Health of Mind and Body

Not only at Yoga Under The Tuscan Sun Retreat in May and September each year - But EVERY DAY

"The most important part of a tree is not the trunk - but the root. One has to nurture the root more than any other part, because once the root becomes weak, what kind of a life will the tree have? You may prop it up but with one small storm it will fall, because it lacks the inner strength to stand upright." (Sw. Niranjananda)

1 forest.jpg

There is just no health without a healthy mind. Nevertheless I read again in an article about health and fitness and weight loss: " ... weight loss is not always equal to good health and weight gain is not always equal to bad health. But the twin powers of health are: fitness and nutrition." And then I read about all the different Yoga schools that have popped up out of nowhere; and how great that you can do under water yoga, yoga in salt chambers and even yoga in a brewery - beer only after the yoga class. My sarcastic self speaks to me: "Sure, let's get more and more inventive to focus on the outer environment, something more fancy, something that gets our mind again occupied and thus distracted from the center and the force within, the union, yoga can really lead us to.... but our mind might just say that that is boring so we keep it entertained with all these new "yogas". 

In the end it is really simple. There are asanas (yoga postures done with awareness rather trying to copy anyone), then there is pranayama (breathing practices) and Yoga Nidra - THE relaxation practice. If you practices these with an experienced yoga teacher - somebody who didn't just do a 3 week course to become a yoga teacher because it is so cool and in - and then also ask for a shorter program you might be able to do daily or as often as you want to integrate yoga in your life, THEN you will see and experience life changes. Yes, I said life changes as this kind of health changes your life. It is more than a fit body and making sure you eat nutritiously. You become aware of the interplay between your body, your emotions (through the breathing practices) and get the strength for yourself and the connection with yourself through the practice of Yoga Nidra, the deep relaxation practice that is unique. 

"Managing our mind and giving direction to the energies of the mind is our greatest challenge."

The yoga of flow - power yoga

Again I was asked "what is your favourite yoga pose?" , and like always I am staring at the person who asked me and ask back "what do you mean? What is yoga for you?" Actually I am a bit sad when I hear that question, because it shows me how far away we (lots of yoga schools in the west) are from the real meaning of yoga. Yoga means union. Union with our whole self - body, emotions and mind. Basically being the master of our mind is the first goal, which means being in a state of mind where we don't automatically react, but start to act with awareness through having a more open perspective on ourselves, the world and life. 

So what is your favourite pose? A few "basic" postures that harmonise the energy flow in my body as well as settle my emotions and center my mind. (And of course breathing/pranayama practices and yoga nidra/relaxation is as important as the postures/asanas). It is not the pose that is important, because no matter in what shape our body is we can practise yoga - as long as we know that yoga is not an acrobatic exercise as we seem to have made it in the west where we are so body- obsessed.

Here is a lovely poem I would like to share with you:

"Have you ever seen a leaf floating in a stream?

 Have you ever seen it stop and try to move the stone away?

No, the leaf is only flowing, flowing with the stream,

Sometimes turned upside down, sometimes pressed underneath the surface,

Sometimes tickled in a current, always safely returning to the surface.

No matter what, it does nothing but flow, enjoying the water as the water enjoys the leaf.

The more we Do, and do with effort, the harder life will get, so why do we Do?

We want to see results, but a smooth stone, perfectly shaped,

Is only made by flowing water and time - and so is life."  (Erica Svensson)

so let's put more into being than doing.

Are you a Human Doing or Human Being?

On my last yoga 1 day retreat on Mt Glorious one of the participants shared

that he felt that most of his life he was a human doing and as a man mainly been driven by what he thought he had to do rather than taking the time to find out what it means to "be".. I thought it was great food for thought to share with you, a good reminder that there might be more than reaching some "outer" goals but also set a goal to experience ones own being. It is always easily said to connect with oneself - sometimes it might even sound a bit "fluffy". 
For myself I have found that practising yoga and also experiencing myself out of my daily routine, out of my comfort zone helps me to experience myself again in a new way.
Sometimes it takes courage to take yourself out there and take new opportunities, but I always found that it is worth it . 
So this time I took the opportunity to work for 6 weeks in Italy - though winter in Florence is not as charming, and of course you don't have to travel to the other side of the world.