What is a YogaHabits blog without a blog in which I share my Habits© that had the biggest effect on my own life? As many others, I felt stressed often, as if I should have done more all the time. And I was not too happy either. All the tears were usually not tears of joy. To me, this resulted in that I was determined to do something about it. My personal quest for happiness through the path of self-realization. In this blog, I share the five most important tools that helped me to become happy. From stress and sadness to happiness and abundance. In other words, YogaHabits! I'm still learning about this amazing process of the game of life. However, nowadays having lots of fun within this process.
1) Practice daily asana & meditation
I just love to practice yoga. But it especially helps me to keep my nervous system relax. And the world just look brighter and more fun after a yoga class. Practicing physical forms of yoga, also helps with concentration and focus and getting access to greater clarity. This also makes a meditation practice more accessible. Also step 2 to 6 from this blog become more accessible if you practice hatha yoga (= all physical forms of yoga, including vinyasa (ashtanga) yoga, bikram yoga, classical yoga, etc.) five to six times a week.
Building a new routine or habit can be challenging. Robin Sharma says about changes: "All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and so gorgeous at the end." Doing a yoga challenge has helped me to start a daily asana practice. Read more about this in the yoga blog "From yoga challenge to daily yoga practice".
As a teenager, my father learned me to count my blessings. Every single day. He advised me to name seven things each day. Practicing this taught me that even when situations feel tough, I always had a lot to be grateful for. Including the strength to be able to face the situation. And for all the learning opportunities life is giving me. It also learned me to look for all the beauty around me… to open my eyes. Like for the colors of a sunset…
Probably you have heard about that whatever we put our attention on in life grows. With gratitude, you put attention on feeling abundance in your life. So even when you think that you don’t have many things to be grateful for, just start looking for them. You will probably be amazed by all the amazing things already there. And by putting your attention on it, you will learn to see more and more abundance in your life.
What works really well for me is to take a moment at the end of the day (just before going to sleep) to count my blessings. A mental note already works fine. Writing it down (like keeping a gratitude journal) is maybe even more powerful. If you already keep a journal (or want to start; see blog "7 recommendations to help you start your journal"), you could of course integrate the gratitude part. Or keep it separate if that feels better for you.
3) Change your thoughts
Your thoughts are powerful and affect your life. Without going into the details, a thought is like a seed you plant. Eventually, that seed has grown into a big tree and is clearly visible in your life: those are your circumstances. That could be amazing circumstances, but also challenging circumstances. Hereby a few recommendations to get you started with this idea.
Take ownership about your life and see your circumstances as a mirror
Whether it is consciously or unconsciously, we are all working towards self-realization. And the universe is providing us feedback all the time to push us in the right direction. When this feedback feels negative or low in energy, it just means that we have to make a switch somewhere. Think about it, if somethings keeps on giving the results you don’t like and you are wanting to get rid of them so badly, you will figure out how to change your situation. If you don’t like your circumstances, I recommend to look inside. To look which thoughts could have created this. This can go a long way back or be based at values we grew up with as well.
It’s like when you notice in the mirror that you have to change your hair. You won’t try to change the mirror since that is not effective, but you will change your hair itself. Just like with the mirror, everything around you is a reflection of your own thoughts. Often it is a matter of looking at it from a different perspective. Like when you stand on a table, the room looks differently than when you look up from lying on the floor. By the way, this mirror function is also an important element in the forgiveness method Ho'oponopono. And also your time on the yoga mat is a good time to practice this internal process. Which emotions do you feel? Which judgements you have? What could you learn from this?
Enhance helpful thoughts
Daily inspiration by helpful thoughts, beautiful quotes and inspirational images work. There are also beautiful inspirational cards available to give attention to helpful thoughts. What works best for me is to just pick-up a card; It's always exactly the card I need. My favorite cards are the Dutch Resonantiekaarten ~ ik resoneer met overvloed. Each card has an inspiring affirmation and an energetic vibrational image (using beautiful geometric patterns that even work on your subconscious level to enhance the affirmation).
Recommended books and videos to change your mind
- How yoga works, Geshe Michael Roach & Christie McNally
- A course in miracles, Foundation for inner peace
- The 7 universal laws from the Kybalion (youtube)
4) Eliminate emotional blockades
You can see 'emotion' as energy in motion. Everything that is alive consists of energy in motion. Obstructions in the flow of this energy will therefore also affect your life. Luckily, there are many methods available to let these obstructions go. So, you could always find one that fits your preferences. Hereby a few methods that really helped me.
The forgiveness method Ho'oponopono is easy to apply and powerful in effect. It uses the four sentences “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” Read more about it in my blog "Ho'oponopono".
You could also use affirmations to let go of these emotional blockages. For example, with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Inner Child affirmations and Chakra affirmations. My coach Patty from Dolfijn Wellness has helped me very well with this a few years ago.
Observe your emotions
Take the time to 'sit with your emotions'. Embrace them, observe them and when you are ready (read: when you are completely done with feeling like that and take ownership for that) to let it go. For me, it works best to take my time for this process and to sit with it literally. Even if this process takes hours. In my experience, the quickest way is right through. ;-)
Hereby also observe your thoughts. What is the story behind these thoughts? When did you have similar thoughts for the first time? Where do you then feel this in your body? How does this match the values you grew up with? What feeling did it give you at that time? If you look at it from a different perspective, could you interpret the situation differently? Are there other explanations possible? How could you solve the problem? What do you already have that you could help you to achieve that? What do you need from the universe to help you? How are you going to give yourself what you need? And in this way, you could ask yourself way more questions.
5) Nutrition that supports you
Nutrition is not just something you can enjoy. It also affects our thoughts, hormones, vibration and how we feel. Over the years, I have changed my diet quite a lot. Yes, I still enjoy food. Actually even more than before. I just enjoy other kinds of food. And it still changes with me. What really helped me to get more clarity is:
- Intuitively choose your foods. It helps to learn to recognize what your body really needs by understanding your cravings. Both emotionally and physically. See also my blog “Food (cravings) and using yoga to listen to your body”
- No sugar. Sugar and sweets is something I gradually reduced. First by switching to only things that were freshly prepared (and you probably will not bake a cake or cookies every single day). This got me started to replace sugar by natural sweeteners like coconut blossom sugar. However, since sweets still affected my mindset, I also stopped eating that. I still love fruits (and even love that way more than any other sweets available).
- Green smoothies (and lots of greens in general). Also this one is something I built up gradually. When I started to prepare smoothies and juices, I still included lots of fruits. Nowadays, vegetables are the main ingredient. It was even my tool to stop drinking coffee: in the morning I make a fresh smoothie instead of a cappuccino for my energy boost.
6) Listen to your heart
For your happiness, your heart (intuition) is giving the best advice about the next step to make. Fortunately, we all have a different purpose here on earth, so there's no one-for-all answer available. And sometimes, life is pushing you in another direction. And again and again. Just as often as necessary to let you fulfill your purpose. I even think that is a beautiful way to be able to work with different stories in our lives to be able to learn more.
Some changes I have made in my life are from working as a project manager business development after my university studies to working in the yoga world as a yoga teacher and by founding YogaHabits. It feels like my previous steps prepared me for this part of my life, so I am still grateful for them. However, I feel so much more happy than before by listening to my intuition that made me switch (although I was scared at first). And now my job is to write blogs to share my experiences to help you with your challenges. And my heart tells me now that I would love to write lots of them… so keep on posted.
Enjoy your Habits© today with love and light!