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empowerment

Boundaries & the art of saying no

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Boundaries & the art of saying no

Boundaries & the art of saying no

(Aka The Murican word that we also need to learn to incorporate into our lives here in the North)

Beautiful clothing by Finnish company Vimma and photography by Jonna Monola

Today I felt the need to write about boundaries. How do we inforce healthy boundaries in our relationships (personal, work and romantic) and communicate them to other people wisely. It’s a thought-provoking topic and something I’ve at times personally struggled with. I am still learning to draw the line in certain areas of my life and unfortunately more too often than I’d like to admit, I have a tendency of being just a little too floppy which will result in me feeling drained.

Firstly, if you’re unfamiliar with the word ”boundary” or wording ”having boundaries”, what this refers to are your personal limits and guidelines (your rules so to speak) that you establish to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards you. It also refers to how you will respond when someone passes those limits. Think about them as your invisible fences you have around certain matters. These boundaries can involve how you want to be treated in a romantic relationship, how you wish to be treated at work or just with other people period. Your boundaries are not static and they are also constantly being shaped and created and tend to shift over time.

News flash: people cross our boundaries constantly.  What it basically means is that we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world with other imperfect fellow humans. Our boundaries will get crossed as at some point someone will do, say or ask for something that does not feel right to you. Despite the mundane nature of having boundaries, I had never heard of the expression before moving to Mexico and befriending a bunch of Americans/Canadians. It’s simply not a word that is used enough in our Scandinavian culture. Thus, I feel like it needs to be addressed more, hence today’s lil blog post. Because at the end of the day what it comes down to is having the balls/ovaries of saying no when we don’t feel like it. Why one might ask, well the truth is, people are sick and tired, and way too many people in our society burn out due to their boundaries being crossed over and over again. But this is not just in the world of biz, maybe you’ll notice it in your personal life or perhaps even in your romantic life. Just a tiny example is if when you feel obligated to for instance attend an event you don’t want to go to but you go anyways. What this comes down to is your lack of boundaries/ your lack of communicating them. As you start to see, your boundaries are part of your everyday life in many areas as they determine what works for you and what doesn’t.

Some argue that having healthy and clear boundaries has a dirrect correlation with your self-esteem. I agree to a certain extent, but I think it’s more complicated than that. It also has to do with self awareness, your communication skills and the idea of being a ”yes (wo)man” or plain simple, just being too darn nice. In the corporate world there might be a myriad of reasons why someone is allowing the workload to keep piling up. Perhaps the person is afraid of losing their job, perhaps they are hoping for a promotion etc. The thing is, it’s not just black and white.

So how do we create healthy, reasonable boundaries? Good question. I am no master as I honestly like I mentioned, still battle with this myself, but, I have gathered a few tricks and tips under my belt. Below shared:

1. Gain clarity and learn to check in with yourself. Watch your emotions, feelings, energy level, mood, thoughts. If you’re feeling exhausted or drained, the odds are something is sucking the life out of you. If you notice yourself feeling resentment towards someone or something, most likely you need to change something. Recap of step one: become aware.

2. When you’ve pin pointed a situation where you’re unhappy or feel like someone is taking advantage of you or doing anything else that triggers you, mark it mentally. Figure out what, exactly, you're comfortable with and what you aren't. Step two is about learning about and setting your limits.

3. Make self care your priority. I’ve said this before, but the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself. Put yourself first. For realz. Step three is taking your power back and wanting to change things.

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4. Communication (surpise surprise!). Once you get clear on what matters most to you, then you can take the bigger step of communicating this to others. As hard as it is, you’ll have to verbalize where you stand and perhaps even break it down for others to understand where you’re coming from. Be direct. Like we’ve seen on Pinterest and the gram, growth (and sometimes change!) happen outside of the comfort zone. Step four in a nutshell: take action.

5. Baby steps. Just like with learning any new skill, it takes practice and courage. Start small and be assertive when communicating what you’re okay with and what not. Step five is a reminder of how you can be strict, yet soft at the same time.

6. Reach out. Sometimes we need a lil push/kick or enouragement from our peers, friends or fam. Talk to them about your feels and perhaps you’ll gain some new insight or another perspective around your issue. At the end of the day, we are all different and how we perceive the world is our reality. By changing perspective, your whole situation might change. Step six is a reminder that you’re not alone, ask for help.

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What’s important to understand is that everyone has their own set of boundaries and we are all responsible for holding them and also sensing and respecting other people’s boundaries. As I am typing this I am also realizing how nuanced this topic is and how it actually affets all areas of our lives constantly. We have boundaries in all areas of life: emotional, career, relationship, physical, sexual and the list goes on. Like with all things in life, it takes some time for your patterns of boundaries to develop, and it may take some time to relearn and practice something differently, consistency is key. 

