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Yoga

HiYoga Teatcher Training Yoga

Can people really levitate?

Photo: Erik Brown


I discovered yoga when I was 19 and a student in Bergen. At first it was just a physical exercise, but in later years it has taken a bigger part of my life as a philosophy and spiritual practice.

Yoga was at first something i did on the side of the other sports I passionately pursued. I’ve always been addicted to adrenaline infused sports. Whether it was snowboarding, kitesurfing, surfing or marathon running – these sports played a major role in how I identified myself. Of all the other things I didn’t do well enough in life (according to my own standards), at least I was mastering a sport, and sometimes I was even great at it.

Adrenaline sports and yoga were similar to me in that they both put me in a state of flow. I forgot about everything else, and nothing was as important as the exact moment I was in. The moments of ecstasy I experienced in these activities made me want to rebel against the norms and boundaries put on myself by society and my own limiting beliefs. Feeling so alive made me want to eliminate out the mundane aspects of my life.

The problem with being addicted to a sport is that you are constantly left longing for the next fix of adrenaline. To find contentment in the status quo was something I had to learn through the practice of yoga. I found a different sense of self-esteem that was independent of the sport I was pursuing.

Yoga isn’t the answer to everything, but…

I enrolled in teacher training in 2014, and early 2015 I completed my 200 RYT with Global Yoga Shala. Since then I have been trying to balance being a kitesurfer, yoga student and teacher, and working a full-time job. The urge to learn more led me to apply for a spot in the 300 RYT teacher training with Basia at Hiyoga. In February 2017 I started the training.

The reason why I introduce a bit of my life outside of yoga is because to me, and I think with most people, yoga and what you decide to spend the rest of your day doing is inseparable. Yoga will inevitably infiltrate everything you do if you dive just a little bit further than just the asana practice. At least with me it allowed me to see everything around me from a different perspective.

A couple of months prior to starting the teacher training I had just come back from a six month long trip. One of the many trips I’ve done the last few years to follow my passion, kitesurfing. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I came back to Oslo, but I thought it safe and reasonable to continue on the path I had left earlier – working in Communications. So I applied for a few jobs and got a job in a marketing and design firm.

It all seemed to go very smoothly for a while. I would do Mysore every morning at Hiyoga, and then rush to work right after. On the weekends I would either be on the teacher training or teach snowkiting in the mountains.

IMG_6144

Searching for your dharma but getting served your karma

It’s hard to point out exactly what it is about studying yoga that makes you reevaluate everything you do in your life. For me it’s both the physical practice (asanas) and studying the philosophy. It took me two months to realise that working with marketing – creating things for brands that just adds to our consumerist society – was dragging the life force out of me. After weeks spent struggling with the  decision, I handed in my resignation and said to myself I was going to be a full time yoga teacher and kite instructor.

I thought to myself: Why would I spend eight or more hours a day doing something I didn’t enjoy – and for what cause? Why does our society measure  an individual’s worth by how much money they make? Finding your way and your calling in life is a lifelong process, but a step in the right direction is to identify the things you enjoy doing, and the things that you don’t enjoy doing.

I wanted to do something that contributed to a better society in some way, and I knew couldn’t work with anything that had to do with consumerism or capitalism. As naive as it sounds, I wanted to inspire people to see that the world is really limitless and exactly just what you make it to be.

Of course reality strikes. It’s hard to make a living as a yoga teacher. People in my life probably thought to themselves “how the hell is she going to make it?” The honest ones advised me to think it over. In the end I found a compromise, working 80 percent to allow more time to kite and focus on yoga.

Gymnastics and dance party you say?

Attending teacher training is a mix of going to gymnastics, a university class, an AA meeting, and a dance party all at once. The mix of people and topics you study is odd at best. There are no dull moments. I sucked in all the knowledge I could. And despite being sleep deprived because of the early mornings, I rarely felt tired. My mind was singing of curiosity and eagerness to learn more.

