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Category: Insights + Inspiration


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

6 LIFE LESSONS FROM BALI

6 LIFE LESSONS FROM BALI

Posted November 02, 2012

So, as you might know I was recently in Bali. I had an amazing experience – attending a friend’s wedding, scooting around Seminyak, eating amazing food. But what really stands out for me was my trip up to Ubud. The spiritual centre of Bali, likened to a little India. We headed up to Ubud to experience something different from the tourist strips  – western hotel pools, beach clubs, sydney-priced shopping – and surprisingly the drive to and from Ubud was where I learnt the most about Bali. Having hired a driver to take me to Chokorda Rai (a local healer – more on that in another post) I didn’t expect that the driver, himself, would offer up so many nuggets of spiritual insight. Pearls of wisdom and if I may I’d like to share these with you today. His name was Putu. He was a gentle, kind and open souland clearly, as most Balinese do, sees the world in a different way to most of us. Here are a few life lessons from Putu and a few notes from myself. 1) Just go with the flow. If everything is heading in one direction, you have to decide if it makes sense to turn around and swim against the current. So, if going in that direction doesn’t make sense, first, step out of the way and take a moment to be still. Figure out what it is you want, where you want to go. Don’t just do an about face and head backwards. You’ll just end up fighting against the flow. 2) Balance is important. It’s everything. Every person has their place, their role and everything has a place, a role. Sticking to this creates harmony in the long term. We were talking about positions within the family and the ‘compound’ – the Balinese way of living – and Putu provided insight into the necessity of create balance within the family environment and within the roles. For example, the mother has a clearly defined role – to care for and raise the children and run the household. The father – the breadwinner, the decision maker. A very traditional structure, but Putu’s insight  was intriguing -“the father is tired from working, so if he gets too involved with the matters of the children he will rule them with anger and frustration. It’s better that the mother disciplines and raises the children because her approach is softer and will not damage the children”, 3) Read the eyes. Trust your instincts and respond to what you sense, not just what you see. Then you can follow the instructions after. I asked Putu how he avoids serious accidents in such crazy traffic (Bali has serious traffic jams!) He responded that he notices the street signs around him second to the eyes of his fellow drivers/riders. “Their eyes will tell you what they want and where they want to go. You can do this in any situation. Not just when driving” 4) Don’t be mad. Don’t be mad at the street. Why be mad at something that only just that morning you asked it to protect you and guide you. If I am mad at the street I am bringing bad luck to me. Again, talking traffic, I mentioned that road rage in Australia was much more apparent than Bali, despite how much worse their situation is. Putu, straight to the point, explained the Baliness belief in remaining calm in the face of frustation and testing times. A spiritual way of living with the knowledge that like attracts like. Your anger, in traffic or anywhere else, will only bring you more of the same. 5) We must always ask for a lucky day. It will bring us happiness and love. We were chatting about marriage, buying homes and more. Putu explained the Balinese culture of choosing an auspicious day from a local priest to ensure that luck was always on your side. It made me realise that we don’t tend to connect with anything higher than ourselves – because perhaps many of us don’t believe that everything is connected as the Balinese do. 6) Just relax. Don’t worry. This doesn’t help anything. After visiting a healer, which had me in tears, we were discussing my diagnosis over Lawak (coffee from the mongoose cat!) Apparently ‘worry’ coming up quite strong within my body. Putu very calmly told me – in the same tone as one would say “take the 372 to coogee’ – that worrying is pointless. Just let life happen, worrying isn’t life. It does nothing good. It’s an understatement to say that Putu had me thinking, alot. Some of his little pearls were so simple, things I had read/heard many times but it was in his delivery. This calm, matter-of-fact way that made me realise he wasn’t reciting some concept he understood intellectually, in theory. He was sharing his life practice. The Balinese way of living and being. I can’t wait to go back so I can explore this complex, yet simple culture even more. Have you been to Bali and experience the people and the culture? Did you learn anything that you still remember today? Saha to you, Claire Read more

