Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

The Baby or The Bone April 9, 2012

Filed under: coaching,Herringbone — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 6:04 pm
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Yes, No or Always?

Life is full of choices. Some choices are easier to make than others. For some people it is easier to make a choice than others.

At the end of the yoga class with Rusty Wells this past weekend we, the students, were given the choice:

1) Happy Baby’s Pose

or

2) Fish Pose

It made me think back of the time when I chose my business name. Herringbone. Symbolism is of importance to me – that name is loaded with symbols and “the reason why”. I wanted to make sure that it also made sense for the yoga community. What I had in mind to create with Herringbone did also apply to them. In the middle of a yoga class back then, we were guided to some movements – I misunderstood, and thought that another name for Happy Baby’s Pose was Fish Pose. What a perfect coincidence! I thought. Even better is that, Fish Pose has an impact on the fifth chakra in yoga which is located in the throat and focuses on communication. Herringbone is about communicating, and making voices heard for positive change.

And to quote Rusty: “If you choose Fish – don’t eat one – be one.” The good thing with being a foreigner in another country is that you can make sense of things, the way it relates to you or your language. This one fully does. Be a Fish – communicate well. It’s obvious – no?

If you have difficulties to make choices, one approach to get out of that is to simply make powerful choices. Make them fast and clear – feel how they feel – stay with it, or make a new one. This is – by the way – coming from the practicing master ;).

Or Happy Easter Pose?

If you want more choices than the Fish Pose or the Happy Baby – check out this image – it’s all yours, it is Easter after all.

If you want them all – go for it! Why cut ourselves short if we don’t have to?

Johanna

The story about The Bone – I might have to save for later…

 

Happy Hips December 17, 2011

Filed under: coaching,Yoga — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 5:48 pm
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A strap, a tennis ball and a yoga mat. +100 people and Rusty Wells. In a workshop. The quote of the day:

If you want to be happy – think happy thoughts. If you want to fall in love… open your hips.

So there you have it – the master has spoken 😉 And this is how you could do it: (Rusty – where are your YouTube videos? 😉

Happy Saturday all.

Johanna

Oh – why? The focus of this workshop was to “open your hips and invite freedom and fluidity into the space around the entire hip and pelvis area. We’ll flow through a vigorous practice that is designed to liberate and deeply release this space in the body that tends to be a dumping ground for energetic and physical residue.” So by doing that you will reach benefits such as letting go of the past, feeling more relaxed, grounded and present. Makes perfect sense, no?

 

Smokin’ Hot October 13, 2011

Yeah – Smokin’n hot! And I am not talking about a man – I could, but I shouldn’t – I am talking about freak’n awesome Urban Flow Yoga with Rusty Wells. I know, I love this practice. It makes me high. And I am not the only one.

Yesterday afternoon a little email came out saying:

Just a little note to let you know that I will be teaching tonight (Wednesday) at 6:15 and then again tomorrow morning at 9. Yipee!

After that, I will be in Europe for a wee bit
(*see schedule below).

Rushing to the class after a conference call, a tid bit late, I sneak in when the chanting has just started. The room is already smoking of heat. The windows are foggy. (What expression would you use?) And I wouldn’t say the heater was the contributing factor. You could think it was Thanks Giving. The room was packed.

Ahh – there are so many nuggets coming out of this class. I’ll pick three.

First: being back in to yoga gives a great and powerful feeling. Suddenly in one pose, which usually is a stretch, the vision of the Blue Angels photo from Tuesday’s post comes up in my head. Feeling like a blue angels airplane breaking through the wall of sound – that is quite a powerful pose! And picture. It is good to have metaphors, whenever you use them.

Secondly: There is a parallel with yoga and coaching – more specifically your body in yoga and circle of life exercise. You go through areas that are strong, happy, flow with ease – and others that are totally stuck. That particular area could make you fall out of the pose instantly, unless you hear a voice saying “Don’t let life pass by you. Breathe through it.”

Thirdly: I wish I had heard all the 15 reasons what makes the perfect yoga bicycle pose – hopefully you can see the transition: you are lying on the back on the floor with 150 other people, pumping, almost rushing through with the rather fast music, this abs exercise of crunching while paddling a bike with the legs in large circles and meeting your elbows with opposite knee one after the other. By now you have already gotten quite a good workout. Your face probably say exactly that. (See the picture…) Right then the guidance come of what makes “the perfect yoga bicycle pose… because you love it, you know it is right, you believe in it, you feel every part of the movement, you slow it down…” AND then I couldn’t hear more! 😉

But I am sure it was smokin’ hot!

