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WHAT’S THE RIGHT SEAT FOR MEDITATION? AND WIN A MEDITATION CUSHION!

WHAT’S THE RIGHT SEAT FOR MEDITATION? AND WIN A MEDITATION CUSHION!

Posted December 05, 2011

I’ve rattled on about meditation a few times here and here and here… Can you tell that I love it, that it has brought me so much? My love for it is also in the knowledge that it will keep delivering. By it – I guess what I mean is me! Meditation allows ME to bring into my life that which is beautiful, special, fruitful, exciting, real… I am forever grateful to meditation (and my teacher)… It led me to new experiences. One being the workshop that I held with a friend, Frenchy Mayr, last Sunday. It was called Finding your Centre – stretch, breath, be still. Frenchy and I teamed up as we both wanted to offer people the opportunity to press pause on the storm. Sit in the centre of it and just absorb. Rather than move at lightning speed through to the end of the year, not really reflecting on what has been or preparing for what is to come. We wanted to create an opportunity to become more aware through stilling the mind. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? I mean, surely we need to THINK to achieve something…right? Well, no, we need to quiet the monkey mind to hear the truth, that is the truth that will guide us. But I also wanted to press pause on the whole meditation thing for a moment and scale it back. Something came up at the workshop around sitting. Yes, we can bandy about the words ‘sit, be still, listen to your breath’ yet what we tend to forget is that the actual act of sitting, in itself, is a challenge. My beautiful meditation teacher, Carolyne Gowen of Still Your Mind, knows this too. She created a beautiful range of cushions and accessories to combat that (more on that later). But I wanted to start by breaking down the asana or the ‘seated’ meditation options. After all, the word Asana means steady pose. This one steady pose is the quintessential cross-legged seat or Padmasana/Lotus, that we all know so well. But, it wasn’t long before ye olde yogis realised that it’s near impossible to meditate on a himalayan mountain to connect with your internal self and reach god-realisation if your hip is groaning at you, your feet are going numb and your back hurts because you can’t sit straight. So all the asana us yogis practice are simply a series of steady poses designed to open the body and release built up tension and energy, in preparation for meditation… 1) Chair. I thought this was bizarre when I first heard of and saw this. It seemed so uncomfortable… But now, this is how I meditate at home. Choose a chair with a comfortable back and space for your hands to sit on your lap with your elbows free. Ensure your feet are firmly planted on the floor (elevate with a bolster if needed) and that you are 100% comfortable. 2) Cross leg. Keep the spine straight, thumb and forefinger pressed together and palms facing up in Jnana mudra (seal) or facing down in chin mudra on the knees. The issue here? Most people are so tight in the hips that sitting cross-legged for a while starts to ache. Solution? Sit elevated onto a bolster/cushion or folded blanket. You want your knees to drop down lower than the hips. Slide towards the edge of the support you are on and tilt the pelvis forward slightly. This will allow you to keep elongating the spine out of the pelvis and ease the pressure in the hips. Make sure you aren’t leaning against anything as your shoulders will slump over time. 3) Meditation stool/straddle – You can purchase a little wooden meditation stool that elevates you just off the ground. You sit on the stool with your legs either side of it. Similar to how you would straddle a horse. In Yoga this is a variation of Virasana or hero pose. If you don’t have or don’t want to get a meditation stool you can straddle a bolster instead. Both do the job of alleviating the hips but for some this can be strong on the quads or knees. 4) Full lotus – the holy grail of meditation seats. Most of us tight westerners have trouble with Lotus. It’s only been this year after years of yoga practice that I can practice Lotus daily. Even then I can only hold it for 5 minutes. But, the reason this is the holy grail is because once you are locked into it, you realise why those ingenious little yogis preferred it. Your spine is immediately grounded through the sacrum whilst lifted and elongated through to the crown. It’s almost as if you can feel and visualise each chakra running along your Sushumna Nadi (spinal column on the physical body) because your posture is so perfect. You feel light yet grounded in the pose. Don’t try Lotus (please!) without the guidance of a teacher… But if it’s available to you, very easily, then try and see if you agree. A few general tips * Keeping the back straight, in whichever posture you meditate is a must.  * Try to be comfortable and physically relaxed, avoid jiggling about too much. * Keep the head straight, slightly bent forward, keep the teeth slightly apart, the jaw and tongue soft and the space between the eyebrows relaxed and soft. * The shoulders should be relaxed and the hands can be placed on your lap if you prefer. Left palm over right for women and right over left for men  – this relates to the energy channels on the body. The left major Nadi (Ida) represents the feminine (moon, cool, calm) energy, the right major Nadi (Pingala) represents the masculine energy (sun, heat, power). * Keeping the body warm and particular the knees and legs to avoid numbness. * Try belly-breathing; not breathing with the chest, but from the navel and diaphragm. * The posture should enhance meditation, not be […] Read more

