I'D LOVE YOU TO KNOW

My lil’ boy Zion Santosha turns four years in August this year. Only recently though, I’ve fully embraced my role as a single mom and provider of my family.  

My beginning of motherhood were rough. In the first two years my life fell pretty much in bits and pieces. I lost ground. Nothing left that I used to hold on to. Just the vulnerability of oneself.  

Especially, voices around me saying “a single mom’s life is tough” really drained me. They took more of my strength than anything else. 

Why? Because, I didn’t have clarity about the big picture of my own life. Very easily I felt attacked and not supported.     

Times of uncertainty and unknown though are a natural part of life too. I hadn’t learnt to value those phases and use them wisely.

Ashtanga Yoga kept me steady and taught me to keep going and find richness within the uncertainty and the unknown in my motherhood times.

The essential effort I made was to continue to practice regularly and focus on the most important - to be on my mat before the day arises, breathe and take care of my Self without goals of having new postures, diving deep or opening up. Just breathing. Breathing. Breathing. With a simple consistent practice and letting change happen. 

Slowly, gradually with enough time for me to accept and love it while keeping my hunger for search and adventures - the vision of my life became clearer.

Along this process over the last four years, I developed the strength to make two significant choices, which were followed by my recent one - the third. 

 

First, Im going to be the mom, I feel in my heart and I’ll do it without compromises. 

Second, Im going to run my own business, in order to create the life of interweaving family, motherhood and work and contribute to this world the best I can. 

Third, I wholeheartedly embrace my story. 

 

Every time, I became clearer with my vision of life, I was strong enough to make a choice. 
Each time, I made a conscious choice life started to shift in the right direction. 

There is no “Oh Im so sorry” and “single mom’s hard life”.  It’s MY LIFE and my story.

 

What does it have to do with you? 

Im just so grateful to have come across your path and the chance to be able to share my insights from this generous Ashtanga Yoga practice with you AND listen to a glimpse of YOUR STORY. 

Your story matters. So much. That’s what Id love you to know. 

Single mom or not, woman and man - behind the doors we are in our modern lives hustling from one appointment to the next, fulfilling our roles, dealing with our monkey mind and trying to understand how we feel and relate with others and making the best out of our conditions. 

We’re all in the same boat, dealing with the same stuff. Day in. Day out. 

You may feel alone sometimes. But you ARE NOT alone. 

Aren’t we somehow all connected?

By knowing a tiny bit of your story I feel encouraged and inspired. I remember you. 

Sharing your achievements, insights, struggles brings out the highest value of attention, appreciation and care for yourself and all others around you! Most importantly, we can learn from each other and be okay with ourselves too. 

 

Lauren Hill sings with her song “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind” in her MTV Unplugged concert in 2002:

What a joy to be alive. 
To get another chance.
Every day is another chance.
To get it right this time.
Every day is another chance.

 

That being said, let’s stay engaged with life from a place of gratitude - there lies the juice of wonderful and great lessons, of growth & joy. 

Let’s keep sharing them!  
Become visible! 
We’re all in this together. 

 

Now Id love to hear from you. 
What is a great memory of yours and how did you get there? 
Thank you for your courage! 

There's is a SPECIAL for you @Yoga Lisboa till the end of June 2017. 
Scroll down and check out the flyer. Any questions? Just send me an eMail and I'll be there to answer. 

Looking forward to you! 

Love. Always. 

Stefanie

 

 

My teaching schedule: 

PERSONAL YOGA
Along the coastline Lx-Cascais
Mondays through Fridays 7:30 - 16:30 (except during the slots of Group Classes)
Saturdays 8a - 2p


GROUP CLASSES
Yoga Lisboa, Lisbon   - Mondays & Fridays 12:30p - 2p
Residência do Sol   - Wednesdays & Thursdays 2p - 3p



SPECIAL
Yoga & Lunch @Yoga Lisboa, Lx with SPINACH by the lovely couple Magui & Fred. Check out the flyer below and hit reply to get details and your coupon! We're looking forward to you!

SIX REASONS (AND MORE) WHY YOU MAY LOVE ASHTANGA YOGA TOO

Pretty much exactly nine years ago, after a hectic Account Manager day in the office, I headed on with my bike through Berlin city to an Ashtanga Yoga Studio. Earlier this week I had discovered a flyer while classically having a cup of Latte Macchiato with my friend in one of the hip cafés at Prenzlauer Berg.  

Dressed up in black with the typical Marlene Dietrich trousers, my fav light green stilettos, with my wild red hair I arrived at Andreas Loh’s school. Super stressed out to make it on time, there I stood in front of his welcome desk. 

