Fear? Yes, please! 🤗

Ok, one more vacay story. 🖖


It's about fear. 

Been writing about it in my blog (click herehere and here!). But this topic lights me up. Again and again. 


Because I feel it. Because I hear the word in my work. Because I see it in daily life. OFTEN. 


In hope, it takes you out of your comfort zone into the life you so want, here's my latest take on fear. 



First, the story.  

My son Zion, six, is a water ninja, as his surf teacher Lourenço likes to say. Familiar with sea and Atlantic ocean water, he still needs to overcome some fears. 


Like this one: Zion was scared to jump from the base. 


Every day in our holidays, he'd say I'm gonna jump on my birthday. Which was a couple of days to go. 


Just one day before his anniversary, Zion firmly stated: today I'm gonna jump. I kneed down, looked into his eyes, and confirmed: you sound sure about it. 


You must know that Zion's very competitive. All he wants is to succeed. Feeling weak is his weakness. 


So I asked: Would you promise it to yourself? 

Yes, yes, he nodded his head, I promise. 


Off we took our walk down through the wood to the hidden calm lake. Arrived Zion withdrew and wept, there'd be no jumping today. 


Mmmm, I replied. You promised it to yourself, didn't you? Then he busted out in fear and rage at the same time. 


I could see him fighting inside, so I let him do what he needed to do; stumping the food, shouting, crying. Calmed down, he sat on the base turning the back to the water, lowering his head down into his knees, I came next to him to be close and caring. 


After a while, Zion mumbled: I need help. 


We went to the flat area of the water. I held out my hands, Zion took them, and on three, he jumped. Wow! His eyes turned to two shining stars. 


Again, he shouted. 


We walked further up the base to take the next jump. Again with help, Zion jumped. Done! 


He got more confident and aimed to do the next one by himself.

In the deep water. 


Slowly Zion walked up, stood there silently, and did this: 


Putting his hands to prayer and speaking to himself this mantra several times. 


"I am calm. I am brave." 


He started to run and took the ---- leap. 


Back on the shore, he screamed: I did it, I did it, I did it. 


You can imagine from this day on, jumping was around the clock, down there in nature's beautiful lake. 



The essence of this story? Marie Forleo'skeynote brings it to the point:

Fear is a GPS for where your soul most wants to go! 🔥
(I'm a freakin' Marie Forleo fan, and this nugget gives me goosebumps all the time. )


That's so right for me. 

I'm going to break it down, how I see it here: 

  1. Fear's a valuable emotion. It deserves its present as any other feeling. That's why it'll be there with you anytime, anywhere in your life.

  2. Embracing your fear within yourself and not with your rational thinking is vital for your forthgoing.

  3. Ask yourself truthfully, whether the thing you so genuinely want to do is either expanding or contracting you.!Then follow, what expands you.

  4. That will give fear the right spot along with your choices - on the back seat of your ride. Like, you're welcome, but you've got no vote.

  5. Get help when you need it! I know from experience, that fear can reveal shame too. Which's often way stronger than the fear itself. Do seek for a mentor, coach, teacher, anyone who you want to trust and invest in your growth.

  6. Create a mantra, belief, conviction. Like my son: I am calm. I am brave.

  7. Take the leap!


"Test it, live it, experience it" (from the interview with Marie Forleo, Marie TV, 10 September 2019. Click here!). 


You see, a regular Ashtanga practice can genuinely help you dealing with your fears. Because it directs you towards it, makes you feel them without judgment, helps you accept them, and then you move through them practice after practice with the sole help of your own. 

You begin to collect positive experience with fear, which will level up your confidence from a place of appreciating yourself like nobody else. You begin to know your little quirks, and flaws and your talents and strength and all that stuff. With time and love. 

The practice will proof you, that you're worthy of your Self, your space in this world, your purpose and dreams by teaching you who you are and what's your goal and what to do next. All with care and love and patience balanced with persistence, challenges and humiliation. Deep deep down in your soul. 


Just a little bit of regular practice will do. Trust me! 


Now, I'd love to hear from you! 


What's the one thing you always wanted to do but feel scared to do? And which (even if it's just a tiny) step would you take now, to move closer and eventually leap?


Reply in the comments below, because I'd love love love to see you spark up!

I mean it. 


