Do this at Xmas and you'll have a wonderful time in family 🤩

Ho ho ho! 

Christmas 2016 was a gamechanger for my family. 
In truth--- my new patchwork family. 

The year before my parents separated after 41 years marriage and moved on with their new partners. This year I went rock bottom too. The worst I've had in my life yet. 

Besides maintaining my Ashtanga Yoga practice, I also started writing again. Both saved me. 

Every morning before sunrise and stepping on my mat I turned on a little light, lightened a candle, opened a clean page in my journal and answered questions, clarified and did affirmation in this precious quiet morning hour. 


It crossed my mind that short writing would be an A-wesome idea for Xmas too. Start small, I thought! 

I went to buy the little Moleskine notebooks for every family member, wrote a personal note with three questions and wrapped it up like the most enticing Xmas present ever. 

In the beginning, my family showed resistance. Of course! That's how we humans are wired. Everything new is a No. They did it anyway because of love and followed through the questions. 

After that, everyone could share what she or he felt comfortable with. 

Magic moments were unfolding. We could discover each other, spoke about our feelings regarding the change, the place we felt in the new patchwork family and discussed beliefs, concepts of life and dreams. 

After my sis' boyfriend DJ-ed for everyone, my grandmother with 87 years over to my five-year-old son Zion. Rock-roll on Christmas! 

Just to say, that now it's become our ritual. Everybody loves it. 


Suggestion: take these three writings for your family and see how it goes. And family means the ones you love. 

Here we go: 


I'm grateful for: 
Here you can refer to every little thing in your life, personal, material, emotional, spiritual. Know, that gratitude is a generous place to live your life from. It allows you your joy when it flows in the right direction and grace when you've got to face your challenges. 


What would make my day great?:
Zion would say spending time on the ocean, a new rocket ship, and a pizza :)). Chose what's important to you on this day!


I'm: 
It's affirmation. You speak in the present tense about how you see yourself and where you want to expand to.


The result of this writing exercise turns out best when you do it daily. Use all the Xmas days and see what happens. You can throw the party after too 🎄. 

Let me know in the comments below how the experience happened! Because sharing our stories makes us feel connected. I'd be thrilled to hear from you!

Merry Christmas 2018! 
Enjoy 🌟! 

In gratitude ♡. 

Your Stef


P.S.: I'd also LOVE to share, that an Ashtanga Yoga Private Session may be an exceptional gift. Because it's a preciously life-changing practice. Send me an email roomformyself@gmail.com, and we'll wrap up the present. 

P.P.S: Lunch class at Aravinda Yoga Shala will be open on Thursday 27, 12:45 - 14:15 hrs. I'll be there for you. Last but not least: at Aravinda we'll have an event coming up. For now, I'd say: bring a cup, notebook, and pencil. Save the date: 12 January 2019, 17-20hrs. It's absolutely FREE. More details very soon. 

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