Gratitude fosters happiness

Gratitude fosters happiness

One of my absolute favourite things to do is to say out loud all that I am grateful of. It makes me feel so good, blessed, and content with my life. Here is the science of why.

Video from TED Education

Gratitude

What I love about gratefulness is that there is no right or wrong. You can be grateful for your new toothbrush, your health, education, family, nature, sun, earth, yoga, sports, laugh, conversations, coffee and so much more. What are you grateful for?

 

 

Reset your mind in 14 minutes

Reset your mind in 14 minutes

Lots of my students ask for exercises to reset their mind. Here’s a great guided meditation class – try it out!

A busy mind

During a busy day our stress hormones, especially adrenaline and cortisol, increase. Our thoughts are easily distracted. Suddenly you realise that you’ve read a sentence several times or gone to the kitchen and back without the thing you went there for. Tensions in the body build up; your shoulders rise towards your ears and the back is starting to ache.

This is the time to reset. Try the exercise below – I promise it will make you feel more centred.

Yoga Relaxation Bodyscan

The video below is a short and easy meditation exercise called “bodyscan”. Find yourself a quiet space where you can lie down (preferably – but you can do this exercise in a seated position too). It lasts for 14 minutes, so make sure to set the phone on silent.

Ps.To me it feels like 4 minutes – not 14. Good luck!

 

How do we make the right choices?

How do we make the right choices?

In a world of unlimited options, the act of choosing one path implies the exclusion of other preferences. How do you know if you are making the right choice?

People spend a lot of time assessing pro’s and con’s to ensure thorough decision-making. After all, a choice has the potential to alter your whole life!Flow chart - decision making.

Unfortunately, the effort put into the thought-process often generates a lot of frustration. Moreover, the degree of effort put into a decision does not necessarily lead to a feeling of having made the “right” choice. In fact, science shows that we actually end up being worse off as a result of more choices.

 

The paradox of choice

In an experiment, a number of students from Harvard University were given a choice of selecting one picture each to keep. Half of the students were allowed to change their mind and swop their chosen picture into another one at any time, the other half were not given this choice. Then their relative happiness was measured.

What was the result? – It turns out that those that were not given an option were a lot happier with their painting than the other group.

Moreover, the study found that most of the students at Harvard University believed that the group with a choice was better.

We prefer having more choices but end up being worse off with those privileges!

 

A world of opportunities

In a world of unlimited options this is a real problem, for the paradox of choice applies to all aspects of life.

Case: You get invited to a dinner next weekend, and you have to make a choice; yes or no. You hesitate. For it might be that another event pops up in the Facebook-feed, and that this event could be more appealing. You check Instagram, Facebook, messenger and Snapchat too, just to be sure. And the gym timetable just in case your favorite class is an option. You also check the weather forecast – what if it’s sun? Then you would rather want to be outside enjoying the energy of fresh air and heat rather than being at an indoor dinner party. But wait. Your calendar looks full next week, and you have been stressing a lot lately. Maybe it is better to stay at home and do yoga? To catch up on some of that reading. And what is your boyfriend doing? I should really see him, it’s been a while since you two had a date night. I can’t respond the dinner invitation just yet. Just in case…

See the problem? We keep thinking about what we might lose out on whilst life is passing by. We are not enjoying the current events, things, people or places 100% because we are dedicating thought and energy into constantly considering everything else. Just because we are under the delusion that more options are always a good thing.

How do we take advantage of our privileged world of opportunities?

 

The link between choices and yoga

One can learn a lot about decision-making from yoga.

1.Ahimsa

Asana offers a practice of decision-making on the mat. How much do I push myself in order to be challenged, yet without trying too hard? Do I go further into the posture? Am I ready to try handstand? Should I pass on the next posture because of my injured knee, etc. A general rule is to practice Ahimsa, non-violence. To be kind to your body and soul. To not strive for the perfect but for the safe and smooth practice that gives you progress. What is really perfection compared to progress?

2. Asteya

Asteya is another corner stone in yoga philosophy which is super helpful in decision making. Literally it means “no-stealing”- ie. not stealing time, things, ideas and so on. Further it can be interpreted as not getting lost to your ego – to not force anything. For instance, if you are cuddling a puppy and she wants to leave, you should let her go. For if you force the puppy to stay on your lap, it doesn’t want to come back next time.

Learning to letting things come and go is part of the yoga philosophy. We are accepting that change is inevitable. We are practicing to be content with “enough”.

