Monday, 23 October 2017

Mala Meditation


So yesterday (Sunday) was a really mixed day... Great morning, great lunch with my boyfriend's parents. But then kind of a crappy afternoon with a lot of anxiety and a racing mind. But then in the evening I went to a really really good yoga class. It was a Vinyasa class but very slow and focused on proper alignment and opening of the chest (just what I needed!). Then I cycled home under a starry sky and right then, right there everything felt just perfect.

***

Recently I've started to get into japa meditaion using a mala. This is an excellent way to quiet the mind and really concentrate on the meditation. I use a rudraksha mala from Mala Spirit.

Japa meditation is a form of meditation when you recite a mantra in a repetitive manner. Using a mala whilst reciting helps with focus and to keep count of how many times the mantra is repeated. For those of you who don't know a mala is string of beads (similar to a rosary) that usually has 108 beads, which is considered a sacred number. They also usually have a 109th bead with a tassel hanging from it, which is called the guru bead.

Which mantra to use varies and is a personal choice. A mantra can be anything from a single word to a long phrase. I always use Kundalini yoga mantras but you could also use other mantras or even affirmations. For each bead of the mala you recite the entire mantra (so not one word per bead if you're using a longer mantra). The mantra can be repeated quietly in the head, whispered or chanted out loud.

There seems to be many ways to use a mala, but this is how I do it:
Sit up comfortably with a straight spine. Hold the mala in the left hand and use the right hand to rotate the mala. Hold the first bead to the left of the guru bead between the thumb and the middle finger whilst chanting the entire mantra, then move over to the next bead to the left. When you have repeated the mantra on all 108 beads you either finish the meditation or switch direction, ie in the right direction instead. So you actually never pass by the guru bead.

Hope you'll enjoy! And please share your own experiences or tips and tricks in the comments below.


♥ ♥ ♥
Louisa 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Right Nostril Breathing - (Almost) Better Than Coffee


Right nostril breathing is a simple energizing yogic breathing technique (pranayam). Breathing through the right nostril draws in warming sun energy and brings alertness, concentration and revitalization.

I sometimes do some right nostril breathing in the morning before my yoga and meditation practice, especially if I feel very tired that day. Although I have to say that I love my coffee too :)


How?
1. Sit up with a straight spine. Close the eyes and gently focus your gaze in and up to the third eye (the place between the eyebrows).
2. Close off the left nostril with the left hand thumb. The other left hand fingers are pointing straight up.
3. Inhale and exhale through the right nostril in long, slow, deep breaths. Continue for about 3 minutes.


If you need to calm down instead you can check out my post on left nostril breathing.

♥ ♥ ♥
Louisa

Monday, 16 October 2017

Chocolate & Turmeric Smoothie


Chocolate shake with the added anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric? Yes please!

There are quite a lot of promising scientific evidence on the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric. As I have an autoimmune disease I try to incorporate turmeric into my diet as often as possible. I always add extra turmeric to curries, but I also sneak it into everything from tomato sauces and stir-fries to soups and stews.

This smoothie is so creamy and sweet it's almost hard to believe it's good for you. In addition to cacao powder and turmeric it also has a spicy kick from ginger and cinnamon. Enjoy!



Chocolate & Turmeric Smoothie
Serves 1

1 cup (2 dl) plant milk (I used oat)
2 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
1 fresh date, pitted
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa)
2 bananas
1 tsp maca powder, optional

Blend until smooth.


♥ ♥ ♥
Louisa

Friday, 13 October 2017

Friday Favourites


It's Friday!

I thought I'd share some of my favourite products right now as these have all helped to make today a bit brighter. I wish you a really great weekend with lots of rest or fun activities, depending on what you want/need. I'm soon off to attend my Friday afternoon Kundalini yoga class, which is always one of the absolute highlights of my week. The best start to the weekend!

Anyways, here are my Friday Favourites:
  • Rudraksha mala from Mala Spirit - This isn't new at all since I bought it several months ago, but lately I've felt very drawn to it and worn it around my neck pretty much every day. This is their "Meditation Mala Necklace".
  • Citrus Refreshing Body Oil from Weleda - This smells so fresh and uplifting. I like to put it on my entire body after showering/bathing.
  • Tea (always tea) - I'm on a licorice tea kick and I love the licorice tea from Yogitea and also "Three Licorice" from Pukka (and I realised that I wrote licorice three times in one sentence, now it's four). I also love this "Original Chai" from Pukka which has just the perfect balance of spices and black tea.
  • Vegan milk chocolate (this brand is called Green Star) - This is in no way healthy but it's good for my soul :) I'm usually mostly fond of bitter dark chocolate, but this rice milk chocolate is really good. Our roomie bought it for me yesterday to cheer me up because it was raining so hard. Isn't that so sweet?
  • In the pic is also a new crystal from my love. I can never have too many crystals.

Love,
Louisa

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Left Nostril Breathing


Left nostril breathing is a simple yogic technique for calming down. Breathing through the left nostril draws in moon energy which is cooling, calming and soothing. This pranayam (breathing technique) can for example be used for anxiety or to relax before bed.

How?
1. Sit up with a straight spine. Close the eyes and gently focus your gaze in and up to the third eye (the place between the eyebrows).
2. Close off the right nostril with the right hand thumb. The other fingers are pointing straight up.
3. Inhale and exhale through the left nostril in long, slow, deep breaths. Continue for about 3 minutes.

Enjoy the chill vibes ;)

Love,
Louisa

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Words...


I'm on sick leave from work right now and I feel that words play an important role in my recovery, whether it be reading or writing. In the pics above and below is my little desk at home where I often sit down to write. I love this space so much! To make it very personal for me I've decorated it with Himalayan salt lamps, candles, plants and crystals. And always a cup of tea of course :)


As I mostly spend my days at home right now I take advantage of being able to read a lot. Books have always had this lovely ability to comfort me. A couple of days ago I got two new books in the mail, the joy! I always read about 10 books at a time and like to have a mix of fiction and non-fiction (usually yoga books) going on.
This is "Lovely, Dark, Deep", a collection of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, one of my favourite authors (and look at that beautiful cover!).
Also "Essential Kundalini Yoga" by Karena Virginia and Dharm Khalsa. I've only just started this but it is so informative and beautiful. I should probably not buy even more Kundalini books than I already have but well, I really like to dive deep into the things I love :)


Love, Louisa

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A Good Morning


For me, the best way to start the day is with some Kundalini yoga and meditation. Before I started with this I used to just get up, wash my face, put on makeup, pack my breakfast and lunch and get on my bike to work. But getting up earlier to make room for a calmer start to the day with yoga and meditation feels so good. Yes, sometimes it feels rough to get up at 5-5.30 am but it always feels worth it in the end. Many Kundalini yogis get up at about 3 am (!) but I'm certainly not there yet :)

My absolute favourite Kundalini meditation to do in the morning is Kirtan Kriya (I usually do 11 minutes). During my morning yoga and meditation I also like to light some candles and listen to mantras. To start the day with this kind of self-care really sets the tone for the rest of the day.

How do you like to start your mornings?

Love, Louisa