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. ☺️

Feeling frustrated?

When my son Zion began to puzzle, about five years ago, I could well use my calm breath. While I tried to control myself not to help him, he tried and tried piece by piece until he figured it out.

It's a moment like this I realized that anything you want to achieve needs this important ingredient: patience.

I mention this because lately, I've heard some frustration in your words. That your effort wouldn't show results.

I hear you.
I'm a red-head. I lost it in seconds. 🔥😆

Patience I learned through Ashtanga Yoga. Because of injury and circumstances, I got to build up my practice many times in sweat and tears in more than ten years. Just recently I started a new phase. (A shout out to Vera from Ashtanga Cascais ❤️).

It's been humbling me.

And, I've come to understand I can do this thing called life.
With a bedrock of trust, patience, resilience, and joy, I can figure it out, well, everything.
Still in process. And, it'll always be.


Whatever you've begun:
- taking care of your body,
- changing your diet,
- getting in touch with yourself,
- improving your work,
- healing a heartbreak
- creating a new structure for your life
- practicing yoga

allow me to say::

You can't rush your process!

At times it looks like nothing's moving, changing or improving.
Even worse. Doesn't it seem sometimes, you walk backward?

But inside of you, something's started to wake up, break open and grow. Like a seed, you've planted and taken care of. Until it finally cracks through the earth, you don't see the growth process. At all!

Yet, everything you feel and do today will add on to achieve the change you're looking for. Also, frustration and trials that failed.

Do your soul-searching!
Balance between effort and surrender!
Find the best tools for you! (One's Ashtanga Yoga ;))
Focus on the right things!
Stay active! And, have endless compassion for yourself!
The results will show. For sure!

Besides them, you also develop essentials for life: patience. one. and faith, resilience, and surrender. the others.

Need a dose of encouragement, hit reply!

Because I SO love that you're on your journey. And, words can do magic.

Take good good care of yourself!

Enjoy your day 🍀!

Your Stef



P.P.S.: Thank you SO much for taking your time and reading through my email. Greatly appreciate it and would love to get to know about your journey. Replyhere!

P.P.S.: Want to try Ashtanga Yoga? Send me an email! I'd be more than happy to share how it can work for you! 🧘

Do it all!

This is one of my favorite things to do. Leaving home and flowing through the day.

Last Saturday Zion and I, we did just that. Dress, shorts, shirt and Havaianas, Water and some coins in the pocket.

After the farewell picknick in the morning, we spontaneously dropped by at Sara's (Hi Sara!).

Three years ago we met on a climbing occasion. Lasting memories had kept us in contact online until we saw each other again just a week ago at EUS-School inauguration.

There's time for everything and that moment on Saturday was ours to finally connect.

Melting at the pool and nipping some fresh water we talked about life. Of course. I mean, life's, what we love.

When we said Goodbye, she directed me to this message in her apartment.
This is written by a boy called Nkosi Johnson born with AIDS and died with 12 years.


Read it! Take it all in!


"DO ALL THAT YOU CAN,
WITH ALL THAT YOU HAVE,
IN THE TIME THAT YOU HAVE,
IN THE PLACE WHERE YOU ARE"



How're you feeling about it? Reply here!

I had goosebumps all over.
What an inspiration!


Every day, when I go out and teach or share time with my friends or encounters, I witness such different lifestyles, beauty, struggle and needs, ideas, thoughts and belonging.

You may be at a shallow point in your life, feeling tired and exhausted. Or lost and disconnected with yourself. You may be feeling awesome and still with many questions within you.

Nkosi Johnson's message is a reminder for you, for me, for us all, that there're faith, opportunity, and no limits. 🙌

Most important though is to give all of you; anytime, anywhere with whatever you do.

Because you're so full of life.

With all my love,


Your Stef ❤️

P.S.: When your partner, friend, colleague needs an encouragement forward this email along. Encouraging's powerful!

Wow, what a question!

Listen to this!

"Do you think, I resist to be strong?" a student asked me. 

This question was so interesting I kept pondering it for days 🤯. 

Until I saw Brené Brown's brand - new talk, exclusively produced for Netflix, released on 19 April in 190 countries and 29 languages. 

An absolute MUST WATCH, when you care for yourself, your family & friends, your work and our planet.  

Weaving elegantly and amusingly stories in her talk, Brené draws the red line of her outstanding work as a vulnerability and shame researcher. 

She's found, that being vulnerable is” the most accurate measurement of courage” and the “birthplace of joy, connection, creativity”; that you belong to yourself first and that new leadership is about embedding it into the work culture. 



Sobbing, laughing and nodding my head over Brené's talk, I figured resisting to be strong's so possible. And, that there's another way to go. 

Here's my thought stream. 

I want to think of as being strong in the sense of courage. Speak: being vulnerable. 

Vulnerable - the center of shame, scarcity, fear, anxiety,  uncertainty. 

It's saying or doing something when you don't know the outcome. 

When have you've said the last time - 
I love you first 
I'm sorry, I'll get better 
I need help
I'm scared of 
I'm feeling, that
I'm making the story up in my mind, that
I made a mistake
...

Yes, I agree. Emotions, you want to numb or in other words "resist". Right?

BUT, opening up and telling your story of who you are, that's when your courage lingers in too. These're all brave actions. 

Belong to yourself first! 
Show up! 
Grow as a human being!
Connect!
Create!
Trust, those who love you! 
Express gratitude!
Be joyful without purpose! 


You see, it creates such an astonishing human field of emotions. I understand you tempt to resist diving right into it. Yet, that's where life blossoms. Take that leap and jump! Show up! 

With my whole heart I encourage you to watch Brené Brown's talk on Netflix 🌟. Here's the trailer.

When you don't have access to it, click here to listen to her talk  "The Power of vulnerability"! Among the most five watched ones on TEDx, it'll be so worth your time.

Hit reply and share with me your most significant insight! Or comment below!

Because don't be afraid to be seen. 


With so much love, 

Your Stef


P.S.: Ashtanga Yoga's a beautiful practice to learn how to be present in an emotional moment. You'll build the strength to be courageous. Every breath you take. Reply to this email and get info about the qualities of Private Teaching or book your session! Group classes every Tuesday & Thursday 12:45-14:15 hrs at Aravinda Yoga Shala, Chiado, Lisbon. You're so welcome ❤️!


P.P.S.: Inspire your family and friends and forward this email! Get some tacos, hang out and watch Brené's talk together!