Now, I’d love to hear from you. How do you communicate your boundaries without upsetting someone? Do you struggle with this issue? Do you find it easier to have clear boundaries in some areas of your life, but in others not so much?




With love and healthy boundaries,

Eva

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Why the F do I blog, but perhaps you should too?

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Why the F do I blog, but perhaps you should too?

Greetings dear readers,

Welcome to my world. Well, at least a glimpse of it. I started blogging (again) after a loooong break. Ever since I started writing again some people in my circle have been curious and reached out to me and asked me why the hell I blog. This actually made me stop for a second and ponder around the same question and fair enough as curiosity never killed the cat (or did it?), I decided to open up around the question; WHY THE F DO I BLOG. Ladies and gents, lemme tell ya why:

First and foremost I actually enjoy writing. It’s a way for me to express and share my thoughts, passions, interests and ideas within my community and even perhaps beyond it. It feels really really good and empowering to put it down on a piece of paper (even if it’s in a virtual form). Interestingly enough writing is actually something that runs in my family as my mama used to be a writer and worked within communication until she finally retired this year. So it’s a way to communicate with you guys (ahum, if you’re actually reading this comments are more than encouraged).

Secondly, I feel like it’s extremely therapeutic and I gain a lot of insight and clarity on how I actually think and feel about certain things or whatever it is that I am writing about, it simply helps me make sense of things. In addition to this, I feel like it’s making me commit to a practice or habit and teaches me to build discipline (self work, duh!). I also feel like it is helping me become more analytical and a better thinker as I actually really think about the stuff I put out on the world wide web (aka my brain is getting more functional 🧠).

I also feel like it is helping me grow as a person as I am putting myself and my thoughts out there and building my personal brand and showcasing my world views and passions. That being said, I often worry and think “oh my gosh will they judge me, what will they think” etc etc BUT then I just remind myself that the thing is, I’d rather be judged than do shit and actually judgement says way more about the person judging than the person being judged (boom mathafakaaaas). Oh, and did I mention it’s the bomb for marketing and SEO? Yea, so I guess you should start now too (if you’re in the biz world)! In a nutshell I gathered all my reasons here below:

  1. I enjoy it + runs in the fam

  2. I get to express myself, my views, thoughts, ideas and beliefs

  3. Great way to connect with my community and beyond

  4. It challenges me and puts me out of my comfort zone + empowers me

  5. It makes me more analytical and inspires me read and dig more into the topics that interest me or the things I wanna discuss

  6. It’s therapeutic

  7. It gives me clarity and insight about how I feel and what I think

  8. Personal brand development

  9. It’s the shit for marketing & SEO

  10. It’s making me grow as a person (self development)

If you also happen to enjoy writing, it’s perhaps time you should give it a go as well?

Vamos.

Con amor y cariño,

Evita

Up close and personal.

Up close and personal.

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Collaboration over Competition and (Comparison) + 10 reasons why to collaborate

Collaboration over Competition and (Comparison) + 10 reasons why to collaborate

Collaboration over Competition and (Comparison) + 10 reasons why to collaborate

Hear hear! I recently made a post about envy, if you didn’t give it a read, I suggest you at least eye it through to get an idea of my message. That being said, I completely understand your attention span might be below zero, so to save you some and effort and time I can briefly recap it here below in a few bullet points:

  • Don’t judge social media influencers or yoga teachers for posting pics on their feeds, they’re hustling just like you but in different way, they might feel insecure AF posting but do it to gain traction and biz. They’re simply using this channel for marketing (or at least I’d say many are).

  • Comparison is the seed for envy. Think about it. Yup, pretty darn accurate.

  • If you’re feeling envy: aim to emphasize instead of criticize. Remember errbody is a human and even if someone else’s life looks freaking glorious on the gram, EVEN they’ve had the worst raging diarrhea once (sorry not sorry I went there, lol). No, but for reals, my point is, we shall not compare as we have no idea of the whole story or their internal state. 

  • Fight the feelings of envy through cutting the wings of comparison. If you’re feeling envy, try using it as fuel towards your own dreams and always remember that, that you don’t know the reality of their (whoever you feel envy towards) lives, they might actually be in a really bad place with themselves.

K, cool, great, now that you’re all filled in on the envy part I want to take it one step further.  Collaboration over competition. Many of my friends are yoga teachers or at least work within the same field that I do. Some might argue that we’re competing with each other. The thing is though, that we all have something unique to offer, have a different vibe, our individual approach and a distinct way of teaching and we all attract a different crowd. That being said, you gotta play nice and fair and for instance being a copy cat is never cool. However, mistakes happen and one of my friends told me that she had just launched a Goddess Workshop (name changed) and was later contacted by someone with the exact same name, this was an honest mistake and not her intention at all. Communication, expression, honesty. It works, yup, the holy trinity once again.

