Monday, 9 July 2018

Gratitude List #1

Let's be honest, sometimes life is HARD. And sometimes it's very hard. I've been struggling a lot lately and some days everything feels dark and scary. Some days, though, there are glimpses of light and hope. And always so much love, even in the darkest days.

Making gratitude lists is said to boost feelings of wellbeing so why not give it a go?

Mind you, these pictures aren't "pretty" edited pictures taken with my DSLR. Just pictures taken in the moment with my old iPhone. Just raw. Just me.

What are you grateful for today?




These two! They give me so much joy. I can't stop laughing at the second picture. Doesn't it look like they have taken a selfie together?




 Time spent with my niece and nephew. He's a little yogi in the making :)



 Morning cuddles with my love. There is nothing greater than this love.



My fairly new tattoo. It has a very deep meaning for me which I will maybe explain in another post. But for now let's just say "No mud, no lotus".



 Raspberries from our garden!



 ... And eating watermelon in the garden.



 Mala making.



Kundalini yoga. And also hanging around at home without a single trace of makeup. And also the fact that my skin is almost free from acne for the first time in about 15 years.



Pretty and cozy breakfasts.

♥ ♥ ♥
Louisa

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Just Checking In


Long time no see! I'm still here, just occupied with stuff like yoga, reading awesome books, working, therapy, drinking tea etc :) Looking forward to start writing here again though! I have so much to say about my yoga teacher training which already feels completely life-changing even though I'm just a few months in. I'm also inspired to create a few new recipes now that it's actually bright enough to take decent pictures (thank you, spring!).

Today was a really nice day off work. I've spent the entire day at home, doing yoga, cuddling with my love, reading and eating lunch with friends. Now it's soon dinner time, probably in front of some good old HBO. We just started watching "The Path", anyone seen it?

Lots of love!
Louisa

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Spring Feelings (+ Simple Quinoa Salad)

Finally sunshine and spring feelings! We still have an awful amount of snow on the grounds, but it's disappearing little by little every day. The last couple of days we've been able to sit in the garden enjoying the sunshine, drinking tea, reading books.

So to today's recipe, which isn't really a recipe at all. This is just a simple salad I threw together with some stuff lying in fridge and cupboards. Fresh spring food!

Salad
Cooked quinoa
Green beans
Red cabbage
Chickpeas
Red bell pepper
Cucumber

Dressing
Lemon juice
Apple cider vinegar
Olive oil
Dijon mustard
Small amount of maple syrup
Herbal salt
Black pepper
Paprika powder

I also served my salad with some hummus. And dark chocolate for dessert of course :) And yoga studies. Perfect lunch!


Monday, 12 March 2018

Right Nostril Breathing - (Almost) Better Than Coffee


Right nostril breathing is a simple energizing yogic breathing technique (pranayam). Breathing through the right nostril draws in warming sun energy and brings alertness, concentration and revitalization.

I sometimes do some right nostril breathing in the morning before my yoga and meditation practice, especially if I feel very tired that day. Although I have to say that I love my coffee too (or rather we have an on-off relationship).


How?
1. Sit up with a straight spine. Close the eyes and gently focus your gaze in and up to the third eye (the place between the eyebrows).
2. Close off the left nostril with the left hand thumb. The other left hand fingers are pointing straight up.
3. Inhale and exhale through the right nostril in long, slow, deep breaths. Continue for about 3 minutes.


If you need to calm down instead you can check out my post on left nostril breathing.

♥ ♥ ♥
Louisa

Thursday, 1 March 2018

My Favourite Kundalini Books


Everyone who's read this blog or follow me on Instagram knows about my deep love for Kundalini Yoga and in January I began my teacher training. At the moment I sometimes go to classes but most of my practice is actually done at home with the help of books. I think that Kundalini Yoga is very well suited to be done at home as the postures/instructions are easy to understand (but can still be very challenging). With other forms of yoga (I mostly do Ashtanga when I'm not doing Kundalini) I prefer to go to classes at the studio though.

One day I should probably write a blog post about Kundalini Yoga and what makes it so special and dear to me. But for now I thought I'd share my favourite books about the practise and philosophy. For my fellow yogis, please share your favourite books in the comments!

Kundaliniyoga för hälsa, livskraft och självkännedom by Wiveca Hjalmarsson
This was my first book about Kundalini Yoga bought many years ago and I still go back to it over and over again, so much that it will soon fall apart :) It's a great book for beginners as everything is explained in an easy to understand manner. It contains a lot of information about Kundalini Yoga, a yogic lifestyle, kriyas (yoga sets), meditations and mantras. Sadly I think that it's only available in Swedish, but for my fellow Swedes I couldn't recommend it more.

