Having difficulties in life is a part of life. Hopefully they don´t show up too often, but if they do I have the perfect medittaion for you!
This is a simple and ancient meditation to resolve conflicts we have within ourselves. Do it and see what changes occur. Lead yourself through. The moment the body detects that the air is out and it will start to adjust and balance the entire system.
I´m taking a break from the blog
I took a long vacation - the longest ever - over the summer and did nothing basically. I needed some time to rest and slow down. You can think as yoga teacher I have the most relaxed and comfortable job in the world, but it can sometimes be too much even in this occupation. I do love my job, I´m living my passion. Love meeting all my local yoga students, clients, online students... But after thinking, as I had a lot of time for it this summer, I realized I need to let go of something. Making some space in my life. My local yoga classes are expandning, and I don´t have enough time or energy to do everything that I want anymore. So I decided to take a break from blogging on Healing from within with yoga & food. Just let it rest for a while and focus only on one thing for a while. For how long I don´t know. Will I come back? I don´t know.
So this is kind of a goodbye for a while. Well, I´m still here. Still reachable on my email and social media. My website with all helpful information is still up.
Love and light
More than 10 years ago I got burned out. I was totally exhausted for some years, and it took many years to recover from this. And still today I can fall back in this pattern, but not as bad. It doesn´t take years to get back on track anymore. When it is has been bad, it can take a couple of weeks to recover. The good thing when you are a yoga teacher or practicing yoga is that you get more aware of your body and soul. You notice earlier the signs that it has been too much and can do something about it pretty immediately. Press the brake and use the amazing yoga tools you have.
It´s summer (in northern hemisphere..) and many of you are soon going on vacation. And before vacation there can be so much to do. It has been for me at least. So in this blog post I want to give you four tips what you can do when you are exhausted or maybe before you even get there. There are so many great yogic tools on my website you can use, and you´ll get some of them below.
I know. Obvious right!? But this we are in general not so good at.
In a studie in Denmark they noticed that the stress hormones doesn´t go down until 10-11 PM for women. (In men 4 PM! They are so good at resting!). So this doctor recommends women to rest when they get home from work at least 10 minutes.
In the yogic tradition it is said that as women we need to rest twice a day, each time 11 minutes. That can seem impossible to get into your daily life. If this is you, I recommend to start slowly. Start with five minutes a day. And when you do it, do it the same time everyday. For example immediately after lunch, when you come home from work or in the coffee break, just to get it in your daily life as a habit.
Here is a guided relaxation that only takes 7 minutes. You can download it as MP3 if you want.
2. Give yourself some self-love
It is easy to forget yourself when you have a lot of things to do. Always remember to be your best firend. Always. To have an inner conversation that is filled with love and compassion for yourself. When you do this, you´ll always do what is best for you.
Here are some tools you can use for self-love:
A meditation that helps you to strengthen your aura and self love.
A very nice shorter yoga sequence that helps you to connect to your heart.
This is a beautiful gift for every woman. Warm oil self-massage or Abhyanga. If I would mention one thing that is an act of self-love it is this!
3. Do things that calms you down
There are so many great tools that can help you to calm down. Yoga, pranayam and meditations are great for that. Specifically they help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & relax) so your muscles relax, and your mind calms down.
Here are some yoga poses that helps with that:
Here are some meditations (my personal favorites!):
Here are some nice pranayam (breathing techniques):
4. Do things that give you energy.
Ok, so have started your rest, give yourself self-love, do yoga that calms you down, but you still feel that you have no energy.
If this is you here are some great yogic tools for that:
This yoga pose is for strengthening the aura, but it also gives you some awesome energy!
I hope these advices help you. Remember to rest!
In this short yoga sequence you will do three yoga poses and one meditation that will help you to start your day in a gentle way and become calm. This yoga sequence is good for you that are very stressed, have a lot of pain or not so much time to do yoga.
To start your day with some yoga, if only for 10-15 minutes, can make a huge shift in your life. If you want to make your yoga practice into a daily routine that sticks, start slowly with 15 minutes and increase the length over time. If you want to know more about this you can read about it here.
If you are not familiar with root locks (Mula Bandha) you can check out this video.
Here is also another video with the meditation.
I would be so happy to hear how this sequence feels for you. Let me know in the comments below!
One meditation I have used a lot in my life when I felt a lot of pain and when I´ve felt a kind of hopelessness in my illness is a meditation with a mantra. I love mantras. They are partly the reason why I continued with yoga. This particularly mantra is a powerful healing mantra. There are many meditations with this mantra, but the meditation I want to share with you is this one.
This is how you do:
You sit in easy pose with your spine straight. Or you can sit or lie in a position that is comfortable for you when you´re in pain. I´ve been sitting on my heals (rock pose) singing this mantra many times.
You find rock pose in this video.
Sing the mantra:
RAA MAA DAA SAA, SAA SAY SO HUNG
Some of my favorite recordings of the mantra
There are many beautiful recordings of this mantra. I have a playlist here if you want to check them out..
