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Supergreen Soup Recipe

Soup Recipe

Soup Recipe

This Supergreen Soup has been popular at our Summer Yoga Retreats and also on the Menopause, Wellness and Vitality Workshop this year.  Christine, our wonderful retreat cook, took inspiration for this recipe from Davina McCall’s ‘Sugar Free in a Hurry’ recipe book.

Christine has adapted the recipe stating “I have adapted it to suit my taste, after all, recipes are there to inspire and shouldn’t been seen as prescriptive“.

Serves 4

Prep: 15 mins / Cooking: 15 mins

Ingredients

1 tbsp oil, I like rice bran
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 red or green chilli, roughly chopped
2 gloves of garlic chopped
20 grams fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
250g broccoli roughly chopped into florets
250gs leafy greens, I use a combination of kale and spinach
½ block of creamed coconut
750mls vegetable stock
grated zest of 1 lime plus the juice
2 – 3 tbsps chopped coriander

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large thick bottomed saucepan, add the chopped onion and fry for 5-10 minutes over a gentle heat until softened. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and turmeric and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the broccoli, greens and stock to the pan and cook until the broccoli has just softened. Blitz with a stick blender until completely smooth and then add the creamed coconut, using the blender if required. Add the lime zest and juice to taste.
  3. Serve the soup with a little extra chopped coriander scattered over the top.

 

Book Review: Braving The Wilderness by Brené Brown

Book Review

The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.’ ~ Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW

Winter is the perfect time to retreat from the world and to spend time reading.  I’m working my way through books that have been on my wish list for ages.

I am currently reading Braving The Wilderness by Brené Brown and I’m having quite a few ah-ha moments.  This book is helping me make sense of some of the thoughts and ideas I have been developing and also sheds new light on the current global conversations.

I have been questioning and reviewing my ideas, releasing what no longer holds true for me or is no longer required.  Ultimately I realise that I am (re)discovering my true self.  This process can be confusing and sometimes messy but inner knowing is guiding this transition.

‘True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.’ ~ Brené Brown

This book is a mix of research, storytelling and honesty to encourage wider conversations.  Social scientist Brené Brown starts the discussion about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives – experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame and empathy.

Brown believes we are experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection.  In the book she offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and each other.

Brené writes, ‘True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in both being a part of something, and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.

One of the main issues identified through her research was the feeling of being ‘spiritually disconnected,’ a diminishing sense of shared humanity. What seems to bind us together now is shared fear and disdain, not common humanity, shared trust, respect or love. Emerging from the responses in her research, Brown describes four elements as ‘true belonging.’

1. People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In.
2. Speak Truth to BS. Be Civil.
3. Hold Hands. With Strangers.
4. Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.

I found this a powerful and inspiring book.  It unpacks our contemporary ways of being and the disconnect that is experienced on a global & personal level.  This book seems to connect with our desire to be our true self even if our true self has been deeply buried during our journey through life.  We can experience trauma, upsetting events, get stuck in life situations or end up completely lost but our deeper knowing will continue to give us messages to guide us back on track.  Our inner wisdom pushes us towards finding our true self again.

We have a collective and individual desire to belong.  It is what makes us human.  Brown writes “We are wired for connection. But the key is that, in any given moment of it, it has to be real.

Braving The Wilderness encourages us to build courage, resilience, review ourselves, move in, be civil, be our true self and to find our true voice.

Watch Brené Brown discuss Braving The Wilderness with Marie Forleo.  “How to Brave The Wilderness” with a particular focus on some powerful truths about belonging, courage, and why we all desperately need to change the way we talk about our enemies.

Also watch Brené Brown’s inspirational TED talk “The power of vulnerability”.  One of the most watched TED talks with 40 million views to date (TED website & YouTube views).  Brené Brown studies human connection – our ability to empathise, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TED, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

Book Review: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Book review

And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Recently in a discussion with a friend he quoted from Letters to a Young Poet as we discussed embracing isolation, experiencing solitude and the impact this can have on the process of creativity.

I was intrigued and purchased a copy of this book to find out more…

In the early twentieth century Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a series of letters to a young officer cadet, Franz Xaver Kappus, advising him on writing, creativity, love, sexuality, suffering and he shared accounts of his travels around Europe.

Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

This thought provoking book gives an insight into the life of a writer as Rilke gives kind advice to his friend.  Letters to a Young Poet illustrates the determination that artists require to stick to their path and to create.

