The truth is...

Hi  πŸŒŸ,


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. πŸ€—

 

 

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 SΓ£o JoΓ£o.

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.

πŸ’¦

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 πŸ™Œ

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!

Here we go again!

This was a moment printed in my mama's heart. 

We've finally moved houses after months of navigating with a cool head through the current Portuguese Real Estate market. Crazy's the least to say. 

But boy we made it 🀘. Moving under immense time pressure we couldn't bother less about the furniture and boxes that were carelessly stuffed into our new living room β€” complete chaos. Just the moon threw a soft light into it. I knew we're alright. 

I mean, Zion and I were just happy. We had our small belongings. I set up one bed and the kitchen with the essentials. HOME! 

Zion disappeared in the chaos of the living room. Noticing how quiet it became, I went to find him with the help of the moonlight. No electric bulbs yet ;)!

He made his way through to his toys at the end of a 20 m2 room. I called out his name. Silence. Finally, he lifted his head. They looked at me: his sparkling eyes out of the dark and the chaos 🀩.  

There's us, felt my soul, at the very beginning of a new phase of our path of life (Here we go again πŸ˜‰). This moment I inhaled. Deeply.  Because I was fully aware of how I arrived here. 

What am I trying to say?



My sensations around that moment with Zion shifted into words when I had the precious opportunity to teach an Ashtanga Yoga session in Jorge Coutinho's coaching program. It was at the end of March this year. 

Jorge often mentioned, "the old Jorge" and "the new Jorge". In between these two human beings lies a path; he made crystal clear.  

When listening to Jorge and summing up my experiences, I've come to understand that this path doesn't exist until you walk it every step.

Along you'll be in the darkness. You'll be with yourself. You'll feel alone sometimes, and face hardship, chaos, and despair. It even may require your grief over a loss; for example, you needed to leave a family member or friend behind. 

And yet, that's the moment life lingers in (like the two stars of my son's eyes). Your vulnerability, your humility, your grace, your understanding, your potential, your strength, your creativity,  your joy, and your love gradually, gradually expand. 

It's all in you, you know. Your challenge's to take step by step and walk from who you are today to the one you sense within you. The outcome you can't control. But you get to choose your attitude, commitment, and actions. That's freedom.

Your path will unfold uniquely and is as precious and essential as any other. Just saying, in case you think you're not worth it. 

I was so glad to witness the participants in Jorge's program. They carried enthusiasm and will to take on this inner work. In all a very energetic, encouraging vibe and a safe environment to express and learn. Loved it. 



Have I already mentioned that a dream came true too? 
I've always been interested in the connections among the knowledge of yoga, coaching, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. 

At Jorge's program, we'd planned out the Ashtanga Yoga session after the part of the program, that focuses on the person. The intention was to feel, look inwards with a new perspective and to listen and recharge. 

We'd found with the feedback of the participants that it worked out very well. Here're some points about what I think, Ashtanga Yoga can do for you along your path.  



Ashtanga Yoga 

πŸ‘‰     is not a method. It's a practice on and off the Yoga mat that you can learn and apply throughout your entire life. 

πŸ‘‰     teaches you to listen, to yourself and others. Listening is key, before speaking, clarifying and acting. It's such a valuable skill to nurture.  

πŸ‘‰     demands and requests you to look within you clearly until you've learned what you need to. 

πŸ‘‰     takes care of you.

πŸ‘‰     supports you to release shame and guilt.

πŸ‘‰     builds your will power and resilience. 

πŸ‘‰     breaks open your blockings andlingersyour self-love, worth, and joy. 

πŸ‘‰     embraces and holds you safely, when the path gets rough and raw.

πŸ‘‰     keeps the light high up, when you aren't able to see it. 



Where ever you're in your life, always remember, embrace the dark and look out for the sparkle. Clickhereand let me know, where you're at! I'd love to hear from you.

Because, then I know, I'm in good company. 

With enormous love and gratitude. 
Enjoy Easter! 

❀️

Your Stef


P.S.: A sparkle could be a motivation to try Ashtanga Yoga. When you feel, you want to hit the mat, reply to roomformyself@gmail.com. Ashtanga Yoga in a private set-up will support you in your life, wherever you're right now. It's such a generous practice. And I'll bring the coaching tools to help you clarify your questions, doubts, and wonders to build your path step by step, action by action. 

P.P.S.: Current Group Classes at Aravinda Yoga School in Chiado; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:45-14:15 hrs. It's a wonderful, dedicated and solid group. We love to welcome you! Write to roomformyself@gmail.com!

P.P.P.S.: More Group Sessions to come in Estoril.Wait for the drop of information! Subscribe here to my newsletter!

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! πŸ™ƒ

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  β€οΈπŸ™! 
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, 4Β°), 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




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 πŸŽ„. 

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 β™‘. 

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 tooβ€” 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 4Β°E, where Lisbon's heart beats. You're invited to your first class. It's absolutely FREE.