“Learning to letting things come and go is part of the yoga philosophy. We are accepting that change is inevitable. We are practicing to be content with enough.”

3.Meditation

Meditation is key in yoga. It improves your observation of the body and mind. Is the mind still and focused, or are the thoughts wandering off? With practice one becomes better at realizing when the thoughts wander. Hence, you get new chances to bring yourself back to the moment, to what really counts. Being here and now 100% increases your clarity and trust in your intention. Instead of making lists, you start feeling what choices to make. You do what makes you happy.

 

It doesn’t really matter

A similar trend for all those three points is balance. Yoga is essentially about learning to practice with dedication but effortlessly. Not too much, not too little. Just enough. Throughout a yoga class, you are constantly challenged to make decisions in order to find this balance.

Feeling lost in the paradox of choice? Join our yoga classes to explore the power of moving meditation. The goal is less effort to choices and more to the current moment. You’ll see that you don’t have to think about all your options at all times. For as long as you are present to experience that the now makes you happy, it doesn’t really matter what choice is “right” by thought.

 

The Yoga Science Project – Høst 2017

The Yoga Science Project – Høst 2017

The Yoga Science Project (YSP) søker nye studenter til andre del av vår randomiserte kliniske studie. Sammen vil vi finne ut om yoga kan bidra til bedre velvære, søvn og akademiske resultater. 

Recap

Vi er halveis ut i første del av yogastudien. 102 studenter har vært igjennom målinger og halvparten deltar nå på yogakurs hos HiYoga to ganger i uken. Tilbakemeldingene er over all forventning! Det blir spennende å se hva tallene sier. Til høsten skal 100 nye studenter i Oslo gå igjennom akkurat samme opplegg. Noe for deg? Da er det lurt å titte fort igjennom spørsmålene og svarene under.

Spørsmål og Svar

Kan jeg velge om jeg kommer i yogagruppen eller kontrollgruppen?

Svaret her er nei – dette er en randomisert klinisk studie og en datamaskin vil velge for oss. Dette er for å styrke validiteten av resultatene. Uansett gruppe vil du derimot få tilbud om yogakurs på HiYoga – yogagruppen starter med kurs i august mens kontrollgruppen får valg om å delta på samme kurs etter at målingene er gjennomførte

Skal både yogagruppen og kontrollgruppen utføre målingene i løpet at høsten 2017?

Ja. Første måling er i slutten av august 2017, andre måling er i november 2017, og siste måling vil trolig være i februar 2018.

Kan jeg ha gjort yoga før?

Ja, du kan ha gjort litt yoga tidligere. Det er dog et kriterie at man ikke har gjort yoga fast de siste 6 månedene. Siden halvparten av deltakerne vil havne i kontrollgruppen så ønsker vi ikke at deltakere må “avstå” fra sin vanlige praksis mens de venter på sitt kurs.

Hvilket språk går studien på?

Alle kurs og spørreskjemaer er på norsk.

Må jeg være student?

Ja.

Må jeg gå på UiO?

Nei, vi aksepterer alle studenter i Oslo-området. Fra høgskoler og universiteter.

Må jeg bo i Oslo?

Nei, men det er lurt å ikke bo langt unna. For å sørge for at vi kan stole på resultatene av studien, er det viktig at alle fullfører målingene og at det er lite fravær fra yogakurset. Om man bor langt fra Majorstuen, så vil det bli vanskeligere. Ett av inklusjonskriteriene er at man selv skal tro at man klarer å gjennomføre studien.

Om jeg havner i yogagruppen – kan jeg velge hvilke dager jeg har kurs?

Tidspunktene for kurset blir sendt ut mer informasjon etter randomiseringen. Vi vil prøve å sette opp timene på kveldstid i hverdagene. Om man er syk kan man bytte gruppe unntaksvis etter avtale.

Hvordan er det å ha kurs på HiYoga?

Du kan lese mer om Hi Yoga her. Deres hustavle forteller litt om regler og trivsel i lokalene. Dette er det viktig å ha lest igjennom før du deltar på kurs.

Kan jeg trene som vanlig under studien?

Ja – du kan trene vanlig styrke, jogging, pilates og all annen trening under studien. Om du er i kontrollgruppen er det kun yoga man skal unngå mens målingene pågår.

Er det mye å gjøre med målingene?

