5 Basic Yoga Poses and their Benefits for your Body & Mind

This is a guest post by lovely Carla from carlakatharina.com. We’ve been following each other for a long time now and thought it would be fun to exchange guest posts, so enjoy!


Hi & Hello! I’m Carla, I live in Zurich and I’m really passionate about Yoga, that’s why this blog post is about yoga. I willl show you some basic yoga poses that you can easily practice at home and how to get into them. I have discovered my love for Yoga with sweet 16 years, during my first yoga class. Since then, I can’t imagine my life without Yoga anymore!

Yoga helps and supports me in so many ways. For example in accepting and loving my body, connecting with myself, letting go of negativity and creating balance. Balance in my body, my mind, my soul, but also in my life. Yoga is not only on, but also off the mat. It’s a way of living my life. In Spring 2019 I was in Bali and have completed my 200hr yoga teacher training. It was such an intense experience, with lots of ups and downs, but I made it! I’m so grateful for being a certificated Yoga Teacher and sharing my passion and my light with others. I teach regular classes in Zurich and I truly love it! In my classes, I’m sharing my knowledge and am also learning from my students, which makes me so happy.

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I know that a lot of people don’t have enough money to go to a yoga studio, or don’t have enough time (which is all a thing of priority, but that’s another topic) So today I want to share some basic Yoga poses with you, that you can easily practice at home. I’m also explaining how to get in there and the benefits of the poses. I hope you like it, let me know!

By the way: I would be very happy if you check out my blog carlakatharina, where you can discover posts about mindfulness, gratitude, vegan recipes and travelling.

But before we start: Yoga is not about performance, it’s not about being flexible and strong. It’s much more about accepting your body and practice with love and kindness. Everything you need is already within you!

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Balasana – Childspose

It is a perfect asana to start your practice, but also to take a break during your practice.
How to: Sit on your heels. Keep your knees hip-width apart. Lower your forehead down to the floor. Relax hands, arms and forehead. Feel your breath.
Benefits: gently stretches the hips and thighs, calms your mind and body, relieves stress, helps you to connect with your breath

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing dog

is part of every yoga class, for sure!

How to: Begin on your hands and knees. Wrists directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide open. Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling. Focus on lengthening your spine, bend your knees if needed. Neck is in one line with your spine. Tadaah, welcome to Downward Dog! ;)

Benefits: Energizes the body, stretches the shoulders and hamstrings. strengthens the arms and legs

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Virabhadrasana II – Warrior II

Find your inner warrior!

How to: Step your feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Take a few more deep breath here. Switch side.

Benefits: Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles, stimulates the abdominal organs, makes you feel proud, stable and strong, good for your self-confidence

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Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose

What a cute name, right? I’m sure you will love this Asana!

How to: Lay on your back. Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits. Position each ankle directly over the knee, so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex through the heels. Gently push your feet up into your hands as you pull your hands down to create resistance. Enjoy!

Benefits: Opens hips and inner thighs, relieves lower back pain, helps relieve stress, super calming and relaxing

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Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – Bridge Pose

Not nearly as complicated as the Sanskrit name ;)

How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor. Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. Roll your shoulder blades together to lift your hips a bit higher. Relax your neck and your forehead. Hold for a few breaths and slowly roll back down. Top tip: If you have one, take a block and place it under your lower back…and now: relax and let go!

Benefits: Strengthens back, glutes and legs, opens the chest, improves digestion, stimulates organs of the abdomen and lungs, helps alleviate stress and depression

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I hope this helps you and maybe you wanna give it a try. I personally love doing Yoga in the morning to wake up my body in a gentle way. But doing some calming Yoga in bed, before sleeping feels so good too, believe me!

Have you ever practised Yoga? Do you practice at home or in a studio? What is your favourite Asana?

Sending you lots of love and positive energy.

