After the Yoga Nidra workshop on Saturday, we had an interesting discussion regarding the need to slow down.  How slowing our yoga practice can help us find balance in our fast paced world.  We are constantly rushing in our lives, juggling responsibilities, suffering digital overload, feel more stressed about being stressed and our adrenals may be in overload.

By taking a traditional approach to our asana practice and allowing ourselves to slow down, we can access much deeper awareness and connection.  We can be aware and enjoy our subtle progress, prevent injury, learn to love ourselves by not adding the pressure to achieve and observe how slowing down filters into our everyday life.

My friends at Yogalaya posted this interesting piece regarding slowing down which gives us much food for thought.

It is interesting to note that many Hatha Yoga scriptures ask us to relax, slow down and take it easy. This, I think, is one of the most important message of Hatha Yoga to the modern yogis. Imagine a situation of a yoga enthusiast /student who comes to the class at 7 in the evening after working 11 hours in the office. In the morning this person jumps out of bed, rushes into shower, runs to catch the train to office and takes the bull of challenges by its horns throughout the day. Such has become the pace of us urban people. Such a person who comes to the class in the evening brings the “let’s do it” alpha energy into the class. The hyper active, achievement oriented office mind-set will unconsciously continue in the yoga class too and could be a cause of injury. It is in such situations that the person needs a calming asana practice focused on breathing, awareness and conscious movement and not just stretching the muscles for achievements sake. It is the responsibility of yoga teachers to guide the student through this wider, pacifying orientation and not just create another opportunity for the enthusiast to live through the adrenals.

Traditional Hatha Yoga schools have used asana practices primarily as an awareness deepening and energy realigning technique and not as flexibility or stretch training. Deepening of self-awareness is facilitated by general slowing down and when asanas are used, through asana practice focused on sensations, breath, prana flow and emotional sensitivity. In this respect the scriptures ask the sadhaka to relax and take it easy as well. Gorakh Vachana Sangraha says “asanasya rajo hanti”, asana is about removing the rajas. As we know rajas is the hyperactive, unsatisfied and the dynamic aspect of body-mind complex. Gorakhnath in Gorakh bani says “thabaki na chaliba” means do not walk in haste. Sant Kabir, says “asana se mat dol”, means do not move from your asana, be still. Even the highly revered Hatha Yoga scripture like Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati defines asana as “asanamiti svasvarupe samasannata” means, asana is to remain in one’s own true state. Thus, we see that asana is understood more as a mental attitude than a physical practice. Nowhere in traditional Hatha Yoga the active, goal oriented aspect of asana practice is pressed upon. Asanas were looked upon as method to generate stillness. Modern yoga enthusiasts need to start entering the zone of stillness by slowing down their asana practice and making it “conscious” based and not competition based. The world needs to learn how to slow down and take it easy. It is essential that today’s yoga asana culture understands this and adopts this orientation, otherwise the beauty of asana practice will be unfortunately relegated to a level of competition and exhibitionism”. The quote is from Prasad Rangnekar.

I had an interesting lesson in slowing down this morning on my way to class.  Local children were leaving home to go to school and a little boy said to his sister.  “Look Evie, Look” I wondered what was so exciting and important.  “A puddle….  And it’s a huge puddle”.  The wonders of slowing down, taking notice and enjoying life!

Hopefully see you on your mat soon.  Click here for classes, workshops and retreats.

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Photo credit: The DoubleDubs

I am extremely honoured to have a feature in the new edition of the International Lifestyle Magazine.

intlifestylearticle

 

The International Lifestyle Magazine takes a look at positive lifestyle choices from around the globe. Promoting balance in life.  It’s a really great magazine featuring retreats, alternative health and wellness, recipes, yoga, meditation, travel.  Be inspired and take a look!  Plus it’s totally FREE.

You can sign up to get the magazine to your inbox each edition and International Lifestyle Magazine is on Facebook.

 

 

Thursday 7 – Sunday 10 August 2014, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire.

I have just been confirmed as an In-House Massage Therapist with Wild*Wellbeing at The Sanctuary, WILDERNESS Festival.

The Sanctuary returns for another body-healing, soul-nourishing year, securely nestled on the top of a beautifully shaded hill above the lakes. Hugely popular – the Sanctuary has even more to offer in 2014.

The Wild*Wellbeing team has curated The Sanctuary as a festival destination, combining leading yoga teachers to twist, stretch and shake down your body, alongside a repertoire of highly qualified therapists and complementary health and wellbeing consultants from all disciplines. From acupuncture to zero-balancing, there is no ail that can’t addressed in this village of happiness.

Wilderness – The Film from Wilderness Festival on Vimeo.

Visit the Wilderness Festival Store to book your treatments. Click here for more about Wilderness Festival.

(Image Wild*Wellbeing. Copyright Wild*Wellbeing 2014)

This is your invitation to live radiantly. I am honoured and delighted to join together with a phenomenal group of inspiring women on a mission to uplift and encourage others around the world.

