Me & The Universe

Like the baby below I sometimes feel like I’m bumping into an invisible wall. Sometimes the invisible wall fades away. This video says it completely.

When you’re putting up a shield ask yourself: Is the shield useful? How is it helping? Does it need strengthening? Does it need letting down? If so what’s the worst that can happen if you let it down?

Dog Returns Kisses from Infant Girl

That was so cute 😍😍Credit: JukinVideo

Posted by Trending World on Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Can you do yoga in 5 minutes?

Can Five Minutes, Spent Well, Rejuvenate You and Make You Feel Better?

Here’s a blog I’ve recently written for Twinkl. It’s aimed at teachers but you might also enjoy it and talks you through a quick relaxing chair based practice for the end of the school day.

‘Yoga isn’t going to ‘Cinderella’ away everything you don’t like and give you glass slippers’. Click to read the  whole blog 

I’ve popped a youtube video up of how to do it in practice. It’s a funny thumbnail, but there you go! 5 minutes to change your world, just a little bit.

Wabi-sabi: To be in love

Love has many guises; parental, delectable, tempting, childlike, innocent, forbidden, respectful, free… the list does on. Today I’d like to focus on the love, honour and relish of old and broken things. The Japanese call this wabi-sabi, and when you google it you’ll get delightful photos of graceful, previously expensive and delicious items with arty cracks and antiquated imperfections… but I’m thinking of my trusty old VW Touran. It’s rusty, clunky, dirty with stained seats. It used to be nice, but now it’s tired and old. I know others will look at it with disgust or pity or one up man ship. But I feel love. It’s faithful, steady and I can’t describe how at home and how in love I am with it. It’s the same for our surfboard: it’s tatty, has bits hanging off. It was never ‘good’ in the first place. I feel love. I remember all the waves it’s been with me through, how well it’s served me, how much joy we’ve shared.

So how does this relate to yoga? We are all broken, we have stories of joy, tears, pain and journeys. Sometimes we come to yoga and feel not good enough, not this enough, not that enough. Sometimes we beat ourselves up with the words in our heads.

To some, I am old, broken, with wrinkles, age spots, dodgy knee, elbow, hips. My lower back goes out and I’m nearly 50. In some ways I’m broken, but am I also absolutely grand. Put me on a yoga mat, a beginners surfboard or dancing to music I love and inside I’m ageless. Sometimes we focus on our loves, children and friends to complete us, and yet our first love is within. This first love in yoga is to listen to your needs, to hear your body’s language and desires. Some days it will tell you it fancies chocolate, other days it will tell you tales of such woe and suffering. It might tell you you’ve been ignoring it for years. It might tell you no matter what your head says it knows better. It may tell you to lighten up. Whatever it tells you, your job is to listen. Through yoga, you learn how to be, and how that can defy the expected or described. I am my own VW Touran. One day my Touran will die, my surfboard will die and as will my body. Things end, other things start and in between we learn to fall in love.

My challenge to you is to go round your home and possessions and find something showing signs of wear which you adore. Whether it’s a treasured childhood toy, a useful implement or a pair of old worn boots. Something that makes your heart sing. Something when you see it or touch it you feel a bubble of happiness, it might be quiet and comfortable, it might have a gentle wry smile, but it will lift and open your heart. One day this is how I’d like you to consider yourself, your body. Follow your imperfections, soften your focus, and see the love. Your broken body is a wonderful thing, and you are full of life. We are wabi-sabi.

Joy and Suffering

Joy and suffering. Pleasure and pain. Laughter and tears. Sometimes life is really very full on. Sometimes you might feel that you’re swirling around, out of control, in a tidal wave of life. Sometimes your loved ones may be under threat, your sanity in tatters and your heart in your boots. The playground of life really can be very challenging. I know some of you feel it, and there are a couple of specific people I’m thinking of just right now. If you read this you’ll know who you are. If you’re in that space now, and it’s years on, this is still for you too.

Firstly it’s worth tuning in to your suffering to find out what it is. Where is it in your body? How deeply do you ache? Is there a pragmatic way around this, or do you have to go through? And if you have to go through, go through you must.

You know that feeling that you just couldn’t make up the suffering and life stuff that you’re in. That it’s throwing you around like a rag doll. My heart goes out to you. It really is tough.

If you find yourself wired to the moon, howling in the rain or just plain lost. Breathe on. Breathe down. And breathe out. Rest, and as you do, see yourself as a mountain, your body as the curves of the hills. Feel the weight of the mountain in your body. Your indivisibility to the earth.

When something big happens, like when a loved one is ill, you need time to honour what is alive in you and what you want to give. What your heart wants most. Not their wellness, nor their healing, but what is most alive in this moment. It’s hard to find the sense of preciousness as you watch others suffer, unable to take away their pain or make it ‘all ok’. But underneath the pain, your pain and their pain, is somewhere else. Underneath all that, if you can go through it there is a very alive and really precious moment, where it might not be what you ‘want’, but it is where you can find infinite tenderness.