Rilke shares wisdom and insight into the human condition.  This is a book for those that wish to explore living to their fullest potential, to explore the inner and outer worlds, to experience solitude and the growth this can bring and to become more connected in the process.

But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Solitude is discussed with great wisdom and how stepping away from life and busyness can allow an exploration of the inner world.  This time and space can allow for the answers to come from within.  It is not to say that this process is easy, invariably it can feel very uncomfortable at the start.  A place of unfamiliarity, maybe with its own difficulties, possibly bringing up deep seated fears and emotions.  This maybe a slow and intense path but in the process of acceptance and surrender deeper awareness can be achieved.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.   …live in the question.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

This book is a useful read for anyone wishing to explore creativity, artistry, spirituality and deeper ways of living.

If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Sunset by Rainer Maria Rilke

Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.

You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth.

leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs–

leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.

Book Review:  If Women Rose Rooted – The Journey to Authenticity and Belonging by Sharon Blackie

If Women Rose Rooted

I love this book. Truly, it’s mind-blowing in the most profound and exhilarating sense. This is an anthem for all we could be, an essential book for this, the most critical of recent times. I sincerely hope every woman who can read has the time and space to read it.’ ~ Manda Scott, Boudica and Into The Fire

I am deep in a process of researching, studying, learning and self-development when If Women Rose Rooted caught my eye.  It had consistently great reviews with 5 stars.  I was drawn to purchase it and find out for myself.

The book arrived, I had a stack of books to read already but felt called to start If Women Rose Rooted and I couldn’t put it downIf Women Rose Rooted is a beautifully written, honest and moving read.  Part autobiography, part mythical Celtic storytelling, part exploration of contemporary women deeply rooted in the land and part guide for shaping our journey for the future.

This is the core of our task: to respect and revere ourselves, and so bring about a world in which women are respected and revered, recognised once again as holding the life-giving power of the earth itself.’ ~ Sharon Blackie

We are guided deftly on a life-changing journey from the wasteland of modern society to a place of nourishment and connection.

If Women Rose Rooted has been described as both transformative and essential.  Sharon Blackie leads us on a quest to find our place in the world, drawing inspiration from powerful women in Celtic mythology and guidance from contemporary women re-rooting with the land and community.

We live in a time of profound change and this book is thought-provoking and inspirational.  Blackie’s autobiographical thread through the book is an opportunity to review our lives, make sense of situations and experiences, heal and let go of difficult or painful situations and make sense of the person we are today.

Using the Eco-Heroine’s Journey throughout the book to illuminate a path to understanding how we fit into the world, finding a way to be, facing the things that are dysfunctional and calling us to change both ourselves and the word around us.  This wisdom and sharing is a profound call to reclaim our power to bring ourselves and Mother Earth back to wholeness.

This book marks the Rites of Passage we transition through in life and explores how these experiences may be painful and unauthentic for individuals in our contemporary culture.

As the feminine awakens and we rebalance the masculine & feminine, this book can guide us to reconnect, find our authentic selves, re-root into the Earth, release what no longer serves us and help us find a sense of belonging.

Dr Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction, a psychologist who has specialised both in neuroscience and narrative, and a mythologist with a specialisation in Celtic Studies. Her unique approach to working with myth, fairy tales and folklore highlights the insights these traditions can offer us into authentic and meaningful ways of being which are founded on a deep sense of belonging to place, a rootedness in the land we inhabit. See her website for more information:  sharonblackie.net

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Brand New Venue for Yoga Nidra – Yarner House, Bovey Tracey

I have teamed up with Yarner House, Bovey Tracey to deliver a programme of Yoga Nidra workshops and yoga events.  The first Yoga Nidra Workshop is on Sat 4 Nov, 10.30am – 12.30pm.

Yoga Nidra Workshops

You will enjoy a relaxing and calming meditative yoga practice before embarking on a Yoga Nidra journey.

Yoga Nidra is an ancient tantric method where the mind and body is in deep relaxation. A single hour of Yoga Nidra is as restful as four hours of conventional sleep. This workshop is for anyone interested in relaxation and meditation, whether you are brand new or experienced in meditation. You will be fully guided.

The practice of Yoga Nidra releases all types of muscular, emotional and mental tension. You not only enjoy complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation, but also get to explore the tremendous powers hidden in the deeper layers of subconscious mind.

About Yarner House

Approached by a wooded drive of nearly a mile long, this superb Scandinavian style manor house offers an extraordinary, luxurious experience. This magnificent property was built in the 16th century originally as a Tudor hunting lodge.  The Yarner estate extends to just below the summit of Haytor, a beautiful granite Tor.

