I’ve spoken before about having been born in the basement of a yoga school.
Yes my friends, this is not a joke. I was literally born in the basement of a yoga school.
Way before I had any (conscious) interest in yoga or anything to do with it, I was surrounded by it. I even had a Sanskrit name by the time I was 6 months old, given to me by a real life guru from India. Beat that Western yogi influencers of today! (Juuuuuuuuust kidding. Sort of.)
My mum was one of the founders of the first yoga kindergarten in Iceland back in the seventies. There was a flat in the basement where she lived while pregnant with me and, being the spiritually awakened hippie that she was, she wanted a home birth - something that was not the done thing in Iceland back then.
So on a summer’s morning in late June 1977, yours truly came into this world, in that very yoga school basement.
My brother, the genius, at only twenty months old, said the following words upon viewing me for the first time: “She doesn’t have a penis”.
So begins my story. Both in life and in yoga. Intertwined and blurred lines between. One and the same perhaps?
From an early age I was exposed to yoga, meditation, mindful living and healthy eating.
However, as I grew up, and especially during my teenage years, I was of course NEVER going to go down that road myself. God forbid I’d turn into a ‘weirdo yogi’.
Then at around 20 years old, something shifted, and I took a genuine interest in the whole lifestyle - much to the dismay of my teenage self -, became vegetarian (and subsequently vegan), and started practicing and learning yoga and its philosophy.
Who said we didn’t turn into our parents with time?
I’ve been a qualified yoga instructor since 2003, and have added more qualifications since then, including kids’ yoga teaching, Yin yoga, restorative yoga, and Vinyasa yoga.
I absolutely love teaching yoga, and have especially enjoyed teaching it to my clients on a 1:1 basis in the last couple of years. It is so very rewarding to have a good overview of their individual progress, what to work on and which steps to take to move forward.
There are many benefits to yoga, both to the mind, body and spirit. These include:
improved flexibility and balance
increased physical strength
increased mental strength
more mindful eating
improved overall fitness
better heart health
better body image
being happier with and in yourself
Overall, practicing yoga can help you feel more connected to your body and your feelings. It can also really help you feel more grounded.
I of course recommend yoga to everyone, no matter where you are on your health and fitness journey. There is something for every level, and also for every mobility.
Yoga is also so much more than just the physical poses, “asanas”, that you’re possibly imagining at the moment. It’s also mindful living, mindful breathing, meditation, doing no harm and many other things.
However, today I would like to share a simple yoga pose with you to try if you fancy: the cross legged forward bend.
It’s a good stretch, gets the blood flowing and can help you feel grounded - something that so many people need these days, with all the uncertainty in the world.
Start by sitting in a cross legged position with your back as straight as possible, with your hands relaxing in your lap.
Now inhale, and on the exhale slowly start bending forward from your hips, reaching your forehead towards the floor.
Don’t worry if you can’t bend very far. The main thing here is to have the back straight and open the hips.
Hold this for a while and keep inhaling and exhaling, at least 3-4 rounds of breathing.
Then on the next inhale, slowly come back up, close your eyes, exhale and let your breathing even out.
Next, repeat on the other side, i.e. cross your legs with the other foot on top.
Note that there can be a huge difference between sides when doing yoga, especially around the hips, so don’t be surprised if you can’t go as far - or if you can go much further - on the other side.
Come back up on the inhale, sit still with your eyes closed for a few breaths.
Next open your eyes. Take a moment to see how you feel, before carrying on with your day.
Let me know how you get on!
I’d also love to hear about your own yogic birth story.
And if you feel like you could benefit from some 1:1 yoga coaching, maybe I can help you. Book a complimentary discovery call to discuss further. I can't wait to hear from you!