Category Archives: Yoga

Mastering self love

{Photo of me at my most recent yoga training. Photo sent to my family at the time :).}

Hi gorgeous! I hope that you are taking care of yourself. I know it can be challenging sometimes. Modern life demands so much of us, doesn’t it? It can really feel like we are being pulled in a hundred directions.

Often, when we make a decision to slow down and start doing more for ourselves, we end up causing ourselves more anxiety. Living in a way that is more attuned to the cycles of nature and in alignment with our true nature is not an over night achievement. Often, we are up against years and years of unhealthy habits. Years of putting ourselves last that may have built up as resentment, anger, tiredness, pain in the body and even depression.

If you are wanting to heal your life, my advice to you is to take is slow. Make one change at a time.

Ayurveda does not advise making lots of changes at once. Yoga is taught in stages. We don’t just walk into a yoga class and stand on our heads in the first lesson!

We learn about our bodies, start building a relationship with our breath and each time we step on to the mat, we peel away another layer. I like to think of it as an artichoke. There are many layers that need to be peeled away to reveal that delicious heart.

And how many of us do not want to cook artichokes because it is so damn hard to get to that heart?

We are so accustomed to living in an instant society that when we decide to make changes for ourselves, we are surprised when things don’t work out  immediately. We get discouraged when we take a perceived step backwards.

Today, I would like to encourage you to reflect on your life up until this time. Sometimes, when we look at how far we have come, we can relax into our journey.

Ask yourself: What do I know now that I did not know 10 years ago? How am I living more in alignment with my true nature than I have ever been? What am I really proud of?

Marvel at the progress you have made in your own self development. Perhaps you eat healthier than you have ever eaten. Perhaps you value your sleep now and you didn’t before. Perhaps you are more patient and kind with your children and your family.

Remember, we are not looking for perfection here. We are looking for perspective. We are always, always growing. Nothing is ever complete. Just embrace where you are in your journey right now.

Now, think of one thing, just one thing that you would like to focus on improving for a while.

Perhaps you would like to start going to a yoga class. Did you know that the cost of a yoga class is less than the cost of a movie? Yoga teachers have so much wisdom to impart. We don’t think twice about going to watch a movie, but we have to budget for our own self care in the form of a yoga class.

Really think about how much you value yourself. Don’t your children deserve to receive the best of you?

Perhaps you can make a commitment to be in bed by 10pm. Did you know that Pitta dosha is active between the hours of 10 and 2? If we are still awake after 10pm, we have entered the element of fire, which is why we have a renewed burst of energy at 10 o’clock. Lots of fun at 10, but not so fun in the morning when our family needs our attention.

I would love to know about your journey. Have you made positive changes in your life that deserve to be celebrated?

Mastering self love is a daily practice. There is no destination. There is only the journey.

What can you do today, that can bring you more peace and joy?

Blessings to you.

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What is Ayurveda?

At more than 5 000 years old, Ayurveda is the oldest healing modality in the world. As the sister science of yoga, following an Ayurvedic lifestyle is a natural progression for me.

I have been interested in it for a while, but I started taking it really seriously last year when my daughter, Annie, was complaining of a sore tummy. It was so sore, in fact, that we rushed her to the emergency centre after hours. This coincided with me finding out that my hormones were out of balance. Annie and I decided to start eating ayurvedically as an experiment. If we felt better, we would continue.

Annie has not had a sore tummy since, I am pleased to report! I feel better within myself than I ever have, this is definitely something that makes sense to me.

I feel so much more awareness of my body and how I feel after each meal. People are commenting that I am losing weight, this has not been my goal, but I think that my body is just naturally finding it’s own balance.

So what makes eating Ayurvedically different to other ways of eating?

Instead of looking at calories, micro and macronutrients, protein count and carbohydrates, Ayurveda looks at the element of nature. Ayurveda looks at everything, from our bodies to the food we eat in terms of the elements and how they relate to each other.

The elements that are considered in Ayurveda are earth, water, fire, air and space. Each individual person has these elements within themselves. The way that they are combined at birth determines the person’s constitution (Prakruti). These elements combine as physical, mental and emotional characteristics.

Within the body, there is a constant interaction between order and disorder. Ayurveda is focused on bringing the body into a state of balance. When our body is in a state of balance, we experience vibrant health, inspiring relationships and a peaceful life. Sounds good? I think so!

In Ayurveda, you will hear people speaking about their dosha. The dosha (which actually means fault) is basically the person’s constitution. Our constitution can be in balance, or out of balance. When it is out of balance, we experience ill health, so Ayurveda always works at bringing the dosha into balance.

