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WHERE DO YOU FIND HAPPINESS?

WHERE DO YOU FIND HAPPINESS?

Posted March 14, 2013

It’s a funny question, isn’t? Where do you FIND happiness? It’s almost as if you could pop over to Westfield and drop into the Happiness Store to top-up your happiness. But I think that’s how, sometimes, we see it. We must DO something to get happiness. LOOK somewhere else to FIND it. Buy something, or think, look and behave in a certain way to get happiness. Let’s be honest – work is a huge part of our lives. We are dedicated to it, we commit to rising each day and being there for 40 hours a week. We interact with our work colleagues (or if you work alone, with yourself!) for the best part of your day. We enjoy our family and friends less than we’d like because we work. So how can we not look to our work and careers for happiness? I’m not about to tell you to quit your day job to seek our greener pastures and happier times. (Although if your heart wants you to I will definitely say GO ON! Go get it, find your passion and LIVE IT. SING IT. BREATH IT!) I’m bringing this up because I have many clients who have changed their lives with the realisation that work was detracting from their happiness. BUT I also have many clients who has said that changing their career is not an option but they want to find happiness, regardless. Power to them. So, this brings me back to the original question. Where do you FIND happiness? The answer (in my humble opinion) is within. I was inspired to write this post after realising that my morning routine of late, which is relatively simple, has actually cultivated a deep yet contented happiness within me. Tomorrow in my 5 on Friday VLOG I talk you through my routine. But in a nutshell it involves ayurvedic and spiritual practices, yoga and meditation. Super simple. Very humble…  happy. Why? Because I’ve carved out some ME time. I’ve started the day with gratitude in my heart and I’ve moved my body and settled my mind. I’ve gone within. Even just for a moment or two. Other ways I cultivate happiness: A clean home. A walk in the sunshine. A swim in the ocean. A chat on the phone to a friend. Reading a book. Cuddles with my fiance. Lunch at my parents. Trying a new healthy cafe. Waking to the sunrise. Playing with my nieces and nephews… You get it, right? Simple. Real. Honest. It hardly costs anything but space and time. So if you are on a quest to feel happy, try this. First, let go of the IDEA of what it looks like. Let go of the expectations around what happiness should be. Then begin to embrace the smaller examples of happiness. Little day-to-day changes. Over time you’ll find that space allows you the opportunity to tap into BIGGER ways of feeling happiness. Maybe you discover a new interest, or something buried comes back up for you that’s important. Perhaps the seed of an idea like exploring a new career, or following a passion is planted. And maybe, just maybe, when you are enjoying these little moments of happiness that somewhere in there you notice the fear that often holds us back, you FEEL it (acknowledge it) but you decide to do what your heart desires – to respond to those interests, passions, ideas that crop up. You feel the fear and do it anyway! So much can come out of nurturing and loving yourself through gentle acts of happiness. It’s not just mundane and silly to enjoy a good book and to be sacred about your time. It’s bigger than that. It’s creating an electrified connection to you! It’s not about perfection, oh lordy,it’s not! But it’s about looking past the imperfections, blurring them out just a little so you can focus on the good and invite more of it to you. You have a choice. Leading a happy life is based on your decisions to embrace the positive, to see the good, to focus on the silver lining. Go, on then. Find your happiness within. It’s already there, I promise. Tell me, what do you do already to cultivate happiness and tap into your heart? Saha to you, Cx Read more

LEARN TO MEDITATE + 6 WAYS IT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

LEARN TO MEDITATE + 6 WAYS IT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Posted March 12, 2013

