My Very First Blogger Recognition Award

Never in a lifetime of a blogger did I ever think I would be nominated for an Award! Blogging is one of my passions and although a very time consuming one, I like to think that it brings a little smile or a touch of help to my readers.

First of all, I really want to thank the beautiful Neelie (blog: Neelie’s Next Bite), who owns an amazing blog all about travel and lifestyle, for her nomination. Girl, you are awesome and I am so happy that your blog is turning into your professional activity!

Before I pass on the nomination to my 15 favorites, here are the rules of the award: 

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Write a short story on how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Choose 15 bloggers you want to pass this award on to.
6. Comment on each of their blogs to let them know they have been nominated and provide a link to this post.

I have actually been blogging for a long time but only found my true voice very recently. I went from writing poetry, to sharing pictures, to travel writing to my current blog, Nathalie Yogini. People often say I am quite a creative person, which is why I tried lots of things before I decided I would just regroup it all into one single blog. I don’t write much poetry on here but I do try to keep my love for travel and photography alive. I have also added yoga and nutrition sections, two passions of mine which have always been buried deep inside but officially surfaced almost a year ago now. I try to help my readers find their healthiest and most peaceful selves by giving advice on how yoga and good nutrition can literally change your life. I am also currently working on a program and an E-Book that will help people with skin issues heal themselves from the inside out.

My advice to new bloggers would be don’t listen to other people’s advice too much (I know, it’s a little paradoxal but hear me out 😉 ) What I mean is: when I first started blogging, people would tell me ‘you need to find a niche or a specific subject and just stick to that’ I also heard a lot of ‘there are thousands of travel blogs out there, you need to pick something more specific’. At the end of the day, your blog is a reflexion of YOU and only YOU. It is not created to make other people happy, it is first and foremost created for YOU to share what YOU are passionate about and there are bound to be plenty of people on the planet who are passionate about those same things. So don’t overthink it too much and follow your instinct and your heart. ❤

Now onto my nominations! They are in no particular order, but I love them all because they are so unique to their owners – some of which I have already met physically. I love the blogging community and I thank each and every single of my readers and followers for their ongoing support!

LeeAnn from LeesHealthyLife

Mara from She Smiles Yogi

Flora from Flora the Explorer

Tracy from The Feminine Code 

The Nubry Sisters from Nubry

Danielle from DB’ZKNEEZ

Pascale from Pascale Gibon

Christy from When Women Inspire

Pearl from The Pearly Life 

Gabi from Cooking without Limits

Jyothi from The Friendly Epicurian

Niki from The Richness of a Simple Life

Tamara from The Purple Almond

Sascha from The Stylish Dreamer

Bea rom Beafreee

 

Congratulations to all of you!

With love,

Nat

How to decrease stress

2 Easy and Effective Ways to Decrease Stress

We all get stressed. Whether it is because of our job, school or because of personal problems, we will all go through a stressful period at some point in our lives.

Today I want to share with you my top two tips to decrease your stress levels and turn them into something positive for your mind… and your body! You will need to:

– Re-learn how to breathe

– Incorporate hormone balancing infusions into your diet.

 

Re-learn how to breathe

Here is one breathing exercise that I would like you to incorporate into your everyday evening routine, 15 mins before going to bed.

Sitting cross legged on a hard surface, place your hand onto your knees, palms facing the ceiling. Make sure your back is straight and the crown of your head is extending towards the sky.

Close your eyes. Take a big inhale through your nose. Feel your lungs filling up with air until they’ve reached maximum capacity. Hold the air in and slowly count to two. Gently release the air through your mouth until you feel your lungs “collapsing” inward.

Repeat the steps 5 to 10 times and go to bed shortly after.

Incorporate Hormone Balancing Infusions into Your Diet

There are plenty of infusions available on the market, but I found that the one that works best for me is Rooibos.

Rooibos means “red bush”. It is mainly produced in South Africa and is caffeine free. Rooibos tea is rich in many mineral contents such as iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, magnesium and alpha hydroxy acid. It also contains antioxidants.