Working together is powerful and so much more can be done in teams. I absolutely love projects and working with other people! Here’s a couple examples of what I’m doing/planning currently: co-hosting a retreat in Sayulita, Mexico this upcoming November (JOIN US!!) with my good friend & fellow yoga teacher Jonna Monola, co-hosting a singing bowl Yin + Sound Bath with Pauliina Kuunkajo this Saturday, soon launching a course with my friend Jasmiina Ojala from BärBar this fall (stay tuned), I will be teaching amongst a pool of other amazing yogis at the Magnesia Festival this summer, I am co-hosting a podcast (COMING SOON, launched this NEW MOON) with fellow yoginis Audra Rose Stanley and Sylvie Lacourciere and there’s a few more projects I’m not supposed to talk about just yet (aka keep your eyes open). So you, see, I LOVE co-creation.

An image from a collaboration I made with  Jenette Skin Care.

An image from a collaboration I made with Jenette Skin Care.

K, well, why you might ask? Well lemme give you 10 reasons right here, right now, so read on folks!

  1. First of all, there’s magic in coming together! Everybody has a unique skillset and different talents, you can just simply create SO MUCH MORE when joining forces with other people. Chances are you’ll also learn something new from them!

  2. Co-creation is the shit for marketing & PR! You double up the reach (or triple up the reach) in whatever you’re doing. More reach, more business, more dinero. Easy.

  3. It’s just so much more FUN! You get to share the workload and responsibilities PLUS it’s nice to have someone to hang out with. My friend Jonna and myself were recently at the Helsinki Yoga Festival with a stand promoting our upcoming retreat wearing sombreros and blasting banda music, imagine if I would’ve done that all alone. Lame.

  4. Brainstorming & new ideas. Two brains is more than one brain. It’s true. More effective problem solving happens when you combine resources in talent and mindset. This also means you can come up with better ideas, projects and workshops when you’re joining forces with someone PLUS you also have someone to discuss your ideas with and give you feedback.

  5. Your tribe/network/clients get more value. Damn right they do. For instance in a yoga workshop: having two yogis instead of one yogi is amazing since you’ll get more hands on adjustments and help in your practice. If whatever it is that you’re doing is not yoga, you’ll still get more insight and value from having more than one {insert whatever}.

  6. It’s time efficient. Delegating tasks, planning and implementation in a group or team is way more productive than doing everything solo.

  7. You will learn from your mistakes and what collaborations/projects work for you. Not all collaborations and dynamics work, don’t let this disencourage you. We are all different and it’s just like chemistry, everything does not work well together. Like oil and water = no bueno. Let failures be stepping stones towards finding the right people, organizations and companies that do work with you. Kinda like fuckboys towards Prince Charming if you will.

  8. Self awareness. When you work with someone new, you’ll quickly notice your skills and also see what you need to work on. Yay. #selfwork

  9. You’ll get inspired. Working together with someone new will most likely inspire you in some way or form, after noticing for instance your skill set and gifts and areas of improvement, you’ll most likely start working on the things you need to improve and start using more of your strengths to your advantage.

  10. Community building + new doors. You get to create a community and you’ll reach a broader network for future projects with new possibilities and opportunities. Dope.

Cool. So now that the ball is in your hands. What do you want to create? Let’s create some magic together.

There’s a few things I can help you with and things I am working with currently:

  • Yoga classes + holistic wellness + self work (here’s what some of my students have to say)

  • Copywriting (if you didn’t notice yet, I love writing; my strongest writing language is English, however I can produce text in Swedish, Finnish and Spanish as well).

  • Promotion & marketing; either working on your branding or marketing, coming up with creative ideas or then promotion through my own channels. I wouldn’t go as far calling myself an influencer just yet as insta has been killing my reach with its new algorithm), but nearly 5K followers gotta count for something 🤷🏼‍♀️ Oh did someone mention #SHAMELESSELFPROMOTION 💅🏽🙋🏼‍♀️

  • Event production (past wedding planner & currently working within this field).

  • Modeling (yup, I’ll smile to a camera).

Get in touch and let’s make shit happen.

With love,


Evita

My first poem online

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My first poem online

Making peace with the past - a poem by me (my very first online poem).

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There is so much, yet somehow nothing to say.

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It all took me where I am today.

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The tears. The loss. The pain. 

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I know, it was never in vain.

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Forever within me it will stay.

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And in all honesty I don’t even want it to go away.

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Because even if I broke,

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and wanted to choke.

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I somehow found my way home.

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To my safe little dome.

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The space that is within me.

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I learned to to see.

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The power that I hold.

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It made me bold.

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Now I am strong,

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and I know I’ve also done things wrong.

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This is not to blame.

