mireya semelas

yoga · mindfulness · reiki



Yoga Retreat

I am only back from a one week yoga retreat with KaliYoga in the south of Spain. When people hear “yoga retreat” they imagine some sort of paradise where you practice yoga, relax and do little more. A place where you find yourself, where all problems disappear and you come back all zen and enlightened.

And I do feel more connected after having had the gift of time to disconnect from the crazy day to day. However, my life has not changed after this week. I am still the same person, with the same monkey mind, with the same fears, anxieties and mental exhaustion who packed her bags a week ago. What this week has given me is the space to come back to myself. That pause that I so much needed to remember who I am. To recognize what I need and what I need to let go of. The time to be amongst strangers who have become part of my life after only a few days together.

“Enjoy the gift of time”

Let me tell you a little more about my experience and also some tips for those of you who are on the fence of booking such a trip because of the investment it requires (economic, time, etc.).

The Good

Yoga and meditation
The morning meditation sessions in the astonishing beautiful ‘shala’ made my days. Morning yoga was dynamic and evening sessions where more ‘yin’. Although my practice is different to what I experienced, Lely and Arantxa (yoga and meditation guides) helped me walk a little closer to myself.

The People
There were 13 of us. Two couples and the rest solo travelers. We all had different ages, experiences, nationalities, backgrounds, lives. Every conversation has been incredibly interesting and respectful. I have learned so much from these companions. In such a group I cannot say that I felt the same affinity to every soul, but there were some that touched my own. I will forever be grateful for that.

The Space
From the venue itself – a place in the middle of nowhere – to the yoga shala (yoga room), the bedrooms, everything felt really welcoming and cozy. It made it easy to feel at ease and difficult to leave.

The Demanding

The (so called) Healthy Focus
The absence of alcohol and coffee was no struggle for me, but the food was. I have been vegetarian for more than half my life and have a diet based rich in unprocessed fruits and vegetables. And yet this week I have really struggled at times. Evening ‘mocktails’ were far from healthy with loads of sparkling water and honey or other sweeteners. There were 3 chefs cooking for us on different days of the week and, liking more one than the others, they all abused so much of nuts that I honestly can’t take an almond, walnut, hazelnut, pistachio or anything of the kind anymore. My stomach has had enough cheese that the mere mention of feta or goat cheese makes me nauseous.

The Wind
I was lucky that the rain made no appearance during the week despite the weather forecast. We did get unusual strong winds everyday instead that made sleeping at night challenging and encouraged my monkey mind to move faster and faster. After the first days, I decided to embrace the challenge of finding inner peace despite what was going on on the outside. An example of mindfulness at its best!

Was it the best time I have ever had? No.
Would I return? Of course!

Beautiful Yoga Shala

Sofocos / Hot Flashes

Los sofocos son uno de los efectos secundarios más comunes de los tratamientos contra el cáncer. Aprende a manejarlos mejor con este vídeo super corto. Pásate por Jaque Al Cáncer para saber más.

Hot flashes are one of the most common side effects of cancer treatments. Learn how to handle them better with this super short video (in Spanish). Visit Jaque al Cáncer for more information and tips.

Transitioning to Autumn

Summer is giving way to autumn, a time of preparation and change for the colder days to come. It is also the season with high Vata predominance.

According to Ayurveda, Vata has the  following qualities:

  • Rough
  • Windy
  • Erratic
  • Cool
  • Light

What influence can Vata have on me?
On the physical aspect, you might notice:

  • Skin getting drier
  • Your hands and/or feet feeling colder
  • Irregular bowel movement
  • Change in appetite

On the mental aspect, you can experience:

  • Restlessness
  • Spaciness
  • Nervousness

What to do to better flow through this transition period?
Vata’s element is air, so it is best to incorporate lifestyle choices that balance this element. Nourish your body and mind adequately to encourage a sense of warmth and grounding.

The best advice is to incorporate to your diet foods that are in season. Nature provides products that help harmonize our body with the environment.

Some examples of great foods and spices to cook with these next few months are:

  • Root vegetables
  • Butternut squash
  • Pumpkins
  • Beets
  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Hearty grains
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla

Remember that a strong body is more able to overcome changes and challenges in the colder months to come. So make sure to take good care of yourself: mind and body.


