10 June 2018No Comments

The baby mirror – how they pick up on your vibe

Have you ever wondered why we intuitively sing to our babies? And why it seems to calm them down? In order to produce a melody, we have to steady our breath. You can't sing if you're winded. Calming our breath automatically soothes our nervous system. When we are calm, our babies mirror that state. I know, this sounds like one of those touchy-feely statements. If you're the scientific type and don't believe in subtle energies, you're probably rolling your eyes right now. But this is not just the hormonal mom in me talking. Maybe babies are proof that subtle energy is real.

Read more

5 February 2018No Comments

Die Kraft zum Loslassen – Yoga rundum Geburt

Schwangerschaftswoche 34, ein Gespräch mit meiner Hebamme. Eine alte Sorge von mir, dass meine Beckenboden-Muskulatur vom vielen Yoga zu straff sein könnte. Immer wieder hört frau, eine Geburt bedeutet Loslassen, Weichwerden auf allen Ebenen, sich Öffnen wie eine Lotusblüte.

Bei dieser Rhetorik bin ich hin- und hergerissen. Ich gebe gerne zu, dass es mir nicht immer leicht fällt, den Schutzschild abzulegen und weich zu werden. Das überrascht nicht. Der Druck weiterhin zu funktionieren, kommt wohl bei uns allen von Aussen wie auch von Innen. Kann es sein, dass deshalb in den meisten Schwangerschaftsyoga-Klassen das Loslassen und Weichspülen im Vordergrund steht?

Read more

17 January 2018No Comments

No mud, no lotus

Selling bliss has become a profitable line of business. A lot of yoga teachers make a living like that: “Come to yoga and feel the bliss of inhabiting your body, of being totally relaxed, of feeling more lithe and bendy, feel how everything looks, feels and tastes better!” And these are just a few of the marketing slogans.

Read more

12 December 2017No Comments

Creating space

Midwives, doulas, everyone who works with pregnant women will tell you that two weeks before the baby is due you should start your maternity leave. Cancel all your appointments, stop working, stop making plans. Make space. This includes space to connect with the little one and making space for it to come through you and into this world. The belief is that if your mental and physical space is too cluttered, the baby won't come. Or the birth will be rocky. Or you won't feel ready.

Read more

12 November 2017No Comments

Motherhood moves mountains

All the way to the gate I cried. In the middle of the homeland security madness, someone had stopped to think about motherhood. Someone had taken a moment and had seen behind the passport number.

A kindness shown in a place that usually has no room for soft spots. I think I have never seen that happen before.

Read more

22 October 2017No Comments

Dining alone – fears of an only child

The only child

I'm an only child. About four months from now, my only child will no longer be one. Sometimes I think I was open to having a second child for the wrong reason. I was afraid my son would feel as lonely as I often have in a silent house, with “only” two adults around.

My parents were often home and there for me. I seldom felt abandoned. But adults don't make noise. With parents you don't learn how to be teased and not take it too personally. You don't learn rough-and-tumble play. You become an adult sooner than you'd like.

I didn't want that for my son.

Sitting alone

A few weeks ago I was in Düsseldorf for a yin teacher training. When I arrived the airbnb apartment wasn't quite ready so I headed out again to find some food. I was waiting for my takeout dinner at one of the outdoor tables of the Vietnamese restaurant around the corner, when I became painfully aware that I was the only one sitting alone.

I don't know many people who like sitting alone at a restaurant. For some reason dining alone is a situation we want to avoid. It seems to be the prime stigma of loneliness, indicating your inability to surround yourself with people. As if this was clearly a deficit.

So what do we do, when we are forced to sit alone? We pull out our phone, our laptop or the paper and assume an air of consumed busyness and concentration. For me, I want to avoid the fear and guilt I associate with feeling left out. That first night in Düsseldorf, with no wifi and no book on me, I had to face the demons.

The stigma of the outsider

One of my personal demons, I think, is the stigma of the only child. The one who is always slightly precocious because she spent most of her formative years around adults. The one who doesn't know how to behave around people her own age because she had no siblings to practice bickering and pranking with. So she ended up not fitting in as a teenager. For years, she entered every social situation watching closely and trying to pick up cues for how to behave.

