Yin Yoga came into my life during my Yoga Teacher Training course with Yoga Vidya, Germany. Yoga teachers have to be knowledgeable about all types of Yoga in order to build our practice and to adapt to the students´ needs. Going Yinwards helped me discover a whole new world!
I had taken a Yin Yoga class before but I found it too slow and gentle for my liking. Even though that was precisely what I needed then, my mind rejected it flatout. I was used to the Yang way of living: fast, energetic, effortful. The ideal Yoga class should include both Yin and Yang moments, but my previous teachers leaned towards Yang because that is what people usually prefer. The no-pain-no-gain sort of mentality. I also thought that they tended to speak too much during class, not allowing students the time to go Yinwards. Looking back, I craved some Yin time but was unaware of that fact.
Yin Yoga offers both physical and mental benefits. Each Yin pose lasts from 2 to 3 minutes and no or minimal effort should be exerted. This allows plenty of time for the bones (yes, bones do stretch slightly), fascia, ligaments, joints, skin and tendons to stretch. They are not stretched properly during a more vigorous session. When the body is warm, it is the muscles that react to the stretches more readily. That is why Yin Yoga is best practiced early in the morning or at the end of the day when the body is cold. Since I started, my flexibility in general has improved and my back pain has subsided.
Besides the physical benefits of Yin Yoga, there is also the mental ones. When I am in a pose for 3 minutes, I have the time to observe where the tension is, something I was unable to do in more energetic practices. It is common for me to get into a pose and notice after a while that I am clentching my teeth. This is the tell-tale sign that your mind is holding onto something and it is time to let go. Ahhh so nice to carry less weight about... As a result, I am now able to focus more easily as I do not let obcessive thoughts take hold of me.
How is your Yang/Yin balance? How are we the same or different? Leave your comment below!
Since the beginning of march, there has been no news other than Coronavírus or COVID19. As a linguist and language teacher, I pay a lot of attention to the language used. The words "fight against" are common just as when refering to terrorism, AIDS, drugs etc. This implies that we are being "attacked" by cruel foes and that they must be exterminated as quickly and brutally as possible. Call Dr. Who! This could not be furthest from the truth.
A virus is genetic material that acts as a messenger to warm other organisms, in this case we humans, about imbalances in our environment or in our bodies. The purpose of the message is so that we adapt to changes in order for us to survive. Trees do the same emitting chemical messages to other trees when being eaten by predators. Organisms that adapt survive and are able to pass their genetic material on. Those that do not perish. As simple as that. In other words, Coronavírus only kill those organisms that do not learn or are resistent to the message.
I have seen or read little about how to strengthen our bodies so that the virus will not find fertile ground to thrive. How can we make our bodies more "intelligent" so that they can heed the message from the virus?
Confidence and Positivity
When you exude confidence and positivity, your body relaxes and does not produce stress hormones that would invariably weaken your immune system. In order for you to have high levels of these 2 precious elements, sing, practice Laughter Yoga (laugh for no reason), read constructive books, meditate, pray, say positive affirmations , have sex, talk to friends and family on a regular basis, and exercise indoors or outdoors. Last but not least, do not watch the news. How will knowing the death toll help you? Ignorance is bliss!
Walk or Be in Nature
Walking is in itself extremely beneficial for mental and phisical health. Done regularly for 30 minutes a day, it can improve memory, strengthen the joints, blood vessels and muscles in general. However, nature has everything you need to recalibrate our bodies. The sun stimulates our senses with vibrant colours. It produces vitamin D that helps the production of neurotransmitters that bring about wellbeing. Abundance of oxygen help us purge excessive carbon dioxide and regulate cell activity. The earth absorbs electro-magnetic radiations to which we are constantly exposed. So walking barefoot can be a life saver.
If walking is not possible for you, simply being in nature can be greatly healing. In Japan such practice is commun and it even has a name: Forest Bathing. After a session, your heart rate goes down as well as your blood pressure!
We should start to question the way we view the virus and the messages we receive from the media and our leaders.
How do you protect yourself from the virus? Leave your comment below!
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Why should Emotional Intelligence (EI) be part of the national curriculum? Why should it be part of professional training?