Yarner’s grounds span just over 250 acres, a unification of working farm land and rural countryside, situated below Dartmoor, above Yarner Wood, a thriving ancient nature reserve.

Yoga Nidra will take place in the Scandinavian Hall overlooking the panoramic view of the Wray Valley.  This stunning room has a delightful duck-egg blue and gold, Swedish style interior.  You can enjoy the views from the immense ceiling to floor windows and the space has a large fire place with log burner to keep the room cosy in winter months.

Tea and refreshments will be provided.  Enjoy your cup of tea in Yarner’s dining room overlooking the Wray Valley.

Bring your walking boots if you wish to head up to Haytor for a bracing walk or explore the ancient Yarner Wood after the workshop.

To find out more about the venue visit Yarner.com.

For enquiries please email info@juliebladon.com .

Photo credit: Lily Holman

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Popular Yoga Philosophy Books

Yoga Philosophy Books - Julie Bladon

Yoga Philosophy Books - Julie Bladon

“The Wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras” by Ravi Ravindra

The teaching in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is for the transformation of the whole of a human being – body, mind and soul. The first aim of yoga is the development of a steady attention. Difficulties and obstacles to this steady way of being are discussed in the Yoga Sutras and practices for transformation are suggested. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras offer wisdom and inspiration.  Patanjali recommends the eight “limbs” or steps to quiet the mind and achieve a transformation of consciousness.

Scholar Ravi Ravindra offers a fresh and direct translation of Patanjali’s text. The book contains extensive commentary and spiritual exercises. This is an insightful and informative book. It is a book that will be read and re-read with lessons gained every time.

Atha-yoga-anusasanam – Here, now, is the teaching of yoga (Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1.1)

This very opening aphorism presents a challenge. It could be simply a statement placed at the beginning of an exposition of yoga. However, it is much more instructive to see in it an invitation to practice yoga always and everywhere. Yoga does not require sitting on a cushion in a meditation and in not limited to a specified hour or a particular posture. Each moment is the right moment and the present moment is the best one. Each place is the right place – the place where I now am can be a sacred place.” – The Wisdom of Patnajali’s Yoga Sutras by Ravi Ravindra

“The Wisdom of Yoga – A seeker’s guide to extraordinary living” by Stephen Cope

Stephen Cope; author, psychotherapist, leading American yoga teacher; unlocks the teachings of the Yoga Sutras and yoga wisdom by focusing on contemporary life. He analyses the lives of friends and fellow yoga students looking at a multitude of modern dilemmas such as career issues, relationship issues and dysfunctional family relationships. Looking at their life challenges, Cope brings to light some answers to the struggles experienced in life.

Whilst some people think of yoga as a set of invigorating postures and breathing exercise, this book highlights that the physical practices of yoga are only part of this vast and ancient spiritual science.

Yoga sages systematically explored the essential questions of our human existence: What are the root causes of suffering, and how can we achieve freedom and happiness? What would it be like to function at the maximum potential of our minds, bodies, and spirits? What is an optimal human life?

Cope presents an easy to follow text that explores areas such as the path of inner development, practices to build character and mental power, practicalities for the process of awakening. This is a perfect guide for a more ethical and graceful way of living in the world.

The Bhagavad Gita” by Introduced & Translated by Eknath Easwaran

Easwaran’s best-selling translation of the Bhagavad Gita is readable and easy to follow.  His introduction places the Gita in its historical context, presents key concepts, and brings out the universality and timelessness of its teachings. The book includes chapter introductions, notes and a Sanskrit glossary.

The Gita opens, dramatically, on a battlefield, as the warrior Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Yet the Gita is not what it seems it’s not a dialogue between two mythical figures at the dawn of Indian history. “The battlefield is a perfect backdrop, but the Gita’s subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious.”

Easwaran (1910-1999) grew up in the Hindu tradition in India, learned Sanskrit from a young age, and became a professor of English literature before coming to the West. He was a gifted teacher and an authority on the Indian classics and world mysticism.

This translation is a timeless classic.  Read it many times and you will discover new wisdom and information each time.

On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure.  Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear.” – The Bhagavad Gita, 2:40

“The Great Work of Your Life – A guide for the journey to your true calling” by Stephen Cope

Cope takes readers on a step-by-step guide of the revered tale the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient allegory about the path to dharma told through a timeless dialogue between the fabled archer Arjuna and his divine mentor Krishna.

