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.

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The Power of Silence at the Jungle Ashram

guru offering

My ongoing journey called me back to the Jungle Ashram.  I was needing to return to this ashram, spend time in silence and connect more deeply to nature.

We live in a busy frenetic world and my inner knowing was asking me to dive more deeply into my practice.  To slow things down, take some time out and spend time in contemplation.

And so my next journey begin…  I departed winter in the UK and headed to Northern India for an extended retreat in silence.  My destination was Sri Swami Balyogi Premvarni’s ashram in Rishikesh.  The ashram opened in 1960 and as stated on the website “The Ashram breathes with the energy of awakening and is purifying and rejuvenating to all who come. Seekers journey from all parts of the world to experience a deeper understanding of their true Self.”

I had visited this ashram on many occasions for short visits but I wanted the opportunity to spend time with Sri Swami Balyogi Premvarni and in this oasis of tranquillity.  The ashram programme consists of daily asana practice, meditation, pranayama, Yoga Nidra, Tandra Yoga, daily fire puja, satsang with Premvarni, self study, reading and silence.

By practising mauna, total silence, each day keeps the mind calm and relaxed.  The outward mind can turn inward for self-introspection.  Silence brings us into direct connection with our true self, our conscious awareness, our divine nature.  This practice also opens us to the energetic relationship with others and the universe.

This jungle ashram is a wonderful place to connect with nature as it is all around.  Birds, monkeys, peacocks, squirrels, ants, elephants…  The jungle was alive with the sounds of nature.  The more I stepped into the place of silence the more I became connected with my surroundings and the ‘oneness’ with nature.

We are increasingly over-stimulated by the nature of our daily life and we bombarded by distractions.  Retreat and silence offers a “detox” for the body, mind and soul.  We can remove the distractions, allow the mind to clear, go into the space of inner stillness and silence, gain balance and clarity.  Over time we can understand our true potential in order to fully flourish in life.

This was a gift of retreat, silence and self-reflection.  A time to focus inwards, no demands, just time to be and reflect.  Silence and slowing down offers the opportunity to listen more deeply to our inner world.

It was an honour to experience Sri Swami Balyogi Premvarni’s teachings and to discuss ideas.  I had many thoughts, ideas and new teachings to take away with me.  The next stages for me are to experience these teachings, explore the teachings and embody them.

As I write this I am now back in the UK.  Winter is transitioning to Spring, my inner calling is to retreat from the world to take time to integrate these new and deeper learnings.  I am reading more widely on the topics explored, continuing with my practice of silence and meditation.  And so the journey continues…..

Sri Swami Balyogi Premvarni Ashram, Rishikesh

The Four M’s: Menarche, Menstrual Cycles, Menopause and Mature Life

mensturality

Menstruality is the female life process of menarche, the menstrual cycle, menopause and the mature years.

Menstruality is a means of naming and exploring the ineffable, mysterious forces within a woman—the hidden powers that are released when consciousness is brought to bear on our biological life changes.

Menstruality is both a woman’s unique Calling or Power and the evolutionary path by which she realises that Power. Menarche, menstruation and menopause are the key way stations of initiation or Awakening to the Power. The menstruating years are the practice ground for realising it, and the mature years a time of deep fulfilment of that Calling or Power.”

Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, redschool.net

I am waking up to the power of menstruality, understanding the spiritual process women experience each month as they go through the ‘seasons’ of the menstrual cycle.

I have spent a powerful weekend on the “Menopause: Unveiling The Hidden Power” workshop hosted by the creator Alexandra Pope.  Thirty powerful, amazing, strong, courageous and sassy women attended this enlightening weekend.

Menopause is a key transition in a woman’s life.  Her cycling years are the preparation to the process of Awakening at menopause.  Menopause is often perceived as a ‘problem’ when in fact it is a powerful spiritual process that marks a woman stepping into her power, life calling and the next stage of her life.

On the workshop we explored the 5 stages of Menopause, used visualisation to understand what each stage means for us, shared our life experiences, provided non-judgemental support for each other, understood our uniqueness and how everyone’s journey is different, learnt that menopause is an “inside job” whereby we have everything we need within us.  This weekend reinforced how important self care is and guides us to take stock.

It will take some time to integrate the teachings and experience but I wanted to share a few resources and links so that others can access this information.  This is an opportunity to dive deeper into your own spiritual practice, examine the transformations occurring at key life stages, understand the internal spiritual calling and messages you are receiving.

Here are a few useful links:

1. RedSchool.net

Discover why women all over the world are joining Red School to engage with their menstrual cycle and live their feminine power.  Are you ready to become part of a new generation of women today?

2. Menopause: Unveiling The Hidden Power Workshop – Sat 21 & Sun 22 Jan 2017, Worthing

Menopause is a key transition in a woman’s life in which both your body and spirit undergo a major transformation. This change is a normal and healthy part of a woman’s maturation process—an ending and a beginning in which you can deeply examine who you are, what you have done and who you want to now be. Menopause is an opportunity to truly come home to yourself, your Calling, and to experience a deep feeling of inner authority and meaning. It is a time of Awakening.

