Circadian rhythm sleep disorder or… Jet Lag.

Reality during the day.
Reality during the day.

Oh my God.

I have not been able to sleep well since I came back from Chile. I think that I have been sleeping something around 10 hours in total during the last four days.

I never had a Jet Lag like this before – and I can understand that idea that it´s easy to get crazy if you don´t get enough sleep-. It´s not that I´m dying but I am in a super-duper low energy mode with, reality, during the day, looking like a dream and, during the night, looking like something really hard to handle with.

But, since I´m a positive person and I see every crisis as an opportunity, I have been learning some very interesting things about how to deal with your yoga practice when you are jet lagged. Here you have my observations:

  • First of all (this might sound obvious but I think sometimes obvious things are the easiest to forget): Practice needs to change. I mean, seriously, my body simply can´t do a long sirsasana without feeling super dizzy or a long sequence of standing postures without feeling that I´m about to fall. This takes us to the next point
  • Taking it easy: Everything we do in the practice has to be done with precaution, slowly and tenderly. This type of practice is an amazing opportunity to listen one self in a new way and treat ourselves with love.
  • Props are my friends: In general I use props to go deeper in my understanding of the actions in the yogasanas but, during the last couple of days, I have been using props in the restorative-relaxing way. Urdvha Dhanurasana looks impossible but some restorative backbends with the chair or bolsters feel like a massage to my spirit that´s learning how invigorating actions can be done in a gentle way.
  • Recovering the energy (or distribute it in a better way) is the mantra. Listening to the body, conscious breathing and tender (but precise) movements and actions will help us to re-build or find the energy that is missing, helping us A LOT in our day life.

During my practice, I feel that my body is tired, confuse and lost. And the energy that I usually feel moving trough myself gets stuck in my joints or, simply, is not there at all.

I have been trying different sequences every day/night (my practice today was at 04:00am) and I will share with you this sequence that I found that it was made for jet lag. Here you have the adaptation I did of it for my own needs:

1.- Virasana

2.- Supta Virasana on bolster with support for the head

3.- Baddha Konasana for Supta Baddha Konasana on bolster.

4.- Padmasana

5.- Supta Padmasana  on bolster  and changing sides.

6.- Uttanasana, with support for the crown of the head.

7.- Adho Mukha Svanasana with support for the head.

8.- Sirsasana: I stayed something around three minutes, I felt super dizzy but my body was “waking up” slowly.

9.- “Rope I”

10.- Salamba Sarvangasana and part of it´s cycle: Eka and Parsva eka pada sarvangasana, Supta konasana, Parsva halsana and Halasana: I added this because it´s a posture where I feel good and I can go deeper on it,  keeping the actions but, at the same time, enjoying the “refresh” that the posture brings.

Forward bends with support for both the pelvis and the head feel really good! Also very gentle twisting actions with the help of the chair or the bolsters bring calm and space.

All these are just ideas since I´m talking from my own experience. I´m sure that, if you have been practicing for a while, you will be able to understand and listen what your body is telling you and there´s a big chance that, your needs will be different from mine.

If you don´t know what to do I absolutely recommend you to find a teacher who can guide you properly.

They estimate that the “recovery rate is one day per time zone crossed. That gives me at least two more days, although I already feel a little more adapted to the rhythm of the mountains, the most important thing is that I feel happy and grateful to be learning from this experience.

Time Zones of the World, from Wikipedia.
Time Zones of the World, from Wikipedia.
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Transform yourself and eliminate the bullshit :)

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Finding yoga was, for me, the beginning of a transformation that continues until today. Even though I was pretty young, since the first moment I knew I found something significant. At the same time, I knew it needed time, practice and patience to grow up. But the seed was already in my heart.

In a slow rhythm, my practice was something that had this “in crescendo” process. Every day was longer, deeper or more intense.

I don´t know when it happened that the practice started to be a moment of deep connection with myself. I mean it´s not the same type of connection you get during a yoga class or after savasana… It´s something that goes beyond that and that now, after 11 years of practice I can see like a continuous “observing myself transforming” mode.

Observing myself made me feel bad sensations sometimes: I´m not a super self confident kind of person, I have a lot of problems finding the limit between “following the flow” and “going for it” type of attitude, I sometimes just don´t know what I want.

In the other hand, in that observation I, somehow, learnt how to accept myself without many judgments, being aware of my reactions and changes, knowing that them were there teaching me much more about myself than any verbal explanation.

The other day I saw a movie called Riding giants. The movie it´s about big/giant waves surfer and the evolution of the sport since mid ’50s until now.

