Finding your flow.... June 17 2016
"Like riding a wave that you knew was taking you somewhere and you trusted but also was scary as hell. And once the wave crashed on the shore there was no turning back. For a while there was whitewash, foam and confusion but now that the tide has receded the damage and debris have been cleared away and there is nothing left but the white sands of paradise it is so clear that the tsunami that you rode in on was not your life it was just a ticket out of it. That time has past.... The rough water no longer yours. And everyone stuck in the whirl pool behind you are there of their own choosing and it feels liberating to no longer be tossed around as part of it. Occasionally the rough waters still reach our shores in an attempt to unburden their debris but now - nothing can drag you back in"
I wrote this on my personal FB profile about a week ago now and i have been thinking about what this really means for me. Now whilst clearly there is a lot going on in my world that you are not privy too and nor do i wish to share. Its just not productive for anyone to say unkind things or dwell on hurts of the past. I did want to share with you what i have learnt...
Through the process of doing and undoing, of being and unseeing, through the peeling back of layers once again to become yet another raw version of the person that i am. Through so many 'light bulb' moments the local Bunnings is now out of stock i have some things i would like to share...
1. You are not your story - from this moment forward you can chose to be a completely different version of yourself. you can walk a different path and no matter how 'trapped' you feel you have the capacity for choice and change you just need to find the courage.
2. Nothing in this life is permanent - this is actually deeply comforting to me. I like that change is inevitable (i get a little bored with routine!) What this mostly means is BE PRESENT! You will never have this time again, you will never live this moment again and whether it be good, bad or indifferent it too shall pass.
3. You are your own rock - you are your own foundation and you must cultivate this strength in yourself.
4. To compromise your spirit for another is to die a small death - compromise in life is necessary for harmony and to exist in the world. Deciding where to have breakfast with friends, how much money to allocate to spending on your new endeavours, which phone you should buy.... what is not ok to compromise is our spirit. You can not shrink yourself in order to make others feel comfortable. You can not shelve your dreams because they don't fit with someone else's idea of you. You can not surrender to less affection than you deserve. You can not allow yourself to be diminished by the small mind of another. You can not suppress your sexuality because it does not match your partners. In essence if you have to 'be' someone else in oder to 'be' with someone else.... you my friend are cheating yourself out of YOUR life.
5. You can not live your life according to the standards or expectations of others - have you made decisions about your life and changed what you wanted to do in order to avoid the 'stigma?'. Are you filling a role rather than living a life? This is your life - you only get one shot at this one in this time and space and if you are living it for someone else, to avoid hurting or disappointing someone else you are wasting it.
6. Your happiness is the most important commodity - I'm not talking about indulging every selfish whim that we have. I am talking about living in your authenticity and truly enjoying yourself and the company you keep. In Yoga our first Dharma (duty) is to ourselves and if it is not fulfilled you can not fulfil your Dharma to your family or community. As the saying goes you can not pour from an empty cup.
7. Do your internal work and all else will come - my biggest fear in life used to be of 'stuffing it up'. Stuffing what up i'm not sure but i felt as though if i didn't do it just right then i would get in trouble from 'someone'. As a grown adult let me tell you unless you are breaking the law you actually have no-one to answer to but yourself. If you listen to that Anahata nada (heart song) you will never go wrong. In the last couple of years i have done some completely irrational, logically insane things because my heart and body told me to. Despite the protests of my mind i followed my intuition and through the storm (even during) i have been and am the happiest, most centred and healthiest I've ever been in my life.
8. No action is still action - if you think by ignoring a situation you aren't making a decision about it then you are wrong. You have decided to stay where you are.
9. Those who truly love you will always love you - no matter what you do they will always have your back. If they don't, if your life decisions make them uncomfortable or offend them in some way then they never loved you. If their love comes with conditions - then they never love you. Sorry.
10. Surrender....... you don't need to control everything and the universe has a way of squaring things off. If you don't get what you wanted find the lesson. If you do - have gratitude.
No matter how much life changes and how quickly, know that it really is only a fleeting moment in the span of time and even though at times is seems all encompassing and overwhelming it will pass. Enjoy the journey for what it is. Follow your path, cultivate virtues and a peaceful nature and allow yourself the time and space to breathe and be.
On the mat - as in life.
Anahata Nada - listening to your heart song. August 22 2015
I often talk about the Anahata Nada or 'heart song' in my classes. The whisperings of your heart that if you quiet the brain long enough you can hear. The voice inside that guides you. The voice that if you are in tune with your being leads you in the direction of your ultimate fulfilment as an individual. Im not talking about that little voice inside that tells you to indulge every basic whim and earthly desire. Not the voice that makes ultimately bad decisions for you. Im talking about the one that on a quiet night as you sit and stare at the stars it whispers...'what if?'
When you are living in your alignment you find yourself guided by seemingly a force bigger than yourself. A force that mostly seems to have your back and be on your side. This is living in the flow, stepping into your fulfilment and this is you hearing your heart song.
We all have purpose and something in our lives that if we were to be able to do it would make our hearts soar. The challenge is being able to find this mysterious unicorn and ride it every single day. But the first step for most is being able to quiet the monkey mind long enough to actually hear their heart song. We are so busy in our heads and rationalising every move that we make that it drowns out the voice of the heart and our 'unstuck sound' becomes nothing but a ringing in your ears.
Self Awareness July 30 2015
What is it to be fully self aware? What does it mean for you and your daily living and the way in which you conduct yourself in the world? How does it relate to Yoga and what can Yoga do to aid in this process?
Self awareness is the ability to see your own beauty and flaws. It is ones own ability to look deep within and know your triggers, accept your human frailty and work with your strengths. It is not a cathartic process of peeling back the layers of your individualism in order to 'fix' the problems. It isn't demolition time for the soul. It is treading lightly with yourself and understanding yourself on a deep level, forgiving yourself any exceptions and being in gentle observance of the uniqueness that is truly you. I know that i have said it before and i will say it many times again... there is so much weight out there in the world so much heavy, responsible energy. Being self aware is cutting yourself some slack and just allowing yourself to be when you need, retreat when you need and shine when you need.