Busy daily life can sometimes leave you overwhelmed and uncertain about your life’s true path and purpose. Cope says that in order to have a fulfilling life you must discover the deep purpose hidden at the very core of your self. In The Great Work of Your Life, Cope describes the process of unlocking the unique possibility harboured within every human soul. The secret, he asserts, can be found in the pages of a two-thousand-year-old spiritual classic called the Bhagavad Gita.

Cope makes the lessons of the Bhagavad Gita relevant for contemporary readers. He highlight well-known Western figures that have embodied the true dharma path and also uses every day stories to further illustrate the lessons of this classic tale.

If you’re feeling lost in your own life’s journey,The Great Work of Your Life may provide you with answers to the questions you most urgently need addressed—and may help you to find and to embrace your true calling.

This book will offer you guidance and inspiration. It is a book that can be revisited on many occasions and is a good reminder to keep focused on your true path even when times may be challenging or confusing.

Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfil this vocation he can only be one person: himself.” ― Stephen Cope, “The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling”

And now a surprise: Beethoven was deeply inspired by his reading of the Bhagavad Gita.” ― Stephen Cope, The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling

There is a certain kind of action that leads to freedom and fulfilment,” Krishna begins. “A certain kind of action that is always aligned with our true nature.” This is the action that is motivated by dharma. This is the action taken in the service of our sacred calling, our duty, our vocation. In dharma, it is possible to take passionate action without creating suffering. It is possible to find authentic fulfilment of all human possibilities.” ― Stephen Cope, The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling

“The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras” by Nischala Joy Devi

In this book Nischala Joy Devi interprets Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras from a heart-centred, intuitive, feminine perspective resulting in the first translation intended for women. Devi’s interpretation captures the spirit of each sutra and offers practices to embrace the spirituality of yoga in your everyday life.

This is a contemporary interpretation relevant to all yogis, male and female. Simplifying the teachings for use in everyday life.

The yogic practices help us release memories without having to express them either outwardly or in dreams. They also help dissolve unwanted thoughts and feelings as they are forming, relieving the need to see them to fruition or preserve them for a later time. Sometimes while sitting still in meditation or holding an asana (pose), a memory will escape from the bottom of the mental-emotional lake. Like a bubble, it will float through layers of the subconscious and then pop on the surface of the conscious mind.” ― Nischala Joy Devi, The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras

To preserve openness of heart and calmness of mind, nurture these attitudes:

Kindness to those who are happy
Compassion for those who are less fortunate
Honor for those who embody noble qualities
Equanimity to those whose actions oppose your values
― Nischala Joy Devi

“An Offering of Leaves” by Ruth Lauer-Manenti

A poignant and thoughtful read perfect for aspiring yoga practitioners and any spiritual seekers.

For many years at the Jivamukti Yoga School in New York City, popular and highly regarded yoga teacher Ruth Lauer-Manenti (affectionately known as “Lady Ruth”) has offered her students “dharma talks”—stories from her life that accompany her classes and represent the yogic commitments to ahimsa (non-violence), compassion, and service.

Some of these dharma talks have now been collected in this book, many of them accompanied by a reading from classic Hindu texts, such as the Bhagavad Gita, The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Composed with humour and sensitivity, An Offering of Leaves” is the perfect gift for the aspiring yoga practitioner and any spiritual seeker wanting to live with thoughtfulness and integrity.

While in Bylakuppe, in Southern India, a territory that had been given over to Tibetan refugees, she was touched by the humble generosity of the Buddhist monks there.

She writes, “An elderly monk came up behind me and slid a piece of cardboard underneath me. He smiled at me, and my cardboard seat felt luxurious… Everyone can give something. In that spirit, I offer this book, like a piece of cardboard to sit on.”

She connects this to a beautiful line in the Bhagavad Gita: “However humble the offering, be it a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, if it is made with love and devotion, I will accept it” (9: 26).

This book is made with love and devotion to share teachings from the ancient yoga teachings.

An easy read and reflecting on the joys and struggles of life. It inspires ways to lead a more thoughtful, compassionate life. This is a touching, universal, honest and humbling book.

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The 6 Phase Meditation

6 phase meditation

This infographic is based on the core meditation from The Envisioning Method, a daily practice designed by Mindvalley Founder, Vishen Lakhiani.

The 6 Phase Meditation is a distillation of hundreds of books on personal growth and is designed to create the most remarkable transformation in your state of being — in the shortest amount of time.