I am just saying… try it. It may not be for you. But try it. Below is the schedule in Europe, for all of you over sea. Working on adding Stockholm for the June visit.

Enjoy,

Johanna

Global Bhakti Flow
Join Rusty in Europe this October!

Paris – Rasa Yoga Rive Gauche
October 15-16 (Saturday and Sunday)

Amsterdam – Svaha Yoga
October 21-22 (Friday and Saturday)

Antwerp – Antwerp Yoga
October 23 (Sunday)

London – Jivamukti
October 29-30 (Saturday and Sunday)

 

Breaking Through October 11, 2011

Blue Angels by Roland H Slee

Blue Angels by Roland H Slee

When I took my coaching certificate through CTI, the Coaches Training Institute three years ago, we were asked to find a metaphor for our coaching style. The one that came to me was “Blue Angels”.

This is how I described the coaching relationship back then:

Blue Angels. We fly together – we are strong, extremely strong, and we have a common goal. We can go high and low and we can do magical things, and still safe. We are not afraid of anything – what ever comes up is good. Everything is top secret. Blue Angels see what is important.

I get especially reminded of that every year during Fleet Week, that just passed. Sharing this fantastic photo taken by a friends, friend of mine, Roland H. Slee.  An FA-18 Hornet approaches the sound barrier during during the air show, on Saturday 8 October 2011.

Breaking trough. Sometimes I do it for and with others. Sometimes with myself. We all have challenges, or “areas for improvement” – or just a deep wish, mission, quest (you name it) that in some situations be “on the other side”, where imagination is reality. What ever you can use as inspiration on the way, take it. It may be a coach, your own metaphor, a song, an incident, frustration over something you really want to have but can’t, someone who passes your path and inspires you… let it push you over the edge.

I think I absorb inspiration from everywhere. Those are the lenses I am wearing, most of the time these days. It’s quite a survival strategy when I come to think of it. Life could be miserable, if you let it. Really – where ever you look, there is a little nugget you can get out of it. One of the wizard principles say: “Every little present comes wrapped in a problem.”

As my beloved yoga teacher, Rusty Wells, put it Sunday: “achieving something great – it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to work very hard. It may just mean that you need to stay open, and curious, and present.” That rings exactly well with the philosophy of Herringbone – envision the future, embrace the present, achieve more than you ever imagined.

Are you ready for the break through? Really? Can you face it?

I am. Come join me.

Johanna

 

Prezi Pilgrimage December 1, 2010

Grateful and inspired.

The thanksgiving class by Rusty Wells and assisting team at Urban Flow Yoga was out of this world. Grateful.

The presentation software Prezi that will kick powerpoint and keynote out of this world. Inspired.

Now – the first thing I have done for a few years. The last one for 2 hours. Inspired by Tom Shadyac and Jan Troell, I decided to film it.

With a handheld camera. [iPhone]. Combining the two. Sort of. Here it is:

And yes – music by Rusty Wells: “Govinda Adi Purusam”, album Bhaktify my Love.

And – if you are as lucky as I was when having tested the film, a short documentary about Urban Flow Yoga by Rusty  came up. In case not – I have included it below.
Enjoy,

Johanna

 

And did you notice? The winter season is here! Snowflakes falling on the site. Don’t you love seasons?

 

Bonus!! This is the official Urban Flow Thanksgiving Video

 

On a Secret Mission Sent from God… November 13, 2010

Filed under: coaching,Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 10:24 am
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The last nugget from the rocking-out-of-this-world yoga class with Rusty Wells earlier this week was when we were laying on the right side after Savasana (dead mans pose) at the end of the class, instructed to reach high up with our left arm and easily pull down something precious that we for any reason earlier in life had removed from our heart, and bring it back down and put it back in place.

This something precious could be love for someone who had hurt us, or made us insecure or unsure… Maybe this special someone is truly sent on a secret mission from God – (s)he just don’t know it yet, and maybe just need some extra love.

Read this slowly again. And maybe also follow the instructions – reach for something way up, and bring it back to your heart. Think of someone in your life who this would apply to. How could you reach out to him or her, and maybe extend some special care. A touch of love. Let them know they matter.

I know – it can be difficult. But imagine the impact. Imagine the impact of this yoga class let alone. The room was PACKED. It wouldn’t surprise me if we were 150 people in the room. Everyone had given himself or herself the gift of being there – with the result of feeling filled with energy, love and gratitude. Feeling alive and renewed in every cell after a challenging class. Imagine the ripple effect when each and one of them went home and acted on that message. Even if they didn’t, even if they just took the message to heart and found piece with themselves – that will show and rub off.

