Ever given your breath attention

The other day I entered the practice room of a student of mine. She shared some ongoings of the week, and we set the intention for the session. 

There she was standing on her Yoga mat, looking at me and starting her spontaneous, determined speech: 

You know, Stef, what I all need to. I need to look good, keep a smile, drink a lot of water, sleep enough, carve out time for me, make time for my partner, be a loving mom, cook organic food, grow my patience, stay fit, relax.

She got faster with her words to finish her speech elegantly off with an imaginary shot in her head on the word relax. 

Silence. 

We took a deep breath! 


I understand.

This current hot topic "self-care" in our modern world can bring up the opposite: feeling overwhelmed and depleted by the millions of demands and suggestions. 

I've got two comments: 

First, you can't "demand" self-care from you. Respect and compassion are crucial. It's WITH you.

With this foundation, you begin to explore you and learn what's best for you.


My current power juice is water, sleep (if not my five-year-old sweet boy takes it lovingly from me), and it's been my BREATH. 

On a side note: I don't mention "food" here. I do my best to eat healthily. Yes! But my son and I, we're also total Pizza junkies.


Anyhow, coming back to the breath: It brings me to my Ashtanga Yoga practice. 

Ashtanga Yoga's referred to as abreathing method, because you practice with a specific form of breath. You'll learn to use and value your breath with a positively beneficial impact on your life.  

Why's that important?

Because many don't breathe properly. I see it through my work every day, and it's a scientific fact too— the natural breath's shallow; the inhale or the exhale fall short; sometimes there's even a suppression of breath.

The change of your natural breath happens unconsciously through the experiences life gave you. Essential's how you were able to digest them. Because if you don't, they stay in your body, create internal blocks and stop the flow of your breath. 

Over time not breathing well causes your body pain, an unsteady mind hence anxiety, stress, weakness, a feeling of disconnection with your body, loneliness, insecurity.  

It leads to unclarity and not knowing who you're and what's best for you. 


Just a moment of a conscious breath can serve you with a different outlet. I'm inviting you with me now. 

Step away from your screen, close your eyes and take a deep, deep breath.

Close your eyes! 
Take a deep breath! In and out. 


Close your eyes! 
Breathe!


Your natural breath's given to you. It IS your life; it happens effortlessly and spontaneously. 

Therefore, investing in your breath can help you in many ways. For example, 

  • It cleanses your body and opens inner blockages. You'll establish a relationship with your body with acceptance and love. 

 

  • Your vitality level rises, and your strength grows to incredible stamina. You endure disease, fatigue, and anxiety. You're well prepared for a fulfilled life. 

 

  • Gradually your mind becomes steadier, which will help you to feel grounded, protected from outer influences and to stay on your game. 

 

  • Saying that you'll also gain clarity on what's essential for you and clutter out all the rest; not only on the topic of self-care. 

 

  • With that, you'll understand that a place of solitude is necessary and feeling alone's part of life sometimes. 




Take another breath! 


In the private sessions, I share simple and effective breathing exercises, that are easy to apply in daily life. 

The specific breath used in the Ashtanga Yoga practice itself teaches you to breathe with awareness and depth. 

It's a worthy and lifetime investment to focus on the quality of your breath. 

I wonder if this could be a unique Christmas present for you to give: a Private Session for yourself, with your partner or best friend.

What do you say?

Reply to roomformyself@gmail.com and let's talk about the possibilities. I'd be very grateful to hear from you. 


Your breath's precious.  You're too! 
And, you've got this. Don't let the outer noise influence you. 


With so much love and care. 

Your Stef


P.S.: How did it feel to take a deep breath? Great? Nice! Do you want to explore your breath deeper? Send me an email to roomformyself@gmail.com. Forward this email to your partner, friend or colleague who may need an in- and exhale.


P.P.S.: In one of the private sessions the practitioner asked me if she was supposed to answer my emails. I was smiling at her lovingly. I assumed I don't write clearly enough (I'm working on that one :)). Yes, I look for an exchange. I'd love to connect. You're so welcome to reply with your share and questions to roomformyelf@gmail.com or in the comments below!