The 6 Phase Meditation (Infographic)

Designed by Vishen Lakhiani based on his own daily practice, the Envisioning Method is a distillation of hundreds of books on personal growth and designed to create the most remarkable transformation in your state of being — in the shortest amount of time.

 

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Chocolate Love Meditation

Choc Meditation

A fun and simple meditation to develop mindfulness and awareness.

Have a small piece of chocolate handy for this meditation. Use good quality chocolate if possible as the meditation makes you more aware of your senses and experiences. This will add to the positive experience of the meditation.

Written and recorded by Julie Bladon copyright 2013. Produced by Ricardo Wolkers, perceptionaudio.co.uk. Music by Christopher Lloyd Clarke; Licensed by RoyaltyFreeMeditationMusic.com.

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Ho’oponopono – The Hawaiian Art of Forgiveness

hawaiian forgiveness mantras

Ho’oponopono means “to put to right; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat.”

Ho’oponopono forgiveness mantra: ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you’

This powerful forgiveness tool enables us to clear and cleanse any discord or disharmony.  We are able to “make right” with those we have an issue with and this in turn allows us to “make right” with our ancestors.  We can heal issues within our family and heal those traits within our ancestral line.  Of course when we forgive others we are ultimately forgiving ourselves.

Historically Ho’oponopono healing system was conducted in the presence of Hawaiian elders who facilitated the healing process for those with a dispute or misunderstanding.  This would frequently be in family circles whereby the whole family had to be present, nobody could be absent.  The group present would interact to enable the clearing process to take place and each member had the chance to ask for and receive forgiveness from the others.

The process begins with prayer. A statement of the problem is made, and the transgression discussed. Family members are expected to work problems through and cooperate, not “hold fast to the fault”. One or more periods of silence may be taken for reflection on the entanglement of emotions and injuries. Everyone’s feelings are acknowledged. Then confession, repentance and forgiveness take place. Everyone releases (kala) each other, letting go. They cut off the past (ʻoki), and together they close the event with a ceremonial feast, called pani, which often included eating limu kala or kala seaweed, symbolic of the release” – Nana I Ke Kumu (Look To The Source) by Mary K. Pukui, E.W Haertig, Catharine Lee.

Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, a renouned kahuna lapaʻau (healer), updated the Ho’oponopono process in the 1970s so that it was no longer a requirement to have the elder or healer present.

Morrnah developed “Self I-dentity through Ho’oponopono” which uses techniques to create a working partnership among the three parts of the mind or self; subconscious, conscious and superconscious.  She taught and promoted this updated technique around the world.

The main purpose of this process is to discover the Divinity within oneself. The Ho’oponopono is a profound gift which allows one to develop a working relationship with the Divinity within and learn to ask that in each moment, our errors in thought, word, deed or action be cleansed. The process is essentially about freedom, complete freedom from the past– Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona

Ho’oponopono allows us to reclaim our personal inner connection with Love, our Divine Source, resulting in Peace, Harmony and Freedom.

The process was further updated by Dr. Ihaleakala who worked closely with Morrnah for many years.  These updates made the process easier for our modern times and changing needs.

Ho’oponopono can be seen as a mantra where the individual repeats the words  ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you’ as a form of mental and spiritual clearing.  The practice goes to a deeper level than maybe initially perceived.  The reciting of the mantra acts as a forgiveness practice and cleanses the origin of the problem.   We can also understand that there is no “out there” to heal and we are ultimately healing what is inside of us and all of our memories.

Try not to overcomplicate this process and do not get stuck in trying to understand it all.  Trust in the process and try it in your life for deep personal healing.

In common with other shamanic traditions, the Hawaiian tradition teaches that all life is connected.  Ho’oponopono is, therefore, not only a way of healing ourselves, but others and our world as well
– Timothy Freke, Shamanic Wisdomkeepers

You may find questions arising such as “Why should I be sorry? Why do I need forgiveness? Do I really love them? What am I thankful for?”  Stick with the practice and the intention.  You may find your thoughts are churned as you start this practice but be patient and learn to observe.  Try not to overthink.  Let the practice take you to a place of calmness and stillness.

You are aligning, clearing and healing the issues on a profound level.  Ultimately you are developing personal power and responsibility to heal the situation.  By doing this practice you tap into unity consciousness and the wider awareness that ‘you are in me and I am in you’.  You will heal both yourself and the wider world.

This stuff works for everybody!  Try using it in your personal and professional life.