  • The elements of earth and water are represented by the Kapha dosha. When Kapha is in balance, it promotes love, calmness and forgiveness. Out of balance it produces attachment, greed and envy. *
  • The elements of water and fire are represented by the Pitta dosha. When in balance it promotes understanding and intelligence. When out of balance it produces anger, hate and jealousy. *
  • The elements of air and space (ether) are represented by the Vata dosha. When in balance it promotes flexibility and creativity. When out of balance it produces fear and anxiety. *

What I love about Ayurveda is that it is unique for each person. There is no one size fits all solution to bring anyone into balance. And it really makes sense.

There is so much to share about Ayurveda, but I thought it would be good to have a basic, introductory post for you. I am planning to share a lot more information with you about it. I really think that it can make a difference to you and your family’s wellbeing.

I wish you good health and I would love to know if you have had any experience with Ayurveda.

Blessings to you.

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*Source: Ajit.

The one thing you need to do to be a better mother

I have just spent a whole day at a women’s yoga and meditation workshop. A whole day to come home to myself. I have a wonderful husband who made dinner and spent the whole day with my children. I came back to a happy home and I put the children to bed with a full tummy and a happy heart.

It wasn’t always so easy. When I first started going to yoga on a Saturday morning (for an hour and a half), Annie would cry at the door while I was leaving. Sohail was supportive of me going, but didn’t really “get” why I had to go and do something on my own. The yoga brought up so many things that had been accumulating in my body for years, that, for the first year, I would come home and sleep for the rest of the day. I would feel very tender, I hated relaxation. I didn’t notice a difference in my life for a while, but I kept going –  because I felt better after each class, and that was enough.

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This morning, when I was getting ready to go, Xavier (4 years old) was upset that I was going. “Please don’t go mommy, I will miss you!” As he was hanging onto my leg.

Me: “But Xavier, doesn’t mommy always come back much happier when she goes to yoga?”

Xavier: “Yes.”

Me: “And don’t you want mommy to be happy?”

Xavier: “Yes.”

Me: “So I will see you later. Maybe you can send me a rainbow while I am there and I will send one back to you.”

Xavier: “I don’t know how to send you a rainbow, but I can draw one. Bye Mommy, I am going to go and draw you a rainbow!!”

Often, our children just need someone, or something to help them with the transition of us leaving. That, along with us knowing that we are actually serving our children by us taking some time to do something that brings us deep pleasure.

Sometimes we need to take a leap of faith. Even though it may be hard to stand in front of our family and say that our needs are important, we do it anyway. We don’t know how it will make our lives better, but we intuitively know that it will make a difference. We brace ourselves for a bit of an uncomfortable ride as we change the rules about how available we are. Our partners and children start to juggle their expectations and home responsibilities.

And, all of a sudden, it just works. It is expected that mommy also has needs. I know it is hard to do. As mothers, we are wired to take care of everyone else. And when we start taking care of us, we sort of don’t know what to do. And our families sort of freak out in the beginning. One of the women at the workshop today is entering her menopause years. She was listening to me talking about the importance of self care, even when we have small children.

She looked at me and said that she wished that she had made herself more of a priority when her family was young.

So, I encourage you to take the step in the direction of your heart. What is your heart’s deepest yearning? What will give you the greatest pleasure? Start doing it. Our nature as women is to receive pleasure.

Look for pleasure in your life wherever you can find it. Start planning your day, based on how it can nourish you, instead of basing it on a to do list.

Watch your life transform overnight.

Blessings to you.

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Five ways to obtain balanced travels

IMG_6880I have got travel on my mind these days. A year and a half ago, I went to Bali. On my own. It was a really hard thing to do at the time. I had never been away from my children for a single night. I had a dream to go to Bali and it was just not possible, financially, for the whole family to go. So, Sohail told me to go on my own. Yes, I have an amazing husband, I know!

I didn’t know what to do, I had a yearning to do something so special for me and at the same time, I was being pulled to be with my children. In the end, Bali won. And I am so glad that it did. It ended up being an amazing trip for me in that I gained my confidence back. You see, when you are in a partnership, you inevitably hand your power over to your partner. Sohail is always the one to deal with the taxi driver, the money, the passports. You know, the boy stuff! I had to do it all and I remembered that I still could. It feels nice to be reminded that I can do everything for myself and at the same time be so happy that I have a partner who can do it so that I can do the things I want to do, and not the things I have to do. It was great for Sohail and the children too. It gave him his confidence in knowing that he is perfectly capable of looking after the children and they had a wonderful time bonding with their dad.

It also prepared all of us for the trips I am now taking when I am doing my teacher training. I can really recommend taking some time away from your family. It really helps to centre you and it reminds everyone how important the family unit is. Mothers need time to find themselves again.

We are now getting ready for another trip. The whole family is going to South Africa in December. We have not been back home in over five years and I am nearly jumping out of my skin with excitement. My brother is getting married, my dad is turning 65, Annie is turning 8, it is Christmas… Need I say more??

