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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New cycle.

It´s been a while since my last updated in my website and now, after 6 weeks in Chile, my homeland, I just came back to the mountains and to the fresh smell of the summer, with a completely new energy.

During my time in Chile, I felt like meeting myself again in this place that it´s full of people that knows me for so long and that loves me no matter what. My family and friends were showing me with love what´s left of me after the movement of the last year and half. Long and honest talks, hugs of infinite love and whole evenings doing nothing more than be there, left me with a feeling of gratitude and a sensation that, all the external movement is nothing more than an opportunity to let fall all the things that are not yours in the way, until you see yourself again and you realize that, instead of being far away, you are closer.

Closer to what?

Closer to That.

Listening to the sunset.
Listening to the sunset.

I took some days for myself and went to the beach and rediscovered meditation.

During those days, a friend of mine shared THIS link on facebook. If you are interested in meditation and Buddhism, please read it. It will be good for you. Read it also if you are interested in happiness (who is not interested in happiness?).

I´m sure it will inspire you too.

Travel and Gurus. Outside and Inside.

Some people say that traveling is not good for the spiritual practice. I´m thinking here in one verse (62) on The Hatha Yoga Pradipika and in some story that one friend told me about Prashantji (BKS Iyengar´s son) answering that for being a better yogi you must not travel, (I don´t know the context of the last information I´m giving  but, even though I believe that the context is very important in cases like this, I will go further anyway.)

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a book written around six centuries ago that focuses in the physical practice of asanas (postures) and kriyas (cleansing teachniques) as a way for transcend oneself.

Cleaning the nadis so the energy can finally move!
Cleaning the nadis so the energy can finally move!

Travel six centuries ago it was not the same as traveling today.

It probably took much more time that it takes today and this was a very clear way to lose a lot of vital energy but, when I think in Prashantji´s words –he probably said that somewhere during the last 15 years- a big contradiction grows inside of me.

In one hand there is something that is really important in the Yoga tradition and it´s basically that: TRADITION. In a short way this means that the practice must be inside of a lineage, that´s exactly why the Guru is SO important. It´s not that he/she is there just to keep you humble, oh no, it´s something bigger than that: He/She is there showing you a path that he/she already walked. Sometimes as a very present energy that guides you all the way, sometimes just as an observer that lets you discover for yourself, reaching you when you have gone too far.

Having a Guru is a very important element in every spiritual tradition.

But, what happens when the Guru is not close?

Well, basically, you travel to find it.

On the other hand, and I will talk here about my own personal intimate experience, one thing that happens when you travel is that you get very amazed by the outer world.

There are so many beautiful places out there, full of different things to look and to do, full of different flavors, colors and energies and, somehow, all of this influences oneself. The indriyas (senses) are so happy when we travel!

Those same senses are the tools we need to turn inwards (pratyahara), to go inside.

When everything is new outside it´s hard to concentrate in the inside. At the same time, I believe it´s a very honest way of challenge yourself because, everything  is new all the time, it doesn´t matter if you travel or not.

Maybe, traveling in the world can be seen as a preparation –or as a reflex?– for traveling in your inner world. If you learn how to be outside, maybe it will be easy to just be, inside.

Turning everything upside down.
Turning everything upside down.

Maybe, after traveling in the outside world, you realize this that Rumi said better that anyone:

You have no need to travel anywhere – journey within yourself.

Enter a mine of rubies and bathe in the splendor of your own Light.

Inside. Or outside?
Inside. Or outside?

BTW: After an amazing weekend in the incredibly beautiful northern part of Sweden teaching for the people in the Haglöfs Artic Weekend I´m now in Marseille enjoying amazing yoga lessons with the super gentle Senior teacher Sthéphane Lalo, observing myself and the beautiful spring that finally arrived, at the same time. I will write more about this but, meanwhile, maybe you´re able to find some photos of these moments HERE!

Odyssey.

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As you set out for Ithaka

hope the voyage is a long one,

full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:

you’ll never find things like that on your way

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement

stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul,

unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.

May there be many a summer morning when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you come into harbors seen for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind—

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you are old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.

Without her you would not have set out.

She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

(Ithaca, Konstantinos Kavafis, 1911)

When I first read this poem, eight years ago, the trip was internal, mental, and emotional.

I guess I always wanted to go somewhere I’ve never been able to define but maybe, now it´s time to leave always and nevers behind, and enjoy the abundance of this moment, being faithful, relax and go on in this trip. That remains internal, even though I´m moving a lot.

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.