What yoga teaches us about ourselves is exactly that. Observance. Who am i in this moment in time and what does this mean for me. When you enter into a posture and open yourself up, allow the mind to focus or quiet and return back to that breath there is nothing else in time and space, just you, your thoughts and how they effect your body and mind. Observing these thoughts and how we respond to the stretching of the self gives us amazing insight into who we are and where we would like to go. For instance if you enter into a posture and it is hard as they sometimes are and your body resists and your mind resists further by throwing anger at your body or the teacher or no-one in particular then this provides vast amounts of insight for the willing. Why am i angry? What is it about this situation that pushes my buttons? All i am supposed to be doing is 'being' here and yet i want to punch someone in the face... Perhaps it is time to reflect on what the real concerns are. Yoga provides us with the time and space to reconnect to ourselves, to slow down and allow the thought process to simplify and the ebb and flow of the breath to soothe the body in ways that not much else can. It provides the students with a bench mark for awareness and how and if we progress through it - what happens over time and with practice. In the end the body, mind and disposition soften and the edges of life become much less sharp and abrasive. We learn to observe ourselves on and off the mat, we take confidence with us into the day and our body thanks us for it.
There is actually nothing to do here except observe, be mindful and see how this effects your daily living.
Keep it light Yogis,
Spiritual Awakening July 22 2015
Why Retreat? June 16 2015
There are so many things that NEED to be done. So many people wanting so many things from us at any one time. Its no wonder that we find it difficult to find time for ourselves. It is no wonder that in the modern world Chronic illness accounts for 9 out of 10 deaths.
Do you suffer from...
If you answered YES to any of these then excess stress in your life could be putting so much strain on your body that if left unchecked disease and eventually chronic illness will result.
The good news is that there is something that you can do about it.
We see specialists and healthcare providers, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists to help us 'get through' our daily routines. To keep our body in check or to help 'boost' our functioning. What if the simplest answer was that you needed to check out of the stress and allow your adrenal glands and every other system in your body a chance to reset and rest. To turn off the stress response, be taken care of and truly nourish your body with food, gentle movement and works of inspiration. What if all of that money you spend on 'maintaining' your health was being wasted because you just needed to stop?
The best advice anyone can give you is to reduce your daily stress and declutter your life but how on earth do you do that whilst still running a household, holding down a job and being the super human being that is required of you every single day?
We create retreats for this exact purpose, we design menus to heal your gut, exercise to engage your body, move your blood, lymph and melancholy. Creative discovery workshops to inspire your mind and tune into your purpose helping you to reconnect to the person who has gotten lost under all the 'doing' of life.
This is deep healing on a community level - this is our passion, our love and our desire to create a healthier community of inspired individuals so that we may all live in a better world. The statistics are scary and the disease rates in the world are on the rise. The saddest part of it all is that most of it can be avoided simply by changing our lifestyles. Let us help you in this transition so that you can lead the life you desire to lead - Connect to your Pure Bliss!
Join us for a transformational weekend filled with Yoga, Mediation, Creative Discovery and incredible food. Don't wait for your body to fail you, don't wait for the 'completely out of the blue' diagnosis because really they are never that completely unexpected if you have been neglecting yourself.
My first experience with yoga was when an Ex-girlfriend finally convinced me to join her at a Bikram Yoga session in Denver Colorado many years ago. I was nervous, as I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t sure if there were basics that I had to be aware of, or were just assumed, so then I end up embarrassing myself by holding the class up by being “that dude”. Thankfully I made it through my first experience without embarrassing myself, and found the experience both harder and easier than my preconceptions I had about yoga.
Let me explain what I mean. I found it easier in the way that I didn’t have to have any prior knowledge of what was expected and how to go about it. I could just show up, get on my mat (which I rented) and follow along. It wasn’t fast paced and the instructor would give easy to understand directions that everyone followed. If you weren’t sure what she meant, you could just pop your head up and watch what she was talking about, or look around at any of the other fit girls in yoga pants that filled the class.
It was harder than I expected with regard to the physical aspect. I was only in my mid 20s and quite fit, in a blokey sort of way. I had just slowed down from my full time snowboarding days and also played football (AFL). Yes, even in the US you can track down a way to enjoy your favorite sports that you grew up with. Which meant I was also a regular in the gym throwing weights around too. So any thoughts of inadequate dexterity had not even entered my mind until about half way through the 60minute class, as all I could concentrate on were the ever increasing drips of sweat that were creating a puddle on my mat beneath me, as I tried to hold poses that looked easy, until you were actually in them.
I was a soaking wet mess by the end, due to the heated environment that is Bikram Yoga. 30 degrees is the usual room temperature for that style, which had me dizzy and light headed for an hour or so afterwards, due to the amount of fluid that I lost. I had no idea that stretching and holding poses would be so difficult.
Over the next 10-ish years I would try the odd yoga class here and there, but it never held my attention and just seemed like a stretching session. I had always looked at fitness in a traditional way. Work hard, lift hard, breathe hard. Seemed simple enough. But this way of thinking was failing me in a motivational sense. After our Wedding and Honeymoon I finally hung up the boots from Footy after an injury, but I just couldn’t drag myself back in to the gym, and the times that I did, I had no intensity.
My only fitness outlet was surfing now. Being a beginner, it was quite taxing, but getting easier, so my gorgeous wife suggested I join her at one of Lina’s mini retreats.
I’m not sure if it was just that time in my life when a guy starts to see, feel and realize that the invincible, if not bordering on “immortal” feeling that a fit guy in his 20s has, starts to wane ever so slightly. Perhaps I was just starting to mature enough to begin accepting that my long held beliefs were not necessarily the only way of going about things, but that first 2hr session with Lina resonated with me in a way that triggered a drive to want to really embrace what yoga was.
Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I have booked a one way ticket to Tibet and rid myself of all my material possessions, take it easy slick! That’s not what this is about. What it is about is how I finally started to see that yoga is so much more than stretching and yoga pants.