The teacher Andreas looked up at me, put his big black glasses shortly under his eyes to scan me. Instantly, I calmed down and —  it felt great. My ego though wasn’t quite conform with my sensation. It was questioning: "Who is that guy?" But probably he thought more or less the same - who is her?.

Yet, Im a woman of commitment and when I say yes, I’ll do it. So I stepped on my borrowed Yoga mat and followed his instructions.

Drawn to the physical approach of this form of Yoga, I simply loved each moment of my very first Ashtanga Yoga session. 

Feeling comfort, warmth and fulfilment I was cycling home through a quite warm Spring evening. I wanted to enjoy every single bit of Berlin’s vibe and scenery. A moment of my life, where I felt presence and future. The end and the beginning. Fear and courage. In each single breath. 

Change would come. 
It did; and pretty BIG. 

After all the years of moving through a consistent practice I carry an unshakeable trust in Ashtanga Yoga. It has become the source for my life, for inner freedom and integrity to be unapologetically ME.

I feel, its 

truly special, 
absolutely awesome,
connective,
experimental, 
pure,
divine, 
beautiful like“The Little Prince”,
deep,
truthful,
nothing to flirt with, 
the real deal, 
endlessly generous, 
caring, 
challenging,
embracing

 

Granting myself with peace - Ashtanga Yoga with the posture Pascimattanasana

Granting myself with peace - Ashtanga Yoga with the posture Pascimattanasana


Here are six more reasons, why I LOVE the system of Ashtanga Yoga.  

Ashtanga Yoga is

  • a holistic form of Yoga. Practiced with the correct method it'll have a lasting positive impact on your well-being. With Ashtanga Yoga you basically can achieve everything, you want in your life.  Not only will you have a beautifully strong body, you'll FEEL strong, clear and beautiful through a natural balance of body, mind and soul. 
     
  • an ancient practice, passed down from teacher to student over thousands of years. You'll learn knowledge, which is proven through "direct and practical experience" and therefore carries truth and absolute faith. Nowadays, more and more people all around the world benefit profoundly from its process of healing, transformation and joy. 
     
  • an eight limbs Yoga*: Asana, what is practiced on the mat, is actually the third limb out of eight. It’s said, through “physical discipline” you’ll be able to experience, internalise and put in action the others: 1. Yama (how we conduct ourselves in life) , 2. Niyama (commitments to ourselves), 4. Pranayama (breathing exercise), 5. Pratyahara (sense withdrawn), 6. Dharana (concentration), 7. Dhyana (meditation), 8. Samadhi (higher consciousness). Ashtanga Yoga uniquely offers integrity as well as carries the capacity to heal and transform you, when those eight limbs are practiced consistently and with the best intention for yourself; any of your suffering can be diminished and vanished gradually. 
     
  • unique. There is no other system of Yoga, where you'll develop an own personal practice, which can be adjusted to time, space and circumstances. Once you've established a solid foundation with your teacher, you can practice independently and safely anytime and anywhere. The key for a beneficial practice is to do what is possible than nothing at all. 
     
  • a sustainable practice, either as a tool for health, your best friend, an intrinsic part of yourself or as a room for contemplation, practiced consistently Ashtanga Yoga will always hold your space in the moment of your life and support you right there
     
  • a source for life, when you want to allow it into yours. Fact is, the practice will serve your intention precisely and your approach will evolve over time. You may start with solving sleeping problems, wanting to loose weight, healing back pain to dive into questions of belonging and purpose. With a regular practice it's you, who'll define you own personal Yoga experience. Every bit of learning, insight, sensation can be applied directly into life. 
From the book: "Ashtanga Yoga Anusthana" by R. Sharath Jois, current lineage holder

From the book: "Ashtanga Yoga Anusthana" by R. Sharath Jois, current lineage holder

It says, 10 years is the minimum time to practice Ashtanga Yoga and to BEGIN! to truly feel and internalise and live Yoga. 

It was Andreas Loh’s teaching, that formed a strong foundation for my continuous learnings in the field of Ashtanga Yoga. Im so grateful for him. We are friends and keep sharing our insights about Ashtanga Yoga, life and his incredibly beautiful Piano Music. 

 

Is it for me, you’re asking?