I remember feeling ashamed for being an outsider. Maybe that's not even how it was. But most of the time that's how I felt. The situation of sitting alone at a restaurant stirs up these old emotions from the inner child, even at age thirty-five.

Sitting around a table is the way most families come together, hopefully at least once a day. When we sit at a table alone, while others are enjoying company, we feel left out. It triggers the natural child-like fear of being alone. As a child, avoiding abandonment is crucial for survival. In the early years of our life, we couldn't thrive without our parents' care. And it's a good thing that this information has been embedded in our DNA.

The desire to feel included

Only child or not, we're all afraid of being alone. And yet, it is such a crucial human experience to eventually face the fear. Allowing the demons to rise also gives us the opportunity to name this fear for what it is: the desire to feel included and loved.

I'm all grown up known. A pregnant woman of thirty-five. And I still feel like twelve when I'm sitting alone without my armor of book and smart phone.

The only difference is that today I'm aware of our deep-seated human fears and longings. I try to activate my inner parent and tell the inner child that this is just my need to feel included popping up again. Nothing to be ashamed of, but also not a need that can always be met.

Our own resource for love

Nor should it always be met. If we were always engaged socially, would we ever have time to make observations such as this one? Would we ever become self-sufficient adults? Would we ever learn to be our own resource for love and support without relying solely on others for that? I think that's what growing up actually means. Becoming the inner parent to the inner child.

If all else fails I remind myself that – only child or not – the need to feel accepted and involved is one that all human beings share. Know that, with that wish, you are never alone.


23 August 2017No Comments

Potty yoga

Rip off the bandaid

A little over a month ago we started potty training our son. A friend had just gone through the process with her slightly younger boy. She lent me a book by the (obviously American) expert potty trainer and author, Andrea Olson. It came highly recommended and was said to offer “non-coercive wisdom from first-hand experience teaching infant potty training for the past 5 years.”

My friend's words to me were: “It makes a lot of sense to me. When I quit smoking, I had to go cold turkey as well. It doesn't work if you gradually taper off to zero cigarettes. You just have to get it over with and rip off the bandaid.”

That's the strategy Andrea Olson promotes. Once you've taken the child out of his or her diapers, that option is no longer available (except maybe during the night). So one fine day, you tell your child that he or she is a big boy or girl now. Like all grown ups he or she will from now on sit on the potty to pee or poop, which you are to encourage playfully and cheerfully.

The potty journey

So the three of us embarked on the potty journey, excited that we would soon no longer have to change diapers several times a day. The book promises that every child older than eighteen month is ready to be potty trained. The statistics are indeed interesting: Until the fifties every child there were hardly any children still in diapers by the age of eighteen months. That's not surprising considering that was the era before washing machines and pampers, when you still had to boil and wash cloth diapers in your kitchen sink.

Andrea Olson guarantees that if you stick to the three-part plan – namely naked training at home first, then small outings with clothes, then normal life with clothes – the child will be fully potty trained in one month tops. Some children may even get the hang of it in a week or ten days.

So much for the pep talk.

Naked training was not a problem. We were spending a few days on a remote alp and mostly outdoors anyway. I have to admit that I was surprised how quickly my son understood that peepee was to go into the potty. But after more than a week, when we were already putting the naked training behind us, there was no progress with the poop. Every single time it went into his pants. Try washing poop out of toddler pants when your sense of smell is heightened due to prenatal hormones. A true test of a mother's love.

Like the book admonishes, we tried not to be annoyed or reprimand the child. But honestly, it's hard to keep your composure and compassion when dealing with a whole lot of shit. (Pardon my French).

Take the pressure off

After two weeks my husband and I were frustrated and somewhat clueless. I decided to call a friend who works as a parental advisor and has helped us out several times before. She listened to my detailed report and then said: “Why don't you just take the pressure off a bit?”

I felt a pang of guilt. My son is an extremely easy-going child. He rarely makes a fuss and adapts well in every situation. But if there's one thing he doesn't respond well to it's being forced to adapt too quickly. He needs time. Even when he arrived in this world, it took him a few weeks to find his bearings. He needed time to establish his sleeping and eating rhythms and settle in. After that, he was fine.