Beat the Heat

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El calor aprieta en Madrid. Huye de él con estos simples pero eficaces remedios:

  • Uvas congeladas: mete algunas uvas en una bolsa de congelar (recuerda lavarlas primero) y guárdalas en el congelador. En un par de días tendrás el perfecto tentempié. Deja que se derritan en tu boca para una sensación inmediata de frescor.
  • Agua fría de limón: vierte agua (mineral / filtrada) en una jarra. Añade hielo. Exprime un limón y añade alguna rodaja más. Pon unas hojas de mente y ¡a disfrutar!
  • ¡Splash! ¿Te cuesta dormir? Moja tus muñecas, nuca, parte baja de la espalda (a la altura de los riñones) y pies con agua fría. Notarás tu cuerpo aliviado del calor.
  • Sheetali Pranayama: realiza este simple ejercicio de respiración.

¿Utilizas otros remedios? Compártelos comentando abajo.

These last days of August are being hit with extreme temperatures. Beat the heat with this simple yet efficient remedies:

  • Frozen grapes: put some grapes in a freezing bag (remember to wash them beforehand) and stock in the freezer. After a few days you’ll have the perfect snack. Allow them to melt in your mouth for an immediate cooling sensation.
  • Cold lemon water: pour some cold (mineral / filtered) water into a jar with some ice. Squeeze the juice of a lemon and a few lemon slices. Add some mint leaves and enjoy!
  • Splash! Difficulty sleeping? Simply splash some cold water on your wrists, hindhead, lower back (kidney area) and feet. Feel the coolness spread throughout your whole body!
  • Sheetali Pranayama: practise this simple breathing technique.

Are there any other techniques you use? Comment below to share them.

Sheetali Pranayama

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Sheetali (o Respiración Refrescante)

¿Qué tal llevas los efectos de las altas temperaturas? ¿Te sientes irritado/a? ¿Sufres sofocos?

Combate el calor con Sheetali, un simple ejercicio de respiración que te proporciona una sensación refrescante.

La palabra “sheetali” significa ‘refrescar’ en sánscrito. La práctica de esta respiración refresca el cuerpo y la mente a la vez que calma la mente y reduce el estrés. El propósito de esta técnica de respiración es reducir la temperatura corporal. Actuando de manera positiva sobre las glándulas endocrinas y el sistema nervioso.

Cómo practicar Sheetali
1. Adopta una postura cómoda sentándote en el suelo, esterilla, cojín de meditación o silla. Asegúrate de que tu espalda está erguida.

2. Saca la lengua y enróllala si puedes (no todo el mundo puede enrollar la lengua, así que si no puedes, simplemente sácala).

3. Inhala por la boca, con la lengua fuera. Puedes contar hasta 4 mientras inhalas.

4. Mete la lengua y expulsa todo el aire por la nariz. Puedes contar hasta 6 mientras exhalas.

5. Continúa con esta respiración durante 2 o 3 minutos. Luego puedes volver a tu respiración normal durante otros 2 o 3 minutos y repetir Sheetali durante otros 2 o 3 minutos. Con práctica podrás incrementar la duración de la inhalación y exhalación a 4:8, o 5:10 o 6:12 segundos.

Sheetali (or Cooling Breath)

How are you managing the effects of the high temperatures? Feeling irritated? Suffering hot flashes?

Beat the heat with Sheetali a simple breathing technique that will help your body cool down.

The word “sheetali” means cooling in Sanskrit. The practice of this breathing technique cools the body and mind and at the same time calms the mind and reduces the stress. Its purpose is to reduce the body temperature, which may have positive effect on the endocrine glands and nervous system.

How to practise Sheetali
1. Sit in a comfortable position on the floor, mat, meditation cushion or on a chair. Make sure that you’re sitting up right, so that your spine is erect.

2. Stick your tongue out and roll it if possible (not everyone can roll the tongue, so if you can’t just stick it out).

3. Inhale through your mouth, with your tongue still out. You can start with inhaling in 4 counts.

4. Withdraw the tongue and close the mouth, exhaling completely through the nostrils. You can start exhaling for 6 counts.

5. Continue doing this breathing for 2 to 3 minutes. You can then return to normal breathing for several more, and repeat the cooling breath for another 2 to 3 minutes.With practice one can increase the counts to 4:8, or 5:10 or 6:12 seconds.

Meditación / Meditation

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Seguro que has oído hablar de la meditación y de todos sus beneficios. De cómo influye de manera positiva en nuestro estado de ánimo, potenciando la producción de serotonina y reduciendo así la ansiedad, el insomnio, los dolores de cabeza… Además,  una práctica constante de meditación fortalece el sistema inmunitario, relaja los músculos y nos permite relacionarnos con el mundo que nos rodea desde la conexión.

Pero ¿qué es la meditación? ¿Cómo se medita?

Con este post espero poder responder a tus dudas aclarando algunas de las ideas falsas que rodean a la meditación.

