BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS

All three of us together enjoying the beauty and silence of the nature and allowing us to be lost in our own thoughts and connecting with our inner life ❤

The theme of dreaming and imagining has been very strongly present in my life, lately. I’ve found myself dreaming, and believing in my dreams, a lot. My daughter is very interested in this topic and the magic behind it, so our conversations are often related to this. I also watched a beautiful movie called “The Greatest Showman” with my husband a week ago. I loved this movie and the message it transmitted. I felt very empowered after the movie and was able to relate to the main character’s enthusiasm and perseverance. If you have not it this movie yet, I strongly recommend that you do. It just might take you a little closer to your own dreams and inspire you to go towards them.

I was talking about imagination with my daughter one evening, and it made me think about the whole concept more profoundly. My daughter said to me: mom, now I know what imagination means. We were talking in Finnish and imagination in Finnish is “mielikuvitus”, which, freely translated, means mind picturing. My daughter explained imagination like this: “when I have my mind in my head, and I take a picture with my eyes, that picture goes into my head and becomes imagination” = mind picturing. I found this explanation very adorable.

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” -Carl Sagan

When I was a child I got used to long road trips. I spent all my holidays at my grandparents who lived 600 kilometers from my home. Twice a year I would sit 8 hours in a train or car and watch the sceneries changing outside the window like in a sped up film. Back in the days, often the best entertainment was to just look out of the window and dream. One might think it’s boring, but I really loved to be just in my own thoughts! It was very empowering because it gave me the feeling that anything be possible. In my dreamworld, I got to be whoever and whatever I wanted to be, without anyone else having a say in that. Without anyone or anything affecting on the outcome of my life in my perfect dreamworld. I created it!  


This is something that has stayed with me. Often, when I am sitting in a bus, train, car, or airplane, I actually put my phone down so that I could be a moment with my own thoughts and dream a little. I love to be just with my own thoughts, desires, and dreams that my vivid imagination paints in front of my eyes. That’s the best kind of entertainment! The younger version of me did not yet understand what those dreams actually meant, where they came from, and that I could actually have all that if I just kept dreaming and believing in myself. Later in life I learned that the dreams were projections of my true self. The dreams I kept dreaming over and over again, the dreams that made me feel good and happy, the dreams that gave my skin goosebumps, and made my eyes cry tears of joy, were the purpose of my life. 

“Men suffer more from imagining too little than too much.” -P.T. Barnum

Yesterday I was in a car with my daughter and again we were talking about dreams and imagination. She told me that she has three dreams: 1. She wants to fly 2. She wants there to be summer all the time 3. she wants to live in a house full of water. These are the three things she has been talking about a lot during the last year or so. Of course her dreams sound pretty impossible to really become true, but in every one of her dreams lies a little seed of her true self. The picture might still be a little blurry but if she keeps dreaming, imagining, and evolving the pictures she takes with her eyes, then some day the picture will be crystal clear and tell more than a thousand words. My job as a mother is to never tell her that hear dreams are impossible, but to encourage her to dream and most importantly to believe not only in her dreams but in herself!

MAKE YOUR DREAMS BIGGER THAN YOUR OBSTACLES

Supported backbend with egg yoga props

Every evening I set my alarm at 5:30-6:00 am so that I could enjoy the peace and calm of the early morning and do my yoga practice.

Every evening I prepare my yoga clothes ready on the dresser so that I would find them easily without having to wake up the rest of the family and brake the calmness of the dawn.

Every evening I set my yoga mat and props on the livingroom floor so that I could easily start my practice.

Every evening I go to bed without knowing whether I get to sleep through the whole night or will my sleep be disturbed one or several times during the night by my kids.

Every evening I do all that without really knowing if I will have the energy to get up early in the morning. But I do it anyway. Why?

Because when I put my intention behind something it will sooner or later manifest in my life. If, on the other hand, I don’t take any action nothing will happen, everything will remain exactly the same.

This applies to everything in life. By making your dreams bigger than the obstacles, being persistent, putting on effort, and cultivating trust you can achieve great things!