I wanted to show you THIS video

Hey!

I wanted to share this video with you.

But first, let me tell you why.

To me, Ashtanga Yoga's a deeply personal practice. On your Yoga mat, you lay out your heart and soul, you surrender to your pain and indulge in your joy, you struggle with your fear and build your faith.

Sometimes it happens to be a mixture of all of it in one single practice and there's so much more beyond your imagination.


This practice paints the practice room, your school, home, office or hotel room, in a very special light, creates a strong energetic space and lingers its magic mellow vibe in silence. Just you with your breath.

This atmosphere's almost impossible to explain.

Your devotion and surrender to you in the practice protected by the principles of Yoga, such as non-violence and non-judgment, hold your space for healing.

The Ashtanga Yoga practice lives through you, your engagement with it.


Over the course of time, it carries the capacity to

  • accept and feel comfortable in your body

  • deal with your loneliness

  • understand your role as a parent

  • take your painful decisions but the truthful ones ...

  • minder your sleeping problems

  • reduce your stress, back pain and

  • rise your confidence

I could go on and on with the benefits. But I just remembered I was to show you this video :).

So because of this so intimate practice in a vulnerable surrounding, I've rarely taken pictures or videos neither about my personal nor teaching practice. It just doesn't feel right to me.

Until the Brazilian photographer, Rodrigo Ultramari contacted Joana Menano, the owner of Aravinda Yoga Shala. Rodrigo's humility, kindness, and naturality convinced us. So he did his thing. This video produced by him shows the Ashtanga Yoga lunch classes.

Click the play button below and dive right in!

Because, my love for Ashtanga Yoga is SO big that the only thing's possible is to share it with you.


Have you seen it? How did it speak to you? Write about your impressions in the comments below here!


But let me tell you, the only way to really understand what Ashtanga Yoga's about is to practice it. We'll get that one thing, that you wanted to tackle for so long. Sleepless? Feeling alone? Not comfortable in your body? What else?


Send me an email to roomformyself@gmail.com to set up a free call to take your questions and doubts for private sessions or group classes!


Looking forward to you!

With so much love,

Your Stef


P.S.: Before I forget, the Ashtanga Yoga lunch classes are every Tuesday & Thursday 12:45 - 14:15 hrs. In Aravinda Yoga Shala Rua Garrett 80 4°E, where Lisbon's heart beats. You're invited to your first class. It's absolutely FREE.

Moments like this one are priceless

Yes! 

I had a breakthrough the other day. 

Give me high five! 

One of these fabulous warm winter evenings last week we needed to end on the beach.The air was soft and salty, the sea quiet, small waves moving calmly in an even rhythm. 

Protected by the moonlight my son Zion was running in the sand meters away from me. Looking into the stars, spreading his arms, feeling his freedom. 

Now and then I heard him calling out: Mom, come and catch me! And after enjoying my moment I did speed up to play. 

After ma-a-a-any catches and out of breath we quietly walked side by side back. 

On the way, Zion wanted to grab a drink and asked me to go into this specific bar that I don't like. I replied that and mentioned that we could get our water in the car. Zion focused on reaching the bar he made his point: 

Oh Mom, he said, you don't need to buy anything there. It's just me. I want to choose a delicious juice.


It dawned on me: empathy. 

In his words, Zion asked me to

  • take his perspective  

  • understand his feeling of being in need to drink something that he loves in a place that's ok for him. 

  • not judge him for that and 

  • speak about how I understood it and I explained why I wouldn't choose the bar. 



How does it relate to Yoga?

I've come to understand, that Yoga can be applied as a method to self-reflection; to begin to explore, who you indeed are.

Because to give empathy, or in other words, to understand somebody's feelings, you'll need to be able to connect with this feeling and distinguish from it within yourself. And, the deeper you know yourself the better empathy's to give and receive. 