I think Lina’s style is just as informative as it is challenging, I was able to understand the importance of breathing (well, y’know, other than the obvious) and how it effects not just your yoga, but how you can use it to relax, kind of on cue. Her ability to present the basic mantra as much more than just a physical adaptation of a very in depth way of life, in a manner that a bloke like me not only understands, but can embrace without feeling like I have to give up any of my “manliness”
I think one of the most understated benefits of Yoga that guys don’t seem to understand, is just how good of a workout it is. It doesn’t matter how often you do it, there is always more to achieve if you require that type of drive. The strength required in a lot of the moves/poses due to the lack of flexibility in most of us guys means that you will be toning muscles you didn’t even know you had, as well as gradually increasing your flexibility. It’s the type of place that is actually beneficial to check your ego at the door and accept that there is a gradual process involved with improving. Lina has been instrumental in helping me understand that process.
If you’re looking for a “get fit quick” fix, this ain’t it. There are plenty of guys with shaved legs and tight polo shirts to help you with that. But try incorporating a few yoga sessions with it, and see which one feels like it will be sustainable over a long period of time.
Yoga is a personal journey and we love hearing your stories. Lachlan has been a student of Pure Bliss Yoga for over 12mths now and is dedicated and tenacious in his practice. It is inspiring to watch students grow as their body and mind set changes. Thank you Lachlan for sharing your journey...
What is Yoga? May 21 2015 1 Comment
Yoga is the Union of our physical, mental and spiritual selves, it is far more than merely a way of exercising the body – it is a way of life. Yoga encourages us to focus our minds and become more aware of the internal flow of energy by conditioning, stretching and toning our physical bodies.
Yoga is a prescription for healthy living - it is the formula we all seek for not only a long life but one filled with vitality and quality.
What are the benefits of Yoga?
Yoga practice is associated with many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. Some of the physical benefits include increased flexibility, strength, suppleness and stamina. It enhances your balance, posture and agility and it also cleanses internal body systems to allow them to function properly for example, digestion.
An emphasis on breathing techniques allows you to breathe better and more complete leading to clarity and stillness of mind which in turn helps to reduce anxiety, emotional tension and mood swings.
Yoga can help to eliminate specific physical symptoms or aliments such as PMS, headaches, backache, stress, insomnia, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome just to name a few.
Most importantly Yoga is a personal path of discovery for all those who practice it – its unique benefits and relevance will become apparent to each as their path unfolds!
See you back on the Mat Yogis!
Protecting your body from Yoga? May 12 2015 1 Comment
There has been much discussion and advertising of late for workshops focussed on 'safe alignment' and 'how to practice without injury', 'protect your body during your practice' etc. Which for me has raised a few questions...
Whilst I understand the need of a Yoga teacher to expand their offerings to their Yoga community and to continue to express fresh perspectives on their Yoga practice. I also applaud the Yoga teacher who wants to educate their students on the mechanics of Asana. What I don't understand is what type of Yoga is being taught that requires you to 'recover', 'heal', or 'protect yourself' from it?
I have read recently quite a few discussion from Yoga teachers and students alike asking 'how do I heal my wrists?', 'how long does it take to heal an SIJ injury' and what are the best therapies to get me back into my 'normal' practice?
Having spent over a decade in the Natural Therapies industry - specifically in the field of Musculoskeletal Therapies I am feeling like perhaps some of these students and teachers alike are missing the point. If your 'normal' practice puts so much strain on the finer joints and ligaments of your body that It causes pain, discomfort or injury you need to not be seeking a therapy to heal you but to reassess the practice you are undertaking on the mat and avoid ever getting to that point.
The first Yama of the Yoga Sutras is Ahimsa (Sanskrit: अहिंसा). A term that means 'compassion' and 'not to injure'. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm. This observance not only applies to our relationships with others and the outside world but also to our intimate relationship with ourselves. If you are pushing too far, taking yourself beyond your limits too quickly and without mindfulness and control of course you are bound to injure yourself. No-one can go from 0-100 without expecting there to be wear and tear on the body. If you have never done a handstand before in your life and you decide one day to spend 20mins a day every day throwing yourself into handstands the body does not have time to prepare for this. The wrists will suffer under the strain as the musculature has not had time to build and stabilise the joint. Just because you can 'do' something does not necessarily mean that you should. You also need to be asking yourself why it is sooooo important that handstands are part of your personal practice? There are literally 1000's of Yoga Asana - why have you focussed so heavily on one or two that the continual repetition of is damaging your body?
Social media has a lot to do with this new emerging trend but for the most part Yoga teachers themselves need to take some of the responsibility. The 'style' that we chose to study and teach is a personal decision but it is also important to understand who your style is suited to. Are you teaching Yoga for every body, every day or are you teaching Yoga for the already fit, Yoga for the 20 something hypermobile? Who are your students and what are your expectations of them...?
I recently dropped in on a class of 'Yoga' that was more akin to a display of acrobatics than Yoga and the requests of the teacher for the level of the student in the room were outrageous. Just because you bring your hands to prayer position at the beginning and end of what you are doing on a Yoga mat does not make it Yoga. As teachers it is our responsibility to guide students through a safe and holistic practice that teaches the students about their body and breath. Not asking them to perform advanced asana just because we can do it and it makes us feel important to demonstrate. There is a time and place for this type of Yoga but it is not in a room filled with every day you and me. If the class moves so fast through their series of Asanas that you can not focus on your breath or alignment let alone being mindful of your body, how on earth can you be making sure that you are stabilising your joints, relaxing not forcing... sorry but I just don't get it.
There are 5 things that I believe to be the most important aspects of any Yoga practice aside from Vedic teachings and Yogic philosophy.
Breath; There needs to be focus and emphasis on the breath - for without the breath it is no longer Yoga it is just exercise. Yoga teaches us that Prana or life-force can only be extracted from the air when absorbed through the epithelial cells in the nose. It also teaches us that there are a finite number of breaths in each life. Each is precious and to be measured. If you are breathing rapidly during your practice and through the mouth you are not practicing Yoga.
