I turned into a Yoga person

 

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Almost a year ago, I found myself standing on the yoga mat, watching the sunrise and trying to practice some sun gazing before my sun salutation series. In a moment of reflection, I froze and thought to myself, “Oh God, am I one of those people now?

I just never thought I’d be the type of person who did yoga first thing in the morning, or read a spiritual book/day, for that matter. I never thought I would buy into any of the stuff yoga teaches.

But without thinking too hard about it, over the course of the past year, that is exactly what I have become.

A month before that particular moment I crashed physically and I couldn’t do any intensive exercises whatsoever. So I turned to yoga. I had done yoga before. In high school, my dad wanted me to visit some classes because he knew about the benefits. As many women do, I dealt with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia, and as a result, my relationship with yoga was not a healthy one. I viewed it as a way to burn calories. I don’t need to add that I really didn’t enjoy it.

My history with yoga was not one of self-discovery, grace, or acceptance. It was the opposite. So when I re-visited yoga a year ago, I didn’t expect to like it. But my friend had invited me, it was free, and I was feeling stressed, so I thought it was worth a try.

In that first class, I got frustrated and sweat my ass off. It was uncomfortable. It didn’t feel good. But for some reason, I went to another class. And another… It began to feel okay, then it even felt good. Then things started happening to me mentally. I began to notice thoughts as they came in. I started paying more attention to where my head goes when it wanders, and to shifting my thoughts to things that are actually beneficial.

I started being more present in my day to day life.
I actively started trying to let things go that weren’t serving me anymore… things that I didn’t want to– or have to– walk with anymore. My yoga practice helped me give myself permission to let those things go.
I challenged myself physically. I saw my muscles get more defined and watched myself get into poses I had scoffed at only months before. I touched my toes easily, something I had never in my life been able to do.
I challenged myself mentally. I learned to focus on my breath not only in class but in life. I started to focus on presence without even trying.
I realized that the principles of yoga are the same lessons I fought to learn my whole life. The same themes of resilience, self-care, kindness, and courage that I had tried so hard to teach myself were things that yoga was now reminding me of.

Yoga is now something I carry with me everywhere. It’s something I do when I seek peace and a place I go when I seek challenge.

I turned into a yoga person slowly. Sometimes we build walls around ourselves to keep something out. I peeked over the wall I had built to close out things like yoga– things that were challenging, that I associated with judgment and “can’t.” I never thought I could be good at yoga, not realizing that there was no such thing.

I became a yoga person by doing yoga. But to do it, I had to try something new. I would never have known I liked yoga if I let the wall stay where it was. I never would have tried it if I had let my expectations stay where they were.

What walls have you built around yourself? Have you built them to keep out people and things you are afraid of, or intimidated by?

Make just one crack in your walls. Let a little light in. You might surprise yourself. You might find yourself breaking them down completely, and standing in a field of flowers instead. But you will never know if you let the wall stand.

I became a yoga person both accidentally and purposefully.
What I have gained most is this: when we let go of our expectations, we make space for all the possibilities we could have never imagined.

 

Here is a sequence of Sun Salutations in a way as I like to practice it. However, you’ll find a lot of different variations of it, so just dig into the one that suits you best…

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My Ayurvedic morning routine

The most recent Circadian Medicine research suggests that human genes have lost the ability to perceive and stay in tune with the circadian rhythms of nature. (1)

Which to me, totally makes sense. We live super fast-paced lifestyles and we are constantly surrounded with endless distractions which make us even more disconnected with our true self. And I’m not talking spiritually, I’m more relating this topic to physical body and having the ability to listen to the sound of our own heart.
The disconnection from the circadian rhythms is called chronodisruption.

Chronodisruption has been linked to a host of health concerns, including poor cognitive function, mood disorders, sleep disorders, diabetes, obesity, daytime sleepiness, reduced school performance, reduced driving reaction time, substance abuse, heart disease and some cancers. (2)

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The practitioner that thought me the most about reconnecting with myself came from Ayurvedic background. I must admit that at that time I definitely wasn’t connected with my body and I let it rush all over the place, constantly loosing stuff and feeling that being super disciplined is the only way to go. But of course, the worst was was the feeling of overheating that I had in my body and I was experiencing an intense weight gain/loss game which in the end resulted with thyroid malfunction.

I still have the drive but I’ve got my body back and in this post I’m gonna cover the best daily rutine that we created and that definitely works for me  p e r f e c t l y!

