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Category: Health + Wellness


PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING

PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING

Posted July 20, 2011

Yoga to me is like breathing… it’s automatic. I practice because I’m supposed to. But now, after almost four years of practice I feel like a beginner again. Why? Well, I’ve embarked on a new method of yoga and yep, it’s like the first day of school. It is so refreshing. Today I might perfect a pose, tomorrow that same pose might not happen. The day after is a new day. The journey never ends. Forever a student. My new practice has me looking back to my first yoga class. That (literally) life-changing moment when the teacher attempted to put me into a modified version of Kapotasana (King Pigeon pose). My cement like shoulders refused to comply. It was here, being held in the pose, that I felt hot, uncontrollable tears streaming down my face. Margaret (one of the most influential teachers I’ve had) just kept saying, ‘I know, I know why you are crying, I know’. What she and I both knew was that, although I was experiencing more pain than I ever had, something deep inside me had been let out. Some sadness that was buried under the layers had been forced to the surface and found its way to the light. In that moment a thought entered my mind. “I need this”. My body and mind were calling out for a release. Over time I used my practice to dislodge a lot of stagnant energy and stuck emotions… the mat my shrink’s couch and the practice my therapist. Despite my love for the Iyengar method, which taught me correct alignment, anatomical understanding, patience and respect for the body recently I began seeking a new challenge. Without knowing it, I’d been searching for a practice that compliments the way I’m thinking, feeling and trying to live my life. A more meditative, spiritual experience. To do that I needed to connect internally. Mostly though I needed a teacher and practice willing to facilitate this. And then, just like that, I flipped my practice on its head and went from 5-6 classes a week in Iyengar/Hatha to 5 early morning starts in Ashtanga Vinyasa, (still doing 2 Iyengar classes!) Let’s just say it wasn’t just my practice that flipped. I’m eternally grateful for my previous practice and yoga studies, because without them I feel that the Mysore style of Ashtanga Vinyasa would’ve been the most intimidating experience to enter into. Let me describe it. Mysore method of Ashtanga is traditionally practiced in the morning and is very much about your personal practice – working through set sequences. When you enter the shala some people may have already begun and other students may be practising an entirely different sequence to you. You lay your mat down, you practice. With guidance from the teacher you flow through the sequence, focusing on your ujjayi breath and gently cultivating heat within the body. When ready you are given the next pose or you move through to the finishing sequence of backbends, inversions, meditation and savasana. You can easily see how going from the strong, detailed and heavily guided practice of Iyengar to the dynamic, flowing, meditative practice of Mysore Ashtanga has given me a little whiplash! As I write this I am still working through so many things when it comes to this new practice. Resistance, fear, joy, inspiration, insecurity. But I’m trying. I’m committing to the practice. Ashtanga has been holding a mirror up to me. Reflecting back emotions and insecurities I now need to face. It’s certainly demonstrating that it (yoga, life) is a long journey. One that is sometimes painful but that within every roadblock resides the answer. Yes the asana is important to me. I love the changes my body has gone through, I love that my practice inspires me to eat better, and I cherish the strength and vitality I feel during and after practice. Despite this it’s the gateway that the physical practice reveals that I value the most. It is a way to open myself up and face my ego, accepting where I am at, finding patience and pausing… breathing through the moment. All these lessons I take off the mat into my life. Not whether I can do 12 backbends in a row…although, that would be fun! Do you practice? What kind of yoga do you practice? What do you love the most about your practice? Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