Before you wonder: "Everybody can practice. Young man can practice. Old man can practice. Very old man can practice. Man who is sick, he can practice. Man who doesn't have strength can practice. Except lazy people; lazy people cant practice Ashtanga Yoga." - Sri K. Patthabi Jois (Guruji, 1915-2009)

I SO much believe in Guruji's statement. With seven years teaching experience Ive come across practitioners from all background, with all imaginable intentions, unique body-types and individual world views and I trust, you're able to do Yoga. Everybody can. It's a practice. You don't need to be anyone. Yes, yourself. Exactly, how you feel and where you are in your life. You can begin - well, - now. 

Only, when you do it, you’ll KNOW! 
Because you FELT it! and your emotions are always the best reason and drive your choice.

Check in with me my availability for Private Sessions and come along to my Group Classes!

FREE INTRODUCTORY ON ASHTANGA YOGA
26. APRIL 2017, 9:30-11a
RESIDENCIA DO SOL, Cascais

PERSONAL YOGA (1-6 ppl) 
Mondays through Fridays, 8a-4p
along the coastline from Lisbon to Cascais

YOGA LISBOA, Lisbon
Mondays & Fridays 12:30p - 2p

RESIDENCIA DO SOL, Cascais
Tuesdays 10a - 11a & Thursdays 2p-3p

Tomorrow I’ll be on my mat. Can’t wait! 
As curious and happy and wholehearted like a kid. 

Let me know about your experience with Ashtanga Yoga and write a comment below!
Give yourself a high five and book a session!
Share the post with your friends, when you think they may be interested!

Id be grateful to hear from you!

With joy & always wild red hair ;)

Your Stef

P.S. 
Don't miss Andreas Loh's Piano Music
http://www.andreasloh.com/en/

 

SOURCES
Join, R. Sharath: Ashtanga Yoga Anusthana

 

Source: http://kpjayi.org

SURPRISES WE DON'T ASK FOR ARE THE REAL ONES

Okay, okay. Im still working on my Newsletter List. Its copy-paste work and not my fav. Yet so essential work to reach you. That's what Id love to.

Again, Im using my blog to share with you my 2nd Newsletter. From April on, I'll post monthly on the last Wednesday of a month and share my insights with you about the direct link from Ashtanga Yoga on the mat to daily ordinary life. My goal is to make Yoga tangible as such a rich source. YOGA IS EVERYDAY LIFE. EVERYDAY LIFE IS YOGA. 

Thank you reading through my story. 

So, how you have been these days?

Probably... busy! That's ok. 

I emphasize with you. 

Days are coming and going. You're slinging from one appointment to the other, fulfilling your roles the best way you can and having a good word for everyone around you. On top of all that, sometimes in the mind may slip this thought about the Yoga Practice with a huge sigh. Oh dear, that's what I was going to do too, but couldn't fit it in yet. 

I hear you, and know the lil' hidden resistance to integrate a consistent personal practice. In the beginning it seems like, it takes time from your tight schedule but in fact, once you'll allow it into life, it'll create so much more room through health and presence, clarity and determination. 

But wait, hang in a minute! Yoga is so much more than a practice on the mat. Yoga is life, everyday life. It can be, for example, music. Im sure, you know that freeing feeling of singing in your car, grooving around your house or just drifting away somewhere inspired by lyrics and notes into your ears and heart. 

Music plays a significant role in my life as it has the capacity to translate emotions,, interrelations, phases, cycles of daily life in such a connective, if not spiritual way.

My son's name Zion is inspired by Lauryn Hill's song "To Zion". 

About 15 years ago my sister Carolin and I went on a trip through France all the way down to Barcelona. Young and adventurous, we hit the road and music was our best companion. I remember, that "To Zion" was always on the loop in my earphones, when I spent time with me and my thoughts. Little did I understand about her message in this song but I felt deeply touched by it. Only, when my son was conceived this song came straight back into my memory. I listened to it again, understood the story and my heart felt like arrived. This was the moment, I chose my son's name. 

You know, at the time before my pregnancy, I had poured my heart into Ashtanga Yoga already for two years; into my personal practice as well as learning how to teach it. Basically, it was 24/7 and I loved it. Also, my life was still pretty unstable as I didn't know, how my journey would unfold. I came to Portugal with a suitcase by car, dedicated my life to Yoga, fell in love and with a huge surprise I was becoming a mom. Gulp! Yes. That's how I felt. 

Here is what I learnt. 

Life IS full of surprises. Especially with those ones we weren't asking for. Right?  
Ashtanga Yoga helped me at a time of fear and scary insecurity to connect deeply with my intuition, with my womanhood and undeniable strength. It became crystal clear that no single circumstance would hold me back from being the mom chosen by my son Zion. And Lauryn Hill's song"To Zion" so much helped me to live and own my story.