My dream to practice yoga in the morning might be small but the desire behind the dream and the positive effects it brings, makes it big for me, and therefore, something worth pursuing.

yoga setup
Being a mom means accepting the fact that many things are out of my control, and sleepless nights are one of those things. The course of the night depends on the position of the moon and stars, air pressure, what was for dinner, how much TV they watched, did they get enough fresh air. Sometimes the night can be ruined just because one of the kids is snoring so loud that the other one wakes up in the darkness of the night and thinks there is a monster in the room. Sometimes it is a nightmare that interrups their, and my, sleep. It could be something as small and harmless as a night butterly gently sweeping their cheek that makes them scream from terror waking up half of the building. I mean, you got the point, anything can happen that is out of my power and control.

It has not been easy to arrive to this level of acceptance. I could’ve just give up after the first few nights of total hassle and a lack of sleep, but I didn’t. Giving up wouldn’t have taken me anywhere, but persistently continuing to work towards something that is important to me, will eventually bring fruit. It’s better to go to sleep every single evening with the mindset that at 6am I will wake up and enjoy a peaceful morning yoga practice even tho the chances are that only a fraction of the mornings I will actually get to do that. One morning yoga practice in a week is more than no morning yoga practice at all.

No mountain is grand enough to give up without trying

Pregnancy Yoga with a Beautiful Feeling

 

Sunny Sunday with a feeling of fall in the air. Kids were out with their dad and I got to enjoy few hours of precious yoga time in total peace and silence. It’s a rare luxury these days to have some hours just for me. But you know what, I appreciate these moments a lot more than I used to when I had more time to work and practice just by myself. I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more efficient nowadays. When you have only few hours in a day to do what you have to do, you become more creative and productive. When I have too much time on my hands, I tend to procrastinate a bit too much wasting time on useless things.

Today I used these two hours by combining work and yoga practice. I planned next week’s prenatal yoga class by doing the practice myself as well. For me, it’s important to feel in my own body all the asanas, meditation and breathing practices that I teach. Only in that way, I can truly transmit the effect the yoga practice has on the student’s body, mind and soul. This is one of the reasons I also do a prenatal yoga practice even though I’m not pregnant myself. Another reason is that since I was introduced to the prenatal yoga for the first time, I’ve simply loved the flowing, breath driven, and delicate Prenatal Yoga. Third reason is my favourite one: It’s the possibility to go back in time and reconnect with my pregnancies and with those little unborn souls. Going thru all the spectrums of feelings I experienced during those times is extremely healing and empowering. It’s like reading and rewriting the story about my journey into motherhood. A story that has changed me more than anything else, and the one that will continue changing and enriching me for the rest of my life.

vrksana with Elisabetta
Practicing Yoga together with my two year old daughter one month before her little brother was born ❤

Even though I don’t have a little baby growing inside me, I just need to use my imagination, and in a fraction of a second, I can recall those beautiful months when I was pregnant myself. It’s like reliving those times all over again. The meditation at the beginning of the practice and the relaxation and breathing exercise done at the end of the practice are emotionally the most powerful ones. During those moments, while sitting or lying with my eyes closed, I can connect with the memories of both my pregnancies and the miracles of birth.

pregnant 2012 ballerina
Me in 2012 at my friend’s bachelorette party. Pregnant with my daughter ❤

During a prenatal class, I ask my students to connect with the baby growing inside them, but in my personal practice, I ask myself to go back in time and really connect with the moments when:

  • The baby was kicking and punching so hard that it felt like he/she was going to break his/hers way out through the belly.
  • The baby was having so strong hiccups that my whole belly was dancing.
  • It felt like the baby was practicing somersaults in my womb.
  • I was sleeping together with a little soul resting together with me.
  • I was caressing my belly just to get a little signal from inside to know that my baby was ok.

gravidanza copy
Me in December 2014 pregnant with my son ❤ Modelling for Susanna Iovene Fotografia.

