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.

 

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! 

 

Bring out the best of yourself! (Psst, a glass of wine can help 🍷)

How's it going? 

Well, I'm fighting my hangover today. I can't even tell you the last time I drank a bottle of Monte Velho red wine. From today's headache speaking it must be a while. 

My A-wesome girlfriend Camilla and I started nipping a glass of wine while having dinner and got involved in a conversation. We quickly build it up to a hot steam debate about life and shared stories with wild gesticulating arms (me), wide-open eyes and straight-forward questions. 

Kiddos, by the way, were happily awake too! Our Carnival! 🙃

When Camilla's husband Nuno arrived home, we got the fact, that we totally lost time and had finished the wine realizing tomorrow would be W-W-Wednesday!! Speak: no sleeping in.


Anyway, the uplift of a spontaneous evening like this is so refreshing; I don't even care about my headache. And here's what I'd love to share with you from our conversation on motherhood.

When you want to bring out the best in your child, you'll need to bring out the best in yourself. I mean not only physically (aka looking stunning - and I know you do) but emotionally, intellectually, spiritually.


You'll need to challenge yourself to design the most vivid life and own it from the most honest and comprehensive place inside of you.

It's an ongoing, ever-changing process. There's always something new to discover, explore, work through. And your kid(s) walk(s) along with you and learn(s) by example.

It requires courage, strength and hard work as a sense of self-love and not only the strict discipline to pursue what you love.

And that's, where I think, my regular practice of Ashtanga Yoga, got me on track. To be able to develop this incredible stamina and will to grow and build my path every step along steadily. 


And the most beautiful fact of it all is this: 

IMG_0829.jpg

Aren't we here to help each other, I'm asking?

I took this wise snippet from the book "Big magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's one of my favorite of all times because it helped me significantly to understand essential insights from my Ashtanga Yoga practice.


I'm curious, *|FNAME|*, are you willing to do better every new day?
How do you thrive? And if it applies to you, how has your Ashtanga Yoga practice helped you so far?

Send me an email to roomformyself@gmail.comand share! 
Because you're needed to "enrich and inform our own lives" - taken from "Big Magic". 

Here's to Wednesdays and a good glass of wine! 


With SO SO MUCH LOVE  ❤️🙏! 
Your Stef



P.S.: When you feel, Ashtanga Yoga and Private Teaching's worth your curiosity say hi! I'm an email away. I'd be grateful to learn about your intention and see how I can help you! Drop me a line: roomformyself@gmail.com


P.P.S.: Because of such dedicated and adorable students I've extended the schedule for the group classes at Aravinda Yoga Shala Lisbon (Rua Garrett 80, 4°), beginning from March 2019. Here it goes: 

  • 1. Tuesday in a month: LED CLASS 12:45 - 14:15 hrs. 

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays: MYSORE STYLE 12:45 - 14:30 hrs. 

  • School opens 12:35 Hrs


Your first experimental class is absolutely free! Feel welcome! 
Book your class: roomformyself@gmail.com




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.

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