Last but not least, thank you SO SO much for being here and reading and sharing. Appreciate it! 


Always with love,


Your Stef ❤️


PS: Is there a friend, colleague, encounter, that may need some encouragement. Forward this blog post and send some extra love! 


PPS: When this story inspired you to give Ashtanga Yoga a go, hit this link here! I'm just an email away.   Private Tuition or my only Group Classes at Aravinda Yoga Shalain downtown Lisbon. 🤩



We're back on 💃🧚!

Heyyy! Back from my vacay in northeast Germany I'm ever so motivated and excited and inspired to catch up with you. See the shot I'm sharing with you. Aren't they magical? 

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Yet, this time with my family was emotionally intense than I could ever imagine. 

 

My grandmother's health took a turn for the worst. She isn't able to live on her own anymore. Not at all. Though I knew about her state, I felt profoundly touched by witnessing her life, moving to an end. 

 

She held space while my grandpa took me to the woods and lakes, made the barbecue and watched stars with me, taught me swimming and playing cards. 

 

My grandma's also been the one in my family with the biggest fear in her heart. Fear that has held her back so much from a fulfilled life. To see her suffering internally, unconsciously from the unknown, she regrets not to have done, was incredibly hard for me.  

 

Day by day, I was able to more open up to her. 

I held her hand. 

I listened. 

I loved.

 

So did everyone in my family something for my granny, they could do best. Zion danced, my sister joked (she can do this really good), and my mom took care of all the organization around my grandmother's care. 

 

Here's what I experienced: It's these specific times, that bring precious possibilities.My family grew closer together, we saw each other from different angles, got to know us better. 

 

That's why I think our magical vacay moments turned out so unique, and that's why I'm feeling excited and motivated - because we fell in love with life another time. I'll do anything to become my best version and make my life as an expression of who I am. I want to own it with every fiber of my being. 

 

Wondering, how much you love your life, who you are and want to become, I'm attaching you an email exchange with one of my couple private clients, aged between 40 and 50 years. We've been working together for a year now. 

 

Courageous to take on the challenge of change and the consistent practice with me, they decided to spend part of their vacay on a fasting retreat. 

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Don't you want to feel like falling in love with life again? Fresh, motivated, proud, energetic, inspired, grounded, and clear.

 

Ashtanga Yoga can help you on your path beyond your imagination. It's a practice that heals you, strengthens you, takes you through the dark, makes you discover and understand you, fires you up for life again and so much more.

 

I want you to know that you're so invited to practice with me.

 

And here's a little extra dose of feedback from a private client, who's been walking through a dark period and knowing, that "through" and not "away" is the ticket to her freedom. 

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It's been a pleasure and honor to be there for them and teach such warm-hearted, focused, kind, and goofy people. 

 Want to be one of them? Say yes to yourself and book your Private Program now! Reply: roomformyself@gmail.com!

 

Because you're uniquely awesome and the world needs you at your best. 

 

Looking forward to Y.O.U. !

 

Always with love, 

 

Your stef ❤️

 PS: Ashtanga Yoga in a private set-up will support you in your life, wherever you're right now. It's such a generous practice. And I'll bring the coaching tools to help you clarify your questions, doubts, and wonders to build your path step by step, action by action. Reply: roomformyself@gmail.com!

 

PPS: Current Group Classes at Aravinda Yoga School in Chiado; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:45-14:15 hrs. It's a wonderful, dedicated and dependable group. We love to welcome you! Send an email: roomformyself@gmail.com


... and more vacay shots.

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One of my fav life ingredients


Hey there 🌟!


Morning hour in Berlin city. In casual I'm hanging on my sister's balcony looking over the skyline. 🌇


My eyes are catching skyscrapers, the "Potsdamer Platz", where the former East and West Berlin meet, the famous "Gedächtniskirche" and about five cranes while I'm curing my hangover with water and herbal tea.


Though I just had ONE glass of champagne at last night's inauguration of my friend's surgery clinic in Berlin-Mitte. Her name's Astrid, and we were bf during our university times. Longtimeago. Galp!


At this party, I met Astrid's friends I hadn't seen in ten years. The conversations circled about the classic - work, kids, and house.


Now and then my chats got crashed when somebody I didn't know, said goodbye. As an uncomfortable observant, I was patiently waiting until they'd finished the goodbye ritual. Know this icky feeling?


