Smudging

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Find the energy of your room a little stagnant? Need to change the air and lift your vibes? Try a smudge stick.

I like smudging pre-yoga class in our studio. I find that it purifies the room, cleansing the energy of the space. I realise just how woowoo that sounds! But really, it’s a nice practice. It’s also something that many traditions have done for thousands of years.

I simply take sage, wrap it up in string and dry it, then when ready to smudge, I light the end of the bundle and let the smoke swirl. I take a few turns around the room, then put it out. Simple and super effective.

You can try any herbs you like, but sage, cedar, lavender or rosemary are pretty good choices.

Give it a go and let me know what you think 😉

 

 

 

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Feeling lack? Try this.

Its so easy to go down the rabbit hole, getting lost in thoughts. One little doubt can lead to another and all of a sudden you are in full scale panic about the future. Or, maybe its a creeping, chronic chain of negative thoughts that walk with you every where you go. A fear that there won’t be enough. 

I sat in the grass with my friend yesterday watching the kids play. We could see the eiffel tower in the back ground. The sun was out after a grey drizzly day. She told me how each month is a struggle and how she was so worried about how they would get by. I had previously noticed how she would often pepper conversation with these little doubts and worries since losing her job.

I wanted to help my friend see a different perspective. Without getting too hippy spiritual I explained that energy attracts its own energy – so when you are feeling great, you will attract high vibes but when all you notice is the lack, you attract low vibes. She needed to shift the energy from low to high.

How?

With Gratitude.

Notice the negative chatter and stop it by counting 5 things you are grateful for right now. This not only draws our minds back to the present moment but switches our perspective from one of lack to one of abundance.

Then, do something that makes you feel good. Hug someone, cup of tea, hilarious you tube video, bare feet in the grass, a cartwheel – whatever.

Remember that it is you who gets to decide what thoughts you have. If you dont like the ones playing in your head, change the channel and choose again.

Inflow Vs Outflow: Why you need to share what you know

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If you are anything like me, you are a chronic listener of podcasts, Ted Talks, self development books and health blogs, constantly taking on new information and integrating it into into your world view. I love learning and there is so much good information now at our finger tips.

Whilst I completely and utterly promote the love of learning and staying up to date with the latest health information and life hacks, I have recently realized that there is a fine balance between inflow and outflow.

Hear me out with this – See I have a beautiful friend who is full, FULL, of health and wellness knowledge. She can answer many questions with insightful, well researched advice. She knows her stuff – but it lives locked away in her head, only accessible when a close friend asks a direct question. I find to be such a shame.

Not everyone needs to blog or create a podcast, but sharing information and creating conversation around wellness is important and so valuable.

I guess my point is this – its all well and good to do the learning but if it isn’t going anywhere, even into your own lifestyle, then what is the point?

Give yourself permission to take up space.

Inflow of information is wonderful – but outflow is essential. Whether this means that the learning you do is put into practice (trying the oil pulling, that morning routine or super smoothie) or by sharing what you know with people who could benefit from it, the outflow renders the inflow useful.

I personally struggle/d (its a work in progress) with the “who am i to …?” concept – That one that says “Who am i to tell people what to do?” “Who do I think I am?” But the honest truth is, who are you not to help others live a happier, healthier life? If you are sitting there with a golden nugget of information that you know could benefit your mum/ cousin/friend/neighbour, then go share it!

Here are 3 easy steps to increasing your OUTFLOW:

  1. Put your learning into practice – Have you listened to or read something recently that spoke to you? Whatever it was – give it a whirl. Just try it out and see how you feel. If you find it added a positive benefit to your life, then most likely others will see that and love your new healthy vibe – this is an advertisement in itself! It also makes it ten times easier to speak about it.  Its much better to speak from experience than to say “this expert somewhere says” … So, test run the yoga class, a certain style of meditation, or bulletproof coffee and then chat about it.
  2. Look around you and start conversations with people you love. We all have that family member that needs to move more or has a problem with their anxiety – if you know something that will help, share it! Its as simple as starting the conversation and offering to try it (trampolining, juicing, breathing exercises etc etc) out together.
  3. Take up space! I recently heard this podcast, on the Melissa Ambrosini show where the guest speaker, Tera Warner, talked about allowing yourself to take up space. This means treating yourself with the respect and confidence that you deserve. If you have something to say, then say it. Shine your light. You don’t need to assume that nobody wants to know or that nobody will take you seriously. Pass on your message with confidence and the knowledge that outflow of information is important. Share in the spirit of service.

Keep learning and growing (I’m sure its the secret to happiness) but do so with service in mind. Your outflow of information can help those around you to live their best lives possible. Whats not to love about that?

 

 

 

 

 

Why are yoga teachers always telling me to “surrender”?

You know this one. You’ve lost something and you are looking for it EVERYWHERE! You can’t understand why you cannot find it. “It’s got to be here somewhere!” you repeat to yourself, but alas, it’s gone. So after hours of searching, you give up. Maybe you even say a little prayer (not like a drop to your knees, dramatic rosary, but a casual “oh please let me find it” type thing)….

and then, it turns up. Out of the blue. In front of your nose. Here the whole time.

Whats going on?

Enter: The power of Surrender. 

In Yoga, I’m always instructing students to “Let Go” – I’m saying, “don’t push, don’t fight, it’s not about tension and pulling yourself down into a forward fold so you can kiss your knees for a second and then ping back up”. No, instead, in yoga, we use gravity and we relax. We let the body return to how it should be. We unlearn. We, yep you guessed it, surrender.