Here are some of my favorite artists:
What the mantra means
RAA means the energy of the Sun: strong, bright, and hot. It energizes and purifies.
MAA is the energy of the Moon. It is a quality of receptivity, coolness, and nurturing.
DAA is the energy of Earth. It is secure, personal, and the ground of action.
SAA is the impersonal Infinity. The cosmos in all of its open dimensions and totality is SAA. Then the mantra repeats the sound; this repetition
is a turning point. The first part of the mantra is ascending and expands into the Infinite. The second part of the mantra pivots those
qualities of the highest and most subtle ether, and brings them back down. It interweaves the ether with the earth! SAA is the impersonal
Infinity. Then comes
SAY, which is the totality of experience and is personal. It is the feeling of a sacred "Thou. " It is the embodiment of SAA.
SO is the personal sense of merger and Identity.
HUNG is the Infinite, vibrating and real. The two qualities together (SO and HUNG) mean, " I am Thou . "
A s you chant this mantra you complete a cycle o f energy and g o through a circuit o f the chakras. You grow toward the Infinite, then you
convert the llinkage of finite and Infinite at SAA. Then you revert back to an embodiment and blend of purity.
(from the KY teacher manual Level 1)
This is the first time I´ve been singing a mantra live in a video. If anyone would have told me I would do that, let´s say 10 years ago, I would have said they are crazy. No way!
I remember when I was working as a spa manager and every time I passed the yoga room and heard them singing mantras I thought it was very weird. Six years later (after being burned out as a spa manager...) I became a yoga teacher, singing mantras all the time. Actually it was mantras that made me love yoga. I have even recorded a mantra song now!
Things can change. Thinking patterns can change. Life can change.
I dont know about you, but I consider myself to be quite sensitive. You know that highly sensitive person? I easily absorb the energy of others and loose my own energy and power because of that. Maybe you recognize yourself in this?
I have several strategies to cope with this. You can read about some in this blog post and in this.
I also have an amazing meditation that helps you with this. You can download it as a MP3 and listen to it whenever you need! A meditation to take back the energy that belongs to you. This meditation is in two parts. First you get rid of energy you have absorbed from others. In the second part you take back what is yours. Your power, energy, good qualitites, love, eenergy etc. Enjoy! And let me know how it works for you!
To download: Click the picture below. Right click and save as. Or on smartphone: hold the picture and save link as...
I have a passionate relationship. It makes me to connect with my inner self. I feel like I become vibrant & full of light and love. I´m talking about mantras. Mantras are included in Kundalini yoga and MediYoga tradition (the yoga form I teach). You chant it mentally as it helps keeping focus and you chant it loudly in meditations and sometimes in the yoga poses. Actually it was the mantras that made me fall in love with yoga in the beginning. Here´s my story & why mantras is good for you.
I had practiced yoga for about one year. I felt that this was something that truly got a hold on me deeply I couldn´t explain. In the summer I went to a yoga festival in a beautiful place on an island in Sweden. It was in the beginning of June and I had just finished my first yoga therapy 40 days challenge. (Actually that was the same program as the yoga program Empower & Balance) It had sure been a challenge doing yoga every day, but those 40 days with yoga as a therapy made big changes in me. Being a total nervous wreck and close to a breakdown before the therapy I had transformed into an amazing balanced person in harmony. Steady as a rock. It was in this state I found out about the yoga festival and me and some friends went there.
The place was beautiful with long beaches. I couldn´t believe it, it was like being abroad on an island in the Mediterranean somewhere. There were a lot of activities during the days. It started at 4 am and ended late in the evening. It was yoga classes outdoors and different kinds of workshops. I was of course very curious about the yoga that started at 4 am in the morning at the beach. And I was determined that I would participate at least once in the early morning. I decided to sleep on the beach the night before. That was a bad idea, it was freezing cold as it can be in early June in Sweden by the ocean. Anyway, the yoga started at 4 am. We woke up to some beautiful raga music. (Indian music) And the yoga started directly afte that. 1 ½ hour of yoga and after that 1 hour with mantra songs. I had of course been singing mantras before but these mantras were a little bit different, more difficult to remember and to sing. Fortunately there were handouts to follow the mantras.
Next to me a man was sitting, and he had probably sung this one hour Aquarian Sadhana a thousands of times. It was beautiful. It was like the mantras flew straight into my heart. It was love at first "sight", or should I say "singing".
We were sitting there for one hour singing on this beautiful beach and I felt that I was home. I belonged there together with those mantras. I don´t know about you but I believe in reincarnation and what I felt there at that moment, was that I must have done this before somehow in another lifetime. What these mantras did to me felt like coming to heaven.
Why is it good to sing mantras?
That singing makes you feel good, may not come as a surprise. There is something in the vibrations that reaches deep inside of you and in the yogic tradition it is also said that the tongue touches points in the mouth that has an acupressure effect. It affects the brain. What I feel and what my students also say about singing mantras is that it makes you feel good.