In the circles I move in, meditation is pretty common-place. I’ve had to remind myself though that not everyone meditates… (even though the world would be a better place if we all did). I’d say 90% of my clients don’t meditate when they first start working with me. At least half end up doing so during their program. I’d like to get that number higher. It occurred to me that perhaps ‘meditation’ is a little too obscure for some. The concept might seem a little woo-woo or hippy, or make just simply, the idea of sitting down in silence seems a little ridiculous – “how is that going to help me?” – which is fair. How is it going to make a difference? So I’m not going to list 5000,0000 reasons why meditation can benefit you. Although I actually have at least 100 of them I can rattle off now. I’m going to give you 6. Two physical, two psychological and two spiritual reasons why meditating can help you. But wait there’s more (steak knives?) … I’m also going to teach you a super simple technique you can try at home – mantra meditation. Physical Benefits: 1) Enhance your immune system – do you always suffer from irritating little colds and flus? Meditation, by relaxing the nervous system, can help you manage stress better, strengthening your fight against bacterial and viral illnesses. 2) Increase energy and stabilise your weight – By reducing the cortisol (stress hormones) within the body you are going to get more our of your day, improved your performance during sport and exercise AND shed excess weight or stabilizing to your ideal weight Psychological Benefits: 3) Get happy – increases your serotonin levels which affects your mood and behaviour. Happiness really does come from within. 4) More creativity and emotional stability – you are calmer, more focused and less ‘erratic’ which has countless benefits, including more ability to tap into your creative juices Spiritual Benefits: 5) Self-actualisation – come into being the best possible version of yourself. Find your passions, live and breath in the way you were meant to – within your personal power and true greatness. You can achieve and be anything! 6) Synchronicity – those moments that we used to think were random coincidence or luck happen more and more. The Universe (really YOU, connecting in) literally throws opportunities and ‘perfect moments’ in your lap. Life happens as it should. Perfectly. That’s a pretty awesome list with a whole lot of ‘get-me-summa-that’ happening! If you want the other 94 reasons I have let me know! Are you ready to meditate now? Ok, check it out. We are talking Mantra Meditation. Mantra meditation is an ancient practice made a little more modern and accessible by TM (transcendental meditation) or PSM (primordial sound meditation). The basis of all these meditation techniques is the mantra or the ‘sound’ or the ‘vibration’ to help still the mind. We use sanskrit (ancient language) mantras due to their sacred sounds. One simple little sound can have such a profound impact on the mind. Take for example the word THUD. In any language, whether you know what it means or not, you get a clear idea of what is implied, because of the sound it makes. Flip that around and do the same with the word LULL. Again, a clear idea of the implications. Both these ‘sounds’ have different qualities. Irrespective of their meaning, you KNOW what they feel like – the texture, the effect, the underlying meaning, the impression on the mind. So, we use a mantra that has a vibration or a sound that helps to quieten the mind and draw your focus to it, instead of the perpetual monkey mind. Let’s begin. Try out this meditation with one of these two mantras – So Hum or Hum Sa.If you are keen to explore meditation further below this post I’ve linked you to two teachers I can highly recommend to learn your own personal mantra to meditate with. Find a comfortable seat – sitting on a chair, feet flat to the floor or on a cushion. Make sure your spine is upright Gently close the eyes Soften the muscles of your face – relax your frown, your jaw, your eyelids Allow your breath to be soft, even and natural Without trying to find a rhythm simple and quietly within the mind repeat the mantra – So Hum or Hum Sa Exert little effort, don’t over focus on the sound, let it be soft and floaty and fluid When thought bubbles pop up just let them be without following the bubble, without creating a story and ‘thinking’ Come back to your mantra each time you notice you have strayed with little judgement, just a gentle knudge to bring yourself back Aim for 5 minutes to begin with and work up to 20 minutes Simple, right? Not so. Somedays it’s like there is a battle in your mind. That’s OK! Other days you are very still and settled. That’s OK! Sometimes you can barely handle 20 minutes. Also, OK! Get it? Whatever happens is OK, exactly as it should be. Part of the process is acceptance, awareness and respect. I invite you to give this a shot. Don’t wonder if ‘it’s working’ just be diligent with doing it everyday and overtime you’ll reap those 6 benefits and MORE! If you want to learn through a teacher here are the two I recommend. Carolyne Gowen from Still Your Mind – I learnt PSM through this amazing soul during a 4-session face to face experience. And Tom Cronin from Science of Stillness has created the most amazing online platform and experience to learn meditation comfortably from your home. I LOVE both these teachers. They are two of the most amazing human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Do you meditate now? How has your life changed? Or are you interested in meditating and haven’t quite taken the step forward? Really looking […] Read more