Coincident or not – I had had a conversation with a friend the day before who shared when he had come home from work after a bad day being in a very bad mood, and his girlfriend had approached him with a big hug expressing how “courageous” she thought he was. Immediately he felt better, and then asked “where did you get that from”? With a guilty expression she had said “Dr. Phil” – and he felt totally cheated. With a smile. Cause it worked!

Rusty Wells ended the class with an invitation to a workshop at the studio tomorrow Sunday November 14 on Bhakti and Transformational Heart-Based Healing, led by Dr Dan. According to Rusty, “better than Dr. Phil”. 😉

Spreading the L<3VE,

Johanna

Are we maybe all on a secret mission sent from God?

And by the way – when we talk about God, it is always God of our own understanding. What ever that is. Even my dear dad, who resigned from church in Sweden, would have had a tear in his eye and resonate with this.

 

Get Unstuck. Savor the Success! August 20, 2010

Savor the Success posted the following on facebook this week:

Savor the Success Women entrepreneurs! We all have our ups and downs… What do you do to motivate yourself when you you need a “pick me up”?

There were many responses – including mine – here are some of them:

Allison T Moore I always remember the “why” …The reason why I do what I do. http://www.allisontmoore.com/

Tieast Smith I look at my children and that helps

Lisa Meloche I go to the bookstore and browse books while drinking hot chocolate. Somehow I always find something to inspire me there and can’t wait to implement when I return.

Bridget Hogue I dance around my home office to Motown hits…for some reason this ALWAYS works for me 🙂

Todra Payne Take a few hours off and walk along a creek not far from my house. Very relaxing.

Mendy Cleveland I put myself around people who are positive and who influence me.

Savor the Success Wow, these are FANTASTIC words of advice. Go, ladies, go!

Felicia B. Wright icecream (lol) and positive thinking…it doesn’t help to focus on negativity

Dequiana Brooks I do a couple things when I’m down: 1) Have a good chat with a funny friend who always know how to pick me back up, and 2) Remind myself of how many people I won’t be able to help if I give up now. http://www.inspiredmedia.net/

Justine LadyLuna Lackey Ug I am a Debbie Downer today. Its a simple “put one foot in front of the other” sort of day. Other days I use music, aromatherapy, good friends, and lots of laughter.

Inna Shamis Indulge in a piece of chocolate!

Judith George Go on to Ted.com and find an inspiration talk.

Debi Rose Stay connected. Attend a Meetup of like-minded women or get involved in an online discussion. Also a good hard workout!

Ruth Stroup I clear my desk.. but dancing around the office sounds so much better. Chaka Khan, Chaka Kahn.. I feel for you….

Angie Walker Griffin Listen to Lincoln Brewster songs (This is the day and Everlasting God).

Johanna Nilsson Movement for me is key. Love dance. However, Rusty Wells yoga at @urbanflow is unbeatable. Not enough words. Makes magic.

Savor the Success Movement is so important when you feel stuck… physical movement! I was feeling down the other day because all my employees were sick and I had to keep the ship moving. I decided to cook, go to a family spa… all physical movement that was healing! Love your answers, ladies. –AJK

Now – I need to say a couple of more words about that. I know yoga is not for everyone. Vinyasa Flow yoga is now for everyone. But if it is, and you don’t try it out, you miss out of a great great gift. It is Rusty Wells and the Urban Flow Yoga team I am taking about. And here are the details:

Urban Flow – Bhakti-style

1543 Mission Street

San Francisco, California 94103

415-355-YOGA.

Enjoy. What ever you need – what you put in, you get out.

Johanna

 

Perfect Union April 11, 2010

Last week I had the pleasure to go to a kirtan with Jai Uttal at Urban Flow Yoga. The room was full with people and the atmosphere was sort of upbeat, friendly and loving at the same time. Rusty Wells yoga teacher training had kicked off with the first session that very day, and those participants were in the room, with a big relaxed smile on their face. It’s interesting – I could see the same light in their eyes, that I feel when I come from his class. I can only imagine how the teacher training is… I so hope there is someone there that will open up a kick ass Urban Flow Yoga studio in Stockholm one day. I’m just putting it out there.

Jai Uttal opened up singing a mantra with us called Sita Rama. The lyrics mean, “you represent perfect union, you are love.” The introduction was that when Jai started with kirtans 30 years ago, he used to feel afraid initially sitting on stage with a room full of strangers looking at him. He felt that they would judge him, dislike the music, etc etc – and so he always made sure to know where the EXIT door was. (At this moment all of us knew where that door was!)

