Core Workout Video

Use this core workout video to exercise your obliques and abs. Place a block between your thighs, lift your legs up straight or bend knees if necessary. With both hands interlaced behind your head, lift right elbow towards your left knee, then switch. 10 repetitions on each side. Three sets.

How to overcome Fear

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Fear... we all have it. Some of us are more inclined to discuss fear (publicly) than others but we all want to know how to overcome it. When I say fear, I include phobias and anxiety, that dreaded feeling that makes us lose control and stops us from thinking clearly. I recently saw the photos in this article mentioned by and featuring Kathryn Budig (renowned yoga teacher) that shows people with writings on them that describe their fears and insecurities. Steve Rosenfield’s “What I Be Project” depicts his friends and famous people in a very vulnerable way and there is a beauty to it.

We live in a society where being strong dominates, so does being fast and successful, beautiful and confident. But the real strength, in my opinion, lies in showing people our vulnerabilities and owning them. In most cases, talking about them already relieves a burden and most people will probably offer a helping hand to help us overcome our fear.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to be more confident in front of a lens. Photo or video, particularly when I'm not moving but telling a story. And I do hope to share videos with you on topics around exercise, food, mood, motivation and body image. So look out for them.

In order to get there, I believe 5 things will help me:

  1. Just doing it: it's like that old band aid as a child. The quicker you pull it off the easier and less painful it is. Just doing it means trying it and not judging yourself. There really is nothing bad that will happen.
  2. Support from friends and family: as I mentioned above, talking about fear and anxiety is a first step to releasing some of the tension. Most people probably relate and will be more willing to come forward with theirs. Then, when the situation arises, make sure you have one of them by your side to squeeze your hand and tell you you're doing great!
  3. Practicing: make it a regular thing. When I started teaching classes, my heart was thumping and I was sure everyone could hear my voice trembling. With several classes a week, I am still a bit nervous at the start especially when new people are there but I can focus on other things more now. I talk to people, listen to their stories, laugh with them, because it's a routine now, the anxiety has made space for nicer things to focus on!
  4. Breathing: in most yoga classes you start with deep breathing. I start my class with the same. Breathing and releasing the tension in your abdomen from holding it in is super important. The deep inhales lift your chest up and make you feel powerful, the long exhales release anxiety and help you drop the shoulders which are probably up by your ears. Inhale tranquility - exhale anxiety.
  5. Being kind to myself: I am my biggest critic and I'll second-guess even if friends tell me it was good. So in this New Year's resolution, I also need to stop that. Being kind to ourselves means being accepting. Something we gladly extend to good friends. Being accepting of our own imperfections and the fact that everything is a process, is a major step to being more relaxed about our fears.

There... if I can do it, you can do it! Whether you get nervous about public speaking, fear flying, get anxious in new situations, I hope those five steps help you.

Let me know in the comments if you use some of these techniques and in general how YOU overcome fear! The sky's the limit - I dare you to embrace it!

xxR

PS: I'm afraid of heights, too. Hence the photo!

 

Yoga Happiness

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Does yoga bring happiness? For the longest time I was mainly a runner. I was a passionate fencer for many years and I love show jumping on horseback. And then not too long ago I threw yoga into the mix. My husband who has been practicing for decades promised me that if I stuck with it past the point in which downward dog would actually become a relaxing pose, I wouldn't regret it. He is a wise man, my husband :) I can't think of a better way to stretch out after a long run or to start other days building heat in my body (especially in this weather), than through yoga. It has helped me deal with anxiety, makes my skin looks rosy (say my friends) and it is a perfect way for me to end each of my classes and sessions with people that I work with.

Yoga makes me happy. It is the balance to my running. It has helped me trust in things instead of wanting to control them.

Balance + Trust = Happiness

Let me know if you agree or how yoga has helped you, below in the comments!

xxR

Peach Pancakes - Tasty Tuesday

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I love peach... and pancakes ... you may say, why is she making a sweet dish again. Well it's because: why not? You can make your own salad but to get creative with healthy options of otherwise over-sweetened uber fatty dishes that you order when you eat out, is harder. So here's a little help. For these pancakes I used fresh peaches from the Farmer's Market. They are succulent and big and ripe these days so you don't need much additional sugar. Also making the pancake dough from scratch is easy and you know what goes in it exactly. Substitute yoghurt for milk and I used 50/50 white flour and whole wheat. One egg, some spices... delish!

