Delving deeper into life & happiness
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Life wisdom and Yoga assisted mind alchemy!

To get stronger you need to be strong

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back.. the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

When I registered for Yoga Teacher training, I knew we would be covering all sorts of topics like anatomy, philosophy, asana, but what I didn’t expect was the abundance of ‘life wisdom’ that one inspiring teacher and a curious group of yogis could teach one another. Apart from acknowledging that yoga is truly homemade chicken soup for the soul, here are a few nuggets of wisdom that energized and inspired me to ‘think and be yoga’ off the mat.

The power of alignment
The greatest benefit of a pose is experienced when your body is in optimal alignment. This applies to life. When you think, say and do what is in alignment with your true nature and core values, the rest of life falls into place and you have the chance to experience the fullest expression of your life. Decision-making becomes easier, as you fully own your reality.

“Life is the business of decision-making”
Said a soulful yogi at training. If you don’t make decisions, you run the risk of decisions being made for you. Life serves you a lesson or two when decisions are not made or taken out of our hands. Life doesn’t happen to you, it responds to you. Each time it responds louder and louder so listen to the cues. Sometimes you don’t have control over what happens to you, but you have choice. You decide how to perceive a situation and how to react. This makes you powerful. There’s a roaring lioness in all of us just waiting to create wonders for you. Once you find her, make sure she’s always within grasp.

Create Space and then Stability
Create space in your life by letting go of what no longer serves you. Self-limiting beliefs, guilt, anger, resentment, clouds the mind from seeing what is. Letting go can be tough, but start with an intention and plant that seed. Who knows, you may have the space to invite, build, create something strong and amazing into the space you’ve created.

The power of Community
This should never be underestimated. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is helpful to step out confidently and declare who you really are and bask in your own sunlight. It takes enormous courage to go the distance alone but even greater courage to extend your hand, be seen, and open up to others. Not everyone will like you so surround yourself by a like-minded tribe and radiate the essence of you.

Happiness is an inside job
You can’t ask anyone else to take responsibility for your happiness. Equally so, to let someone navigate your emotions is to give someone power over you. Define what happiness means to you and define your roadmap to cultivate your own happiness. Don’t wait a lifetime to work out what happiness means to you. Yoga makes me happy, and the cool thing is, it’s an internal experience and feeling I can only create for myself. That’s pretty darn awesome.

To get stronger you need to be strong
On the mat, you can see yourself getting physically stronger through practice and the mind body connection shows you that effort equates to a result. If you can achieve something challenging on the mat, there’s no reason why you couldn’t apply this to challenges you may face off the mat. It might take time, but you got this. Transformation happens when you are wiling to endure intensity for the greater good.

The mat is a humble teacher
How you respond on the mat, is directly related to how you respond to life. Do you give up when things get tough or do persist mindfully in pursuit of what you want to achieve?

“Who am I?”
This is a courageous question of epic proportions. Do you dare to ask yourself? Go on give it go… Whilst yoga can’t answer that for anyone, it lays down the foundation so you can discover and appreciate what it is to be you with the space you manifest, the stillness you create and the awareness you start to develop.

What is Yoga?
hOMemade chicken soup for the soul of course…100% organic, dairy free, wheat free, gluten free with sprinkles of Spirulina…. just kidding 😉

Endless gratitude and respect for my fellow yogis, Erica Blitz who taught from her heart and Noura El – Imam who helped make this magic happen for us in Dubai.

August 5, 2016   No Comments

Not sleeping well? Just be grateful…

Today I saw a Gratitude Box at the Melbourne Sustainable festival.

 

There were people that queued up to type their little note, others read notes made by the grateful and walked away with a smile on their face. I marvelled at how such a simple idea connected us to a happy place within ourselves. It’s easy to get there when all you have to do is reflect on what you are grateful for.

To live life in gratitude means to appreciate your life as it is. It’s a choice, and the more you do it, the more it becomes habitual and we promote a more positive outlook. From this, happiness is cultivated.

