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Category: Insights + Inspiration


THE CENSUS MADE ME RETHINK ‘RELIGION’

THE CENSUS MADE ME RETHINK ‘RELIGION’

Posted August 12, 2011

The other day my boy and I were at home doing our first census together. It was interesting to say the least, especially when it came to listing our income and trying to remember all the places we have lived over the last five years. There was one question that I tripped up on. Religion. There was a whole list of ‘religions’ listed to choose from… none of which really fit me. My boy looked at me and said ‘wait, you are saying ‘Catholic’ right? Umm… no. I felt sheepish (and a little silly) saying this… but my answer to his question was – “I’m not really religious, I was raised a catholic, but I’d say I’m more spiritual?” So after a little back and forth, we decided that I would write just that on the census form. It made us laugh, seeing ‘SPRITIUAL’ written in the little boxes and thinking about the person on the other end collating the data… but I had to be true to myself – that’s just what made sense to me. The difference between spirituality and religion? Well, I’m definitely not an expert and I’m only a new student in this long spiritual journey but I feel (not know) that spirituality is more about the internal life. It is the continuous search for meaning and the understanding of me, myself, the ‘I’, in this universe. So ultimately, it’s about moving inward and finding that still point – I talk a lot about this when teaching a yoga class. Slowly loosening the strong-hold grip on the outer world and reconnecting with your true, inner being and that being which is born from and forever tied to the source, the divine. And in turn I feel that I become more connected to the world and the people around me and hopefully continually improve as a person, a soul. When I think about religion I see it as external spirituality with a story, in a structured house, with guidelines and rituals that are shared within a community. An experience, a doctrine, a map to life and one that brings people together. I’m not going to go into how religion can bring about pain and suffering – I know you all have your opinions on that – I’m just talking top line here, peeps! Now, don’t get me wrong; I totally and utterly respect religion. It was and still is the saving grace for my mother. Without a shadow of a doubt it has offered thousands of people in difficult situations refuge and faith to stay strong and move forward. But to me, believing is enough. If you want to believe in the trees, the sun, the sky, all of mother earth and that is your religion, then so be it. If you want to bow to a statue of every spiritual icon that walked this planet, then so be it. If faith, religion, spirituality of any sort helps you feel whole, connected and true and in turn makes you a better person to those around you, then so be it! For me, my religion, my spirituality is most definitely an amalgamation of experiences, passions and lessons throughout my life. It consists of meditation, private prayers to the universe (or God, whatever you wish to call it), my yoga practice – a silent meditative prayer with each breath – being in nature and community experiences (such as Kirtan, or yogic events) shared with like-minded friends. Relishing in the moment, sharing what I’ve learnt with my students, enjoying time with friends, being there for my family, living my life by giving and receiving happiness, being true to myself. So, how did you answer the religion question on the census form? I’d love to hear your thoughts on spirituality/religion? What do you think is the main difference between spirituality and religion? Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

