do you have any new years resolutions? Do you want to lose weight? Start doing yoga? Be more healthy? Start meditating?  Stop procrastinating?

We all procrastinate to some extend and make excuses as to why today is not a good day to start that project you’ve been planning, stop smoking or eating healthily.

Some of us may procrastinate so much that important things in life never get done. Robbing us of our dreams and deeper longings, ultimately leaving us dissatisfied and depressed.

 

New Years resolutions

Today it is easier than ever to get distracted and seduced by procrastination. Busy lives, busy schedules, too much work, families, children and all the things that add up and make us desperately trying to make ends meet. On top of that there is social media, oh there’s a message on my Facebook, wonder who it’s from? Oops a text, wonder what it says? I should Google it and find out about …….¬† and click, click, click hours and hours have gone by and it is too late, I’ll do it tomorrow.

We become addicted to the news the likes and the comments, we want more of that feeling. The same with emails, text messages – we just need to see if there are any new mails any new messages any new likes, any world news we cannot live without – any rewards.

We know we are fooling ourselves and, in fact, wasting precious time away from what we intended to do, what really matters. This creates frustration and increases feelings of not following through, not doing good enough – so we try to repair that feeling with going back for more – a quick fix – of ice cream or Facebook.

The quick-fix happiness feeling is short-lived and followed by a feeling of inadequacy – a vicious circle.

I know in my own life I can make endless excuses – for not going out on that run, or not sitting down to meditate or finish the children’s book I have worked on for years. So is it because I really don’t want to run and stay fit? Don’t I want the book to be finished and get out in to the world? Yes, I do, I want it with all my heart, more than anything – it’s a longing, a passion, my deepest mission. So why do I procrastinate and do less important things? – Because there is always “real” work,¬† there is always dishes that needs to be done, some washing to do or some clothes to fold, or some dinner plans to make, some children to drive, some phone calls to make …………….

Seen from a psycho-dynamic perspective, I know I have to look at what is underneath, I know that if I am self-sabotaging my goals, there is something underneath that needs my loving attention.

Key is embracing emotions – If we are stressed, if we feel sad somewhere deep down, if we are angry, because someone walked all over us – it’s time to go within, it’s time to confront those feelings inside.¬† Maybe it’s time to talk. If we suppress some feeling, it stays in the body and creates stress and discomfort. It doesn’t just disappear because we turn the other cheek – it loads up within the body and creates havoc, it makes us want to eat more, procrastinate more, postpone more.

I know why I procrastinate finishing my book, or sitting down to meditate, even though these are really important to me – there are some issues I need to attend to first. For example, one of the things that I have to say goodbye to is that we have just sold our farm in Denmark, our home of many years, and we are starting a new chapter. Our children were raised there and it’s a place filled with many wonderful memories. This means there is grieving to be done, there are more tears and feelings I need to embrace. If I don’t do this, I know it will stay within my body and take my creativity, my happiness, my flow and it will ultimately sabotage my goals.

I recommend:

  • Journaling – get a note-book and write your heart out. Everything, anything, no censoring just fill the pages with whats on your mind and in your heart. Don’t think of grammar or doing it “right” just write.
  • Pauses/breaks spend time every day to check in with yourself, to breathe and reconnect. Take 5 min – give yourself 5 min.
  • Meditation – mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to create space, overcome stress and fatigue.
  • Talk to a trusted friend and tell them how you really are
  • A self-help group – a place where you can talk from the heart and be heard.
  • Consult a therapist/ a psychologist/ a coach

Once we embrace our emotions, all of them, we automatically get more energy and we want to be active, we want to eat better, we become more compassionate towards ourselves and the world and we make better choices for ourselves. This leading us to a feeling of contentedness and there will be no more procrastinations but an eager to get going.

Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens – Carl Jung

Also read:

Love as a daily supplement

Sweat the blues

Can exercise really help us beat the blues?

I came across an interesting article on one of my favorite Danish news sites Fri.dk called “Can exercise prevent depression”?

A research study done by The Danish National Institute of Public Health points out that exercise can have an effective preventive effect on depression.

There is no doubt that exercise can help us when we are feeling the blues, but prevent depression? This is what the article said:

4 hours light exercise or 2 hours hard exercise a week

The Danish study confirms what we already know, that exercise is good for us physically, and that exercise plays a major role in our emotional health, but it also showed that exercise may  have a preventive effect on depression!

The research was done with 18.000 Danes between 18-99 years of age, both answering questions sheets and undergoing blood tests during a 26 year period.

The results showed that, especially in women, there was a preventive effect in the occurrence of depression, by doing regular exercise.

Women who were either physical inactive or exercised less than 2 hours had 1.8 times higher risk of developing depression than the women who were exercising a lot. The “exercising a lot” criteria in the study was, light exercise more than 4 hours or more than 2 hours heavy exercise a week.

The research points (not surprisingly) to have the same beneficial effect for men, but then there was not as many depressive men participating in the study.

The research discussed whether¬† it is simply exercise that has a preventive effect. They, therefore, also studied people who were physically active during their work day, for example in the postal services, but the research clearly showed that the physical exercise has to be done in free time. Work related “exercise”¬† had no effect on depression!¬† So something points to the fact that it is not the physical activity in itself that has the effect, it is important that it is part of free time and maybe there also is a social component.

I think this affirms that health does not happen in isolation – balanced living and happy health – means many things, among them are: getting regular exercise, nourishing our bodies with good food, embracing (all) emotions, having healthy relationships at work and privately, etc. And remember, depression can be a healthy response to something not right in our lives. No matter how much we run, we still need to attend to the underlying emotions and consult our heart – the old saying is true, we cannot run from our problems.

“Being entirely honest with oneself is good exercise”- Sigmund Freud

I think the social component in exercise plays a big and important role in preventing depression. We get out, we meet people and often we have great conversation during exercise, we solve the worlds problems as we go. We connect in a special way with people we exercise with. We set goals together, we sweat together, we laugh and cry together, we stretch ourselves together, we go beyond, we celebrate successes and support each other, we encourage each other, we share together. These aspects have the power to heal us, make us feel better, and prevent depression from occurring.

“The greatest wealth is health “ – Virgil

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health” – Hippocrates

Earlier blog posts on exercise:

Muscles reward exercise

Make running part of your life – for good.

Getting into the great habit

Want to live longer? Jog a bit