A YOGIC RELATIONSHOP WITH FOOD

A YOGIC RELATIONSHOP WITH FOOD

Posted November 23, 2011

After attending a yoga retreat last week and having very indepth conversations with like-minded yogis on health and nutrition, I came to understand that yoga has a profound affect on nutrition – the way we eat and the way we relate to food. That is exactly what happened to me after I began practicing but I didn’t realise that the affect was almost universal. As the food industry relentlessly bombards us with a new fad diet or confusing ‘must-do’, or rule we are all forgetting how to eat instictively healthy – feeding our bodies what we need to grow, be nourished and healthy. Through yoga there is a natural progression towards making better food choices without the guilt and emotinal battering we often put ourselves through. The physical asana practices creates a deep awareness, deeping our understanding of our body and what it needs. Through yoga what grows is a conscious of foods that create a consistent sense of wellbeing or even those foods that create a sluggish, tired body or overactive unsettled mind. Over time, yoga encourages it students to come into a more comfortable and balanced relationship with food. It takes time, be patient, begin to tune into the body and listen. Through building discipline in your practice, inviting patience and cultivating compassion you can begin to overcome alot of the food quirks we often have. No matter how formidable they may seem. And start to love your food in a healthier way. Enjoy it all. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live (and eat!) Cx Read more

THE ABC OF MEDITATION

THE ABC OF MEDITATION

Posted November 20, 2011

Last weekend I took myself away on a yoga retreat… I decided that after an incredibly busy, yet fruitful year that I needed to press pause, take a step back and just reconnect in a beautiful bushland setting, away from the city! 9 hours of yoga, 3 hours of meditation and pranayama, and countless amazing vegetarian meals later…  I feel like I’ve had a holiday! I had so much fun,  playing with creative yoga sequences (free-stand handstand! Whee!) and challening  poses (leg around the head anyone?), revisiting pranayama and cleansing techniques I had neglected and enjoyed conversations with like-minded people (instead of subjecting my boyfriend to a discussion about the joys of meditation I had many a willing participants!) During meditation on the Sunday morning I picked up on a little meditation tool that I found incredibly helpful. The ABC of meditation. I found this so straightforward and simple I thought I’d share this with you all in the hope that maybe it’ll help you explore meditation. We all love to label and compartmentalise things in our lives – even something as free and unanchored as meditation – we are human beings after all – so for those that need to place a little structure around something, give this a shot. A is for Awareness: Take your seat – make sure it’s comfortable and you are feeling secure and settled in the spot you’ve chosen to meditate. Now, with your eyes closed simply pay attention to yourself – your body, your mind. Can you become aware of what your body is communicating to you? Does your right shoulder hurt? Are you feeling a little lethargic – where in your body is that sense of tiredness coming from? Do you have a headache? Are you feeling restless – where in your body or your mind is this feeling originating from? Cultivate Awareness. Do not pass judgement, try to rationalise or understand what you are becoming aware of… but the simple act of ‘knowing’ is all that you need to do here. B is for Breath: Now, having come to a state of awareness, move your mind to the breath. Begin to focus in on the sound, the quality and the texture of your breath. Simply ‘watch’ the breath as your inhale and exhale through the nose… can you cultivate a smooth, steady, even breath? Can you control the breath, just enough to feel a calming, soothing sensation? The breath is your vehicle to a deeper, more meditative state. C is for Clarity: Now you sitting calmly, the breath is your mantra – your point of focus. Stay with this breath you use it to ‘drag’ your mind away from distracting thoughts. Clear thoughts from your mind – sweep them away with each breath. When a thought does enter your mind, place a label to it… categorise it and by doing so you can compartmentalise it. Then let that ‘category’ fall away and bring the attention back to the breath. Inhale. Exhale. From A to B to C… three steps to ground  and guide you within the practice of meditation. Clear stepping stones that you can rehearse over and over, using them as tools to help meditation become a skill. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