To surrender sounds very dramatic but there is no white flag waving wildly. It also shouldn’t be associated with giving in or quitting. Because it’s not that. Neither is it a sudden disinterest or apathy. It is actually just the coming to the realisation that maybe your controlling and fighting and forcing isn’t working. It’s just another way forward.

When we relinquish control, we are sort of saying that we realise there is a power bigger than us. That we don’t have to do everything alone and that our own strength might not be enough. We start to trust in a bigger plan and a different outcome, knowing that maybe it is better for us.

When that object is lost and you say that little prayer and stop searching like a crazy person, the object, it appears. The control, it rarely works.

Of course, this is not to be confused with laziness – taking action, following your dreams, working hard – all of this is necessary and important. But if you find yourself forcing, try to find the fun in it all again. Relax and let go. The outcome will be even better than you imagined.

Whos seen that wonderfully cheesy film Under the Tuscan Sun? I love the line where the extravagant woman in her fancy hat explains that as a child she would search and search for lady beetles in the garden. Eventually, having found none, she would get tired and fall asleep in the grass… and when she woke up, those pesky Lady beetles would be climbing all over her. It’s really a beautiful analogy.

So, what are you fighting and struggling for? Is there anything you are trying to control the outcome of?

Surrender it up. Let it go. Pray to whatever or whoever you believe in. And watch what you want be found.

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Your life design

When you look at people you admire, (or maybe are jealous of), do you believe they got that life by chance? Did it just fall in their laps? Are they way luckier than you?

Nope. They designed it that way. 

The people that work cool jobs, travel the world, have an amazing group of friends, look really happy all the time, get offered amazing opportunities… they are actively choosing it. All of it.

And you can too.

It’s called taking responsibility. Your happiness is your problem. You get to make life awesome. Actually, YOU are the only one that can.

This is not to say that awful things don’t happen – they do. Some people hurt others, things go wrong, shit happens and maybe it’s unavoidable..  But, what you do next, how you bounce back, the choices you make and your view of the world – that is all up to you.

You can decide to be the most enthusiastic person in the room. You can decide to be your most vibrant self. You can decide to smile and not let anyone dampen that. You can choose to say yes to opportunities and trust that the universe has got your back.

Or, you can be a Debbie downer. Which is easier. That way you can make excuses and be judgemental.. It takes little energy and no courage.

But it’s not going to give you a positive, flourishing life.

So I challenge you, starting today, choose how you want life to look. Choose how you want to feel.

And then be prepared to get it. 

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Cello sound meditation

Life Space holds some incredible events. From yoga and meditation to Ayurveda, life coaching and art, there is never a dull moment. Amongst all of the goodness on offer, I have to admit that one of my person favourites is the cello sound meditation with Birgit.

Last night the goddess like Birgit, gentle and warm, came to Life Space. After an introduction to her work, her background and her education (a mix of orchestra and Chinese medicine) Birgit guided us through breathing exercises and tai chi movements before lying down comfortably. Birgit then played the most ethereal, mystical and organic set of music, combined with this otherworldly singing, that lulled us completely into deep relaxation.

The experience of the listener can vary from person to person, however several common experiences include deep calm, a hum through the body or a feeling of effervescence – bubbles head to toe. This culminates to provide a feeling of rejuventation – like everything that no longer serves you has been swept away. Birgit explains that the wood of the cello symbolises transformation – and transformed is exactly how you feel.

Keep your eye out for more sessions to come as well as privates! image

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“Bloom where you are planted”

I wanted to write this today because I think we all need to hear it sometimes. Its ok to take time. Good things can take time.

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I was recently contacted by my friend who is struggling to decide where she wants to base herself and she made me remember how hard it was to establish a life in France. I don’t know if people knew that – i was probably too proud to show it – but the beginning wasn’t easy. While it was wonderful being with Gab and learning the language and eating the cheese, the fundamentals were missing. The fundamentals like real friends that truly get you, a fulfilling job that gave true financial independence and motivation as well as a cultural understanding that made sense to me and that I could relate to.

Every day was really tricky. I even found it scary to go to the shops. What if someone asked me a question, or as is common in France, complained to me/about me?! What would i do?

On and off, I have been in France for 4 years. I only just now really feel like I have found my true place. I have work and friends that I adore. My days are full and interesting. I understand (for the most part) whats happening, culturally and linguistically. But it did not happen over night.

I don’t even think the foreign country part is the main issue here. I think it just takes time to set up a life that reflects how you want to live and who you are. And while you are setting it up, shit happens. There will be friction or conflict. There always will be – but as your perception shifts and your awareness changes, you become more able to deal with it. The world doesn’t change, but you do.

My friend mentioned to me that she feels a little bored, a little lost. And my advice was this – apply yourself 100% and act like THIS IS IT! When you throw yourself into something with the goal of sticking with it no matter what, things start to happen. Life starts giving you opportunities (which maybe where there before but you just start to notice now). Everything gets a lot more fun.

I was initially so reluctant to throw myself into French life. It took me a while too. I was flitting back and forth between London and Paris, not ready yet to accept that France should be my home. When I finally had a good hard look at myself, I decided I would commit 100% to France for one year. I didn’t need that long. The moment i decided that I WOULD love this place, i did. Opportunities started appearing. True friends started appearing. I could see my world with new, sparkling eyes.

So, if you feel stuck in a rut – no matter where you are – commit to loving it, to being the most enthusiastic person about it, for even just 3 months. Pretend like you are a tourist passing through (arent we all?) and learn and see everything you can. You might just find that the place changes and so do you.