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!
It is 2016 and a new year! I´m always very excited when a new year is coming. It´s a good time for a fresh start and making changes in life.
I first wrote this blog post to my local yoga students. What I hear from them is that they really want to start their yoga practice at home but it is so difficult to get started. Then I was thinking: that this is probably a problem for most people.
So I want to share my best tips so you get started with your yoga practice at home. Because the truth is: When you get a regular yoga practice you start to notice the benefits from it. It starts to shift and transform you in a deeper way. You get more aware of your body and mind. You start to change in your way of behaving and thinking. You love yourself more. You become your best friend.
So here we go. My best tips to finally get started with your yoga practice at home:
(Further down you have a pdf you can download and answer some questions to make the shift easier for you)
1. Do one thing at a time
My first advice is to only do one thing at a time. I know many of you want to make a lot of changes, especially after New Year. You want to lose weight, eat healthier, clear clutter, start exercising, go to bed earlier, be in nature more often etc. (Oh yes, this is my list! ☺ ) For some of you it´s no problem doing everything at once, but for most of us it is. You get too overwhelmed. Starting with many changes at once decreases you change to success. Monofocus is the big deal.
So start with one thing you want to change or start with. For example doing yoga at home.
Ask yourself why you want to do this. Think for a moment. WHY do you want to do yoga at home? Do you feel calmer, more energized, happier, less pain, better sleep and more focused? And WHY do you want to feel this way? Do you want to be able to do more fun stuff? What fun stuff? Meet more friends, go out in nature more often, start that course you´ve wanted for so long but not had the energy to start?
3. Set a goal
One thing I often hear is that you don´t have time to incorporate yoga into your day. It feels totally impossible and overwhelming to get that into your schedule. It is useless to set a goal that you are going to do yoga every day for one hour if that is not even in your fantasy. When you set a goal it needs to be realistic. It must be possible for you to achieve. So always when you set your goal, make it realistic.
Decide how much yoga you want to do
So when setting a goal, first decide how much you want to do yoga in minutes. Can you do 15, 30 or 45 minutes, or is that too much? Then start with 5 minutes, and from there you increase over time. The first week 5 minutes, the second week, 7 minutes and the third week 10 minutes and so on,
that´s how you´ll succeed. After a while you want more. You want to feel more of that feeling you get after the yoga practice.
Decide how often you want to do your yoga practice. Do you want to do it three times a week, 4 times or every day? What is realistic for you?
Decide what days you are going to do yoga and WHAT TIME. Do you want to do it in the morning, or is that not realistic? My advice is to try do it in the morning. You´ll have the benefits from the yoga practice during the day and it is more likely you actually will do it.
Now – write in your calendar when you are going to do your yoga practice. This step is very important. What you see is what will happen more likely.
Ok now you know when and for how long you want to do your yoga, it´s time to find a space to do it in your home. It doesn´t have to be any fancy, just a practical place where you can have some time for yourself.
And while you´re at it, make your practice into a ritual. There has been shown that rituals make it easier for us to stick to our habits. Maybe you cam light a candle before you start, and sit in gratitude for a moment.
4. What tools do you need?
What I hear from my clients and students is that it´s so much easier to do yoga when you have instructions like audios or videos. You just need to focus on what you are doing and not about time and what comes next in the sequence. Here are some suggestions from me if you want to start (my own products):
All of my yoga programs come in different length so you can choose depending on how much time you have.
Three yoga poses you can do in bed
Three yoga poses for lower back pain
Three yoga poses to lower stress
Three yoga poses for better digestion
5. Get support
When you are making changes in your life it is important to have support, people that are supporting you with your changes and cheering on the way. Start to talk to your closest family members what is about to happen in your life. Tell them what you are going to do and why. That you need their support to succeed. Who knows? Maybe they want to do yoga with you?
Maybe you have a friend that you can do your yoga practice together with and support each other in the process? You can plan together and talk about your experiences together.
Book a private session
If you don´t know what kind of yoga program or how to plan your yoga practice it can also be great to have a private session. In this session we talk about what you need and you get a yoga program that is for your needs. I also check via email and with a follow up how you are doing, and that can give you more motivation and security.
You can read more about it here.
In yoga as in so many other things when it comes to transformation in your health you need regularity and consistency in your practice. In studies in Sweden it has been shown that practicing yoga for 2-3 days a week helps you to lower the stress hormones and gives you an increased well being. I also hear from my yoga students that coming to my classes once a week makes a big difference in their life. But what could happen if you do your yoga more than that?! Let´s say 4-7 days a week? Your life would probably change in so many ways!