SPOTLIGHT ON BADDHA KONASANA…bound angle pose

SPOTLIGHT ON BADDHA KONASANA…bound angle pose

Posted November 03, 2011

Teacher: Was your last pose Garbha Pindasana? Me: Umm, yes… (thinking I did something wrong) Teacher: Baddha Konasana… it’s time. This is what played out last Wednesday morning – the day before the new moon- at yoga. It was 7:15 am. I was hot, sweaty and thinking I was all but a few backbends and finishing poses away from beautiful, delicious, restorative savasana (relaxtion) when my teacher gave me the next pose. Baddha Konasana… bound angle pose. I’ve done this countless times. With blocks, straps, against a wall, on a bolster – every which way, you name it, I’ve done. All but one way… the Ashtanga Vinyasa way. All I have to say is %$!#@#%^!!!!! Ok.. I have alot more to say than that (surely, you know me better by now?!) but at the time it took alot of self control and respect to not swear out loud. Instead, breathlessly I just kept saying “oh, wow”… don’t fooled, I wasn’t feeling any joy here, simply pain… and opening. Now, most of my students know that I am the first to admit I have very tight hips. It’s something that I actually had to overcome mentally when doing my teacher training and in the first few months of teaching. In my head I would always think “how can I be a teacher when my hips are tight and I can’t even get into lotus pose (I can now, though!)… it took a while to realise that you don’t teach with your hips, you teach with your heart and your mind. Either way, I had read that Baddha Konasana adjusted the Ashtanga Vinyasa way could be extremely painful and takes a lot of breath control and focus to get through. Let’s just say that was written for me… To perform this posture it pays to have someone there to adjust you – it’s still an incredible pose without a teacher/adjustment, but really, to get into the hips and groin deeply you do need the adjustment. Here is a step-by-step guide. Be warm! Don’t do this pose cold, you’ll regret it. Step by Step 1.  Sit with your legs straight out in front of you, raising your pelvis on a blanket if your hips or groins are tight (this is the Iyengar in me – Ashtanga does it prop-free!)  2.  Exhale, bend your knees, pull your heels toward your pelvis, then drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together. 3.  Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as you comfortably can. With the first and second finger and thumb, grasp the big toe of each foot, turning the soles of the feet up towards your face. Keep the outer edges of the feet firmly on the floor.        If it isn’t possible to hold the toes, clasp each hand around the same-side ankle or shin.   4.   Firm the sacrum and shoulder blades against the back and elongate the front torso through to the sternum. 5.   Release the heads of the thigh bones (not the knees!) toward the floor – the knees follow.  6.   Lead with the chest, aiming to bring your sternum to your own feet. here – your teacher/adjuster will lean into you (evenly against the lower back and thoracic spine) whilst pressing your outer thighs down – rotating out. Stay here for 5 slow, smooth breaths. 7.   Inhale to come up. 8.   Next, curve the spine forward and draw the head towards the feet – rounding the back. Your adjuster can keep their hands on your thighs, further opening the hips. 9.   Stay here for 5 slow, smooth breaths. 10. To finish, stretch the legs out to release. Baddha Konasana gets in deep – really, really deep. It can be a little painful… ok, alot (my teacher said… don’t worry Claire, I hear it’s worse that child-birth) but it’s well worth it. Baddha Konasana stimulates the abdominal organs (ovaries, prostate gland,  bladder and kidneys). It stimulates the heart and improves circulation, stretches the  inner thighs, groins and knees, soothes menstrual pain and helps to prepare the  body for childbirth. Give it a shot. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live. Cx P.s – groin or knee injuries definitely sit on a blanket and prop another two under the knees for support.  Read more