 
This morning routine can become very elaborate, so I have listed the basics that I usually cover every day:

(I’m Vata-Pitta type of person/body so this is what suits me best when it comes to esteblisishing perfect life for an overthinking, overdriven, overdisciplined, over-over-over…-personality I have.)

 

  • Arising early in the morning, preferably before the sunrise
  • Drinking a large glass of warm lemonade (I put collagen in this one as well)
  • Waking up with a cold shower
  • Scraping my tongue with a copper tongue scraper (stimulates digestion and elimination) – I’m not really keen to this one yet
  • Oil pulling (I sometimes do this while I’m showering)
  • Washing my teeth
  • Monkey Mind Journaling (I’m still impressed with the outcome that this one has on my brain) –> Heard about this one here for the first time and after did my own little research on google :)
  • Basic To-Do List (sometimes I start filling it up while writing in the first journal)
  • 10-15min of morning yoga session, followed with a brisk exercises (Perfect if you can do the exercises while performing nasal breathing) –> exercising is most optimal in the morning, between 6am and 10am, when the body is in its Kapha phase and at its strongest physically (3)
  • 5-10min of breathing exercise (they call it pranayama)
  • 5-10min od meditation (I’m going to cover this in the next post where I’m gonna write about the technique that literally changed my life)
  • BREAKFAST (According to my Vata-Pitta body type)

… And then I start with my regular work day which is a mixture of running from one casting to another, a lot of emails, meetings and writings. I will probably have my lunch somewhere between 1 and 2 p.m. if possible and then work a bit more till 5 p.m., preferably not longer.
In the afternoon I usually experience some funky feelings which can sometimes result in forgetting and loosing stuff all over the place – logical consequence if you work behind the computer screen for the majority of the day. That’s usually the time of the day when I go for a nice walk in the forest or a quick longboard session to the city centre. If possible I will call up my bestie and sometimes do a nice meditation session which is super nice as well. I just need to do some calming things to restore my over-active nervous system.

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This routine always brings me back to the place where I can easily reconnect with myself and start feeling the rhythms of mother nature. It’s funny how people tend to forget about simple things that can make life so easy! Do your own research and find what works for you best!

Ux

References:

 

Feeling The Pressure?

In our current society, the signs and symptoms of anxiety are alarmingly common. Yoga and meditation have long been linked to reducing stress, but it can really actually help?

The yoga asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathwork) have been calming jittery minds and smoothing the stress spikes people experience for thousands of years. It is this ancient discipline that has taught people how to stay in the present moment, recognise when stress arises and be able to respond to it in a more balanced way.

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Like most people, you may find that you walk into a yoga class with a lot of stress and tension, and within sixty minutes, feel like you’re floating when you walk out of one! How does this miracle hour give you that feeling? Below is a bit of science as to why and how.

Many of the benefits of yoga come from the close work it has on our nervous system. Our Autonomic Nervous System is made up of both the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), known as the “accelerator”, and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), known as the “brake”. When we are in balance, the PNS is dominant. This helps our muscles to relax, our heart rate to slow down, and our energy to move into maintaining the systems of the body, like digestion.

When we are stressed, the SNS kicks into gear. This starts a cascade of actions within the body, causing the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol and other chemicals. This makes your muscles tense up and your pulse rate sky-rocket, as your body moves into “fight or flight” mode. As the stress we experience has become more psychological and sustained, the SNS accelerator remains dominant and active in most people.

Yoga offers relief, as it activates both the SNS and PNS. A well-rounded yoga practice kicks the SNS into gear with Sun Salutations, and balances it with the PNS at the end in corpse pose (savasana) and meditation. Through yoga, we learn how to build up a more resilient nervous system, and know how to operate both the accelerator and more importantly, the brake.

Beyond the pretzel-like yoga postures you often see, yoga is very much an internal practice. As you learn to be self-aware of how you place your body on your yoga mat, you become more aware of what’s happening internally and are able to recognise the signs of stress before they rise to the surface. As anxiety usually affects our breathing first, the pranayama in yoga can teach you how to slow your breath, know how to guide your mind, and stop anxiety from escalating.

If you can’t manage to get to a yoga class, below are 6 simple postures I found online and they say that they really help you to slow down. It is recommended to spend at least 3-5 minutes in each posture to gain the maximum benefit!

 

Have a super nice Sunday ya all!

Ux

I’m breaking up with stress

31369548_2074931506083109_6895743252708720640_oI come from a highly stressed, anxious, » need to go at a million miles per hour« type of a family. Unconsciously, I had embedded these traits, habits and behaviours deep within myself. In fact, I’d made them such a huge part of myself and my life that in 2015 I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Consequently, my immune system decided to pack up and go on holidays… Needles to say, that that was quite of a wake-up call.