As human beings we are made to have habits. When you do one thing in the same way, the same time, and in the same place for a longer period of time, it´s like a re-programming in your brain. Your body and mind automatically does things without so much effort and resistance. For example you brush your teeth every day, it is automatically done. Why? Because you get the reward. Your teeth are clean and you have a fresh taste in your mouth. You have built up this habit over a long period at the same time, place and way. It has become a habit.
In the yogic tradition it is said that it takes 40 days to change a habit. That you need to do it every day for 40 days to make the routine into a habit.
So try your yoga program for at least 40 days. Write in your calendar when and how long your practice is going to be. Keep up with the yoga practice and try to do it even though you don´t feel great every time. What I hear a lot from clients and students is that sometimes they don´t feel good before they come to me. Maybe they have headaches, pains etc but they feel better after so it´s worth it.
Below you have a pdf to get you started to plan your yoga practice at home. There are questions that will help you a lot to stick to your yoga practice and not quit.
I wish you a wonderful new yoga year!
Download you pdf here!
In one of my yoga classes this fall, we´ve been doing a yoga set to strengthen your intuition. I don´t know what you think about when you hear the word intuition? For some of you it´s probably something totally normal and for some of you maybe something strange and ”New age”. The last 6 months or so I´ve noticed more than ever how my intuition has helped me in my life and it has been very important for making decisions and helping people. So in this blog post I want to share my thoughts on intuition. What it is for me, how it can help you in your daily life and how to strengthen it.
What is intuition?
The word in itself means:
It can be about having a sense that something is going to happen or that something is just right without having any idea how that message is coming to you. It´s just there in an instant. It´s like you feel it in your gut. It can be a feeling of reading between the lines, having a knowledge in a certain situation or/and to, in a sub-conscious level, comprehend something.
In the yogic tradition it is about strengthening your awareness and that is making you reach and get in contact with your inner teacher, your higher source of wisdom. Here you can see every moment in different aspects. You have the ability in every situation to feel what is best for you on a long term.
Personally, and I think many others of you, maybe know your intuition or at least have a sense of it. The hardest thing is to follow your intuition, to not act from fear and instead trusting your gut and having self–reliance.
Maybe you hear that inner voice, whispering to you what you should do (or maybe it is even screaming at you) and you just ignore it and don´t act after your inner wisdom and knowledge, with the result that you in the end will not reach your goals or develop personally and spiritually as much as you wish.
How do you know it is intuition and nothing else?
The sense of intuition is normally an instant feeling. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish your feelings. The feeling is immediate and sometimes another feeling can come quite rapidly after the intuition-feeling. It can be a feeling of fear or anxiety for example. I believe the intuition is always right, but that can also mean that you have to step out of your comfort zone and do things that can be challenging for you. And we need that reach a higher level of development personally and spiritually.
If you step out of your comfort zone and learn how to listen to your intuition you´ll be able to make right decisions in life and it will be easier for you to interact with people and also help people that are close to you. Life will be more fun, authentic and joyful. Not only to you, but also to people around you.
It is possible to learn to recognize the feeling of your intuition. The feeling is immediate, you know that gut-feeling that comes in an instant? When the feeling is right you sense excitement, a ”yes-feeling”. If you feel resistance or ”no-feeling” the decision is wrong. Sometimes you can feel confused or not sure, then you should wait and not take any decision at the moment.
If you don´t know if the intuition is a feeling of excitement you can ask yourself: from a scale 1-10 how much excitement do I feel right now? If you are closer to 1 the excitement is very low and your intuition tells you to not make that decision. If it is closer to 10 it is totally right!
How can you strengthen your intuition?
❤ To be in contact with your intuition you need stillness. You need to stay away from stress. There are many ways you can do this. Here is a list of my 4 favorite yogic tips to lower stress:
❤ Visualizing helps you to strengthen your intuition according to the yogic tradition. It helps to balance the left and right brain hemispheres. Using pictures and ideas can help to “reprogram” the brain. Here is one meditation that includes visualizing and also strengthens your electromagnetic field (the aura).
❤ In the yogic tradition the intuition is connected to the third eye point. This is the sixth chakra (in the kundalini yoga tradition). In the yoga I do, we always focus in the third eye point in the asanas as a way to connect and make it easier to focus, but it also helps to strengthen your intuition. The third eye point, or the brow point as it is also called, is in between the eyebrow 1,5 cm in (0,6 inches).
There are many yoga poses, kriyas and meditations that help to strengthen the third eye. Some poses are for example the bow pose, cat & cow pose, baby pose.
It is possible to train your intuition. Lower your stress, be in stillness, do your yoga, and learn in any given situation feel what you feel. Do the excitement practice above. Your life will be richer and you will develop both personally and spiritually.
Now I´m curious! How does your intuition help you in your life? Please comment below!
In studies it is shown that about 80% have big problems with their back sometimes in their life. This is also something I hear from my students in my classes and from women with endometriosis & pelvis pain.