YES PLEASE + NO THANKS LIST

YES PLEASE + NO THANKS LIST

Posted October 31, 2011

WIthout delving into the complicated world of nutrition (a nutritionist says this and a dietician says that) I like to keep it simple and focus on whole foods. I’ve come to realise lately though, that just telling my clients to focus on a wholefood diet doesn’t necessarily bring to life what that is, exactly. Some people, it seems, believe that foods such as bread, pasta and the like are whole foods. Don’t laugh, it’s true… and not so funny. Unless someone is there to guide and help, many people spend their whole life eating the food that the TV, giant food chains and fast food outlets tell them too eat. So it’s important that we spend the time learning about what wholefoods really are. The simplest way to think about a wholefood diet is to stop and ask this question – is this food as close to it’s natural state as possible? When you look at bread and the process involved you can quickly see how it’s no where near it’s natural state. The grain is milled, refined and turned into flour. From here the flour is often mixed with salt, sugar and other additives, then a yeast starter gets the process of fermentation within the dough going and then it is baked. No quite a whole food anymore, huh?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking bread. In fact, I love nothing more than a properly fermented, sprouted sourdough (the correct way to process the grain and the kinder option for the body). But the reality is eating bucket loads of any food that is no longer in its whole state adds in extra additives and toxins that the body simply doesn’t need. I wanted to highlight two things in this post. 1) What a whole food diet might look like and 2) the food philosophy that I resonate with, live by and recommend where possible. Now, I am totally open to and accepting of anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free etc – this is not about pushing a diet regime, but showing as an overview a beautfiful (flexible!) way of eating that is whole, nourishing, healthy and balanced. Not a diet, but a lifestyle. So check it… I’ve listed the YES foods – which you can see are mostly whole – and of course, the NO foods. YES PLEASE:  Organic, locally grown and seasonal fruit and vegetables Pastured (grass-fed and finished) organic meats, poultry, and eggs Organic full fat dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt, and milk Sustainably sourced fish and seafood Extra virgin organic olive oil (use raw for dressings) Fats for cooking: organic butter, ghee, extra virgin organic coconut oil and animal fats (duck fat is beautiful) Soaked grains such as barley, oats, brown rice quinoa (actually a seed) millet Highly nutritient dense foods such as fermented foods, bone broths and good quality fats Organic herbs and spices Soaked and sprouted nuts, seeds and legumes Sweeteners such as raw honey, stevia, organic (real) maple syrup Dried fruit such as figs and dates – soaked and activated Unprocessed superfood supplements – spirulina, cacao, maca Filtered water NO THANKS: Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners Processed juices, cordials and soft drinks Refined grains and cereals – boxed breakfast cereals, white breads and pastas Non-organic, grain fed, poultry, eggs and meat Heavily pasteurized, homogenized, skim or low fat and processed dairy products – all the nutrients and enzymes are gone and the light options are just pumped with sugar! Hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarines and trans fats (evil!) Soy milk (fermented is ok), processed soy products High-fructose corn syrup Skim milk, milk solids and powders Colours, additives, preservatives, thickeners and flavour enhancers (MSG) Heavily fried foods ‘Fake’ condiments and sauces My advise. If you aren’t sure how it grew, where it came from and how it ended up in that box or packet, put it back on the shelf. If you flip it over and read the ingredients and there are way too many words you’ve never heard of, or in fact, too many ingredients… put it back. Enjoying a wholefood diet is exciting. It opens up the door to creative cooking – experiementing with fresh produce and creating foods that really delight and satisfy you. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live. Cx Read more

