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The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Movement + Bodylove

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Movement + Bodylove

Posted December 12, 2014

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Part 3 – Movement + Bodylove Honestly, before I was pregnant (and I’m talking years ago) I would’ve thought I’d be the girl who would stubbornly insist on exercising in the same way I always had, despite the changes in my body. Being a yogi – that is my main form of movement – I’ve tried every style of yoga under the sun. That is until I really honed my own personal ‘home’ practice. BTW: If you would like to do the same check out my recent post on Starting a yoga practice at-home. Today though, well and truly on the home-stretch to birthing this bub, I attribute the much more nourishing, soul-satisfying and body-loving movement practices I’ve been enjoying during this pregnancy to that home-practice. Why? Well it taught me how to be INTUITIVE. Being Intuitive is EVERYTHING when you are pregnant Have I mentioned yet how freaking mind-blowing the changes that unfold in your body are? Well if not, read that sentence again. They ARE! You have the hormone relaxin course through your body softening your pelvis, your joints and even the valve that keeps your food DOWN. Progesterone is slowing down digestion so baby can absorb more of the good stuff. It’s also causing membranes to swell (hello stuff nose) and helping you store extra weight to grow bub but for breast feeding down the track. There is more blood pumping, your heart rate is going faster, your breath is shorter (squashed lungs) and on it goes. Now I’m not telling you this to scare – most of it is manageable. But I am share this to really drill home how much more vulnerable your body is. It’s doing a BIG thing – building and growing a human being is a miracle. And because of this miracle your need to move and breathe in a way that always feels good and supportive. Let me say this loud and clear: This is not the time to be pursuing and reaching new exercise goals. There is no need to run further, lift more weights, push harder. Soften. Surrender. Nurture. You get me? Accept that your body will change (I’ve put on 10kgs!) Accept that things will look and feel different. Accept that it’s all part of this divine process. Despite everything I just said, pregnancy is not a license to blog out. Countless studies have proven that movement and exercise during pregnancy is vital for the long-term health of bub and for your strength and recovery. You would never enter a marathon without training, right? So the same goes for pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Now this is where your intuition comes into play. The key to striking the balance between Softness + Surrender with Inspired Action is to use your own body and mind as your navigational system – your guidance. How do you feel? What would support you best? What is your body craving You must embrace movement + exercise during your pregnancy in a way that feels supportive – that helps you maintain good health and that ultimately makes you feel really freaking good. If you are a runner, and it still feels good to run – then RUN. But do not take it up just because you are pregnant. Same goes for anything else. I would say Yoga + Swimming are probably the two things you can safely start if you never have before. And please note that everything you do requires modification. There is NO way that my yoga practice looks anything like it did before. It’s much more fluid and less dynamic. I don’t practice deeper backbends and inversions only come out every now and then. Arm balances just don’t feel right. There is so much I CAN do – physically my body still is able to lift into a crow pose or a backbend – but mostly I don’t do them because they intuitively feel ‘wrong’ in my body right now. They feel damaging, harsh… and luckily I am not so attached to the ‘poses’ that I can’t go a few months without them. For me my ‘movement routine’ has looked like this: 1 x Prenatal Yoga Class per week 1 – 2 x Barre Body Classes per week 3 x Personal yoga practices (at-home, at the park by the beach or using an online video) + Regular walking + swimming I’m going to break it down for you here: Prenatal Yoga I’ve been attended Prenatal Yoga with Lauren at The LifePod. But I’m sure you can find many options in your area too. Now, it’s not that the sequence in Lauren’s class isn’t something I could do on my own – as a yogi and teacher sequencing is something I’m comfortable with. But it’s the energy held within the space that is so vital. Being in a room full of women, going through the same thing (in their own personal way) and who are willing to open, connect and explore… well that is why I keep going back. Not to mention that Lauren facilitates the class with so much love and respect for each of our journey. The room is flooded with her understanding, compassion and appreciation for pregnancy. She invites us to dig deep yet to be soft, to grow, yet to be present and still… She cultivates inspiration, motivation, passion and release (emotionally and physically!) Prenatal Yoga is a beautiful way to enter yoga if you’ve not done so before. It also will carry you through the journey in the most loving way. I’ll be sad when Prenatal yoga is no longer part of my week!   Barre Body Barre Body is a Barre studio founded and directed by my bestie – Emma Seibold. The classes I attend are a hybrid of Yoga, Pilates and Barre work. And I love them! They provide me the dose of dynamic energy, strength work and power that I need to stay fit and strong. I, of course, can’t do […] Read more

