Category Archives: Yoga Practice
Blog posts about my yoga practice
Oh my goodness! My plans to communicate regularly (even weekly) have rapidly fallen by the wayside as life has taken over. Since I last blogged BIG plans have fallen into place for 2013 for Chris and I. There’ll be more about that in December so keep your eyes peeled!
What I’ve suddenly realized is that it is the last weekend of November and I don’t know where the month went. In fact, I’m not even sure where the year went. We are still grieving for my Uncle but work has been very busy. So, I’ve had to put my professional head on and last weekend I very happily passed all three of my Scottish Pilates Matwork Instructors as Level 3 Professionals. And today, three intrepid new people have joined the last Stretch NI Pilates Matwork Instructor training of 2012. It is great to have them on board, although they have a LOT of work ahead of them.
And so I wanted to put a plan in place for how to cope when life takes over as I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. I think it a common feeling that we get when we realize how close we are to Christmas and the end of the year. I am always making plans so imagine my surprise when one of my favourite writers Danielle LaPorte, said:
a lot of us are making the WRONG plans.
We’re making choices based on should’s, or because it’s what our parents did, or it’s familiar, and not because it lights our hearts on fire.
Now, Danielle is launching a new book and programme called The Desire Map to address this and to help people get 2013 started with business and life goals that resonate with their souls . I, for one, can’t wait to get it.
If you are interested, check out the launch of The Desire Map. I only recommend stuff that I truly believe in and I LOVED her last book – The Firestarter Sessions.
The Desire Map is all about ditching the auto-pilot approach to life. I hope it helps me to cope when life takes over.
Oh, I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster with my diet recently. I was doing quite well (and even lost a stone since returning from holidays!) but then my Uncle died and I reached for the sugar bowl. Well, not literally, but what else could you call an entire box of Matchmakers/a bag of Thorntons toffee/a couple of bags of fudge/a box of chocolates/and so on/and so on/until I made myself sick/more than once???
So today I found this recipe from Renee Heigel and I’m going to try it. I’m using Green & Black’s cocoa powder instead of cacao and a normal blender instead of a fancy Vitamix. But I’m looking forward to having a smoothie that satisfies my sweet tooth without leaving me with this feeling of self-loathing that I get when I eat too much refined sugar.
Sweet Tooth Solution SmoothieMay 30, 2012 By Renee Heigel
- 1 banana
- 2 dates (pitted)
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 2 Tbsp of Cacao powder
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Add all ingredients into your vitamix or blender. Blend until smooth.
Use less spinach until you get used to the taste
I like to add additional almond milk on occasion. Chia or Hemp Seeds go well You may use a maca powder or green powder too
The death of my Uncle and the subsequent grieving process for my parents and the whole family has hit me hard. I have bipolar disorder and at the moment the shock and grief has manifested with anger at the world and extreme irritation at others (apologies if you have been been in the firing line!). So, I have come up with 3 techniques for instant calm:
- Time Out – I tried to keep working through the coma, the death, the wake and the funeral and I kept getting angrier and angrier that my clients did not recognize the sacrifice I was making on their behalf. As a self-employed trainer I also had some long-standing commitments that only I could fulfill and this was even harder than keeping my regularly scheduled classes going. So, this morning I decided to take some time out. I am attending training in Manchester this weekend, then visiting Glasgow for a friend’s wedding next Tuesday so I have cancelled my classes for the week. As it is half-term, everyone is getting a break from the classes for a week and I am getting some essential “me time.” I plan to do a little bit of soul-searching while I’m away so that I can come back to classes feeling refreshed and revitalized and ready for the weeks to come. I recommend that everyone take the opportunity for some time out when and where they can get it!
- Deep Breath – My Uncle died of lung cancer and this irony was not lost on me this week when I asked my clients to breathe deeply or took a deep breath myself. In fact, since last week, every time I take a conscious deep breath I thank the gods that my lungs are able to do this. Max Strom says that grief is stored in the lungs so I believe that breathing deeply and consciously will allow this grief to release which it has been doing through tears. I will continue to breathe deeply and let the tears flow until the pain of his death becomes less harsh and instead the joy of knowing him becomes part of me. I recommend that everyone take a moment to breathe deeply and feel the nervous system calming instantly.
- Dog Stretch – My all time, hands-down (!) favourite yoga posture! This has been my go-to pose for a long time as it stretches the whole body whilst simultaneously calming the nervous system. It is energising and relieves fatigue which is happening to me because of being so busy and yet not able to sleep well. I recommend everyone try downward facing dog wherever they are. If you cannot take your hands to the floor you can place them on the wall or a bench and take a puppy stretch instead.
Please try out these 3 techniques and let me know in the comments if they helped you. And, if you have any other suggestions for dealing with grief I’d love to hear them!
The husband and I are heading off to the States this Summer to drive the well-worn Route 66! (Which means, by the way, that there will be NO classes from today until Monday 20th August). We have been doing a lot of planning, as you can imagine, and I was thrilled when I came across this article from my favourite ‘Upleveller’ Christine Kane. I have quoted her in this previous blog post and I often quote her in yoga classes as I find her weekly articles to be very inspiring. Yet again, she has some wise words to say, this time on the subject of holidays:
Business or Pleasure? The Traveler’s Guide to Unwavering Happiness
Written by Christine Kane
Christine Kane is the Mentor to People Who are Changing the World. She helps women and men Uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly Uplevel You eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://christinekane.com.