Rise and Shine: Gifts to Awaken Your Most Radiant Life is a heart-centered, inspiring giveaway event filled with gifts to help you flourish in a life you truly love.

There are FREE gifts from 25 inspirational women on a whole range of topics.  Why not take the time to learn more and select your radiant living gifts today!

Right now I am completely absorbed by “The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Callingby Stephen Cope, the  Director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

Stephen takes us on a step by step journey through the ancient spiritual text the “Bhagavad Gita” and makes it relevant for our contemporary lives.  He explores the notion of dharma, the inner possibility within every human soul.

It is a perfect, and easy, read if you are feeling a little lost on your journey, if you are asking bigger questions about your life and you wish to explore your true calling.  It might be that you are living fairly close to your dharma but you need minor adjustments to be fully living your life purpose.  Or perhaps you have been living on purpose for many years and now it just doesn’t feel right, your inner knowing is telling you that changes are needed to live your life more fully at this present time.

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.” stated Thomas Merton.  This is so true, we each have a unique calling.  We may get influenced by outside opinions such as those from parents, teachers or peers but it is only when we tap into our true calling do we experience true energy, passion and magic.

If you bring forth what is within you it will save you.  If you do not, it will destroy you.  And what precisely is destroyed? Energy is destroyed first.  Those shining eyes.  And then faith. And then hope. And then life itself.”  I am sure we have all experienced both sides of this coin, when we are fully living our dharma we feel alive, we can feel it in our heart, others can see it in our face and they witness “those shining eyes”.   When we are not living our dharma we may feel heavy, stressed, confused, desperate and unhappy.

I think it is comforting to know that at each phase in life we may have a different calling and sometimes we may have several dharmas running at the same time, for example your calling may be musician, parent and community activist.

What steps can you take to start to explore and live your dharma?

Allow yourself time to reflect and to ask questions such as “Why am I here?”, “What is my purpose?”, “What am I being guided or drawn to do?”

Create quiet time and stillness to let your heart and mind speak to you.

You may get lots of answers but over time your truest answers will begin to develop.

Don’t be frightened to try new things, it doesn’t have to be huge scary life changing stuff but taking action can open the door to your true purpose.

Think of the small as large.   All of our actions, however small or large, are important so do not overrate or underrate your dharma.  You will know when it feels comfortable for you at just the correct balance and size.

Trust in your inner knowing!

Here’s the latest recipe which I made for last Saturday’s Yoga Nidra workshop.  A really tasty, healthy snack and as it is raw chocolate they are fairly rich so you do not need too many to enjoy the taste!

We all know how powerful chocolate can be particularly from our intuitive emotional response to it.  Here are a few chocolate facts which further explain our natural response to the pleasure of chocolate…

  • Chocolate contains over 300 chemicals including a vast range of vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium).  It contains phenylethylamine which is released naturally in the body when you fall in love and is also considered to be an aphrodisiac.
  • The smell of chocolate promotes relaxation, it significantly reduces theta activity in the brain which is associated with relaxation.  (Source: International Journal of Psychophysiology, 1998).
  • Chocolate also contains dopamine which is a natural painkiller. Serotonin which is found in chocolate produces feelings of pleasure. Chocolate has over 400 distinct smells.  A rose has only fourteen and an onion just six or seven.
  • A cup of hot cocoa (using pure cocoa powder) has more than double the amount of antioxidants as green tea and four to five times more than black tea. (Source: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2003).

Ingredients:
1 cup of cashews blended until smooth (or you can cheat as I did and buy cashew butter)
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 dates (pitted and soaked for at least 4 hours or you may wish to buy chopped dates)
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (raw chocolate)
1 cup of desiccated coconut for coating

Place all of the ingredients,except for coconut, into a mixer and mix until smooth.  With your hands roll the mixture into small balls.  Then pour the desiccated coconut onto a chopping board and roll the balls in it to top.  Place the balls on a plate and refridgerate until hard.

Tips:
Raw cacao powder and cashew butter can be found at your local health food store.

Make a batch and keep them in the fridge, they make a tasty snack across the week and saves eating too much processed chocolate!

 

 

A huge big thank you to Kimberley Jones for inviting me to write a guest post for her website, Kimberley Jones – Mentoring & Community for Awakening Women.

Click here to read my full guest post and to find out more about my experience of working with Kimberley on her mentoring programme.

Here’s a little bit about Kimberley in her own words:

I’m Kimberley Jones, I’m a highly sensitive, intuitive woman living in a small village in the UK. I work from home following my heart and doing what I love. Right now that involves creating helpful content for my website and making a film based on my own story of awakening.

I help women navigate their awakening process, come out of the ‘spiritual closet’ and step into their purpose.

My intention is to help you make a difference AND make a living by doing what you love and by simply being yourself.”

Visit Kimberley’s website for podcasts, audios, one to one sessions and to find out more about her work.

(Image Kimberley Jones. Copyright Kimberley Jones 2014)