Start a yoga practice at home

Start a yoga practice at home

Posted November 25, 2014

Yoga is my religion. Whenever I hit the mat it’s a ritual, a time to pray and a time to fully express myself in mind, body and soul. Whatever I’m feeling and experiencing in my daily life, yoga allows me to embody that. To own it. To  breathe into it. Lean into it. So it’s no surprise to me that my yoga practice has evolved and changed as I have done the same over the last 7 years. Some yogis are very dedicated to and maintain a powerful bond with one particular style of yoga. I love them for that commitment and that unbreakable union. For me though, yoga is about flexibility, and not just of the stretchy kind. I have to be flexible and experimental with yoga, because it keeps my mind much the same. It allows my soul to expand a little more and helps me to stay ‘unattached’. Over the last few years I’ve really honed my self-practice. Learning how to carve out the time and space in my home to unroll my mat and ‘pray’ is something I directly thank the practice of Ashtanga Yoga for. Practicing Mysore Yoga for 2+ years gave me so much to be grateful for – mainly the ability to move and breathe, creatively and autonomously. What has been the most beautiful aspect of my self-practice is learning how to mould the practice in direct response to my feelings, emotions and life circumstances. For example; When I need a really strong dynamic practice I get the chance to experiment, push my own boundaries, play and dive right in. When I to hold myself delicately – perhaps my heart is feeling fragile – I am able to create a practice that flows, intuitively and wraps me up in it’s nourishing embrace. And now, being pregnant, I’m not only learning to respect new limitations of my body but I’m even more embodied. I now move in a way that feels respectful of the physical, emotional, mental and energetic transformation I’m going through, but that also honours the life I am nurturing and growing. Start a yoga practice at home and you’ll learn how to guide yourself on AND off your yoga mat. Not just in how you move your body, but tuned in to your mind and soul.. It’s about integrating your mind, body and soul as you learn to reference every layer of your being – respecting and responding to what is needed. Self-practice cultivates self-healing. It’s almost as if you were in your own personal counseling session. The yoga mat is the therapist’s lounge. And instead of words there is the breath. Instead of advice there is the movement. Instead of venting there is the quiet meditative stillness of savasana (final relaxation). To supplement my self-practice I frequently attend classes, visit my favourite teachers, use online resources like YogaGlo and attend workshops and teacher training courses. It reboots and reinspires me. And then, once again I take that fresh knowledge back to my mat and my space. The other HUGE reason why I highly recommend you start a yoga practice at home is the simple fact that you can take yoga anywhere. Practice in your living room. Stretch it out by the beach at sunrise. Get bendy in a park under your favourite tree. Iron yourself out at the airport between long flights. Wherever you land and travel too yoga can be there with you – the ritual of it. The inward focus of it. The solitude. The peace. The opening…. It is so deeply supportive to take yoga with you. To truly ‘yoke’ yoga into your life to me feels like a lifeline. An umbilical cord back to myself and my centre, no matter where I am. ++ With all that being said, I want to help you, if you are ready to start a yoga practice at home Here are a few tips that you might find useful. First off, if you don’t already have one buy yourself a yoga mat. I love Manduka yoga mats. But my all-time favourite is the Lululemon ‘Le Mat’. Sturdy, good grip. Great on carpet and even outdoors. Suit yourself up in a yoga get-up that makes you eager to practice and get a gorgeous candle you might like to light whilst practicing (when at home). And finally, get a playlist going. Sometimes I like to practice in silence. Otherwise I like to move to music – it might be a floaty, ethereal and softly-softly vibe, otherwise it’s punchy, raw and banging! If you are already practicing yoga quite a bit, and attending many classes I invite you to begin by dedicating yourself to one or two 20 minute sessions at home. Don’t feel stressed about what to do. Don’t fuss about planning a sequence and don’t over commit. Just carve out (book it into your diary!) the time and roll your mat out. Do a few cat + cow stretches, hang out in child’s pose. Get down with your dog. Chuck in a few sun salutations and standing poses. It doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’, just do something. If you are completely new to yoga I would first advise you to visit a local studio and do a beginner’s courses. Whilst you are doing that try to practice a few of the poses you’ve been doing in class at home. At the end of an amazing class once I was back in my car I take a moment to note down in my phone the poses/sections of sequences that I loved! I’d then try to resurrect them another day when I was back at home and on my mat. Another suggestion – visit my YouTube channel and check out some of my instructional videos and classes. Sign-up to YogaGlo or GaiaM TV. These are great online resources for those of you that still feel you need guidance but want to practice at home. Finally, be committed, be dedicated. You need focus when […] Read more