The people I met at teacher training were brought together by the possibility of what yoga could bring to their life. The students that struck me as most fascinating were the ones that had realised before or during the training that they had to change paths. Some had quit their jobs before starting the training, or some had experienced grief or trauma.

The stories and aspirations shared openly by my fellow students were inspiring. Some were doing the teacher training to learn more tools they could use to cope with life better. Some were just curious about yoga beyond the asana practice. Some knew before they even started that they didn’t want to teach. And then there were some aspiring teachers.

I seemed to be mostly drawn to the “misfits”; the ones who had realised that the life they had created for themselves didn’t serve them anymore. I got the sense that a lot of us, either prior or during the teacher training, felt a creeping urge to expand outside of the dreadful box of ordinary life.

Can people really levitate?

Most of what you experience in teacher training is very tangible. You get to study the poses in detail, you learn about anatomy and the various ways people relate to their bodies. You learn about philosophy, nutrition, creating flows, yoga off the mat, finding your voice, and so on.

A times yoga philosophy seems magical and mythical. At one point the philosophy teacher said she had seen a man levitate while meditating. A few years ago I would have laughed out loud hearing this, but I have learned to see the world with different eyes. There’s a saying: “you see what you think”, meaning we are so stuck in our heads and sense of reason that we close ourselves off from experiencing anything that might obstruct with or differ from our own perceived world view. This saying rings very true to me, and has become more so over the years.

When we stick our heads through our legs or lift our whole body over our heads like we do in yoga, we experience what it really means to experience things through our emotions and as a bodily experience. We rely so much on using our reasoning in everyday life, it is only healthy to get out of our heads in order to really feel and see things with clear eyes.

Urdhva Dhanurasana IDLM
Photo: Erik Brown


Solving world problems by putting my feet behind my head

I have never been a fan of delving in my own problems, and I prefer keeping some things unsaid. Not healthy some people would say, but each to their own I say. When you practice yoga you are forced to meet some of your demons. But the nice thing is that you can do it your way. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. You can literally pour it out while sweating on your yoga mat.

Needless to say, nothing comes for free. Yoga requires discipline. Lying in Savasana and decorating your bookshelf with the Yoga Sutras will only take you so far. Being able to see outside of your own mat and bring the philosophy out into the world is what makes a practitioner really powerful.

Doing a teacher training forces you to be disciplined. Getting up at 5 am to do Mysore practice feels gruesome sometimes. What I need to work on is to trust in the process of yoga, and not always reach for the next goal. It might take a lifetime to get both of my legs comfortably behind my head, but the discipline and patience I learn from the practice is what I take with me out of the yoga studio and into the real world.

The unglamorous fruits of the practice

Waking up before sunrise every day to spend hours on my mat trying to get my feet behind my head must seem ridiculous to some. Yoga at its simplest is just a series of gymnastic exercises accompanied by creepy, loud breathing, but it’s so much more than that. Sure, you’ll have some profound moments when you practice, but what does it add to your life?

I used to think that yoga helped me to achieve more rainbows and unicorns in my life, but I’ve let go of that idea. What I’m left with is maybe not so glamorous, but at least I have made peace with the idea of me being the rebellious adventure seeker unwilling to settle for anything less than awesomeness.

Yoga has helped me to find ease, and not always seek for immediate gratification and pleasure from external experiences. Dropping off a cliff is an adrenaline rush caused by something external. Yoga on the other hand, has taught me to find contentment from the inside. I could fill my life with numerous adventures and thrills, but in the end it wouldn’t mean much without the ability to also enjoy the simpler moments in life.

Practicing yoga has made me a more content person. I still search for those moments of adrenaline that I experience kiting or surfing. That’s an addiction I wouldn’t want to lose. Yoga is different, it has taught me to find ease and contentment in my ordinary life. These are the fruits of the practice.