For the past two years I have had to work really hard at implementing new habits to live in a stress-free, calm, peaceful space. The truth is, usually stress isn’t warranted and can be avoided with some conscious awareness. Not to mention that people tend to think that they sound super important, if they say they have a lot of stress in their life (like what the f***? :) ).

Ask yourself: “What is making me feel stressed right now?”

Stress causes the release of two hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. This puts you into ‘fight or flight’ mode, preparing your body to respond to whatever triggered it. It’s an incredibly effective protective mechanism if you happen to encounter a death threat but it is not a state you want to exist in long term. While these stress hormones are an important and helpful part of the body’s response to danger, it’s even more important that the body’s relaxation response is active so that it can return to homeostasis following a stressful event.

However, in today’s high-stress culture, often your stress levels don’t have enough time to recover and get back to normal. The down side is that having high levels of stress hormones present for extended periods of time has been shown to be seriously detrimental to your immune system and your digestive tract. High stress levels cause negative reactions such as insomnia, inflammation and hormone imbalances, just to name a few. This is why, not only for our mental health but our physical health, we need to keep our stress levels down.

So here are some things I try to do to not let stress sneak in:

  • Yoga

    Yoga besets the body and the breath. So, it’s not only a great form of exercise, but it incorporates meditation to slow down and calm the body and the mind. Try to take yourself through a few sun salutations each morning and notice the diference. There are loads of yoga resources online, so no excuses here. Try to get to your favourite yoga class a few times a week or do it at home each morning to really get the benefits. Schedule it in your diary to make it happen.

  • Get In Touch With Nature

    Take the time to connect with Mother Nature. Better yet then going to the park, take some time and go to the mountains once in a while! There is something so healing and meditative about the mountains. I think that just hiking around feels extremely revitalising and cleansing at the same time. My body and mind love me for that. It’s a perfect balance that I have in combination with city life which is still pretty essential for my general existence. Make the commitment to connect with nature at least once a day. You definitely have some parks in your hometown, so again – no excuses!

  • Get Grounded

    Continuing the previous paragraph, I want to expose that part of connecting with the nature even more. Kick off your shoes and walk barefoot in the park. Feel the sensation of the earth beneath your feet. Leave your iPod, phone, and watch at home. Or go a bit further and lie on the grass. Lying like a starfish on the grass is extremely grounding. Look up at the clouds and take loooong, slow, deep, belly breaths. Feel the earth beneath you supporting and grounding you.

  • #SelfCare first!

    Connect with yourself, try to incorporate some daily habits that will connect you with your body and your soul on the more profound level. For me the easiest way is to nurture my body with the best products I can choose. I recently found this amazing Aqua Réotier collection and fell in love straight away!

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  • Make your apartment a happy place

    I love to come home and know that this is the place where I can rewind and restore again. Although I work from my apartment, I always make sure that I to crawl myself out of bed first and take a cold shower afterwards (super nice to wakeup your body!). After that I’ll probably make myself a coffee and start working by the kitchen table. However, some days I just feel that I want to do long yoga sessions, eat chocolate, take long baths and enjoy giving in to idleness. On these days, I’ll try to clean my apartment as much as possible, because I love the feeling when everything is sorted. Then I’ll use some essential oils, because I feel that aromatherapy is suuuuper helpful when it comes to reconnecting with yourself. They say that aromatherapy can help reduce anxiety, induce sleep, strengthen your immune system and much more! It’s extremely important part when you want to create your little space of zen. Don’t know where to find the best diffuser and essential oils kit? Head to Bella Beat’s webpage and explore their product.

(again, quick disclaimer:  Please know that I have not been paid to recommend this product, I  worked with them as a model for their new Wellness campaign and fell in love with these products straight away. And the owner of the company is Urška as well, so I feel like I want to support little gang of Urškas who are doing amazing job out there :))).
  • Laugh

    Don’t take life too seriously. Oh my Gosh, I need to be conscious about that so much! Make sure you laugh every day. If you’re feeling stressed, call someone who will make you laugh. Or invite your besties over for a hilarious comedy marathon. Laughing also releases feel-good endorphins, so get giggling!


Important note: Whatever you do, don’t eat when you’re in a stressed state. When you’re in fight-or-flight mode, your body shunts blood flow away from your digestive system and into your muscles. You don’t want this when you’re trying to digest your food–you’ll end up getting very bloated and gassy. So, chew your food slowly and consciously in a calm and peaceful environment.

