Yogi Kick

Yoga and Martial Arts World


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International Women’s Day

This is a message to all women and all men that have a woman in their lives: Everyday should be International Women’s Day!

On this day, my thoughts and heart are not only on those strong and powerful women who have inspired me and encouraged me to become the woman I am today, but mainly on all those women that somehow still suffer from any sort of discrimination.

This is not just a day to recognise and appreciate the value of women in this world but also to acknowledge the existence of many on-going issues. Unfortunately, worldwide one in three women are still expected to experience sexual or physical violence during their lives. Women are still paid less for doing the same work that men do. And unfortunately, if you are born a female in countries like Sudan, your life is pretty much screwed. Imagine being denied education, being forced to marry someone three times your age or not being able to make choices about your own body. This is unacceptable, but unfortunately, this is what many women/girls face today.

I believe it is our responsibility (both men and women) to speak up, starting in our daily lives. If you experience or witness any sort of discrimination or abuse we must not remain in silence. And then I believe it’s important to support women’s organisations which fight for gender equality all over the world.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” — Mother Teresa

My aim is continue to inspire and empower women through the physical practice. To all women in this world, believe in yourselves and fight for what you believe in. We have not come this far, to only come this far!


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The Warrior Within

The answer to the majority of our problems lies within us. It exists as a large tank of free-flowing energy that when channelled to our muscles can give us great strength and when channelled to our brain, it can provide us with great insights and understanding.

This free-flowing energy, is inside all of us; a hidden inner strength and power that is waiting to come out, but it won’t, while we keep distracted by the external stimuli of the world.

This great inner energy can be represented by the image of a martial artist or a warrior – since a warrior symbolises a great force that, if used properly can win many battles for you, but if neglected or misdirected can become your enemy.

And this is the issue! Most of us neglects this warrior force! Ignoring its presence and not even attempting to connect with it. And the result is achieving much less than we are capable of. However, if we choose to tap into this inner energy, we can find our true potential and awaken our passions.

Sometimes, it is through hard times, such as a traumatic experience or a heart break, that this inner strength is triggered. Imagine you fall into a dark, deep well. The first instinct is to become desperate, panic, cry and eventually fall into depression – the fear of never coming out of that deep well. Some may choose to stay there in this state of defeated, while some may discover their inner strength, the urge to stand up and somehow find their own way out of this dark, deep well.

This kind of inner force comes from within, from self-reflection and the ability to be comfortable with our own company. It takes courage, but when we are able to channel the feelings and energy that arise from such dramatic events into something that we love, amazing things can almost effortlessly be accomplished. This energy can either be channelled into physical exercise, or art, music, or science – the best masterpieces were born from this kind of energy.

The Chinese call this naturally occurring energy chi, and it is believed it flows continuously within our bodies. And some have compared this inner energy to the Quantum Physics energy – even if not observable in the same way particles are.

The cultivation of the warrior within and channelling the energy and the feelings into something we love will bring growth, transformation and healing – our lives change. You will no longer be the person you were before; you will be much stronger and confident and you will know that if you have made it through all this process, you will make it through anything else in life!

The Warrior Within Me


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Happy 2020!

Have you written your New Year Resolutions yet..?

The end of the year/ beginning of new, is the perfect time to reflect on our lives and take a moment to re-access our goals, objectives and dreams for a new year ahead.

It is an opportunity to re-start, to leave behind old, stagnate energies and hold onto new beginnings, new experiences and a new life.

Hold onto your biggest dream and create a plan towards it, step-by-step. Be the driver of your life! Be true to yourself so that you may receive many abundance and blessings in your life. Aim to go further and seek what brings joy and peace into your heart.

May the end of this year take all that has hurt you and brought you pain. Throw away what no longer brings you happiness or inner peace and end the year with gratitude, serenity and faith that a great year is ahead for you.

As a New Year Resolution, may you learn to take good care of yourself. Remember you are the most important person in your life. Believe in yourself and believe that the best is yet to come.

Happy New Year from Yogi Kick!


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Life lessons learned from the physical practice

Although, when I started practising regularly it was mainly for physical reasons, and to be fit, I soon realised that the benefits go well beyond the physical world! Naively, I had no idea I was embarking on a life-changing journey! The kind of journey, that once you start there is no turning back!

At a much deeper level than physical benefits, these are a few of the lessons I have learned from the physical practice:

  • Trust yourself – each accomplishment has given me the confidence that everything is possible, provided that we put the right amount of effort on it.
  • Patience – not everything is as easy as it looks and not always goes well. Just like everything else in life, these easy flows are the result of much practice and much failure! Failure is the stepping stone to success. Be patient, don’t be afraid to fail and learn from it. “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” Stephen McCranie
  • Awakening – being “busy” has become a cult in this society of consumers. To “be awaken” in this world means to look at life with a fresh look, instead of getting caught up in the society rules of what we should or should not do, and belong or not belong. And it means to connect with your higher-Self and to experience a truly and authentic life.
  • Be Yourself – the courage and determination to be yourself and to stand for yourself, without the fear of being criticised. Isn’t that amazing? Would it not be boring if we were all the same? So be proud of your identity!

