Love knows no distance

 

There’s a saying that goes that love knows no distance. I would venture to say that it is a reference to loves ability to transcend all boundaries. To move beyond the boundaries of colour, culture, belief systems, time and more importantly space.

Love can be experienced, given and received, no matter what the distance or physical separation. The same can be said for a multitude of other emotion. We as humans, seem to be able to share a feeling, a state, an emotion across distances put between ourselves, or beyond physical limitations we perceive. Who of us hasn’t experienced a stirring of emotion when connecting with a loved one over Skype, or FaceTime.

Who hasn’t felt the energetic high of supporting your favourite sporting team, watching an inspiring movie, or listening to a beautiful piece of music. Who has never felt empathy when seeing someone else’s pure emotions that led them to tears.

We all have. It is inherently part of the human experience. We are wired to feel, to experience, to connect. It might just be what makes us human.

I will however for the sake of this rambling of thoughts, keep my focus on the emotion that is love. Now it would be very hard to have a conversation around love, without entering into the fray the archetypical symbol of love, namely the heart.

The heart plays such a central part in our perception of a person and in sociology. We use it to describe people; ‘he is heartless’, ‘she showed a lot of heart’, ‘he wears his heart on his sleeve’, and so I could continue.

More so, the heart is literally the centre point of the human physiological system. It pumps fresh blood, and life, to our bodies. Come to think of it, the heart is the tool through which the external environment is disseminated into our bodies. Yes, the air we breathe enters and exits through our lungs, but the heart is what transports and distributes the air. It allows fresh, oxygen rich, life giving blood to flow to and nourish all the body. Similarly, it transports CO2, which is essentially poisonous and putrid to the body, to the lungs for excretion.

 

The heart is also the kinetic centre of our bodies magnetic field. What this means is that our body, which is pretty much a big battery, generates electricity and certain organs such as the brain and the heart, generate magnetic fields. These fields extend beyond the body and there is now scientific evidence to prove that bio magnetic communication happens between people and between people and their environment.

 

The Heartmath Institute is an organisation completely founded on looking at the effect the magnetic field of the heart, the regulation of the rhythm of the heart through breath work, and conscious awareness influence one another and how that translates into communication with the external environment.

 

 

 

As per an exert from them:

“information about a person’s emotional state is encoded in the heart’s magnetic field and is communicated throughout the body and into the external environment.”

 

Then there is the word courage.

We all know it.

From the brave prince rescuing the princess in childhood fables, to the Hollywood movies such as Braveheart or others. The word courage paints a picture of people finding the strength to overcome obstacles and fears to achieve something greater than what the thought they were capable of doing.

Courage inspires us to rise up, to be better.

 

When we look at the origin of the word courage, we find that is stems form its Latin root cor, meaning Heart. So one can deduct that the origin of being brave or courageous, is having heart…and by definition of the previous points, acts that have allowed the transcendence of limitations, the ability to rise beyond what we think is possible, the banishment of fear, is started and lead from the heart…and you can see, what is in the heart, directly influences our environment.

 

I feel like the world and humanity is being tested to its extreme right now…

There are certain stories portrayed by mainstream media, and other stories by alternative information sources. Facts and alternative facts float around. It seems that the only certainty is that information is manipulated to sustain an agenda.

Whether this is true or not, and no matter what we perceive to be the truth, the fact is that there is a lot of anger, fear and uncertainty around. It’s so thick, you can feel it in the air.

 

I have asked myself frequently of late, what do I want my children to experience the world as. What is the truth I want to give to them? How do I teach them to be brave and stand up for good, for humanity, for love?

 

I have come to realise that I cannot protect them from being exposed to the harshness of the world, but I can show them how to maintain themselves. How they view and love themselves, how they view and love other people and how they view and love the world as a whole.

 

We can choose fear, choose to view the ugly, we can give over to anger, but that will only spiral us down and make this our reality.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not talking about positivity beyond the reality. Never be ignorant to what is right in front of you. What I’m saying is that we can choose optimism, we can choose to believe that love and caring for one another is our natural state. The state we we’re born into this world with.

 

Yes, we got our ass slapped and started crying as soon as we were born, but then we were handed over into the caressing, loving arms of our mother, our protector, or creator, directly from that. We learn that the world is harsh, but it is the loving kindness that other share, that shows us the beauty of humanity and this planet.