MY EXPERIMENT IN SURRENDER PT3 – ACUPUNCTURE

MY EXPERIMENT IN SURRENDER PT3 – ACUPUNCTURE

Posted October 26, 2012

With a small hamstring strain, lower back injury, shoulder strain and trying to fight the lurgy that was flying around I was keen to try something… anything! I remembered my osteo had previously told me about this fantastic organisation – Experienced Community Acupuncture – who provide 1 hour treatments for $25 with experienced acupuncturists. Experienced Community Acupuncture (ECA) is passionate about making acupuncture accessible to the general public. And I think that is a noble thing to do. My dad used to suffer from severe back pain after spending hours, alone all day at work, lifting and carrying heavy boxes. Acupuncture was the only thing that made a difference for him – but the cost of it was often a boundary. ECA moves to different suburbs throughout the week making it even more accessible and at $25 a pop, what do you have to lose? Well, that’s what I thought… and I lost nothing. In fact, I gained an education into Chinese Medicine and it certainly helped to alleviate the pain in my body. The needles didn’t necessarily hurt as they were inserted but I was told that there were quite strong blockages in certain areas due to the intensity of the ‘ache’ I would feel during some of the sessions. Particularly with anything related to my back. I’m looking forward to going again to see if these have cleared. To bring to life acupuncture a little more Ray Ford from ECA has kindly answered a few questions which I hope will give you a clearer picture. What is acupuncture? The word acupuncture can be divided into two parts “acu” which means needle and puncture. Therefore acupuncture is the insertion of the tips of very fine sterile needles into the body at strategic sites. What is qi and meridian channels? Qi is the vital force that flows in the channels/meridians and enervates the body it is also translated as “vapor” suggesting an essence derived from food which supports, sustains and nourishes the body. The channels OR meridians are energetic pathways that flow in set patterns within the human organism. The Chinese have identified and mapped the meridians for at least two thousand years.  How do these affect our day to day lives? Qi travels in the 12 main channels and does one complete cycle every 24 hours. Each channel has a high energetic “tide” of 2 hours.When there are problems, blockages or deficiencies it will often show up in the body at the time appropriate to the channel or organ involved.It may also show up in the opposite 12 hour period.An example is that people with a Liver disharmony often wake up between 1-3 am which is the high point of the Liver energy.  Can you describe an acupuncture session An acupuncture session involves the practitioner listening to the patient, looking at signs such as complexion and asking about symptoms. The pulse is taken to assess disharmony and where it may be located, the tongue is observed to reveal the condition of the digestive and inner organs. The abdomen or other parts of the body may be palpated to check for restriction or tenderness.  After this, a diagnosis can be made and acupuncture points will be chosen that are known to balance the particular imbalance/pain/injury that is present. As acupuncture stimulates the body’s internal regulatory system, acupuncture points can stimulate a natural healing response without directly having to treat the site on an injury or imbalance. This is why points may be far away from the area involved in the injury /illness. Why the use of needles? What effect does this actually have. Needles are use because they are metal which have the effect of conducting the energy in the body, redirecting or unblocking it. Acupuncture has an advantage over manual systems that do not use needles in that with acupuncture we can combine several points at the same time. How can someone be sure that their practitioner is good? Practitioners must be a member of a recognized association that has standards of competency. The public are entitled to ask the practitioner about their experience and qualifications so they can make an informed decision. This may also be on their website if they have one, in other words look into a practitioners education,qualifications and experience. Acupuncture is an acquired skill taking years to refine. Reading the classics or pulse diagnosis take time, dedication and application to master. By application I mean having the experience of actually performing many thousands of treatments to gain experience, this cannot be fudged, there are no short cuts. Are there any risks? In the hands of competent experienced and well trained practitioners acupuncture is a very safe procedure. What are some of the results you have witnessed yourself? I have witnessed breech babies turning many times. Prolapsed lumbar discs which were said to need surgery have moved back into place after acupuncture verified with MRI. Completely healing debilitating migraine headaches in some patients some of whom had been suffering for more than 20 years Many cases of “infertility”  in women and men as diagnosed by western medicine have been “reversed” with acupuncture and resulted in numerous healthy children over the years. Immune system disorders and allergies helped significantly Debilitating neck, back, shoulder pain completely removed. What is the history of acupuncture? The History of Chinese Medicine in general goes back at least 4000 years and even as far back as the mythological Xia Dynasty. I think it is such as vast subject that cannot be answered in a question and answer format such as this. I think if I did that most of your readers would be asleep or in a deep trance. Some people have taken four years and obtained a PHD and only slightly answered this question so you can see its a very big topic. (I suggest a google search if you are keen to know more!) Learning how to surrender with needles in you was a task in itself, but long […] Read more