Clean, erase, erase and find your own Shangri-La. Where? Within yourself– Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona

Find out more:

The Foundation of I, Freedom of the Cosmos

Discover Ho’oponopono – Mabel Katz

Try it now:

Ho'oponopono

Ho’oponopono healing technique

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Mastering the Menopause – Natural Wellness Tips To Assist This Powerful Transition

Menopause - Natural Wellness Tips

Menopause is a powerful transition in a woman’s life and a lot of women are seeking natural support as they undergo this physical and spiritual transformation.

The average age of menopause – defined as not having a period for at least 12 months – is 51.  Perimenopausal symptoms often begin in the 40s or even earlier.  It is a personal journey so experiences and timings may differ and it is for each woman to explore in their own way.

Menopause is a natural shift in hormonal status.  The symptoms are seen when there is a drop in oestrogen production in the ovaries, the adrenal glands will compensate for this drop in oestrogen and any adrenal exhaustion is best addressed to ease this transition.  Oestrogen contributes to the female menstrual cycle by building endometrial tissue, sustaining bone density and the nervous system, maintaining the quality of the skin, sustaining libido and for the regulation of the female reproductive system.

This is a time of deep questioning about your life, relationships, job, home, what you are doing with your life and the calling you receive in terms of what you wish to accomplish as you move into the next phase of your life.  This is a time of death and rebirth.  You are releasing what no longer serves you and birthing the new YOU.  You may be called to spend time alone, you may sense your power rising and no longer wish to accept what others say, you may experience heightened sensitivity.

This is a time of deep healing, healing your body and past traumas.  You will be called to develop self acceptance, to de-clutter your life and to develop strong self care practices.

There is no right or wrong way to transition through your menopause.  Here are a few holistic tools that may support your journey.

Nutrition

Simply eating more plant foods such as legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can offer some relief, as they contain hormone-balancing plant chemicals known as phytoestrogens. Ground flaxseeds also contain phytoestrogens and have been shown in studies to reduce hot flashes. In one study, women had hot flash relief when they consumed 40 grams of ground flaxseeds daily. Fermented soy foods such as tofu, miso, and tempeh can also help reduce hot flashes.

Increasing your antioxidant intake greatly helps the entire body and brain.  Unprocessed brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, high quality proteins, grains and oils help to maintain healthy levels of antioxidants.  The benefits are wide spread and positively impact on memory, mood, heart health, blood pressure, detoxification, sleep, stress tolerance, thyroid, cancer risk, osteoporosis and more.

Studies have shown that menopausal women were found lacking in Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). Healthy choice PUFAs are found in fatty fish like salmon, herring, trout, mackerel and tuna.  It is also found in walnuts, flax, chia and sunflower seeds.

Take time to review your mineral intake and possible deficiencies.  Deficient nutrients may be iron, copper, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, D, and K.  Magnesium is critical for energy production, bone structure, sleep, mood, and brain health.  Review your sodium and phosphorus intake which may be too high particularly if consumed via processed foods.

Ensure proper hydration as there is a chance of electrolyte imbalance and dehydration when experiencing heat symptoms.  You may wish to review, reduce or stop your caffeine and alcohol intake.

Tissue Salts

Dr Wilhelm Schuessler, a great nineteenth-century German physician, concluded that there are 12 minerals that must be present in the body to maintain perfect health.  Through his research Schuessler developed tissue salts which offer a natural system of nutritional medicine.  Tissue salts enable the cells of the body to both eliminate toxins and assimilate nutrition.  Tissue salts are completely safe and can be used safely with other forms of medicine and treatments.

Tissue salts help with the physical, emotional and mental journey through the menopausal years.  Calc Phos, Kali Phos and Nat Mur smooth the emotional path, balance the hormones and strengthen the heart muscle.  Calc Phos and Kali Phos will also minimise the discomfort of hot flushes and night sweats.  Silica is a general tonic with Calc Fluor rejuvenating the skin and helping to prevent prolapsed and excessive relaxation of blood vessels that can lead to varicose veins and haemorrhoids.  Tissue salts to clear stagnation and cool the body are Silica and Nat Phos.

Purchase Tissue Salts for Menopause or consult with a homeopathic doctor for suitable Tissue Salt remedies.

Herbs

Herbs can also alleviate menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh has been shown in numerous studies to relieve a multitude of menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, and depression.

Maca root has a rich history of use in Peru to help women through the menopausal transition. Several double blind, placebo controlled studies show that it can indeed help hot flashes and a variety of other menopausal symptoms.

Another unique herbal extract is red clover. According to research, this effective alternative treatment for menopause works to relieve hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and anxiety.