What does it mean to work with this process of transition? How can you support yourself? What life style practices do you need to introduce to support the whole of you to unveil this inner power?

Through teaching, sharing and experiential exercises you will:

  • Learn about the psychological and spiritual dynamic of menopause, the inner map, leading you ‘home’.
  • Gain insights into your own transition and how to support it
  • Begin to taste the deeper You that now needs to be fulfilled (think of this as also your first remedy for healing any health challenges you may encounter).
  • Learn other self-care practices for menopausal wellbeing.

To find out more and to book >

3. Wild PowerWorkshop: Embrace your menstrual cycle, reclaim the feminine path to power – Sun 15 Jan 2017, Worthing or Sun 26 Mar 2017, Dartington Hall, nr Totnes

With Alexandra Pope & Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, authors of Wild Power: Discover the magic of your menstrual cycle and awaken the feminine path to power. Due out in April 2017, Hay House

Would you love to feel the utter rightness and dignity of being a women? To discover that your body comes coded for power? And that the journey to realising the fullness and beauty of that power lies in the rhythm and change of your menstrual cycle?

We have a radical story to tell that is generating a new consciousness and reverence for our spiritual way as women. And you have a vital role to play. Your Wild Power is an animating presence contained within your menstrual cycle process, a holy intelligence, holding the blueprint of who you are and your highest potential. It’s calling you to claim who you are in service of us all.

Join us on this workshop to explore the female initiatory path to power and learn how to release the resources, gifts and insights inherent in your body’s cyclical rhythm.

You’ll discover:

  • The full story of a woman’s initiatory way over the arc of her life
  • Your inner compass for navigating this way and cultivating your power
  • The ultimate mindfulness practice for women
  • How to connect with your Calling and realise it in the World
  • And how to access the infinite blessings of menstruation itself—bliss, ecstasy, love, trust and visioning.

Find out more and to book >

4. The Map of the Menopause by Kate Codrington

Blog post on how to become a rooting-tooting, bad-ass, mighty powerful wise woman!

5. Making Pink Lemonade by Sarah O’Mahoney

Newly published book to guide girls through their menarche.

Being a girl can be pretty traumatic at times. One minute your biggest worry is what outfit to dress Barbie in and the next thing you know, you’re sprouting hair in unmentionable places and having periods…Find out how 12 year old Kali learns to track her menstrual cycle with the help of her family, friends and even her cat,Mog!

To order email: info@goodbeingagirl.com

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Yoga Retreat at Suryalila, nr Seville in May 2017 – Early Bird Offer!

Yoga Retreat at Suryalila May 2017

Yoga Retreat – Suryalila Yoga Retreat Centre, nr Seville, Southern Spain

Prices from £800 pp shared room

* EARLY BIRD OFFER:  Book by 31 December 2016 and receive £50 discount on the listed prices.

Due to requests, we have now opened up a Non-Yoga participant option (shared room).  Non-yoga participating guests can still enjoy the great food, stunning location and ambience of our yoga retreat.  There is plenty to do for those not attending classes such as hiking in local area, taking day trips, horse riding, spending time by the pool, visiting the sauna, booking a massage and of course taking time to rest.

Join Julie Bladon (Jayadevi) and Jackie Dorrian (Jagdambe Ma) for this blissful 7 night yoga retreat.  We will explore our yoga practice, meditate, activate & deepen our connection to our inner self.  This is the perfect time to switch off, detox and take time for you.

Our mixed programme is perfect if you are starting your yogic journey and wish to explore different styles or if you are more experienced and wish to immerse yourself in your practice. 

Join us in stunning Southern Spain!

~Immerse Yourself in Daily Yoga and Meditation

~Reclaim your inner soul spark

~ Reconnect with others and the environment

~Take time for you – Rest & Restore

Our Yoga Retreat will take place at Suryalila Yoga Retreat in the heart of the Spanish Andalucian Hills, Southern Spain, close to the charming villages of Arcos de la Frontera and Prado del Rey.

Suryalila Yoga Retreat is a world class yoga venue with fabulous yoga shalas, cosy designer accommodation, outstanding organic cuisine, salt water swimming pool and sauna set in 45 acres of land.  A striking part of the natural beauty of this retreat centre is the breathtaking vista extending in all directions: rolling hills, fields of sunflowers, and lakes. The sense of vastness and expansiveness is very uplifting!

Click here to find out >>

Picturesque Suryalila has a very special energy. It is run with complete love and respect. The staff, the views, the food, the accommodation and much more are why I keep coming back. It is completely magical!”—Emma Henry, Senior Jivamukti Teacher, London, UK

We understand that life can be busy and stressful so this yoga retreat is a perfect opportunity to take care of self, replenish, rejuvenate, relax and to have time to “just be”.  Take the time to honour your body mind and soul.