Introspection; your practice should allow you time for quiet enquiry and introspection. You are your greatest teacher if only you would allow the time to listen.
Mindfulness; is your practice just another routine in your life that you've got down pat and your movement through this routine is so automatic that you are missing the point. Have you stepped your Yoga practice up to the same level of involvement and activity as everything else you do in your life so that is no longer Yoga - its a multitasking, box ticking - 'nailed it!' session? Learning to be present during your practice is the best part.
PNS involvement; if your practice is not switching on your Parasympathetic Nervous System and switching off your stress response then the deep healing can not occur. You might as well be doing something else.
Variable and individualised; every single person on this planet is built differently. Structural anatomy differences mean that not all aspects of every Asana are available to every person. Mass Yogic prescription does not work and leads to injury we know that. Your practice must reflect you and where you are at in any one time. There are varying modifications and levels to each practice - a good teacher will give you these and let you decide for yourself how far to take your body. I have also been to classes where no modification has been given and you can either do it or you cant which means that you either participate in the class or spend most of it in child's pose resting..... how is this helpful, holistic or progressive. The students either give up and never come back or their ego pushes them to try and in the trying injure themselves.
Now I'm not saying that from time to time you won't injure your body. For some people this is part of the discovery of the outer limits of your practice and something to be learnt from. What I am saying is that you need to find a style that suits your body, a teacher who is genuinely holistic in their approach and mindful of the needs of the entire class. At the end of the day your teacher does not have to live in your body and when that body is old and weary and the cold aches those damaged joints your teacher will not be there to soothe those aches away. Let your teacher guide you but let your own heart always be the final authority. And as always Pade Pade one step at a time - Yoga is supposed to be for everyone, every single day of your life. It is a prescription for healthy living, not a fad. If what you are doing now seems extreme, if you can't picture yourself doing it when you are 60 or 70 then it probably isn't very sustainable and perhaps you need to rethink your motivations and approach.
Stay safe Yogis, be discerning and empowered in your own journey.
Ananda - Bliss April 30 2015
Based on a reading of the Bhagavad Gita, Dvaita vedanta interprets ananda as happiness derived via good thoughts and good deeds that depend on the state and on the control of the mind. Through evenness of temper and mind, the state of supreme bliss is reached in all aspects of one’s life.
Bliss or your 'default setting' as I like to call it is the state in which you as an individual are in harmony, in balance. Think of a new born baby when all of its basic needs are met, they are pure joy, happy, content and 100% in the moment. As we get older we begin to attach 'self' or identity to things, objects and people, we start to 'look' to the future and remember the past and forget to just be. Returning back to ourselves, to our original being, to the core of who we are is often a difficult task. We forget that self care is at the centre of all of this. We sacrifice time, energy and happiness for the 'hope' of something better in the future. In reality all that we have is NOW - there is no 'future' and therefore if we can't be happy in the 'now' there is no happiness and there is no Bliss.
Yoga teaches us to be present, to live and breathe in the body in the moment. To appreciate and work with what we have. To cure disease and if it can't be cured then to endure it. Finding a regular practice or just a retreat from the world takes us one step closer to the deepest part of our nature - our Bliss.
Pure Bliss Yoga and Connect Body and Business Coaching are excited to invite you to join us on our Connect to Pure Bliss retreat.
Immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings of Gymea Eco Retreat and Spa. Positioned on 50 acres of secluded naturally undulating rainforest, with stunning views of Mt Warning - from the moment you arrive you will begin to relax and unwind from the pressures of modern day living.
Spend 3 days and 2 nights indulging in Yoga, Meditation and Creative discovery workshops all designed to help you to reconnect with your true Blissful nature. Heal on the deepest level with nourishing organic, locally sourced (where possible), Naturopathically designed vegetarian/vegan meals to help your digestive system reset and rest. Use your free time to book a luxurious Spa treatment, swim in the Mineral pool or find a quiet spot to sit and read that book you have always wanted to read.
Come and rediscover the parts of yourself that you have misplaced, find your inner Bliss and reconnect with your centre. Use our creative discovery to re-evaluate your path or to confirm your direction and leave feeling the way that you should. Leave the weekend feeling Blissful and connected to your life in a profound way.
Om Shanti.... Om Peace
Gluten and Casein free Anzac Biscuits April 24 2015
One of the things that I miss the most about being intolerant to Gluten, Casein and Inulin (the protein in wheat, dairy and eggs) is the ability to on a whim participate in many of the traditional foods eaten on certain holidays - one of which is the humble Anzac biscuit.
This year I have taken up the challenge to re-invent the Anzac biscuit without loosing any of the flavour or enjoyment by making it into a cardboard version that supposedly fulfils my craving once a year.
So here it is Yogis the Pure Bliss Anzac Biscuit - no tummy troubles and ALL of the traditional flavour! After all if we can't indulge every now and again, what is the point of this healthy, balanced living right?
- 1 cup GF rolled oats (or normal if you can tolerate them)
- 1 cup GF self raising flour (sifted)
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup brown sugar (1/2 cup if you don't want the 'sweet' taste)
- 125g Ghee (ghee is clarified butter but once clarified the Casein is destroyed making it digestible and is Ayurvedically very nourishing for the body full of wonderful joint lubricating fats. If you can't tolerate Ghee or want a vegan version then coconut oil will do the job too)
- 4 tablespoons Maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius and line 2 trays with greaseproof paper
- In a large mixing bowl combine all dry ingrdients
- In a small saucepan, combine the Ghee, sugar and Maple syrup over a low heat until melted
- Stir the butter mixture into the dry ingredients
- Form tablespoons of the mixture into flattened out balls on the tray (about 6 per tray to leave room for them to spread)
- Cook for about 20mins
- Enjoy once cooled!
I promise you these won't last long so perhaps make a double batch.
In remembrance of the fallen and gratitude of the brave - Lest we forget.
Meditation April 03 2015
To be able to empty the mind of thought and control the breath allows the busiest organ in our body to relax and rejuvenate - our brain!