Rooibos tea functions as both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, protecting your cells from damage by free radicals and reducing inflammation. Rooibos tea has been shown to be an easy way to begin to slow down the conversion and depletion of many stress-inducing hormones.

I suggest you try incorporating two cups of Rooibos into your daily routineone upon waking up and one before bed – for at least a month and see how you feel.

If you find Rooibos to be too strong, try adding a slice of lemon or half a teaspoon of honey to it.

How to decrease stress levels

With Love,

Nat

The Top Benefits of Inversions

As a Yogini who is still working on her inversion game, I thought it would be nice to highlight to you the actual benefits of getting upside down.

Getting upside down can raise a lot of fear in us, simply because it is very unnatural for the body. However, once you find out just how much good it does to said body, you will be wanting to get upside down every day.

“Sometimes you have to let life turn you upside down

so you can learn how to live right side up.”

An inversion is most generally categorised as any asana in which the head is below the heart. We will get back to the actual postures later on in this article, but before that, here are my top reasons why Inverting is GOOD for you!

Reversing the blood flow in the body and improving circulation:

Using gravity to provide the brain with more oxygen and blood will increase mental functioning and improve concentration, memory, and processing abilities.

Increasing immunity and preventing illness:

The lymphatic system is a key player in keeping the body healthy. Lymph moves through the body to pick up toxins and bacteria which will be later eliminated by the lymph nodes. Playing with gravity and muscle contraction will allow lymph to more easily travel into the respiratory system where much of the toxins enter the body.

Energising:

Getting upside down into heating inversions such as handstand or headstand and getting more blood moving to the brain will results not only in physical invigoration but mental revitalisation as well.

Relaxing:

Getting upside down into cooling inversions such as shoulderstand or legs up the wall will calm the nervous system, thereby activating the parasympathetic nervous system and producing feelings of balance and calm.

Building confidence:

Being able to kick up into a handstand or pincha and actually staying there brings a feeling of control and strength, reinforcing the feeling that you are capable of anything.

Staying humble:

But before you get there, those many attempts work as an amazing reminder that it’s also about the journey, not just the destination.

Giving you a new perspective on life:

Being upside down literally forces you to see the world from a different perspective, teaching you that there is always another way to approach a situation, person or problem.

Finally, Inversions are fun!

Once you get passed the “scary” feeling of being upside down and potentially losing balance, once you learn how to fall out of an inversion safely, there is only room left for fun and testing out your capacity to get upside down and stay there!

 

If you feel discouraged because the only inversions you ever see online are your headstands, handstands or forearm stands, remember that there are safer and less scary versions such as shoulder stands, down dogs, standing forward folds, legs up the wall, and happy baby.

DISCLAIMER: Like all things sports, there are certain contraindications to getting upside down, notably if you have the following injuries or illnesses: unmedicated high blood pressure, some heart conditions, neck injuries, recent stroke, detached retina, glaucoma, and epilepsy. Talk with your doctor and teacher if you are unsure about your status.

Source

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Being an Entrepreneur

For my second article in the “Good, Bad and Ugly” series, I have decided to talk to you about a subject that is completely different to the usual Yoga, Nutrition or Travel, but which a lot of you have asked me to share: the entrepreneurial life.

As you will know by now if you’ve read my About page or if you follow me on Instagram, a little over a year ago I quit my corporate job to enter entrepreneur-ville as a Marketing Consultant. A year later, I feel it is time to review my experience and share the knowledge acquired so that anyone out there who is looking to set up a business can take away a few tips and be one step ahead when they will take the plunge and set out on their own.

Entrepreneurial life: The Cool Part

Doing what you truly want to do – You’re probably thinking “well, duh!” but believe me, you will need to remind yourself of that fact every time you feel down and believe me, this will happen more often than you expect. Doing what you truly want to do is a luxury and like any other luxury product, the price to pay is high. You will spend at least twice as much energy than you would in a nine-to-five and you will most likely spend a significant chunk of money / personal savings setting up your business and getting it to take off. But you know what, all of this doesn’t matter because you are doing what YOU truly want.