Backbending – Power Yoga Poses to Open Your Body

Backbending – Power Yoga Poses to Open Your Body

Posted October 13, 2013

 Backbending in yoga opens up the body like nothing else. They are true power yoga poses. There is absolutely no other set of postures that give you that beautiful, cracked-wide-open feeling. Empowered. Delicious. Alive. Energised. I personally see the collection of back bend poses in yoga as power yoga poses. Yes they are difficult. They require a combination of deep flexibility and strength. To me, they are power poses because of the profound impact they have on the health of your body, chest and spine, but also how they powerfully open you up energetically. Beautiful, heart opening poses.   Back-bending has not come easily to me. I have the natural strength to lift myself up, but my back wasn’t always open and flexible. Back-bending didn’t always feel like the power yoga poses they are today. (I still have to be mindful of past injuries!) Having said that back-bending is something that everyone can experience and ultimately  work deeper and deeper into.   Today’s mini back-bending sequence demonstrates a few beginner to intermediate back-bends. I’ve left out more advanced postures here as I wanted to make it accessible.   I would recommend adding back-bending after you’ve properly warmed up. These previous sequences I’ve created would perfectly prepare you for back-bending and also be a gorgeous way to start the day.   Start with Sun Salutation A. Click HERE.  Follow with Sun Salutation B. Click HERE.  Next – do a few standing postures. Click HERE. Hip opening to help prepare for back-bends. Click HERE.  Add in today’s back-bending video here: See below!  Finish with twisting to release the lower back. Click HERE.  Finally savasana – rest + restore!   Click to play mini back-bending sequence. I hope you enjoy these back-bending power yoga poses. Don’t be discouraged, stay with it and your body will thank you. love + light, Claire Read more

HOW YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS TO OTHERS ARE AFFECTING YOU!

HOW YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS TO OTHERS ARE AFFECTING YOU!