MY EXPERIMENT IN SURRENDER PT 2 – KINESIOLOGY

MY EXPERIMENT IN SURRENDER PT 2 – KINESIOLOGY

Posted October 19, 2012

So, during my little experiment in surrender I made sure I explored other modalities of healing – partly to give me something to put my energy into but also because I’d finally gotten serious about my healing. First stop, Kinesiology. Before I go any further, let me tell you that even I was a little unsure/cynical about kinesiology. But when you are in a session it’s hard to deny the clear messages your body is sending. By my second session I felt light, floaty even. Like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I have felt less anxious and stressed and my physical injuries have improved. I discovered some surprising, but profound things during my kinesiology sessiosn: On some deep level I didn’t believe in my own achievements nor did I feel proud of myself. Let me tell you – I should, I’ve worked hard and achieved alot. But still, I had this core belief inside of me that needed shifting. And shift it did. I was also sabotaging myself. Huh? Why, do we do this to ourselves. FEAR. Always, fear. And again, kinesiology has helped me accept and shift it too. So, let’s take a look at Kinesiology – even the word is weird. I was going to detail, blow-by-blow my experience, but instead I’ve asked a professional to help. Let’s face it, this one is very complex and deserves to be explained properly! I had my Kinesiologist, the lovely Kimberley Pipe, answer a few questions for you. Her explanations do it much better justice than what I would. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Can you explain what Kinesiology is in a way that everyone can understand? Kinesiology is a method using muscle feedback and body awareness that can clear blockages in your body and help to reduce stress and pain, improving performance in all areas of your life, promoting good health and well-being. Kinesiology uses the chi energy flow around the body, which flows through meridians.  Muscles are indicators for these meridians. Kinesiology works with this energy and taps into the body to allow it to heal itself. Our body has it’s own innate healing ability! Why do you believe in it – what have you witnessed during sessions? I have had Kinesiology sessions for 12 years and it has changed my life. Kinesiology really resonates with me because it deals with all aspects of our lives – emotional, physical and nutrition and the results I get never cease to amaze and inspire me. The reason I believe in Kinesiology is because I can see how the body reacts using different testing on different areas of the body – particularly when you are also thinking different things. Because I can also show the client this, there is something visible you can see and measure. I have had sessions with clients where they have completely transformed their lives.  I have one client who achieved everything she set out to do at her first session. I went to see her perform and she told me I had such a huge part in her success. What are the benefits of kinesiology? And who can benefit from it? The benefits of Kinesiology is that it can heal any aspect of your body and mind. Whether it is emotional, physical or biochemical (nutrition). Kinesiology can help you shift old patterns, which may be holding you back, to allow you to create the life you want to live, and achieve what it is you want to in life. Kinesiology is for any layperson. It is individual to the client’s problems, issues, blocks and life experiences. How did you become a kinesiologist and why? I first stumbled across Kinesiology in 2003, in my hometown of Auckland, New Zealand.  I thought that it was the most beneficial and effective modality I had experienced. Moving to the UK shortly after, I took the opportunity to really immerse myself in this healing art, and in so doing, discovered a valuable and effective tool for dealing with issues. Continuing in my personal development, and working closely with other Kinesiologists I realised that I, too, had a drive to help people achieve the most out of their life, by helping them to overcome obstacles and trauma. I have my Certificate IV and Diploma in Kinesiology and studied at the Australasian College of Kinesiology Mastery. Alot of people think it’s a bunch of voodoo how would you convince someone of the power of kinesiology? The role of the Kinesiologist is to act as the mediator when there is a breakdown in communication between the body and the mind. I would show them an example of muscle testing, which is evidence in itself and nothing beats an actual session. Anything else you want to add? Since I became a full time Kinesiologist I have not looked back. Every day I get to see the power of people and the amazing doors that Kinesiology helps open. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ So, what do you think? Are you intrigued by Kinesiology? Or have you already experienced amazing results? I would love to hear your thoughts and get a different perspective or learn from your experience. Saha to you, Claire x Read more

