Is Sugar that bad for us?

During this Easter weekend, it is all about chocolate, bunnies and so forth… It seems so normal to indulge into sweets over the coming days. Actually, I am not so sure about it anymore. Indeed, since last August I have quitted refined sugar. I am realizing that it is almost nine months ago! I confess that at the beginning, I found it extremely difficult, especially the first three days when I went cold turkey. I felt exhausted, had headaches, and was wondering what was happening to me… I was addicted to sugar and sugar was a way to respond to my emotions.

I am very thankful to the friend who has inspired me. She had indeed read a book called Sweet Poison and had explained to me how glucose is good and can be used by every cells in the body, while fructose can be damaging. Fructose? The sugar that we find in fruits, not good for us? I could hardly believe it. Actually in a fruit, where fructose is associated with fiber, it is healthy, while in fruit juices or in a refined sugar, it goes directly to the liver and is transformed into fat. I love this video, which explains it in a funny way: That sugar film teaser but if you prefer there are many articles including this one from Harvard Health publications.

Now, this coming weekend is traditionally all about Chocolate and we should never be too strict, so I might and will most probably indulge in some chocolate and I wish you the same. Happy Easter!

Inspiration – Conscious Breathing

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Last weekend, I had the chance to attend a workshop with Max Strom. This was fantastic for me, as those of you who have come to my classes know how much I am inspired by his teachings, especially the breathing techniques. This time, I felt very privileged as I have assisted him and could observe the students in the room. Throughout the weekend I could watch the faces becoming more relaxed, the people becoming kinder to each other and this simply with a few yoga classes and conscious breathing. I am feeling so grateful and now empowered to teach those breathing techniques even more.

How many of us could benefit for taking a deep breath during the day when we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by a situation. Do you sometimes realize in a tensed situation how your breath becomes shallow and sporadic? Yet how many of us take that deep breath? Breathing deeply and consciously helps us to feel more present and anchored.

The “Ujjayi breath” or “ocean breath” is a simple and effective technique to warm up the body and calm the mind. Ujjayi comes from the Sanskrit and means victorious. We simply fill in the lungs deeply and contract the back of the throat, while making a Ahhhh sound. Does simple mean easy? Not always! And yet Max Strom has succeeded in teaching all the students how to do it. Last weekend, I closed my eyes, listening to them breathing deeply and consciously and I could imagine myself on a beach hearing the ocean. Using this technique during the entire yoga practice is powerful, as it really helps to focus and be present.

This is one of the breathing technique that we can use throughout our entire yoga posture practice. I am looking forward to sharing this with you.

The Practice of Surrender

Exactly one year ago, I was coming back to Europe after what I could call a big learning experience. My life had been turned upside down, even jokingly as I was returning from down under. I loved it there and over the last days I confess I have missed Sydney deeply.

A friend of mine had then told me to surrender. We all hear about surrendering, yet how do do it seemed pretty challenging to me. Lately I have felt a bit more vulnerable and I have surrendered to my feelings, to my grief and more importantly to the challenging situations I was facing.

But what is “surrender”? Let’s have a look at the definition:

To agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed

To give over or resign (oneself) to something, as to an emotion

In my experience, I would always try to fight or to resist, so suddenly surrendering helps me to be more present in every situation. I realize that I have to simply let go. I am starting to become detached from the results. I am still acting toward the best, yet I am no more attached to the outcome, I trust that all is going to happen for the best. Instead of reacting, I begin to act in a much more meaningful, peaceful way.

Surrender is about letting go, understanding that we have not much control over situations, let alone people. It helps to release the stress and anxiety and allows to experience the beauty of life. And yet the outcome is even better that the one expected.

A few weeks ago I went to a concert and I have used this song as my wake me up. The song starts with “Surrender!” and every morning I am reminded about the importance of surrendering to the divine. Here is the song “Surrender to Love” of Laura Pausini and Ray Charles :