SPOTLIGHT ON REIKI

SPOTLIGHT ON REIKI

Posted July 18, 2011

Until I had my first Reiki session I only understood it theoretically and intellectually. Now I understand it a little more innately. The word, Reiki means universal life force – energy. It’s the life force that is within us and around us. You can rationalise your way around it – rejecting it because you can’t see it. But if you are open to it, you can certainly feel it. Have you ever placed your hand right up near (without touching) someone else’s hand? I remember once my sister Graziella (who dramatically influenced my interest in all things spiritual – I used to tease her for being a hippy!) and I sat for what felt like hours, concentrating and focusing simply on the energy between our hands. Slowly we built this ‘ball’ of energy – our hands moving wider apart, up, up and around until we could physically feel something, almost dense and circular between us. When we got tired or lost focus that energy dissipated, flickered, dwindle. That energy was unmistakably there. If that energy is harnessed and guided by an individual it can be incredibly healing experience – developing your energetic connection to life. Moving away from the purely physically plane and embracing spiritual, energetic space. I’m sure, at this point you are still a little unclear on what exactly is Reiki – what’s involved, what to expect and why it’s beneficial.I’ve decided to leave that to the experts! I’ve enlisted the help of my beautiful friend and Reiki master Franziska Mayr. She is an incredible Reiki healer and a meditation teacher. I’ve had the pleasure of experience Franziska’s Reiki sessions and can attest to the gorgeous soft, delicate calm that she emits. Introducing Franziska Mayr Tell me about yourself – why did you become a Reiki Master? I received a Reiki Treatment in Japan in 1996 and was truly blown away by the effects of it. I studied Reiki 1,2 & 3 in Tokyo in 1996 and completed the Reiki Master in Sydney in 2010. Can you explain what Reiki is? The origin of Reiki can be traced back to ancient Tibet, thousands of years ago. This technique was rediscovered in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s by Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan. The tradition of Reiki was an oral one, and was passed on by master to master and student to student by word of mouth. Reiki means ‘Universal Life Force’ and and promotes the body’s self-healing ability by removing energy blockages and raising the vibrational frequency in and around the body. It creates inner peace and heals physical, emotional, mental and spiritual imbalances. What normally happens in a Reiki session? I place my hands directly on or just above certain energy points along the client’s body, allowing the Reiki energy to flow where it is needed. What are you, as a practitioner, trying to achieve for your clients? My goal is to help my clients lead fulfilling and inspired lives by tapping into their full potential. My aim is to support my clients through their transformation, facilitate healing and also guide them in opening their hearts and finding their life purpose. How can a client normally expect to feel during and after a session? The client may feel different sensations in different areas of the body, such as extreme warmth or tingling. These sensations are clues as to where the healing energy is needed. An experience everyone shares during Reiki is an elevated feeling of tranquility and deep relaxation. Because blockages are being released during the healing, the client may experience feelings of emotional release and relief. After a session, clients usually feel that something has changed for the better. They describe an overall feeling of being more balanced, calm, and centered and often feel a profound positive alteration in their consciousness. What do you recommend Reiki for? Reiki generates deep relaxation, releases stress and tension, eliminates built-up toxins, reduces blood pressure, strengthens the immune system and adjusts the energy flow of the endocrine system. It also increases energy levels, vitality and postpones the aging process. During times of emotional distress and sorrow Reiki offers great relief and assists in the grieving process. Reiki is very helpful in coping with anxiety, depression and the breaking of addictions. It improves self-esteem and aids better sleep. Reiki relieves pain, helps with acute (injuries) and chronic problems (asthma, eczema, headaches, etc.) and speeds up the recovery from surgery or long-term illness. As it tends to reduce side-effects, it helps in adjusting to medicine/treatment like Chemo-therapy and Radio-therapy. How do you become a Reiki master? By completing Reiki 1 and Reiki 2 first. Often there is also a Reiki 3 but most of the time it is included in the Master course. There are now many strands of Reiki but the Usui lineage is the original. So, if Reiki has caught your attention I recommend trying it out for yourself. check out Franziska’s website if you are keen for a Reiki or meditation session in Sydney. You can find out more here, at the International House of Reiki. What do you think about Reiki? Have you ever had a Reiki session? Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