SPOTLIGHT ON YOGA: THE PLOUGH POSE

SPOTLIGHT ON YOGA: THE PLOUGH POSE

Posted March 07, 2013

More and more I’m starting to incorporate my passion for the healing abilities of yoga into work I do with clients. Some individuals opt for private one-on-one sessions to add more to their Holistic Coaching. I’m loving it so much that I’m going to further my studies by delving into Yoga Therapy. One particular pose that I find benefical for alot of clients is Supported Shoulderstand + Plough Pose. In sanskrit these are known as Salamba Sarvangasana + Halasana. This inversion has such profound and almost instantaneous effects on the nervous system. Considering one of the heros of the many hundred asanas out there, Sarvangasana, coupled with Halasana has the power to drop you out of sympathetic nervous system mode (aka, fight or flight mode) faster than you would drop a hot coal! By inverting, the head falls below the heart. It’s basic gravity – it’s less work for the heart to pump blood and oxygen to the brain. From here the nervous system gets the message to chill out. Your breathing becomes soft, fluid, easy. Your mind begins to quieten down, your heart beat slows down. In the beginning this posture can feel VERY dynamic. It can feel a little achey on the back, shoulders and even the legs. It’s just a matter of building up strength and stamina whilst opening the body slowly through the rest of your yoga practice. Nothing great happens easily. You will reap the rewards, but you need to work slowly, deliberately and mindfully! Here’s a step-by-step guide. I do recommend that if you are beginner that you use folded blankets underneath your shoulders (the neck and head should freely rest of the ground) to support your spine and keep you safe. Also, please don’t stay for longer than 5 to 10 breaths to begin with and then work up. It’s best to seek out a teacher, face-to-face for some guidance but I know alot of people download yoga videos at home too, so remember, move slowly and carefully 1) Laying down on your back, legs outstretched. If you are over blankets keep the legs bent. 2) Raise the legs up and with a little lift of the hips and buttocks kick the legs up towards the ceiling 3) Rest your hands immediately to the back, either side of the spine, palms flat 4) In the early days you can keep the legs and spin in an L shape rather than a long straight line – over time you’ll work towards this 5) Ensure you are NOT on your neck – this is called shoulder stand for a reason. 6) Inch the elbows a little closer (you can even try placing a yoga belt around the upper arms to help keep the elbows in. 7) Breath slowly and steadily 8) Lower one leg down at a time (both together as you advance more) overhead. If your feet touch the floor really engage and straighten the legs. If they don’t just bed the knees. 9) Keep your hands supported on your back or if you are feeling steady you can clasp the hands together with the arms along the mat 10) Bend the knees, support the back and slowly roll out of the posture 11) To finish, roll to the right side and sit up. Place your knees on the mat and fold in half – child’s pose AKA Balasana. Read more

8 WAYS TO GET MORE COCONUT LOVE

8 WAYS TO GET MORE COCONUT LOVE

Posted February 17, 2013

There is so much coconut love out there. It’s not just me that’s mad for it. This makes me so happy because it means that coconut, which I have loved since I was a child, is readily available in every kind of form. With so many blog posts out there on coconut I realised I had never actually shared a few of my favourite uses. Some of this might be old news, but if at least one of you gets on board the coconut wagon because of this post, then job done. 8 Awesome Coconut Oil Uses: Every night I moisturise my face and body with coconut oil I rub it into my lips, under my eyes and my cuticles when moisturising Once a week a do a coconut oil mask I cook with it – great for high temperatures – and add to smoothies Add it to tea – it adds a new dimension and a beautiful texture I shave my legs with it I also take a spoonful each day as a supplement – it is naturally anti-bacterial, supports your immune system, helps digestion and metabolism and also provides energy and sustenance I use it as a natural deodorant (yep, it’s finally happened, I am deodorant free!) I also use coconut flakes, cream, milk or water in tea, soups, smoothies, baked goods and raw treats. Not to mention I usually have at least 1 coconut scented candle in my home. There are some out there that truly use coconut oil for everything. Check out this blog for 101 uses! Enjoy + saha to you, Claire x Image Read more

WHAT UNHEALTHY ATTACHMENTS DO YOU HAVE? 3 WAYS TO BREAK THEM.

WHAT UNHEALTHY ATTACHMENTS DO YOU HAVE? 3 WAYS TO BREAK THEM.