Ingredients are:

1 large egg 1 cup Yogurt (I used Ronnybrooks maple vanilla) ½ tsp vanilla 2 Tbsp sugar (or less) ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 1 pinch ground nutmeg (or not - or try cardamom, it's really good for you) ½ cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup whole wheat flour 1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda butter, for pan 1 peach peeled, halved, pitted, and sliced into ¼” sliced Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 250 F and set a baking sheet inside. Combine the egg, yogurt, vanilla, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Stir until completely smooth. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon, nutmeg, flours, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk together. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Heat a skillet to low-medium heat, and melt a Tablespoon of butter in it. Scoop about 1-2Tbs of batter into the pan (this will look like a very small amount), and place a round half slice of peach on top. The pancake will flatten out and be about the size of the peach when fully cooked. Cook on this first side for about 3 minutes, or until the edges are dry and the middle is bubbling, then flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Place cooked pancakes in the oven until all the batter is used. Serve with maple syrup or topping of your choice.

3 ways to manage stressful situations

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This week presents two stressful situations for me. One was teaching a first class at a new place, you know, will the music work, will the owners like it and will the participants like it? Yes, yes and yes. It was a great hour with lovely people, sweaty, heart pumping and incredibly relaxing at the end. Just so beautiful. I tend to get very stressed and forget to focus during stressful situations. This week, in addition to teaching my first class at Melt Massage I'm also running the Miles for Midwives 5k fun run. I am a professional procrastinator so I started preparing for class the night before and the day of but with the race on Saturday there are a few more things I need to remember. Most importantly: to chill out.

Here are 3 ways that help me when my mind starts racing, my jaw clenches up, my brain is already focused on an appointment 5 hours from now and my stomach acts up, which is especially uncomfortable during workouts:

  1. Stop! Turn your eyes away from the computer, the phone and for a moment focus your mind on something else. I like to look out the window and watch the squirrels chase each other down a tree, a dog helps too, playing with Zola calms me down and makes me happy or if you are in the office, get up and walk over to a nice colleague of yours, say hi and chat about something or go get some water.
  2. Nap! Seriously. The racing monkey mind creates a lot of physical anxiety too and that's tiring. If you can close your eyes and snooze or at least drift off for about 15 minutes, it does wonders to your state of mind, emotional and physical well-being. I find that when my stomach gets really worked up, that helps calm it down, too. You can do that outside on a bench, at your desk or at home you can lie down.
  3. Laugh! Remind yourself that nothing horrible will happen. It will probably go incredibly well and by the end of whatever it is you are dreading (public speaking, a sports event, or anything else) your relief will make you happy and crave even more of that adrenaline rush. If you can't think of something funny yourself, ask a friend to check in with you beforehand and make you laugh. If they do, they are truly good friends. Laughing releases dopamine and dopamine makes us smile. Win-win situation.  which help the body stay in tune and even heal.

As children, we didn't anxiously await horrible outcomes to new situations, we were able to live much more in the present and go about our daily business. With experience comes fear. But that doesn't mean we can't remind ourselves of these three simple things that were so simple once and are so vital to our well-being.

I dare you to try it! I'm going to go take a nap now.

xxR

Tasty Tuesday: Plum Tart Recipe - Zwetschgendatschi

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This is an all time favourite recipe and my biggest challenge. A plum tart made from a yeast dough. Also know as "Zwetschgendatschi". It turned out ok, I used half whole wheat flour and half regular, added very little sugar. Too little for my husband's taste but the plums were delectable. Ingredients:

- 2 cups of all purpose flour or whole wheat and white flour 50/50

- 4 Tbs sugar - I used brown sugar but caster sugar is fine

- 1 package dry yeast

- 0.5 cups whole milk

- 1 egg

- 3 Tbs butter (soft)

- lemon rind from one lemon

- cinnamon and sugar

- 2- 2.5 lbs plums

Combine the flour and yeast in a bowl, add the butter, milk, egg, sugar and lemon rind. Combine by hand or with a dough attachment to your kitchen machine until you get a dough that doesn't stick to your hands anymore. Let it sit and rise to about double its size for approximately 30 minutes.

Knead the dough through again and then roll it out thin on a cookie sheet. I pressed it into a cake pan. Layer with the plums cut in halves or quarters with the flesh up. Spread some sugar and cinnamon on top and bake in the pre-heated oven at 350 F for about 35-45 minutes. YUMM!