  1. La meditación NO es dejar la mente en blanco
    Mira a tu alrededor e intenta no ver nada. Difícil ¿verdad? Pues lo mismo con la mente. La mente está diseñada para pensar.
    Meditar es dejar que los pensamientos aparezcan sin seguirlos, permitiendo que se vayan fundiendo con el fondo para que no nos atrapen. Así, lo que nos queda es la respiración y no podemos respirar en el pasado. No podemos respirar en el futuro. Solo podemos respirar en el momento.
  2. La meditación NO es una religión
    Los budistas meditan, pero también cantan y no por ello el canto es una religión.
    La meditación no es una religión, es una ciencia. Es la ciencia de la mente.
  3. La meditación NO busca un resultado específico
    Esto no es fácil de entender en una sociedad en la que el fruto de la acción es nuestro único objetivo.
    La meditación despierta sensaciones que nos permiten disfrutar del poco tiempo que tenemos en esta vida.
  4. La meditación NO es una manera de aislamiento
    La meditación es la unión entre el cuerpo y la mente. Es la unión entre tu persona y el mundo que te rodea. Es un viaje hacia la auto-liberación que te prepara para aliviar el sufrimiento de tu alrededor.
  5. La meditación NO es correcta o errónea
    Buenas noticias: no hay una manera de meditar bien o de meditar mal. No existe la manera de ser el mejor meditador del mundo. Busca lo que te sirva a ti y nútrelo.

Meditar es llevar nuestra atención a algo específico y mantenerla ahí.
Sin resistencia, aceptando, creciendo.
Sintiendo, dejando ir, volviendo.

You surely have heard about meditation and all of its benefits. Of how it positively affects our mood by enhancing the production of serotonin. This reduces anxiety, insomnia, headaches, etc. A constant meditation practice has been found to boost the immune system, lead to muscle relaxation and allow to better connect with the world around us.

But, what is meditation? How does one meditate?

In this post I’ll try to clarify your doubts by addressing some of the most common misconceptions that surround meditation.

  1. Meditation IS NOT leaving your mind blank
    Look around you and try not to see anything. Hard, right? The same thing happens with meditation. How are you going to stop thinking when your mind was designed for thought?
    To meditate is to allow thoughts to appear and slowly fade into the background. Allowing the free flow of thoughts without getting dragged into them. What is left is the breath. We can’t breathe in the past. We can’t breathe in the future. We can only breathe in the moment.
  2. Meditation IS NOT a religion
    True, buddhists meditate, but they sing too and that doesn’t make chants a religion.
    Meditation is not a religion but a science. The science of the mind.
  3. Meditation DOES NOT seek a result
    This isn’t easy to understand in a society where the result is the main objective of our actions.
    Meditation awakens sensations that allow us to enjoy the little time that we have in life.
  4. Meditation IS NOT isolation
    Meditation reunites the body and the mind. It is the union between yourself and the world around you. It will help you liberate yourself so that you can help alleviate the suffering of those around you.
  5. Meditation IS NOT right or wrong
    Good news: there isn’t a right or wrong way to meditate. There isn’t a way of becoming the best meditator in the world. See what works for you and nurture it.

Meditation is setting the mind on something specific and keeping it there.
Without any resistance, accepting, growing.
Noticing, letting go, coming back.

Yoga & Cancer

Las chicas detrás del fantástico blog Jaque al Cáncer me permitieron colaborar con ellas con este post en el que cuento cómo el yoga puede ayudarte a aliviar algunos de los efectos secundarios más comunes del cáncer. Espero que os guste.

The great team behind the blog Jaque al Cáncer gave me the opportunity of collaborating with them with this post in which I tell how yoga can help you ameliorate some of the secondary effects of cancer treatments. Hope that you like it!

Elige / Choose

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Tienes el mando de tu felicidad, escoge bien.

