Meet SoulWorker Lene
I remember the first time I saw Lene, she had a sparkle in her eye but I felt that she was struggling. It was around 6 years ago. I had the pleasure of spending more time with her since that first meeting at YogaGames. Her life story would be famous in a heartbeat if she spent any of her time talking about herself, which she doesn’t. She’s an amazing yoga teacher, mother, and musician whose strength got her through anorexia and cancer and now is creating the life of her dreams in amazing ways. You can see why I just had to ask her - please share your journey with us!
And she did - I give you Lene Skomedal (drops the mic ;))
Name: Lene Skomedal
Occupation: Musician & Yoga teacher
Family: Husband Terje & our son Alvin (5 years old)
How did you first get interested in wellbeing?
Wellbeing for me can be anything from a walk in nature, to relaxing at a spa, a yoga class or simply deep breathes at home in front of the fireplace. I have always loved to move and to be in nature, it's a part of the Norwegian culture. Movement and fresh air have always elevated my mood! I also started young with gymnastics and then it was a short period of dance before I landed in yoga. But sadly most of my childhood and youth weren't about wellbeing due to my anorexia.
You recently did SoulWork Transformation. How was that and has it changed your ideas of wellness/fitness?
The Transformation program was the missing part for me! With a very busy life as a mother, freelancing musician, and yoga teacher I have very few routines in my daily life, and I travel a lot. It has been very hard to prioritize working out. So to be able to do surprisingly hard workouts wherever I am, with almost no space or equipment was amazing! For me, the strength training was the most interesting since the yoga part is such a big part of my everyday life anyway. I have been doing the workouts in hotel rooms, concert houses, at home while my child is sleeping, with my child, while my husband is making dinner, etc. The first round of exercises is the hardest part for me, I always think: ”Ok, I'll do this first and then I quit and it is better than nothing..". But then the next set comes and, "ok, come on, a little bit more!". Suddenly I realize that I am halfway through and before I know it, it’s over! It never feels easy for me, but I never regret a workout, and it feels amazing just to win this little battle with myself every time!
Now I know many of the workouts by heart so it does become easier! For many years I used to go to the gym, but then we moved a bit outside the city and life and logistics got busier (I even have a free card at the local gym but I still don't go there!). For about two years I felt bad about this, but SoulWork changed that for me. It showed me that I actually get better results at home, with 2-3 workouts a week.
I used the SoulFood section for inspiration and I realized that I had to eat more breakfast, more lunch and less in the evening. So I guess I have changed my eating patterns, I also eat different kinds of carbs with the newfound knowledge and inspiration. I don't feel like I sacrifice anything, I still eat chips, chocolate, etc. I feel that the strength training, changing of eating pattern, together with my yoga and deep breathes have balanced my body in a completely new way! I feel stronger and happier than ever! I had to buy a lot of new clothes since I dropped several sizes, and that wasn't even a goal. I haven’t been on a diet (I even eat more!), nor does it feel like I’m on a strict training program (I do less now).
So I guess the slogan is right: «Don't workout harder – Just smarter!»
Has it impacted any other areas of your life?
I think I have adopted that kind of thinking to many other areas of my life – to work smarter – instead of harder. An example from my worklife just a few days ago: I am making my new website at the moment, and have been working on it on my own and it takes SO much time, I’m struggling and I have to learn everything from scratch, sitting alone and trying to figure out how to do it. But instead of continuing like this I decided to call a friend working with websites on a daily basis. We met up, discussed a few things I could not figure out that my friend figured out in seconds. So again, work smarter! It is maybe what everyone else would have done in the first place, but for me the first option is always to do everything myself and that it has to be such a struggle, otherwise it won't feel like I am worth it. But I am always worth it! And that's another thought that never came to my mind until maybe the last year. That I a m w o r t h i t !!!
I enjoy life on a higher level than before and I am more present wherever I am or whatever I do.
My life is not at all just sunshine and good, healthy days, but the way I meet the more challenging days now is very different. I accept, I adjust and I breathe deep and do what I can to make it better. Or I just stay in it, and then it passes and a new and probably brighter day comes along. I trust myself and life much more than I did before.
Can you share with us a bit about your history with illness and relationship with your own body?
I had anorexia when I was 9 years old, so sadly I disconnected from, and hated my body at a very early age. I have spent years in hospitals, and have been very close to death several times and have made life extremely hard not only for myself but also for the people around me. But today I would call myself a «foodie» and that has been a pretty amazing journey I must say, and it feels like my anorexia was about five lifetimes ago.
At the age of 34, I got pregnant, and at the same time, they discovered my cancer (in my uterus). So I had three big operations, the first one when I was 12 weeks pregnant, the second at 32 weeks – when they first took out the baby and then did my biggest operation, removing my uterus and all the cancer - and then after two months I had another big operation. Now the cancer is gone, and my boy is 5 and healthy and everything is fine. But it was very strange to just surrender and give the whole responsibility of my body to the doctors, and I totally disconnected from my body again. Just some weeks after the third operation, I could barely walk, but spent a whole day at Yoga Games, and did five yoga classes. And I obviously could not do much of the movements. That totally changed my idea of yoga, and I started really slowly, building myself up again from the inside, slowly connecting with my breathe and body and also my mind again. Today the connection to my body is stronger than ever, my body is stronger than ever and my mind is stronger than ever. But it has not been an easy ride. Two years ago I realized that yoga helped me so much so I had to pass this on to others, and after a lecture at Yoga Games, I applied for my first Global Yoga teacher training and started just a few days later. And today my body and my connection to it amazes me every day.
As I said in the beginning, the Transformation program, with strength training and SoulSurfing was the last bit that was missing, and I feel complete for the first time, totally connected and hungry for life! I feel super strong - all the way through from inside and outside, and my relationship with my body is amazing and way beyond what I thought it ever would be since we had what you absolutely can call a very rough start.
Can you share with us what happens in a typical Lene day?
A typical Lene day includes music, SoulWork (yoga, healthy food, a walk in the nature, and 2-3 days a week - strength training) and hopefully family or/and friends. I try to always breathe deep and stay present. All of my routines happen at different times throughout the day and at different places :)
What are your plans for yourself in the next 2-5 years?
My plan is to stay this present, to enjoy and keep celebrating every day in life with my little family and my friends. And I will try to keep the wonderful balance of challenging myself and always give myself time to restore and reflect. To be honest I have no idea how my worklife is going to look like and what goals I have, but for sure it includes both music and yoga!
Any secret practices for the happiness you embody?
Get connected with your body and your breathe so you can feel what you need. Sometimes I get lost, but most times now I can give myself what I need. Sometimes it is a very soft practice, sometimes when life is a bit too much, I love to go back to some of the first videos in the Transformation program, then I get grounded, feel safe – and get a great workout at the same time. And if you are able to give yourself more of what YOU want and need, even if life is busy, then you will be happier more often! And keep giving - the more I give, the more I get back!
Any favorite wellness tools that are easy enough for us to copy paste into our everyday lives?
Deepen your breathe. When you are reading this, waiting for the bus, waiting in line by the coffee machine at work or in line at the security at the airport. Just connect. And when the pasta is boiling, you are waiting for the rest of the family to get ready to leave, breathe deep, do some shoulder stretches or movements - or squats! Instead of wasting energy on getting irritated - move and breathe and enjoy the connection, feel the feeling of being alive!
Thank you so so much Lene - you are a bright shining star, soulworker and a true inspiration for us all!