THE SURRENDER EXPERIMENT

THE SURRENDER EXPERIMENT

Posted October 17, 2012

This year has been a big year. I left my old career to dedicate myself full-time to yoga teaching and The Wellness Project. It’s been exciting, eventful, challenging and so rewarding. But it hasn’t always been rosy. This year my body has been put through it’s paces through a number of small injuries. Nothing major and I’m not moaning about it at all  – I can still walk, run, practice yoga and live a normal life. However, as a yoga teacher and dedicated practitioner it most certainly has got me down. Feeling limited by my own body has been difficult to say the least. Recently, just as my body was starting to heal I sustained another minor injury. After taking off 4 days from yoga I went back to practice only to realise this new injury was much worse than I had realised. I spent most of the practice modifying and skipping out poses to the point where I was fighting back tears. My favourite motto ‘it’s only a problem if you object to it’ was really testing me that morning. It was a problem, I was objecting to it. It got me thinking and questioning … why am I creating a problem out of this? Why was I crying? Why am I so attached to the asana, to the poses? Isn’t my yoga practice everywhere, in every moment of my day? Isn’t it so much more than the shapes – there is the breath, the way it creates space for me to let go and be me, to feel alive and connected. The lessons that I take off my mat – isn’t that what yoga is about? Ahh… the lessons. Light-bulb moment. It had become apparent to me that our idea of who we are, how we live our lives, the way we react, respond, participate, think, feel be… it’s all challenged when someone challenging happens. There is a saying in arabic that basically implies that you don’t really know a person until you scratch the surface. Well, my surface has been scratched – scraped and cut-up. And, I was starting to realise that if I want to live my life the way I ‘talk’ about it, well then these injuries were here to test my resolve. That test came about when my teacher advised me to take a few weeks off. “Go home” she said. “Set-up your yoga space with candles and soft light and every morning move your body as it asks you, not as you think it should. Forget about the (ashtanga) sequence. Just move in a way that feels right”. Wise, wise words. And ones I’m sure I’ve given to my students before. It’s funny how we don’t heed our own advice… And that’s where I have been for the last few weeks. At home. I didn’t get up, dress and drive straight to yoga. I rolled out of bed, meditated, drank tea, and then rolled out my mat. I dimmed the lights and I moved. No, in fact, I breathed through my life. I let my breath guide me and then I did whatever I felt like. Sometimes that was a long, long sirsasana (headstand). Other times a few gentle salutes and standing poses. Mostly I went back to my iyengar days and propped, bolstered and cushioned myself. I held restorative poses forever and moved deeper into dynamic postures without the intensity. What did I discover? My life didn’t fall apart because I didn’t go to yoga. My body, although it craved the deep opening and release it is normally used to, thanked me for pulling back. I also gained time – not doing a 2-hour practice really gave me the chance to do so many other things I normally don’t have the time for. The biggest lesson? My attitude towards my injuries are slowly changing. Instead of seeing them as a barricade to my practice and progression I’m seeing them more as a very loud and clear message about something deeper, energetically, happening within me. Which led me to a journey of experimentation with deep energetic healing. I realised during my time ‘off’ that I was (still am) dealing with some emotional blocks. What’s a girl to do when green juice is not the answer? (I know, shock! horror!) Well, I booked into Reiki, Acupuncture, Kinesiology and Massage sessions (yep, it was an expensive few weeks!). Something was telling me I needed to use this time to tap into my body and move through its deeper layers. I discovered alot. But really, I already knew it, I just wasn’t hearing it clearly. Over the next coming posts I’m going to share information with you on kinesiology, acupuncture and reiki… because holistic wellness is just as much about your energy as it is your body, breath, nutrition and lifestyle. I would love to hear your experiences with these healing modalities, or your thoughts on them even if you haven’t Saha to you, Claire * image: http://piccsy.com/2012/04/picc-abhqd2xs8/ Read more