Often, whether I’m teaching prenatal, postnatal, or “normal” yoga class, I ask my students to connect with a beautiful feeling. That gives them a positive mindset for the practice. We all have different methods, memories, and preferences about what it is that gives us beautiful feelings. For me, the most beautiful feeling is the moment right after my babies have been born, and being able to hold them, skin on skin. Holding, hugging, smelling, caressing, and feeding that little and delicate beautiful soul that I have been given the privilege to take care of. It always brings tears to my eyes, tears of true happiness, joy, gratitude, and unconditional love. It opens my heart and flushes away any negative feeling or stress I might have had before that. Simple and small, but yet very affective way of shifting your mood. Focusing on the beautiful feeling is a powerful way of reminding yourself that no matter what the outer circumstances are, you can always find beauty from the inside. So, the next time you feel dark clouds swarming over you, close your eyes and dive deep into the archives of your memory, or use the power of your imagination, and allow beautiful feelings to blow the dark clouds away and give room to the inner beauty we all carry in our hearts.

“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” – Audre Lord

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything

I have a problem. A positive problem, one might think. My calendar has a long list of things that I would like to do. Things that give me joy and provide me opportunities for personal growth. Inspiring ideas, big and small dreams, ambitious goals and exciting projects. What makes this a problem is that I would want to do all these things right now. But since there are only 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, and limited time to do what I wish to do, I find myself in a situation where I have to choose.

you can do anything but not everything (1)

Since I know I can not fulfil all my dreams right now, I have to look into myself and choose the one(s) that are most important to me at the present moment, and those ones which, with patience, will get me closer to the other dreams and projects in my list. There’s a time and place for everything, and your job is learning to organize your things in the most productive way giving you the most value at that given moment.

The quote “you can do anything but you can’t do everything” has been my mantra for the last month or so. I came across with it some time ago while reading a blog post and it hit me immediately. It is a very simple and short quote, but if you stop and think about it, it is quite powerful. If you repeat it in your head, or even out loud, whenever you find yourself in a situation where you have trouble keeping all your balls in the air, it helps you find that one ball on what to concentrate at that very moment. The other balls are just unnecessary distractions preventing you to bounce that one ball as high as possible.

For example, one of my dreams was to have a daily yoga practice. As a mother of two young children, finding the time to practice yoga every day is a challenge. I realized that at this moment of my life, the only possible moments for an uninterrupted practice are either early in the morning or late in the evening. In the evenings I’m more productive with things like writing the blog, so the only possibility for me is to practice in the morning before the kids wake up. I wake up every morning at six to do my personal practice. I would like to sleep longer but the benefits I get from the early morning yoga practice are greater than what I get from sleeping until seven. I’m not at my best at six in the morning, but in this life situation it is the solution that gives me the most value and joy. I can spend the rest of the day without having to stress about whether I will find time to practice yoga later during the day, and that leads to a happier me 🙂

One of the most important things, as a yoga teacher, is to have a regular personal yoga practice. If I want to be the best possible teacher, I have to have a solid daily practice of yoga. There’s no way around it. I had to find a way to incorporate the daily practice into my schedule, and in order to do it, I had to give up lying in bed until seven in the morning. Small sacrifice for a greater benefit.

 

Back to the quote, what I love about it is that the beginning is very encouraging and motivating. The message is simply that you can do ANYTHING! It’s very empowering. It makes you dream big and reach for the stars! Sometimes hearing those few magical words are exactly what one needs to find the courage and confidence to go towards their dharma. When you tell yourself “I can do anything”, your mind automatically starts recalling the things your heart desires. The only obstacle is you with all the what-ifs. The ANYTHING helps you move your insecurities aside and focus on the hows.

 

Then, when you add the end to the sentence, “you can’t do EVERYTHING”, the quote kind of forces you to take a closer look to your dreams and plans to find out what it is that’s most important to you at this time. What it is that you need in your life the most, in order to be well, feel happy. It doesn’t mean to abandon the rest of your dreams, but rather to put them on hold for now and focus on that what has the most value to you in this given moment. It might very easily be that what you choose to work on now will get you closer to the rest of the dreams, and maybe even open doors to new dreams and possibilities.

 

After all, it’s all about prioritizing. When you learn to prioritize and to stick in to your schedule you can prevent a lot of stress in your life. A stress that might make you feel like you can NOT do ANYTHING and just give up before even starting.