And remember…

… nothing is worth sacrificing your health over. Stress is not good for us or anyone around us. So, let go of whatever is stressing you out and come back to the present moment where bliss and love hang out together.

Now, I want to challenge you. In the comments below let me know which one of these 5 tools are you going to implement today? Your comment matters because you matter — and it may be the one thing someone else needs to see to spark their inner fire. So go ahead and leave your comment now.

Why am I drinking collagen?

Like all girls, I LOVE beauty supplements. But, before we start to talk about this my go-to essential, I just wanted to remind you (and myself, of course) that the products we use to enhance our appearance on the outside are just a small part of what makes us beautiful. We shine from the inside, so we need to prioritize how we feel about ourselves first.

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Collagen! The new craze in Slovenia, but not so new around the world. It is best known for what gives skin its elasticity, its youthfulness, that bright and bouncy look that we are all after, specially those working in fashion/modelling world. But it’s not just found in the skin, it’s found in your muscles, tendons and bones as well. Collagen basically holds the whole body together (Nutrisslim have a delicious strawberry flavour one that is great as a refreshing drink when just mixed with water by the way.)

So, why am I drinking it?

The theory goes, that drinking collagen and supplementing your morning cup of coffee with it is that it will boost your skin health. Which makes sense, right? Only collagen is a protein, and like every other protein that gets digested, it will breakdown into amino acids and then be taken to where they’re needed in the body. Neurotransmitters, skin, hair, muscles, hormones… Pretty much everything!


Two recent studies, published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, found that taking a collagen supplement daily improved skin elasticity and reduced wrinkles around the eyes by 20 percent after just eight weeks. The first study, conducted in Germany, included 114 female participants between the ages of 45 and 65 – after the eight-week period, they showed a 20 percent average decrease in wrinkle volume around the eye, and some even experienced a reduction of nearly 50 percent. The second study, out of London, involved 69 women, all over the age of 50. They drank collagen dissolved in water for 8 weeks, and following that period, experienced a significant improvement in hydration, skin elasticity and roughness.


With the emphasis these days surrounding outer beauty so much, and as we age our collagen production declines, we’ll do almost anything for better skin. But is collagen going to deliver young beautiful skin to everyone this way?

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If you’re not sure about implementing that protein into your day just yet, there are some other things you can try at home that may just do the trick you need to boost that collagen naturally.

  1. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids found in fish (oily ones such as salmon and tuna) and nuts such as almonds, cashews, brazil nuts and chia seeds help to create an ideal environment for collagen production.
  2. Dark green veggies are also an excellent example of collagen producing agents. Foods such as kale, broccoli and spinach in your meals each day will boost your body full of an antioxidant called lutein, which assists the skin’s elasticity.
  3. Vitamin C (found in dark green vegetables) the nutrient helps to strengthen the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and utilise the protein effectively.

 

Tell me, what is your go-to Beauty must-have for this summer?

Share it with me as I’m always looking for something new to try and love!


Disclaimer:
Please know that I have not been paid to recommend this product. I simply love it and think that you might love it too.
Ux

Biohacking

= In nutrigenomics, using nutrition to hack (take control of) human biology

… Because sometimes, a single phrase can change your life…

That happened to me in the beginning of September 2017, on a trip to Stockholm, when I was introduced to Bulletproof coffee and the term ‘biohacking’.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, biohacking is the idea of using the best tools that modern science has to offer to become the absolute strongest, healthiest, and most kick ass version of yourself.

Needless to say, I became instantly hooked by this concept and at first I pretty much made a slow transition to the ‘Bulletproof’ way of life… and I’ve literally never felt healthier and stronger.

I am a recovered carb-addict, since I was pretty much for the whole life eating vegetarian and vegan diet. I am one of those people that feel super good without meat but super bad without fat. I went from vegetarian to pescatarian and then a short period of being a full blown vegan. My body didn’t know what was going on in there! I lost my period (and my mind). My moods were up and down and round and round. Because of my hormonal imbalance, I also experienced weight gain, mood swings, depression, severe digestive issues, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, constant cravings for sugar and carbs, and insomnia — all signs of full-blown hormonal imbalance. Looking back, I realise it was a total reflection of my internal state — I was severely unhealthy and unhappy and it was manifesting through a lot of aspects of my life. And the worst thing was it totally crushed my confidence and left me feeling depressed.