GET THE BODY YOU WANT WITH BARRE

GET THE BODY YOU WANT WITH BARRE

Posted September 14, 2012

I have many talented, inspiring friends. I’m not saying that to sound cool. I’m saying it out of gratefulness that my life has been blessed with such down-right awesome individuals. One such friend is the delightful, open-hearted and gorgeous Emma Seibold. Here’s some background for you…  Emma and I (and a third, very special friend) lived together for 2 years. That home was coined the house of love. And in that house of love my life changed. Emma was an integral piece to my puzzle. She helped me explore the ideas, concepts, dreams, hopes and epiphanies I was having in a time of deep self-exploration. Her guidance and love allowed me to realise that anything is possible and I owe a huge part of where I am  today to the darling Miss Emma. Emma is one amazing woman. Like I said, she is a talented, inspiring and awesome person. Nothing is impossible once she sets her sights on a task. She was the founder of Urban Remedy, who I now have the pleasure of working with. After giving birth to her gorgeous little boy, Emma then moved to Melbourne where (only 6 months after her bub was born) she launched the hugely popular Barre Body in Melbourne. Did I mention she is driven, motivated and smart? On a recent trip down to Melbourne I had the absolute pleasure (and pain) of attending one of Em’s Barre class. Wow. I felt muscles that I hadn’t felt since my first yoga class. Deceptively difficult, Barre is a fusion of yoga, pilates and ballet. Emma turned to Barre post-baby in an attempt to regain her pre-bub body. And, hand on heart, her bod is better than ever. She is one smoking hot mama! Barre Body isn’t in Sydney yet, but to my Melbourne peeps, if you haven’t already get your booty down to Barre Body if you want an even tighter, toned booty! For everyone else Emma has made some amazing videos for body+soul which will take you through a few Barre sequences. This post is my way of saying thank you to Emma. But it’s also to share Barre Body with you lovely readers and give you the chance to experience it for yourself – even if it’s only from your living room. These sequences will give you long, lean, toned muscles – toned arms, legs, butt and belly. Who doesn’t want that? Barre Body Long and Lean Routine Pt 1 for Body + Soul Barre Body Long and Lean Routine Pt 2 for Body + Soul Barre Body Long and Lean Routine Pt 3 for Body + Soul In the name of research I actually did these sequences the other day just so I could share this with an honest opinion – and let me tell you this, long + lean will definitely be in your sights if you did this everyday. I’d love to hear your thoughts – have you done Barre before? Or even better, have you been to Barre Body in Melbourne? If you’d like to connect with Emma you can check out her website and blog, visit her on facebook or say hi via twitter! Saha to you, Claire x Read more

3 WAYS TO ENJOY YOUR TIME IN THE SUN

3 WAYS TO ENJOY YOUR TIME IN THE SUN

Posted August 24, 2012

Recently I went to a yoga class at Yoga Village –  I don’t normally attend and I’m so glad I did. The beautiful teacher, Rachel Coopes, told a story about two cats. Stay with me here… this isn’t a homage to fluffy felines (although they are pretty sweet). It’s about how two cats taught me to stop trying so hard. Picture this. A tomcat – big, fluffy, ginger – sitting curled up in that cat-like way. Just chilling. And in front of Mr Tomcat was a pretty little Burmese cat. She wasn’t chilling, in fact, quite the opposite. Parading herself in front of the tom cat was all Miss Burmese cared about. ‘Look at me, look at me’…she purred as her tail swished, meowing and wriggling about trying to get Mr Tomcat’s attention. Do you think he noticed? Of course not. He was stoic, still and simply kept staring ahead. Unflappable. After much effort Miss Burmese eventually figured it out. She paused. Stretched out and curled up next to Mr Tomcat in a little patch of sunshine. And only then did the tomcat respond to his new companion. As the teacher told this story I couldn’t stop smiling. I could see myself in that Burmese. How many times had I ‘paraded’ myself around, trying to seek other’s approval, or my own? Often trying too hard to fill the hours, to be busy, to feel important and special. Working up a sweat, busting myself to achieve ‘something’ when all along the real achievement was right in front of me. Just let go. Stop. Be still. Find a little peace and quiet and just sit in the moment. Enjoy the patch of sunshine, just because… There are so many moments in our life when effort is needed – we have to put ourselves out there, raw and unashamed, ready to grow, evolve and achieve. I’m a huge fan of ‘effort’… it’s my middle name in fact. But lately, I’m starting to understand the profound power of letting go and trying less. And I’ve noticed when I do try less that some things come to me with a lot more ease. Mostly though, it’s those moments of pause and respite, soaking up the sun where we I refuel and keep on going. After this class I went home and wrote down three ways that would help me channel my inner tomcat. 1)    Consciously do nothing when I have a long list of to-dos – snooze, read, stare out the window, lay in the sunshine. 2)   Let someone else make the decisions for me. Stop trying to control the moment and literally go with the flow. 3)   Laugh at myself. Whenever I feel heavy with the weight of my own effort make a point to be irreverent with it and laugh at little at the ‘seriousness’ of it all. Give it a shot, be like the tomcat  – chill out a little and enjoy your time in the sun. Cx *Note: this was originally published on MindBodyGreen Read more

MAYBE YOU JUST NEED A GLASS OF WATER?