FIVE ON FRIDAY

FIVE ON FRIDAY

Posted July 15, 2011

1) ‘The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success’ by Deepak Chopra My latest read. It is an exceptionally small book – I’ve read one ‘law’ each night before lights out – but wow does it pack in a lot. This little gem breaks down the timeless spiritual ‘laws’ of Karma, Pure Potentiality, Detachment, Dharma (purpose!) Intention and more. In a nutshell, this book brings to life how to become all that you are destined to and should be, with grace and ease. Using these powerful principles to find fulfilment- manifesting whatever it is your dream and seek. I’m going to do a summary in another post. But go out and read it! 2) Eveleigh Markets I am loving the community feel as people come together each Saturday to shop local produce and enjoy good quality wholefood, coffee and company. The boy and I take our time… kicking off with a breakfast roll and then meandering through, picking up bits and pieces for the week. For $30 I can fill up two large shopping bags with straight-from-the-farm organic veg and then nip over to Mirrool Creek Farms for some of the most mouth-watering grass-fed and finished lamb! 3) My 1930s post-war burgundy leather chair A spontaneous coffee with friends, in Erskineville, had me admiring the café’s collection of eclectic, shabby-chic furniture. Being a fan of vintage furniture, we decided to take the spontaneity one-step further and dashed off to Mitchell Rd Auctions. We spent an hour on the hunt for the right piece. In the process of haggling over a quaint little stool, my boyfriend decided to take rest and plonked himself down on a beautiful burgundy chair. Unexpectedly he discovered how comfortable it was … before long we were haggling for the stool and the chair. $60 for the pair – bargain. It’s become my new reading/studying/sun catching chair. 4) Raw Cacao Powder Seriously. There is nothing more decadent and good for you in one hit. I put a heap in my smoothies – makes them taste lightly chocolatey. I also mix together raw honey, hot water and and warm (raw) milk for a healthy hot chocolate. The same mixture is great as a cake icing replacement! Cacao, born in South America (like most good things!) is the base ingredient for most chocolate products. The raw cacao beans are the most unprocessed form. The Incas considered cacao to be sacred – using it as currency for barter and also in marriage ceremonies.Packed with anti-oxidants, magnesium, chromium and vitamin C cacao acts as an energy booster, strengthens cardio-vascular system, reduces fatigue and regulate sleeps, stimulates immune system and the most delicious part… increases sexual appetite. 😉 I use the Loving Earth Raw Cacao Powder. 5) Sunday Roasts Nothing beats a Sunday Roast. Enjoying a big breakfast and then spending the day pottering around, basking in the winter sun, reading the paper with a chai in hand paper and then eventually getting a roast going. Usually we cook up something we’ve picked up at Eveleigh markets – organic duck, lamb or chicken. Keeping it simple, there is always a heap of veg, garlic and fresh herbs paired with a good bottle of red. Not only does it taste like heaven, but there is something so special about spending time to prepare and enjoy a meal. Not just eating for fuel. Happy Friday. Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

NUTS FOR COCONUT… why it’s good for your health

NUTS FOR COCONUT… why it’s good for your health

Posted July 14, 2011

Coconuts. I love the word, the scent, the taste, the fact that it’s a large nut with so much to offer… But what I love even more is that Coconut Oil, something I once used by on holidays in Thailand for my hair and skin, is now widely acclaimed as highly nutritious. Coconut oil is so packed with lots of goodies that you should rush out and by a coconut plantation, now. Traditional cultures have long known the incredible health-giving benefits of the humble coconut and we are just cottoning onto it now. So, what about the whole saturated fat thing? Well… it’s true, Coconut Oil is high is saturated fat, but it’s the good kind. You don’t believe that saturated fats can ever be good? Well that’s a whole other conversation, but t’s hard to gloss over the truth. The evidence is there. Heart disease was rare when cultures consumed saturated fats like coconut oil, butter and ghee. Come the 20th Century and the introduction of the ‘healthy heart safe’ oils, from hydrolysed vegetable oil, and cue an incline in heart disease. What are the benefits of coconut oil? · Increase energy · Reduce risk of heart disease · Improve digestion and ability to absorb nutrients · Promote weight loss and maintenance · Help prevent bacterial, yeast, fungal, and viral infections · Support and enhance your immune system · Regulate blood sugar · Prevent osteoporosis · Prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin Not convinced yet? Well here are a few easy ways to include coconut into your diet to see how it works for you. 1. Add coconut oil and/or fresh coconut water and flesh (from young coconuts) to your smoothies 2. Use coconut oil to bake with instead of vegetable oil. I use when I’m baking banana bread, muffins etc 3. Cook with it. It has a really high burning point so coconut oil doesn’t go rancid like olive oil (best to eat this raw, not heated). It adds the nicest, slightly nutty flavour. 4. Eat it! A spoonful is more than enough and will help you feel fuller for longer. 5. A healing remedy. Because Coconut oil has anti-microbrial properties it can help with a cold. Warm water, honey and a tbls of coconut oil makes a soothing tonic. Or add it topically to little cuts and scratches. 6. An all-purpose beauty tool – a lip balm, body/facial moisturiser, make-up remover, hair mask. There is something so luxurious about using coconut oil on your body, face, hair… and economical! 7. Detox. I haven’t tried this one but coconut oil is said to help detox the body whilst supplying it with necessary energy. Take 5mls of coconut oil up to seven times a day will help the body eliminate toxins, impurities and candida. Buy a good quality oil (it will harden in winter but will melt easily with a little heat). Look for extra virgin, cold pressed and unrefined. Organic would be best with no added chemicals, bleaching, deodorising or hydrogenation. A mouthful, but worth it… mouth-watering. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when buying coconut oil. If you are going to switch then you may as well get it right. My favourite is Aclara. Enjoy getting some coconut in your life. What do you think of coconut oil. Do you cook with or use coconut oil at the moment? Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