A Ted Talk by Michele Schnider prompted me to write this article as many educators and employers do not seem to understand the importance E. I. and how it can impact the future of humanity. In her talk, Schnider shares some statistics that beg us to ask the question of what students and professionals really need today that will help them to become more fulfilled human beings in 10 or 20 years. She shared that 65% of students in middle school today will have jobs that still do not exist. She also said that professionals are predicted to have 5 career changes in his/her life. People will have to learn how to become life-long learners as the pace of innovations will take place faster, making continuous learning a necessity.
How will humans cope with so many and such fast-paced changes? The answer is by going within. Schnider makes a distinction between intelligence and conscience. The former can be performed by Artificial Intelligence but not the latter (at least in the foreseeable future). Therefore, students and professionals of the future must be able to strike a balance between these two. Intelligence allow us to analyse, argue, organise, etc. Conscience allows us to feel. Such feelings lead us to our intuition, motivation, moods, and compassion.
We have been pretty good at developing intelligence, but how do we develop conscience? By giving people space to feel which could be done through self-care practices such as meditation and therapies. Expressing emotions such as laughter and sadness should be respected in classrooms and workplaces.
If we want to continue to be relevant in the future, changes must take place now in order for us to adapt and thrive. What changes do you see are taking place at your school or workplace? Leave your comment below!
Why is it generally too late when we notice and act upon the symptoms of stress? I was recently walking on the streets of Porto when I stumbled upon this ad of a brand of coffee. It read in big, bold letters "Life needs me active". To begin with, who is life? Life needs you or you need Life (with capital L)?
Both men and women are bombarded with messages that relaxation is as bad as a sin. I would go as far as stating that this burden weighs more heavily on women. Producers of pads and tampons promote their products based on the premise that they will offer the freedom for women to continue to lead active lives. In many cultures, menstruation means time to regenerate and rest, however, in modern western culture, it is a nuisance that should not stop them. After all, working women need to prove that they can keep up!
With so many similar messages around, it is not surprising that resting is seen as an abnormal activity. There are only a handful of countries where women are legally protected to stay at home when they are on their periods. In order for this to become the norm, women (and men) need to start to heed the messages from their bodies. In 2017, actress Demi Moore lost a tooth due to stress. How could she have failed to realise she was suffering from stress? How could she have ignored the symptoms?
We have the tendency to listen to our minds because they are louder and brasher. Nonetheless, our bodies, which are more subtle, are hardly ever heeded. As we are so busy with "life", we tend to ignore the symptoms of stress. I myself did this when my hair became brittle and was falling out heavily. It took a diagnosis of an auto-immune disease in order for me to change my routine, diet, relationships and set of beliefs.
Now that I am more aware of the culture by which I was influenced, I am better able to question and make decisions that right for me based on the symptoms presented by my body and mind. How do you heed the messages from your body? Leave your comments below.
It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since I started Trash Stress. After reviewing the first year with all the ups and downs and the steep learning curve for a first-time entrepreneur, I can firmly say that I have more gratitude for my life experiences now.
I nostalgically watched some of my YouTube videos and OMG so much has happened! I started the channel only a few weeks after I moved to Porto and still had my pygmalion hair and lots of paperwork to fill out. This video was the first one published and it teaches how to make peace with emotions. Well, maybe I published the second video since the first one was so horrendous that I do not even dare to share it....
I am extremely proud to have 85 subscribers on YouTube and over 1000 on Facebook. Although numbers only tell part of the story, I do feel that our members share the same philosophy and appreciate the health-related contents. The video in which I describe my road back to health after being diagnosed with Autoimmune Disease received over 500 Likes plus loads of support and information sharing.
I feel that I am the master of my own destiny and I can express myself more fully into this world. By being grateful for things of the past, I tell myself that more is to come and I should expect so. I can even laugh at myself with more mastery! Look at the result of my celebrations! To watch the full YouTube video, click on the picture below.
I invite you to subscribe to the channel that will soon have videos in English. I also invite you to experiment bringing gratitude into your life. Please feel free to leave your suggestions and requests for future topics! Thank you so much for being part of this beautiful community!
Yoga by the Douro is supported by Porto Tourism Office. This gives both local and overseas tourists greater assurance of the quality Trash Stress relaxation experiences offer. Trash Stress values uniqueness, therefore, we create relaxation experiences with small groups taking place in special locations.