Fair enough. I'm not a social geek.


I decided I want to do it differently.


Taping Astrid on her shoulder about to say Good Bye, my sister got into a talk with her. And me, well I shyly glanced at the man Astrid was talking to. I smiled, looked away. Then we smiled at each other, looked away; until I took a deep breath of courage and said Hi.


We stayed for another two hours. 🥂


With Sören, that's his name; I had this conversation that totally fires me up. 


After an emotional burn-out, that's how he described it; he took turns on his life. He began the journey into his inner world, he marveled with absolute conviction. He seemed so inspired, and I just loved this vibrant energy.


Sören pointed out that he started his change with just 50. Saying he's at the beginning and yet feels super content.


And guess what, his dream is to get a surfboard in his hands and come over to Portugal.


Two takeaways I took out of this conversation: 

  1. It's never too late to unravel and take another shift in life

  2. Contentment's THE place to grow from. You need to know what you've got to allow yourself to want and desire. Anything else's greed; it seems to me.


Contentment is one of my favorite behaviors suggested in the yoga scripts.


Provided you've set the best intention for yourself, with a regular and consistent Ashtanga Yoga practice this behavior embodies within you and almost becomes a natural act in your life.


It's a sweet, quiet, fulfilled yet sturdy sensation regardless of the daily ups and downs.


That's what I call to rock a "balanced" life. To remain peaceful inside when changes and challenges in life are inevitable on the way to achieve your endeavors.


How do you think about contentment, and what role does it play in your life?


Leave a comment, because it's so worth to think about that.


Enjoy your life!


Always with love.

Your Stef.


❤️


PS: Worth to share my email with a family member, friend, or colleague? I'd be grateful when you forward it!


PPS: Follow me on Instagram @stefaniebirkholz




The truth is...

Hi  🌟,


An unplanned stop.

After my first class this morning, I paused at the beach along my way. I pulled my car right side on the parking of Cresmina beach, swapped into my Havaianas, threw the towel over my shoulders and took the notebook in my hand.

 

That's all that I needed.

 

In the sand, the towel sheltered me. Unusual for July the sky was grey, clouds hanged low covering the cliffs and the air was chilly.

 

I started to write to you. But the truth's, I couldn't get my thoughts structured, nor clarify one essence that I learned. My mind's full of insights, excitement, and curiosity of life.

 

You know, July wasn't easy. Challenges popped out like the lid from a champagne bottle.

 

Struggling at the beginning with my inner conflicts, especially the emotional ones, I decided, I don't hold my mask up, nor I run away. I stood my ground.

 

I dove in. I did my best to take the challenges on, to find my place in each one. I saw it as it is; I listened, asked, sorted, clarified, spoke up, said sorry, failed, re-adjusted, connected, kept silence, wrote (many pages), breathed, and stayed present.

 

Wanted to say this to you, because I've learned that your July wasn't the easiest either - a break-up, death, illness, mean actions, misunderstandings.

 

Thank you for sharing.

 

I've figured, when you speak the truth, you've got a great chance to connect. And connection, with yourself and others, is the foundation for a steady mind, and an open heart and a soulful, beautiful life. You breathe from a place of calm and peace and choose your battles and make your choices from there.

 

Love. Expansion. Growth.

 

During the struggle friendships deepened, my work became more professional, collaborations are in the making, my family's growing stronger and me, I've gained a tiny portion more trust in myself and in what I love and how I do it.

 

Now I need to take a deep breath.

I'd love to hear from you. What was the most important learning from July and why? Because, you know, connecting. 🤗

 

 

To re-connect, sometimes you need to disconnect, to step back from everything and overlook the events from the outside. Insights need to settle in, new structure forms, positive memories store, and you're able to draw from them to take your next steps.

 

Saying this, my holidays are on the wa-hhahayy. Leaving this Friday, I'll be back on schedule from Thursday 29 August.

 

On Thursday 29 and Friday 30 August, I've got two lunch spots for you. Want to practice one one one? Reply here!

 

Again and again, thank you SO much for being here, reading my emails, sharing and building a better life. ❤️

 

Now let's summer!

 

love & love & love.

 

Your Stef ✌️

 

P.S.: Ah, big news! I'm on Instagram. Follow me @stefaniebirkholz!