Basia´s Journal HiYoga Meditasjon Ukategorisert Yoga Yoga & Health

Mind training through Yoga

Photo: ProjectionPhotography


How you
think affects how you move. And how well you move affects how well you live. What is your mind filled with everyday? What does it say of you and your daily landscape? Is the inner dialogue positive? If not, can you change this? Yes, you can!

One of the blessings of yoga practice is that it often helps us realise just how much there is to learn about our mind and our conditioned patterns.  Once a consistent yoga practice is established, oftentimes it will affect your lifestyle. The practice is much like a mirror reflecting your ways of being; likes and dislikes your points of vulnerability and likewise your areas of wisdom. It can reveal all.  It brings about an array of questioning. But simultaneously it shows how much power we have to sustain our health and wellbeing through self-observation and self-care techniques.

Cultivating a habit to watch our mind is a powerful way to foster change. My personal favourite is doing a daily check-in of whether I am content. Notice the moments in which an obstructive thought kicks in to disturb this contentment by introducing the feeling of judgement or dissatisfaction. The instant it does, look for that undercurrent of thinking, like soft whispering. That for example, what you have is not enough, that you are not worthy, that you should have done this or that, etc. Challenge the thought. Do I really need more? Is this a priority or value in the long run that nourish my soul?

Turn it around immediately. Think of all the ways in which you are lucky and blessed. Think of all the things you are grateful for and use those to drown out your desire and discontent. Reinforce this on your yoga mat.

 

HiYoga Lifestyle Yoga

Have a multitasking home life

Are you at home having too many things to fix, but your body really needs some yoga? Use your creativity and make use of the space around you.

Breath
Learn to connect to the breath. Gradually lengthen the inhalation and the exhalation making the chest expand.

Balance
Are you cooking? Stirring a risotto that takes a little too long?
– Do it on one leg: activate the standing leg by engaging the front of your thigh and contracting your butt slightly. Engage the pelvic floor and lift one leg up.
– Gradually challenge yourself with different positions and remember to change the standing leg.

Chicca

Open the chest
Do you have a dinner table or a kitchen bench?
– Place the hands on the edge, stretch your arms and make sure your hips are in line with the feet.
-Let the chest sink down.

Stretch the side of the chest
Doors, wardrobes, the corner of a wall – anything with an edge will do.
– Place the forearm on the edge of the surface, creating some resistance by spreading the fingers and slightly pushing against it. Your body is facing the same way.
– Keep the forearm on the surface and slowly turn the body away from the hand. Stop when you feel the stretch.

Stretch the calf
Do you have stairs?
– Place the ball of your foot on a step
– Press the heel down and lean the body slightly forward to get a better stretch

Stretch the hamstrings
Did you drop something? Try to pick it up without bending your knees.

Release your neck
Are you sitting on the sofa watching TV? Give your neck a little stretch by leaning your head to the sides and front.

No extra time, space or outfit needed. Just do it!

Basia´s Journal HiYoga Lifestyle Yoga Yoga & Health

The Holiday Body

Photo: InlightyogaPhoto

We all want that body that surfaces when we are on holidays! I’ve heard many of my students tell me that their body is at its optimal self when they are vacationing. Usually it is a warm tropical country. Their yoga practice skyrockets into another space of effortlessness and voluptuous power.

I must hereby admit that I have experienced the same ecstasy where hips open willingly, backbends come with ease, moving in any direction feels soothing and sitting in silence becomes an oasis one eagerly wants to return to. Why is this not happening back at the home base?

There are many factors that contribute to this alteration in the mind and body. However, I believe there is one main switch that needs to be triggered, and it will connect with the rest… And you can use it at the homefront!

That is, consciously slowing everything down. Slowing down the way you move, talk, cook, think things through, etc.  Try lingering just a tiny bit longer with observing something, listening to someone, stretching, tasting food…stay really present. The key thing is value it; feel really good about slowing down.