Dieses Zwetschgendatschi Rezept ist der Knaller! Wir hatten so schoene Pflaumen hier am Wochenende dass ich nicht wiederstehen konnte. Ich habe halb Weissmehl und halb Vollkernmehl verwendet  und braunen Zucker. Ich habe ausserdem 4 Essloeffel Zucker verwendet statt 40 gramm. Hier koennt ihr das genaue Rezept nachsehen! LECKER!!

Simple (Prenatal) Exercise Routine for a hot day

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It is September 11th, an important date in the US and specifically in New York City. Exactly 12 years ago this city and the world watched in horror at the events that unfolded in the Financial District and later mourned together all those who were lost and their families who were affected. Today it is also unusually hot and humid, not the weather we were expecting in September after an unseasonally cool August and people have been dragging their feet and feeling heavy and uncomfortable.

I was training with one of my pregnant clients today who is due in 3 weeks (!!!) and who is in great shape but was feeling tired like me. The following is a routine of five exercises that energized us but also wasn't too strenuous and can be done by pregnant and non- pregnant people alike.

Seesaw Stretch:

Sit in a wide legged seat and either hold hands with a partner across from you or interlace your fingers and point the palms out in front of you. Inhale straightening your back, sitting tall and exhale leaning forward as much as you can without collapsing in your back. If you do this exercise with a partner, they assist you by holding your arms up. Together you should get into a rhythm of inhaling/ exhaling sitting tall and leaning forward. Do this for 2-3 minutes.

Simple prenatal exercise

All fours / leg lift:

Come to all fours and do a few cat and cows (inhale arch your back, look up and exhale round your back and look towards your thighs). With a neutral back, lift the right leg, knee at a 90 degree angle and foot flexed. Lift the leg up and open up the hip as if you were kicking something behind and above your left hip. Repeat 25 times and then switch to the left side.

Supported side plank core work:

Come into a side plank on your forearm. Lower and lift your hips with feet stacked and legs long and strong 10-15 times on each side. When you are coming down, avoid touching your mat.

Inner thigh work:

Lie on your back and if you are pregnant elevate your hips by placing a yoga block under your hips. Turn you feet all the way out in opposite directions. Then cross them while engaging your inner thighs. Bring your legs apart and then cross them. Switch between the right leg on top and the left one. Do 3 sets of 30.

Lizard into pigeon into ankle over knee:

In a low lunge with the right leg in front bring both of your palms to the inside of your leg. Keep the back knee up and then lower down to your elbows if possible. Breathe deeply. After 10 breaths scoot your right foot over to the left and set yourself up in pigeon pose. Fold over your front leg and take 10 deep breaths. Then, swing your left leg forward and cross the ankle over the right knee. Melt over your legs and relax. Switch sides and repeat the routine on the left.

Simple prenatal exercise

Extra pose for pregnant ladies to stretch out the achy side and hips:

Stand about arms length from a wall or tree if you are outside. Face it sideways and place the inside foot outside the outside one, crossing over the front of the ankle. Place your hands as low on the wall as you can and press your hips outward. Then switch sides.

Simple prenatal exercise

I hope you enjoy the routine, that it gives you energy, some strength and relieves some minor aches and pains. Stay cool!

xxR

Monday Moves: Work it on Labor Day/ Arbeite am Tag der Arbeit

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Work it on labor day and increase your core fitness. Do three sets of 20 repetitions. You can do this exercise with a partner, where you reach up and hand them the ball or you can just reach up and then roll back down. Keep your shoulders off the ground. For extra credit do the third set across and past the knee, 10 on each side Mache drei Sets mit jeweils 20 Wiederholungen. Du kannst diese Übung mit einem Partner durchführen und ihm den Ball reichen oder ohne Partner soweit nach oben reichen wie möglich. Und um es noch etwas interessanter zu gestalten kannst du die letzten 20 Wiederholungen zur Seite machen, weit am Knie vorbei, 10 nach rechts und 10 nach links.

 

Words on Wednesday: Less is More

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I just stumbled across an old friend from Uni online, who commented on a Facebook post saying that "we have lost the awareness to be excited by the little things"... Ever since I left my office job, I realized that while I'm doing what I really love, time slows down. I have an awesome session with a client and the hour seems much longer (I think for them too, depending on what we're doing). No but in a positive sense I cherish moments much more.  Before, I obviously also had really great days at the office, but the simple setting which was an office that forced me to be at my desk at certain times of the day and dictated that I was to have lunch around 12-2pm made me really look forward to 6pm and the freedom that came with it.