 

I cannot speculate on whether the way we have handled this pandemic is the right way. What I do know is that the physical separation we have experienced, firstly in having no human contact in lockdown or self isolation, to now having to maintain the 1,5-meter distance between one another, has made us feel more divided, more separate from each other and more alone.

It’s made the world feel harsher. And although we are told to look after yourself and to keep your distance from each other because I might infect you, we have to continue to remind ourselves to love one another.

 

One fact I do know from this whole pandemic debacle, is that the according to the authorities and the accountant (the ones that do all the measuring), the 1,5 m distance is calculated from the heart as the starting point. Well funny you should say that….

 

It just so happens that our heart can send out magnetic and spectral communication further than that self imposed 1,5 m boundary. It just so happens that the heart is the origin of what it means to be brave…and lastly, it just so happens that the heart lies at the centre of and exudes out to the world what we call love. Raw, pure, healing, unwavering love. The love a baby feels when he is put on his mothers’ chest straight after birth.

 

So I ask of you this. Realise that you matter. Realise that you hold within you the innate ability to change the world around you. Realise that you are born from love and that love is your natural state.

 

Love yourself. Take care of your health, eat well, do exercise (maybe even yoga). Breathe with meaning and find time to slow down, take everything in and assess. Be grateful for whatever you have and wherever you are in life. It is exactly where you are meant to be.

And lastly, know that love knows no distance. Know that the heart knows the one true language. Know that if we all start to look at the good we have inside and start sharing that with one another, rather than being focus on the separation, the angst the fear, that we will rise up. We will become braver. We will overcome.

 

Not this pandemic, nor discrimination, nor misinformation can take us away from our true state….and our true state is love.

 

Share it with the people around you, friends, family and strangers alike.

 

Let’s all be the change.

 

Let’s all choose love…and spread it far and wide.

 

I might not know you. I might never meet you. But let me tell you this unequivocally…I LOVE YOU.

As my human brother or sister, as another energetic being, as another soul.

 

Namaste.

 

Andre Louis

Take a deep breath in. Now let it out. You may notice a difference in how you feel already. Your breath is a powerful tool to ease stress and make you feel less anxious. Some simple breathing exercises can make a big difference if you make them part of your regular routine.

Before you get started, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose a place to do your breathing exercise. It could be in your bed, on your living room floor, or in a comfortable chair.
  • Don’t force it. This can make you feel more stressed.
  • Try to do it at the same time once or twice a day.

Many breathing exercises take only a few minutes. When you have more time, you can do them for 10 minutes or more to get even greater benefits.

 

1. Deep Breathing

We will start with the easiest exercise. It might seem super easy and natural to you. But you will be surprised on how many occasions you are not doing this. Because most people take short, shallow breaths into their chest. It can make you feel anxious and zap your energy. With this technique, you’ll learn how to take bigger breaths, all the way into your belly.

  1. Get comfortable. You can lie on your back in bed or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees. Or you can sit in a chair with your shoulders, head, and neck supported against the back of the chair.
  2. Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air.
  3. Breathe out through your nose.
  4. Now place one hand on your belly. Place the other hand on your chest.
  5. As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower. The hand on your belly should move more than the one that’s on your chest.
  6. Take three more full, deep breaths. Breathe fully into your belly as it rises and falls with your breath.

2. Breath Focus

In this exercise we are adding a visualisation to incorporate also other parts of your brain. This will deepen the experience. So give it a try!

While you do deep breathing, use a picture in your mind and a word or phrase to help you feel more relaxed.

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Take a few big, deep breaths.
  3. Breathe in. As you do that, imagine that the air is filled with a sense of peace and calm. Try to feel it throughout your body.
  4. Breathe out. While you’re doing it, imagine that the air leaves with your stress and tension.
  5. Now use a word or phrase with your breath. As you breathe in, say in your mind, “I breathe in peace and calm.”
  6. As you breathe out, say in your mind, “I breathe out stress and tension.”
  7. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.

3. Morning breathing

In this exercise we are using the body as a way to access the brain. Again to deepen the experience. Try this exercise when you first get up in the morning to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. Then use it throughout the day to relieve back tension.