LIGHT ON YOGA…sirsasana

LIGHT ON YOGA…sirsasana

Posted July 12, 2011

I’ve decided to do a regular post that looks at a different yoga asana each time. This week it’s Salamba Sirsasana – sanskrit name for supported headstand. It’s a pose that should be regularly practiced – Iyengar and Ashtanga (the two styles of yoga I practice) include Sirsasana in every class. But trust me, it’s difficult to teach to a large group of people, so some schools might not include them in their regular open classes. Shame, because it’s worth it! It is also a pose that takes alot of dedication, patience and understanding of both your bodies physical limitations and abilities. Sirsasana is referred to as the ‘King of the Asanas’ because it is so incredibly therapeutic to the body. By inverting, you flush the heart, lungs and brain with new blood. And by nourishing the brain, being the powerhouse of the whole body, you automatically nourish the rest of the body. Sirsasana assists in moving the nervous system from sympathetic (fight or flight mode) into parasympathetic (the calmer state). When in the parasympathetic mode your body isn’t going into overdrive, fighting for survival or coping with stress. Instead, you are programming your body to be in a state of restoration, healing and nourishment. The list of benefits is extensive. Sirsasana prevents ear, nose and eye diseases, activates the pineal and pituitary glands aiding in memory. Improves concentration – sharpening the mind, assists digestion, regulates menstrual cycles, slows down the ageing process and is great for the skin –seriously, it makes you glow. It’s the King, the shiz! But for me, Sirsasana and other inversions are the most challenging yet rewarding asanas because they literally turn our world upside down. Think about it? A new perspective, an unusual way of seeing things. Perhaps when life throws you a challenge the skills learnt in overcoming fear and tackling an inversion come into play. In the beginning, headstand is terrifying. You don’t know where you are – literally disorientated from left to right, up, down, around. Everything is out of place. It’s hard to trust your body and there is a lot of fear around putting weight on your head, falling and generally feeling clumsy and awkward. But slowly, and with the expert guidance of a qualified teacher your body starts to adjust and so does your mind. Gradually you begin to believe that it is possible and your edge, that line you walk at your boundary moves further and further away. For me, it happened consistently but slowly, and that is exactly how I encourage you to learn. Seek out a teacher that can talk you through it step by step. Someone that understands the anatomy of the human body and what needs to happen to which part to get you into it safely and staying in it with strength and vitality. I believe in learning at the wall first. Some schools of yoga don’t but to me, there aren’t many people out there that have the perfect balance of strength and openness to perform this freestanding from the beginning. Plus, if you are young you may not think you are doing any damaging, but down the track the signs of a poorly performed Sirsasana will come out to nag you! Here is a step-by-step guide. Although, I strongly advise you practice this with a teacher before attempting at home on your own. Step by Step 1. Folded a blanket or sticky mat against the wall to pad your head and forearms. Kneel on the floor. Lace your fingers together and set the forearms on the floor. You should be right up against the wall. 2. Measure the correct distance between your elbows by your shoulder width. Press the inner wrists down and make contact with the entire forearm to the mat. Roll the upper arms slightly outward. 3. Place the crown of your head on the floor. If you are just beginning to practice this pose, press the bases of your palms together and press the back of your head against the clasped hands. If you are more experience then you can open your hands and place the back of the head into the open palms. 4. Take a deep inhale and lift your knees off the floor. Carefully walk your feet closer to your elbows. Keep the hips high, trying to walk in until the hips are stacked above the shoulders. Draw the shoulder blades away from your ears – try to avoid letting the weight of the shoulders squashing onto your neck and head. If you get here and it is quite difficult to lift the shoulders. Come down and rest. Keep practising this each day. 5. Exhale and bend one leg and gently kick your opposite leg to the wall. You might not get up, but that’s ok. Simply practice kicking from each leg. 6. Otherwise, if you feel ready to come all the way up. With a little bend in the knees, light bunny-hop up the wall, with both feet at the same time. 7. Keep the tailbone gently down, against the pelvis and keep drawing the shoulders away from the ears. Push away with the heels towards the ceiling. Keep pressing firmly down from elbow to wrist.Soften the fingers – try not to grip to hard – and soften the face, the jaw and the tongue. 8. Try to keep the weight balanced evenly on both forearms and keep lifting and tucking the tailbone away from the lumbar spine and towards the feet. Keep your breath slow, smooth and even. 9. As a beginner only stay for 5-10seconds, building up each time until you can comfortably hold the post for 3 minutes. 10. When you come down, stay firm in your foundation and slowly lower the legs on the exhale. 11. Be mindful not to turn the head/neck whilst inverted and coming down. Rest in child’s pose with your forehead to the mat. Note: if you feel any tension in the eyes or pressure […] Read more