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This is not to shame.

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And it sure the hell is not a game.

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I needed you, the past.

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You helped me cast,

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The path that I am on now.

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So let me just say wow and

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Thank you.

Picture by  Vuokko Salo  in Sayulita, Mexico

Picture by Vuokko Salo in Sayulita, Mexico

Find this post on Instagram

Con amor,

Evita

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Envy

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Envy

ENVY

There’s a lot of hype around sisterhood, goddess power and the sacred feminine. There’s a big movement called Women Supporting Women and there are a lot of strong women out there yearning to co-create, support each other and collaborate. I am one of those women and I would go as far as to say that it’s even in my blood, my lineage and my karma. My grandmother was amongst the first women in Finland to get a driver’s license and a dedicated yogini (before it was cool & trendy) and my mom, whom I’m very proud of by the way, has always been an avid feminist and worked to support women. She served as the president of the Finnish Women Entrepreneurs for several years until she finally retired this year. Cheers to you mama ❤️ I recognize your hard work.

I believe that there’s power in numbers and union and supporting each other is absolutely beautiful and we should definitely co-create, collaborate and work together. Unfortunately, however, there is something we fail to talk about openly, the big underbelly of sisterhood called envy. It’s understandable, I mean who would want to bring up the nasty, big ole’ envy with its ugliness, and it surely isn’t something to use when marketing. But envy is real and as much as women would love to have the support of each other, unfortunately they (we) are the first ones judge, criticize, belittle and smack talk each other.

I’m going to use myself as an example. When I first started my blog a few years ago I decided I needed to write at least twice a week and post on specific days. Consistency was key and every marketing savvy person would advise new bloggers to do this as it was considered to be the best method for SEO optimizing and gaining more readers. This was in 2016. The blog scene was already pretty established and I was kinda late to even be jumping on the bandwagon. I decided to give it a go anyways as I thought it’d be cool side project and something that would help me build my biz in Mex. Well, It didn’t really go as planned and life happened, I lost interest, dropped the project and stopped writing altogether. I felt a lot of insecurity in my writing and felt as if what I had to say wasn’t valuable, interesting or good enough. I was reading other blogs and felt that my posts where silly, unimportant or just shitty compared to the other stuff out there.

Fast forward three years, a lot of craziness and rapid growth and I suddenly find myself typing again. Unexpected, unplanned and unintentional. But this time it’s not forced, this time it flows, it feels good and I feel like I can stand behind everything I am writing without feeling insecure, without worrying about what other people think. Because I know better. Because I know myself. Because I’ve grown. But perhaps most importantly because I’m not comparing my writing to anyone else’s. It feels like I am finally using my own voice. It feels good to write and it feels good to share my opinions, thoughts and learnings. And if I can touch someone with my writing, or make someone think, even better.

We are all unique and have something different to offer.

We are all unique and have something different to offer.

My aim is to be real, genuine and write about the hard stuff too. Like envy. Not just the picture perfect life that social media can portray (and I am very aware of that my own insta feed displays this, hence the blog with more depth), but more about lessons, growth, life, whatever comes to my mind really. There’s no guidelines or restrictions. It also feels very therapeutic and more free as I have no set rules on how often to post, I simply do it whenever I get a splurge of inspiration, like right now at this very moment. And right now I feel like talking about envy. Everyone’s felt it, everyone knows what it is, but nobody really talks about it. So let’s.

So what is envy? Well, it’s thinking that what someone else has or is, is somehow better than what you are or have or are doing. The root to envy is comparison. It’s counting someone else’s blessings instead of yours. It’s feeling less than someone else. It’s the feeling of lacking. It’s not being happy with who you are or with what you have to offer. Heavy stuff huh.

So there are two very likely outcomes of feeling envy, either you’ll start feeling resentment towards the person or then other nasty side effect: you’ll start talking shit. But does either method make it go away? Hardly. So how do you make it go away? Perhaps the most important thing is: to stop comparing yourself to others. The saying “comparison is the thief of joy” truly is the truth. Comparison will not take you anywhere and you are only comparing yourself to an perceived image, not the actual truth. “Don’t criticize, emphasize” is a good one, because you have no idea of knowing what the person you’re envious of is dealing with, what they’ve been through or about their struggles or issues. So recognize their mundane humanness and simply stop.

Okay, so if there’s no way that you can stop comparing yourself with someone else or emphasize with them, there’s one more way: start working towards your dreams. Use the feeling of envy as fuel towards your own goals and start making shit happen. And this, ladies and gentlemen is empowering AF.