Speaking from my more than ten years of experience with a consistent Ashtanga Yoga practice empathy becomes tangible, even embodies.

It turns out to be an incredibly deep feeling of connection. 

So yes, I gave Zion his coins and joint him to choose his drink. 
We took a seat, chatted and looked at the sea. 🤙



In your everyday life, there're countless hidden nuggets of wisdom. 

When you listen carefully to whom surrounds you, you'll get the hints, insights, answers, new questions and understanding that are meant for you. Like me with my simple and clear empathy breakthrough.

Over to you!

Please share in the comment below, what's this one memory about a breakthrough in your everyday life?

Because I'd love to get to know you too!

Enjoy your day! 

Your Stef


P.S.: How much do you feel understood? Forward this email to who you love and start the conversation!

P.P.S.: Does it cross your mind to practice Yoga? To give it a try? Then hit reply to roomformyself@gmail.com, and we'll talk about you and what I can do for you. 

Without you there wouldn't be this result ♥️

Do you remember our group classes in the old school, the high cold room there in the winter, the odd smell and the little light? 

Such an opposite to Aravinda Yoga Shala, isn't it? There’s light and protection.

It’s been almost a year now, that we moved to the new school in January 2018. New fellows have joint in, others visited or have been in touch.


It’s been a strong year, you’ve told me.  
The days moving fast, you've faced changes and huge challenges. 


Still, you make the incredible effort to step on to your mat. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:45 hrs. Every single week.

To take time and do something good for yourself, to pause, reflect, dis- and recharge. 

I’m writing to YOU today to let you know that I’m aware of that. 
95 percent of Ashtanga Yoga’s showing up. So, you do just great. 


I adore your commitment, dedication and love you bring to the school. It’s made our lunchtime classes to what they're today - a heartfelt, generous room to practice, share, communicate and connect. 


Time, to show you the video, that the photographer Rodrigo Ultramari produced for us. 

Click the play button below to see with your own eyes! Because being part of your journey means a lot to me!



Let me know in the comments below, how you like it! 

Thank you so so much for practicing Ashtanga Yoga together! 
And, see you on the mat! 

Your Stef


P.S.: If you want to show your partner, your friend or colleagues why you do what you do in your lunchtime, forward this video! They’ll understand you better 🤩.

STOP RUSHING AND READ THIS

I'm sure; you know a situation like this one: 

Last week on Tuesday I left my house right on time, prepared for a day with a tight schedule.

And you know what? I caught traffic at an unusual hour. On the A5, to my second Yoga session. Even the app WAZE couldn’t redirect me on to a secret lane.
 

I arrived 20 minutes late. For Portuguese habits acceptable. For me: nope. I felt like the red devil emoticon.


To the third class, I rushed up and down the hills of Lisbon for about 15 minutes; my veins were pumping.

With my last power, I pushed myself up the stairs to Aravinda Yoga Shala, because the elevator wasn't damn working.

The students waiting in front of the door and I crashed my heavy bag down and fell into the victim mode.

Without breath I stumbled something: Oh, I’m always running from here to there, from there to here. This traffic! And I’m so sorry I’m late.
 

We were laughing. I heard a sweet voice welcoming me: Stef, it’s ok. You’re here! My heart melted into ease.

 

Sometimes, there’re days I just don’t get it together. I’m on the run. Trying to catch the carrot ahead of me and, of course, I’ll never reach it.

On other days my ten years, Yoga practice pays off.

 

Here’re my five favs to slow down on a tight and hectic day:

  • Breathe! It's THE first action to do.

    That’s why you practice yoga, to be able to connect with your breath, come back to presence and figure out, what matters right at the moment.
     

     

  • Surrender! You can plan your day. Some happenings aren’t in your hands though: traffic, broken down car, strikes, accidents, heavy rain, your sick child, an argument with your partner. Take the situation as it is. Adjust to the circumstances! And, trust.

    That’s what we practice on the mat, too. At some point the only thing you can do, while moving through Yoga postures, is surrender. It’ll take time to make it to a habit. But it's worth your effort.
     