Posted February 12, 2013

I remember, after I’d been practicing yoga for a year my teacher started purposefully moving me into different spots around the room. He had noticed that I would auto-pilot my way over to the same corner of the room and of course, he wanted to break that habit. When someone challenges you to break the habits and patterns you’ve formed it’s difficult because we are often totally blind to them until that moment. Then  we realise how attached we had become, say, to that ‘spot’ in yoga class and how, scaringly, it was what left you feeling ‘normal’ or ‘calm’. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to frequent the same spot in a yoga class, but I could see my teacher’s point. I was getting attached and that attachment was a security blanket. By being so ‘attached’ it meant that when I was put out of my comfort zone – simply asked to go to the other side of the room –  I couldn’t kick up into a handstand. Some fear, or discomfort had arisen in me and I no longer could do something I normally did with ease. Funny, that. Attachments can cloud our judgement, our vision of our true self and perhaps give us a false picture. Ask yourself these questions What are you attached to? Is there a person that you rely on to feel ‘happy’… Is there something that you do that makes you feel ‘normal’ and without it the rest of your day is not the same… Is there a ritual in your life that feels almost obsessive? Do you habitually think, say or do something without considering an alternative? It’s not that having a ritual, habit, routine, pattern is a bad thing. Lordy knows that I am the QUEEN of routine. I love my morning yoga followed by a home cooked breakfast. I have to meditate once a day and If I don’t I feel a bit dis-jointed. But they become unhealthy when by not doing them I berate myself or if I do it too much then I’ve not left myself open to a different perspective, alternative or a spontaneous be-in-the-moment opportunities. Every now and then I notice when I’m getting attached… when I consider that thing/person/situation to be my life-line, then I know I need to step back a little. Sometimes others do it for me – my teacher moving me into a different spot, my partner asking me to skip yoga and sleep in, or not check instgram. I’ve also come up with 3 sure-fire ways to break or at least ease-off those attachments. 1) Identify what it is your attached to – be honest about your relationship to this and your ‘perspective’ on it. Pull out a journal (pen and paper will do!) and write down how you feel about it, why you are so attached and how your attachment might (either now or in the future) block you in someway. 2) Be soft with yourself. No one is judging, except you. Practice some gentleness by allowing yourself the chance to understand the emotion. Are you afraid if you change something you will fail? Once you’ve got a clue into the emotion, then consider an alternative to your attachment that would respond to that emotion. E.g I love this spot in class because I feel comfortable here. Instead, try a different spot and channel into the feeling of comfort – cultivate it in your breath and body instead of the space your in. 3) Enjoy a self-imposed break – Try something different in replacement of what you are attached to. Balls it up and get shaky with it. Don’t just delete your said attachment… the key word is ENJOY a new experience. E.g – go to a different yoga teacher, or take a day off from your usual routine and meditate instead. Eat something different for breakfast, don’t wait for happiness to come with your favourite person, find it for yourself. Do so with a watchful eye – do it as an experiment to just ‘see what happens’. Develop some awareness and be OK with whatever comes up. Be light with it. If you fall out of the handstand, don’t get frustrated, just see it as interesting and try to face the emotion that came up for you – you feel uncomfortable, confused and displaced. It’s a wall, the same as the other one – just kick-up! In yogic terms, non-attachment is known as Vairagya. It’s about learning to actively encounter and explore the many and varied attachments in our life – physically, emotionally, mentally – fears, aversions, false sense of self, unhealthy emotions – which all cloud your true self. This is a long journey me thinks, trying to undo every impression, habit and emotion that we’ve identified with. But we can start with the little things simple to become a little more aware of who we are and who we are not! Happiness is not a product of what you do, how you do it, who you do it with… it’s already in you. You are perfect and whole and complete as you are. I’d love to hear your own experiences with being attached. Is there something you are attached to right now that might need addressing? Saha to you, Claire x Images * Zentips.com *Main image. Read more

A CASE OF THE BAD MOODS – A VIDEO BLOG QUESTION FOR YOU!

A CASE OF THE BAD MOODS – A VIDEO BLOG QUESTION FOR YOU!

Posted February 08, 2013

Let’s talk about bad moods. Aren’t they sneaky, shady little characters. And by characters I mean our alter-egos, because I certainly do not recognize nor do I like myself when a bad mood comes to visit. In an attempt to understand bad moods a little more I need your help. I’ve asked you a question via this week’s video blog… You might like to read this article I wrote, recently published on MindBodyGreen – it builds on the idea of ‘Leaving/Changing/Accepting’ which I mention in the video above. My hunch is that my question raised in the video – how do you tackle bad moods – is one that there are plenty of us out there that would love some tips, guidance, suggestions and encouragement. I am so eager to hear how YOU turn a bad mood around. Can we throw a bone out to help each other learn and grow? Please share in the comments below or via facebook. I can’t wait to hear from you! Hoping you are in! Saha to you, Claire x p.s If you want to see how I shook off my bad mood the other day have a little peak at my home yoga practice. It did the trick! Read more

ALWAYS MAKING EXCUSES? 5 THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTIONS TO BREAK THE HABIT!