Lastly I would like to say that if you notice that you’re feeling envy towards a friend instead of a random Joe, try be open and honest about it and talk it out as difficult and even embarrassing it might feel. It takes a lot of courage, but the truth is energy doesn’t lie, and most likely your friend already felt it. Communication is key, to absolutely everything, even in dealing with envy amongst friends. Because if not, you’ll start wishing them to not be so successful or good or whatever it is you think they are, and eventually your friend will have to turn to people that wish them the best.

Life is hard, support each other and recognize your uniqueness. We all have something to offer and we are all just trying to figure it out.

Thank you for taking the time to read my typing, it’s nice to know someone out there is reading this.

Con amor,

Evita



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Real and talk about instagram, selfies and self promotion

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Real and talk about instagram, selfies and self promotion

Dear reader,

If you're a millennial like myself you’ve most likely stumbled upon the expression “shameless self promotion”. If you’re unfamiliar with it, what it means is putting yourself out there with the idea of marketing something you sell, provide or do without feeling any shame about doing it. I believe the infamous hashtag #sorrynotsorry sometimes goes along with it and most of you have probably seen a cute selfie on instagram by someone you know along with the hashtag. I guess the #sorrynotsorry is a way to acknowledge that something you’re posting might trigger some feelings or opinions in some people but you decide to do it nevertheless. More than the #shamelessselfpromotion, the #sorrynotsorry is often used when someone is simply just giving themselves permission to post that cute pic (nothing wrong with that) and perhaps not as used when marketing a product or a service.

So like I mentioned the whole concept with shameless self promotion is basically not feeling any shame in blasting (presenting would be a nicer word) your services or products on the world wide web. In all honesty though, unless you’ve got the confidence of Kim Kardashian or Queen B (um, Beyonce hellooo) (not even sure she’s got that good of a self esteem actually…) the odds are you might feel some sort of shame or insecurity in posting pics of what it is that you’re trying to sell. I mean, at least I do. And I wanted to write about it openly and honestly. Social media and especially Instagram are great tools to gain traction for whatever it is that you’re selling or promoting. Good content on your feed translates to many likes that will lead to more followers that leads to a wider audience and that again will eventually result in more business. So yes, in a nutshell social media and self promotion are key parts of a smart marketing strategy. Unfortunately or luckily though (however you wanna look at it) if you’re a yoga teacher or someone whose product happens to be a service you sell yourself, it most likely will mean that the content you’re sharing will involve pictures, opinions or words of yours.

The raw truth is that we live in a world were pretty pics of pretty girls gain followers. I mean who doesn’t want to look at a girl striking a one armed handstand in a thong…. hmm, some might not actually want to. BUT many do. For some it might be inspiring, for others it might be entertaining and for others they simply enjoy the beautiful images. But the truth is these accounts have a lot of followers. The important thing is to understand that an image is just that, a glimpse of a moment, and a pose is just that, a pose. It all comes down to your perspective and the pair of goggles you’re using to look at your world though. Learning cool ass ninja tricks like arm balances or being skinny, fit or good looking does not equal happiness. Being fit and attractive are ideal attributes many strive to attain. Knowing how to rock cool ass yoga poses might be empowering for some. BUT again plz remember, it does not necessarily mean that the person is living a balanced happy life. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. We have really no way of knowing, unless we do. So remember that next time you’re scrolling through your feed. But that being said, pretty pictures work in marketing.

Posting pics on social media is a hard dance between creating content that empowers, motivates, gains traction and is beautiful and real all at the same time. As someone trying to promote something you’re obviously hoping to get likes and to gain followers in order to grow your business. But if you’re a yoga teacher like myself, how the heck do I do that in a graceful and successful way. If I scroll down my own feed for example and review the pics that have the most likes, I can see a pretty clear pattern (well now it’s harder after the new algorithm change). Not surprising, the pics with the most likes are close ups of my face or me in a swimsuit. So does that mean I think I’m the shit and hot as balls, well, nope, I can assure you NOT AT ALL.

To put yourself out for the world to see is hard and takes a lot of courage in the first place. Sadly we yoga teachers get constantly judged and criticized for the content we post on our feeds. And this does not only happen with yoga teachers, I see this with many women in many different fields of business. Why the fuck are we not allowed to be smart & sexy at the same time? Seriously though, who are you to say what is appropriate content and what’s not. I mean if you have a social media account clearly you want to share something with the world as well, so why is your content more appropriate than mine!? I remember it like yesterday when a person commented on one of my pics when I posted an image of a landscape “nice, not a picture of yourself”. This made me sad cuz putting yourself out there is already hard enough to begin with. Well watcha gonna do, haters gonna hate, right!?

This image has the most likes on my  instagram feed . Taken by talented friend  Jess Leigh Photography.

This image has the most likes on my instagram feed. Taken by talented friend Jess Leigh Photography.

