Hi, I’m Bettina. What I'm working on : Forget to slouch. Relaxing is freedom. Choose life.

Articles in “Yoga Solutions”

Arm and Back Stretches

Because the last two stretching videos require that you move from your desk, this week I show you some arm stretches you can do sitting at your desk, in the subway, at the cafe waiting for your coffee, even standing in line.

Again, if you have any kind of pain, stretching may not help. Please go seek professional help, like a doctor, holistic or otherwise.

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ACTION STEP: Set your timer until your next 5-minute work break. When the timer goes off, try these exercises. (If you’re wondering why I ask you to set a timer–have you ever done any kind of exercise without scheduling it in? Scheduling in breaks where you stretch is part of the solution!) Stay as long in the stretch as it feels good to do so, breathing slowly and evenly.

Do this every day for one week, and let me know if you notice any difference.

Any other questions about yoga, meditation, or healthy living keep you up at night?

Let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A.

xoxo,

Bettina

Back and Shoulder Stretch Exercises

To follow up on last week’s video to strengthen your wrists, I offer you this week two stretches for your upper back and shoulders against the wall. If you have discomfort in your wrists, most likely it also affects your entire arm, including your shoulders.

If you have any kind of pain, however, step away from the computer and go see a doctor! If you’re already in pain, stretching may even make it worse.

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ACTION STEP: Set your timer until your next 5-minute work break. When the timer goes off, try these exercises. Stay as long in the stretch as it feels good to do so, breathing slowly and evenly.

Do this every day for one week, and let me know if you notice any difference.

Any other questions about yoga, meditation, or healthy living running through your head all day? Let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A.

xoxo,

Bettina

 

Hand and Wrist Strengthening Exercises

Another one of my yoga students asked me, what to do for pain in his wrists?

First, if you have any pain, go see a doctor! Especially if it’s something that comes back over time.

Otherwise, if you’d like to strengthen your hands and wrists, try the following exercises:

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ACTION STEP: Set your timer until your next 5-minute work break. When the timer goes off, try these exercises. In the video, I just show you how to do it, so when you do it alone, try to build up by first doing 5 of each and then increasing by 1 every time. That means, start with 5 of each, then 6 of each, then 7 of each. Do this every day for one week, and let me know if you notice any difference.

Any other questions about yoga, meditation, or healthy living running through your head all day? Let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A.

xoxo,

Bettina

 

Does your back hurt in meditation? Here’s how to fix it!

Last week Borko, one of my beginner yoga students asked me, what to do when his back hurts in meditation?

Here’s how to fix it!

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Basically, the key is to keep your spine straight and upright, not stiff, and to ground your weight evenly across your two sitting bones.

If your hips aren’t open enough to allow your knees to descend lower than your hips, support yourself with a cushion or a folded blanket. Experiment with different heights to see what works for you.

Any other questions about yoga, meditation, or healthy living running through your head all day? Let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A.

xoxo,

Bettina

 

Best Way to Prepare Your Mind & Body for Fall

Sad that summer’s leaving? Or has already left? Greet autumn with your mind & body ready for the colder, dryer weather and the shorter days.

To learn my two-step process to prepare your mind & body for fall, watch my video below.

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ACTION STEP: How many days are you committing to slowing down and taking care of yourself to transition to fall in the best way possible? Decide on anywhere between 3 and 7 days, and write those days down on your schedule. Make some time for detox during these days by saying “no” to some activities. This way, you won’t miss your date with optimizing your health.

Be sure to check in next Tuesday for specific steps you can take to detox for fall.

Until then, if you’ve got any questions about yoga, meditation, healthy living, let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A video.

xoxo,

Bettina

Why do we only breathe through the nose? A breathing exercise for relaxation and letting go

Most people know that in yoga we recommend only breathing through the nose. But that’s not true all of the time.

Watch my video below to learn a very simple breathing exercise that helps you let go of stress and stale air in your body by breathing out through the mouth.

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ACTION STEP: Try this breathing technique the next time you transition from a stressful situation–maybe when you get off work? Or during your lunch break?

If you’ve got any questions about yoga, meditation, healthy living, let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A video.

xoxo,

Bettina

How to Heal Heartbreak with Yoga

For anybody and everybody who’s ever had to go through a break-up, yoga can help. Heartbreak is the price of finding love, so don’t let it close your heart to the world.

Watch my video below to find out the one yoga pose I recommend for heartbreak as well as the greater connections yoga can make for you in your life.

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ACTION STEP: If you know someone who would appreciate this video, send them a link to it.

If you’ve got any questions about yoga or meditation or healthy eating, let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A video.

xoxo,

Bettina

Urban Yoga Retreat in Neukölln, Berlin, Germany

Neukoelln Yoga Retreat

Photos, clockwise from top left: pomegranites, Stadtbad Neukölln, cake at Vux, Körnerpark

To continue with my series on how to create the calm and serene atmosphere of a yoga retreat weekend at home in the middle of the city, I’m showing my Neukölln favorite places.

Treat yourself to a yoga workshop or a weekend series of classes at a local Berlin yoga studio and then relax and indulge and connect with yourself :

♥ Swim and sweat in a sauna

at the Greco-Roman-styled Stadtbad Neukölln (but watch out for the nudist nights! unless that’s how you like to roll)

Also, tip for Americans / shy people, the saunas in Germany are nude all the time. Yes, it’s true.