MAYBE YOU JUST NEED A GLASS OF WATER?

Posted June 18, 2012

Water is the foundation of life – we are mostly made up of water.  In fact, around 75% of the human body is water, the other 25% is solid matter. But, what also might be surprising is that our brain is 85% water – that’s alot of water! Not to mention your blood is 82% water,  lungs that carry oxygen are 90% water, your bones are 25% water. Are you reaching for a glass right now? During my health coaching studies I was exposed to Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, a researcher, author and advocate of the healing powers of water. I remember thinking, oh please, we all KNOW that water is important. But I didn’t expect to find out HOW important. With that much water making up our entire system, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we literally need water. But, I am shocked by how many clients/friends confess to barely drinking 2 glasses of water a day. These are the same individuals who might also struggle with cravings, migraines, lethargy, crabbiness. I can definitely vouch for unusual mood swings, headaches and exhaustion when I haven’t had enough water throughout the day. Now, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj takes it a little further. Through his research he goes as far as saying that water can be a cure for many degenerative diseases. Big statement, but one that he backs with countless studies and scientific documents. Amongst the degenerative diseases Dr. F mentions are: Heartburn Migraines Angina Arthritis High blood pressure Cholesterol Whether you choose to accept that water can prevent and cure serious diseases, it doesn’t matter, the reality is we need water to sustain life. Water generates life, in our bodies, but also around the planet. Food is necessary but we can definitely hold out a little longer without it. Water, is vital. We are what we eat, but we are mostly what we drink!  Unfortunately, alot of the time we see thirst as hunger, and treat it with excessive eating, especially sugar, to jack up on and fight the feelings that dehydration can cause such as headaches, mood swings, fatigue, excess acid in the body, sluggishness. Or maybe you do identify that you are thirsty but reach for the wrong type of drink. In lieu of water if you are slugging back tea, coffee, soft drinks and juices you aren’t getting the necessary hydration your body and brain needs. In fact, you are only exacerbating the problem and leading to further dehydration. So, what happens when you starve the body of its most vital life-source? Lots of unhappy things! It seems that we can avoid all of that if we just treat our thirst with some water. The next time you crave something you know isn’t right for you, (food or drinks!) try this first: drink water! Simple, huh? Or even better, realise that by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. Make water a normal part of your daily habit. Water will sort out whatever your body was craving for. So, how much water should we drink? This is where it gets a little confusing. 8 cups a day, 2 litres, a % of your body weight? There are a zillion different theories. But honestly, I believe this answer comes down to a few things – your weight, the climate you are in, the amount of exercise you are doing, if you are pregnant, the altitude and so on. As a guide, at least 1.5 litres per day as a minimum. And of course, more if it’s hot, you are exercising or you know you need more. An easy tip – add a sprinkle of pink salt to your water to aid absorption when you feel dehydrated. Try not to over drink as it can deplete minerals in the system. Whilst drinking too much towards the end of the day/evening can make you feel too awake and active which makes it difficult to settle and fall asleep. You want to enjoy a really deep sleep without having to rouse yourself for a toilet break! It’s important to not disrupt your natural dream cycle to process the day and allow the body to rest, digest and revive. Finally, don’t drink just before, during or just after a meal – allow your enzymes to digest and do the job they are supposed to. When it comes to what type of water, well there are lots of different options and theories – this is going to be a whole separate post! Filtered, tap, bottled, hot, cold. Me, I’m not too fussy. I use a filter at home but I’m not afraid to drink from the tap. Really, if you are not drinking alot of water, just by increasing your consumption you will make the world of difference. Personally, I tend to reach for warm water in winter, or at least at room temperature so it doesn’t shock my system. I always start everyday with a big glass of water followed by hot water with lemon. From an Ayurvedic, starting off with a big glass helps kick-start the system and nourish your organs. Also, in winter Ayurveda believes that really ice, cold water in winter can exacerbate your vata and lead to colds and flu. So drinking warm water is recommended to cleanse and nourish the system and aid digestion. Also, according to Ayurveda, normal drinking water can take about 6hrs to be absorbed. However, hot herbalized water takes about 1.5hrs and a half hours, and the addition of the herbs helps open the channels, clear mucous and toxins and cleanse the body as it hydrates it. Here’s an easy way to enjoy water that will hydrate, nourish and cleanse the system: Boil up 2 litres of water on the stove-top After a couple of minutes add in: 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp whole fennel 2 x 1inch slices of fresh ginger root Drop the heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat, strain and keep […] Read more