Sage is a traditional remedy to cool the blood and reduce heat in the body.  Try sage tea.  Chamomile tea also has a cooling effect on the body.

Hormone modulating herbs to address the decline in estrogen are Ashwaganda, Black Cohosh, Kudzu, Anemarrhena, Horny Goat Weed, Morinda, Dong Quai, Chaste Tree, Paeonia and Curculigo.

It is recommended to find a naturopath or herbalist to advise on herbs for your particular symptoms and situation.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a useful remedy to reduce menopausal symptoms and consulting a homeopathic practitioner is highly recommended.

One of the most common remedies is Sepia. Symptoms that suggest this remedy include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, irritability, low libido, and exhaustion. Another common remedy to consider is Pulsatilla. Women who may benefit from this homeopathic medicine feel worse in warm weather and desire fresh air. They may have mood swings and weepiness and feel better with company.

Time Alone

Answer the call to spend more time alone in a process of withdrawal.  This is a time to deeply listen to your inner knowing.  Solitude allows you to truly listen to your inner wisdom.  In this process you may wish to spend more time in nature, journal writing, meditating or doing whatever feeds your soul.  This is a time to say NO and to put your needs first.

Exercise

Review and implement an exercise plan to support your self-care programme.  Do the things that you enjoy and that you are encouraged to make exercise a central part of your life perhaps even revisiting things that you enjoyed as a child such as swimming, cycling, walking, dancing, yoga, pilates.  Yoga & meditation helps to reduce nervous system stimulations which can aggravate hot flushes.  Select whatever exercise brings you joy.

Pranayama (Breathing Exercises)

Breath work is an effective way to cool, calm or invigorate during the experience of hot flashes or anxiety. Yogic breathing is a way to bring extra energy into the body or bring in a sense of relaxation.  Breathing exercises help to de-stress the body and mind acting to soothe the whole system.

Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing) helps to calm the body & mind, soothes the system and assists if you are suffering from disturbed sleep.  Try 10-15 minutes per day.

This breathing technique consists of breathing through alternate nostrils and retaining the breath.  Anuloma Viloma harmonises the nervous system and balances both hemispheres of the brain.  Every two hours the activity of the brain shifts from one hemisphere to the other.  The same occurs with the lungs and this technique helps to balance the lungs.  This practice stimulates the nadis or energy channels that run throughout the body like electrical wires.  It is performed with a breathing sequence of 1:4:2.

The breath retention gives more time for the exchange of gases which means you will get more oxygen in the blood and increased expulsion of carbon dioxide.

At different times of the day and also dependant on our health, we will breathe more effectively through one nostril versus the other.  Observations during this practice help us to tune into our body and mind with greater awareness.

Anuloma Viloma is a more advanced breathing technique and controls your prana (energy) through the control of the breath.  This technique can be practiced every day.

This technique is for 4:16:8.  Always start and end on the left side.

Come into an easy, comfortable seated position.  You may wish to sit on a cushion or yoga block.  With your spine tall and your shoulders relaxed, begin by focusing on your breath.  Taking full deep breaths in and out of your nose.

Place your left hand in chin mudra (thumb and index finger touching) and rest on your left knee.  Bring your right hand into Vishnu mudra (curl your index and middle finger into the palm and leave your thumb, third and fourth fingers free).

Close your eyes.  Take 3 deep breaths in and out.  Place your right thumb up to right nostril and close this nostril.  Breathe in through the left nostril for the count of 4.  Close both nostrils using the thumb on the right nostril and third/fourth fingers on left nostril.  Maintain a constant pressure on the nostrils and hold the breath for the count of 16.

Release the thumb to open your right nostril and exhale slowly until the lungs are empty to a count of 8.  Inhale on the right (same side) for the count of 4.  Close both nostrils and hold for the count of 16.

Open the left nostril by releasing the fingers and exhale for a slow count of 8 until you have completely emptied the lungs.

Repeat for up to 8 rounds remembering that a round always starts and end on the left.  Keep the practice smooth and effortless.

Precautions: The retentions should not be performed by those with high blood pressure, cardiac patients or pregnant women.

Tips:

If the 4:16:8 count is too much to start with, try 3:12:6.

 As you develop this practice you can increase the counts from 4 to 5, 5 to 6.  Remember to take time to develop your practice and make sure that you feel comfortable at all times. 

You may wish to make this into a mantra meditation by mentally saying Om with each count.  Silently repeating “Om one, Om two, Om three, Om four.  Hold one, Om two, Om three…..”