A LITTLE NOURISHMENT

A LITTLE NOURISHMENT

Posted July 08, 2011

This one is for all your Sydneysiders… or those visiting soon. Everyone now and then, someone has the insight, skill and drive to create something a little different. Something that breathes life into our somewhat stale, routine existence. Cue The Nourishing Quater, a quaint little pocket of foodie heaven, that has injected a little life force and whole lot of love into the Sydney restaurant game. If you, like me, are the kind of foodie that loves to know where your food came from, how it came to life and what it gives back to you, then this is your place. It’s also a place where you can reconnect. To friends, food, life. Which is exactly what I did. I had the pleasure of going to NQ with two very special friends. I met these two unique and beautiful individuals at a yoga retreat a couple of years back. When we get together there is laughter, love and alot of nourishment. NQ was the perfect setting. When we first entered we were greeted by the sweetest setting – shabby-chic quaintness meets British/Australiana. Mis-matched floral plates, dainty teapots and worn vintage furniture filled the small, cosy restaurant. (Sorry, really crappy phone pics… it was dark) But what stood out most was the service. Each person we encountered from NQ took the time to check in with us, answering our questions – there were a few – asking us questions and talking us through what NQ is all about. Imagine live food, fresh produce and energy giving ingredients. The fusion of South American, Asian and Mediterranean flavours and ingredients might have you thinking that the menu is erratic and complex. But surprisingly it’s light, fresh, whole and nourishing. In fact, quite the opposite, I was surprised by how good I felt with each dish. There was too much to choose from! Staring at the menu just had my stomach grumbling so we asked for guidance and gave ourselves up to the NQ Gods. After all, they know what’s best when it comes to eating dairy, meat and gluten free – 100% vegan. We shared rice paper rolls, dumplings (heavenly!), spicy lemongrass tofu and vegetables and a mild Indian inspired curry. Seriously, I’ve never tasted tofu so good, or fresh with light and zingy dressings. The chia seeds and Quinoa (two of my faves) added a gorgeous texture and added weight to each dish. And the cake – my god. A last minute take-away purchase… I die! I took it home to the boy and tricked the hardcore carnivore into eating the ‘delicious cheesecake’. I omitted the vital information – gluten and dairy free, no cheese in the cheesecake, nah-ah! But packed with yummy goodness…coconut oil, almond crust, lemon, raspberry and even avocado. The best cheesecake I’ve ever had! Overall, the food was impeccable. I literally felt light and bouncy after it and, well… nourished! Getting in touch and reconnecting with healing food traditions from ancient cultures, feeling nourished by my friends and the experience and being mindful about what I put into my body all contributed to NQ climbing straight to the top of my favourite foodie spots. So… I was too wrapped up in the experience to take lots of pictures – can you tell? For a more detailed ‘food review’ check out this awesome blog. Otherwise have a little look-see at the Nourishing Quarter’s website for more information. Have you been to the Nourishing Quarter? What do you think of vegan, dariy-free, gluten-free food? Signing off with a big exhale… Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

