Bottoms Up

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Can you believe it’s June, and we’re almost half way through 2018?

This month’s Yoga Practice is about getting your bottom up!  And, it’s all about cultivating a different perspective on life.

So often, we go about our daily activities as a matter of routine.  We even approach our fitness training and yoga practice the same way.  Don’t get me wrong; we do mix up our training programme or our actual yoga practice.  Also, our days are varied, and we even mix up what we eat.

What we perhaps don’t mix up is how we do things.

Humans are essentially creatures of habit, and routine is good for us.  What yoga practice encourages us to do, is come to recognise habitual thought processes, because the way we think and approach something, is the way we think and approach anything.

Some of us have, as one of our business coaches says, “below the line” thinking, whilst others have “above the line” thinking.  Are we problems solvers or victims?

And, I see this in class, with the people I coach to be instructors and those I meet through networking and just randomly through life.

So this month’s yoga practice is about tipping the balance and getting a different perspective.  By having your head below your bottom, e.g. in a standing forward bend, or headstand, or downward dog, not only is your muscles having to work differently because gravitational pull on the body is different, but our thought processes have to function differently to cope with the change in balance and perception.

My intention is that by practicing this for the month, we can take this change of perception off the mat and into our lives.

Start thinking differently.

Like you would catch yourself losing your balance and even falling when practising inversions, catch yourself giving the same responses to certain questions or situations.

Are you a person who always says “no”, only to change your mind later?

Or perhaps you’re a “yes” person?

How about for the next 30 days, say the opposite to what you normally would say?

Who knows where that may lead you?

Have a great month!

A Year of Reflection

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So, how was your year?

What have you learnt?

I feel 2017 is a turning point for me.  I’ve started working with a business coach again, and am now putting things into place again for another shift in our businesses, and where we wish to be financially.

Change is definitely in the air; and sometimes it is challenging to let go.

And yet, I know, that in order for the new to flood in, we must get rid of the old and create space.

I have learnt that I need to keep working on patience (something that I’m rather short on, if I’m honest).  I get so annoyed and frustrated when people break things down to the minutiae, and forget the bigger picture.  We should be concerned about the whole person, the species, the planet, rather then tweaking the detail.  We get so caught up with the finer detail that we forget to step back and appreciate the whole. In traditional medicine, practitioners look and appreciate the person, rather than the affliction.  Western medicine started to break the person down into systems, and cells, etc. And you can see this in practice when the oncology department fails to talk with the orthopaedic department, for example.

And, what happened with looking at your plate as a whole, rather than how much carbs, protein, etc you have on your plate?

Life is way to short to focus on the detail.

So, you can see, I still need to keep developing patience?!

That, is my Bhavana for 2018.

As I leave 2017 behind, here are my wishes for you ..

Be bigger in your thoughts.

Be healthy in mind, body and spirit.

Be whole as a person.

Be human.

Much love .. Ann-See x

 

I’m Confused!

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You may, or may not know, I am vegan, and have been for over 4 years now.  I am very conscious that the reasons why I adopted a vegan lifestyle, may not be the same reasons why someone else would want to become a vegan.  My partner and I primarily did this for his health initially.  Since then, as animal lovers and as compassionate human beings, we stay vegans for the animals and also for the planet.

During our time as vegans, we have influenced numerous people to adopt a plant-based diet.  I get that it’s not us “converting” them.  I think it’s more the fact that people watch from a distance, their curiosity is peaked, they find out more, they give it a go, they feel good and next thing they know, they are eating a plant-based diet!

This week I set up a Facebook group, My Kind of Diet, primarily for people who are interested, or is on a plant-based diet; to share what I know and help where I can.  As my background is Exercise Science, with a particular interest in health, it makes sense to speak about the benefits of a plant-based diet for our health.

I know that for health, we are looking at a wholefood, plant-based diet, but hey …. baby steps, right?

So, someone in the group asked me what the difference was between a vegan diet and a plant-based diet.

Here are my thoughts about it.

On the surface, they are the same. You can look at two plates of food and they would be identical.  Nothing on the plate would have come from animals, and would be vegetables, pulsed, nuts, seeds.

The difference between both plates would be the principle behind what is on the plates.

Someone on a vegan diet is prompted by animal rights issues, the ethical treatment of animals, and environmental impact of animal consumption and exploitation (for diet, fashion, etc), and so will also live a vegan lifestyle, e.g. use of leather, wool, etc.  The Vegan Society in the UK define veganism as,

“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

On the other hand, a plant-based diet is a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products.  A plant-based diet is not necessarily a vegetarian diet. Many people on plant-based diets continue to use meat products and/or fish but in smaller quantities.  People who follow a plant-based diet generally do so for their health, i.e. either to prevent chronic illness and disease or reverse chronic illness and disease.

I hope that helps clear up any confusion for you.  And as for which diet to choose?

My personal recommendation is to start with a predominantly plant-based diet, as there is substantial evidence that indicates a diet that is low in animal products and high in fruit and vegetables can help manage most chronic diseases.  A strict plant-based diet has been shown to halt, and even reverse some chronic diseases.

Adopting a plant-based diet is also one of the top three lifestyle choices that we can adopt to reduce our carbon footprint.

You may find that you are very happy here.

On the other hand, you may find that you are driven to make even stronger ethical choices, and may then move towards a vegan lifestyle.

Whatever your choice, I implore you to look at your health and begin reducing the amount of meat and animal products that you are consuming.  You can start with meat-free Mondays, and move on from there.

For further discussions and help, come join my Facebook group.