Working in PR & Communications one would think that cultivating a certain openness towards people and happenings is a given. You are out and about most nights a week talking a lot, to a lot of different people about a lot of different things. Hopefully not just about the fact that you may or may not die if you can’t get your hands on that new pair of Japanese selvedge denims; if you know what I mean. Talking as well as actively listening becomes a big part of your life, as you have to understand different stories and perceptions of people to create your own version of it – which you have to get out there eventually.
However, living in a constant chatter of the outside world sharing opinions and ideas there comes a time when it gets harder and harder to distinguish if you are truthfully open or on a pretending-to-be-open mode. Because, yes, it gets too much sometimes and your head may start spinning in circles due to an overload of information, emotions and experiences. Being on constant output often means that there is no time to slow down, to breathe deeply and to take this valuable time to reflect. Please don’t think I am finger pointing at anyone of you, as I mainly finger point at myself. Even though I’ve been practicing Yoga for most parts of my life I still have to catch myself again and again and again in order to take a moment to check how open I actually am. There is a difference between being outgoing and open and honest, it might just be a tiny nuance in behavioral patterns but it’s that nuance that makes all the difference.
Not that long ago, I would not take that time to reflect, I would run from one job, one appointment, one yoga class to the next, always having this unbearable feeling somewhere in my stomach, that I was actually being five steps behind everyone else. Maybe I was maybe I wasn’t, the sad thing was that I believed it to be my reality and I wasn’t quite sure how to stop it, I just knew it felt wrong.
The universe did its magic and I went on a trip, that I promise one day I will tell you all about, but not quite yet. So what happens to someone that you take out of their daily routines and into a quiet place. Right, that person goes bonkers! Once I started sitting with myself, every thing came up mainly my big, fat ego telling me the year old lies of not being lovable, not being worthy of living a happy life, with a fulfilling career, relationship, friends, family everything that seems to be oh so normal to everyone else.
What did I do to get myself out of this mess?! I did something I hadn’t done in quite a while – I made myself vulnerable. For starters, just in front of myself. I checked where these negative feelings and fears were coming from, when I had them for the first time, what was my typical behavior in these situations, what were my patterns. Of course, bringing all of this up I cried, I fought with unpleasant emotions but I went through them to find a release, to understand that once I made myself vulnerable, I would be open and honest which in turn, would me to change my patterns and evolve into a better version of myself.
Obviously on such a trip you are never alone for long times, so I got the chance to practice the art of vulnerability with other people as well. It wasn’t always easy but once I understood that I actually felt better afterwards (physically and emotionally), I even managed to detach myself from any kind of expectations of the outcome. It’s about the act of making yourself vulnerable and how you can change your own reality by doing that. Coming back to ‚normal‘ Berlin life I didn’t want to lose this new found sense of freedom, so I developed this yoga routine focusing on back bends, to open your chest and heart area, to remind me what being vulnerable feels like and how important it is.
Here is what I do:
We start with Kappalabathi breathing, a cleansing breathing exercise. After that we gently open the chest in a variation of child pose, flowing through a few variations of sun salutations with a strong focus on cobra pose, so really take your time in there and maybe even an extra breath or two. Wild thing and camel pose are our peak poses, really getting into your front body, expand as much as you can and be open to feel whatever comes up. Finally we twist it out with seated spinal twist bringing you back to normal again and a seated meditation. Don’t be afraid to sit with yourself, I encourage you to really take that extra minute or even 10 to check in and be with yourself after this routine, so you can find that trust again, in order to reconnect to your intuition. Or come and meditate with us at Your Space, because sometimes it’s easier to find stillness with others.
Michaela has been practicing Yoga ever since she was a teenager. Having practiced many different styles with many different teachers all over the world, it was not one moment in particular but the cumulation of so many moments and that feeling of being able to create space through movement, that made her decide to become a yoga teacher herself. She started teaching in 2014 and is still an avid student motivated by the deep release and feeling of expansion body and mind receive through yoga and movement. When she is not teaching Yoga, Michaela works as a PR & Communications consultant.