What does it mean to practice self-care?

Adulthood is overrated. The length of effects and stress brought about by the sometimes overwhelming responsibilities of adulthood is underestimated. Workload, deadlines, work at home, family relationship, financial responsibilities—the list could go on and on. When you factor in social activities and what social media tells you to consume, you will relish the opportunity to trade places with that baby who has nothing to worry about. But that’s next to impossible. 

Especially these days. We wake up each day not knowing exactly what to expect. There’s good news and bad news and we are all on an emotional roller coaster ride. Our bodies and brains are adversely affected by stress, fear, and anxiety. And chronic stress can create long-term health issues.

But of course, there’s a way to be at peace with yourself and the world we are in—embrace the numerous responsibilities but focus on what is essential. And this includes self-care. Yes, self-care, believe it or not!


So, what really is self-care?

More formally, self-care is “a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being.” It is vital for building resilience toward those stressors in life that we can’t eliminate.

Self-care is a general term that describes everything you do deliberately for your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. By that, many of us overlook this very important ‘responsibility’. And this is why ‘deliberately’ is one of the most important words in the definition. We need to be conscious of our well-being before we can achieve true self-care.

It can start from very simple acts or habits, like not checking emails at night when you know it would affect your sleep or bigger things like going for a vacation or booking a massage.


And why is it important?

Is it true that self-care borders to being selfish? Hmmm, well what’s so wrong about pleasing yourself (as long as you don’t undermine anyone in the process)? So, that’s a big NO. This is not about doing something at the expense of the other. But in fact, it is about doing something to enable you to actually do more of the other. When we pay attention to our well-being, we are not considering our needs alone. We are reinvigorating ourselves so that we can be the best version of ourselves for the people around us. Like a mother finding the time to rest the body and mind or do an evening self-care routine so she will have a richer self to take care of her child.

Self-care encourages us to maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves so that we can transmit the positive energy created on to others. 

How to practice it?

But self-care isn’t just about a one-time trip to the massage therapist or vacation. It is best practiced with consistency. Like a small evening routine to make you feel rested when you wake up and face another day. You can also add a few bigger steps during the weekend or every other week or so. The key here is not waiting for yourself to reach body and mind fatigue before doing something but regularly and consistently unloading the negatives to make space for the positive. To consistently build on small habits and steps to create a sturdier, happier version of yourself.


What’s the best way to do that?

There is a lot of stuff online that could give you ideas. And it’s always more fun to find someone or a buddy to do those things together. But always choose the best feeling path. What motivates you and inspires you is different than the person next door. So look for the things that make you feel alive.

At the end of it all, every creature on Earth, including us, human beings, have limitations. And self-care is simply about reminding us to recognize and respect those boundaries while living our best lives.


Jessica Sanders – Love Your Body

Helping create a world equal where we view everyone as equal is Jessica Sander’s central theme in life right now. Through her work, this fantastic young social worker and author of “Love Your Body” hopes to encourage people to be their best selves and to create safe spaces where everyone can feel valued, heard, and included.

In this podcast, we will hear about her motivations and her uplifting stories and ideas leading to this book and her work.

It all started from a conversation with her best friend about unnecessarily dangerous and expensive plastic and vaginal surgeries that we hear so much about nowadays. While even as she was grappling about her identity at that time, hearing women waste time and energy focusing on how they look urged Jess to do something.

Jessica shares writing the book is in itself a journey of self-discovery. She realized the book she was imagining didn’t exist at all. So she decided it will be out of the box with an uncompromising message. It will be the first children’s book that discusses stretch marks and cellulite–all kinds of female forms! While admittedly a white female is falling within “the norm”, she didn’t quite see the way she has growing up, which still made her want to see more representations. Jessica felt like she was an untapped energy source for such a book to come to life.

She also shares how she struggled to find balance in writing the book. Recognizing that we do live in a world that seems to value beauty amongst all else, Jessica explains how she didn’t want to set false expectations. Instead, she strived to make the book as compassionate and positive for people in such places of self-doubt but in a realistic way.

Jessica and Alexandra navigate an essential conversation in this podcast. Especially now that we can be so consumed with what we see on social media, and just like Jessica’s works, this conversation aims to lead diverse voices without being anything less than compassionate, open, and authentic.

Links mention in the podcast

Podcast Highlights

  • My whole life, I was waiting for myself to be represented by a model or something like that. And when we do not see ourselves represented in the content that we consume, we think we’re not right, normal, desirable, important, and to be held on a pedestal. Then we are always striving to be something other than ourselves. I started sorting out the imagery and saw more and more women showing forms that I haven’t seen before in these content. I was inspired by their body positivity and I realized the true power of representation. – Jessica Sanders
  • I’m lucky enough to be fairly confident enough in my childhood, not with my body but in my ability to have an opinion and my voice. I challenged the negative thoughts with self-compassion and taught my self a different way. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it has completely gone away; it’s social conditioning and we have to do a lot of unlearning. – Jessica Sanders
  • Body Positivity, started by lesbian women, is a movement to acknowledge the body in its truth. It’s also combating fatphobia in our culture. People with bigger bodies are also discriminated, maybe not in a life-threatening way, but in all kinds of awful ways on a day-to-day basis. Shame could be potentially a very damaging thing for an individual. – Jessica Sanders
  • We can easily judge when we’re on the side of normal. It takes tremendous effort to wake up to what other people go through and it was difficult to bear to see all these people in pain and suffering. If I cannot be compassionate with myself, if I don’t understand where my moods, opinion, and own energy comes from and my courage that I want to build in this world, then I cannot bring that forward and towards other people. – Alexandra Kreis
  • I don’t want young girls to go through what I went through. It shouldn’t be like that it was their destiny. Because my experience is ‘the norm’. And it shouldn’t be ‘the normal.’ We have to start the conversation early. – Jessica Sanders