Therefore, use the physical practice to explore who you are, what do you want in life and what is important for you. And by physical practice I mean Yoga, Handstands, Acro, Martial Arts, Tai Chi.. anything that you like and that will help you to connect with your inner Self.

I cannot guarantee you that this journey will be easy, but I can re-assure you that you will love it! Follow your heart and your dreams, and you will be amazed where that will take you!


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Fall in love with Yourself

When we love ourselves, we will be kind to others and we will be open to love others. Kindness starts within us.

Is loving ourselves a selfish act? Not at all, it is quite the opposite. Selfishness comes from the ego, and the need to defend ourselves. It comes from the fear of showing our weakest side, or the parts that we don’t like about us. On the other hand, when we are at peace with that, and we accept it, and we learn to love ourselves, including the darkest parts, we no longer feel the need to defend ourselves.

And how do we do that, you may be wondering? It all begins with the inner dialogue, the way we speak with ourselves; swapping negative sentences by positive and empowering ones. No “poor me” or powerlessness thoughts. That will only drag you down and attract more negative things into your life.

When we go through a suffering period in life it is easy to dive into negativity and drag all those around you into that darkness and focus on how everything is bad. However, when we look deeper there is always so many things to be grateful for. So, start your day by focusing on what you are grateful for, and it might be very simple things. The most joyful experiences are usually in the simple things!

And then each day find some time for yourself and to do something you love. Follow your heart and your dreams! Fall in love with taking care of yourself and you will see that it will only bring feelings of happiness to you and to those around you!

Each day do something you Love!


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The War Within

One of my favourites Yoga books is the Bhagavad Gita, which is an ancient, sacred, Indian text written between the 5th and 3rd century B.C.  Bhagavad Gita means  the  “Song of the Lord  and it is basically a dialogue or a “conversation” between the Prince Arjuna and his spiritual guide Krishna. The Prince Arjuna is looking for answers to fundamental questions of life.

This is the story of Prince Arjuna which is faced with a battle that he does not want to fight and asks Krishna for help. Prince Arjuna must avenge Dhritarashtra’s passing of the kingdom to his own son, rather than to Arjuna’s brother Yudhishthira, the rightful king.

Krishna does not accept to fight his battle but accepts to guide him.  And although Krishna does not want to fight Arjuna’s battle, he offers to be his charioteer and his adviser. And the Bhgavad Gita is his answers to Prince Arjuna on the fundamental questions of life and on his confusion about how can he kill others out of greed for gaining a kingdom.

bhagavad_gita

Krishna tells Arjuna, that as a warrior and a prince, he must follow his dharma, or duty, where nothing is higher than the war against evil. Avoiding this battle, will, however incur sin,  and violate his dharma (purpose, duty) and his honour. But in essence, this battle is a metaphor or allegory: the battle of good and bad that we all deal in our daily lives: the war within.

As Prince Arjuna starts asking deeper questions about life and death, Lord Krishna helps Arjuna understand who he thinks he is and what his true form is. In the allegorical sense, Krishna is a symbol of the atman , Arjuna’s deepest Self.  Once Arjuna comprehends this, Lord Krishna bestows him with the gift of Self-Realisation.

The Gita also introduces the idea of rebirth or samsara. The Self wears the body as an item of clothing; when the clothes are old, they are cast aside and a new one is put on. It is the soul (or jiva) that travels from life to life, and therefore as “death is certain for the living, rebirth is certain for the dead”.

Krishna also defines yoga not as physical postures and exercises (hatha yoga) but as the path to Self-Realisation: “Yoga is evenness of mind”, it is the union of the individual consciousness with the Ultimate Consciousness – the Self (atman).

In this journey to Self-Realisation,  Krishna describes different Paths of Yoga that a person can take to find the purpose and meaning in this world:

  1. Karma Yoga: the path of Selfless Action
  2.  Bhakti Yoga: the path of Devotion
  3.  Jnana Yoga: the path of Knowledge and Intellect

These are all paths to bridge our inner world with our outer world and to find that linkage point where we can realise the meaning and purpose of our life.


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What does Ashtanga Yoga teach us?

On the other day, I asked my students what do they thought the goal of Ashtanga Yoga was. What do you think? Every day, you unfold your mat, you do the same set of postures and then you carry on with your daily life. What is it teaching you? Why do we do this? Well, it is certainly not just making you physically stronger and more flexible!

It is teaching you Patience and Faith. Every time you surrender to the practice, something changes inside you, not just physically, but at a much deeper level. Every time you practice, and you see your practice improving, it gives you confidence and faith to carry on. However, other times you practice and it does not go so well, but that teaches you to be patient.

And then with patience, and faith comes Courage. Practicing new challenging postures takes courage. But when we do them, again something at a deeper level clicks and tells you “hang on; I have the courage to do what needs to be done”.

And when the time comes, courage helps you to do what you need to do to be happier and find your inner peace. Finding inner peace is like finding a good restaurant, you walk that extra mile to have that delicious dish, right?! The same for Peace. Once you find that inner peace, you will want it all the time, and you will get rid of what no longer is serving you!

So the Ashtanga Yoga practice is basically giving us the transferable skills to have a more balanced and peaceful life.

Keep practicing everyone!

Namaste.

parsvatonasana