Without the opportunity to relax the brain can not function to it's highest potential.
How many of you forget where you have put your keys? Can't make a decision about anything? Don't remember peoples names? Can't sleep properly?
Your brain needs a break! Try meditating for just five minutes a day and see how refreshed and clear you feel.
Clarity - isn't that what we are all aiming for in this murky pond we call life. Meditation can help you to turn the filter on in your pond - give the fish and plants some oxygen and breathe new life.
Try this quick meditation for a 5 min pick me up.
Sit or lay in a comfotable position. Close your eyes and focus on your breath... breathe slowly in and out through your nose.
With each inhalation take your attention to a different part of your body starting at your head and working your way down. As you exhale mentally make a note of relaxing that part of your body. For example;
Inhale - focus on your head and face
Exhale - relax all of the muscles in your face allowing your jaw to drop slightly
Inhale - focus your attention on your neck and shoulders
Exhale - allow your shoulders to drop and release
Continue your breathing and relaxation until you reach your feet. Once you have made an effort to relax each section of your body take a few moments to return to focussing just on your breathing. Slowly wiggle your toes and fingers and open your eyes and notice how good you feel.
Take the time to honor and reward yourself daily with meditation. Plant the seeds and your garden will grow with a little love, food and water!
Stepping into the Flow March 27 2015
Close your eyes and imagine that you are floating in an endless sea. In your minds eye see yourself fully supported, peaceful and calm - not matter how much you exhale and relax the warm water beneath you will not allow you to sink. Feel the gentle current guiding you and taking you... if you roll over and struggle against the current your body tires and you risk taking the water into your lungs, sinking, sinking. So see yourself allowing this endless sea to carry you to wherever and whatever it is that you and only you are destined to see and be.
This is the beginning of a meditation i frequently use in my classes. This image describes what it is like to step into the flow of life, to allow yourself to be guided, to stop fighting against the current and allow life to take it's course. This dosen't mean that you should give up your power and allow others or circumstance to take advantage of you. It doesn't mean that you don't still use your motivation and momentum to create your reality. What it means is that when you are in the flow, things are easy, things turn out in your favour and if they don't it doesn't matter to you because you feel balanced and like in the water completely supported. We are all destined to be happy, but for some of us 'we' are our own biggest obstacle. To step into the flow means to (as a dear friend of mine was recently told) 'step up on the stage', stop getting in your own way, stop allowing fear to dictate your decisions and know that you will eventually achieve the things you set out for if not better because you do not allow yourself to doubt! Stepping into the flow means to live a balanced life without regret, without fear of failure and with a quiet confidence knowing that joy, compassion and love are who you are and as long as you ride the waves they are who you will always be.
So try stepping outside your box today, dare to dream, look for the path of least resistance and allow life to flow through you!
Happy travels, Namaste,
It is better to be kind than to be right... March 20 2015
Harsh words are held forever in the ear of the listener is something that my Yoga teacher says on a regular basis. And for me her words hold true - i think back now to the times in my life (particularly the school years) when i had said something out of emotion that caused another person to feel pain too. We all know what that feels like - to be on the other end of a conversation that serves no purpose other than to make you feel as bad as the other person does. Seemingly small encounters for one person often are the catalyst for much later change or behaviours in another. Unfortunatly in the busy world we live in, under high stress and tension, compassion for another is no longer our defult setting, we are taught to be right and stand in our power no matter what the cost to others and as a result to ourselves. The fall out of some such confrontations lasting years and having ripple effects across whole generations. When all that really matters in the end is that you acted with integrity and that you were kind in the process, if things don't go your way, it dosen't mean you lay down and take it but it also dosen't give you the right to unload your grief on someone else.
There are only two kinds of energy in the world and two kinds of interaction - either healing or harming, if you are not helping to heal the people you interact with you are harming them. For example, a healing act may be as simple as a smile, hug, compliment, positive exchange of ideas, recognition of anothers talent, saying "i love you". A harming act may be rudeness, harsh words, indifference, mean thoughts or actions, inappropriate expression of your emotions.
Following the Yogic observances of right action and right speech help to guild us and act only in healing ways. Consider to yourself before you express yourself - is there a way in which i can deliver this information that will not harm those who recieve it? Is there a way in which i can deliver this information that will aid these people to heal?
Compassion and forgiveness are the key to contentment - allow yourself the gift of kindness and notice how different it makes you feel.
Vision March 13 2015In today's world we have some to expect a certain amount of 'stuff' - Cars, houses, clothes, food, toys, T.V's, jewlery etc. We have come to expect that at some stage in our lives all of this will just happen for us. Spoilt for choice and living in a blessed country, there is also an expectation that we probably won't have to work that hard to achieve any of these things. This however, can't be further from the truth, only now at the tail end of what has been a very trying time in the world's economic history are we starting to grasp the concepts of savings, being frugal and planning for the future not just living in the now. If you want things in this life you do have to work towards them, create a vision and strive for the best that life has to offer you. But most importantly we all need to practice Sentosha - contentment. Being content with the here and now, knowing that each moment in your journey is just as important as the next. If we constantly strive for tommorrow and promise ourselves that we will be happy when... guess what tommorrow never comes and neither does the when.
So today, sit down and create a vision for yourself, create a board of pictures representing all of the things that you desire for yourself, a daily reminder. Put positive steps in motion that allow you to travel toward these things and be content with what you have for the moment.
Create a vision, share your vision and move towards that vision. Put some energy in motion and dream big!
Daily Loving March 06 2015
Every day we wake up and open our eyes, we get out of bed and begin a series of tasks, of moments that when combined fill our entire waking day until it's time again to rest our head on our pillow and close our eyes again.
How many of these tasks or moments do you approach with Joy and Love? How many do you approach with resentment and frustration? Would you say that you achieve negativity in even 50% of your day?? Have a think about it.
Most of us would be shocked to do a personal mood audit and see exactly where we are 'spending' our energy and how much of it is actually negative. Try this just for one day and see where it gets you. Take a pen and notepad with you throughout your day and every hour take 5 mins to reflect on how you have felt about the tasks that you have engaged in and whether you have felt good, bad or indifferent. At the end of the day add up each mood or emotion and see which column is the biggest.