MY FAVOURITE LUNCH

MY FAVOURITE LUNCH

Posted July 05, 2011

I’m a creature of habit. I love routine. I seek it out. Hunting for ways to sort my life. Does that sound boring? Maybe… but to me it’s not – it creates the structure I need to have the space to be silly, creative, spontaneous and joyful. It’s funny, because as an Aquarian, people expect eccentric, creative and freethinking behaviour, but there is another side a lot of people don’t know – the side where we Aquarians crave routine, consistency and habit. But not only am I an Aquarian but, in Ayurvedic terms, Vata dosha dominates my prakruti (nature) propelling my desire for grounding, routine and structure even more… in fact, it becomes a necessity. Why am I talking about astrology and Ayurveda when the title of this post is ‘My Favourite Lunch’? Well… it’s because a certain homemade lunch graduated to the position of favourite lunch du jour, mostly because my routine-loving Aquarian meets Vata-ness wanted it that way. That desire for grounding, routine and nourishment led me to a Sunday night ritual. I love this ritual, not only for the end-point – the delicious lunches produced at the end – but the act of ‘doing’ is simply enjoyable. I love being in the kitchen and focusing on nothing else. It’s almost meditative. Every Sunday afternoon I take an hour to prepare lunch for myself and my boy (let’s call him Julio). I try and make enough for the week. The recipe does vary, and in all honesty, sometimes it doesn’t happen at all, but generally I stick to the recipe and ritual. The basis is Quino (pronounced KEEN-WAH). I absolutely L.O.V.E Quinoa… for more reasons than one. Quinoa, although widely thought to be a grain is actually a seed. And after trekking in Peru last year I totally understand why the ancient Incas called this seed the ‘Gold of the Incas’. It is a protein powerhouse. When you are looking for sustenance, Quinoa gets down to business. Complete with all eight essential amino acids that the body requires for tissue repair and growth, it is a dietary must. But forget all that for a moment – it’s actually just damn yummy! Slightly nutty, soft and crunchy all at the same time… I could (and do!) eat this everyday without complaint. It is incredibly versatile especially for you peeps who are gluten-free or avoid traditional carbs. So, here it is: My Favourite Lunch Roasted vegies (seasonal) with herb infused Quinoa • Soak one whole bag of red Quinoa (an essential – there is a bitter coating on Quinoa called Saponin which leaves a soapy residue in the water) • Finely chop a variety of vegetables. Choose seasonal vegies. In winter I love root vegies for their sweetness and grounding qualities. My favourite mix at the moment; Red onion, capsicum, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, sweet potato, carrot, cherry tomatoes, fennel, mushrooms, leeks, • I roughly crush/slide a few garlic cloves (be generous, will help fight off winter colds) • Add in cracked pepper, cumin, dash of turmeric, chilli flakes, and salt if you desire (make sure it’s good quality salt like Himalayan!) • Toss in melted coconut oil (I prefer cold pressed, extra virgin, unrefined – healthier and tastes gorgeously coconutty!) • Roast vegies – I aim for a lower heat over a longer time say 100 – 120 degrees for 45 minutes or so. I toss the vegies halfway through as well • Last 20 minutes of roast I rinse out the Quinoa. In a large pot I add in a teaspoon of coconut oil, some more garlic, coriander (including stalks) and chia seeds then add in the Quinoa and toss to coat, fry off for a 1-minute or so and then add in water. I make sure there is enough water to cover the Quinoa and the let it simmer for 15 minutes. • Once everything is finished and cooled I package up the vegies separately in a big container and then bag up the Quinoa into individual portions. • Leftover Quinoa gets bagged and frozen for later use and the rest if ready for lunch each day at work. • Eat at work. I buy FISH4EVER Tuna (it’s sustainably caught and tastes better than the rest) or I might pre-cook salmon, chicken for some added protein. • Sometimes I add in Kale or Spinach before I eat it. It is my most favourite lunch. I look forward to it. It’s warming, grounding and I never get bored of it. In fact, I look forward to it. Knowing that after I eat it I don’t feel too full or sleepy like you would after a bowl of pasta or rice, it tastes soooo good, but mostly I feel content and it punctuates my day – the ritual of making it and then the ritual of eating it. Do you have a favourite lunch recipe that never fails? Do you love routine? Signing off with a big exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