♥ Sit down and eat

at the omnivorous Fortuna’s Feast whose menu changes every day. Get the mashed potatoes (creamiest potatoes ever, like mousse) with the cherry chutney if they are on the menu; you will not regret it!

♥ Journal

over vegan cake and cupcakes at the darling Café Vux

♥ Walk in nature

at the Comenius Garden, where you have to ring the doorbell and wait for them to buzz you in, and at the neighboring classically designed Körnerpark

♥ Go to market

on the Lankwehr canal at a small organic market on Tuesdays and Fridays, right at the end of the conventional vegetable market at Schinkestrasse. There’s food, music, and TONS of people. It feels like the heart of Kreuzkölln on these days, because all sorts of different types of people come together at market.

PS: It’s not organic, BUT…at the other end of the market, where the Maybachufer meets Kottbusser Damm, there is a fresh orange and pomegranite juice stand. Fresh pomegranite juice is delicious on a hot sunny day, take it from someone who knows.

If you’ve been to the Neukölln neighborhood of Berlin or live here, have you any other recommendations for me? What else would you need to make an urban setting a yoga retreat? Tell me in the comments section!

xoxo,

Bettina

3* tools for maintaining “yoga mind” while working

Watch my video below where I talk about the three* (ok, four!) tools I use to keep myself aware at work:

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Here are the direct links to download the three tools to remind you to take regular breaks:

Eyes Relax for your computer

Workrave for GNU/Linux & Windows

Pomodoro Widget for Android, following the Pomodoro Technique of working 25 minutes and resting 5 minutes

As for the fourth one, you don’t need a link for that 😉

ACTION STEP: Download and install one of the programs above–any one that appeals most to you and use it the next time you work.

If you’ve got any questions about yoga, meditation, healthy living, let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A video.

xoxo,

Bettina

Urban Yoga Retreat: How to have a yoga retreat vacation at home

Traveling is wonderful. Abandoning daily routines, experimenting with new foods, speaking another language, turning strangers into friends–traveling makes the simplest thing different and exciting. But traveling can also be stressful: getting to and from the airport, the downtime during the physical travel itself,  visa paperwork and customs. The stress of being on time and the boredom of waiting in line are total opposites to what I’d want in a yoga weekend or yoga retreat. On top of that, the money spent…so why not just plan a retreat / vacation at home?

To replicate the yoga retreat experience at home, register for a special yoga workshop or a weekend workshop at your home yoga studio and then plan for the little luxuries that would make your apartment feel like a yoga retreat vacation.

My guiding words for resting and recharging at home would be calm & serene, self-love, and connection with nature, so those are my criteria for my yoga retreat at home.

THE CRITICAL INGREDIENTS FOR A YOGA RETREAT EXPERIENCE AT HOME

♥ Make Time for Yourself

Clear your calendar for the day(s). I recommend 2 if not 3 days. You can meet up with friends if you’d like but don’t schedule anything that you wouldn’t schedule during a vacation. That is, yoga class and massages are ok; doing your taxes, not ok.

♥ Consider a Digital Sabbatical

Turn off your phone and check your email only once a day–or not at all. If you dare, don’t go online at all. Being offline is one of the best things about a vacation, so why not tell everyone that you will not be reachable via email or phone for 48 or 72 hours?

If you’re worried about getting bored, make sure you have a stack of books ready.

♥ Refresh your Environment

Either stay in a hotel or get your apt professionally cleaned to get the hotel experience. Change your bed linens and buy some flowers in a vase to give your home that hotel feeling. Light a new scented candle and buy a special bath product for your bath.

♥ Tune In Internally

Get in touch with yourself through writing. Buy yourself a notebook if you don’t already have one. Try to write three pages as soon as you wake up to get everything out of your head. If you don’t know where to start, try listing 100 reasons you’re grateful every day.

If you want to connect deeply with yourself, try observing silence for one day. Observing silence is exactly what it sounds like: not talking to anyone! Some people will allow themselves to speak when necessary or to write things down to communicate when necessary. You can wear a little sign to let people know that you are observing silence for the day. Decide on your boundary and stick to it! This will deepen your awareness internally when you are not focused on interacting with other people.

♥ Nourish your soul

Hide the foods in your kitchen that you want to avoid during your urban yoga retreat. Put chips, cookies, beer, perhaps even coffee in a cabinet. Lock it if you want to make it harder for yourself to access the forbidden goodies. To take it one step further, get rid of them entirely by donating them.

If you like to cook, stock your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables in season.

Otherwise, get some new herbal teas, some fruits, and some lemons for your water, and order delivery or eat out at organic vegan restaurants. Even if you’re not usually vegan, it will do your body good to cut out dairy and meat for two to three days.

♥ Move your body

Take a yoga workshop to delve into a subject you’ve always been curious about. Walk in nature. Swim in a lake.

 

I would love to hear your tips for recreating a yoga retreat experience at home, so please share your ideas in the comments below.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting my ideas for recreating a yoga retreat experience in different neighborhoods in Berlin, so stay tuned!

xoxo,

Bettina