The Freedom – Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be free from your responsibilities, to the contrary. However, you will be free to make your own decisions as to what you think is best for you and your business. You will be free to decide what you want your calendar to look like and organise your day the way that you want to.

Being your own boss – Not having to report to anybody is a game changer. It can put a lot of stress on your shoulders because you ONLY rely on YOURSELF for EVERYTHING. Therefore, if one day you want to bum around, you can and no-one will be there to tell you off. But beware, you will also be the direct recipient of the consequences. However, the feeling of freedom that you get from being your own boss is highly addictive.

The Networking – This is one of my favourite things to do: meeting lots of likeminded people (because all entrepreneurs no matter what sector they evolve in, are like minded) who sometimes work on fascinating projects and sharing the awesome times and stressful periods with them too. Obviously, not everyone will be nice or interesting, but the ones that are can and will make for amazing business partners and uplifters. You just need to find the right ones 😉

Making more money – Only 1 in 12 businesses really take off. But those who do, NEVER look back. Because not only do they benefit from all the above, but they also most likely are making way more money than they would if they were still an employee.

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Entrepreneurial life: The Less Cool Part

Patience is a virtue – Whoever wrote this quote, must have been an entrepreneur 😝When you set out on your own, it is always with the hope that you will be very successful very quickly. But let’s be honest, aside from Mark Zuckerberg, most people who launched a business took years to become really successful – they often took years to even break even! So patience is really key here. If like me you are naturally impatient, prepare to be heavily challenged. Because NO, things won’t happen overnight and YES, it will take a lot of work, networking sessions, meetings etc… before you get your first real breakthrough. So arm yourself with patience because with enough perseverance, it WILL happen. Which leads me to my next point.

Self confidence to the test – Being self-employed is hard for the mind in many ways. But what takes the hardest toll is your self-confidence. It’s a mean world out there and you will most likely run into people that will put your confidence to the test. They might tell you that they don’t see why your product/service is better than any other; they might tell you that they find you irrelevant; they might cancel on you thousands of times because some “unexpected” more important things came along; or worst of the worst, they might tell you that they will do business with you and then cut you out at the last minute without telling you why. Whatever it is, don’t EVER lose sight of the fact that you are a great person: you were brave enough to get out of the “comfortable” circuit of the nine-to-five, you are a very hard worker, you know your product/service and its advantages and most importantly, you know YOUR worth. Always remind yourself of that fact whenever things get rough.

Outside the comfort zone – This was never an issue for me, I am very adventurous at heart. But I know that for some people it is very hard to step out of that zone and keep being proactive. Many people are naturally introvert, or were traumatised by something that happened at some point in their lives when they stepped out of their comfort zone. But it doesn’t mean that those people shouldn’t have the right to try and be their own boss too. It’ll just be more challenging in this aspect. It will be hard and you will have to force yourself to get out there and meet people and talk to them and present yourself in a good way. But here’s the good news: just like any sport, the more you practice, the more it will become natural to you 😉

Competition – It is most likely you will have competitors out there. And depending on what your offer is, you will learn to approach them or find your place within your sector without letting them take over. For instance, in what I do, I can create strategic partnerships with other fellow consultants and we can refer each other to our prospects if we get too much work or if we feel there would be more synergy with someone else. This strategy isn’t possible for everyone nor is it possible in every sector. But whatever it is that you do, you will find a way to coexists with your competition, if you do your research and if you get out there and talk to them. A competitor isn’t an enemy! You can still interact and learn from them!

Useless meetings – This is something that I struggled to cope with a lot. As an entrepreneur, you need to put yourself out there and meet as many people as you possibly can to start getting yourself known within your industry. Unfortunately, the more you meet people, the more your chances of attending some useless meetings will grow. By “useless”, I mean that you suddenly realise that the person won’t be of any use for you and vice versa, that they don’t correspond to your target audience, or simply that you don’t have a good feeling about them. Because in business just as in personal life, sometimes you are going to feel uncomfortable in somebody’s presence and you won’t be able to explain why. With time, you will learn to decipher those people and avoid meeting them and wasting both your time and theirs. It is a long learning curve but you get there eventually.