PRESS PAUSE & MEDITATE

PRESS PAUSE & MEDITATE

Posted July 01, 2011

My mother has always meditated. She would take her self off and lay down for an hour. Her form of meditation varied from guided visualisations or simple pray. Like everything else, It was around me – I absorbed the ‘concept’ of meditation theoretically but did I ever put it into practice? Of course not. It wasn’t until the meditation workshop in my yoga teacher training that my interest was piqued. The teacher was literally the loveliest, calmest most incredibly glowing woman I had met. My god, I wanted that… to be like that! I needed to know what meditation was all about. I remember asking the teacher if she could share some of her experiences. Quite surprisingly she said no, she couldn’t because they were deeply private. Her response shocked me, but mostly it just fuelled my desire to understand even more. I had read about Transcendental Meditation on a few blogs and had noted it in my (long) list of things to study. But 2011 had been my cut-off. I HAD to learn how to meditate and mantra meditation resonated with me. No backing out. My issue – traditional TM courses cost over $1000. Although I knew it’d be a life time investment I just couldn’t swallow that price. And once again, my beautiful friend Emma introduced me to Carolyne Gowen from Still Your mind My boyfriend bought me the course for my 29th Birthday (it’s a heap cheaper than TM!) Over four sessions I learnt the art of Primordial Sound Meditation and received my personal mantra. PSM is very similar to TM. Primordial Sound Meditation originates from the ancient wisdom of India. Primordial sounds are the basic, most essential and sacred sounds of nature. They are meaningless – you can’t translate them, but you wouldn’t want to. You don’t need to attach an impression to your mantra. It’s just the sound, the feeling and how it resonates with you. During the course I received my own ‘sound’, the matra based on the vibration of the universe at the time of my birth. When trying to understand Primordial Sounds I think about that feeling, not really the sound, but the energy in the room when a group of students chant OM after a yoga class. The first time I ever heard the chant OM was at Dharma Shala in Bondi. I was 21 and attending a yoga class. Totally unconnected to yoga at the time, it came as a surprise when tears literally sprang into my eyes as 30 yogis chanted with so much passion and intensity. It was like a wave rippled through my body. It felt amazing. So, perhaps you get the importance of primordial sound if you’ve ever been to a yoga class? But if not, that’s cool. No need to intellectualise it, because it just is what it is. When you meditate though, the feeling is much subtler than when chanting. It’s like a long, slow sigh… an exhale as everything settles, softens and the mind finds a little spot to sit down and stop amongst all the mayhem. But, I digress – back to the course! Once I had my mantra Carolyne then guided me in the gentle art of meditating with that mantra. It’s so simple that of course I found a way to complicate it. In the beginning I was ‘waiting’ for it be easier. Trying to make it ‘work’ better and just generally doing what I do – putting pressure on trying to achieve! After meeting with Carolyne a couple of months after the course to talk it through she said something that clicked, made sense. She told me to give myself permission. To allow myself to simply meditate and let go of what I think should happen. Now, I do just that. A little insight into meditation: Just sit. (Upright in a chair is best – feet flat to the floor) Listen to your breath. Then focus nothing on the mantra – repeat it gently. Let it roll around in your mind. Use it to anchor you back to stillness when a thought pattern drags your attention away. Sometimes it’s really difficult to quieten the mind, sometimes It might only happen for a moment. Other times you find ‘the gap’ – the space between your thoughts and it’s like the wind has stopped. For a moment it’s just peace and then you step back out again. Just tasting that moment is so delicious! It makes meditating each day a need, not just a want. And other times you learn something in meditation. I discovered that I had to study at Integrative Nutrition. The name of this blog also came to me when meditating, and sometimes strange memories from the past crop up. And each time I just try and come back to my mantra. Trusting what Carolyne says – if that thought, memory, idea is meant to be there it’ll be waiting for you when you finish. It’s been life changing. And not in that big BANG kind of way – slow, gradual but noticeable. It’s something I will never stop doing. Something I love – just like ocean swims, or showering, or water, or cooking, or being in love. It is part of my life now. I will post more about meditation another time. Breaking down the things that happen during meditation, what to expect, how I meditate and where. If your interest is piqued or maybe you’ve been thinking about meditating then perhaps see this post as a meaningful coincidence and look into it. If you are in Sydney I cannot recommend Carolyne enough. Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