     

  • Have clear transitions! Before you go to your next thing in your cal, wrap up the one before, breathe, set the intention and move on!

    The Ashtanga Yoga practice’s got transitions too, called “Vinyasa”. They’re as important as the actual postures. They neutralize and get you ready for the next pose. Thank god to Brendon Burchard who also showed in his book “High-performance habits”, that high-performance people do that: they take transitions seriously.


     

  • Take a break! When you feel, you rush around like a mad chicken, stop for a moment! Sit down on a bank on the way to your next appointment! Don’t look at your mobile when waiting for a red traffic light. Look around and do nothing. 1 minute, 2 minutes, a few more, they can occur like an eternity, help you to recollect yourself and take the next steps of your day from there.

    On your mat, you take rest after your practice. That’s the part to let it sink in. Rest isn’t the opposite of activity. It’s complement.

    So hey, you’ve got permission to pause!


     

  • Love your fam! On a messed up day, come home, throw your shoes in the next corner and chill out with your fam. Zion and I we do fun. Dance! Scream! Watch a short movie! It brings me back to what matters most - to connect with myself and my son, to love and share life. Then I feel ready enough, to tackle the last tasks for the day, review and plan the next day ahead.

    After all, I believe, that’s what Yoga’s about: to cultivate a sense of self-love for yourself and act from there. 

 


Chose one of these actions, you could take into your life right now! Write it down, post it to be reminded! Give it a try for at least a week!
 

Or have you got something else magic in your pockets? Share in the comments below your favorite habits to calm down! We can learn from one and the other. And feel, that we’re not alone with the daily hustle.
 


If you want to give Ashtanga Yoga a chance to figure out, how to stay cool on hectic days, then drop me a line for Private Sessions and Group classes: roomformyself@gmail.com with your mobile number and availability to speak over the phone.



So what’s left to say: Thank you for reading! And, have a good one tomorrow ;)!
 

With so much autumn love,


Your Stef

I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO ASK FOR HELP

 April 2015

April 2015

5 minutes read

I’m back in your inbox and feeling so grateful you’re welcoming me. It’s me again;  Stef from Room For Myself - with Ashtanga Yoga. 

After my last notes to you in the beginning of June about my participation at FEFI - An intercultural market for female entrepreneurs, June took its own rhythm, and I haven’t followed up yet with my latest blog post. 

Successfully finished FEFI, my next focus was on my very favorite workshop in mid-June at Ashtanga Yoga Cascais, with Peter Sanson. Peter, from New Zealand, was awarded the certification to share the traditional method of Ashtanga Yoga. 

After four years of practicing with him in his workshop, I've come to consider him as a teacher, who’s got the most profound and lasting impact on my personal growth. Under his guidance, I take care of my practice, merge into it with no distraction, dive deeper into the so vast world of Ashtanga Yoga while beautifully being side by side with my fellows. 

It’s an annual highlight for me. I really needed to make my participation happen. My schedule re-organized I also invited my awesome sister Carolin to support the life of my son Zion and me during the workshop. 

I was so happy to take them both to the dinner, which Peter invited all practitioners and their families. In the round, Peter then goes from table to table and kindly chats with all. At ours, I introduced him to my sister, and he said these beautiful words:  Your sister came all the way from Germany so you can do the Yoga. I nodded with a huge smile, and a big heartfelt YES left me profoundly internalizing the blessing to receive the help I asked for. 


That’s what I’d like to talk about in this post. About asking for and receiving help, because I've made my way through a shift and would love to share my process. 

Why?
Because, I firmly believe, we’re here to help each other. Asking for help and receiving it, request you to grow in some of the more than ever needed realms of human principles - trust and vulnerability, courage and connection. 


Personally, asking for help was a shameful thing to do for me. Instead, I kept quiet and considered  as confident. My “confidence” I would express in being good helping others, while inside I didn’t feel integrated nor worthy. 