Your nervous system will build resilience, you will cultivate healthy vagal tone, oxytocin levels will rise and your brain will be spurred on to change.  You will connect deeper to the things that matter to you.

Now if you still want that holiday… Then by all means run to a Yoga Retreat holiday at a sunny destination this Winter!  You’ll practice with others, breath and feast like you’ve never done before ☺

HiYoga Lifestyle Yoga

Gratitude

Reminder to myself: be grateful

How often do you pause and appreciate what you have in life? I, probably like many women out there, never feel entirely happy or confident about myself.

Looking back at my ballet dancing carreer, I have realised that most of my time and energy was spent complaining and comparing myself to others. I just never felt “good enough”. On top of that..the more I had, the more i wanted. The bigger the expectations, the stronger the disappointments.

And you know what… Does life get any better from doing that? Do you get any further? Do you appreciate it more? We all know what the answers are… but we still don’t – or can’t – do anything about it..

It was through a bad injury and the yoga practice that my discovery of gratitude actually started.

I learned to appreciate myself through physical movement and exploration of the body.
I learned to enhance my body’s health, intelligence, grace and beauty.
I learned that yoga is the union of mind, body and soul.
I learned to be thankful everyday for being able to participate in such an amazing practice.
I still have a lot to learn – and the hard part is to live it.

I believe gratitude requires awareness and appreciation of all normal cycles of life. The highs, the lows, the blessings, the lessons, the setbacks, the comebacks, the love, the hate, the everything.

Dark places can make you grow stronger and become a better person if you learn from them.

So, remember to enjoy the little things in life. Measure the highs and lows. Respect yourself. Listen to your body. Love your family. Be passionate of what you do. Share and spread your energy.

Yoga taught me gratitude. For that, I’m forever thankful.

 

 

The Science Yoga Yoga & Health Yoga Science

Hjelper yoga mot kreft?

Av Tiril Elstad, grunnlegger av Yoga Science

Selv om flere overlever sin kreftsykdom i dag får mange betydelige plager i forbindelse med – og som følger av behandlingen. Hva sier egentlig forskningen om yoga og kreft?

Hva er kreft?
Kreft er en paraplyterm for sykdommer som kjennetegnes ved ”ukontrollert celledeling av unormale celler som har evne til å invadere vev og organer omkring” (Kreftregisteret).

På toppen av statistikkene ligger prostatakreft for menn og brystkreft hos kvinner.

Alternative løsninger
Som kreftpasient møter man hele tiden på folk som kommer med velmenende råd. De blir etterhvert slitsomme. Man er jo som oftest i et behandlingsopplegg og stoler på legen sin. Han eller hun har utdanning fra tradisjonell medisin som er basert på mange års erfaring og forskning. Man har lært at alternativ behandling ikke virker. Det er ”svada”.

Som oftest er det også rett. De aller fleste velmenende råd bunner ikke i ordentlig forskning. Det er spesielt sant i en tid hvor du og jeg blir bombandert med helse- og livsstilsråd fra enhver blogger. Innholdet er ofte basert på personlige erfaringer og har ikke rot i forskning.

Yoga pleier å falle innunder denne ”alternative”-kategorien. Mange påstår at yoga kan hjelpe for kreft, men man vet bedre enn å stole på dette og avslår påstanden uten videre fordi den mangler bevis.

Jeg bestemte meg for å se nærmere på hva som finnes av randomiserte kontrollerte studier på feltet. Kan yoga påvirke deg som kreftpasient?

Hjelp med assosierte plager
Stadig flere får diagnostisert kreft (FHI 2015). Møtet med helsevesenet og den nye diagnosen kan være stressende, vondt og skape mye usikkerhet. Behandlingen er også en stor påkjenning for mange. Det viser seg at yoga kan ha et stort potensiale i denne prosessen.