Would appreciate to have you over there.

 

Spin the bottle!

Hey,

On the search for Madonna's video shot on Batuka at Ericeira's coastline we never made it to the Capela de São João.

My friend Michael and I hadn't seen us for years. Together with my son Zion, we ended up on a beach close by talking about life, what and who evokes change and - well, how to free yourself.

On this day under the sun, the sea felt powerful, shined light blue and the waves splashed some freshness on our skin. It was windy though, and soon we looked for shelter in this simple restaurant on top of the cliff.

A classic after the beach time: We ordered a fresh beer, cooled white wine, a limo, veggie toast and nourished our souls with this stunning view over the Atlantic. It always makes me feel at home.

🌊

Zion came up with "spin the bottle". He was totally in charge of the rules. And we had to answer questions asking each other. It turned out to be an exciting game.

Discussing Karl Marx's theory that the material world defines culture, education, and human growth, the question to me was, what my favorite "thing" is.

I had to think.

Getting a hint like, it could be chocolate, I finally got my answer.

When I practice Ashtanga Yoga intensively and come off my mat after about two hours the best thing to do then's to drink water.

Fresh, natural, smooth water.
This natural power and I feel like one.
The clarity of the taste's subtle.
The sensation of clearing's sensational.

💦

Life's fragile. Life's marvelous. And I believe life happens in the details.
All details combined designs you.
Details express in taking action, not just pondering on big words, like, love, appreciation, courage, forgiveness, etc.

How does it look like in your daily life?
What's your favorite material good?
How do you express love?
Which situations call your courage?

Let's play "spin the bottle" and reply here with your share!

Because, when it's water OR salty caramel dark chocolate, we're already two.

Raise your awareness, look out for your details, and enjoy this day!

Sweet love and as always, deep appreciation for you to be here
reading and replying to my email. It means so much to me.


Your Stef ❤️


P.S.: Inspired to practice Ashtanga Yoga? Or to give it a try? Send me an email for private tuition here!

Thought I'm sharing this with you too

Confession time! 🌟

In my twenties, I danced myself away in Berlin's nightlife.

Vibrant times around the year 2000. Freedom lingered everywhere. People expressed themselves, especially at night.

When window-light sparked darkness wrapped its arms around me, I felt protected to let loose. There was this night club called "Boom." The name was program.

Best drinks, latest music, underground and lively - women, men, queens, gay, straight, stylish, hot, chic - let your imagination go wild! I so drank this moment of diversity. I felt I belong.

My daytime was different. Very much. Reading the wrong books (mathematics and statistics) in university and jobing aside to pay bills, I felt desperate under my skin. Lost like a particle in space, having no idea what was happening inside me.

I kept seeking. Still unconsciously.
Until I was able to hear something.


Seeking, I've come to believe, is a call from your soul.

A whisper within yourself that thrives you to be vibrantly alive. It invites you to question, reflect, deconstruct your life so you can feel deeper, look from a different perspective, create, change, and re-build it.

You seek. Whether you'd like to gain more clarity, enhance your business, do what you love and earn money with it, create more time for yourself, parent differently, tap into your potential, build healthy relationships, there's only one way out which's - IN.

Ashtanga Yoga can help you do just that. As an internal practice, it teaches you to listen.

Listen to your body, emotions, mind, intuition, and see you clearly from outside. You could also say, the practice helps you raise your awareness of who you're and who you want to become.

Listening's a vital skill that needs practice. Begin gently. And, with the time you foster a reliable connection with yourself and ultimately embrace yourself.

Self-love's possible. ❤️


These are some of my words after the Ashtanga Yoga session; I had the honor to give at Jorge Coutinho's coaching program Be:Coach yesterday in the morning.

Thought I'm sharing it with you too. As well as some shots below.


You're an extraordinary soul. 

I'm so glad you're here, and together we're on this journey.

Mil beijinhos 🙌

Your Stef




Ps: As Bob Marley sings: "some good good loving, never try to resist:" You've got a life to live! Feel love for yourself!

Pps: Reply here and let me know how you feel about yourself? How do you express love for yourself?

Ppps: pics and my post from my session at Jorge's program in March - click here!

Do it-ish!

God, there was sweat dripping from the ceiling. The air was thick and steaming.