I knew he doesn't respond well to pressure. And after all, who can go when they're being rushed? Didn't Freud already connect the anal phase to the ability of letting go? I felt embarrassed that I hadn't thought of it.

So we eased up. We let him wear a diaper in the morning until he had done his number two. We asked him if he wanted the diaper whenever he felt the tummy ache that means he has to go. And within a few days, poop started going into the potty.

I think of all the yoga teachers I have met on my path who think that sometimes students need a little push. That may be true. It can be helpful to have your boundaries pushed a bit and try something new, like an arm balance or an inversion. However, I don't think that it works for every type of personality. Like my son, I don't like to be forced when I don't feel safe.

Is it possible to let go under pressure? I'm not sure. Sometimes we need to be eased in. Sometimes, all pressure does is achieve the opposite result.

There's no golden rule

Our culture teaches us that it's always advisable to rip off the bandaid. Quick and painless. But is it really? Is that strategy taking into account that we are not all made of the same stuff? Does that consider what we might be going through at any given time and that we all have a different history?

Or put in into the context of yoga class: Encouraging someone to overcome their fear of headstand by just doing it can be empowering for the student. But it can also cause them to be re-traumatized.

This is not the first time I liken being a mature adult to being a good parent (also to yourself). A good parent knows their child. They assess the situation and do what is called for and beneficial under the circumstances.

Unfortunately, this may mean that we can't rely on the same golden rule all the time. We have to stay awake and observant to gauge the right dosage. It has a lot to do with taking responsibility for ourselves, instead of applying what we heard is supposed to work. Ripping off the bandaid is not always the way to go.

I believe that yoga hands us all the tools to evaluate what the best treatment plan is. If we are willing to listen and respond appropriately, we may well discover that what was stuck will start to flow again.

18 August 2017No Comments

It’s about the experience

*one of my favorite ways to feel sensation these days: warrior two with a forward fold, keeping the right knee from falling inwards.

Forced to my knees

I haven't been able to practice much for weeks now. The first trimester of pregnancy is a bitch. I'm sorry, there's no other way to say it. At least, it seems to be for me. Morning sickness, also known as nausea that lasts all day, coupled with fatigue have forced me to my knees. But there's a silver lining. Because after more than one year of working non-stop and rarely taking a breather, I was finally forced to slow down.

Having reached week fourteen, the other day I was finally able to practice for a luxurious half hour. I enjoyed the feeling of stretching my muscles after a prolonged period of forced Savasana (corpse pose). I could feel my connective tissue creaking like a door that hasn't been opened in a while.

I thought to myself: Where have I been? And I didn't mean these last weeks of low blood pressure and retching. I was thinking of all these months of throwing my work-life-balance to the winds. How many times have I just rushed through poses, hardly able to stay for five breaths? How many times have I practiced just to get it over with? How many times have I been physically in a pose but elsewhere with my thoughts?

There are times when I doubt that yoga can still capture my attention: Maybe I should find something else to do recreationally. Teaching yoga is what I do for a living. It's almost everywhere, every waking moment. Maybe I need something new in order to be fully absorbed by it.

It's about the experience within

But one of my teachers often used to say: Don't go horizontal, go vertical. When you think you've seen it all, don't look around you, go deeper. I was reminded of his words during this first practice after some time. Even though my son was playing next to me and chattering away, I was in it, not next to it. I was immersed in the experience. I enjoyed every breath, even if the poses were strenuous after this time of lethargy.

I'm amazed that this could happen to me. Most yogis are sensation junkies, and I'm no exception. We love to experience the stretch, the pull, the opening. Letting ourselves feel sensation has the power to stop the thoughts from going in circles. It's the most recreative thing. I'm surprised that I've lost touch with that. And it's not the first time either.

Even though I came to yoga after twenty years of dancing and already had the coordination and flexibility, it was still a challenge. I had to work hard on building core and upper body strength and stability. Yoga is quiet, sutble work. I learned to focus on the inner workings of the body and mind. Learning to truly listen was a revelation to me.

And because it was so life-changing, I am surprised that connecting with the body can sometimes move into the background. Especially when I have always advocated that yoga is about the experience on the inside, not about getting better and bendier on the outside.

Why do we lose sight of the experience?