The movie is about a passion that goes beyond words, a passion for doing something that not just makes you happy but gives meaning to the fact of being alive (or dead).

It´s not rational at all. It´s something that it´s there in your guts or not.

Sometimes something happens in life: Maybe you had an accident, lost your job or someone you loved. Maybe you found a new practice or routine that makes you feel better. Sometimes there´s a breaking point that makes your life upside down and it´s not easy to discover that this is an opportunity to transform yourself. Sometimes its something dramatic, sometimes it comes in waves.

In the movie, Mark Renneker (who is a surfer and a doctor working with cancer patients), said something that touched my heart.

He said: “One of the things I love a about my work as a physician (…) is to see what often takes place which is transformation, they just begin to sort of eliminate the bullshit and they begin to actually live, almost for the first time. Those kinds of life changing events can come from illness, they can come from revelation, they can come for me, in a way, from big wave surfing.”

Eliminating the bullshit is the only way we have to make ourselves lighter. And I think it´s easy to realize that it´s full of bullshit everywhere but most of it, it´s in our heads. Distrust, taboos, the fear of change, our own mental square structures and all the things that are there, stopping us from doing what we want to do.

We can do it in the way we want, Dr. Rekenner found surf, I found yoga but I´m finding new things every day: The sunlight trough my window or the smile of a kid, the moving tail of a dog, the sound of my favorite song or being able to touch the skin of the people I love… I use all of those things as everyday reminders.

You have to have something inside if you want to start to empty yourself. And yes, even though we think there´s nothing, there is always something. No-thing it is Some-thing.

I don´t know what´s the meaning of life. I don´t even know if it has any sense being standing on two legs in this planet moving in the corner of the galaxy but there´s one thing that feels real for me and that it´s this voice in my head telling me: Don´t be afraid, remove the bullshit, make the package lighter and try to find the answers for the questions that you have in your heart.

All the rest will come.

5 reasons why is spiritually healthy to change your life.

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When we are in a stable moment on our lives we are comfortable. It is good. We fought for that moment and we are enjoying the time, resting after the movement. Until suddenly, something wake us up again. A gut feeling that started like a whisper now is yelling at you: Ok, time to move!

It could be that we need to change our job. Or maybe we have the opportunity to go and live in another country and –suddenly- that looks like that trip we’ve been putting off for so long. Maybe some diet changes. Or it is the moment to start doing exercises.

Sometimes you just want to quit everything and star all over again.

I want to tell you: DO IT!

And here are the reasons why:

1. – It shows you who you really are.

When we are in a comfortable position for a long time we started to feel self–complacent. If we are not aware we can miss the opportunity to change because we are too comfortable where we are. But, the thing is that when you are in front of a total new experience, the real you is there also.

YOU: the one who needs to be “alert” all the time. You can feel a little –or super- afraid because of what is happening, sometimes you could think is too much but that’s exactly the idea.

In those moments you CAN´T LIE: Every response is an honest response. And the idea you had of yourself started to disappear until you are able to see who you really are: Someone brave and beautiful.

2. – It shows you the important things in life.

Closely linked to the above, –and especially obvious when you change job or country-, you can´t keep relations that were not real. Friends and family will show you that they are there for you; that you are not alone, that you deserve everything that is happening to you.

Everything else is superfluous.

3. – You don´t lose anything (actually you just wins).

Everything you are having now you are able to create it for you whenever you want.

Changes are there teaching you about detachment because you have to leave your present condition to “go” somewhere else. But, at the same time, they are there to teach you that, everything you have now, you are able to have it again in the future. You know very well how this comfortable position feels. Or you know very well how this feeling of being stuck feels. The bad part is that neither of them makes good to your spirit if you keep them for too long.

The good part is that you can come back there whenever you want.

So DON´T WORRY!

4. – It is honest.

Easily to see in some people, life is moving us from one place to another all the time –and I´m not talking about traveling-.

Whether you look at life as a circle, as a spiral or as a ladder, you need to start moving to be able to reach wherever you want to reach. And movement means change. If you put resistance to the flow of energy that is there behind your ear saying “Hey, it´s time to change!” it will feel heavier. Pure physics.

There is a part of you –that maybe until now was a small part- that really feels this is true: The only constant is change.

5. – Why not?

At the end, you are the owner of your life and you are free to do whatever you want with it.

Don´t worry, close your eyes, trust in God and in the universe because there is no such a thing as social conventions –not even age or status- that would put a stop on a soul that wants to expand itself. It is part of your spiritual rights.