Carla

carlakatharina.com

Surfing at Spot X – Surfcamp with Mojosurf

What is a better place to learn how to surf than a beautiful secret beach on the east coast of Australia?

Learning to surf was always a big dream of mine and now I finally got the basics to be able to rent a surfboard everywhere along my travels and practice and play in the waves.

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I booked the surf camp for 5 days at Spot X with MojoSurf in Woolwolga and it was a complete success. I didn’t only have a lot of fun and some of the most relaxing days, I can also say that I am more or less able to surf now.

Even though I would say that 5 days are great to learn the basics and be able to practice yourself afterwards, I wished I could stay longer because I had such a wonderful time.

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Getting up bright and early after an amazing night sleep to jump in your bikini, have some energizing breakfast grabbing a board and playing in the waves until you are exhausted. Eating lots of wraps, salad and toast afterwards for lunch and going straight back to the beach for some reading and tanning until the sun sets. Some yoga and stretching in the sand, the sound of the waves in your ears and meeting many new people at dinner after a refreshing shower.

Talking to strangers has never been that easy when you know you already have a similarity: the endless love for that breathtaking feeling of riding a wave to the beach.

Relaxing, more reading (or partying for others) until you can’t keep your eyes open anymore and fall asleep with a smile on your face and exhausted muscles preparing for the next surf day.

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Anzeige // Mojosurf is a big surf camp company teaching in Australia, New Zealand or Bali. They have several surf places, but Spot X is supposed to be the best for beginners because it is long, empty and has overall great conditions to learn how to surf. It is right at the beach in Woolwolga on a campsite. They have a big community area with the kitchen where you get served all meals every day and don’t need to worry about cooking or cleaning. You live in a dorm accommodation and meet your surf buddies every day for a two-hour surf lesson. Additionally, it is possible to pay for extra practising time in the afternoon or other fun water activities, but I was happy with resting and relaxing and didn’t join that.

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The surf lessons contain some theory as well as practising in small groups with the help of an instructor. All gear you need is provided and they have great boards for beginners (what I can especially feel now that I’ve tried surfing with other boards as well and it was much harder with different ones).

In the beginning, I felt a little bit overwhelmed because the surf camp is quite big and there are a lot of people and teachers that change daily, so you don’t feel very familiar with your group or the instructors. But I got used to that and on the other hand, it was super easy to get to know new people because you just need to ask how their surf was that day and then you are already into a conversation – even easier than in a hostel!

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I didn’t expect that at first, but the food at the camp was pretty good as well! Lots of healthy stuff and they even did vegan, not just veggie and dairy free. For breakfast, we always had toast with the usual sweet spreads, fruit and even porridge which was great. Lunch was always the same: salad and lots of veggies, wraps, toast, cheese and ham and some sort of pasta/rice salad. Delicious and pretty healthy. Dinner was the highlight! They really put a lot of effort into not making boring/the same dishes all the time. We had taco’s, mac ’n‘ cheese (they even had a vegan one and it was so so good!), rice with veggie stew, mash-veggies-sausage (vegan ones as well!), and a chickpea stew with veggies and potato. Super yummy stuff and so necessary after burning lots of energy in the water and at the beach.

After the five days of surfing, I now feel pretty comfortable about being able to surf some waves and I am so pumped to practice more along my travels. I already surfed the green unbroken waves for the last two days and it worked pretty well (even though the instructor helped me).

After the camp, I travelled further to Byron Bay and also tried surfing here, but the waves were not good at all and the board way too small and therefore hard to stand up for a beginner… but I will for sure try it over and over again – surfing is addicting.

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I am so glad that I made the decision to try surfing and do the surf camp so that I can surf all around the world now and practice a lot more in my 8 months left here in Australia (and probably in Bali/Indonesia as well).

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Can you surf? Or would you like to learn it?

New Motivation & Inspiration | Favourites

This month I fell in love with a few new things: people (or their Instagram accounts), food (as per usual) and products that I want to share with you today.