Changing your attitude...
Now that you are aware or the emotions that dominate the majority of your day you can take action to rectify them! The first step is to reprogramme your attitude with grattitude! When you wake first thing in the morning and before you fall asleep at night make a list in your head or better yet in a diary of all of the things that you are gateful for! The easist and best one that i can think of first thing in the morning is "I am grateful that i woke up and am alive today!" . You may like to select a body part that you feel emotionally negative about and show gratitude towards that part of your body for example - " I am grateful that i even have a belly that provides a home for my stomach."
Now you can take this appraoch to everything that you do. You may for example be asked to do a task a work that you do not like and instead of filling that experience with negativity you can fill it with gratitude and eventually love.
"i am grateful that i have been given the opportunity to learn patience (whatever it is for you) and to be paid for my services whilst learning!"
Once we have learnt to view our experiences differently we can begin to fill our lives with more loving experiences. Perhaps you may decide to make your partner their favourite meal mid week and surprise them with lots of warm hugs and greetings when they enter the home. You may give everyone close to you a loving text message just to say 'I Love you'.
Try paying for a strangers coffee and see how wonderful it makes you feel!
Pretty soon you will begin to fill your heart and soul overjoyed with acts of love and anytime you begin to feel emotionally negative about a situation you will notice, stop yourself and look for ways to achieve more love!
And never forget - that you always get back what you put out there. If you are genuine in all of your actions and selfless in your days kindness is sure to come your way.
Vitality February 27 2015
Do you ever feel that you are missing something? Missing your Mojo? You zest and zing? Missing your VITALITY?
Recently it occured to me that after the birth of my daughter i was feeling fulfilled as a mother and joyful in my new experience but something was missing. I felt somehow a little empty. I realised that it was my vitality - MY time, me!
After re-initiating my Yoga practice it became clear to me that all i needed was some time to work on myself, for myself and with myself. Restoring and reviving my mind and body.
Yoga provides us with the space and time to breathe and just be to relax and let go. Through physical work we are able to still the busy mind and through stilling the mind we are able to rest and restore.
Yoga provides us with the abiltity to cleanse the internal organs and muscles as well as re-oxygenate the blood, helping to balance hormones and emotions as well as our attitude towards life as a whole.
Yoga can be a useful tool and dear friend in times of change and progress. It can provide stability in chaos and peace in turmoil.
Having a few months away from my physical Yogic practice taught me a valuable lesson indeed - unlike most other exercise Yoga is not a chore - it is joyful and i never want to be want to be without it in my life ever again.
For me Yoga is a gift and when my 'vitality' is missing again i know where to find it - on my Yoga mat!
Stopping to smell the Roses February 13 2015
I often wonder how we end up waking up one morning and not really recalling how or why we have ended up where we are - and i don't mean after a night out on the town.
I know that we are all busy and that we all have jobs, responsibilities, significant others and so on... but somehow some of us are enjoying the ride and the rest of us are just hanging on for dear life hoping that we don't lose our grip and end up under the wheels. And, it's funny, it's not until we end up under the wheels or losing one all together that we truely take a moment to exhale and re-evalute our entire be-ing.
Recently one such change has happened on a personal level and even though i thought that i was doing a great job at being present and taking it easy, apparently i wasn't and that just taking it easy isn't enough.
Stopping to smell the roses isn't just about the smell - it's about the experience and how it makes you feel, your appreciation and the quiet moment that allows new ideas and desires to bubble to the surface like the effervescence in a bottle of soft drink. It's about finding ways to make each and every day sacred and how to fill it with the things that make your heart sing. It's about finding moderation and balance and time for yourself despite all else. A very dear friend of mind once said 'the mother wolf feeds herself before she feeds her cubs', in other words you can not give and be all that you can for others if first you don't nourish yourself.
Taking the time to not only slow down but enjoy the moments of quiet is the key to harmony within all areas of your life, practicing Ahimsa or non-violence towards yourself and then transferring that to your family and friends.
In Yoga we talk about your Dharma or your duty of which there are three. The first duty you have is to yourself 'mother wolf', you must fill your vessel before any other can drink from it. Your second duty is to your family and your third is to your community - in that order you may give what you have but you must replenish the source.
So, these holidays..... your first Dharma - YOU! Make sure that you drink all of the goodness that life has to offer you, nourish your body and soul and begin 2011 with all that you need to spread love to those around you and the greater community. If everyone took this approach imagine how truely blessed this world would be. For those who are fulfilled are not angry or hateful or hurtful, they are kind and forgiving, compassionate and loving.
"Self care is never a selfish act. It is simply good sterwardship of the only gift i have. The gift i was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self, and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves, but also for the many others whose lives we touch."
- Parker Palmer
Wishing you a blossoming heart today and every day!
Happiness vs. Wealth February 06 2015 1 Comment
Is it a matter of happiness vs. wealth or can one have both? It seems to me that there are really three types of people in this world
- those that are in search of 'happiness'
- those that are in search of 'wealth'
- those that are seemingly unphased (indifferent?) by the notion of a 'search' for either and seem to be doing just fine
In the search for happiness those of us who are following this path obviously believe that the universe will provide for us and that if you are following your heart and your vision then finances will also follow - it seems like a win win to me.
Those that are searching for 'wealth' seem to be consumed by the idea that if only they could accumulate enough money (who knows how much enough actually is) then they will finally be happy. This in itself is plagued with problems - you become a 'tommorrow' person. I will be happy when i do this, i will be happy after i get this, i will be happy when i have x amount of these..... this list goes on and continues and before you know it you are breathing your last breath and you realise that you never got there (because the list kept growing) and you didn't enjoy the journey and you forgot to choose to be happy!
Then there are those that seem unphased becasue they either just accept that life is how it is and is unfolding as it should or they don't really care either way.