When it comes to lower back pain it is important to take a closer look what causes the problem.
There can be so many underlying causes for this: Bad postures, misalignment in the pelvis, weak muscles, stiffness, emotional problems, stress, sitting too much and moving too little etc.
I also think that sometimes you need to do parallel treatment. I do that sometimes. For example you can go to a physiotherapist that helps you with your problem and at the same time you do a yoga program that suits your issues. Or you go to a chiropractor and keep a personal yoga program or relaxation exercise at the same time. It can be good to keep a conversation with your health care practitioner/ therapist about your yoga to know if it is ok to do certain yoga poses (or with your yoga teacher).
The Yogic view on it
I also have problems with lower back pain and yoga has helped me a lot. Sometimes yoga is all that it takes to get rid of it and sometimes I need help from a professional physiotherapist.
I also know that sometimes you need to go deeper what is the cause of all the pain. In the yoga tradition, if you look at it from an energetic perspective, it is connected to the lower chakras, especially the root chakra (depending where your pain is).
The root chakra is connected to your stability in life, feeling grounded and secure. So having a problem here can be related to money problems, insecurity, family issues etc. It is about taking care of yourself, do what´s best for your health, eating well, exercising and living a healthy life. To have a good relationship with your family. Being able to not get stuck in old beliefs so you can move forward. If you have any of these problems it can be worth working with them.
In this video above I´ll give you three yoga poses that can help you to ease your lower back pain. These poses are easy to do and you can also sit on a chair if you have a problem sitting on the yoga mat.
Try to do them every day for at least one week and feel how it feels. Let me know in the comments below how they are working for you!
The first thing I recommend to my clients and yoga student, when they come to me with their health issues, is to take care of their stress. That´s where you have to start. Your body needs stillness and relaxation to repair and heal. Your hormones also need a stress free enviroment to be in balance. Your digestion needs it to digest the food in an optimal way, so you get the nutrition you need. I have written another blog post about stress, how it affects your body. You can read about it here.
So if you are on a healing journey, you need to relax. To slow down and let your body relax and come to peace and stillness.
In this video you´ll learn three yoga poses you can do to lower your stress. They are also very good to ease anxiety and great to do before going to bed if you have problems falling asleep.
Let me know how they work for you in the comments below!
In this video you´ll learn my three favorit yoga poses to ease menstrual cramps and endometriosis pain.
Let me know how these poses work for you in the comments below!
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!
In my last blog post I wrote about why loving yourself is so important for healing. You can read about it here. I find that some days you need to give yourself more love than others. Over the years I have my strategies or tool box to give myself some love. I want to share them with you here. Maybe you have your own tools? I´d love to hear what they are!
Of course there are many yogic techniques you can use. In the yogic tradition love is in the heart, the heart center. And as we always work with the chakra system in yoga there are great yoga poses and meditations you can do for your heart.
Here you´ll find a mini yoga set for the heart.
This meditation is very good for self love. Check out the video here.
One yoga pose that really opens up in your heart center is Camel pose. It opens up the whole front of your body, is great for your back and especially opens up your chest and heart center. If you find this pose difficult you can start with the modified version and over time do the full pose.
This is how you do it.
Sit on your heels in Rock pose. With your spine straight. Kneel upright, reach back with one hand and grasp the heel on that side. Repeat on the other side.
Press the hips and thighs forward. The chest is lifted up and the head is tipped back but not dropped fully. Breathe deeply for 1-3 minutes in this pose.
Instead of grasping your heels with your hands you can support your hands on the lower back instead. Kneel upright and place your hands on the lower back at the waist level. Press your hips & thighs forward, lift your chest up and tip your head back. Breathe long and deeply for 1-3 minutes.
As I wrote in the blog post last time, you need to observe your inner dialogue. How you talk to yourself. Giving yourself a hard time and beating yourself up doesn´t help. Words are energy and they affect you from inside out. One way of breaking this negative self talk is to say affirmations. One way is to do mirror work, as Louise Hay teaches. Stand in front of a mirror and say: I love you, I really, really love you. It may feel awkward the first time, but after a while it gets easier.
You can read more about affirmations here.
Give yourself some self care
Taking care of yourself and nourish your body and soul is truly self love. To touch your body being gentle with yourself. To ask yourself: What do I need right now?
For me this can be to go for walks, taking a nice Epsom salt bath, massage myself with oils and just to take care of myself. Of course my daily yoga routine is a big part of my self care.
What do you do for yourself?
Do things that uplifts you and make you happy
What makes you happy? No limits! Write down 10 things that makes you happy. Do more of this. This is my list:
What do you do to give yourself some self love? Would love to hear from you! Please comment 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.”