The scary part about what I have just described is that none of this is uncommon. I see it all the time with my friends, family and random girls. And the sad thing is they’ve come to accept feeling blah as being ‘normal’ and have forgotten what it’s actually like to feel vibrant, vital, and good inside their own skin.

There are a heap of contributing factors as to why more and more women are experiencing troubled skin and hormonal imbalance, such as stress, diet, environmental factors and other health issues… But just because some people are content to settle for feeling blah, it doesn’t mean you have to. And just because you might be struggling right now with your health and wellness, it doesn’t mean that it will always be a struggle.

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(ph.: Saša Hess, Cirkus LLC)

Health is a journey, there is no destination. I am still on my path to wellness and I will be for as long as I am on this Earth. I am still learning and fine tuning what’s right for me and my body and undoing years and years of torture that I put my body through.

The truth is, you can nourish your body with delicious real food and feel good in the process. You can create kick-ass vibrant health that has you glowing from the inside out. And you can learn how to honour your temple in the sacred, meaningful way that your body and soul have been crying out for… You just need to know how.

Wanna know what’s daily on my plate?

Granted, we’re talking here about the healthy stuff in general, all those mono-saturated and omega-3 rich sources, the middle chain triglycerides — the fatty fats that actually do the body good are no exception.

So, here is a quick lesson before we get into it: All fats are not created equal. Unfortunately, most of the fats in the modern diet live in the lower, unhealthy spectrum of totem pole. Saturated fats and trans fats are the problem children, causing heart clogging, disease, and those dreaded cholesterol spikes. These naughty fats are found in things like dairy, beef, and bacon, as well as in packaged treats and fast food.
On the other hand, there should be a spoonful of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which actually are instrumental in controlling weight, lowering cholesterol, and even keeping us in a good mood. These good fats are found in a plethora of delicious treats — things we all enjoy but may have been foolishly avoiding because the age-old horse-phooey about a low-fat diet being healthy.

Here are some super sleek choices for eating fatty the vegan way (that is to say knowledgeably and healthfully):

1. Seeds

Seeds are absolutely delicious accouterments to all sorts of stuff — salads, sweets, and breads — or just nice by the handful. Saviseeds are actually the highest source of omega-3 on the planet. Also, following closely behind on the omega-3 bandwagon are super food celebrities like hemp and chia seeds. Even sunflower seeds, a good provider of monounsaturated fats, are on the list of fatty foods we should be eating.

Omega fats are a bit of a byword these days. The skinny on them is that we should try to have a balanced amount of omega-3 and omega-6, but that balance is horribly askew. What should be one-to-one is actually closer to one-to-fifteen, respectively, in the average person. In other words, the word omega doesn’t necessarily mean you should eat more.

2. Nuts

Nuts are probably the best thing going for straight up snacking. They are filling, unlike potato chips, and they are healthy, unlike potato chips. Nuts are a great source of vegan protein, but just as relevant, they are a plant-based gold mine in monounsaturated fats, thereby reducing the risk of heat disease. The top nutty providers of the good stuff are walnuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts.

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is fantastic to cook with because not only does it have a distinctively delicious flavour, but it also handles whatever temperatures are thrown its way. The stuff can get hot and just keep on going. As for fats, it once was degraded for having high levels, but scientists have recently discovered that coconut oil is a great source of medium chain triglycerides, which turn to fuel in the liver and forgo stomach storage, unlike butter.

4. Avocados

Avocados are simply delicious in whatever form they come: guacamole, the half shell, or even chocolate mousse. Yes, they’re fatty, but luckily for us avocado lovers, we can fall back on the old “good fat” argument. Avocados are packing monounsaturated, a healthy trait.
Don’t settle for just guacamole. Avocados are extremely versatile and can be used for salty sides as well as creamy desserts.

5. Cacao Nibs

The good news is out, and don’t ignore it: chocolate, when done right, is a health food. But not to deceive, cacao nibs are not the sugary, milk-laden candy bars separating check-out lines, but they are chocolate. Dark delicious chocolate, packed with anti-oxidants and, what’s that, good monounsaturated fat. That’s right, chocolate fights cancer and helps with cholesterol. It’s a great source of the fats and nutrients we need, but we just need to stop ruining it with our additions.


Well guys, hope this helps at least a tinny little bit. Knowing that even those who have perfect Insta-life do struggle and have some severe health issues is probably good for the community in general. However, I definitely “biohacked” my life quite well sofar and I’m planning to become master of that in the future :)))))

Happy weekend!

Love,

U.

 

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(ph.: Saša Hess, Cirkus LLC)