Guest Bio

Jessica Sanders is the young author behind Love Your Body. She is also a social worker from Melbourne who started with photography as her first passion. Ready to try anything new, she jumped right into researching and writing her first book and the upcoming ones from inspirations from her own childhood and her post-graduate studies which focused on Gender.


Self-care : The biggest secret

[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]A new series on Netflix which shows the applied knowledge of Marie Kondo on clearing our living spaces is yet one more acknowledgement that our lives have become cluttered.  From smartphones to social media, to detox diets and beyond, many of us are drowning in a deluge of products and trends that compete for our attention.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]It seems that we are under constant pressure to improve ourselves, our lives and the way we live through yet more and more wellness products. I recently read in an article in the NY Times about procrastination, “It’s almost like you have this moral imperative — if you’re not trying to improve, you’re failing at some level.”

So, how can we cut out the noise and instead, sink that one step deeper into our own innate wisdom, a step that will bring deep healing rather than simply racing to keep up with each and every new ‘wellness’ trend?

By taking care of ourselves and cultivating a healthier mind and body, we are better able to enjoy life more fully. Our relationships with others also benefit, we become clearer about the things that we love and our own personal ‘calling’ (dharma) is revealed.

Let me be clear: spirituality and wellness are not the same things. The promises described above can only result from following a spiritual path. Although tempting, a wellness path means to remove only the stalk from the root of the malaise. It can only provide some temporary relief.

Most of us are familiar with various ‘wellness’ treatments on the market, eg Ayurvedic massage, a gym-based yoga membership or perhaps an Ayurvedic bath with more chemicals than can be digested. Too often, these simply serve to alleviate the symptoms in the short-term but don’t provide any real substantial healing.

It is true that we all have to start somewhere. And certainly, those free yoga classes, easy gym memberships and other wellness products can be a first step in the right direction. At the same time, it is important to be wary of the whole marketing-led wellness industry. For more inspiration on this, see Dana G’s latest article ‘The self-care paradox‘. True healing asks us to cut out the noise for real.

My teacher would often say, ‘We tend to overrate the mind and intellect. While they have a place in our lives we give them far more credit then they deserve.’ In my own teaching, I often advise students to beware the monkey mind.

After more than 2 decades of practising Hatha yoga, I can confirm that it is a path that teaches one gently to turn inwards, with no short cuts or self-deception. It curtails over-dependence on the everyday mind and intellect by asking that we open to the wisdom of the body and all its layers /shadows.

What do I mean when I speak of those layers/shadows?

In both Yoga and Ayurveda, a person is viewed as having different layers through which we act.

There are five of these layers:

  • the physical body,
  • the energetic body,
  • the mental body (lower mind),
  • the intellectual/ intuitive body (higher mind)
  • and the bliss body.

In Sanskrit, these are known as the Annamaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Vijnanamaya kosha and Anandamaya Kosha.

In the modern world, we have achieved much through psychology by becoming more willing to listen to the body and to the emotions.  However, this approach only just scratches the surface.

To access our intuition (Vijnanamaya Kosha), it is essential that we develop self-trust and -love and a way of quietening the mind so that we can hear the inner voice.

It is only when those five layers are balanced and can communicate with each other that our inner wisdom can be revealed. The answers that then come from deep within mean that we no longer feel the need to chase after the latest new wellness fad. This is true healing (to be ‘made whole’).


What practical steps can we take to embark on our path into wisdom?


  1. Spend time each day noticing what the eyes are seeing, the hands are feeling, the skin is touching. Our senses connect us to the world. To spend even a few moments each day being clear of what we are tasting, touching, hearing and smelling is a way of noticing how we perceive the world.
  2. When making a decision, step back for a moment out of the rational mind and take time to slow down, breathe or even better, practise some yoga and then ask yourself what solution is needed to move forward with ease.
  3. Notice the effects on relationships with other people after your practice – what kind of answers or actions are coming up.
  4. Be clear about where you want to go and establish a goal.


If you want to deepen and connect your sense of intuition, you can get a taste when immersing yourself in a retreat. Maybe you even feel like coming to Greece with me.

Have a look to find more about The Greek Escape Yoga Retreat and make yourself a gift.


You think your instincts are working but is your intuition?