Regular business travelers know this all too well.
“Annoying Thing A” happens.
“Business Traveler B” decides what to do.
Some days are a constant impetus/response pattern. Some of us get good at it. Some of us pride ourselves on our inner peace in spite of Annoying Things A, B and C.
But here’s the kicker:
Even if we learn how to react well, we’re still reacting!
That’s why your choice of how to use your non-reactive time is a key to unwavering happiness when you travel.
It’s about getting pro-active.
So, here are 10 tips for ANY traveler seeking unwavering happiness…
Tip #1 – Simple Self-Care.
No, I won’t tell you to go to a spa in your spare time.
However, I will tell you to…
… sleep when you’re tired.
…pull off at the next exit when you have to pee instead of making yourself hold it.
…allow extra time to get places.
Travel takes energy. When people don’t practice self-care in healthy ways, they reach for it in unhealthy ways. They eat hub-cap-sized plates of pasta and grease, claiming they “deserve it.” They drink alcohol. They watch TV to numb out.
This isn’t self-care. This is self-medicating.
One is pro-active. The other is reactive.
Tip #2 – Discover Audiobooks.
Many years ago, I decided to turn my vehicle into a “school.” I started listening to books on business, coaching, and spirituality. Not only am I always learning, but it makes a huge difference in how I show up to my destination.
Tip #3 – Use Intention
Before any new segment of travel, set an intention for your travel. You’ll be surprised how your intention determines your outcomes.
Tip #4 – Make Mantra.
Create a simple affirmation. Say it often. Say it when you’re waiting in line. Say it when the plane gets delayed. Use it to center yourself. Challenge yourself to say it a thousand times in one day.
Tip #5 – Board the Plane Last.
When the gate agent calls the zones, let everyone else trip over each other so they can then stand in the hot jet way punching their cell phones.
Give inner peace a chance. Wait until the final boarding call to board.
Tip #6 – Work out.
Nothing uplevels your mood like a great heart-thumpin’ work-out! Wake up a little earlier, or find the hotel gym after you check into your room.
Tip #7 – Get Help.
I used to lug around my suitcases, and my computer bag. I rented the cheapest cars and dragged my butt all over the place to save a few extra bucks per day. I prided myself on my thrifty stamina.
Now, I pride myself on hiring a car service to pick me up at baggage claim. I’m not into struggle anymore.
Get massive support when you travel. The extra $50 you might spend costs less than a visit to the chiropractor when you get home!
Tip #8 – Wash off your travel
If I have the opportunity, I always take a shower after I fly. I call it “washing off the travel.” If nothing else, shower before you climb into bed. Try not to sleep with your travel still on you.
Tip #9 – Forgive unexpected expenses
You rush to the airport in your rental car after the conference. There’s no time to fill the tank. You end up paying $45 for a teaspoon of gas at the Hertz desk. Argh!
Travel expenses like this can make you crazy. You can spend the day beating yourself up or criticizing the world for its unfair policies.
Don’t waste your precious creative energy!
Travel is filled with lots of unexpected expenses. Your money will get spent because of A) stupid things you did, B) unforeseen situations, or C) the fine print.
Do yourself a big favor. Breathe and let it go because A) you’re traveling, B) you’re wealthy, and C) you’re worth it.
Tip #10 – Think Ritual
A business trip is not the time to start a new diet or yoga practice.
You can, however, keep small daily rituals. Write in your gratitude journal, even if you feel tired. Wake up 15 minutes early and remind yourself of your intentions for the day. Personal rituals put you in charge of your day.
Got a favorite travel tip? Share it below please! And, have a great holiday, wherever you go!
It’s been so cold and wet and windy this past week that the Summer Solstice has not lived up to my expectations at all. Therefore I want to suggest we try some moves to keep warm in the mid section, or our “core” as it is often referred to in fitness circles. When we do yoga or Pilates exercises which stimulate the core muscles we are effectively warming up our internal sun because we are stimulating the nerves of the solar plexus.
The solar plexus is described in 1926 book Just How to Awaken the Solar Plexus below:
There is a real sun center in us, the Solar (or Sun) Plexus. This is a great nerve center situated in back of the stom-ach. When this central Sun, from which all the nerves of the body radiate, is in its normal condition, it steadily radiates a real energy, just as the sun does. This energy vibrates through the nerve highways and by-ways of the body out toward the surface of the body in all directions (the mucous membranous surface, as well as the outer skin), and is thrown off in a real halo or atmosphere, which always envelops the body. If this radiation from the Solar Plexus is positive enough, the influence of another person cannot disturb its steady, harmonious vibrations in the least.
The exercises I suggest (which we’ve been doing in class all week) are Sun Salutations, abdominal strengtheners like Boat pose or Rock The Boat, Warrior poses, twists, and Breath of Fire. These poses fan the flames of your inner fire and restore vitality so that you can move from the strength of your core so try them to warm yourself up this wintry Summer Solstice!