I tried to bring food to the office to not have to rely on food chains because ultimately in a 5 day week I would have at least one, twice. I'm not good at leaving things on my plate, so the places dictated how much I was eating... Now I take my time to prepare breakfast and some of the results you see on here. I enjoy eating it, I go workout, by the time I come back I really look forward to preparing a nice lunch. And I cook most evenings. There was never really time for that before.

Even though I work physically and mentally harder getting Chitta off the ground, I run around, I work out with my clients and I try to keep up with my own exercise routine, I feel less tired than I often felt after a whole day at the desk. My anxiety levels are lower even though every new client feels like going on a first date, my hair and skin are healthier and my digestion... well, you know :)

My friend's comment was on an article about how we consume a lot these days and I must admit as a budding entrepreneur I consume much less these days. And interestingly I'm happier.

This NY Times article also weighs in on how we have become a society of consumers and how the author scaled back which - you guessed it - made him happy.

How does all this relate to what I'm doing?

I once met a client who told me she was working out six times a week, she had changed trainers a few times, she did her own cardio but still she said "I don't run faster than some New Yorkers walk".

In my trainings, I try to bring as much versatility to each session as I can. Often I switch up exercises after only a few sets or combine them and I try to squeeze the maximum result out of each proposed exercise. And I am seeing peoples' results. My pregnant ladies felt energized after sessions albeit challenged, other people have lost weight and others were able to increase their strength, flexibility, coordination, etc. All of them - if I had them do their very first session again today - would do it without breaking a sweat and hardly being out of breath.

These results make me incredibly happy! And they show that by tickling my clients with these 1-3 hours per week, which is easily incorporated into their busy schedules, we are making amazing progress in a relatively short time. Think of their muscles being excited too by the diverse, rapidly changing movement and because they are happy, they interact better, within (intramuscular coordination) and between each other (intermuscular coordination). It all creates a well oiled machine. Moreover, because the results stick, this new regimen becomes sustainable: it's fun to see yourself transform.

I strongly believe in breaking the loop of living to work, rewarding ourselves by consuming more, buying more, eating more and ultimately feeling obliged to exercise more.

I dare you to work to LIVE, then the work itself becomes rewarding, consuming becomes a luxury and eating is a part of a delicious routine that creates balance in our body... a strong body that loves to be tickled regularly.

xxR

PS: Every now and then, stop and smell the flowers...

Moving with ease and accepting impermanence

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This post falls under the same category as 'how our puppy taught us to stay sane' except this time she is the culprit among other things. I have been known to do things fast, to do many things at the same time and somehow that results in me, always having a deadline...

So for 2013 that meant getting above mentioned brand new puppy in January and training her, concluding a yoga teacher training in March, opening a business in April, planning an international wedding in May, bidding the in-laws and family farewell closer to June (they all decided NYC was only worth a trip if it was at least two weeks) and then marching full steam ahead with promoting my business while working with clients. It is only August but I feel like I've filled the first half of this year with enough tasks for a full 365 days.

And now... we're moving apartments. To be exact by the end of this month. Boxes, movers, bills, organizing, while maintaining our jobs as two entrepreneurs who work from home. And right on cue, Zola our pup came down with a UTI (urinary tract infection). I am sure all of my female readers can commiserate and believe me, the symptoms are just the same. I wonder if it's stress related.

The term 'moving with ease' is used a lot in the wellness field. Usually to describe economical physical movement. Ultimately it means that we move using little strength while getting to where we want gracefully without breaking a sweat.

I am not good at that.

As an athlete I was taught how to do things economically, in an agile way and simply trained so many hours, that very little could make me tired. International competitions involved the following: travel, short nervous first nights, a semi-final on the first day, one recovery day of light training to get rid of as much lactic acid as possible, the biggest event: the final on day three, another day of recovery at which point that lactic acid had stubbornly set up camp in our muscles, and the team event. 5 days, 3 full pentathlons, one last night of partying and connecting with everyone and a flight home. The next day I was focused on the next competition and back on (the) track.

My current events are slightly different but I was thinking of ways to make them easier. This is not a five step plan on how to do things. For that you could check my article on how to lead a balanced lifestyle. But rather I would like to describe a feeling to retreat to when things get overwhelming, that has helped me and that I have to fight for to create in my daily life.

I usually get into that feeling in random places. In NYC most often on the subway. It is one of the few places where there is no cell phone service and if I am not reading or drafting emails a place to reflect. It is there that I remember that I constantly am planning the outcome of different things and even the ones that can not be planned. On a side note I recently saw the kaleidoscopic art work by Suzan Drummen where she lays pieces on the floor to create mandala like structures. And people can walk right up to them to admire them. It made me very nervous to think that someone would bump into one of the pieces or step on them and destroy Ms. Drummen's thousands of hours of work.