Imagine my delight, when Kendra Thornton contacted me and offered to write a guest post about staying balanced when we travel. Please welcome her (isn’t she beautiful?) and the lovely tips she has to offer us when we are travelling.

A little bit about Kendra:

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Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing bags and travelling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have mixed my excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to my own home with some of my unique recipes and sharing some of my personal travelling tips. Enjoy!

  1. When it comes to hotels, places like Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants locations offers their customers a free yoga mat in every room, making it easy to rest and relax after a hard day. You’ll also find a number of free programs on the television that help you unwind and find your inner peace. The chain has locations in New York City, Miami and other great cities across the country. If I am doing travels with my kids but also still trying to keep my workout in check, I like spicing it up and trying new things! I used Gogobot to pick a fabulous list of Orlando hotels that had family-friendly accomodations to keep everyone happy, yet looked for locations close to a SUP Yoga class. Morning yoga practice on surfboards…sign me up! Just remember, you don’t have to stay at a hotel that offers yoga – make it an adventure and get out into the city and sign up for a class. Keep in mind too that despite language barriers, yoga is spoken in the same body language around the world. So if you are travelling to Europe – don’t be discouraged just simply give it a shot!
  2. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, especially when flying. Flying dries out your skin and leaves you feeling uncomfortable and maybe even a little sick. If you want avoid the sleeping problems and headaches that you face after a long flight, drink extra water and stay away from alcohol.
  3. I always start every day off with a sun salutation. It gets me in the right frame of mind to hit the local attractions and keep a smile on my face throughout the day. A few simple stretches can release tension and make you feel better about your trip. If you travel with friends, get them involved in the process before you sit down to coffee!
  4. Flights are always a pain because you never know what to expect. While one flight might feel calming and relaxing, another flight might encounter some harsh weather or turbulence. Whenever I face problems on a flight, I take the time to listen to relaxing music on my iPod and practice breathing exercises. Once you take a few deep breaths, you’ll feel better too.
  5. Stop worrying when you fly to a destination in a different time zone! Far too many people hit the hotel for a nap and feel groggy for the first few days of their trip. Instead of napping, hit the streets. With the sun on your shoulders and a new culture in front of your eyes, the last thing on your mind will be the time change.

With these tips, you’ll have a better trip with your family and friends. You can stay healthy, explore a new culture and feel less stressed about your trip.

Thank you for sharing your tips, Kendra! You can find Kendra on Twitter and on her website.

Do you like travelling? How do you keep the peace when you are out of your routine? Do you have any more advice when it comes to travelling with children?

I would love to hear from you.

Blessings to you.

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How yoga has changed my life (and a great announcement!)

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In seven years, I have reinvented myself. I was reflecting on this at my most recent yoga module. In fact, I have not reinvented myself, I have just dropped the armour and become more of myself.

Seven years ago, I had a small baby and I was working full time as an audit manager for a large accounting firm. I was very stressed out and deeply unhappy. To the outside world, everything looked wonderful. We had just built our first home, we lived in a good area, Annie was going to one of the best day care centres in Johannesburg and we both earned good salaries, so we could afford to eat out all the time and drive fancy cars with heated seats and automatic headlights.

Life, on the outside, looked lovely. On the inside, I was miserable. I had constant problems with my sinuses, I was always constipated, I was unfulfilled at work and I would come home every night, exhausted. I didn’t know how to get out of the situation I had created for myself, so I decided to listen to my inner voice.

Sometimes the armour is really big and heavy and it is hard to hear what the voice is saying, but if our longing is deep enough, we can hear a whisper.

Fast forward seven years and I am astounded at how different my life is. I am no longer trying to achieve the life of my dreams. I am now living it.

I am so pleased to share with you that I have passed my interim assessment at my yoga module! This means that I am now a student teacher and that I am able to start teaching classes.

My intention with my classes is to give mothers hands on tools to find that inner voice. My intention is to teach mothers about their own incredible, feminine power and how to use that power to lift themselves up and to improve the lives of their families in the process.

My classes will be nurturing, loving, welcoming and safe. Every child deserves to feel loved and to grow up in a home that is warm and peaceful. The way to give children that type of environment is to give their mothers that type of environment. We are the most important figures in the home. The world literally revolves around us. When we are in a bad mood, the whole family is affected.

Our children deserve for us to do everything we can so that they can grow up happy and secure. We cannot give our children what we ourselves do not receive. We have to model self love and self care.

It is our responsibility.

I am so looking forward to bringing these lessons that I have learned into my teaching. Combining yoga and deep feminine wisdom, what a blessing to teach that. And what a blessing to be living that every day.

Yoga has been the bridge I needed to hear that inner voice, it is my wish that everyone can find their inner voice too.

Blessings to you.

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