6 EASY WAYS TO GET YOUR SELFISH ON

6 EASY WAYS TO GET YOUR SELFISH ON

Posted October 20, 2011

I bang on about finding balance a lot… mostly because I have directly experienced the benefits for myself by slowly finding my still point amongst the spinning world. I truly believe that part of achieving balance is in the art of selfishness. Now, of course I don’t mean the pointless, nasty kind. I simply mean putting yourself first in order to keep the little pieces of yourself together. Recently I posted up 17 ways to find balance after a recent talk I gave on balance. I tried to make it clear that balance isn’t something you can just sign-up for and hey-presto, there it is. I also tried to clarify that it is a) simple – you just need to tune into who you really are and b) it is forever changing – be prepared to stop, reassess and reevaluate what ‘balance’ means to you at different life stages. Today, however I’m offering up 6 ways to get selfish. I get asked a lot how I became calmer, more focused and centred – mostly by the people that didn’t know what I used to be like!  So in answer to that question below is a list of really simple ways to help you on the road to a little more ‘me-ness’ in your life, which will ultimately lead to balance. They may seem very obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many things on this list we don’t do regularly. And that is the key – regularity, consistency. Just like you shower and brush your teeth daily (hopefully!) we, as human beings, need routine and regime for change to occur. Get cherry-picking from this list, or find other ways that resonate with you. Inject them into your life one by one and do so with awareness. Pay attention to how they make you feel, the changes you experience and try to connect with the experience. Don’t be a martyr… if you are sick, take a day off work. If you are super-strung out, take a mental health day. No one needs you to be a hero! Really it just shows that you don’t love yourself enough. No one else is going to hold back when they need a day-off, leaving you to pick up the slack. So if it’s legit, please, just realise that your body (and your mind!) is singing out loud and clear, so listen up and just press pause.  Journal – if not daily then weekly. Brain dump – get all the junk out of your head and onto paper. I mean, really, truly say all the angry, annoyed, horrible things that even surprise you to hear/think and make peace with the realisation that those thoughts aren’t you! Once that is done, slowly allow your creative brain to start ticking over – you’ll be surprised by the things that come out. Often you’ll find clarity on issues you are facing, or you’ll be enlightened by a new idea. Mostly you’ll just spend time with yourself – your internal self – and start to understand yourself better – you’ll start to make more sense to yourself and realise what you want, or don’t want in your life. Schedule ‘me’ time. Once a week do something in that is totally about you – get your nails done, have a massage, go shopping, do a yoga workshop, read in the park, have an afternoon nap … do it without rhyme or reason and try not to rationalise it or analyse it. React to how you are feeling in the moment and then do exactly what pops into your mind, what you desire. Be free with the experience – everything we do it so controlled and planned, so try and be spontaneous! Just do something simply because you can and you want to – guilt free. Cull. Weed out the people in your life who don’t nourish who you are or where you want to go. A friend of mind refers to them as energy vampires because they suck the life-force out of you. Start to reassess the people you surround yourself with and question if they will encourage your lifestyle changes or impede them. And ask – what do I get out of this relationship?    Say no. Yes, I know you’ve all heard this one before. But, do you practice it? I give a lot of myself to my friends, family and clients. But I know that I need to say No in order to keep giving with love sans bitterness. If you don’t want to do it, or you haven’t enough time, or your body is saying rest, or even if you just need to practice saying no – just say no. Do so with kindness but realise you are in charge of yourself, your life, your actions. It is always a choice. Like this post, I wrote this sitting in the sun in the park by the harbour. I had a choice to do something that didn’t excite me, nor was it a good use of my time. Instead I kindly passed on the offer and enjoyed some alone time studying, reading and writing. It felt so good and no one is any worse off because of it! Disconnect. Turn your phone on silent or leave it at home! The world won’t combust. You can enjoy a short amount of time without distractions and forced conversation. And simply, just to learn how to be you without you + iPhone, iPod, Twitter, Facebook … blah, blah, blah! There are hundreds more ways to bring balance into your life. But we all need to start somewhere … being selfish is a great place to start. I’d love to hear how you get selfish?  Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