Sithali Breath is a useful technique to manage hot flushes and rebalance the body.  Also supportive when you are feeling drowsy in the morning or during an afternoon slump when you need to improve your focus.

To practice Sithali, you need to be able to curl the sides of your tongue inward so that it looks like a straw.  The ability to curl the tongue is a genetic trait so an alternative is given below.

Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor or in a chair, with your shoulders relaxed and the spine tall.  Stick the tongue out, curl the edges of the tongue inward to make a straw-like shape.  Inhale through the tongue, close the mouth and retain the breath for as long as feels comfortable.  Exhale through the nose.  Repeat for a minimum of 10 breaths.  Make sure you feel fully comfortable at all times and your breath flows easily.

Another technique if you cannot curl your tongue, extend your tongue out flat and sip the air across the upper surface of your tongue.

Bhramari Breath (Honey Bee Breath) is a simple technique to instantly calm the mind and help with concentration.  It is one of the best ways to free the mind of agitation, frustration, anger and anxiety.  The exhalation of this technique resembles the humming sound of a bee.  Bhramari breath is very healing and relaxing and is a useful tool to relieve sleep issues, headaches, migraines and stress.  The sound vibrations calm your nerves and have a particular soothing effect on the brain and forehead.  Use Bhramari breath if you are feeling a little hot or experiencing a hot flush.

This technique can be used at any time.  Use as an instant way to de-stress yourself.  You can practice 3-4 times a day and also you can include it in your asana practice or as you prepare to settle the mind for meditation.  If you are having trouble sleeping, practice this technique a few times in bed as you settle.

Come into a comfortable seated position or lie on your back, close your eyes.  Connect in with your breath, notice the sensations in your body and check in with your mind.  Take a deep inhalation and as you exhale make a loud humming sound like a bee.  You can vary the pitch of your humming sound and when you do connect in with the body to sense the vibration within the body.  Inhale again and repeat this 3-4 times.

Meditation

Menopause is a physical, spiritual and emotional transformation.  Meditation can be a source of relief and a supportive tool during this time of great change.  Meditation calms the mind, brings clarity and focus, restores inner peace and balances mental focus.  Irritability and depression can be greatly eased by a regular meditation practice.

Guided chakra meditations can support shifts experienced within the energy body during the menopause.  Meditation can be used as a way to explore your inner depths, find greater meaning and process the changes occurring during the menopausal years.  You will emerge wiser, more intuitive and in your full power.

Naps

Regular short naps can help you reduce stress, boost your alertness and energise you.  There are a few tips to successful napping to ensure that you do not wake up in a groggy state.  A 20 minute snooze is a great way to power nap and enhances your motor skills and attention.  A 60-90 minute nap brings Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep which helps make new connections in the brain and boosts creative problem solving.

Regular short naps help to lower tension which decreases your risk of heart disease.  Stick to a regular napping schedule, set your alarm so that you do not over-nap and optimal times are between 1-3pm, nap is a dark room to make sleeping easier.   Napping is a natural way to revive your energy and may prevent you using caffeine in the afternoon or evening which can affect your night-time sleep patterns.

Naps can help avoid burnout and reverses information overload.  Snoozing during the day helps to make up for any lack of sleep experienced at night.

Sleep and Yoga Nidra (Yoga Sleep)

Sleep is the most effective approach to high adrenaline levels. Many women require eight to ten hours of sleep to function optimally. Try getting to sleep on the earlier side of midnight as it is much more restorative to your adrenals than sleep that begins later in the night.

Try Yoga Nidra to support your sleeping needs.  Yoga Nidra is an ancient tantric method where the mind and body is in deep relaxation. A single hour of Yoga Nidra is as restful as four hours of conventional sleep. This practice is fully guided so perfect for complete beginners or more experienced practitioners.

The practice of Yoga Nidra releases all types of muscular, emotional and mental tension. You not only enjoy complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation, but also get to explore the tremendous powers hidden in the deeper layers of subconscious mind.

On a physical level Yoga Nidra improves the quality and the amount of sleep and soothes the nervous system.  This is beneficial if you are experiencing exhaustion, night sweats, disturbed sleep, insomnia or are generally feeling tired.

For details of my Yoga Sleep, Yoga Sleep for Children and Meditation Mix CDs and downloads please visit my online shop.  Downloads also available via iTunes, Amazon and on streaming sites such as Spotify.  Weekly guided meditations are now uploaded to my YouTube Channel.