So my point is too often we might be too quick to judge and think “omg look at Bethany just posting pics of herself”. Well, lemme tell ya something Mike, perhaps Bethany needs a little extra validation and has a low self esteem…perhaps Bethany is dealing with a breakup and needs to feel good about herself OR WHAT IF MIKE, Bethany is actually trying to sell or promote something and is using the best possible marketing strategies she knows. So please before jumping to the conclusion and thinking that Bethany thinks that she’s the shit and throwing the first rock, I suggest you step back and check yourself. Sure, most of us might agree that if Bethany is simply looking for validation through social media, it might not be the best way to cope with her low self-esteem issues. But then on the other hand, who the hell are you to judge. I mean are you perfect? What I’m trying to say is, that we are all different and today the gram happens to be a big part of our lives, in the good and the bad, and we all use it in different ways, some for marketing, some for posting pics of their sushi platter, some of them surfing, others for selfies and some for posting pics of their their kids. And this is all completely fine. So please, Mike, try to be more understanding and kind in a world that’s already harsh and hard enough as it is.

With love,

Evita

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20 things I've learned in the past 10 years

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20 things I've learned in the past 10 years

20 thing’s I’ve learned about life in the past 10 years

A couple of days ago I drank a cup of Yogi tea and got the quote “Experience will give you the power and confidence to be you”. Instead of just tossing the cute little tea bag wisdom quote away, I saved it and gave it some thought. And ta-da, this blog post was born.

One of the cool things about this mysterious thing we call life is that we are continuously learning new things. When I think back about how I used to be in my early twenties (or even my later twenties, or actually even last year) versus the person I am today, boy, have I changed. And this change is a result of experience and life lessons (read: pain, devastation and lots of tears).

I mean when you think about it, through eons of time people have always respected the elderly for their wisdom. So I guess there is some kind of truth that wisdom comes with age, and no, I am NOT comparing myself to an elderly person. I’m no Yoda and I am still young (I keep telling myself that) but I simply am sharing what I’ve gathered this far.

Okay, so I’m not 20 no more, but neither am I am middle aged. I’d say I am a young woman, not completely lost anymore, with some wisdom under my belt and with a few life lessons in my back pocket. I think moving to the other side of the world in my early twenties, starting a couple businesses and getting my heart broken has helped me grow. Add a line of bad decisions and falling one my face a couple times and voila this was my recipe to learn. Some of us learn these lessons at an early stage in life and have a lot more to deal with from an early start. I do consider myself lucky because my life has been somewhat sheltered, at least growing up in Finland. Everyones path is different and even though we often learn through experience and wisdom is something we gather through time, age is not always the measurement of wisdom or knowledge.

The list consists of a number of realizations that I’ve gained through the ups and downs, curves and cut backs of life and perhaps things I did’t know in my early twenties. I guess what I am trying to say is, if you’re in your early twenties the odds are you’re going through the fire and trying to figure shit out, or at least I did. … so here ya go a list or a roadmap to life hacking. Oh and as a side note, even though I’ve learned all of the points listed below, doesn’t necessarily mean that I comply (insert emoji with hands to the sides). So on with the list:

Trees are considered wise.  “Be like a tree. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Keep growing.”  -Joanne Raptis

Trees are considered wise.

“Be like a tree.
Stay grounded.
Connect with your roots.
Turn over a new leaf.
Bend before you break.
Enjoy your unique natural beauty.
Keep growing.”

-Joanne Raptis

1. The most important thing in life is your health

When I say health I don’t mean you not being sick, I mean your wellbeing, your mental health, your physical health, your emotional health, your mind and your body from a holistic perspective. Everything else is trivial. You might argue, “no, but my family is number one for me”. Well, homie, if you’re sick AF you can’t be there for your family can you now. So this is the foundation of your life. YOU. Take care of yourself and treat yourself and your body nicely. Make yourself happy and spend time with just YOU. The most important relationship you’ll ever have in your life, is the one you have with yourself. Work on it. Constantly. Do things for yourself. Whatever it is you like, do it. Sleep enough, eat enough, exercise, travel, go out to nature, do whatever ticks you. Do YOU and take care of yourself. Also remember that you have to communicate your limits when it comes to work and relationships, if you don’t then your health is at stake.

2. Learn to say sorry

You’re human. Unless you’re a unicorn or an alien (it’s possible some might argue) you make mistakes. And like I’ve said in a previous blog post the odds are you aren’t an enlightened being, so admit your mistakes, take responsibility where you know you’ve fucked up and say “I am sorry”. These three little words mean a lot and build bridges instead of burning them. That being said, only say these words if you truly mean it. If you, however honestly feel like you did nada wrong then stand your ground (next point) and take no BS.