[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]Personally, I’ve often struggled to discern between my instincts and my intuition until a year ago (see my story of Self-Love).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]In the dark days of winter, my asana practice would suffer, my eating and sleeping habits wobble, and I begin questioning myself: Is sleeping in to skip my pre-dawn sadhana (aka yoga practice, chanting or anything you do to align yourself with the day) an intuitive moment of self-care, or an instinctive aversion to the traditions that would unhook me from the bonds to find I can awaken?

“Only you know for sure,” my mentors would say.

Frustratingly accurate since, ultimately, we are each our own best teacher. How did this help me when my alarm shrieked into the cold darkness of 5:30 am?

Truth be told it does not help if I tackle this from my mind. I had to cultivate so much more…

Instinct vs. intuition

But first things first – let me explain the difference between instinct and intuition:

Unlike instinct, intuition has no future and no past. It lives entirely in this very instant. It’s plugged into the vast network of the universe and is known by the name of vijnanmayaskosha (also translated as innate wisdom).

This is a term from Ayurveda, where our being is explained through the layers of five sheets.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_single_image image=”3073″ img_size=”” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]And because we are talking about wisdom here, I would call it a genuinely trustworthy brick for laying the path for self-healing that leads to dharma. Listening to the voice of our intuition is coming home to a place we never left.

That sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? It’s what we know as Socrates famous; Know thyself!

The trouble is, a lack of discernment between instinct and intuition inevitably creates confusion in interpreting the messages that each carries. It is easy to get into the habit of compulsively searching, seeking and rushing from one thing to the next, to keep ourselves distracted from uncomfortable feelings.  Self-awareness is indeed the bedrock upon which discernment is built.

How do we create self-awareness that is true and not filtered through constant desires?

The answer to it lies in the other layers.

When our body works like it should (in rhythm with the circadian cycles), showing us that we can have radiant health, when we can breathe in line with our emotions, because we are not suppressing them and giving prana the space it needs to circulate, When our mind and intellect is clear and less fogged or struggling to bring 1 and 1 together, then our intuition can work and it shows through self-esteem.

This is why the Ayurveda comes up with the term dinarcharya – daily routines and workouts. And why Yoga is talking about Yamas and Niyamas – behaviours for mental health and observances for living in harmony with the world around us.


This is an awful lot to digest, I know.

But the light at the end of the tunnel is that you can find a way in. Only, if you believe in the magic of process, not instant remedies.

Because with trust into time and process, you will be able to notice that any atomic adjustment will get you on track with your healing powers that are lying in your inner wisdom.

Want to get help?

Join me on my Yogic RoadMap (Creating Space). Give yourself a year and you will be a person on track with your mental well being. With Self Awareness Skills that are doable. A person that makes choices because they are in line with your dharma. And where you can experience life as flowing.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Love : Valentine’s Day Pain-Free


Love should be celebrated everyday… not just on Valentine’s day.


Some call this day a ‘Hallmark Day’. A day to increase adivertissement for  commercial goods  and make money on the foolish hearted.
When I was single, I struggled with ignoring the day. Even though for 364 days in the year I believed I was fine, February 14th always managed to hit me sideways.

I moved away and let my life untwist and untie. In this action of undoing, I found myself one sunny afternoon sitting in my favorite chair thinking: I have had enough. I want to merely respect and love myself and be the person that so many of my friends see in me. I want to feel, think, and be this person they already understand, but that I doubt I am.

After this intimate, perfect encounter with myself,  a 180 degree. The self-transformation began to unfold Seriously!
I was so fed up with myself and my bullshit, that when I surrendered that this came from my innermost being.
And I was rewarded.

Half a year later I stumbled across my current mentor Cate Stillman who penned a book on how to create a more holistic lifestyle by applying ayurvedic, yogic, and circadian rhythm routines.

At the time I was burnt out from massaging too much, teaching yoga all the time and not finding time for myself. All that what was in me was pouring out to others until eventually
I found myself trying to pour from an empty cup.

Meeting Cate was the second lifesaver for me. I started to take my own life more seriously. I began to pay attention to how  I slept, when I rested, how much I ate (or how little in my case), and started to initiate some real habit-changing triggers.

This was about three years ago.
Now I teach other people how to bring this self-respect, this  preservation of energy to their life.  I coach people to cultivate respect for  their own feelings, and reflect on whether their actions reflect what they really want   I have now managed to combine this with my yoga practice, teaching and running a business

If you want advice on how to start, I invite you to first ask yourself this :

  • What is it that I truly desire? Vs How am  I actually living these days?
  • Who’s getting my attention first? People around me or myself?
  • And although I am not a fan of letting other people determine how I think of myself – I would like to ask you: How do other people perceive you?

From there make a list, of your daily activities. And see where you have taken care of yourself so that that self-love can come into your life

I never thought of myself as someone who ‘wasn’t in love with myself’. That wasn’t how I was looking at myself even though people pointed it out to me in many ways. Denial was my second name.
If I had admitted that I didn’t love myself, I would have fallen apart. So I was trying to keep the love alive by asking other people to like me.

If you looking for a change and want to experience more self-love why don’t you sign for a free webinar this Sunday 17th February?

See you there?

Yours truly,