Saturday
Dec062014

Prenatal Yoga Works

It’s hardly a surprise to us yogis – pregnant or not – but now UK researchers have found the first evidence that yoga during pregnancy can help keep women stress free and reduce the risk of them developing anxiety and depression.

While it has long been assumed by medical professionals that yoga can help reduce stress levels in mothers, it had never been tested in a research setting. But in a paper recently published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, academics, from Manchester and Newcastle Universities, show that women who attended a yoga class a week for eight weeks had decreased anxiety scores compared to the control group who received normal antenatal treatment.

The professors say that the research project also shows evidence that yoga can reduce the need for pain relief during birth and the likelihood for delivery by emergency caesarean section:

“Perhaps we should be looking at providing yoga classes on the NHS. It would be relatively cheap to implement, could help mothers and their children be healthier, as well as reducing the costs of longer term health care.”

 Now that would be a brilliant idea for the Danish regions too.

It’s probably no surprise that this yogi has been doing prenatal yoga throughout my pregnancy. I started at Yogamudra at 10 weeks with no bump at all, tried Nalini and Sattva and ended up at YoJo at (whale size) the end of my pregnancy (I recommend them all). The rest has taken place in my yoga room at home (which is now a storage room due to the new member of the family). And now 9 days before my due date I’m still stretching (and teaching)  – and still doing relatively alright climbing the stairs to our 5th floor flat. I am yet to find out if yoga can reduce pain during birth, but I have a strong belief that relaxation and pranayama will. And I can’t wait to test it all out.

Photos by Amanda Thomsen at Crossfit Copenhagen.

Monday
Oct132014

Baby Baking

Just next week it’ll be time for me to go on maternity leave and not teach yoga anymore – for a while. I can’t believe it’s already 7 months since the pregnancy test had a big fat cross on it and my yoga clothes got looser and looser so I wouldn’t have to reveal the little bump until the magical 12 weeks. If things keep going this fast (and I hear they will) the little boy in my tummy will be starting school in no time.

It’s been great to teach restorative yoga all through pregnancy. I’ve said that I’ll keep going as I still have air enough to talk through an hour of mindfulness – and I still do – but as I get to leave 8 weeks before my due date on my other (real) job, I think it’s only fair to stop teaching now too. Besides I can feel that my body just wants to slow down and nest now…

So the next 8 weeks will be spent with my own prenatal yoga practice, restorative yoga, mindfulness, listening to HypnoBirthing tracks and rehearsing my breathing that I’m learning at Smertefri Fødsel. And of course getting ready for the biggest change of my life. I can’t wait to meet the little yogi.

I’ll keep you updated.

Just next week it’ll be time for me to go on maternity leave and not teach yoga anymore – for a while. I can’t believe it’s already 7 months since the pregnancy test had a big fat cross on it and my yoga clothes got looser and looser so I wouldn’t have to reveal the little bump until the magical 12 weeks. If things keep going this fast (and I hear they will) the little boy in my tummy will be starting school in no time.

It’s been great to teach restorative yoga all through pregnancy. I’ve said that I’ll keep going as I still have air enough to talk through an hour of mindfulness – and I still do – but as I get to leave 8 weeks before my due date on my other (real) job, I think it’s only fair to stop teaching now too. Besides I can feel that my body just wants to slow down and nest now…

So the next 8 weeks will be spent with my own prenatal yoga practice, restorative yoga, mindfulness, listening to HypnoBirthing tracks and rehearsing my breathing that I’m learning at Smertefri Fødsel. And of course getting ready for the biggest change in my life. I can’t wait to meet the little yogi.

I’ll keep you updated.

Thursday
Jun262014

Legs Up the Wall Pose - Viparita Karani

One of my favorite restorative poses is Viparita Kanari or ’legs up the wall pose’. It relieves tired or cramped legs and feet and gently stretches the hamstrings, front torso, and the back of the neck. It’s also good for relieving mild backache and it calms the mind.

My restorative yoga teacher Bo Forbes claims that ‘legs up the wall’ can cure insomnia. I haven’t tried it myself (I have no trouble in that department), but if you have trouble going to sleep you can try it out to see if it’ll make you sleepy.

Old Hindu scriptures claim that Viparita Karani hides wrinkles in addition to banishing old age and death. I don’t know how much truth to put in that but the restorative nature of this posture gets blood flowing to parts of the body that need it, making it good for almost any ailment including arthritis, high or low blood pressure, respiratory ailments, and menopause.

If you’d like to make the position more inverted you can put a folded blanket or a bolster under your hips (unless you’re on your moon cycle (that’s yoga lingo for menstruating)).

Stay in the pose for 5 to 15 minutes. If your neck feels strained, you can place a rolled-up towel or blanket in the nape. If you start to experience pins and needles in your feet or any other discomfort just bend your legs and pull your knees to your chest. To get out of the pose gently roll down without twisting the spine.