  1. From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor.
  2. As you inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head last. Feel a slight contraction in the belly.
  3. Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this standing position.
  4. Exhale slowly as you return to the original position, bending forward from the waist. Gentle contracting your belly to protect your lower back.
  5. If you feel a bit dizzy, go slow and steady. you will get used to it.
  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

4. Lengthen Your Exhale

Inhaling deeply may not always calm you down. Taking a deep breath in is actually linked to the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight-or-flight response. But exhaling is linked to the parasympathetic nervous system, which influences our body’s ability to relax and calm down.When we feel anxious or under stress, it’s easier to breathe too much and end up hyperventilating — even if we’re trying to do the opposite.

  1. Before you take a big, deep breath, try a thorough exhale instead. Push all the air out of your lungs, then simply let your lungs do their work inhaling air.
  2. Next, try spending a little bit longer exhaling than you do inhaling. For example, try inhaling for four seconds, then exhale for six or maybe even 8 seconds. But don’t force it too much, just allow the exhales to be long…like a wave
  3. Try doing this for two to five minutes.

This technique can be done in any position that’s comfortable for you, including standing, sitting, or lying down.

5. Alternate Nostril Breathing

To try alternate nostril breathing  sit down in a comfortable place, lengthening your spine and opening your chest.

Rest your left hand in your lap and raise your right hand. Then, rest the pointer and middle fingers of your right hand on your forehead, in between the eyebrows. Close your eyes, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

  1. Use your right thumb to close the right-hand nostril and inhale slowly through the left.
  2. Pinch your nose closed between your right thumb and ring finger, holding the breath in for a moment.
  3. Use your right ring finger to close your left nostril and exhale through the right, waiting for a moment before you inhale again.
  4. Inhale slowly through the right nostril.
  5. Pinch your nose closed again, pausing for a moment.
  6. Now, open the left side and exhale, waiting a moment before you inhale again.
  7. Repeat this cycle of inhaling and exhaling through either nostril up to 10 times. Each cycle should take up to 40 seconds.

 

6. 4-7-8 Breathing technique

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.

This breathing pattern aims to reduce anxiety and helps people get to sleep. Some proponents claim that the method helps people get to sleep in 1 minute. If you are pregnant or have a high blood pressure, please skip this exercise.

Before starting the breathing pattern, adopt a comfortable sitting position and place the tip of the tongue on the tissue right behind the top front teeth.

To use the 4-7-8 technique, focus on the following breathing pattern:

  • empty the lungs of air
  • breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds
  • hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds
  • exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds
  • repeat the cycle up to 4 times
To help you with this technique we created a free download. Click here to access it.

There is a famous saying that says wherever you go,no matter what the weather is, always bring your own sunshine. So we decided to dedicate this blog to help you to find your inner sunshine! First things first. Let’s be honest the first moment when you start to lose that inner sunshine is the moment when you enter your office space again. And yes, that might be a sign to get another job, but hey maybe by making a few easy adjustments you can still spread sunshine even at work. 

  • Turn Your Desk Into a Mini-Sanctuary. “A sparse hotel room can make you realize how relaxing it is to live without clutter, Give yourself the gift of returning to a streamlined work space. When you return first organize your desk by handing off work to colleagues, filing paperwork, and giving away books and things you don’t need. That first day back, treat yourself to some flowers or an orchid and bring in a memento or picture of your trip to place on your desk. Change your screen saver to show your favorite vacation photo. Visual cues are an easy yet powerful way to relive how you felt on vacation. Now, any time work gets stressful, you can take a breath and go back to the peaceful feelings you felt while you were away.”
  • Make a Vacation Resolution. “Vacations give us a chance to reboot and start fresh,”Make a ‘vacation resolution’ to permanently adopt one good habit you picked up while you were away, like eating healthier, exercising a little more, or spending more time outside and unplugged from technology. It’s one of the best ways to make those vacation benefits last.”
  • Find a Vacation Theme Song.“While you’re away, choose a song that will become your vacation theme song, one you can play back when you’re in need of a two-minute ‘mini-retreat’ at the office “When things get stressful at work, put the ear phones on and play that song—( or better yet, if you can play it loud, so everybody can get back into holiday mode ;-) it will bring you back to a more relaxed mind-set and make your brain more open to problem-solving.”
  • Backbends Backbends Backbends The yogi way of staying happy? Well that is easy: We practice backbends aka Hart openers. Have you ever noticed that when you feel happy and relaxed you automatically walk with a better posture? With an open heart? So why not re-create that simply by doing a little back bend at your work or at home. Maybe just bij stretching your arms up to the ceiling and drawing the shoulderblades together. Colarbones smiling. Heart is lifting. Taking 8 refreshing long breaths focusing on the inhales. You will noticed an instant burst of positive vibes.
  • Meditate Your brains are so complex and so magical and so capable of reproducing memories. So take 3-5 minutes a day focusing on your favorite holiday memory. And use all your senses. How did your body feel? What was the smell in the air? What did you hear? What caught your eye? 

