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Postnatal Yoga

“A mother who is able to nurture herself is able not just to love her baby unconditionally but also to perceive and receive her baby’s love” -unknown

Inner strength – inner peace – inner smile.

Becoming a mother, no matter if it’s first, second, or more times, is a life changing experience and the first months with a newborn baby can be intense. During this time it’s easy that the mother puts her own wellbeing aside and concentrates 100% to her baby. While there’s no doubt that babies should receive their mother’s undivided attention, love, and care, it’s as important that the mother takes care of herself as well. When the mother feels loved and cared for she will have more energy to take care of her baby as well. If the body is constantly achy, mind is agitated, mother is under stress, or she feels tired all the time she will eventually have less energy to look after her little one. This is why I feel it is so important to offer a welcoming space for women and their babies where they can focus for a moment on their own wellbeing while their little ones are either resting or included in the practice. Postnatal yoga classes are also a great place to meet other mother’s who are in the same life situation, to share and connect with like minded people.

One of the core principles of postnatal yoga is to ‘mother the mother’. This means that the focus in postnatal classes is to help mothers care for their babies with greater ease, to offer mothers simple techniques to get better rest in short periods and to sleep better between night feeds. Postnatal yoga classes help mothers to regain ownership of their bodies after birth and the pregnancy months.

In postnatal yoga classes we use breathing, movement, balance, and relaxation to allow mother’s body to recover from childbirth to its full potential. It’s all about gentle progression – there’s no rush. Slow progress creates long lasting benefits and a strong foundation for physical and mental wellbeing to flourish. There is a reason why hey say:

Nine months of pregnancy, nine months postnatal.”

Some of the benefits of Postnatal Yoga:

  • strengthening the basic structure of the body through simple practices and micro-movements
  • tones the abdominal muscles in depth for ‘closing the body’ after birth
  • strengthens the pelvic floor muscles
  • promotes relaxation
  • supports postnatal hormonal balance
  • gaining strength and stamina
  • relieves stiffness in the shoulders
  • renewal of energy
  • bonding between mother and baby
  • positive feelings and interaction
  • quietening of the mind

Postnatal yoga class at Plasma Yoga in Wollishofen Zürich is starting in May 10th. More info and sign-up.

Yoga retreat in Spain in October 2021

I was beyond excited when my dear friend and yoga teacher Tove Palmgren announced her big news: WE’RE GOING TO SPAIN! Last year, right before the Covid-19 craziness truly began in Europe, I had a great honor to assist her at her annual yoga retreat in Centro Santillan in Malaga. After all the uncertainties brought by the global pandemic, she finally announced the dates for this year’s yoga retreat and asked me again to join her. So amazing!

Would you like to join my teacher Tove Palmgren and myself for a week of yoga, meditation, and more in beautiful Andalusia, Spain on October 17-23?

I took my yoga teacher training under Tove’s professional and loving guidance and have been practicing, apprenticing, and learning from her ever since. She has over 30 years of experience in practicing and teaching yoga. In 1988 she was the first person to begin practicing and teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in Finland. She has studied with several world-famous teachers including John Scott, Aadil Plakhivala, and Savitri, and in 2012, she finished 2000-hour yoga studies and graduated from the Purna Yoga College. On top of all that she has taken several therapeutic yoga teacher trainings with Aadil Palkhivala both as a participant and her assistant. She has an impressive resumé! But, all these studies wouldn’t mean so much if she didn’t also happen to be an amazing human being with a big heart and the ability to inspire people to live a more fulfilling life through the complete practice of yoga.

Her meditations are some of the most beautiful and transforming once I know. her calm, loving, and confident voice takes you immediately into your inner life and allows you to connect with yourself on a deeper and more meaningful level. She’s fun and inspiring to be around because of her great sense of humor and intelligence.

But now, let’s get into the yoga retreat itself.

The center has taken lots of care and measures to make it safe and pleasant. The number of participants is limited to 10 at the moment. Everyone will have their own room with an ensuite bathroom for the price of a shared! Each participant will receive a full set of personal props to keep throughout our time there. The rooms are spacious, clean, and decorated with good taste. Each room has either a balcony or a terrace with beautiful views. You can read more about the safety measurements here: https://santillanretreat.com/covid-protocol

There are numerous common spaces both indoors and outdoors where you can read, contemplate or socialize. The premises and surroundings are absolutely gorgeous and the view over the Mediterranean breathtaking. There is a saltwater pool where you can swim or just relax and read on the comfy sun chairs under the warm Spanish sun.

Santillán is set in a secluded location high in the hills about half an hour from Malaga airport. The airport is easily accessible from all parts of Europe and beyond.