I’m breaking in nice, new yoga clothes in the picture. Both the top and the tights are form Zalando.dk. The eye pillow was given to me at our honeymoon yoga retreat at Ulpotha in Sri Lanka.

 

Tuesday
Apr012014

Vegan March is Over

It's April 1st and vegan March (Marts med medfølelse) is over. Unfortunately I can’t really say I can feel any changes in my body. It’s feeling as healthy as before, but I guess I didn’t change that much with just removing fish, eggs and an occasional dairy product.

It’s been easy being vegan. Especially because Lara embraced the challenge, bought a vegan cook book (Forks over Knives) and whipped up some amazing vegan dishes at home. Friends took to me out to a vegan restaurant and another friend ordered me vegan food for his wedding. Thanks, you guys <3

Seeing as it’s April fools day I’d considered writing that I’d celebrate the end of vegan month with a big, red steak – but I just know that nobody would believe me. Instead I’ll tell you that I might go just a little more vegan from now. No strict dogmas, though. I’ll eat bread without checking if someone put dairy in. I’ll have an ice cream from my favorite place on Skydebanegade, when the sun is out and I’ll order fish when out in a (non vegan) restaurant. And I’ll probably enjoy it too.

I'm not going vegan. My diet will be plant-based. Not because I think we shouldn’t eat animals, but because I think it’s healthier for me to feed on green, fresh foods. The truth is that you can vbe vegan and really uinhealthy. There are vegan pizzas, cakes and sausages too... But by defining my diet as plat-based I will make sure to fill up on veggies, fruits, lentils, seeds and nuts instead of animal products and processed foods.

Saturday
Mar012014

4 reasons Why I Go Vegan for March

I’ve joined March for Compassion (Marts med medfølelse) and will give up all animal products for the month of March.

I haven’t eaten pork or beef since I was about 16. I’ve tried lamb once, but didn’t like it and I’m sure I’ve eaten horse blood in gummi bears or whatever they put in, but I’ve been what some call a semi vegetarian and what others call fussy, in other words, not eating any four-legged creatures for about 16 years now. It’s not an animal welfare thing (I love my leather boots), I just don’t like the way heavy meat feels in my stomach and believe it’s healthier to avoid it.

It’s not that much of a change to go from being a almost non-dairy semi vegetarian to completely vegan. I guess it’s most a matter of planning and reading labels, so for March I’ll eliminate all animal products, but I'll still be wearing my boots.

Here are the 4 main reasons.

1. Health - Well Obviously

I believe that a plant based diet is the best thing you can do to your body. If you think you need protein from meat and calcium from dairy, I recommend you watch the film Forks Over Knives that shows research that proves that animal products and dairy lead to higher risks of heart diseases, cancer and diabetes. We’ve just watched it and I’m as inspired to go vegan as ever.

2. I’ve Seen What Stays In

When I did my last detox in Thailand (a 6 days/5 nights juice fast with daily enemas) about a month ago I saw what came out of me. I’m sorry if this is too much information, but there are so few that do flush out their intestines, so I feel like I have to share my experiences so more people know. At The Spa Resort they give you a strainer when you have your enemas. You need to know what’s in there. I hadn’t had chicken for about a week before the fast but meat still came out.  Now chicken is one of the meats that is easily digestible so I daren’t think about how long red meat stays in the colon. I’ve heard (but maybe that’s just an urban myth) that it can take years to digest a steak. I haven’t had chicken since.

3. Animal Welfare and Reduction of the Carbon Footprint

Animal welfare isn’t the reason I’ve gone off meat from four legged animals, but let’s face it; we don’t treat farmed animals right. I recently read David Life and Sharon Ganon’s book Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul. Jivamukti Yoga is big on vegan activism and uses core yoga philosophy like the Yamas and Niyamas to teach that ‘The best way to uplift our own lives is to uplift the lives of others, and making the choice to eat a plant-based diet and avoid the use of animal products in all areas of our lives is the single greatest act we can take to uplift the lives of others’. It is taking the practice of Ahimsa - non-violence seriously.

4. March With Compassion

A Danish group of vegans have created an association called Food With Compassion (Mad med medfølelse). They’ve set up the event March with Compassion (Marts med medfølelse) for which 2000 Danes have signed up. I’m one of them. The founders provide food plans for every day consisting of healthy and delicious (Danish) vegan recipes from their blogs along with a community where vegan novices can ask questions or even get their own vegan mentor for the month. Big kudos to March With Compassion and all the work they’ve put into inspiring others to go vegan. It gave me just the right kick to see what it would be like to scratch fish, egg and dairy entirely from my diet for a month. I’m looking forward to the ride.

And if you think: ‘Poor Thilde. She has to live off salads for a month’. Then take a look at today’s weekend menu: porridge with banana and a green smoothie, raw springrolls and vegan burger with soya cheese. Nom.