But then (after laughing out loud at myself) I thought of the Buddhist concept of impermanence and how important it is to remind ourselves that it is not a bad thing. And that's exactly where I found some peace. Things around us are in flow. We, mere mortals, can't stop it. Things happen, sometimes amazing things. Sometimes things that initially are disappointing but ultimately lead to something different. And most of the time that next situation is not half bad.

Of course there are very trying times when there seems to be a succession of only yucky things and right now I feel like there are a lot of chores awaiting me while I would much rather enjoy the lull of August and kick back instead of leaning in.

I am working hard and somewhat successfully to take each day as it comes, to wake up and not rush to mid-afternoon or evening in my head. To acknowledge that if I allow the hours to unfold, they pass slower than if I'm already at 5pm and stressing out over how short the day is. To really enjoy downtime, be it a meal, a quick coffee with a friend, a workout session I particularly enjoy or walking the dog. And to stay present without escaping into the crazy future place in my brain.

There you have it: presence and impermanence. The two states that help save my day. Today.

I dare you to try it. Have a calm rest of your week.

xxR

Monday Moves: Balance for the Core/ Balance für den Rumpf

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Place an object on the soles of your feet and your hands under your bum. Lift without dropping the yoga block, book, or what I'm using in this photo: a 3lb Everlast exercise ball. Platziere einen Gegenstand auf deinen Füßen, deine Handflaechen unter deinen Po. Hebe die Füße zur Decke ohne den Gegenstand, z.B. einen Yoga Block, ein Buch oder wie in meinem Fall einen ca. 1.5kg schweren workout Ball, fallen zu lassen.

Organize, Enjoy, Repeat

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Today seems to be the first day in a long time that it is overcast and slightly cooler. A perfect day to tend to some business at home. Things that usually pile up because the summer lures us outside. Whenever I tackle the chaos at home, I usually start in my head. I like to make lists, look ahead and determine short term, mid range and long term goals. In my last post I mentioned manifesting and I would put that under long term goals. Manifesting or visualizing for me is a way of becoming clear about what I would like a the best outcome to be in the future. Mid range goals usually include my calendar for the upcoming week, including groceries (to be able to grab healthy snacks and cook well) and taking care of our dog, Zola. I try to get an idea of my husband's calendar, too but it tends to change on a daily basis.

Today is a short term goal kinda day, clean and store my workout equipment, clean the apartment, prepare my next sessions and decide which ice cream to make next in our new ice cream maker.

When I'm organized I tend to eat better, sleep better, create better and generally feel more at ease; but in a hectic city and being plugged in electronically 24/7 it is sometimes difficult to achieve. Some people hire others to help, them but what if that is not an option? My coach was pretty good at giving sound advice on this topic (and could be strict enforcing it) during my very active years. So here they are: tools necessary to organizing yourself despite what is thrown at you on any given day:

  1. Take a step back: don't dive in head first, you will exhaust yourself trying to do everything at once. Instead, take a step back and assess and then create a list of what needs to be addressed first, second, etc. Competing in five events and training for each one, taught me that it was probably less detrimental to miss a shooting practice than losing hours in the pool or on the track.
  2. Don't get distracted: mindfulness is beautifully described in this recent article: "This Simple Mental Trick can slow down Time". Pay attention to what you are doing and maybe you will find some fun in it. I never particularly enjoyed stretching before a swim practice but I tried to focus on each stretch and what its benefits were.
  3. Remember the big picture: if you feel like you failed at any given time, don't dwell on it too much. Things are still moving along. Who says you won't meet your goal? You're likely to cause more damage beating yourself up than remembering where you are headed and marching on. My coach was a master at creating semi-annual goals and remembering them throughout smaller setbacks. If I got sick, there was really nothing we could do than be patient and get back on the horse (literally!).
  4. Reward yourself: once you meet a deadline, achieve a goal or a part of it, celebrate it! Now that can be a very individual thing, whether you enjoy a good massage, a nice meal or quality time with friends it will all help you to be even better in the future. In athletic terms there is something called supercompensation when you take a sudden dip from a plateau before you soar to much better results. Recognizing that point of having reached a new high is important. Only through rest and contentment can we tackle new things.
  5. Do everything with focus and diligence: similar to not getting distracted this is even more important. Treat each task as if it was the most important one. Only then will you finish it satisfactory. If you clean the apartment (find help on Sous Style) but only parts of it instead of focusing on getting it all done, you will keep that nagging feeling that it's not quite right and not be happy with it. In sports, if I didn't give it my best when 100% were demanded in practice, meant that during my next competition I would be missing these important seconds, the speed, the agility or the endurance and precision.
  6. Delegate: ultimately, when you can't do it all yourself. Get help! This is particularly important in an office environment or in any other team environment really. You can't do it all by yourself. As much as I was a professional athlete in an individual sport, I was only as good as the support both practical and emotional that I received from my coach and others that wanted me to succeed.