8 WAYS TO BALANCE YOUR VATA

8 WAYS TO BALANCE YOUR VATA

Posted August 10, 2011

I’ve mentioned Ayurveda before, here and here… It’s one of the health/lifestyle systems that I truly connect with and leaves me with a sense of promise. Why promise? Well I find it so inspiring that a 5000-year-old tradition was and still is so far ahead of our modern day. Ayurveda, unlike modern medicine focuses on treating the individual to come into balance or Perfect Health, rather than treating the disease in a isolated way. The other reason I love Ayurveda is because it’s the sister science to Yoga – we all know how much I dig Yoga! Together, when combined they complement each other. So Ayurveda (pronounced eye-yer-vay-duh) is an Indian Holistic health system that means ‘life knowledge’. Forget quick fixes, drugs and hospitals, Ayurveda works at achieving optimal health, every day of your life for your mind, body, and spirit. Yoga, nutrition, meditation, pranayama (breath-work), herbs, massage and more encompass the healing method that is Ayurveda. The bit I heart the most about Ayurveda is that it simply looks at the individual – YOU – in the scenario. What is happening in your life, around you, what are you eating, what are you exposed to – all the different elements that could be throwing you out (mind/body/spirit) of balance. And YOU are made up of more than one energy – Vata, Pitta, Kapha – which are called doshas. And each dosha relates to one of the five key elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth. In a nutshell – you could be dominantly Vata with a little Kapha, or equal parts Pitta and Vata or a different combination. The key is to understand the doshas, or your individual Prakriti or nature and bring them into balance. Now… Let’s talk about Vata. Vata is an Air + Ether Dosha. It is the energy of movement. The best way to describe Vata is by inviting you to visualise the air, the wind. It is ungrounded, floaty, changeable, cool, dry, erratic. But it’s also free, mobile, doing its own unique, creative thing. Vata is referred to as the ‘king of the doshas’ because it is responsible for any movement in the body – blinking, heart beating, dancing, running, talking, jumping, circulation, elimination and so on. But, as you can imagine, Vata people, made of air and ether or those of us with a Vata imbalance (perhaps caused by an unstable situation at home/work etc) generally need to work at creating stability and grounding. The other thing to note here is that despite that fact that we are all blessed with a different Dosha mix – a different Prakruti – we are all living in a predominantly Vata world. A world of fast cars, fast entertainment, fast information. Everything is now, quick, speedy. So often, each of us can be affected by Vata even if we don’t have much of it in our Dosha – our own nature will be effected by the world and environment around us. So these 8 tips to balance and ground Vata are vital for all of us. If you have had a hectic, all-over-the-place, feeling kind of spacey week – then these are perfect to bring your Vata back into balance. 1) Slow down + stop. Practice meditation. Learn to still the monkey mind each day, even if it’s just 10 – 20 minutes. Find quiet and see how Vata quietens too. 2) Practice grounding yoga. Avoid too much Vinyasa or Dynamic style practices, or at least, go slow if this is the style you prefer. Find a way to earth yourself in the practice – focus on the breath and move fluidly and with calm. 3) Breath into it. Focus on the breath – simply sitting for 5 minutes each day and practicing breath awareness. Watch the breath, feel the quality of it as you inhale and exhale and automatically the breath begins to slow. This helps Vata move from fight or flight mode (sympathetic) to the more calmer state of parasympathetic nervous system. 4) Keep Oiled. Add nourishing oils to your meal. Oil is warming, soothing and grounding. So avoid crunchy, fresh salads sans oil – don’t be afraid to add in some good quality Olive, Coconut or Walnut and notice how much more stable and nourished you feel. 5) Get warm. Seek out the sunshine and feel the warmth on your skin. Not only do you get your Vitamin D hit but you will feel less of the cold + dry Vata qualities and more energy and balance through the heat. 6) Stick to schedules. Having a solid routine from morning to night is best to ground the airiness of Vata. Try to wake up at the same time each day and follow a similar routine – exercise, meditate, breakfast etc… This will help Vatas who tend to be forgetful, late and constantly change their mind! 7) Rise with the sun. Between 2am – 6am is when Vata is most active. Ever noticed how you might wake between these hours and you are wide awake and unable to fall back asleep? The best way to work with Vata is to rise with the sun – this will get your energy going and help you maximise it! 8) Get your massage on. If you are feeling particular airy, ungrounded and restless try an oil massage in the morning. Get your hands on some good quality sesame or coconut oil and perform a mini massage. Starting at the feet and working up towards the head, massage with strokes towards the heart. Work clockwise on the belly and around the joints. Wait 5-10minutes and let the oil soak into the skin before showering A few tips to help you find stability in our crazy Vata world, and especially good if you have a lot of Vata in you – will bring you into balance. Love + light to you, Cx *Images kindly borrowed from http://www.yogaanonymous.org, http://www.ayusarathi.com and www.peacefulmind.com 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

HEAD IN THE BOOKS

HEAD IN THE BOOKS

Posted June 20, 2011

This year I’ve started studying… again. I say again because in 2010 I completed my teaching certificate in hatha yoga. It was a really intense year – my social life suffered and my body underwent alot of physical transformations. Not to mention trying to absorb information from ancient texts whilst learning all the yoga poses in sanskrit! But I loved it. I mean, really deeply connected with it. The community created amongst the teacher trainees, the shared experiences, the joy in our achievements, the chance to fully immerse myself in my passion, the internal exploration and overcoming my fears of standing in front of people, teaching them. So, 6 months ago when I finished the course I decided to take everything slow no studying, teach a little … which goes against every instinct I have. I tried, really I did. But by May I was itching to sink my teeth in again. I had noticed that I was pouring over the nutrition magazines and blogs. Having come from a family built on health, nutrition and fresh whole food it came as no surprise to many that I was gravitating towards nutrition and holistic wellness. It came as a surprise to me though! Yoga had changed my life in so many ways but ultimately it had brought me full circle. To a place of balance, happiness and a desire to live in health, the seeds of which were first sown by my parents. Despite having told myself I needed to slow down and assimilate everything I had learnt during teacher training, I jumped into the deep end. Again. After hearing about this course three times from three seperate sources I decided it must have been a sign. But I ignored it. To drill the message home to a clearly ignorant person (me) I heard a little voice, which I sincerely hope was mine, during meditation one morning. It basically woke me right up and pushed me to enrol. Two weeks before the start day I enrolled in The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. A New York based school with an amazing online course that covers over 100 dietary theories, speakers and lecturers such as Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and David Woolfe. A course that will certify me as Holistic Health Coach. Hopefully the perfect compliment to my yoga teaching. Which brings me to this blog. It is this course at IIN that has driven me to finally take the leap and start this blog. Mostly to download and integrate everything I am learning and to share it. I’ll be sharing more soon on IIN. Signing off with an Exhale. Pause.Listen.Live. Read more


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