The center is amazingly beautiful and has a large yoga room fully equipped with props and a large yoga wall. The room is full of light coming from the big windows and has a spectacular view over the hills toward the Mediterranean. In the mornings you get to wake up together with the sun in this beautiful space and absorb the magical atmosphere of the sunrise.

The excellent food is lovingly prepared from local produce, most of it grown organically on the premises and varying according to season. The menu is mainly vegetarian, with the addition of fish, if wanted. Allergies and food sensitivities are catered for. All the meals are just delicious! Simple, tasty, fresh, and made with love. I got so many new recipe ideas and lots of inspiration for my cookings.

We will have daily asana classes, meditation sessions, and talks. There will also be time to hike, swim in the saltwater pool, read or really take it easy, to rest and allow the yoga to take effect. You have the possibility to book massages and other treatments for an extra charge. Last year I took one heavenly massage and one very powerful singing bowl treatment.

All the details, how to book, testimonials, and pictures from the past retreats can be found at https://www.tovepalmgren.com/yoga-retreats

It would be amazing to have you there with us!

Fainè – Chickpea flatbread

This is for all the chickpea lovers out there!

It was love from the first bite ❤

This protein and fibre rich chickpea flatbread is so ridiculously easy to make that even if you’re not exactly a wizard in the kitchen you will succeed in this one for sure. It’s fast, easy, and nutritious vegan friendly flatbread that happens to also be 100% gluten free. With different toppings you can turned it into a quick & filling lunch or if you’re craving for something sweet do as my mother-in-law does: spread Nutella on top 😀 The only limit is your imagination and your taste bud’s preferences.

What I love especially now in the springtime, is to put fresh & raw veggies on top (radishes and chives are in season here in Switzerland at the moment). I usually spread lemon flavoured (all you need is a drop of 100% pure food grade lemon essential oil) cream cheese but today I decided to experiment with a creme fraische sauce and it turned out to be delicious! If you don’t have any lemon essential oil you can use a lemon flavour from the supermarket or freshly grated lemon zest.

This recipe is for a baking tray with a diameter of 31 cm (I used one that is 28 cm and that worked perfectly as well). When you pour the liquid dough on the baking tray the thickness of it should be between 5mm-10mm.

Without further talks, here is the recipe that was given to me about ten years ago by an acquaintance during my vacation in Italy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g chickpea flour
  • 550g water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

HOW TO PREPARE:

  1. Heat the oven to 260 degrees (or whatever is the maximum temperature of your oven).
  2. Mix the chickpea flour, water, and salt in a bowl to create a smooth liquid without any lumps of flour. 
  3. Add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into the mixture.
  4. Grease a baking tray (I recommend using a non-stick baking tray. Otherwise place oven paper on top of the baking tray and pour the oil on the top of the oven paper.) with 4-5 tablespoons of oil. Then, pour the chickpea mixture in it.
  5. Place the baking tray in the oven for about 40-45 minutes or until the surface of the chickpea flatbread turns into a golden brown colour. The chickpea flatbread needs to be well cooked from inside as well.
  6. Use the grill set up of your oven for the last 5-10 minutes to create a more crusty and toasted surface but be careful to not burn the flatbread!
  7. Once ready, remove the flatbread from the oven and sprinkle some salt and black pepper on top. Let it cool down for about 5-10 minutes.
  8. Add your toppings or eat it ‘au naturel’; It’s delicious either way!
Creme fraische spread, radishes, and chives topping.

The subtle art of arriving.

Did you spend your yesterday on the go or did you enjoy moments of arrival during your day-long journey? Before you read any further ARRIVE in this moment and allow your mind to truly understand what you’re reading. Now, read on 🙂

Every single day offers us countless possibilities to arrive. You don’t need to wait until bedtime to enjoy the relieving feeling of arriving. Laying on your bed after a busy day feels quite blissful but taking short pauses during the day to enjoy the moment allows you to travel through your day without ending up exhausted in your bed in the evening. I even dare to claim that you will remember your day much better when you have taken conscious breaks to acknowledge the present moment because those breaks give your mind a chance to be freed from that constant chaos of your mental activity. Your mind can recharge. And, you will not only remember your day better but you will go to bed feeling more content and satisfied with your day because you’ve had moments of peace, calmness, and focus.

So what is this ‘arriving’ all about? Arriving means ‘I am here’. I have physically and mentally arrived in a certain place or situation. My body, my mind, my senses, and my awareness are in the present moment. What happened before I got here doesn’t pull me back into the past and what should or will happen afterward doesn’t draw me into the future. I am fully present, free of the past and future distractions. I am in the now.