THE FRIDAY FIVE… BREATHING TECHNIQUES

THE FRIDAY FIVE… BREATHING TECHNIQUES

Posted October 07, 2011

Many people come to yoga because they’ve heard that it helps with breathing. It’s true, yoga really brings the breath (or lack of it!) to the forefront, really highlighting how poorly we breath on a daily basis. Our breath is our life-force on a physical and energetic level and we squander it away through our short, sharp, stressed breathing. Yoga teaches you how to cultivate a more nourishing breath but also a connection to the physical movement and to your inner being. It’s incredibly grounding and meditative to focus in on the breath, harness it to reenergize the body and find peace by moving inwards with its energy. Through a regular yoga practice you may be exposed to pranayama (breath control) techniques. In Sanskrit, Prana means Life-Force and Ayama/Yama means extension/control. Below are five breathing exercises that focus on extending the life-force energy via the breath. Life-force is similar to what the Chinese call Qi (chi) or the Holy Spirit in Christianity. It’s your own connection to the source, the infinite and it is life-giving and nourishing – your true essence, residing within that feeds you. These five techniques are often best learnt in person with guidance from an experienced teacher.  It is interesting nonetheless to understand the different exercises and their benefits. This list is less about the ‘how’ and more about the ‘what and why’. 1)      Ujjayi Sometimes called the ‘conquerors’ or ‘victory’ breath, Ujjayi is a deep, ocean or whisper-like sound. It is created by contracting the back of the throat – the glottis – as you inhale and exhale. To you and perhaps the person next to you the breath should be audible. This breath is often practised too intensely – you can hear students forcing the breath and over exaggerating the sound. Although it’s a strong sound it should still feel quite subtle and soothing – not harsh and raspy. This breath works to quiet the brain, making it the perfect partner to flowing yoga practices – helping you reach a more meditative state. Ujjayi slows and smooths the flow of breath. It’s both energising yet calming. 2)      Nadi Shodana This is the channel cleansing breath. Within our body, on an energetic level, we have Nadis – these are energy channels that correspond with our own veins/arteries on the physical levels. Nadis carry the prana (life-force) or breath throughout the subtle/energetic body. This pranayama technique works to cleanse two of the main Nadi’s – the Ida (feminine, moon, cool energy) and Pingala (masculine, sun, hot energy) which exit the body at the left and right nostril respectively. Nadi Shodana works by closing off one nostril at a time, inhaling through the other. Holding the breath and then releasing the closed nostril to exhale. The breath count is even, e.g. inhaling for four counts, holding for four and exhaling for eight. 3)      Sheetali This is the cooling breath and best practiced only in the warmer months. Sheetali calms the mind, reduces the stress or fight/flight reaction, cools the body and lowers blood pressure (careful if you already have low blood pressure!) For those that can, sheetali is performed by rolling the tongue in and creating a tube shape. Gently inhaling through that tongue which cools the breath before it enters the body and exhaling through the nostrils. Many people can’t roll the tongue so simply pursing the lips and creating a tube shape through the lips will work just as well. 4)      Kapalabhati Kapal means skull and Bhati means lightness. So this pranayama refers to the cleaning or cleansing of the mind. The breath here is short, rapid and strong. Using the lungs to pump and expel waste. Kapalabhati is a series of alternating short, explosive exhales and slightly longer, passive inhales. Exhales are generated by contracting the lower belly to push air out of the lungs. Inhales are responses to the release of this contraction, which sucks air back into the lungs. 5)      Viloma This is a great technique to complete energise the body. It is about learning to master and control the flow of breath, inwards and outwards. When practising Viloma, the breath is interrupted by several pauses. When inhaling the breath is paused every 2-3 seconds. By filling the belly/diaphragm first, then the rib cage, the lungs and the upper chest last you elongate the inhale to around 15-20secs. When exhaling, you do so in reverse and pause at each stage. Releasing the breath from the upper chest, then the lungs, rib cage and finally letting the belly draw in. Similarly, with interrupted exhalation, the out-breath is lengthened from twenty-five to thirty seconds. It’s simply like climbing up and then down a ladder with a pause at each step. You are left with a feeling of calmness and lightness to the body, and a sense of exhilaration. It increases endurance by learning to elongate and control the breath. The art of deep breathing is learnt with precision, ease, and comfort. Learning how to harness the power of the breath provides countless benefits – from a calmer state of mind, more focus, the ability to settle your nervous system, distress and sleep better. And sometimes, just pausing and checking in with your breath will give you a clear signal to how you are feeling – allowing you to bring yourself back into balance. Signing off with an exhale (how appropriate!) Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