1. Kvalme

Et av de hyppigste symptomene ved kjemoterapi er kvalme. Det oppleves av mellom 66-90% av pasientene (Rhodes 2001). I 2007 gjorde Raghavendra et al en studie hvor de fant at yoga reduserte kvalme hos brystkreftpasienter som gjennomgikk kjemoterapi.

2. Tretthet

Tretthet er en annen vanlig plage i forbindelse med kreftbehandlingen. Det er mange forskere som har undersøkt dette temaet. Alle konkluderer med at yoga kan redusere tretthet blant pasientene (Wang 2014; Taso 2014; Mustian 2013; Sprod et al 2015).

3. Psykiske plager

Depresjon og angst blant andre psykiske plager forekommer hos 1-50% av alle kreftpasienter avhengig av type, stadium og forløp av sykdommen (Fredheim 2001). I 2013 fant Würtzen at mindfulness kan bidra til å redusere angst og depresjon hos brystkreftpasienter.

4. Muskel- og skjelettvondter

50% av overlevende brystkreftpasienter som har fått hormonterapi (aromatasa inhibitor therapy) rapporterer muskel- og skjelettplager (Peppone 2015). Yoga har blitt undersøkt som en mulig behandling for dette, og forskning tyder på at Hata Yoga, meditasjon og avslapningsøvelser kan bidra til å redusere smerter fra skjelett og muskler (Peppone 2015).

Kan yoga redusere kreftdødelighet?
Instituttet for Kreftforskning i England har konkludert at det ikke finnes beviser per dags dato som støtter at yoga kan forebygge eller kurere kreft.

Når det er sagt, så skriver Kreftforeningen at over en av tre krefttilfeller har sammenheng med vår livsstil. Derfor kan man ”ta valg som reduserer risikoen for å utvikle kreft som å unngå tobakksbruk, være forsiktig med alkohol og sol, mosjonere og ha et sunt kosthold” (Kreftforeningen).

Selv om forskningen kommer til kort for å støtte opp om dette innenfor yogalitteraturen, er det ikke helt fjernt at yoga kan ha et potensiale her.

Statistikk viser for eksempel at fedme kan øke risikoen for noen typer kreft, herunder bryst-, tykktarm-, øsofagus-, nyre-, og pankreascancer (ACS). Siden yoga er bevist å redusere midjeomkrets og fettprosent hos overvektige (Elstad 2016), finnes det muligens en indirekte sammenheng som bør undersøkes her.

Dersom yoga reduserer risikofaktorer assosiert med kreft kan det ha en indirekte rolle som forebyggende ”medisin”. Disse sammenhengene er dog ikke bevist gjennom kliniske studier, og det er også viktig å huske på at flertallet som rammes ikke har sammenheng med livsstil.

Motivasjon til å prøve selv
Per dags dato finnes det ikke forskningsbeviser for at yoga kan kurere og forebygge kreft (Cancer Research UK). Det betyr ikke at yoga kan hjelpe.

Forskning viser blant annet at yoga kan redusere plager assosiert med kreft- og dens behandling som kvalme, tretthet, psykiske plager og smerter.

Forskningen er begrenset fordi man ser på visse typer krefttyper, hos en spesifisert gruppe pasienter, med én bestemt type yogastil. Det betyr ikke at forskningen er lite verdt, tvert i mot – den gir mange motivasjon og håp.