There is much research to suggest that spending some time every day reflecting on what we are grateful for has health benefits such as better sleep. Professor Robert Emmons et al from the University of California, found the prac­tice of grat­i­tude can increase hap­pi­ness lev­els by around 25% and that cultivating gratitude correlated with longer and better quality of sleep. When your mind comes from a place of gratitude throughout the day, you’re more likely to have positive thoughts as you’re drifting off to sleep (Psychology today).

An article in the Guardian reported Emmons describing gratitude as a buffer against stress, “Grateful people are less likely to experience envy, anger, resentment, regret and other unpleasant states that produce stress.”

You can actively take control of your own happiness whatever situation you find yourself in with a bit of practice.

February 19, 2012   No Comments

You’re on ‘Timeout’! Do we know how to be alone anymore?

Every life Guru will tell you that you should spend time by yourself. Sometimes the thought of spending time alone filled me with dread. Me and my thoughts need timeout from each other at the best of times. What if I get lonely? Who will I tell if I’ve made my best batch of brownies to date? Facebook? Facebook can’t enjoy brownies.

How many people are actually comfortable being alone? If you say you are, can you claim to really have been alone? Many of us spend most of our waking moments at work interacting with people. Then when you go home, the interaction doesn’t stop. It’s not long before you’re checking your emails or engaging in social media. Most of us live in a space of constant connectedness. Which begs the question- do a lot of us really know how to be alone?

Recently, I made a point of being reclusive for a while after a busy and challenging start to the year. I allowed myself to observe my own thoughts. My mind wandered into some pretty dark places, and though uncomfortable at times, I isolated areas of my life that need attention. I separated my understanding of loneliness and being alone.

Most of us are social beings that thrive on feeling we are part of a societal network. We need to reach out. It’s easy to mute thoughts and feelings with external distractions. We’re often surrounded by social norms, the latest fad, and opinions of others that it’s sometimes hard to isolate your own thoughts and beliefs. Our concept of ‘self’ becomes diluted. However, being mindful of your internal monologue can be quite insightful.

Take a long walk or take a drive. Spending quality time alone provides you with a great opportunity to listen to your inner wisdom and build trust in your own judgment. Taking a step away from the thoughts of others enhances self-reliance, which can be an empowering state of being. Of course, most of us are happiest when surrounded by those we love, but happiness elevated from yourself is the kind that will serve you well in the long term.

February 4, 2012   1 Comment

Timing is everything: Making a good experience better and enduring the bad.

Knowing how long an event or situation is likely to last can intensify the feelings associated with it, according to recent research1 from the University of Toronto.

This is an incredibly powerful tool to use if you’re about to do something you love. You can love it even more. By putting a time limit on a pleasurable experience in place of endless hedonism you can intensify happiness. Contrast a brief two-week stint abroad to an open ended travelling escapade. Knowing that you have a limited time somewhere increases your appreciation of it as you strive to feel, see and eat as much as you can in a short space of time.

This can be equally so for an experience you may be dreading. Knowing how long you’re going to have to sit through a meeting you’re not looking forward to at work, or knowing how long you have to babysit Satan over the weekend will have you clock watching across the set period of time. However, not knowing how long a bad experience is likely to last throws hope into the mix and softens the blow of the negative experience. Imagine being held in an elevator. You’ll probably get more annoyed if you knew you would be required to wait an hour over not knowing when you’ll be released!

Think of this when you’re waiting to see the doctor or waiting for an interview or an overdue baby to arrive. Ignorance can indeed be bliss. You may feel that things are out of your control but you could feel twice as bad if you’re counting down the time.

We can apply the positive aspects of this little insight in the way we pave our lives. If we realize our own impermanence and relatively short time here, we may add some colour to dull periods in life through feeling more intensely. Likewise, when life throws us a curve ball, not knowing how long a bad situation can last may in fact help us endure it.

1)      Zhao, Min and Tsai, Claire (2011), “The Effects of Duration Knowledge on Forecasted Versus Actual Affective Experiences,” Journal Of Consumer Research Vol. 32

 

October 8, 2011   2 Comments