About 30 people in a well-isolated hotel conference room were breathing deeply. You could feel the unshakeable focus of each one of us.

Fresh air only lingered in when the door opened, and someone took over the place of a finished practitioner. One left, another came.

Peter Sanson, from New Zealand, taught again with patience, clarity and such loveable humor from 6:30 till around 12 midday.

My BF Camilla was staring at me while I was indulging myself into this memory of my appreciated annual Ashtanga Yoga workshop. All she brought up was: Stef, that's so gross.

I just laughed myself away. Camilla joined, and we had our moment. 😂



Honestly, this vibes' hard to explain. And it may sound weird from the outside.

Heat arises while everybody moves individually through their own challenges and delights of the Ashtanga practice. Through the uniqueness of each one, we form this particular sense of a sacred moment of human connection.

I love it. Especially with Ashtanga Yoga teacher Peter Sanson.

It's my fifth year with him, and his teaching's been having a profound impact on my growth to be patient, loving, and respectful with myself.

In the room, while teaching, Peter doesn't speak much. When he does, his words are precise, impactful, funny, and relate to life.



This stuck to me: it's so simple, and you make it complicated. Does it sound familiar?

Yes.

Why making life complicated?

I've come to feel, there's no black and white, no right and wrong.

There's what-- IS.

Instead of numbing, running away, feeling like a victim, or defending yourself, ever wondered about what if you stay present?

Fear of starting Yoga? Why not try it and see how it feels?

Pain in your body? Why not take care of it?

Broke? Why not dig into your relationship with money?

Unfulfilled in your job? Why not search for your talents?

Exhausted? Why not pause?

No sense of purpose? Why not start seeking?

About to shed tears? Why not cry?



Why not leaning into what is in your life right now and making it a priority to figure it out?

Because connecting with your heart leads to a peaceful, steady, and rooted feeling. And brings so much release, freedom, kindness, and joy into your life.

Try! Do it-ish! 😉
When you need help, reply here!
Ashtanga Yoga and other tools I work with may inspire you!

With SO much love & appreciation ❤️,


Your Stef

P.S.: My email about Peter Sanson from last year you can read here.

P.P.S.: Speaking about Ashtanga Yoga I've got some exciting news for you. FREE CLASS 16 hrs at EUS-SchoolOPEN DAY on Saturday, 29 June in Estoril. Deeply honored to be part of this event. Waiting list only! Mark your spot here!

The reasons for a morning routine

Pssst!
It's about five in the morning.

Stillness surrounds me. I take a deep breath.

Arriving at Zion's bed, I look over him, listening to his little snoring. I smile, and while doing so, I thank life for holding us two safely.

Through my wide open kitchen window, I hear the birds — time to prepare my warm water, coffee, and myself for my moment.

My Yoga mat's waiting. Before practicing Ashtanga Yoga, I sit down, take my first zip of a hot fresh coffee ☕, and write my morning pages. It can be free writing, about gratitude, abundance or affirmation.

I'm okay sharing this with you because I genuinely believe in the richness and sacredness of a quiet morning. And I'd love you to experience it.

Imagine this: outside's still quiet; your mind's resting. A moment that you can dedicate just to yourself. To listen, reflect, set the intentions for a brand new day, and ground yourself in your strength and greatness. 🤩

On the background of your busy life, with a morning routine, you're able to stay present, respond consciously and drive a day in the right direction for yourself and your family.

I'm talking here about five to 15 minutes time to invest in yourself. When you do it continuously the connection you establish with yourself can hold you in positivity, gratitude, and clarity. Over time it'll change the way you approach a day and ultimately your life.

Give it a try and let me know how it turns out for you! Reply here!
Because you deserve this moment for yourself.

Toasting my coffee cup to you, blinking with an eye and saying - have a fab day, << Test First Name >> 😊!


Your Stef ❤️




P.S.: Now I'm off to Peter Sanson's five-day workshop at Ashtanga Cascais. It's my fifth year under his guidance. I love his teachings. Can't wait to roll out my mat and practice, practice, practice.

P.P.S.: A Yoga practice in the morning can be a routine too. You don't always need an hour or longer. Do what you can! Already ten minutes on a regular base can bring you results. Would you like to know more? Say yes, and click here! Hey, it doesn't need to be at five am; at an hour that suits you. ☺️