Yoga by the Douro started in the summer of 2018 when I moved to Porto. I was exploring the banks of the Douro River when I stumbled upon some ruins. I had seen many locations with majestic views of the Douro, but this was surely the best! I thought it would be perfect for those tourists who wished to get away from the city hussle and bustle but unwilling to travel too far. The ruins can be reached by foot from the city center, although transport can be arranged.
After finding this natural gem, I proceeded to research the history of the ruins. I learned that railroad workers used to live there. One can still see the massive stones used in the constructions of late 18th century houses. The ruins have been left untouched for over a century and that is why greenery abounds. You can see different blossoms depending on the time of the year. In order for participants to get in touch with the site, they are asked to make an "Ikebana" or flower arrangement with which to decorate the space. They are always appreciative of this time left alone with nature.
To see our photo gallery, visit Trash Stress on Instagram or Facebook page. I hope you can join Trash Stress and experience the natural beauty of Porto. For further information and to book, please click below.
We can create a work environment that helps us to relax if we better understand the mentality that we bring into work. In my last publication, I talked about the Industrial Revolution and how this event has an effect on our behavior today. I also talked about the Yin (Female) principle and how it can help us.
The Yin and Yang symbol is very popular but few know the difference between the white and the black segments. The black one is Yin, which represents the feminine, introspection, cold, nutrition, intuition, regeneration. In nature, the Moon represents the Yin. The white part is the Yang which is the masculine aspect, outgoing, warm, vigorous, rational, and transformative. In nature, this energy is represented by the Sun. They are opposite energies but they carry a little bit of each other to create balance. And what does this have to do with the work environment?
As we are inserted in a society that values Yang, we are programmed to behave in this way. The Revolution was started by men. Therefore, masculine characteristics formed companies and schools. For example, a person who is outspoken (Yang characteristic) at a meeting is considered to be sociable and a possible leader. The quieter ones (Yin) do not fit into the construction we have of a good leader.
With the entry of women into the labor market, more and more Yin is being valued in companies and institutions. "Soft skills" such as empathy and kindness are expected from many job candidates. Studies show that CEOs who consider themselves to have high levels of intuition are those who have achieved the most profit compared to those who consider their ability to be low or nonexistent. The most popular course at Stanford University right now is not Exact Sciences, but Humanities, called Designing your Life, which teaches gratitude, generosity, self-knowledge and adaptation. Who would say?!
For men and women to be able to open the door to Yin, it is necessary for them to deconstruct the Yang "programming" that they have received throughout their lives, including me here. It is necessary, for example, that we create space at work to slow down, get in touch with ourselves and review the values that govern the way we conduct business today.
Based on this article, how do you see Yin shaping your work or school environment? Leave your comment here....
Why are there so many stressed people today? Is stress just a problem of modernity?
The stress alert system in our body is very important to make us act in times of danger. Thousands of years ago we ran away from the danger of turning food to our predators. A quick response to a dangerous situation kept us alive and allowed us to pass our genes on to future generations. However, today, we are at the top of the food chain and we are no longer in danger. So, why are we so stressed?
The Industrial Revolution of the late 18th century dramatically affected the way we see and do things today. To fully exploit labor, the time it took to produce an item was measured. The start and end time of a working day was strictly controlled. Time has become much more critical compared to past ages and is getting more and more so. For example, if a company takes more than 2 days to respond to a customer's email, this can be viewed as sloppy. People expect things done for yesterday. That must be why express delivery companies like FEDEX and DHL are being created here and there.
Before we had the risks of the environment, now we face less tangible risks: the time associated with the idea that we have to fill our lives with doing, doing and doing. I am for example writing this article late at night when I should be in bed. I do this because I hope that tomorrow there will be one less thing to do. What does your mind tell you when you think of a day without electronics, in complete silence, just contemplating the moment? This is the legacy we received from the Industrial Revolution that dictates that doing is more important than being. It tells us that we should excite our mind and body with new foods, clothes, events, decorations etc. This same stressful legacy can be extinguished when we start and recognize it in our daily lives and say NO to it. So, do you accept this challenge?
To access the Focko online magazine where this article was published, click here.
Eve specialises in Yoga and Relaxation for students and professionals who lead stressful lives or who are simply looking for a different perspective. She loves to write her thoughts in varied media and genres.