3. Kindness is gangster but take no SHIT

There are a lot of assholes out there and many ways to deal with them. Kindness is gangster and you can try to kill them with kindness, but frankly sometimes you just gotta stand up for yourself and tell them off. People that are rude just to be rude or people that put other people down to feel good about themselves aren’t clearly happy in life. Their behavior towards you is a reflection of that. It might be hard to remember this when someone is being offensive and often we either attack back or just sit quiet. I can’t say that I’ve fully mastered this lesson just yet, it’s more of a work in progress. I also sometimes struggle with boundaries, but I do recognize the importance of learning to say NO and defending yourself. Just like you practice anything else you can start practicing this skill. Next time someone is rude AF to you, you can actually reply in a nice way that that’s unacceptable and that you don’t put up with that kind of shit.

4. Travel is the best investment

It is. Try it yourself. I don’t regret any trips I’ve ever made in my life but I do regret spending too much money on fast fashion or stupid shit. A trip can be a life long memory where as a cute dress is just that, a cute dress.

5. Don’t react right away, there’s a reason they say sleep on it

Yup, it’s true. Sometimes when you get triggered you tend to want to just get your opinion thrown out right back at at whatever it is. This however is not always the best idea as you’ll probably say shit you don’t mean and adding some calmness and stepping back will always give you a better perspective and a smarter answer.

6. You are the author, producer and master of your life, make shit happen

You are the master of your life and you’re responsible for making yourself happy. If you hate your job or if you are in an unhappy situation or relationship, you’re the only one that can change that. I am not telling you to quit your job and to just lye on a tropical beach and soak in the sun (or I mean, actually you can), but to start by deciding what kind of life you would like to have and start working towards it step by step. Rome wasn’t build in a day and neither is your dream life (in most cases). Commit to your vision, commit to your goals and learn the difference between a dream and a goal (read number 19).

7. We are all unique and different

Yup, we all hold our own pair of goggles through which we look at life. We all have our own perspective and view things differently. We differ in personalities and are built differently from different value systems to different interests, hobbies, issues, insecurities, paths, pasts, ways of communicating, joking or even kissing. We also have different ways of showing love and love languages. Learn yours and learn your partners, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept expect to be mindblown.

8. Everything in Moderation, even moderation

This quote I learned from a dear friend of mine and he learned it from Laird Hamilton, a big wave surfer. I mean if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Everything in moderation, even moderation. Everyone can’t be on their top game 100% of the time or be super healthy all the time, sometimes you need to eat that cupcake, sometimes you just need to chill on your couch and do absolutely NOTHING. And sometimes you need to stop moderating everything and go crazy. Yup, there you have it, one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard. If you have another good one, feel free to drop it in the comment section.

9. When there is a will, there is a way

Sure is true. If you truly want something, I mean if you TRULY want something, you will find a way to make that work wether it is something you have to do yourself or it involves other people. I also love the saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, which falls somewhat in the same category as it has to do with PERSISTENCY, but I guess this variation is more about complaining about something and getting a result that way. Either way, you will make anything (yet not everything) happen if you truly want it.

10.TRUST YOUR GUT, Everything is ENERGY, trust the vibes you get

Very true. If something feels off, it most likely is. Trust the vibes you get around certain people. Trust that hunch feeling, that little whisper inside of your head, because you already know the answer when you become quiet enough it’ll be loud and clear.

11. No one knows your body better than you

When someone says “you need to exercise at least X times a week” or “you should avoid coffee at all costs” might be true for them, but not for you. Learn to know your body, learn to know what your needs are when it comes to sleep, rest, exercise, diet, chill time and even socializing. Like I mentioned in number 7, we are all unique and you’re the boss for your body, so if you don’t already, learn no know yours cuz no one knows better than you what works for you.

12. Comparison is the thief of joy

No further comments. It truly is. And social media is a good channel for just posting the pretty pictures, but god dammit, they’re just pictures. Do not compare yourself to someone else’s gallery.

13. Learn to laugh at your own mistakes

Because it makes it more light and is a great practice for self acceptance. We all make mistakes and learning to laugh at them will make life so much lighter.

14. Forgiveness is for yourself

This one has been a big one. Forgiveness is hard especially when someone has hurt you so so deeply. However, holding anger and resentment towards another person will not bring you the peace that you deserve. Forgiveness is simply that, letting go of the negative feelings so that you can feel free. This does not mean you have to accept the wrongdoings towards you, just release them. Everyone has their own personal karmic energy and will at some point experience a result from their actions. You cannot control their actions or their decisions, but what you can control is your feelings.

15.What you resist, persists

Life will hurt. The odds are you’ll get hurt, one way or another. You’ll deal with betrayal, grief, loss, pain or disappointment. Some of them will be big and others small, minor curveballs. Whilst dealing with your issues can be pretty upsetting, as human beings we’re really good at amplifying them and getting stuck in the injustice of it all. Unfortunately, we tend to draw out on our own suffering, rather than being able to move on. By accepting the inevitable pain, struggles and unwanted events that at some point will unfold in our lives, we actually choose acceptance.