Too often we let those small important moments slip through our fingers just because we are too restless to be still and observe the beauty of the present moment. Oftentimes we live our daily life constantly running physically and mentally from one place or thought to another. Everything else except the present moment seems to be more important even tho past cannot be changed and the future cannot be predicted. What truly matters is the now, what is happening in the now, and how you feel right now. Here’s one example from my own life:

I have made a conscious decision to be fully present when my kids return from school. Instead of playing with my phone, cooking, cleaning, or working I stop whatever I was doing and dedicate my full attention to them for a moment because I really care about how their day at school went. If I continue cleaning or working I will remember that moment as a stressful one because I felt interrupted from what I was doing. If I decide to stop whatever I was doing and for five minutes fully listen to what my kids have to say I will remember that moment being peaceful and pleasant.

Here are a few examples of when to take a mindful moment:

🌄 When you wake up in the morning allow yourself to arrive at the new day before jumping off the bed and starting your daily activities. Check-in with yourself before allowing outer input to flow into your mind.

🥙 When it’s time for lunch arrive at the table and enjoy the moment of nurturing yourself through healthy food without using devices to distract yourself from what matters at that moment = enjoying food

👩‍💻 When the workday is over take a minute to separate work from free time. Mentally depart from work and arrive at me-time.

🧘‍♀️ When you sit on your yoga mat leave your day behind and fully connect with your mind, body, breath, and heart. Arrive.

🌅 When the day comes to an end arrive for the last time before closing your eyes and entering into the dreamland. In the morning start the cycle again.

It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.
If you’re always on the go you’ll never be able to live in the moment. In the end, it’s the mindful moments that will define the outcome of your journey and the meaningfulness of your destination.

Do you take moments to arrive during your day? Any specific moments when you usually stop and pause to arrive? Share in the comments 🙂

SURYA NAMASKAR, AND WHY IT SHOULD BE A PART OF YOUR LIFE!

Surya Namaskar, a sequence that has been moving human bodies all over the world for over 5000 years! It is perhaps the most ancient series of poses practiced by human beings, which must mean, that there is something pretty powerful in the classical version of the Surya Namaskar.

In my opinion, this sequence is a lifesaver for all people living in our modern society that is based on long hours seated in front of a computer screen. 5000 years ago, or even only 100 years ago, life was naturally moving human bodies in their everyday lives. Nowadays, different kinds of vehicles are moving us from one place to another which drastically reduces the steps taken by our very own feet a day. The less we move our bodies the more tension, aches, and slugginess we experience in our physical form. Regular high and medium intensity level movement helps us to stay healthy and keeps our metabolism active throughout the day. 

Flowing through the Surya Namaskar is like the easily accessible antidote to the disease of inactive life. Practicing this sequence is doable almost anywhere you are and to all fitness levels! All you need is a yoga mat and enough space to lay that mat on the floor. No props, only the symphony of your body, mind, breath, and soul.

I teach the classical version of Surya Namaskar in almost every class because it’s such a powerful sequence that brings great benefits to your whole being. Let’s go through some of the benefits of this ancient sequence.

  1. Strengthens the whole body.
  2. Releases lower back tension. The extension and flexion of the spine stretches and strengthens the lower back.
  3. Opens the hip joints. Sitting on chairs all day tightens and damages the hips. Practicing Surya Namaskar does the opposite: it opens the hip joints in extension and flexion bringing back tier natural movement.
  4. Makes the whole body feel vibrant. The constant strengthening and opening movement of the body, guided by your breath, makes the whole body feel alive!
  5. Brings clarity and focus to the mind. By freeing your body from the tension you free the mind from tension. By strengthening the body you strengthen the mind. By uniting the mind, body, and breath your brain gets stimulated in ways that bring harmony in your whole being.
  6. Frees the breath. The whole sequence moves in one plane; from a backbend to a forward bend. Each backbend opens the chest and the diaphragm making more space for your breath to flow freely. Each forward bend opens the back of your body creating more awareness and space in the back of your lungs.
  7. Helps you to set intentions. Look deep within and find your intention for the day. Then, get on your mat and with each inhalation breath your intention into your whole being, and with each exhalation let go of what is no longer serving you. The more often we repeat a thought the more it becomes a part of who we are, and the more likely it will manifest in our life.
  8. Gives you a good amount of health promoting exercise in a short time. In only five minutes you can flow through a few rounds of Surya Namaskar and start to feel its energizing effects.

Pretty impressive benefits, right? And those are only a few of the key benefits of this unique sequence. I absolutely LOVE Surya Namaskar and couldn’t imagine my life without it. I’m on a mission to introduce this amazing sequence to as many people as I can and to help them make it part of their daily life! This mission has already started a few years ago when I started teaching yoga but on the 31st of January my mission takes one step forward: I will teach a Surya Namaskar online workshop where YOU will learn this sequence step by step and challenge yourself by aiming to practice 27 rounds of the classical version of the Surya Namaskar. Are you in?

MORE INFO ABOUT THE WORKSHOP