Lack of support – For my final point I would like to talk about the occasional lack of support that you will feel. Being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely business. And you have to remember that everybody out there is working towards something, no matter where they are in life or what they are doing. Therefore, you might not always get the attention that you will feel you need. That’s fine, you will learn to get over it and move on quickly. But as I previously mentioned, it will put your confidence to the test. Just remember that you made that decision alone and therefore, you are bearing the responsibilities alone. So you won’t always be getting the support you were hoping for, and that’s fine: you live and learn 😊.

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My Advice

I hope the above has given you a bit of insight into self-employment and what to expect from it. I personally knew about some aspects but found out about others the not-so-pleasant way. It’s fine, being and entrepreneur is the single most exciting professional adventure I’ve ever had and no matter how it ends, I will forever be proud that I tried my hand at it.

So, if you have made your decision already and want to take the plunge, here are a few aspects to think about as of now:

  • Think of something that really differentiates you from the rest of your competitors. Having a niche market or a specific target will give you more focus and direction and will help the people who want to help you to target the right prospects for you. It will help you address your audience in a better way, tailoring your offering to a specific market by speaking their language.

 

  • Have the name of your company, your website and all personal and professional social media platforms ready. You want your potential client to find you easily online but you don’t want them to find your drunken pictures from last night on Facebook!!

 

  • Have your sales arguments ready for any occasion. Before you even start talking about your business to people or planning your first meeting or networking event, make sure you know exactly how to sell yourself. Be ready to answer the basic questions such as “what do you offer”, “what is your background”, “what is your product” and “why is it better than others” – you never know who you might meet and when. Which leads me to my next point:

 

  • Always have a few business cards at hand!!!

 

  • Join some networking groups – these WILL bring you the necessary support, both professionally and mentally. As humans, we all need to be part of a circle that we can relate to: our families, our friends and our professional circles are the pillars of our adult lives. Now that you are out of your office building, make sure you get in a networking group. The people there are more often than not entrepreneurs themselves and are going through the exact same issues as you, whatever the sector they work in. Some will most likely be experienced entrepreneurs and will therefore be able to advise you on plenty of challenges that you might face. I have joined a group called BNI who are an international networking group and have a presence literally all around the world. Which means that wherever I travel, I can join a group for a morning meeting and meet new potential partners and clients.

 

  • Put yourself out there as much as possible – Aside from your networking groups which are your pillars, make sure you attend lots of events relevant to your field. Sign up to Meetup, read your local magazines / journals / newspapers or simply Google “[Sector] events in my area” to keep up to date with all the events happening locally. You never know where your next client might come from!

 

  • Be sure to have enough savings / a backup plan / a part time job – Although this is a “duh” point, I still want to write it up 😊

 

  • Meditate / Do some sports – No matter how busy you get, never forget to set aside some “ME” time in order to breathe and reboot. Your mind needs to clear up once a day in order to make better decisions for the future! And of course, your body still needs you! Healthy body = healthy mind and vice versa.

 

  • Be patient! – I will not stress this enough. Just because your first few meetings fall through, don’t EVER question your capacity to find business or your capability to do your job properly. Things take time and some people get lucky faster than others. Move at your own pace and let the universe do its job 😉

 

  • Trust your gut – It is very hard to do, I admit it. But trusting your gut feeling is the best thing you can do in business. Don’t try to force something if you know deep down inside that it isn’t right for you. It is especially hard to do when you are self-employed because you need the money but please, don’t go for it if it feels wrong because you will most likely get a very bad experience out of it and either be disgusted by entrepreneurial life or disappoint your client and negatively impact your reputation.