I dare you to try it. Have a great weekend! Enjoy the calm after the storm.

Big Sur

 

The Mind Body Connection - Creating Space for Happiness

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The mind body connection is a topic that has been discussed at length. It touches on health, spirituality and many other areas of life. In all of these discussions we often forget that it is a very important personal connection that many of us have lost. Based in New York, I have been guilty of living in a rush, a daze, letting weeks go by in which I sometimes wasn't sure what day of the week it was or which date. This has resulted in forgotten birthdays and weeks going by without seeing friends. Many of us are bogged down by long work days and an overwhelming array of things to do in our spare time. When we exercise it is often out of a sense of obligation especially because it often involves 'getting there' and so becomes stressful in its own way.

I mentioned in my previous post that my life as an athlete was also busy - 20-25 hours of exercise per week needed to be scheduled well in advance. Training lengths, intensity, rotations for the various disciplines, and fitting it around school and later university (e.g. 6-7.30 am in the pool!!) created a challenge. There was a fine balance between exhausting high-intensity days focused on improving performance and more relaxed days to recuperate physically and mentally. And somehow despite this hectic and often tiring schedule I still felt very present and happy - I had my dreams in sight and there was always room to grow and explore more.

In recent years, I have gone back to reading about and exploring my own mind body connection and what brings me peace of mind. It seems, that at the time, what I did in my training was right. My coach made sure that I trained hard, but he would let my daily mood influence the intensity of the training. My schedule also included autogenic training (I have shared a short example below the post if you want to try it for yourself) which wasn't too different from what would commonly be described as meditation. For 15 minutes up to three times a day I would visualize things that helped me keep anxiety under control during important competitions. I was creating a comforting, calm space to go back to when I was under duress - physically and mentally - in international events.

Then later in my work life, I was looking for that space and couldn't find my way back. I had developed anxiety for which I tried herbal remedies, acupuncture and spoke to a lot of people, many with similar problems. The talking helped but many of my other approaches didn't. Until I rediscovered meditation - through my husband - and yoga. This combination gave me a first impulse to turn back to my physical body, to open it and therefore create space again, so much so that eventually I left my job to pursue my passion. The result is Chitta Wellness.

I am now in a situation that I have chosen and that fills me with joy when I think and talk about it. The responses from people to the 'new me' have been uplifting, supportive, welcoming and heartfelt. I feel that by doing what I love, I am present most of the time and this presence makes me creative, healthy and gives me the tools to support others. This space quiets the voices in my mind and takes the focus off me, even though initially it was me who claimed it back.

I believe that everyone can create space in their life that can lead to contentment. It can be through baby steps, changing small aspects of your life, like including exercise and a healthier diet or maybe through a more life altering experiment, like a retreat, that takes you away from your regular routine for a while. The most important thing throughout your journey is to keep dreams and passions in sight and not to get too weighed down by what seems right because somebody else said or did so.

J.R.R. Tolkien said "Not all who wander are lost". So, go, search, explore, move, discover, enjoy and I am sure that by doing so, you won't wonder but the things that are right for YOU will become clear and possible.

 

Short Relaxation Exercise with Autogenic Training:

  • Create a calming atmosphere even if it is during a hectic day (e.g. light candles)
  • Lie down on a mat on your back and make sure that you are warm enough
  • Close your eyes and connect to your breath
  • Say out loud or focus on the sentence "My right leg feels heavy" (repeat 6 times)
  • Say out loud or focus on the sentence "My left leg feels heavy" (repeat 6 times)
  • Say out loud or focus on the sentence "My right arm feels heavy" (repeat 6 times)
  • Say out loud or focus on the sentence "My left arm feels heavy" (repeat 6 times)
  • Say out loud or focus on the sentence "My whole body feels heavy" (repeat 6 times)
  • Don't rush through the repetitions and really feel the sensation
  • At the end of the exercise, tense up briefly and stay strong in every part of your body before you release your muscles and let go completely
  • Lie still for a few more breaths.