Posted September 10, 2013

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. This sanskrit prayer is often sang before or after a yoga practice. When I hear it I feel whole, a little more connected and at peace. First, let me explain what inspired this post with a little story for you: One particular Friday during my morning routine I scribbled this affirmation into my journal: (which I posted on my facebook page) Today I remember that we are all truly one. From this truth I offer up the love that I AM ( that we all are) to someone that needs to be reminded of who they are! I step away from my needs for a moment and in doing so I connect with another soul, and ultimately connect with and heal myself. I then headed off to yoga. On my way there I heard from a friend in real need. This left me feeling really concerned.  Once I got into the yoga class we were partnered up with a total stranger. We were asked to sit, facing each other and silently say “I wish you well, I wish you happiness, I wish you freedom, I wish you love”. I could tell this was very confronting  for my partner. I loved it. I poured my heart into that experience. Finally, on the mat, before we began we all sang the above prayer. This whole experience brought up so much stuff for me. I had a beautiful practice but I was also deep in exploration. I  spent the next hour diving into that prayer in light of the affirmation that had come to me that morning and the news that a friend needed help. I started to dig deeper into the ideas of negativity. It took me on a journey through the ego, on to the challenge of retraining habits that don’t serve us and finally to the idea that we are truly one. Stay with me as I take you through that journey. Negativity is habitual Negative thoughts and actions are habits we’ve learned over the years. They are patterns of behaviours that are incredibly powerful and profound. Maybe we don’t even realise how powerful they are because we feel that our negative thought process is limited to our own headspace. They aren’t. The thoughts you have about someone else, yourself or life in general permeates throughout the universe like toxic waste. All thoughts, all actions, are energy. Everything is energy and there are no boundaries to where this energy can go. It’s not restricted by time and space. Which means that the power of our thoughts, even the negative ones, can be felt far and wide. Our patterns of negative behaviour and mindset has a domino effect – filtering into the lives of others, even if somewhat undetected at first. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to absorb a bad mood from someone else? It takes a strong energy field to block that sort of negativity. Or how your own negative state affects your entire day (traffic, can’t find a parking spot, lose money, everything goes wrong!) The ego feeds off negativity When we first notice that we have a habitual pattern of thinking and being from a negative space we then start to realise something else; the EGO – that ‘voice’ that is often cruel, unkind, irrational, angry, limited – is propped up and built on negativity. It lives off it. It LOVES the drama and the confusion. It feels good when we cut someone else down, to build ourselves up. It loves to take you down a notch too. It revels in limiting beliefs and behaviours. It’s out for it’s own survival – if you are completely present, positive and centred, the ego doesn’t exist. So being in a negative state is ideal for the ego. Many of us are stuck in and identify with that voice as if it’s who we are. Worse still, we keep feeding it through those negative thoughts and actions, including the thoughts and actions directed towards others… which ultimately, comes back to bite us! The most bizarre thing is how we feel comfortable with that negativity. We find the ego and its games to be familiar, normal… ‘the way we are’. Despite the turmoil it causes we tend to stay in that pattern and ego identification because it’s easier. Retrain your habits There is hope. You are not your ego. No, you can’t ‘get rid of it’. But you are not ‘IT’. Which bodes well. If you can start to truly believe that you aren’t that limited, negative set of habits and egoic nature then you can begin to bring about change. Our brains are flexible. Through neuroplasticity there is evidence that we can literally retrain our brain. It can evolve  (neural pathways and synapses) from changes in behaviour, mindset, environment and more. Which, thankfully, means we can retrain ourselves to habitually think and behave with a positive, peaceful, open and limitless energy. Change through awareness Change doesn’t happen without conscious effort. I don’t mean ‘trying’ or forcing something to happen. That would be counter-intuitive. But we have to place our attention of what is happening for us in order to bring about change. First, we notice those habitual negative patterns. Maybe you literally take note of the running commentary in your head. Maybe you begin to ‘look’ at it objectively – watching it with benign interest. Next, there might be some ‘weeding’ you need to do. Perhaps it becomes clear that there is some residual ‘stuff’ that you need to clear and detox. I don’t believe in getting stuck in the story of your past, but I do also believe that unless you LOOK at what’s going on for you, clear out the weeds and get real that you can’t just ‘push’ it […] 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