GRATEFUL MUCH?

GRATEFUL MUCH?

Posted September 30, 2011

I am starting a regular blog post on Gratefulness. Through my yoga practice and studies I’ve learnt the art of giving thanks. I guess you could call it prayer in the traditional sense, but without asking for anything. Simply noticing the big, the small, the mundane and especially the things that change the way you think and feel. Today I simply want to honour and thank the people in this world that put themselves out there. Hearts flung wide open, emotions, feelings, fears – all of it – worn on their sleeve, right there in public for all to see. This week I was reminded how important it is to live openly, because with each gesture you act out, or phrase you utter with an open heart you pass on love, kindness and inspiration to those around you. I am blessed to have some pretty incredible friends in my life. Some of which continually surprise me, others that challenge me, some give me more love than I’m sure I deserve and then there are the ones that motivate me and reaffirm my belief that I am on the right path and meant to be out there helping people. This week a beautiful friend, whom I met during yoga teacher training, wrote me the most heartfelt message. She simply wrote to tell me she was loving my blog and that it had inspired her. What rocked my world was that she was living 100% openly in that moment. When she wrote that message she probably didn’t understand the weight that her words would have on me, but mostly I’m sure she was just living in the ‘now’. She wanted to reach out and share her feelings – no insecurities, no second guesses, nothing manipulative or calculated. Just simply being openly grateful. And although she said I have inspired her, in fact, it’s the other way around. Because through the act of her writing that message, the words in it and the idea that I could actually have helped one person (that’s all I’ve ever wanted) my entire perception of who I am and what I could possibly achieve has changed. Who know’s maybe next week something opposite will flip these feelings around, but right now I am feeling deeply grateful to have that connection and to my friend for being open. So, I ask… Why aren’t we more open? Why can’t we live our lives with a little rawness? I know we are so scared of being ‘out there’, naked, alone and shaking with the reality that everyone knows the truth of who we are, how we are feeling, what we want. But what is so wrong with that? Perhaps a lot of good can come from being honest with ourselves and those around us. I truly believe that there is a way to live more honestly, openly and free from the incessant questioning and insecurity that circulates in our mind. I also believe that there is a way to do this whilst protecting your heart and retaining energy and life-force for yourself – nurturing you and those around you, simultaneously. I also don’t mean lets share every nasty, vindictive, manipulative thought we have – yes, that’s just cruel, but mostly, because that’s NOT who you really are. It’s your ego, your insecurities and your fears snapping away inside your mind and convincing you that maybe you aren’t as nice as you thought. Wrong. We are above that, we just need to go deeper within and connect with our true selves – living in truth and living in the moment. I was reminded of an important lesson this week. One about living with kindness, openness and compassion. Every morning after my yoga practice I hold my hands in prayer at my chest and I give thanks for love and compassion in my life and I ask that I am always able to live openly – putting compassionate out to the world. Now, I am also going to give thanks for the people in my life that live this way and share their hearts and ask that I always attract these kind of people in my life. I ask that others do this too. How do you live openly? What are you grateful for this week? Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

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