Even the greatest tragedy offers up moments of bliss…. If you let yourself suffer enough through it to become present. That’s the hardest part. You have to be brave, too brave.

And finally…. Have a damn good laugh. Really I mean it! If you can find it within you, have a wry snigger, a furtive giggle or a good old belly laugh at the universe’s ability to send you some really tasty morsels of suffering: Joy and suffering. Pleasure and pain. Laughter and tears.

A Gold Star for Imperfection

This blog is aimed at teachers, but if you tend towards perfectionism there might be something in there for you too.

How Will You Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Your Class?

This blog gives ideas that you can use to share Valentine’s Day with your class or own children.

“Valentine’s Day – the day when you get to tell your true love how deeply you feel for them, the day you get a token of love from that someone special that warms your heart and makes the day sing. Or not.’

Yogi Living: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of my favourites. I have coarse curly hair which just loves natural nourishment. It is good for skin, hair and insides.

I use it as a hair conditioner. It’s very rich so you can melt it and let it down by adding an almond oil – so it goes on more easily. That said, on curly hair the fact it is hard at room temperature gives you better curls.

As a body butter you can let it sink in or you can put just a touch on after a shower to keep your skin happy.

It’s quite alkaline which can be good to complement your diet if it’s very acidic. Last year I made Christmas cakes with coconut oil rather than butter. This greatly pleased a chef friend who didn’t usually get to eat Christmas cake – coconut oil is one of the only ones he can have due to a health issue.

Along with all it’s benefits it’s also relatively cheap. The photo above is just for inspiration, choose any coconut oil that is 100% coconut oil and nothing added, and favour organic to help the environment as well as yourself.

Pose of the Moment: Triangle

Triangle pose is a fundamental yoga pose. It’s a classic. It works the legs, gently twists the spine and increases strength. Traditionally taught you draw your front hand forwards and then do a graceful flowing tilt. This very delightful tilt is the cause of classic yoga injuries of the sacroiliac joint. That’s not to outlaw this way of finding triangle pose, but it definitely makes exploring other ways vital. Bending the knees, starting from the floor, extending the arms after coming forwards – all of these variations help us to find ourselves within triangle pose. This variation starts from the floor.

  • Face your feet forwards
  • Take an easy breath out
  • Step forwards and bend both knees
  • Fold forwards with your knees very bent so both hands easily find the floor or a chair
  • Keep the knees very bent and enjoy the work in your legs
  • Keep your front hand on the floor and rotate your back shoulder upwards
  • Think of rotating towards vertical
  • Now allow your back elbow to lift, then wrist then fingers
  • Think of your arm naturally unfurling
  • Notice how the movement of the arm expands the movement in the torso
  • Consider lengthening your legs if the whole of your back is comfortable
  • Consider allowing your front hand to skim the floor as you open into the pose
  • Breath and enjoy the pose
  • Gently sink back to the floor
  • Shoulders face straight forwards
  • Press into the feet to come back up
  • Stand steady and breath

 

  • Now do the same on the other side

 

  • Stand and notice how it feels right now

Enjoy Triangle pose and find your edges… how many triangles can you make? And how much life can you bring to the pose?

Yogi Living: Cetaphil

 Living a low toxin life can feel very hard work. It takes time to source products you like and can feel like a big financial challenge. My aim is to let you know about products that I rate, are affordable, and are easily got.

Cetaphil make great face cleaning products – from cleansers to moisturisers. They are designed for highly sensitive skin and can be used after face operations as they are so cleansing and gentle at the same time. A moisturiser is about £12, and cleanser £11. And it can be ordered from your local chemist or bought on Amazon.

The down sides of Cetaphil for me are the rather cheesy packaging and ideally Id like super healthy products without paying quite so much. So I’ll keep searching for more lovely things to enjoy and share.

New Year with Warrior 1

 

 

Warrior 1 is also known as Virabhadrasana 1.

It’s a lovely pose that will help you steady and focus – so perfect for starting the New Year well!

I did this Warrior 1 on a rock in Elie with the low sun streaming over the water – how lucky are we to live in beautiful Scotland!

Back to yoga…This is pose ideal if you are outside or can see outside. Feet need to be steady on the ground, even if the earth is uneven make sure that you feel well grounded. This is of course important for every yoga pose – but when you want to see the bigger picture and make plans you need to be set up well. First ease you way into the pose, allowing hands to come up. This may  be overhead or slightly  in front of you. Breath your way into the pose, feel your breathing, feel the effect on how this moment feels. raise and lower your hands to get settled in a good way for you. Maybe you will want to reposition your feet. Once you feel ready allow your hands to come up and use your out breath to see far into the distance. As you breath in feel energy gently peculating up from the ground. As you breath out look steadily at the distance. You may find thoughts arising, try to let them come and go. This pose works on an energetic level rather than a logical problem solving one. Allow the your experience to be whatever it is. Do this until you no longer want to.

Its that simple, now go on to what you want to do next. Maybe you will recall your steady overview, maybe things will flow more easily for you… maybe you’ll want to do it again. Enjoy it!