1. It increases your intelligence
Yes you heard right! It has been shown in studies that music can increase you IQ. In a study in US the IQ numbers were increased from 110 to 119. The music they used in that study was Mozart, (so I don´t know what affect other kind of music could have).
2. It can have a huge impact on your brain
Alzheimers Research & Prevention Foundation has been making studies on one particular Mantra meditation: Kirtan Kriya. In their studies they found out that Kirtan Kriya for just 12 minutes a day can improve cognition and activate parts of the brain that are central to memory. By the way, this is the meditation in Empower & Balance. It´s a very powerful and transformational meditation everyone should do in their yoga practice at one point in their lives.
3. Mantras help you to control your mind
Mantras can be a tool to help you to control your mind. Focusing on a mantra mentally or singing it, helps you not to be in your chattering thoughts. Focusing on mantra makes it more difficult for your thoughts to wonder around.
4. It has healing effect
From a yogic perspective mantra is about healing and open up your flow of energy in your chakras. The Indian yogis carefully and in detail have investigated the mantra vibratory effects for many centuries, and with its help linked up into a higher state of consciousness in harmony with the universe. One mantra that I love, is included in the yoga program Connect and Heal. it has a very lovingly healing effect.
5. It is a kind of affirmation
When you repeat a mantra, either in your meditation or in your yoga practice, the mantra in itself has a meaning. For example: One mantra we use in my yoga form is Sat Nam. It means I am true or Truth is my name. Repeating this mantra over and over again has some effect on you. For me personally the meaning of the mantra is not so important. I rarely remember the meanings. I just have trust that the mantra will do its good work anyway.
Why use mantras and not words you use in your own language?
It has been shown in a study in Sweden mantras have a better effect than, let´s say, just ordinary words like chair or table. It affects other parts of the brain. For me singing in an ancient language makes me feel more in harmony. Sometimes it can even be an advantage not to know the meaning of the mantra. But sometimes we actually sing in English in my yoga classes, but it´s very rare. What I hear a lot from my students is that they really love mantras. It makes them feel good.
Now I know that whenever I feel a little bit out of balance I can get some help coming back in harmony again singing some mantras. It is actually one of my best medicines to come back in balance again.
Do you use mantras? What kind of mantras?
If you are curious about singing mantras I can recommend two of my recently released yoga programs. Both of them have mantras included in the meditation.
In May I wrote some blog posts about depression. I wrote about Five ways to beat the blues. You can read about it here.
In another blog post I showed a breathing exercise to boost your energy and lower your depression. This breathing exercise I use sometimes when I feel I need some energy and want to pick myself up pretty quickly.
In this video I want to challenge you a little bit more.
A couple of years ago when I went to a yoga course about depression I did a pretty challenging meditation for some weeks. At the time I was working on my anxiety. I felt kind of stuck in what I was doing. Not so depressed maybe, but low and a bit sad. So I decided to try out this meditation that is for depression and to recharge. It is a meditation that can be quite challenging, but also give you fresh energy and a new start. I loved it! It really changed me.
Why do we do challenging yoga poses or meditations? Well for a start as any other yoga pose, they balance your chakras, body and mind of course. But there is this feeling when you manage to do something that challenges you. The feeling of being strong, both physically and mentally. A feeling that you can conquer anything. It doesn´t necessarily have to be a difficult pose though. It can be that you actually could do your yoga in the morning even though you had a bad day. It can be that you did your morning yoga every day for 40 days in a row. It can be that you managed to do this meditation for 11 minutes. Maybe not the first day, but building up your strength and patience over time. We need to step into challenging things sometimes. We all have challenges in life that we need to meet and not to run away from. Yoga helps us with that. To step out of our comfort zone for a while. Not always. Sometimes we need to not step away from challenges also. It all depends where you are in life. I must admit I´m not the kind of yogi standing on my head. I do another kind of yoga form that has challenges in other ways. But I do have them and often I challenge myself in my yoga practice, like in this meditation. Try it out!
This is how you do it:
Sit with your spine straight.
Straighten out your arms in front of you. Your arms are straight.
Make a fist with the right hand.
Wrap your left hand around the right hand.
Keep the thumbs straight up.
At the top of the thumbs you notice that the space between the thumbs looks like a "V".
Keep your focus with the eyes open in this V-shaped space all the time.
Inhale for 5 seconds
Exhale for 5 seconds
Hold the breath out for 15 seconds
If you find it difficult to hold the breath out for 15 seconds you can start slow with 5 seconds and over time increase the time you are holding the breath out.
Start doing this meditation for 1 or 3 minutes and increase over time up to 11 minutes.
Exhale and relax.
A yogic tip:
If you find it hard for your shoulders to do this meditation: keep focus on your navel point, that is your power center, instead of focusing how hard it is for you shoulders. That will give you strength to continue this meditation.
Did you like this meditation? Please share below!
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”