WHAT IS IYENGAR YOGA + HOW IT CAN BENEFIT YOU

WHAT IS IYENGAR YOGA + HOW IT CAN BENEFIT YOU

Posted June 12, 2012

Although I now mostly practice Ashtanga, my love affair with yoga began a few years back with Iyengar. A class and experience that profoundly affected me. You can read all about my very first class here. I tried yoga in my early 20s, I believe it was a flowing hatha vinyasa style. And although now I love this style of yoga it really didn’t resonate with me at all. The combination of a weak, tight body, lack of self-awareness and a disconnection from my body meant that my attempts at yoga never really cut through. But, Iyengar is a unique style and experience. And that coupled with a little more ‘openess’ had me hooked from day one.Iyengar is a very popular style of yoga created by B.K.S Iyengar, who, after sustaining an injury decided to find a way to make yoga accessible and therapeutic. I love Iyengar because of the detail and the focus it requires. It forces me to fully connect with my body, creating such a deep level of self-awareness. Iyengar doesn’t focus on ‘flow’ or vinyasa, but it is what I would describe an intellectual practice. Some people find the detail in Iyengar yoga to be distracting, however for me it really helps to shut off everything else in my mind as I move into the present (body and breath). This allows me to focus on where i am in space, what I am doing in the posture and how to move deeper. The practice of Iyengar focuses on a few main aspects: 1) Correct body alignment – in an anatomical way 2) Props – using blocks, chairs, blankets and belts to help you adjust or support the body in different postures – to work within a range of motion that is safe and effective, but also to show you what the body needs to do within the asana 3) Therapy – using asana, the postures and pranayama, the breath to eliminate physical and energetic ailments (including stress!) 4) Sequencing – correct sequences that encourage the practice of postures in an order that creates a strong effects on the body and nervous system. E.g. a headstand always comes before shoulder stand 5) Timing – postures are held for a longer period of time to let the effects of the pose penetrate deeper within the body and mind – sense of awareness, strength, flexibility, stamina, understanding. Downward Facing Dog – Iyengar yoga wall A typical class will see the teacher focus on a particular set of asanas – Standing Poses, Twists and Forward Bends, Backbends, Restorative etc. However, in each class there will always feature a long-held headstand (sirsasana) and long-held shoulderstand (sarvangasana) at the end. The kind and queen of the asanas and two poses revered in Iyengar (all yoga in fact!) Unlike Ashtanga, where ladies not practice during their menstrual cycle, in Iyengar you can still attend but your teacher will set you up for a restorative sequence using blankets, bolsters and props to settle into soothing postures for 5-10 minutes each. This leaves you feeling so blissed out and calm. One of my favourite books is B.K.S Iyengar. It is a brilliant book. And as expected, incredibly detailed. Whether you are a teacher, new practitioner, or intrigued yogi from a different style this book is a must! If you are injured, recovering from pregnancy, find hot/flow styles of yoga make you feel anxious, need some grounding, like to experiment, or are totally new to yoga I strongly recommend trying Iyengar. I especially think starting out with Iyengar before transitioning is the most brilliant set-up for a fantastic yoga practice. After sustaining a hamstring injury and back injury I have started to incorporate Iyengar back into my yoga regime. Nothing else teaches you structure, alignment, understanding like Iyengar does. All yoga creates awareness, but Iyengar does so on a deep level, very quickly! If you are intrigued and want to give Iyengar a shot check out Iyengar Yoga Australia. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live. Cx Read more


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