If she’s not dazzling us with her healthy vegan cooking videos, then you can usually find her hosting lovely get-togethers in the heart of Stuttgart or practicing yoga in beautiful outside locations. One look at her profile and you’ll be instantly attracted to her natural-looking photos and heartwarming messages as she discusses all things natural and healthy living.
We’re so delighted to have Xenia join us this month as she tells us about her journey with Stråla yoga, being mindful, and gives us three tips for turning negative thoughts and feelings into positive ones.
Tell us a little about your yoga path. What made you decide to start and how did you find Stråla Yoga?
In autumn 2013, I was drawn to a yoga studio for the first time. I think I was simply looking for a way out of the fitness hype that had broken out around me, which I could hardly escape myself. I didn’t want to give up hope that there was a way to feel fit without daily squat challenges and monotonous weight lifting. All my life I had loved dancing through the nights and running through the woods in barefoot. I missed the feeling of freedom, the natural connection to my body and my very own intuition. I was hoping to find it on the yoga mat.
To be honest, I was disappointed. But I didn’t want to admit it to myself. Yoga’s supposed to feel good, right? Relaxed faces everywhere on slim female bodies in impressive yoga poses. But reality felt different. The only reassuring thing was that I wasn’t alone.
We rush through our everyday life, only to “let go of everything” in this one hour. Yoga turns into another point on the to-do list. And even worse, another point on the self-imposed claim list of a young, emancipated woman in her twenties. You’re no longer a superwoman just because you combine family, job and daily discipline for size 36. No, you have to do yoga now. Because: If with all your hustle and bustle you can’t handle self-care, then you don’t have your life under control.
But self-care does not take place in Poses.
Harmony does not happen if your Warrior One has the right angle in all joints. Not that I didn’t try. With the 267th looking down dog my heels finally touched the ground, my shoulder muscles were strong enough and my leg backs stretched enough. It barely hurt anymore. The teacher with the soft voice still pulled me a little bit in the “right” direction. And very important: Let your breath flow. And be real. Somewhere in between.
What good will that do me in my life? Where does this perfect dog make my life easier? That’s right.
The western “no pain no gain” philosophy cleverly packaged in yoga pants made of organic cotton. These were my first experiences in the yoga world.
For the next few years, I tried everything I could. But neither Hatha Yoga, Jivamukti, Ashtanga or Vinyasa Flow was my home. The longing for a yoga practice that is not an add-on to my busy life, not like bending or manipulation, but a “Hell Yes! That’s me.” feeling, remained unfulfilled.
But then I discovered Tara Stiles on YouTube and with her Stråla. That was a relief. A real one. I found out that the relaxation, strength, calm and above all the fun I so much wanted for my yoga practice could be a reality. Here it was: The “Hell Yes! That’s me.”
Last year I completed my 200+ hours Stråla Yoga training in Berlin. This month I finished my 300+ hours training, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.
You share your yoga practice, thoughts of mindfulness, self-reflection, trust, and love with your community on Instagram. What made you do this and what do you want to achieve with it?
How you experience Instagram depends crucially on how you present yourself on this platform. Daily Social Media consumption can be turned into a good exercise if you let it:
Do I still have contact with myself while scrolling? Can I feel how I’m feeling right now? Which content does me good? And which content leaves me with a feeling of not being good enough? Do I even remember why I’m holding the phone? Are my shoulders tense? Do I press my tongue against my maxilla? Which people in this digital world bring real added value to my life?
For five years I had completely renounced social media. In spring 2018, I discovered Instagram as a practical, creative outlet for me. When I first started, I only shared my pictures and texts with my close friends. Meanwhile, my page @xenia.greta has grown into an active and wonderfully lively community. This is not just about yoga and #healthylifestyle ideas.
It is about being human and our experiences with it. I share my experiences, tips, and stories to smile about. Being real is important to me. Beautiful pictures may be an added benefit. Of course. I enjoy them myself as an Instagram consumer.
What makes me particularly happy is when the online community also comes alive in the offline world. That’s why I organize regular Meetups in the Stuttgart area during the summer. I think it’s great to see how new friendships are made at such meetings and how an exchange takes place outside the smartphone screen.
Here’s another Stråla Community motto: “Online is great, in-person is magic. “
Our August box is all about good vibes only. How can yoga help us to strengthen our positive energy?
It’s not that yoga makes you happy. You’re what makes you happy. That was a game-changer for me.
Yoga only makes sense to me if it helps me to have a better connection to myself. When the practice strengthens my abilities for self-confidence, self-healing, and love for life.
Our yoga practice becomes more beautiful and nourishing when we take the myth away from it. When it feels more like playtime than a sacred ritual.
It’s good if we look for a little less magic in yoga and bring a little more magic into the time outside the mat. Through the positive qualities that we practice on the mat: ease, less holding, more allowing, flexibility in body and mind, the courage to authenticity and the desire for genuine connection with ourselves and our fellow human beings.
That’s the magic of the good vibes.
What are your top 3 tips to turn negative thoughts and feelings into positives?
- Stop trying to transform negative thoughts and feelings. They’re damn good teachers. If we don’t feel good, this is the perfect moment to pause. Which way are we going? What do I need right now?
- Just make it easy on yourself. Look what’s here. A little less analysis, a little less thought carousel. Let a little inner space into the thing. That makes you a little more the outsider of your thoughts. And that’s good. From this perspective, things not only look less dramatic but also more realistic and doable. You can practice letting go without wanting to scare things away. For example, a simple daily mindfulness meditation with the App Headspace.
- Ask yourself how you want to feel. Imagine that feeling physically. Bathe right inside and allow yourself to adjust accordingly. Like an inner compass. Pause and realign. This all doesn’t sound so magical. And in the end, it is still a powerful transformation.
Thank you so much for taking the time to see us. Last but not least, tell us: What is the best advice you have ever received?
You become what you practice. Do not practice suffering. Start in your comfort zone. And move from there.