THE UNIVERSE GETS WHAT THE UNIVERSE WANTS

THE UNIVERSE GETS WHAT THE UNIVERSE WANTS

Posted June 26, 2011

Isn’t it funny how we all insist on ignoring the signs? I mean, sometimes they are screaming at us, right up in our face… and still, nothing?! We pay attention to street signs, instructions, directions and more on a daily basis. But do we pay attention to the signs that really make a difference to our life? It’s only lately that’ve I’ve had the enough ‘pause’ in my mental chatter to actually notice the little calling cards the universe has left me. I think it might be because of the daily meditation, or perhaps focusing on my breath in yoga, or maybe it comes with maturity? I don’t have the answer, but I do know something. If we listen to the universe it’s just trying to help. Without trying to philosophise the ‘universe’ too much or dance around a topic I don’t fully understand, there is one thing I want to break down. What is the ‘universe’ that people speak of? To me… it’s quite simply me, you, ‘us’, everything all around. We are all connected to the same source, the same energy, the same vibration (more on that later!)If we literally tune in, the universe we’ll find that it is continually ‘talking’ to each living thing on this planet. And it’s working at making everything happen the way it should – be fulfilled. So, I got to thinking about the universe on Friday. It had been a long and literally painful week. After changing my yoga practice to Mysore, Ashtanga my body was feeling it and so was my mind – it left me a bit shaky. That was the first sign. I had made plans to do an inversion workshop at Jivamukti in Newtown with my friend Nadia. All day I was quietly concerned about how I would get through a 2-hr workshop after a week of dynamic yoga, full time work, study and well, LIFE. I worked through my issues and stuck to my commitment to Nadia. Driving to the workshop I sent Nadia a text. 5 minutes later, no text and a thought literally popped into my mind – “Oh wow, she thinks the workshop is next week’. Second sign. I heard it, I acknowledged it but silly me thought I was bigger than it. I pushed the thought out and kept driving. As I arrived at the studio Nadia rang me. Would you believe it? She thought the workshop was the following Friday. Relief swept over me! The universe had tried all day to tell me I needed to listen to my body and go home, but my ego – the part that doesn’t want to let a friend down – got in the way. So I persisted and so did the universe, until it got its way! All I could do was laugh, genuinely. I thought the whole situation was hilarious and I felt comforted knowing that the signs are always there. I just need to take the blinkers off, tone down the ego and listen. So what I am now wondering is – how far will the universe go to get the message through? Does it eventually give up when it goes unnoticed? Ignored? Is that how so many of us end up unfulfilled with our dreams washed away? A few ‘universal’ thoughts to ponder over. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live. Cx Read more


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