I know it seems a strange way to look at people but ultimately it is true - which group do you fall into? What do you want for yourself in life? Write down your top 10 things and see which you hold in the highest esteem. Just think about this - if you are genuinely happy then all of the worries and stresses in your life seem small and insignificant, you have better health and each day is a true joy - you are truely 'wealthy'! You have more riches in your life than you could ever buy. If you are blessed to be 'rich' too then you are able to enjoy your money and not be consumed by where you are going to get more from.
If you are 'rich' then it doesn't always equate to happiness and money can't make you happy - only you can. You may spend your whole life trying to make that million to find that you still aren't happy and you really needed to be looking inside yourself the whole time and developing your own riches. So next time you are thinking about what to do next what step to take in life - perhaps you should think to yourself... 'which direction is going to bring me the most joy and perhaps this is truely the 'best decision' you can make for yourself.
You are your greatest asset - tke the time to invest in yourself and see the returns enrich your life!
Starting at the beginning January 30 2015
As always every story has a beginning. Every journey starts somewhere and everyone starts someplace. This week i was reminded of my own beginnings, the first steps on my own Yoga journey and what it is like for those who have never tried Yoga before...
For some the thought of sitting in a class that tells you to tie yourself up in knots is absurd. For some the thought of 'not being able to do it' is terrifying. As much as you can be told what to expect, each class is different, each teacher is different and even teachers within the same style can be complete opposites. Yoga is such a personal journey it is important to find a teacher that resonates with you and a class that makes your heart sing, your soul soar and your body hum!
When first starting a Yoga class it is so important to remember that unless you are double jointed and can claim to be a gymnast or contortionist as a profession you are not going to be able to do everything 'right' the first time around. It is important to remember that Yoga is a journey and there is no actual destination, each asana presents it's own challenges and even after you have physically conquered it then there is still more to learn.
The hardest part of any Yoga journey is leaving your ego at the door. The ego causes us to push and strive to be better than the person next to us. It pushes us to feel 'wounded' when our body won't do what we want it to do. It is the only thing holding us back from actually practicing Yoga. The Union that is sought and achieved in Yoga is only achieved once the ego has been allowed to leave the room. The ego is what causes us to 'hurt' ourselves - to work beyond our limitations and to leave feeling frustrated and angry.
So, if you have never tried Yoga before or if you are feeling frustrated with your progression - let go, leave the ego behind, be grateful for what you have, are and will be and just enjoy your own journey. This is the whole point - as in Yoga as in life - enjoy your own journey.
True North Heading South? January 29 2015When your world is turned inside out and upside down – when all of your true North’s seem to be heading south, take a breath and stop trying to swim against the current. Yoga teaches us to let go of our expectations and limitations and just go with the flow of the breath.
Sitting on the precipice feeling like I am about to begin another chapter of this adventure, this passage is ringing true, very loud and clear at the moment. But it can be applied to absolutely every aspect of your life. Work, family, love, health – at some stage you just have to surrender, get off your soap box, soften your disposition and let the water take you wherever it may. Who knows it could be a tropical island paradise???? You may be missing out on it because you are too busy looking for the life raft instead of rolling over, floating on your back and enjoying the ride. We spend so much time focusing on the destination that we think we want to get to that we forget that there is a bigger picture, we miss the sign posts and ultimately end up somewhere we didn’t want to be, often back tracking to ‘heal’, re-telling that same old story, in order to ‘move on’. And when it’s all said and done all we have accomplished is to waste our energy and potentially implode the very situation or circumstance we were trying to control.
The way out of or around this?? Get centred, get grounded and stop sweating the small stuff. Step into the flow –if something seems too hard it usually is, and is usually not the right thing for you in that moment. I am not talking about giving up, letting go of your dreams or becoming a waste of space. I am talking about reassessing your options, being discerning and knowing that just because an opportunity is presented to you doesn’t mean you have to take it. Let your heart guide you.
Yoga gives us this heart centred approach, it allows us to stop long enough to hear the voice within -To allow the bubbles of desire to rise to the surface and find constructive ways of expending our precious energy and potential. In essence - to go with the flow of life. When you learn to trust and do this you will find a whole new world opened up to you. A world that is full of vibrancy, renewed energy and enthusiasm. So much more becomes available to you because you stop wasting your energy and time in areas that aren’t productive for you, you stop having conversations that are ‘out of politeness,’ the same conversations that have been leading you in circles for years. You find a new level of friendship with those that are truly positive in your life and those that are negative get left behind. You are able to find clarity where none was before and are able to let go where you couldn’t. Yoga helps us to get out of our heads and be truly present in the moment, something that is rare in this day when we are busy looking to ‘learn’ from the past in order to ‘plan’ for the future, all the while missing out on the ‘now’.
So next time you feel that your life is beginning to spiral –
return to the mat, instead of spending hours researching and worrying and fretting over an issue, find some peace instead. Allow the peace to wash over you and the answers to come when you find your centre. Sometimes we have already been given the answer, but we were so busy swimming against the raging current that we could not see or hear it.
As always in life – return to the mat.
Enjoy your journey……
Balanced Healthy Living January 19 2015
How many of you have started the year with a list of resolutions or intentions to stick to and strive towards? How many of you will actually make it to February with that list still in tact containing everything that you originally put on it?
This year, instead of beating yourself up, instead of making resolutions that are so strict or out of your current lifestyle that you can't possibly keep them, try setting yourself up to win instead of failing.
I personally don't make New Years Resolutions. Why wait until the beginning of the New Year to take a step towards the person that you truly want to be? I get up every morning and say to myself. 'what can I do today to be the Lina I desire to be?'. Some days perhaps it is a simple as choosing not to have that extra helping of dinner, some days its walking to the park with the kids instead of working on my computer. Other days it is going to the really hard Barre class that kicks my butt every time but I know that I will feel so much better and empowered for doing. At the very least it is continuing to tread the path I have set out for myself. I continue to practice my Yoga even when I don't feel like it, I try to be kind and live a balanced life. No extreme dieting, exercise or fads in this house... just sensible, wholesome choices, education and continuing growth. After all, its not a race to get to some imaginary finish line, being active and healthy is every day for the rest of your days. Its finding a sustainable level of activity that you can commit to and make a habit of that will carry you through the years not just to the next bikini season. Its having a healthy approach to eating. Next time you see some 'diet' you would like to try, think to yourself 'can I do this every day for the rest of my life?' if the answer is no then its probably an extreme approach.