Music is pretty amazing and definitely a kinda Yoga. Think about a song that touches you! Ask yourself why!

It'll take you out of your schedule for lil' moment and connect you to your heart, soul, body - you name it, how you feel it! You can dance and sing along too ;). 

When you like, share with your friends, comment below and tell me your story. 

I'd be so grateful to hear from you. 

Meantime, just know, Im looking forward to be practicing with you and seeing what may unfold. 

With love and stay tuned ;).

Your Stef

P.S.: My current schedule

PERSONAL YOGA (1-6 ppl) 
Mondays through Fridays, 7a-12p  
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 2:30p - 4p
along the coastline from Lisbon to Cascais

GROUP CLASSES
Mondays & Fridays 12:30-2p @Yoga Lisboa
Travessa do Cabral N4, Lisbon

My sis, Zion & me = L.O.V.E.

My sis, Zion & me = L.O.V.E.

GOALS IN YOGA

As an former athlete from the age of 6-16 trust me, when I say, I love goals and most of all, I love to go for AND achieve them. Speaking from that experience, I remember myself as an absolutely focused young girl and training hard. My life was all about sport, competition and being fast. I felt devastated, when I didn't win, when the hard work didn't pay off. Worst, I even began to define myself through my results. Holy s*%$ !

Let me tell you this, with all my warmth and knowledge, I support you along your individual Yoga path. I'll be there and engage with you on your personal goal. We'll define it precisely, track it, review it, adapt and weave it into your personal practice. Ashtanga Yoga though, is not a train and check-box activity. Even though it demands physical engagement than any other form of Yoga, this ancient practice is about to surrender and trust in something that we don't know yet. The Unknown and Unpredictability is the space, I will hold you safely and share with you. We need to go exactly there as we may need to withstand a few time of practice and practice and practice over and over again, in order to reach your goal and so much more beyond the surface.

The only thing I know for sure is, it's all about the process and not about to win. And, what reveals may not be exactly what you were going for in the first place but surely it'll be magic and will lead you to where you need to be. To the uniqueness of yourself! 

Class given at Yoga Lisboa - Ashtanga Yoga Shala

SUNDAY MORNING MOMENT

It's family time and we take it serious. Zion and I celebrate Sunday Mornings with bonding time on the mat. It's not just the Yoga that I share with him. It's him too sharing his kinda Yoga things - today there are his car and tennis ball and guess what's all around us! 

Planting the seed of Yoga can't be early enough in life - appreciation, gratitude, connection and love.

beginning of the Ashtanga Yoga Practice

beginning of the Ashtanga Yoga Practice

end of the Ashtanga Yoga Practice

end of the Ashtanga Yoga Practice

HOME IS INSIDE OF ME

"Home is inside of me" was the topic of the workshop I was able to share with the International Women Portugal (IWP). With an inspiring group of more than 20 women from all over the world we got to explore the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, its healing system and capacity of helping find a room inside oneself that is called home. 

We asked questions: How am I feeling today? How do I feel my body? What does it mean - home? 

For me, home is a room of safety and protection, love, care and truth. It is where I show up and I'm heard in a scared environment, seen in the present moment, the way I am, able to respond, to feel, to engage, embrace, encounter. All the beauty, the "in love" moments and all the brutality, the "in pain" moments. Over nine years Ive learnt with Ashtanga Yoga to create and build such a room inside me. With compassion and lots of roller coaster rides. There is no such great feeling of being connected with myself through my body, which allows me to connect with others and engage with life. 

Flyer 

Flyer 

Last week had some events to offer. Along with my memories of the workshop with IWP I'm sharing here my moments in my personal Yoga studies and teaching. 

Sharmila Desai, one of the few women, who are certified by the KPJAYI came to Portugal from 9 - 12 February, to share her wisdom and joy of Ashtanga Yoga with us at Ashtanga Yoga Cascais. Actually, receiving her teaching was a rare opportunity, since she has barely traveled for giving workshops. Besides her practice and work, she chose to fully live her role as a mom of her two kids.

Sharmila published a book instead, together with Anna Wise in 2014. It carries the title "Yoga Sadhana" for mothers, and it's about the role and integrity of Ashtanga Yoga during pregnancy, in motherhood and family life.  To me the book has become a dear friend. As written in the introduction, it's given me "strength, peace of mind, and joy" along the journey of motherhood. I reread it over and over again, take my notes, (my son has left his pencil marks too...) and I use it often, when working with pregnant women. This book was so needed. It shares wisdom, love and such precious diversity helping pregnant women and mothers to engage in their own journey and Yoga path wholeheartedly and faithfully. 