I guess this will be the last Favourites blog post for now because I’ll be travelling with a backpack soon so I won’t have a lot of new things to share with you. Probably there will be a section in my monthly review with my loved ones I discover in Australia so I can tell you about them.

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Do you already have any blog post / video suggestions that you want me to make in Australia?

I want to start doing videos and obviously still write articles on here so tell me what you are interested in down below in the comments!

I am thankful for relaxed evenings with good conversations, to spend time with people whom company I enjoy and for sure will miss when I’m Down Under.

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Food

I got a few new and old favourites that I want to show you, cause there is nothing better than food – am I right? Also, I am going to share the recipe for my green-protein-smoothie I made a lot in the last weeks and you’ve probably seen it in my Instagram Stories & for my favourite salad dressing that makes all the greens taste great!

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I really like eating salad for lunch because I usually have a huge breakfast (like you see above) pretty late in the day cause I work out in the morning. Also, it is a great way to get all raw greens in. Sometimes I have baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli on the side or more raw veggies like tomatoes, cucumber and bell pepper. But my dressing is always the same because I love this combination so much!

Fresh Sweet & Sour Salad Dressing

All measurements are just roughly measured and it depends on how you like it to taste and how much salad you have.

  • 1 tsp olive or flaxseed oil
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1,5 tbsp raspberry vinegar (I use a homemade one) or other fruity vinegar
  • 1,5 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • pepper

I really love the sour but fruity & sweet taste of this dressing and it fits perfectly to any kind of veggies & greens.

Black Smoothie

We have a lot of Kale in our Garden and because Kale is super healthy and has so many vitamins I try to have a green / almost black smoothie about 3 times a week and get all those greens in. Especially when I don’t have a salad for lunch.

  • 3 handful of fresh kale
  • 1 frozen banana
  • some frozen blueberries
  • sweet fruit like watermelon, pineapple or apple
  • half a jar of coconut water
  • half a tsp of each greens powder (I use Moringa, Barley Grass & Camu Camu)

I really like this combination cause it is cold and refreshing, nourishing but doesn’t taste too green/healthy. Do you like drinking green smoothies as well?

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In Berlin I ate a super yummy wrap with black rice, tofu and a tahini sauce. I never ate round black rice before (not the hard, thin one you mix with basmati rice) and it tasted so good, very flavourful and now I want to cook with it at home. I could imagine it in a salad with greens, cucumber, pepper, smoked tofu and a tahini sauce…

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I also discovered a vegan „Mortadella“ and I really love it. It almost tastes like the real one (even my dad & brother like it!) and it’s perfect if you crave something savoury but not veggie-tasting on your bread. I eat it with a bit avocado as a butter substitute and I can highly recommend you to try it if you like substitutes.

 

 


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Inspiration

I just recently discovered @maddielymburner on YouTube and now she is my number 1 inspiration when it comes to health, veganism, food and fitness. She is so lovely, healthy and fit and her videos really motivate me a lot and give great inspiration for meals. She also has a second Instagram account that is more fitness related @madfit.ig as well as a second YouTube Channel where she posts at home workouts that I’ve been doing since two weeks now and I really love them!

I am totally inspired by the idea of minimalism and don’t owning a lot – just what you really need. Something that I want to work on more when I’ll be back from Australia. I am sure it will be a great start to only travel with a backpack for a year and hopefully, it won’t be hard to declutter because I know that I can live a wonderful life without many things I own.

Raw Alignment and her minimalism series on YouTube really inspire me, as well as Pick up Limes, who is another great inspiration!

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I found this picture on Pinterest and that’s truely how I want all my relationships to be… This picture really speaks to my heart and soul.

Last but not least I completely fell in love with @annietarasova she is such an inspiring soul and her travel photography and also videography is just beautiful. She also creates amazing art and inspires in mindfulness, self-love and more!


What are your favourites this month? Who inspires you to work towards your goals, learn & grow?