MY EXPERIMENT IN SURRENDER PT5 – REIKI

MY EXPERIMENT IN SURRENDER PT5 – REIKI

Posted November 22, 2012

This is the final installment of this series, The Surrender Experiment. If you’ve missed the other posts you can find them all here: Part 1 Part 2 Part3 Part 4 I’ve blogged about Reiki some time ago, but my experience with it this time has been very different. Before I go any further, let me explain what it is and what the benefits are. The word, Reiki means universal life force – energy. It’s the life force that is within us and around us. You can rationalise your way around it – rejecting it because you can’t see it. But if you are open to it, you can certainly feel it. My Reiki teacher, Franziska Mayr is the best person to shed more light on Reiki, or Energy Healing. Can you explain what Reiki is? The origin of Reiki can be traced back to ancient Tibet, thousands of years ago. This technique was rediscovered in the late 1800?s – early 1900?s by Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan. The tradition of Reiki was an oral one, and was passed on by master to master and student to student by word of mouth. Reiki means ‘Universal Life Force’ and and promotes the body’s self-healing ability by removing energy blockages and raising the vibrational frequency in and around the body. It creates inner peace and heals physical, emotional, mental and spiritual imbalances. What do you recommend Reiki for? Reiki generates deep relaxation, releases stress and tension, eliminates built-up toxins, reduces blood pressure, strengthens the immune system and adjusts the energy flow of the endocrine system. It also increases energy levels, vitality and postpones the aging process. During times of emotional distress and sorrow Reiki offers great relief and assists in the grieving process. Reiki is very helpful in coping with anxiety, depression and the breaking of addictions. It improves self-esteem and aids better sleep. Reiki relieves pain, helps with acute (injuries) and chronic problems (asthma, eczema, headaches, etc.) and speeds up the recovery from surgery or long-term illness. As it tends to reduce side-effects, it helps in adjusting to medicine/treatment like Chemo-therapy and Radio-therapy. What are you, as a practitioner, trying to achieve for your clients? My goal is to help my clients lead fulfilling and inspired lives by tapping into their full potential. My aim is to support my clients through their transformation, facilitate healing and also guide them in opening their hearts and finding their life purpose. From a personal perspective, the best word to describe to you what Reiki feels like is pure, deep relaxation. My last two sessions of Reiki would literally put me into a sleep-like (but not asleep) state within 2-3 minutes of Franziska beginning the session. Almost instantly. And I would be so deeply relaxed that apparently I would snore (just a little!) I remember being vaguely aware of her presence moving about my body. I would sometimes feel a deep vibration within my body, or a heavy sensation where I would believe her hands were (often they weren’t!) or sometimes my body would violently twitch. In the earlier sessions Franziska remarked how difficult it was for her to locate my throat chakra – which was fascinating considering in my work (health coaching and teaching yoga) I would use my voice all the time and this was where I was feeling very vulnerable. Or there would be a very powerful throbbing sensation near my solar plexus region.As Franziska puts it “your solar plexus was pumping like a night club!” Eventually my body would start to send clear messages to Franziska when I had enough. She would tell me that I was incredibly sensitive and open to Reiki energy and when I was done my body/energy would start to close off. This meant she knew exactly when to stop – it would sometimes be an obvious signal such as fidgeting, or my feet would get very hot or uncontrollable sighing. In that moment I would be present of my surroundings, my thoughts would kick back in and I would feel restless. Once the session was over it’d take me a few minutes to come back into the space before I would feel chatty and energised. My experiment with Reiki did wonders. I found myself to be be lighter, I felt floaty! Free of heavy thoughts, in better health and in better spirits generally. I felt balanced. By the final session Franziska said that each chakra felt completely balanced and healthy. Reiki is something I will keep coming back to over and over. I don’t need it every week, but I find I need a group of sessions every few months – a little spiritual energy servicing! My journey in surrender was challenging but mostly AMAZING. In fact, I almost long for the time to do it all again. I do not wish away my injuries for one moment because I have learnt so much but also been forced to connect in with the various layers of myself – and focus my attention away from the body, the physical. Something we don’t do often, right? It’s nice to know there is more to me than my body and what it can or can’t do. If anyone is interested in trying Reiki, PLEASE see Franziska, she is AMAZING. (Not to mention her meditation classes at Yoga Village). You can find her through her facebook page Mind Over Matter. Shoot her a message. Read more

MY INDIAN JOURNEY

MY INDIAN JOURNEY

Posted November 20, 2012

It’s time. I have been called. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes there are things in your life that you’ve always wanted to do, but you don’t pursue them because you know as some point it’ll just happen, something will call you. Well, that has happened. As you read this I’m packing my rucksack for a trip to South India where I will be spending a month training and practising with two senior Ashtanga teachers. Excited. Nervous. Anxious. Thrilled. Numb. Calm I’m not quite sure what to expect, but at the same time I’m cool with that. I don’t want to have any preconceived ideas about what my experience will entail. For the first time in a long time I’m being a little ‘loose’ with my plans. Based in Goa I might decide to stay there and just enjoying soaking up the atmosphere, or the traveler in me might decide it’s time to explore. Time will tell. So, because of that looseness I’m not making any promises to this blog either. I’ve written a few posts that you’ll see go live whilst I am away. However I’m sure I’ll inspired to blog some of the insights and experiences I have. Despite the lack of promises do now that I am HUGELY grateful to each and every one of you that reads this blog and connects in some way. It’s why I do what I do. The connection. And that’s why I am going to India… to connect to something I am passionate about (yoga, meditation, spirituality, wellness, love) even more and to take the time out of a busy year to practice some self-love by letting go! Stay tuned, I’ll be posting ad-hoc and I’m sure there will be some interesting things to report back. Wishing you love + light and saha to you! Cx Read more