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To Finish…

I could be going on and on forever on the subject but I will stop now 😝 and finish off with this:

Think well before you dive into entrepreneurship, because although I do believe everybody should have the right to try, the hard truth is that not everyone will succeed and you need to be properly mentally prepared for that risk. I have tried to list all the good things and the less good things about being an entrepreneur and now you might think it’s very scary but remember ONE crucial thing: the freedom you get out of it by far outweighs all the bad aspects. And even if you don’t make it as an entrepreneur, it won’t EVER be a failure. You were brave enough to put yourself out there and try. Maybe the market wasn’t ready, maybe there’s already too much competition out there, maybe you didn’t get lucky in time before it became a financial issue, but whatever it is, it ISN’T because of YOU. You tried, it didn’t happen this time around but it will the next time – Just don’t ever give up and don’t ever stop believing that you CAN do it. And whatever the outcome is, what you will get out of it in terms of knowledge of yourself and how to manage and handle certain situations will be priceless.

I myself am still at the stage where I am trying to find the one deal that will get me going for good. So everything that I listed above is coming from a place in the KNOW and in the NOW. It takes time and it might not happen for me this time around. But I will never judge myself negatively for having tried.

If you are thinking of setting out by yourself and need further advice on the strategies to adopt, don’t hesitate to reach out. After all, aside from being the yogi you know, I am also an experienced Marketing lover 💖

With love,

Nat

How To Crow Prep

Hello friends!

So a few of you reacted to a post I put up on my Instagram account showing a Crow Pose on my boat and asked for tips on workouts and preps to find your crow.

So I put together a little video to show you some of the moves I do that enabled me to find my crow and work on strengthening it further.

So there are three parts that I work on for crow: arms, abs and hips. You will need to have strong foundations in all three in order to get to a place where you are comfortable with your crow. So without further ado, let’s start building that strength!

We start off with wrist and arm warm up in order to activate our muscles and tendons and get them ready for the balance. Having open and warmed up shoulders will also help when you have to position your knees onto your arms. This is probably the most important section of all three so do make sure to spend the appropriate time on this particular warm up if you want to avoid hurting yourself if you fall off balance.

Secondly we focus on our abs. They need to be activated in order to hold the pose and float off the mat and onto the hands without putting all the strain on the wrists. They are also very important as they will stop you from just resting your knees onto your arms and potentially ending up with a lot of bruises so engage the abs and it will no longer be an issue as most of the balancing strength will be concentrated on your core rather than on your arms.

Thirdly we focus on the hips. This may sound weird for an arm balance, but ensuring your hips are open will help you position your knees correctly onto your arms, help your lower legs come higher towards your buttocks and contribute to engaging your core whilst floating and staying up.

You will find some soft balancing poses towards the end of the video to show you how you can find your balancing point before actually trying to float everything up. 

Finally: Don’t be afraid! We all failed before and we all face-planted. Just make sure you have a pillow in front of you or something soft in case you were to lose your balance. Be patient with yourself! It probably won’t happen on the first try but be persistant and patient and don’t get frustrated. It’s a learning curve and you will get there once your body is ready for it!

I hope you enjoy the video, please leave your comments, thoughts, feedback or e-mail me any questions you may have by filling out the Contact Form and I’ll be happy to help😊

Get in touch! I’d love to find out if I’ve helped you advance in your practice 💙

PS: I shot the video at my parents’ house and my mum walked by a couple of times, which is why you’ll see me looking around and talking: I wanted to make sure she wouldn’t accidentally walk past me and ruin it all 😝

Video Sped up x2

 

With love,

Nat

How Yoga gets Under your Skin

Take a look at this picture… what do you see?

I see big thighs, medium calfs, tiny ankles and huge feet. I see a belly that hangs. I see a red face with big cheeks and a flat bum. Basically, I see nothing like what I see on other people on social media, on TV or in the magazines. But as time goes by, I am learning to be ok with it.

I am not looking for anyone to tell me it’s not like that and they disagree with the distorted image I have of myself. We all say that to each other, because we all see the beautiful in each other. But what we perceive in others won’t change what they perceive in themselves and vice-versa.

I am writing this article because I know that we all have distorted images of ourselves and I know, not everyone has the tools to make that change. I am not a big fan of the affirmations while looking at yourself in the mirror. And while I completely respect people’s decisions to take part into these methods, they just don’t work for me. I am therefore sharing my method for anyone out there who might be looking for something else 🙂

When I started yoga, it was just a workout for me. A way for me to grow more abs and get  physically stronger. But what I got out of it is so much more. It became a way of opening myself to myself – so to say.