  1. Elige deseo frente a presión social
    Es tan fácil dejarse llevar por lo que los demás hacen… Creer que porque todos lo hagan, eso es lo correcto. Esta presión social anula tus deseos, anula tu identidad. ¿Dónde quedan tus deseos? No los abandones, ¡persíguelos!
  2. Elige conexión frente a cosas materiales
    En lugar de comprar cosas que no necesitas para aparentar alguien que no eres ¿por qué no inviertes en pasar tiempo con la gente que de verdad te importa? Conecta de nuevo con aquellos para los que nunca tienes tiempo. Crea memorias.
  3. Elige comprensión frente a resentimiento
    ¿Te acuerdas de aquello que te hizo no sé quién hace no sé cuánto? Pues olvídalo. El recordarlo solo te proporciona amargura. Libérate cambiando ese resentimiento por comprensión. Pasa página para dejar de sufrir.
  4. Elige acompañar a los demás frente a poder sobre los demás
    No elijas poder o dinero a costa de hacer daño, escoge siempre el ayudar a los demás. Tu ego prefiere lo primero, pero tu alma se llena con lo segundo.
  5. Elige humildad frente a arrogancia
    ¿Te crees mejor que los demás? No lo eres. Trata a todo el mundo con humildad y amabilidad. Recuerda que todos lidiamos a diario con dificultades, que somos todos supervivientes de cosas probablemente más parecidas de las que te crees.
  6. Elige tiempo de descanso  frente a falta de tiempo
    Dedícate tiempo para respirar, descansar y pensar. No persigas la perfección en todo lo que hagas, no existe. Cultiva tu alma para poder disfrutar de cada momento.
  7. Elige ‘hoy’ frente a ‘ayer’
    No te castigues viviendo en el pasado. Perdónate por lo que hiciste o dejaste de hacer. Si permaneces en el pasado te pierdes la vida.
  8. Elige tu intuición frente a tus miedos
    Tus miedos te hablan a través de autocríticas y negatividad. Tu alma te habla a través de la esperanza y sabiduría de tu intuición. ¿A quién quieres escuchar?
  9. Elige gratitud frente a enfado
    Ante algo que no ha salido como esperabas, tienes dos opciones: enfadarte o agradecer las lecciones aprendidas. Solo lo segundo te permitirá crecer y seguir hacia delante.
  10. Elige ser vulnerable frente a esconderte
    Sal al mundo tal y como eres. Acepta tus emociones, tu dolor, tu historia. Sé tu mismo, es tu poder.

You are have full control over your own happiness. Choose wisely.

  1. Choose desire over social pressure 
    It’s so easy to follow what others do… To think that something is the right just because everyone is doing it. This social pressure kills your desires, it cancels you out. Don’t quit your dreams, follow them!
  2. Choose connection over things
    Instead of buying things you don’t need to look like someone you are not, invest your time and resources in being with those who truly matter. Reconnect with those for whom you never have time. Create memories.
  3. Choose understanding over resentment
    Do you remember that thing I don’t know who did you you I don’t know how much time ago? Well let it go! Holding to resentment will only bring you unhappiness. Free yourself turning resentment to understanding. Stop suffering.
  4. Choose service over power
    Choose power and you’ll become it’s slave, choose to be of service to others and your soul will be nourished.
  5. Choose humility over arrogance
    Do you see yourself as better than someone else? Well, you’re not. Be humble and kind. Remember that we all are survivors of similar pains.
  6. Choose quiet time over busy time
    Create downtown time for you to breathe, rest and reflect. Don’t seek perfection in everything you do. Perfection does not exist. Nourish your soul by enjoying every moment.
  7. Choose ‘today’ over ‘yesterday’
    Why punish yourself by living in the past? Forgive yourself for what you did or didn’t do. If you live in the pass, life will pass you by.
  8. Choose your intuition over your fears
    You fears speak to you through self critics and negativity. Your soul speaks to you through the hope and wisdom of your intuition. Which one will you listen to?
  9. Choose gratitude over anger
    When something doesn’t turn out as you expected, you have two options: get angry or learn new lessons. Only the latter will allow you to grow and move on with life.
  10. Choose vulnerability over hiding
    Show the world who you truly are. Embrace your emotions, your pain, your story. Be yourself, it is your power.

Seminario Yoga & Cáncer

Respirando el momento presente

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El miércoles pasado tuve el privilegio de guiar el encuentro mensual del Club de la Revista Rose celebrado en Zentro Urban Yoga. Hablamos alto y claro de los beneficios del yoga en cada una de las etapas de un cáncer tanto para el afectado por esta enfermedad como para sus allegados. Te dejo abajo la grabación del evento.

¡Muchas gracias a todas las asistentes por compartir vuestra energía y magia!

Recuerda que cada viernes en Shape Up! puedes venir a disfrutar de una clase y mejorar tu bienestar físico y mental.

Last Wednesday I had the privilege of guiding the monthly meetup of Revista Rose which took place in Zentro Urban Yoga. We openly talked about the benefits of yoga in every stage of a cancer for both the survivor and their circle. You’ll find the recording of the event below (in Spanish).

Special thank you to all the attendees of the event for sharing their good vibes and energy!

Remember that every Friday you can dedicate an hour to your wellbeing in the yoga class I lead at Shape Up!

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