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Travel. Fill your life with dreams, laughter and adventures. Be excited. Because in your last days on this planet you won’t care about how much money you’ve accumulated. You won’t think about the model of your smartphone or the car you have parked in the garage. You will look back and remember… The places that took your breath away. The first time you were wandering around your favourite city without a specific destination in mind. The time you fell in love staring at a beautiful sunset. The time you lost yourself into the eyes of a special person. The time you cried before finding back your smile. Extract from "Le coordinate della felicità". By Gianluca Gotto. Translated and adapted by Barbara Laginja.
The Importance of Music in Yoga and Everyday Life
I could not imagine the world without music. Music is one of the things no one can take away from you, as Andy Dufresne mentioned in the masterpiece movie “Shawshank Redemption”. To me, music always meant freedom. The freedom to express my unconventional, rebellious side. It helped me process my thoughts, release any negative emotions and anxieties that were holding me back. Often, I play and replay the tunes in your head without turning on your music app or radio. Music has this magic power to transfer important messages, store memories to bring you back in time. Music is food for the soul, body and mind. It can relax you, upset you, help you release some emotions or energize you. I never skip music in my yoga practices. It is one of the teaching tools that help me lead a practice by setting the pace of my asanas and help me close off the class by sending the message to the brain “Hey, we are about to cool down, it’s Shavasana time!” Meditation tunes and other calming styles of music are good to keep you focused and help you distress, allowing you to welcome peace and harmony into your space. Music can be a healing tool; it can relieve a headache and improve your mood. Simply, try searching for different frequencies into YouTube, such as 5.28 Hz, and you will see how many will come up, depending on the issue you want to heal. In the summertime, when teaching yoga outdoors, I often use music to keep my students focused on the practice and the pace of the flow, as external sounds could be a distraction during the class. Therefore, I need a well-curated playlist. I teach a chillout yoga class, and I carefully select every tune as it must be in sync with my asana flow and sequence. I love using this beautiful chillout playlist: I like to start all my yoga classes with a 5-min meditation, where I incorporate some breathwork or “pranayama” to allow the students to center themselves before going into asanas. I use relaxing meditative music or slow chillout tunes; it depends a lot on the energy of my students. I might prepare one playlist and then change it 5 min before practice. I go with the flow, and up till now, it always paid off. I’m not too fond of routine; therefore, I update my playlists weekly and am continually seeking new sounds that much my yoga styles. Meditation or “Dhyana” is one of the eight limbs of yoga. From personal experience and by talking to many people who are thinking of trying meditation, but they have trouble focusing on the present, I suggest calming and steady tunes like the sounds of nature, for example, the rhythm of the ocean waves or peaceful music with Tibetan singing bowls In time, as you dive deeper into your meditation practice, you will find that you won’t need music as often as before. Progressively, you will start shifting your attention inwards and perhaps gain the courage to explore your inner self, emotions you buried deep, and uncover some darker places of your soul you’ve been avoiding for a long time. It takes courage and commitment to show up for yourself consistently every day on your yoga mat to practice and meditate. It is scientifically proven that incorporating yoga and meditation in your morning routine, apart from improving your posture, strengthening your musculoskeletal system, you will experience increased mental clarity and improved focus throughout the day. Powerful, right! So put on your favourite playlist and start now. Music is food for the soul, body and mind. It can relax you, upset you, help you be less anxious or energize you. Music is the magic tool to make your body move faster, slower or perhaps going into a trance state during meditation. The style of your music you are choosing today will tell me a lot about your current state of mind. If I had to describe music in one sentence, it would be this quote by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Affirmation: "Deep within my soul I now accept and experience the healing power of music." (source: "Healing with fairies", Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue)
Fall Crazy in Love with Life
Fall crazy in love with life. When you won’t have anymore time, your memories will be the only things left. And you will remember all the places that made you feel emotional. Fall in love, fall hard without limits. Like chasing a girl or a guy you just met, all over Bali. Because it isn’t love, if you have to hold yourself back, and you don’t feel the urge to do crazy things. Love is a hurricane, a volcano, an explosion of life. Love causes collateral damage but it is totally worth it. Therefore, fall in love with yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and gift yourself a smile. You are not perfect and you have made mistakes... There are things about yourself that you never quite liked but you aren’t that bad after all. The scars on your soul are what makes you unique. Make peace with the person you see reflected in the mirror because this is the person you have to live with all your life. Allow yourself to fall in love with other people because only you can turn on the flame of your happiness but only they can help you keep it alive. In the end, remember, perhaps there is an afterlife, a heaven and hell. Perhaps, you will reincarnate into a flower or a squirrel. Perhaps, the only thing left of you will be your soul wandering around the Universe. But this you don’t know for sure, therefore protect your time. Don’t obsess over the past as it will never come back! Don’t obsess over the future, it is the unknown that you cannot predict. Enjoy this present moment fully as this is the only thing you really have right now. Fill it with beautiful things that make you smile inside out. As these are the moments of pure life that you will never forget. Fill this moment with happiness. Extract from "Le coordinate della felicità". By Gianluca Gotto. Translation by Barbara Laginja.
Bring more love to yourself and others...try AHIMSA
Let’s look at the first principle, of the Yamas: AHIMSA (non-harming, non-violence). AHIMSA means living in a non-harming and non-violent way towards yourself self and others. In our day-to-day life, think about how many times you have practised negative self-talk, how often do you overload your work schedule, not allowing yourself to rest; how many YES-es you say to people, and how often you decide to stay silent rather than communicating your boundaries: how often do you criticize and judge others without even knowing them or their background story. So next time you do one of these things, think of AHIMSA and yoga, how much better would we feel if we practice only 1/8 of yoga, and how this would positively impact our relationships. Practising a day of AHIMSA would go like that: We want to move through our day with self awareness. Being self-aware keeps us from hurting others. Try to start the day by complimenting yourself, say something loving to you, how beautiful you are today. Decide to work smart and not hard, by prioritizing the things that really matter for that particular day. Carve out some time for yourself and recuperate, rest, meditate. Feed your soul. It’s ok to say NO more often. This is self-love too. Speak up with integrity and love so that people know which boundaries they should not cross. Judge less. We don’t know why a certain person needs that experience or exhibits that behaviour. Give the benefit of a doubt. Gossip less. Love more. Open your heart to yourself first & the rest will follow. Love & peace, Barb
Yoga - A Path to a Balanced and Loving Life…
I would like to start by saying yoga is a spiritual practice and NOT a religion. Its physical practice is only one of the 8 paths of living yoga, according to the Indian sage Patanjali. In my series of blogs I will be presenting each of these paths to yoga, and how we can apply it in real-life. Walking the 8-limb path: The YAMAS & The World Around Us… The first of the 8 limb-path are the YAMAS are how we relate to the world around us. They are divided into 5 principles for living a balanced Yogic life. The way we present ourselves. 5 different practices we can incorporate in our life. The NIYAMAS & How we interact with ourselves, relationship to self Actions we want to embody, attitude, and action we cultivate, having a sense of peace within ourselves, and how we respond internally. Tha ASANAS PRANAYAMA PRATYAHARA DHRANA DHYANA SAMADHI
The Goal of Yoga
No, it’s not the handstand. The yoga pose or "asana" it’s not the goal. Standing on your hands is not the goal. The goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you‘ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. Shift your focus and your heart will grow. The goal is to love... well You. Come to your yoga mat to feel; not to accomplish. Shift your focus and your heart will grow. - Rachel Brathen -
Pranayama & the magic of breathing