YogaOnCrete teacher Victoria Karipidou introduces her work and journey at YogaOnCrete, offers practical tips on how to cope with the challenging emotions that may arise during these transformational times that we are all experiencing, and closes with a short and sweet de-stressing breathing practice from the Kundalini yoga tradition.
With winter approaching confidently also on Crete, it is time to look back and reflect on the wonderful experiences, people, and memories gained from this summer at YogaOnCrete!
Unfortunately, our Sound and Voice Therapy and Movement Medicine workshop with Laura did not take place in June, but the summer was nevertheless complete with expressive, artistic, as well as other soul-nourishing, and in this sense, therapeutic experiences.
Our new outdoor yoga deck is itself a real gift and wonderful addition to the ambience of YogaOnCrete. The first time I saw it filled with people I was really moved and excited about what our future guests would have the opportunity to experience here. Yes, there are ants and the odd olives dropping from the trees (!!), but the three strong olive tree trunks, interspersed in the space, are themselves teachers of rooting, trusting the earth, and drawing from it as a base to reach up to the sky, with soft, supple, graceful branches.
by Julie Mosmuller
Days come, days go. Some last an eternity, others fly by. Some are cheerful, others uneventful. Yet you can be sure that the sun and the moon will rise and set, that the birds will sing in the morning.
I used to have a busy corporate job in London. Once I learned to live my days mindfully, I noticed how I became much more relaxed. The days weren’t less stressful, but I wasn’t as stressed anymore. Instead, I was feeling grateful for my life.
I often help clients of my coaching practice improve their work-life balance. These five tips have helped them to anchor their days and have more fun. They gained time as they prioritized according to their values.
1. Wake up mindfully.
When your alarm rings, take a moment to notice the blank canvas of a new day. I always feel mornings are freshly quiet as the day is still unwritten. Don’t check your messages yet, and get present to this particular morning. Is the sky blue or gray? Are your dreams still with you? Are you feeling rested or restless?
Slowly turn your attention to the day ahead and set an intention. What matters most to you today? An example could be "I want a loving relationship," or "I want to deliver a flawless presentation." Repeat it a few times, write it down or pick an object like a bracelet or picture to remind you during the day. Once you’ve made your intention clear, you’ll be surprised how often it comes true, usually in an unexpected way.
2. Follow a morning practice.
Dedicate a part of your morning to a routine, such as yoga or meditation. If you prefer to putter around the house or go for a run, that’s fine too. Most importantly, create an oasis of calm so you can anchor yourself in your values, even if only for 10 minutes. If you have a family, carve out some time before everyone wakes up, or during your commute.
My own practice combines meditation and yoga. It normally lasts an hour, but I can shorten it to 30 minutes. Meditation stills my mind, and mindful breathing connects me to life’s flow. Yoga offers an opportunity to love my body. I add restorative or energizing poses according to my body's needs. Even after sleeping restlessly, 10 sun salutes will refresh me.
3. Love your food.
The food you take in makes a big difference to your day, but first make sure your food goes out! Rehydrating your body does wonders to kick start your digestion. I drink a liter and a half of lukewarm water and herbal tea every morning, ideally before starting my routine.
Then it's time to think about food! What are you craving? What does your body need? If you're fighting a cold, add turmeric or echinacea to your smoothie. If you're anticipating a demanding day, make a filling breakfast, like oatmeal. I mostly eat fruit and vegetables to complement the body’s nightly detox. Think of breakfast literally — better not to break your fast with a huge meal!
4. Keep it simple.
Now we're ready to move. Whatever comes your way, keep it simple. Flow with the day, observe what it brings, and play with it. Keep your mind cool, your heart open, and you'll make sharp, intuitive decisions.
It helps to set your priorities so that you’ll feel content about having written that article, or gone for a run. What is the one thing that you want to do today, if nothing else?
Combine being organized and flexible. I always leave free time so that on a beautiful day I can go out in nature. Do you allow yourself to do something spontaneous, like curling up in bed if you feel like it?
This is not selfish or self-indulgent. The more you do the things you love, the more fulfilled you’ll be. Consequently, you'll have more energy to grow and be available to the people you love.
Closing your day is as important as starting it. Some people list the things they’re grateful for. I always make sure to check out the night sky — watching the moon and stars connects me to the bigger picture of life.
At least 30 minutes before going to sleep, set your devices on airplane mode. Keep your bed for sleeping and only go there once you're ready to sleep. Set your alarm for the 7-9 hours of sleep you need plus a little extra to account for falling asleep. The more regular your sleeping, the easier your body will unwind and rejuvenate.
My body’s natural rhythm is to sleep early and wake up with the birds when a fresh new day is about to start!
A fascinating explanation of some of the benefits of Downward Facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), as seen from the perspective of acupuncture!
This pose is considered to be one of the most complete poses, in that for the legs it requires the work of a standing pose, while for the arms it is an arm balance, for the front of the body it is a backbend, whereas for the back of the body it is a forward bend and, in addition, it offers the benefits of (increased circulation of blood in head) and prepares for inversions. Enjoy your practice!
Are you a hiking enthusiast wanting to gain even more enjoyment out of hiking? Then this course is for you!
Freedom comes with discipline.
Two of the ethical observances of yoga on the relationship to ourselves, the niyamas, santosha, contentment, and tapas, discipline, are found next to each other in Patanjali's account in the Yoga Sutras (verses 2.42 and 2.43), which at first may seem controversial. But think about it: in order to enjoy physical freedom in our bodies, we need to maintain them healthy, and therefore exercise in a conscious way appropriate to our constitution, eat moderately, rest adequately. In order to enjoy psychological freedom, we need to practice letting go of mental patterns that do not serve our happiness, for example dwelling on the past and self-blame, replace negative thought patterns with positive ones, and so on. Discipline is necessary in changing habits that we know no longer serve their purpose (if they ever did, at least in part).
The heart’s electromagnetic field—by far the most powerful rhythmic field produced by the human body—not only envelops every cell of the body but also extends out in all directions into the space around us. The cardiac field can be measured several feet away from the body by sensitive devices. Research conducted at IHM suggests that the heart’s field is an important carrier of information.
"The Buddha gave a teaching known as "the precious human birth", in which he described how rare and precious it is to take birth as a human in the vast cosmological scheme, and how as a human it is so rare and precious to experience just the right mixture of pleasure and pain to undertake deep spiritual inquiry.
The practice of yoga is a dive into the deep. In a way, there is no turning back, as we start to see ourselves, others, life in general in all its different expressions through new eyes. Are we ready for this change? Why embark on this practice?