Kildeliste
ACS Guidelines for Nutrition and Physical Activity http://www.cancer.org/healthy/eathealthygetactive/acsguidelinesonnutritionphysicalactivityforcancerprevention/acs-guidelines-on-nutrition-and-physical-activity-for-cancer-prevention-guidelines
Cancer Research UK http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative/therapies/yoga
Cramer et al 2015 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.29330/abstract;jsessionid=67A592C6FC03B5FB32568441F7B2BA39.f02t03
Elstad 2016 ”Styr vekten med yoga?” http://www.hiyogaforme.no/2016/12/21/styr-vekten-med-yoga/
FHI 2015 https://www.fhi.no/fp/folkesykdommer/kreft/fakta-om-kreft—forekomst-og-dodel/
Fredheim et al 2001 http://tidsskriftet.no/2001/08/diagnostikk/kan-psykologisk-behandling-hjelpe-kreftpasienter
Hughes et al 2016 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772898/
Kreftforeningen https://kreftforeningen.no/om-kreft/hva-er-kreft/
Kreftregisteret https://www.kreftregisteret.no/Generelt/Fakta-om-kreft/
Mustian 2013 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3757292/
Olafsrud et al 2013 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0061910
Peppone et al 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4467273/
Raghavendra et al 2007 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2354.2006.00739.x/abstract
Rhodes et al 2001 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11577489
Sprod et al 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4297736/
Taso et al 2013 The Effect of Yoga Exercise on Improving Depression, Anxiety, and Fatigue in Women With Breast Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25111109
Wurtzen et al 2013 https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0959-8049(12)00892-1
Wang et al 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25355261

GravidYoga The Science Yoga Yoga & Health Yoga Science

Er gravideyoga en ”hype”?

Av Tiril Elstad, grunnlegger av Yoga Science

Yoga blant gravide har blitt superpopulært. Hvordan kan det hjelpe og hva sier forskerne og legene?

Graviditet – et fantastisk fenomen
Hele konseptet med at kvinner kan lage nye mennesker, med litt hjelp fra far, er nesten utrolig. Man danner et nytt liv. Bokstavelig talt, men også for seg selv og sin familie, og kan forvente seg en hel verden av nye gleder. Continue Reading

Lifestyle Yoga Yoga Travel

Yoga på nydelige Sri Lanka

Er i Sri Lanka, nærmere bestemt Gurubebila, en liten landsby på sørkysten av landet, her underviser jeg yoga i det fri.

Yogaklassene finner sted i bakgården til et lite hotell/gjestehus, rett ved en surfebølge kalt coconuts break. Man kan høre lyden fra bølgene, palmene og fuglene under yogaklassene – det var uvant til å begynne med men så har det bare blitt mer og mer beroligende og romantisk.

Vi tillater oss å hvile fullstendig i lydene fra naturen og på kveldene åpner vi øynene etter shavasana og observerer stjernene. De fleste her surfer og kommer til yoga for å mykne opp kroppen og finne fokus, andre er på en ren spirituell reise, noen er på ferie og har aldri prøvd yoga før – flere har hatt sitt første møte med yoga og drar hjem nyforelsket.

Når jeg ikke underviser gjør jeg min egen praksis, deltar i det sjarmerende landsbylivet, spiser nydelig lokal vegetarmat, svømmer, surfer små bølger eller leser bok i en hengekøye. En av de beste tingene med å reise er at jeg blir mer bevisst det livet jeg har valgt å leve hjemme.

Ved å oppleve de store kontrastene det er fra Norge til Sri Lanka, blir min egen levemåte tydeliggjort. Det er lett å forelske seg i det enkle livet og de gjennomgode menneskene her nede, samtidig som takknemligheten for det jeg har hjemme i Norge blir ekstra stor.

Nyter virkelig magiske dager samtidig som jeg savner menneskene hjemme og timene mine på HiYoga.

Varm klem fra sør, M.

Lifestyle Yoga Yoga Travel

Travel letter from India: Mysore, magic and madness

If I were studying anthropology, Mysore would be the place I’d do my Ph.D. More precisely, at 3rd stage Gokulam, Mysore, in Karnataka, India.

In the 1920’s the legendary father of modern Yoga, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya caught the attention of the Maharaja (great king) of Mysore. Krishnamachrya impressed the king with exceptional demonstrations, doing difficult asanas (yoga- poses), lifting heavy objects with his bare teeth, presumably stopping his own heartbeat, and furthermore with his knowledge and expertise in the therapeutic effects of this ancient practice. Continue Reading