EXPERIMENT IN SURRENDER PT 4 – KA HUNA MASSAGE

EXPERIMENT IN SURRENDER PT 4 – KA HUNA MASSAGE

Posted November 12, 2012

Recently, despite making huge progress in my healing I felt my injuries (although very different to how they were before) play up a little.  As I was scanning through my body, trying to feel what it needed, Ka Huna massage popped into my mind. I immediately got in touch with the Sydney Ka Huna centre and booked in a session. My first experience of Ka Huna massage was a few years back at a yoga retreat and then again during my days in PR where I was researching ‘calming’ experiences for an event! Both experiences were incredibly different but powerful. One time I spent the majority of the massage sobbing. Yep, not just weeping or crying softly, but sobbing like a child from some deep place within. I spoke to Nemara, the founder of Ka Huna massage and a women very passionate about this modality. She was able to give me further insights into Ka Huna. So, what exactly is Ka Huna? First off, we all know the phrase, ‘The Big Ka-Huna’. Ka Huna in the Hawaiian culture references someone that is a master in whichever field – counselling, coaching, teaching, engineering, sales etc. It is someone that is able to impart MORE than just the necessary information and experience. Now, apply this to what Ka Huna means – Ka – The Light and Huna – Secrets. This basically means shedding light or wisdom. Or as the Sydney Ka Huna centre puts it: “the knowledge and wisdom that is beyond what we can see in our everyday lives”. Ka Huna is a massage technique that is truly holistic. With long-flowing movements that replicate the ocean, deep breathing techniques and hula dance movements, you won’t just be kneading and pummeled. You will be loved and you will feel true presence in mind, body and breath. What is it about? Well, the Ka Huna was designed to impart deeply loving and healing touch. It is as much about personal development and healing as it is about the physical massage. Different to other massage techniques, Ka Huna is a holistic healing modality working with the whole person and all their layers. Ka Huna taps into something called Aloha Energy or Love Energy. Which is the unconditional, infinite love that we all have within us – where we come from and what are all part of. The therapist is trained to come from a place of non-judgement, moving from their heart and embracing the beauty of each person. This allows them to connect on a ‘truth’ level and not just a physical plane. You’ll notice that the therapist seems energised at the end of the massage, not depleted or drained – that’s because they are tapping into that energy as you are too. To move even deeper into it, Ka Huna is threaded through universal principles that transcend time and culture. These are not ‘Hawaiian’ philosophies, they are just in Hawaiian words: KE (ee-kay) The world is what you think it is Be Aware KALA (kah-lah) There are no limits Be Free MAKIA (mah-kee-ah) Energy flows where attention goes Be Focused MANAWA (mah-nah-wah) Now is the moment of power Be Here ALOHA (ah-lo-hah) To love is to be happy (the joyful sharing of Love energy in the present) Be Happy MANA (mah-nah) All power comes from within Be Confident PONO (poh-noh) Effectiveness is the measure of truth Be Positive Follow this link to delve further into understanding these 7 principles of Ka Huna. What is involved in the massage? I was going to leave this part out, and hopefully just encourage you to try it for yourself. The less expectations you have the better.  But for the purpose of education I’m going to give you some detail. Be open-minded and let go of your pre-conceived ideas about massage before you read on! Depending on the practitioner you might start with a quick chat about how you are feeling physically/mentally and emotionally. You may pull a tarot card even or just have a few moments of silence on your own. Next, you will lie on your belly on an unclothed massage table, totally nude but covered by a sarong. Your therapist will quietly enter the room and may begin a deep breathing technique that sounds like the wind, ocean or a deep sigh. There might even be chanting. Next, whilst still covered the therapist will slowly warm your body up – stretch out your arms and legs so you are pretty much spread-eagled on the bed. The sarong will be folded up to cover your private parts below, but that’s it, you are essentially naked – this is such a lovely feeling; liberated, raw, vulnerable but safe and comfortable. The massage will involve long sweeping strokes that might move from your feet, up your legs, under your belly and over your shoulders. I describe this as a big, warm, oily hug. Your body will literally be lathered in oil as the therapist uses their elbows, arms, forearms, and hands to manipulate, soothe and caress you. It’s surprisingly strong but never painful. Eventually you’ll turn over and the process will continue on your front side. Often the therapists hands will come up underneath your spine to create a deep yet gentle back-bend which feels amazing or give you a thorough head massage. All the while still breathing deeply. Your torso might be stretched to hang over the sides of the massage bed whilst the therapist supports your body – massaging your belly, head, neck, face. You might sense (unless you open your eyes) that the therapist is performing dance movements around you – these are hula movements. To finish, you’ll be wrapped up with warmed blankets, heat packs and left to slowly come back to reality. I cannot actually describe this properly. However the key elements are to TRUST, LET GO, BREATH deeply and in harmony with your therapist and OPEN yourself up. It’s an incredibly intimate and very, very loving experience if you allow it to […] 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


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