Part of this journey is also learning to be comfortable in your own skin. If you need to go on a liquid diet and run 20kms a day to be a size 8 - guess what, you are not a size 8! Find your natural, healthy weight and sustain it. Tone your body, do some weight bearing exercise for bone growth and health and keep your heart active and healthy.
Above all else, be kind to yourself! The beauty of each and every day is that you have the choice to start new - just take one step each day, one precent better each day and by the time next year comes around you wont need resolutions because you will have been living them every day.
See you back on the mat Yogis.
New Classes! August 27 2014
We are pleased to announce that Lina has officially returned from maternity leave and now has weekly classes on offer again!!
Monday @ 7.00pm - General Yoga
Wednesday @ 7pm - General Yoga
Saturday @ 9.15am - General Yoga
Anytime Fitness, 138 Brisbane Road Labrador
Cost: $15 casual class
There is no need to be a member of the gym, casual students are more than welcome. There is ample parking at the rear of the building and you may enter via the back door directly into the studio.
There has also been some changes to our Mini Retreat dates to accommodate our new Saturday class time. After this weekend 30th August our next set of Mini Retreats will been happening on a Sunday as follows; September 28th and November the 9th 2014. All other information will remain the same. Mini Retreat starts at 9.00am at the Harmony Body and mind Healing Centre, Nerang. Cost $35. Bookings are essential email firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you on the mat again and in helping you to return to a regular practice just in time for summer. Don't forget beginners are welcome so bring a friend and share the gift of Yoga with them too!
Yoga of the Heart July 21 2014 1 Comment
Have you ever been to a Yoga class where you find yourself squeezing into a space that isn’t quite big enough? Asking the person in front who is staking claim on almost an acre of combined mat and floor space to politely move forward to be met with a death stare and said person conceding about 5cm of floor to you? Then you realise that the same person is wearing about $500 worth of designer clothing and mat and you think to yourself… Is this Yoga?
This is most definitely not Yoga. This is the opposite of Yoga.
The physical practice of Asana (Yoga posture) often brings us together in groups to be taught and practice. It provides us with a sense of community, motivation and unity. It helps us to further our own practice by allowing us access to teachers and other students – but the rest…. The competition, the judgement and ego should be left at the door.
As Patanjali says in his Yoga Sutras 33; ‘Undisturbed calmness of the mind is attained by cultivating friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and indifference toward the wicked.’
Bringing your worries onto the Yoga mat and especially projecting them onto others who just like you are on their own journey, with their own story and their own worries will by definition create you more distress. Yoga is about letting oneself open up and expand. It is about unifying the body, mind and spirit in preparation for mediation. It is a prescription for living a full and happy life. Yoga is in essence an open heart journey. Through the movement of our bodies we learn to soften and control our breath and in turn our mind. Creating space where before none existed, length where there was only compression and fluidity where there was only stagnancy. We learn to open up our heart to infinite possibility and over time we see that concerted effort and motivation does reap a multitude of reward.
There is no end to your Yoga journey, only a beginning. Even if the physical practice escapes you for a time, the virtues that you have learnt, the compassion you have cultivated and the internal peace you have found will find you again. It translates off the mat into a greater acceptance of ourselves and confidence that enriches all facets of life.
The student who marks their territory and finds aggression where there should be compassion is missing the point. What Asana you can bend yourself into is completely unimportant. The important aspect is the peace that you find within the Asana. The control of the breath, the stillness of the mind - a student who can cultivate these virtues in practice is far more advanced than someone who can bend themselves into a pretzel without any body, breath or mind awareness.
If you have difficulty in finding the peace that resides within you during your practice, try taking it back a notch. Open up your heart and breathe into its centre. Find safe and comfortable Asana (maybe even just a seated posture or Savasana) and work from there. The simple practice will remove the ego – watch for that because you will fight yourself. Know what it is to be comfortable, to feel your breath steady and even, to find yourself relaxed but firm in your position. Once you have achieved this move to another slightly more challenging Asana and start again with the breath. Finding this space as you progress in difficulty is vital and until you can find this space don’t move on even if you can physically ‘do’ a posture or Asana wait until you can ‘be’ and breathe in it for a length of time until you move on. Yoga posture should always be safe and secure, never forceful or aggressive.
Once you are able to achieve this process you will leave space to notice how you feel, space to open the mind and heart and not just focus on maintaining an Asana. This place - this space will then translate to all aspects of your life. You will be able to remain calmer in the face of a storm, more joyful in the sadder of times and grateful everlastingly. Most importantly you will be practicing Yoga from your heart.
Follow Your Bliss July 15 2014
This is a hot topic of debate in our house at the moment. Finding the balance between following your bliss and financial freedom and stability. As much as we (me especially) would like to just spend all day everyday on top of a mountain doing Yoga and meditating that unfortunately does not pay the bills, put food on the table or clothe my children.
Finding a balance between what the heart wants and what the body of this world needs is difficult and for some perhaps impossible in this lifetime. We often push aside our dreams of a better life and focus just on the immediate week or day of haves, wants and needs. So how do we move past this and closer towards the life of our dreams?
Take one small step each day or week towards the kind of life we have always wanted. If it's starting a business of your own then perhaps enrol in that small business course by correspondence and make the time to re-educate yourself. If you have always dreamed of being a photographer - get your camera out and start taking pictures. The life you have dreamed of, the Bliss that you wish to follow requires action! Simply dreaming of a better life for yourself is not enough, you must step towards it!
Quitting your day job and running off to join the Circus works for some but not most, so just take baby steps - give yourself a daily, weekly or monthly activity and follow through. Keep chipping away, and you will be sure to find the perfect balance of Bliss and need.
Keep that end goal in sight, put your shoes on and start walking.....
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