Today we started with that mantra through which he could greet everyone welcome. Singing Sita Rama, Sita Rama, Sita Rama Jaya Sita Rama, with that very message of perfect union and love directed to each and every participant; seeing them and inviting them instead of being afraid of them. I think we chanted two mantras in two hours, so I am sure we did it long enough for every one to get their personal greeting and feel that we were in it together.

How do you greet strangers, or handle a situation of discomfort? Do you always keep your back-door open, eyes on the exit door, or do you stay to meet the person or situation to find out what it really is about and create the best of it? Do you invite the connection to your audience when you are in the spotlight? Do you invite the perfect union?

The following day I walked on Union Street where there was a fair in relation to Easter. The golden moment was to see children in a fenced little area get aquainted with some animals. In particular this little British boy, who with curiosity and care really was seeking contact with this creature, for him something or someone unknown. That is a perfect example. The children are such good teachers and sources of inspiration.

Sita Rama, with love,
Johanna

Perfect Union, You are Love, Easter, Union Street, San Francisco

 

Chant Before You Can’t! October 26, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Health,Inspiration,Promotion,Swedish-American — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 11:09 pm
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Keeva! We just had the last rehearsal yesterday before our coming Friday night concert. With wide open windows after a truly hot Indian summer day in San Francisco, the neighbors across the street got a private performance.  They seemed to enjoy it as much as we – because it’s fun! Music is good for you.

There is research showing that music is good for your health and well-being. A year ago there was a World Conference on Health held in the UK that aimed to pave the way for “singing on prescription”. Earlier this year, the Swedish Medical Doctor and Professor Töres Thorell released a book on music and health. Basically – whether you attend a Bruce Springsteen concert, sing in a choir or listen to a Mozart symphony – you’ll get reduced stress, improved immune system, and a sharper mind! If you enjoy music that is. My friend said “- oh, my dad is tone death, but he loves going to the symphony hall. Yes, it’s very likely that he will fall asleep – but he still enjoys it”.

Being brought up in Sweden, where we have a song for every season, the largest per capita number of amateur choirs in the world and being the third largest music exporter in the world (surpassed only by the US and the UK) – I know that music matters. During the first dinner in San Francisco with new connections I was posed the question: “Among all the things you used to do in San Diego – what do you miss the most?” “I’m looking for a group to sing with.” “I’m part of a small group of Talisman Alumni’s from Stanford who has formed an a cappella group. We are looking for a female singer – what part are you?”… Synchronicity – I love it. And I love singing not only because I enjoy it and I feel good doing it – it is also an excellent way to meet great friends, socialize and have fun.

In a different setting – going to a yoga session that incorporates chanting gives you all that. Meeting great people, having fun, feeling good. And by no surprise – I am having Rusty Well’s yoga as my reference. Recently the session started with the chant “Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu…” [May all beings everywhere be happy and free.] But the 100 students didn’t really give it all… Have you ever experienced a hesitation to sing? Rusty goes: “Do you care about being here? Give yourself the benefit – sing! Stretch your mind, stretch your heart, stretch your voice – what happens is that you stretch your breath. Just try. You made it this long, all the way here. Tall spine close your eyes, and chant before you can’t! All right…”

So where ever it is – in the shower or in the car… chant before you can’t – or you can come and enjoy the Keeva concert this upcoming Friday. See details below!

Enjoy,

Johanna

Come hear the Richter Scales and Keeva sing an evening of “Trick or Treat A Cappella” the night before Halloween in SF’s Mission District.

The Richter Scales: So what if many of us are a decade or more past our prime? We still possess the ability to bring an audience to tears. Whether they are tears of laughter or tears of horror is another matter. You’d best hope for the laughter tears.

Keeva A Cappella: A group of SF Bay Area professionals and graduate students who have been singing world music and other culturally significant songs (e.g. “Oh Mickey you’re so fine”) for more than a decade.

Date: Friday, October 30th
Time: 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Place: Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street at 23rd, San Francisco 
Price: Free for folks in costume; suggested $7 donation for all others
Food: Various tricks and treats will be available

All ages are welcome. We’ll have candy for folks who want to warm up their trick-or-treating muscles. Costume-wearers welcome.

And as a bonus – why not use music changing one or two habbits?

 

Risen From the Dead October 3, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 12:22 pm
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“I am in a dead man’s pose – not by choice. I agree that relaxation is important. We take too little time to do that in our everyday living. However, what is the recommendation for the opposite situation? When you are stuck in a “dead man” situation and can’t move out of it? Is there a…pose?…for getting yourself moving again? Energizing your brain? Stimulating your thinking to maximum creativity instead of numbness?”