You may travel as a group or solo but it is guaranteed that you will meet like minded people on retreat.  Retreats are perfect if you are travelling alone, you have the choice to spend time with others or enjoy your own space if you wish.  This retreat is led by two experienced yoga teachers: Julie Bladon (Jayadevi) and Jackie Dorrian (Jagdambe Ma), who will teach yoga classes in a variety of styles including Akhanda Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Sivananda Yoga and Yoga Nidra.

During the 7 night retreat, each day will consist of two yoga classes, meditation plus additional workshops.

Due to requests, we have now opened up a Non-Yoga participant option (shared room).  Non-yoga participating guests can still enjoy the great food, stunning location and ambience of our yoga retreat.  There is plenty to do for those not attending classes such as hiking in local area, taking day trips, horse riding, spending time by the pool, visiting the sauna, booking a massage and of course taking time to rest.

To book please complete the booking form below and a deposit of £200 is payable.  An early bird discount of £50 off the listed prices is available for all bookings made by 31 December 2016.  Full balance due by 31 March 2017.  Monthly payment plans are available, please ask for details.

Programme

Day of arrival (Saturday 20 May)

Saturday Schedule

17.30 Opening Circle & Yoga

19.00 Dinner

For full travel information click here >> 

Normal day schedule

07.00 – 09.00 Yoga & Meditation

09.30 Breakfast

11.30 – 16.00 Free time

13.30 Lunch

16.00 – 18.00 Yoga

19.00 Dinner

Full Board Price per Person:

  • Dormitory: £800 per person shared (shared with three others)
  • Glamping Tent (twin): £800 per person shared 
  • Twin: £920 per person shared | £1,115 single
  • Superior Double (shared bathroom): £920 per person shared | £820 non-yoga participant shared |£1,115 single
  • Deluxe Double (private bathroom): £940 per person shared | £840 non-yoga participant shared | £1,135 single

EARLY BIRD OFFER:  Book by 31 December 2016 and receive £50 discount on the above listed prices.

* The cost includes yoga activities, three delicious gourmet vegetarian meals a day and the use of the retreat centre facilities.  Non-yoga participant price excludes all yoga activities. 

Spaces are limited so please book early to guarantee your spot!

Snacks, Treats & Beverages

In the dining room, you can also find healthy snacks, ice cream and a selection of beverages including organic wine and beer. Suryalila has an honesty list to sign when taking these items and you pay for everything at the end of your stay.

Package includes:

– 7 nights accommodation

– 3 gourmet vegetarian buffet style meals per day

– free tea, coffee, fruit and drinking water

– welcome pack to help you unwind

– twice daily (morning and afternoon) yoga & meditation classes

– one rest day when you may wish to rest at Suryalila or explore the local area.  Trips and excursions can be arranged.

– a blissful Yoga Nidra session where you will enjoy complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation

– free use of internet

– free use of salt water swimming pool and sauna

– time to explore local hikes

– the yoga studio is fully equipped with yoga mats, blocks and bolsters

Optional activities include: Deep Tissue or Thai massage, horse-riding, optional excursions and hiking trips in the stunning nearby Natural parks and the White Towns of Andalusia and much more…

Not included:

– Flight to Spain

– Travel Insurance

– Airport Transfers

– Snacks / Treats / Beverages / Shopping

– Day trips & excursions

– Massages & treatments

For bookings and queries please contact info@juliebladon.com or refer to the following links.

Yoga-retreat-spain-2017-booking-form (Word Doc)

Yoga-retreat-spain-2017-booking-form (pdf)

Suryalila Retreat Centre >>

Co-hosted by Julie Bladon / Jackie Dorrian

Any changes to reservations must be made in writing.

Retreat Testimonials

Thank you for the laughter, thank you for being you!” ~ Greece guest 2016

Inspirational!  We so appreciate the love and support, helping us on the start of our yoga journey.  We go home inspired to continue the journey with our home practice.  Thank you.” ~ Greece guests 2016

Really loved the space created.  Particularly appreciated the suggestions for daily practice which I will take away.  Enjoyed the discussion in the studio in some sessions and Friday morning interactive session excellent, liked having time to ask about postures and learning from other people’s questions in the group.  Thank you Thank you Thank you

The place & people were very enjoyable & a good mix of personalities.  You two have been very accessible and welcoming.”

Thank you Julie and Jackie for a wonderful week, full of joy and fun.  It has been very interesting to experience different types of yoga practice and different teaching styles.  I feel I have learned a lot and have been convinced that I can include daily yoga practice into my usual routine.  You are both excellent inspirational teachers and I appreciate your hard work planning the sessions and all the smooth organisation.  Thank you again for your patience and kindness.”

Good caring and friendly group – I felt very comfortable being part of it.  Thank you Julie and Jackie for making the retreat such a pleasurable experience.  What a fantastic experience thank to you two. Thank you thank you! Yoga will never be the same again.”