Blog Archives

3 techniques for instant calm

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!



Winter Warmer Workshop

My time with the Meanwhile Space initiative in Lurgan is coming to an end and the Stretch NI Studio in High Street will be closing its doors on Saturday 17th December 2011. While I am sad to be going, I am proud of myself for giving it a go in the first place and then for realising that it wasn’t profitable enough to allow me to continue.

So, I am hoping to deliver a ‘winter warmer workshop’ on the 17th to leave the studio on a high and I really hope you can join me.

Time: 11.30am to 2pm
Cost: £25.00 (ONLY £20 if booked by 12 Dec)
Venue: Stretch NI Studio, 8a High Street, Lurgan

The workshop will consist of:
. Yoga-Lattes Practice to warm us up physically
. Breathing Practice to warm us up mentally
. Relaxation Practice to prepare us for Christmas
. The World Famous Chocolate Meditation!

This can only run if I get enough people so, for more information or to book a place, please contact me and let’s say goodbye to the Stretch NI Studio and see 2011 out in style!   

Then, come 2012, it will be all systems go for the new studio space at Columbia Gym on the Portadown Road in Lurgan. I will tell you more about that in a later blog post…


Gorgeous (and quick!) Relaxation Script

I did it! I found the loveliest guided relaxation script for my Beginners Yoga Class. It is by Marneta Viegas of Relax Kids in her book The Wishing Star and, although it is designed for children aged 5+, it really appeals to people of all ages. So I have written it down below and included my own additions in square brackets.


Close your eyes, be very still and imagine your whole body is becoming as light as a feather. Wiggle your toes and imagine that they are becoming so light they start to float into the air. Let them [go now and allow them to] drift upwards. And now try to feel as if your legs are turning into feathers. Your legs feel so light now. Can you feel them starting to drift upwards? They are no longer heavy, but soft and light. Now feel your tummy becoming soft and light. Let your tummy be soft and relaxed. Feel your chest becoming soft and light like a feather. [Feel your spine becoming soft and relaxed and like a feather]. Enjoy this feeling, as your body slowly gets lighter and lighter. Feel your arms becoming light. Let your fingers gently relax and float upwards. Feel them floating in the air. Finally let your head be light. Feel all the tension melt away, as your head becomes soft and light. [Let your face relax completely and become soft and relaxed]. Now your whole body is as light as a pile of feathers. You feel soft and relaxed. Slowly allow your body to float upwards, and see how light you can be. The lighter you are, the higher you will float… Keep repeating [inwardly] to yourself I am as light as a feather, I am light, I am light, and watch how high you can float. [Breathing in I am as light as a feather. Breathing out I am light. I am light. X2] Stay up in the air enjoying this lovely feeling of lightness, until [I ask you] to drift back down again. … [Leave for 5 minutes. Drift back down to earth now, back into the room and back into your body. Start wiggling your fingers and toes to waken your body up now. Have a good stretch, and maybe even a yawn. Open your eyes and come all the way up to sitting. Your relaxation is now finished.]

Try it and see… If you like it, I have copies of The Wishing Star available for sale so just let me know. Tomorrow it might just be some meditation for you!


Pilates Instructor Manual FINALLY finished!

Sorry it has taken me over TWO WEEKS to blog but I have been up to my eyeballs with the Pilates Instructor Training preparation, including the creation of a 175-page manual! I finally finished it this morning at 9.48am and instead of feeling relieved I am feeling all sore and cranky because I have let everything else fall down around me while I worked and that includes my own posture and good health. So, my intention for this week (prior to the course starting) is to get back on track with the things I mentioned in my previous post:
* Guided Imagery
* Journaling
* Self-Hypnosis
* Exercise
* Yoga
* Breathing Exercises
* Meditation
I am starting with a lovely guided imagery script that I will read to the Beginners Yoga class tonight and I will post the relaxation tomorrow for people to get a chance to share it too. I will also be doing some yoga, just for me, to stretch out all the aches and pains and might even get some photographs taken to let you see me tied up in knots! And before I do all that I have quite a lot of administration to catch up on so I’ll stop blogging and get accounting…

Quality Time … with me

I decided that I should treat myself the way I would want a good friend to be treated and I visited Nathalie Whan of Spa Serenity at Edenmore for a lovely back and shoulder massage. It made me think that I need to spend more quality time with myself and would appreciate some suggestions for other lovely things to do (nothing smutty, mind, I can come up with those things on my own!!). I sometimes forget that, as a self-employed yoga and Pilates instructor, my days are free to fill with lots of enjoyable activities. Instead I seem to have been filling them with house cleaning and administrative tasks and the quality time has got lost somewhere… So, please help!