This was a comment from Hannah on my previous postings “When Life Gets Busy” and “Dead Man Attracts Love“. There were 3 distinct actions that came to my mind as a response:

1. Stimulating the thinking – Yes! – The Artist Way

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a process that will unleash your creativity, and you can make it into a really nice routine. Read about the two basic tools here – they are 1. Morning Pages and 2. The Artist Date. I had heard about The Artist Way several times before, bought the book a couple of years ago, and kept seeing quotes from it (still do today) everywhere – during the passed spring a decided from curiosity to give it a shot – what could come out of it?

As often as I could I started the morning with making myself a cup of tea and a toast (or Wasa Hard bread with Swedish cheese!;), put some nice meditative music on in the back-ground, removed the blinds so I could see the sun rise over the skyline, and sat down comfortably in my reading chair by the window and wrote the 3 morning pages. You are supposed to just write whatever is on your mind, don’t stop and it doesn’t need to make sense, and what ever you write – you are not supposed to go back and read it. 3 pages. 12 weeks. Or however long you want; once you started you may want to continue.

The second tool is the Artist Date. Set a date with yourself once a week and do something that feeds your soul. It could be anything. Visit a museum, hike in the nature, enjoy a concert, paint a painting, cook food, dance on the roof… create a Burning Man Art Car! :O

All I know is – had I not gone through that process – this blog had not been created. Not that fast. 😉 I knew I wanted to do it – just not how and exactly about what. And voila! Here it is. What would come out from your creative self?

2. Self-Healing Ritual to get moving – Nia and the 5 Stages

Nia is an expressive workout and lifestyle practice that uses the body’s way to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fitness and well-being. It combines the grace and spontaneity of dance, the power and explosiveness of martial art and the stillness and concentration of yoga and tai chi. One of the components of the healing art movement forms included is the Feldenkrais Method, which inspired the 5 stages exercise.

clipped from www.nianow.com
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The Nia 5 Stages is an integrative movement practice based on the five stages of human development: Embryonic, Creeping, Crawling, Standing and Walking. Practiced with awareness, these stages have the power to facilitate optimal alignment, improved function and comfort in the body. Whether practiced at length or for as little as five minutes a day, this system provides a tool for reclaiming and sustaining mobility, flexibility, strength, agility and stability.

Basically, the story I remember was that Moshé Feldenkrais became immobile and reached self-healing by studying newborn babies, observing how they with very fine movements become aware of their bodies, muscles and bones, and gradually increase their ability to move and develop as human beings. Imagine that you are a baby in the womb of your mother. Supported, warm, fed. Moving in water. Use your imagination, be curious about your body, explore and seak awareness of all parts and see what you need to do to move through the five stages above. What are the emotions that arise in the different stages? The Nia Technique book elaborate a little bit on the excursive on page 306-308 for further reference.

This was one of the most profound exercises during my Nia White Belt teacher training in San Diego. Today Nia have developed a certification program for this movement practice alone!  If you want to find out more about that or to find a class in your area – check out the Nia website. This passed Monday Nia was featured in San Francisco Chronicle. I just need to add – Nia needs to be experienced to get it. For those of you who live in San Francisco – go to the Nia Jam tomorrow Oct 4th at UC Berkeley. Soon I will arrange for my favorite teacher Rocco from San Diego to come up and teach – that will be another treat.

And by the way – the five stages are pretty much as the reversed evolution of a photographer below… add that exercise and you can loop back in!

3. Pose that can bridge to action

The more advanced pose after bridge pose is the Upward Bowl or Wheel Pose: Urdhva Dhanurasana. I hear Rusty’s comments from the evening yoga classes “if you don’t won’t to stay up late tonight, don’t do this one [pose], it will give you energy”. Now, I don’t recommend to go straight into an upward bowl pose – the you can risk being stuck in a dead man’s pose even longer – but incorporate the pose in your daily yoga routine. Starting out with warming up your body in a few sun salutations would probably be a nice segway.

Here are the benefits that the Yoga Journal lists for the Upward Bowl pose:

  • Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, and spine
  • Stretches the chest and lungs
  • Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary
  • Increases energy and counteracts depression
  • Therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility, and osteoporosis

These would be my personal tips and recommendations for a roadmap back to creativity, healing and activity. However, we are all different, and the bottom line is to listen to your body, get active your body’s way, and do what feeds your soul.

And finally, to rise from a Dead Man’s Pose: roll over to your right, put your right arm under your head for support and bend your knees in a comfortable position. Rest here for a while. Take a moment to think of an individual in your surrounding to whom you would dedicate your yoga practice, or for whom you would want to rise up, be present with and support. Slowly – your body’s way – bring your self up to a seated and standing position. Thank you for being here. Now, the practice of yoga begins – bring it to the world!

Enjoy,
Johanna

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