Essential Kundalini Yoga by Karena Virginia and Dharm Khalsa
This book is very informative and has very detailed instructions. It contains some yogic philosophy but it mostly focuses on postures, kriyas (yoga sets) and meditations. It has quite a modern feel to it and I guess it would be great for people who feel a bit put off by the "hippie yoga scene".

Kundalini Yoga - The Flow of Eternal Power by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa
This thick book contains masses of information about the yogic lifestyle and covers subjects like yoga (of course), meditation, mantras, sleep, breath, happiness, etc. The author studied directly under Yogi Bhajan (who took Kundalini Yoga to the West) and the book is a wealth of knowledge.

Invincible Living by Guru Jagat
This book is so so beautiful, very artistic and beautifully illustrated. The actual yoga and meditation instructions only takes up quite a small part of the book. The rest is about everything from how the mind works to information about the endocrine system and yogic hair care tips. Guru Jagat is a young woman and has a very fresh outlook on the practise of Kundalini Yoga. A very "stylish" but still very informative book.

Kundalini Yoga Sadhana Guidelines (2nd Edition) - Create Your Daily Spiritual Practice - Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan by Kundalini Research Institute.
This book is quite deep and may seem a bit heavy. But it's also so great! The first part contains some general Kundalini Yoga philosophy and then very detailed instructions for morning sadhana (daily spiritual practise). The second part contains very useful instructions about postures, mudras (hand positions), pranayam (breathing), many kriyas and meditations. So it's not just about morning sadhana but an overall great book on everything Kundalini Yoga.

And lastly of course my Level 1 teacher training manual which is probably the greatest source of knowledge that I've ever encountered, not just about yoga but about life itself. I'm just so grateful to be able to have it in my possession.


(In the pic is also a cup of YogiTea and some dark chocolate because I can never have enough of those).

Disclaimer: These books contains some unscientific and restrictive diet advice. If you're struggling with an eating disorder/disordered eating or are easily triggered back into diet culture, I suggest you skip those parts entirely.


♥♥♥
Louisa 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Tropical Oatmeal


Sweden is very cold and very snowy right now. Yes, it's a beautiful winter but I am NOT a winter person (cold weather is not my thing... Am I living in the wrong country or what?). So long story short I really long for spring and summer and can't wait for warm sunshine on my skin.

So what has that to do with tropical oatmeal? Well, first of all oatmeal is very warming. But most importantly tropical flavours like mango and coconut make me think of warm summer days, bare feet on the grass and happy lazy days off work. So basically sunshine in a bowl of oatmeal. Enjoy!



Tropical Oatmeal
Serves 1

1/2 cup (1 dl) rolled oats
2 tbsp very creamy coconut milk
3 pieces of dried mango, cut into small pieces
1 fresh/juicy date, cut into small pieces
Pinch of turmeric (for a yellow colour)
1 cup (2 1/2 dl) water

Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and cook on low heat until all the liquid is absorbed. Serve in a bowl topped with coconut chips, goji berries, mulberries or more dried mango.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Mala Making



One of my favourite activities the last few months has been mala making. I even opened a Tictail shop with some of my pieces. All the beading and knotting is so incredibly therapeutic for me, almost like a meditation. It's very much "me-time" and I usually put on some mantras or other nice music in the background.

What I've realised this year is that it's so important to have a hobby. As a perfectionist and sometimes over-achiever my life has often mostly been about all the "musts" like studying/working/exercising/cleaning/cooking etc and far to little play time. But to feel good I have to nourish my soul on a daily basis, at least at this moment in my life. I feel happiest when I'm creative so now I try to make room for creativity every single day, whether it may be mala making, writing, photographing or some other activity I enjoy. I also do yoga and meditation every day which has been essential for my wellbeing. I do realise that I'm privileged (for lack of a better word) to have so much time for these things every day. I don't have any kids who needs my attention. I only work half time right now (I'm on half time sick leave at the moment, which is another story for another post). But I've come to realise that I need these things to stay/get well. Listening to what I really need rather than just push through is pretty new to me, and it's certainly a practise. It's so easy to feel selfish when you focus so much on yourself. But in reality it's the complete opposite of selfishness! Taking care of myself is an imperative for being able to take care of others and to nurture my relationships.

So, back to the malas. To get started I would simply suggest to search the web for ideas and/or tutorials. Try searching for "how to make a mala" or "mala diy" or similar. Use those tips for inspiration and then just play! Be creative with techniques and beads and colours. I use semi-precious gemstones like amethyst, rose quartz, rhodonite, lapis lazuli, jade etc and sometimes also sandalwood. As seen in the pictures there's a knot between every bead, which can make the process quite time consuming but in a good way! Like I mentioned before it almost becomes a meditation, and I also feel that every mala is really made with so much patience and love.

Happy crafting!