See you soon!

Zsoka

Your yoga class is finished. Everyone rushes to the changing room and heads home, while you would actually really like to get to know your fellow yogi and make some new friends.
Sounds familiar? We hear ya!
That’s why balanzs introduces the free buddy program with official kickoff on the 13th of May.

In just two weeks, you’ll get paired with a fellow yogi to do all kinds of fun activities together. No worries – we understand you have a busy schedule. Therefore, our challenges are low-effort and can be done online. They range from simple things like sending a nice quick message, to actually going for a coffee or yoga class together.
You can interact like a distant friend or make the experience fully immersive – it’s totally up to you.

Want to join the program? It’s completely free, but we ask you to
*Attend the kick-off on May 13. This is where you’ll meet your buddy in-person
*Commit for a minimum period of 2 weeks to interact with your buddy either online or offline. Who knows, you might just meet your new best friend :)

Sounds good? Sign up for the kickoff AND fill out this form.

(note from the editor)

A couple of days ago we asked our dear Balanzs yogi’s to give us feedback. What should we continue doing? Where can we still improve? The person with the best idea or suggestion for improvement could win a free 10-lessoncard worth €105,-. We received so many great suggestions and we are really grateful for all of you that brainstormed with us to make Balanzs even better. Meet Celine, the lucky winner of our contest. She shares the feedback she gave us, her view on Balanzs and on yoga in general.

“First of all thank you for the gift card, I was very very happy when I received that email. But let’s go back to how it started. I became interested in Yoga a few years ago, when I was still in high school and since I was still living in another city I would just practice at home with Youtube. Then I moved to the Hague and I realized I really needed something to balance out my study and all the time I spend behind the computer. I found Balanzs online and started taking classes.
Back then (2 years ago) I was quite happy with it but somehow my life was very busy at that time which is why I stopped up until this spring. Since then I follow classes on a more or less regular basis and cannot even think about my current super busy study without the great yoga classes. Overall I feel more energized and calmer at the same time and even have the urge to go at least 4 or 5 times a week.

What I really like about Balanzs and what I think makes it quite unique is the broad variety of classes, teachers and styles. Currently I am still trying out different ones and am surprised every time. It is quite nice that there are so many classes each day, so even as a full-time student I can attend classes at almost any time of the day and fit it into my schedule. Last week I followed the Barre, Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, Vinyasa flow and Balanzs Fusion for example. I don’t have so much of routine yet and try to just find out every day what would work for me best. And in 99{aa9bba2555f33912aac1678d73b62ff6fe13e61f0fff9507c35bf83da347724e} of the cases there is a class that fits me at that current moment. For example yesterday I had a bit of a cold and felt quite stiff, so I went to a yin class and feel much better today.

Since I live in the Hague I tried out both Balanzs studios and am quite happy with the calming atmosphere of both of them. There is not so much of a difference for me, since both have its advantages. I like how Balanzs combines a very physical practice with a spiritual one and how that makes me actually feel a lot better in my daily life outside of yoga.
When there was the email then to win a 10 lessons card by sending in proposals for the studio I thought it was a great opportunity to give my feedback.

Obviously I was very happy with Balanzs before so my ideas where just minor propositions of what I think might be nice to experience at Balanzs and how all different people can connect on other levels. One was for example to have some small events, where people that go to Balanzs can meet and have inspiring conversations and simply a good time. Another idea was for example to have more theoretical classes about the ideas and philosophy behind yoga.
So with the 10 lessons card I plan to deepen my practice and to try out even more classes than the ones I currently take. I am excited to continue!”