16. Courage does not include no fear

Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

17. The more you feel gratitude, the more it will expand

Energy flows where intention goes. The more you focus on something the larger it will grow and expand. The more gratitude you feel, the more you’ll attract other things to be grateful for.

18. distance means nothing when someone means so much

You might grow apart or you might move to the other side of the world. But if you’re lucky, you’ll get to keep a handful of the really special ones even if you don’t see each other as often as you’d like. Also, sometimes distance means nothing, when someone means so much. I miss many of my friends so so much and even if I won’t see them in a while, I know that with some of them it doesn’t matter at all. We ‘ll pick up right where we left it.

19. A dream is just a dream, a goal is a dream with a plan

So you know that dream you’ve had in the back of your head for a while now. Start working towards it. Make an action plan and with baby steps you can start today. Even if you’re busy with life or your current job, you can still start. So do it, because this life is meant to be lived.

20. Love is the answer

It is the solution in this random and harsh world. Express it freely. Show it to the ones you love. It is the reason for our existence.

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Your yoga teacher is not your guru

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Your yoga teacher is not your guru

Your yoga teacher is not your guru

If you haven’t watched Kumaré yet, it’s about time. This is hands down one of the best documentaries of our time.

There is a number of reasons for people to go to yoga classes. Some do it to exercise, some to get a good stretch, some for the spiritual benefits, others to reduce stress, some to feel part of a community and some possibly for all of those reasons. The list goes on. I love meeting new people and I also love my dedicated students, so wether you’re coming to my classes, workshops or retreats, I am honored and grateful to have you share your time with me and I am thrilled I can share some of my knowledge with you.

In my bio I state that one must always stay a student and I truly emphasize this. Unless you’re Gandhi, the odds are you’re not an enlightened being just yet. That being said, the fact that you are practicing yoga and the fact that you want to become more connected with yourself and your surrounding world is an amazing first step towards the right direction and something worth celebrating. What is key to understand though is that yoga teachers don’t have it all figured out (hell nah!!). Sometimes actually they might even have more issues than the average Joe and this is what perhaps initially led them to yoga (take this with a grain of salt). So to fully lean on them with your problems and expect them to have solutions is not the best idea. I guess this must be why now they don’t really allow the terminology of “Yoga Therapy”. See, we yoga teachers are just as messed up as you. We get down on ourselves, fuck up and get lost in life. I guess the big difference from the average non yogi is that even though we also fuck up, we MIGHT (caps lock here) be more aware of it and we more importantly might be working on changing that behavior. And yoga can be an excellent tool to become more aware, awake and in tune with yourself. I can truly say that thanks to the world of yoga and its broad field of teachings, I am becoming more aware of my own patterns and issues. And recognition is a hella good first step in this long journey towards a better version of me. Cuz at the end,  that’s what a lot of us want, to grow, to learn and to connect.

We can learn from each other. Pic of me and  Abi.

We can learn from each other. Pic of me and Abi.

Unfortunately we live in a time where people are getting sick. Sick and tired of being sick and tired. Sick from working too much, sick from stress and unrealistic expectations. This sickness and tiredness leads to us feeling stuck and unaccomplished and very often lost. Are we on our right paths? Are we doing what we are supposed to be doing? Perhaps we feel like we need a change but are just too tired, too exhausted and blocked from finding the solutions ourselves. Add some relationship issues or a broken marriage and bam! You’re open AF to having someone else steer your ship and take control. This is of course is okay if that person is a) your therapist or b) actually knows what the best solutions for you are and c) truly has your best interest in mind and works from the goodness of their heart and not for a financial gain. Don’t get me wrong, guidance and mentoring is not wrong and even in yogic philosophy we are taught that once the student is ready, the master will come. But the thing is, you are the master and you will always be your own guru. You hold all the answers to all your problems and what a teacher or a guide can do is, to aid you to see that, but at the end of the day, YOU are the guru. And this is super important to assimilate. The same thing goes for your asana practice on your mat. If something does not feel good in your body but the teacher is telling you to do it, hell nah! Get outta that pose! You know the best what feels food and what works for your god given temple, never forget that. And as a teacher I am only here to give you ideas and suggestions on how to move. If it does not feel good for you, if it doesn’t relate to you, you are more than welcome to skip. 


To close the circle I want to say that you can learn a lot from your yoga teacher and they can serve as an excellent guide on your journey, but always remember that you are the captain and you navigate the ship, even if your teacher can sometimes work as the compass on giving you some direction on where to go. I am blessed and grateful to be sharing my teachings and what I’ve learned, but boy, I am still and I will always remain a student.

Namaste,

Eva

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