Therefore, I was so excited to meet her and am very grateful to have studied with her.  Sharmila teaches gently and caring from an inner place filled with truth, beauty and integrity. It touched me with love in my own process; I could embrace "what is" with grace and patience. 

IMG_2307.jpg

Last but not least, @Green Lotus we've began to teach Ashtanga Yoga classes. Green Lotus is a community project run by my friend Miriam. She is a dedicated Ashtanga Yoga practitioner, a dear mom of her two year old boy and a woman with her own rules and dreams. 

Our classes are Mondays and Wednesdays 3 - 4:30 p. 

They are given in an open house, where everybody is welcome to stay and relax. 
Also the environment of Guincho invites to an escape or break or moment of joy. 

IT'S REAL-TIME

First month of 2017 is finished. Wow! Time flies. Again so fast. I notice. 

January is a month filled with learnings. Learnings from inspiring people far away from Portugal. Coaches, teachers, bloggers, that share inspiring content, knowledge and give their support globally. 

On a side note: Tim Ferriss’ latest book “Tools of Titans” is out.

I dig deep and work something out for myself. Tools, to move through my days structured, organised and fore-shadowed. Just as an example. 

Living the freedom to structure my daily life means a lot to me. A room, that is well formed yet fluid enough to adapt to changes while I can feel still steady. Actually, it helps me to make more room for presence. 

Presence for moments of experience. They count. They stay with me. Because I feel. 
Like these ones.

When I sit down, with a group of women. We call us the Transition Support Group. Coach Alison and I work on an approach to bring coaching tools and Yoga together, creating a broader spectrum for engaging with life’s and cultural changes. In this group, we also share, how we feel right now in our lives. I mean, the stripped down straight forward feelings. They are spoken still with soft and shy voices. But we all feel heard. 

My first experience climbing up the rock. Im on a rope and put my heart into the hands of a fellow, that belays me. I look up the rock taking my first step and knowing "I can do this". I love the group of people. Most of us are brand new to each other. And yet, we connect through excitement, support and accomplishment supporting each other.

Lately, my son Zion has been expressing his anger in many ways. We are home. In our sacred place of comfort and safety, trust and love. He kicks his toys, stamps with his feed, bangs doors, makes an angry face looking at me saying “Ich bin stink sauer”. Something like, Im so upset I can’t even tell you how much I am. Im looking back to him. My heart is soft and open, saying "Im seeing you, Zion. Im here for you”, while figuring out a way, how I can help him best to orientate himself in the vast space of emotions. 

Moving on with a dear student after Xmas break, she brings up tears in her practice. It’s ok. We don’t speak. She is sharing her tears. With herself. With me. We connect.

Yesterday my friend Gaya and I talk through structural stuff of our work. About foundation. After hours of discussing, forming, reforming, we look at each other. Gaya asks me:  “How can I reach you?” “How will you allow me to open up?" "How can I allow myself to let you in my world?”. 

We have said these words hundred times before and then it dawns on us - through connection.
These moments - within the Support Group, while taking my first rock climb, being present for my son, my student - are moments of connections.

That’s the kind of foundation we need. Connectivity. Everything else, tools, structure, communication, work - we build with it. Then, trust unfolds. 

After our conversation, we come across the latest article from Sharath Jois, the current lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga. Sharath explains the intercorrelation of Ashtanga Yoga, real life and the importance of a good teacher. 

Ashtanga yoga is a way of living. Without a sound structure and foundation the building won’t be strong.
— Sharath Jois

Sharath goes on with emphazising how important it is to connect with a teacher in order to experience real Yoga, hence real life. 

It is my hope that everyone experiences for themselves real yoga.
— Sharath Jois

Gaya and I, we feel great day. Touched. Connected. There it is. All said by Sharath, what we have just discussed. 

On top of all of the insights about the experience of real life - so to say - in my mind, I'm now referring back to time.  It's always this feeling, I have : "Time flies". While I'm trying to take the hopelessness out of "Time flies" with saying to myself, that's all a matter of perspective, Seth Godin's daily journal post appears in my eMail inbox - and he does put time into perspective. He writes: 

Time is running out for you to become the person you’ve decided to be, to make the difference you seek to make, to produce the work you know you’re capable of
— Seth Godin

So, Im trying to get it all together. connection, experience, real life and time. 

Create and build life. Real life! On a strong foundation.
Through connecting with myself and others and ultimately trust unfolds. 
In all aspects of life - experience it. feel it. love it
Now! Time is limited.