Are you familiar with the effects of sport on the body? And furthermore, are you aware of the spiritual effects of yoga? Yoga, to me, takes the workout to another level…

First of all, let’s talk about the physical effects of yoga. There are two types of physical workout: aerobic and anaerobic.

Aerobic metabolism refers to the way your body creates energy through the combustion of carbohydrates, amino acids and fats in the presence of oxygen. Combustion is burning, which is why we say we are burning sugars, fats, and proteins for energy. Aerobic metabolism is used for sustained production of energy for exercise and other body functions. Meaning that Aerobic metabolism is what your body does when you are undertaking every day chores and activities or when you practice light or medium intensity workout. Therefore, Aerobic metabolism won’t help you gain more muscle but it will help your body maintain a healthy weight and stay lean by tapping into your fat storage.

Anaerobic metabolism is the creation of energy through the combustion of carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen. This occurs when the lungs cannot put enough oxygen into the bloodstream to keep up with the demands from the muscles for energy. Meaning it generally is used only for short and intense bursts of activity. When there isn’t enough oxygen in the bloodstream, glucose and glycogen cannot be fully broken down to carbon dioxide and water. Instead, lactic acid is produced, which can build up in the muscles and degrade muscle function. This is why sometimes we are at risk of serious injury during practice. It is also why breathing in yoga is so important. In conclusion, Anaerobic metabolism lets your body build muscle mass much faster but you will burn less calories, even though you will keep burning energy for up to 24 hours after working out! 

So as you can see, both types have their strengths, which complement each other. And yoga enables to practice both aerobic and anaerobic at the same time! So a one hour yoga practice will give you an all round workout, which both your body and mind will thank you for.

Keeping on the subject of working out but focusing on a different aspect: the hormonal effects.

When you workout, you release several hormones, each of which has a specific role, some of which are here to make your brain super happy. Meaning you will be on a mini-high and very happy with yourself after you workout!

Endorphins make you feel exhilarated and happy and block any feelings of pain, so you can power through any discomfort caused by exercising

Dopamine creates an intense feeling of pleasure. It is actually the same chemical which is released during intimate relations.

Serotonin is responsible for happiness, restful sleep, and a healthy appetite. It works with endorphins to make working out a pleasurable activity. In addition, more serotonin means more energy and clearer thinking.

So there you have it! Did you know about all the wonderful things that happen deep down inside while you work out?

And it’s not all!

The best part of yoga, is learning to let yourself open up, body and mind. Each posture is tailored just for that. The idea is to put yourself slightly outside of your comfort zone and breathe into each pose to let your muscles relax and your mind quiet down. By doing so, you are practicing some aspects of meditation.

My favorite poses are heart openers – also known as backbends, and inversions.

Practicing heart openers is meant to teach you to open your heart to the divine, in order to let love in. Practicing any backbend, whether simple like sphinx or more advanced like wheel, is meant to lead to the same results: letting emotions and love of yourself and others, in. So whenever you practice, try to include at least one backbend and with time, you should feel the flow of love coming in.

Inversions are meant to help you see life from a different perspective. They help the blood rush towards the head and fill the cells and brain with new oxygen to help clear the mind. Everybody pictures inversions as complicated postures such as headstands or forearm strands but the truth it, there are plenty more simple ones such as downward dog, forward fold or shoulder stand. So also try to include those in your practice on a regular basis and notice the difference!

There are plenty of ways to try and accept ourselves as we are, and today I share mine with you. I recently found out about the chemical effects of workout and how it affects our brain. I find this particularly fascinating considering how I have been feeling like I am accepting myself more and more since I really started yoga.

So, the next time you look at yourself or at a picture of yourself and you start to think you don’t like what you see, think about it this way: your body is an AMAZING machine! Remember everything that you just read, and look at things from a completely different perspective. The more you practice self love through your practice, the more it will come to you naturally.

Learn to accept and love your body as it is. And let me know how it goes 😉

PS: If you have any questions regarding the above, do get in touch! I’ll be more than happy to answer them 🙂

Namaste

Nat