Something tells me that this can happen to all of us. Sometimes we turn into a yoga-robot and just go through the motions. We all lead busy lives or become lazy or distracted. It is easy for our yoga practice to become just another item to check off on our to do list.

For most of this year I was working non-stop and feeling weighed down by responsibility. Because yoga is what I do for a living I had to do a little bit, just to prep for classes. But my heart wasn't in it. Which now feels like a loss. Responsibility takes away from creativity or simply from the experience.

So I find myself being grateful for the nausea and my limbs that feel like lead. In a way, it was lucky there was something to slow me down. Now I can take in the world again. Particularly the microcosm that helps me cope with the macrocosm around me.

22 June 2017No Comments

Always take the trip

I usually don't read any parenting advice blogs. Recently, however, I saw an article that appealed to me. It was called “Always Take The Trip.” In other words, don't worry about the cost and the journey and the hassle of packing (and not forgetting) diapers, sunscreen, stuffed animals and pacifiers. Just go.


The author argues that families need time away from housework, homework and job responsiblities. Like any relationship, family bonds need to be fostered and cared for in order to bloom. According to the author of “Always take the trip,” it's not only the fun times that strengthen the bond. Spending time together outside the comfort zone of our own home and neighborhood is trying. But it's another way we bond, by going through the good and the bad together.

I had almost forgotten about the article. Last Thursday, however, I spontaneously decided the three of us should take the train down to Como for the weekend. In my usual brisk fashion I organized a place to stay, bought train tickets and sent my husband out to buy a picnic and yes, diapers.

Outside the comfort zone

Everything went well. With no schedule and no obligations, we just strolled around the town and enjoyed the italian vibe. We were looking forward to our journey home, which we had upgraded to first class. Right before heading to the station we turned into a gift store and completely forgot the time.

By the time we stepped out onto the street again it was only twenty minutes until our scheduled departure. We missed a turn and it got even later. So we ended up running up the hill in the thirty degree heat to make our train. And make it, we did.

For a moment I was angry at Nico. He's usually the one who's supposed to be in charge of directions. For some reason I also thought he was keeping an eye on the time while I was buying notebooks and paper garlands. But just before I started sputtering a reproach, I remembered the article.

It had definitely been a moment outside the comfort zone. The moment when you think you're going to miss the train and you're going to have to wait and rearrange the whole trip. With a two and a half year old child in the scorching heat. And you have no control over what's going to happen.

Being a team

But wasn't this another moment outside the comfort zone that proves to me what a good team we are?

At the bottom of the hill in front of the station we split up. It only took two words from me and Nico was racing up the steps to retrieve our suitcase. I was dashing up the long way around, pushing the stroller. We met with a few minutes to spare in the main hall. Perfectly in time.

We are usually pretty good at dividing our duties. Nico has an excellent sense of direction, I'm good with planning ahead and thinking of all the contingencies. Only that day I forgot about the time for a moment. For a moment my brain surrendered to being on vacation. Which is actually a very good sign.

So why be mad about a little jog in the Italian afternoon heat? The sprint was totally out of the comfort zone. One of those things you know you will be able to laugh about in the future.

It reminded me of all the difficult circumstances we have braved together. After four years together it may well look like we have never seen the comfort zone from the inside. We met and I moved to Taiwan three months later. Nico came to visit and I got pregnant. We became parents after a very short time of cohabitation. We both got new and challenging jobs within the last two years.

From the outside, our life together looks like one single roller coaster ride. Yet on the inside, we are always team. And while one of us may lapse from time to time, we still make it. Even on the rare occasions when we have to run full out our timing is always perfect.

© Copyrights 2022-2023 | Elisa Malinverni | All rights reserved                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          | AGB| Kontakt & Newsletter

© Copyrights 2022-2023 | Elisa Malinverni | All rights reserved | AGB | Kontakt & Newsletter

© Copyrights 2022-2023 | Elisa Malinverni |
All rights reserved | AGB| Kontakt & Newsletter

© Copyrights 2022-2023 | Elisa Malinverni | All rights reserved | AGB | Kontakt & Newsletter

© Copyrights 2022-2023 | Elisa Malinverni
All rights reserved | AGB | Kontakt & Newsletter