ALWAYS MAKING EXCUSES? 5 THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTIONS TO BREAK THE HABIT!

Posted January 31, 2013

You can imagine that as a health coach and yoga teacher that I hear alot of excuses. I listen to many individuals are they find ways to navigate away from the truth. Let me tell you, they do it well. We all do. Me included. We are experts at avoiding what needs to be done. Imagine if we applied that much focus and skill to that which we need to get done. It’d all be much easier! We talk about wanting to get up early and go to yoga. We talk about wanting to quit sugar, eat less crap, drink less booze, be kinder to ourselves, practice more self love… and on it goes. But somehow we rationalise and analyse ourselves into a circle until we are back at the beginning with the wheels of change stuck, motionless. Let me just say, I get it. Truly I do. I’m human and I have the same thoughts and the same desires. I also have the same blocks, battles and lack of motivation. But let me just say this, at one point in time, my desire to change became stronger than my desire to avoid… or should I say my perceived need to stay where I was in mind, body and spirit no longer held up. Also, that desire to change was something that CAME to me… I was shown where I was headed for and my body found a way to yell out, loudly. It got my attention and I finally responded. We all come to that moment in our own time. But for many of us, we’ve had that moment and yet we still make excuses. Do I sound harsh? I’m not trying to be, I just know that most of the things we are all after – health, happiness, balance – are all so easily achievable. It’s not rocket science. It just takes dedication for transformation to come about. Patience, determination and the desire to live as the best version of yourself. So, I have a few questions for you and I’d like you to pull out a pen and paper and answer these as honestly as possible 1) What do you really want to change? 2) What’s stopping you – honestly? Are your excuses genuine? 3) What are you afraid of? 4) Do you believe in yourself? If not, why not? 5) What are three easy, simple things you could do to set this change in motion? How did you go? Did you discover something that you already know but weren’t willing to face up to? Ok, so let’s be straight up with each other. Who’s kidding who? It’s time to ditch the excuses, the story-lines that restrict you and it’s time to move FORWARD. 2013 is your year. Go and get it. What you want is already in you, just let your light shine and be the best you! You want it, right? Saha to you, Claire Read more

THE ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT REAL’ RAW CHOC MOUSSE

THE ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT REAL’ RAW CHOC MOUSSE

Posted December 24, 2012

Yep, the title of this post says it all. Raw, creamy, moorish, delicious, indulgent chocolate mousse that is so far from the real (naughty, sugar-laden, unhealthy) version they may as well be from different planets. It’s good. And not in that ‘if you frown and purse your lips it almost tastes good’ kind of way that some raw foods claim their fame. This is good enough to fool my partner, who is my measuring stick… If he loves it then I know you amazing foodies will swoon over it. You’d think I have a really insane sweet tooth but I mostly enjoy the experience of enjoying a treat that is so good for me. I feel like I have a little secret, I almost feel smug. So here it is. You want chocolate, you want mousse, you want delicious, mostly you want healthy? I bring you this: RAW CACAO & AVOCADO MOUSSE Ingredients: 1.5-2 Ripe Hass Avocaodos 3 heaped tbls of cacao 2-3 heaped tbls of coconut cream (take from the top of a can of coconut cream after its been in the fridge) 1 tbls vanilla powder/vanilla bean/pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon stevia or 1-2 tbls of raw honey Blend until you have a glossy, thick, firm mousse. Refrigerate immediately. When ready serve with fresh fruit, crushed nuts or enjoy on its own. This is such a lovely treat to enjoy for Christmas with a bowl of cherries to dip in with. Not to mention how super impressed your family and friends will be. I promise, with the right ratio of ingredients the avocado is undetectable. So play around with the balance if you need to but up the vanilla, cacao and coconut before the honey. The less sugar the better. Enjoy. Saha to you, CX Read more

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