Along with my 10 years journey of Ashtanga Yoga, I got taught, that there exists another way to go, but I only dared to begin exploring this topic about three years ago. 

With my studies of Ashtanga Yoga, I love to research a bridge between yoga, philosophy, science, coaching, and spirituality. In science, I was lucky also to discover researcher, Brené Brown. Brené committed herself to research courage, shame, vulnerability, and empathy. All of her four books* I've read and refer to them in my personal experiences through Ashtanga Yoga and life as well as I apply her research in my work. 


I came across this video snippet just recently, and Brené shares this: 

When you cannot ask for help without self-judgment, you were never really offering help without judgment. 

[…] You’ve attached judgment to asking for help […] and when you extract worthiness from helping people, this is judgment. 

When you don’t extract worthiness, and you think, I’m just helping you because one day I’m gonna need help, then that’s connection, vulnerability.  
— Brené Brown


Listening to her research results all of my work on this topic began to make sense. I understood, where my difficulty was, and I felt ready to change it. 

Giving help and not being able to ask for help without self-judgment is what I had done a long time. Unconsciously. Also, I’m here to admit, that I did gain self-worth from helping others as a teacher. Unconsciously.

Taking a deeper look into it, not pain-free at all, I dared to discover, where the lack of my worthiness came from and how I can heal it. I also had the responsibility to review my work attitude as a teacher. All in all, an in-depth process of courage, humility, and self-worthiness. 


I can’t think of any more effective method than Ashtanga Yoga, that’s taught me courage and strength to investigate such vulnerable topics. Ultimately, I believe, taking this practice is in itself a practice of self-worthiness and -care, which makes the inner foundation robust to be able to change yourself and internalize insights to put them into action in your life then. 

And learning how to asking for and receiving help without judgment was one of my tasks.


In my life, it all came together in the last months before Peter Sanson’s workshop. 
I did need help with Zion's childcare on the weekends. I dared to ask from heart to heart, and I received such a high and warm return. 

Many times, Zion stayed with his friends. They could develop their friendships, and I had the precious chance to connect more with moms and families in my hood. It was all topped with the arrival of my sister and this moment on the dinner table with Peter Sanson, I spoke about at the beginning of this post. 

I've loved these experiences and when I'm searching for a word that describes my feelings it is - freedom. I felt so free and yet integrated.

 

Appreciating your presence, I’m allowing myself to say thank you to all of you again (in no particular order) - 

Dad Hugo with Zion’s best friends Zef & Fausto
Family Caro & William with Zion’s best friend, Jack
Mom Cynthia and cool Kayla, Zion’s favorite girlfriend ;)
Mom Marilu and sweetest energetic son Yasser
Friends Pedro & Tina from Beyond - Boards for the times on the board
Friend Jessie from Karma-Surf-Retreat for introducing to Zion the ukulele
Mom Mariela with her so adorable daughter Sophia
Zion’s teachers Ana & Teresa, who both are there for him far beyond school hours and
Greatest sister and aunty Carolin.  


Yes, asking and giving help with no judgment is connection and vulnerability. 
It brings us closer, opens up for understanding and togetherness, which makes life worth living and sweet.
 

Additionally, I also learned to get a “no”. Sometimes, it wasn’t possible to get help, so I figured out a way, with the qualities of strength and surrender built up with the practice of Ashtanga Yoga. It made me really grow my faith that in any way I can always rely on myself. 

 

So, I’d love to encourage you to look into your patterns of asking and receiving help. When needed see, how you can change it for the better and share with me in the comments below your process. Somebody else needs just to hear your story. 

Feel free to write personally to roomformyself@gmail.com. I'm glad to listen. 

In Private Teaching, we do tackle topics like this, and when you feel, it’s your time now then please don’t hesitate to send me an email to roomformyself@gmail.com for my offers. I’d be grateful to hear from you! 

Always know, you can ask :)! 

With so much love. 

Your Stef
 

  • *The Gifts of Imperfection
  • Daring Greatly
  • Rising Strong
  • Braving the Wilderness