Du vil motta spørreskjema på mail hvor du logger deg inn med et unikt deltakernummer og svarer på spørsmålene online. I tillegg skal man hente en pulsklokke på HiYoga til en fastsatt tid, sove med den i en natt og levere den samme sted dagen etter.

Dette gjøres ved tre målerunder; en i august 2017, en november 2017, og en i februar 2018.

Når får jeg vite om jeg havner i yogagruppen eller kontrollgruppen?

Med en gang vi har mottatt alle påmeldinger vil vi randomisere deltakere med et dataprogram. Du vil motta et unikt deltakernummer og gruppe per mail med en gang dette er gjort.

Kan man trekke seg fra studien?

Ja, det er frivillig å delta i studien. Dessverre er det slik at hver drop-out vil påvirke resultatene våre negativt. Jo flere som trekker seg, jo mindre kan man stole på resultatene. Derfor er et av kravene til deltakelse at man selv tror at man vil kunne fullføre hele studien – dvs. alle tre målerundene, samt hele yogakurset (totalt 24 yogatimer over 12 uker) for de som havner i yogagruppen.

Case: Om du har planer om å flytte ut av Oslo i løpet av studien, for eksempel, håper vi derfor at du ikke melder deg på studien. Ved forrige runde var det lang venteliste. Som deltaker får man et profesjonelt yogakurs som er verdt mye for mange, i tillegg til at det ligger mye arbeid bak planlegging og gjennomføring av studien. Vi håper derfor at våre deltakere respekterer dette.

Ønsker du å delta?

Les mer om studien her, eller send e-post til info@yoscience.com for å få tilsendt informasjonsskriv og samtykkeskjema. Har du andre ting du lurer på – ikke nøl med å ta kontakt. Vi aksepterer deltakere etter tidspunkt for mottatt signert samtykkeskjema.

The power of intention

The power of intention

The past seven months I’ve had the chance to learn more about pregnancy – first hand with a baby inside my belly and through scientific studies, books and conversations. And the more I learn, the more I’ve come to respect nature.

It is almost unbelievable how women all over the world are making human beings from almost nothing! Their bodies change drastically through the nine months of pregnancy in order to make space and provide essential building blocks for growing another living being. The process provides an eye opener of trusting yourself, your instinct and your intention.

Breech and vertex

As I was reading “Hypnobirthing” the other day, I came across a new study about turning babies inside the womb through hypnosis and intention making. Most babies are lying in a vertex position (head down) from week 37 until birth (around week 40). This is the best birth presentation with the least complications. Some babies, however, are in a breech position in the weeks before your due date. Many seek help for conversion from breech to vertex position, since most breech presentations resort to cesarean births.

The science

In the study, 200 women with a baby in breech position at week 37-40 were divided into a hypnosis group and a traditional control group. The hypnosis group received hypnosis with suggestions for general relaxation. Moreover, they were asked to visualize their babies easily turn and see the turn accomplished. The control group had no hypnotherapy, but were offered ECV (external cephalic version) – a procedure in which qualified health personell tries to manually turn the baby from the outside of the abdomen.

How did it go? In the hypnosis-group 81 out of 100 babies turned spontaneously from breech to vertex position. In comparison, 46 babies had turned in the control group. Out of those, only 20 were spontaneous.

Those findings suggest that there is really something to setting an intention. Belief changes physical parameters!

Placebo and trust

We see this all the time in medical school. The teachers call it placebo. Studies have shown actual measurable effects from sugar pills similar to the physiological changes among groups taking effective medications. Blood pressure, heart rate and blood tests, for example, have been shown to improve due to placebo (Harvard Health).

But of course, placebo does not work on everyone.

“Understanding why certain people improve with placebo treatment and others do not is the “holy grail” of placebo research”. (Harvard Health)

Could it be the ability to trust nature?

The nocebo effect

Believing in the unknown makes you vulnerable. You put yourself at stake of being wrong, feeling disappointed, cheated and hurt. But ironically, the act of expecting a negative outcome is shown to actually bring about the very results that you initially feared. This is called nocebo.

For instance, if you tell a person that a certain medication has head ache as one of its side effects, he or she will be more likely to experience head ache, even if you give that person a sugar pill. This is, again, the power of intention. Only this time it has a negative outcome.

Setting an intention

The above illustrates that intention is a powerful tool, which can result in both positive and negative measurable effects. Trust may be key in taking the best out of belief, such as the hypnosis-study suggests. Remembering the greatness of nature can help building this trust in yourself, your instinct and your intention.