Yoga and Being Open

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I believe we are here to be powerful agents for positive change.

The power of the heart is an essential part of creating a better world.  The heart’s capacity to love, to be kind and to have compassion for everyone is key. Without love and compassion, we are a heartless mass bent on survival, even if it means destroying everything in the way including the future. The heart’s capacity for caring is a neutraliser to the mind’s ability to rationalise the old failed ways.

Here are some tips on how to live from the heart:

  1. Let go of the past – We need to forgive the past, let go of any old unfinished business and move on. Forgiveness of self and others greatly help. Today is what matters.
  2. Express your emotions – Emotions too often get stuffed because they can seem overwhelming. If we simply acknowledge how we are feeling, those feelings soon change into other feelings. Emotions can be expressed in healthy ways that keep the heart open and giving. Two exampled of healthy emotional expression include talking and journaling.
  3. Move towards acceptance – From childhood, most of us are trained to judge everything as “good or bad.” Commit to moving towards accepting what is, accepting differences, and appreciating uniqueness of all beings.
  4. Notice what is happening to your body – The body gives us constant messages because it is either opening or closing in all its interactions with the world. Explore what keeps  your  heart and mind open, and notice when it closes.
  5. Examine your beliefs regularly – Old beliefs can drain you. Most beliefs are not true and many seriously hold us back. Be aware of what beliefs are shaping your experiences and examine them with kindness. If they represent truth keep them. If not, let them go.
  6. Be mindful of your thoughts – Your experience of life is created by what you think. Watch your thoughts, be hopeful and positive and do what you can to be present to what is. If we are mindful of our thinking we can keep our minds open. An open mind keeps expanding.

With these tips, you can bring more openness in mind and heart into your way of being in the world. With open minds and hearts we can spread compassion, consciousness, peace and joy out into the world.

Live out loud, with your arms and heart wide open.

Yoga and Resilience

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Happy 2019!

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

- Maya Angelou

Resilience how well a person can adapt to the events in their life. A person with good resilience has the ability to bounce back more quickly and with less stress than someone whose resilience is less developed.

We all have resilience. It’s just a question of how much and how well you put it to good use in your life. We still feel the intensity of the event or problem. But instead of letting it get the better of us, it just means that find a good way of dealing with it more quickly than someone who has lower resilience.

2019 will no doubt bring with it its trials and tribulations, so it can only help us to develop our resilience muscle.  Like any human skill, we just need to have the willingness to do so.

So, here are some tips on what we can do …

  1. Cultivate good, positive relationships that will provide us with reassurance and encouragement when times get tough
  2. Develop a positive view of ourselves and confidence in our strengths and abilities
  3. Make realistic plans, and then carry out our plans
  4. Learn to effectively manage our feelings and impulses
  5. Actively work to improving our communication skills
  6. Actively work to improving our problem solving skills
  7. Practice conscious movement, because when we rush through the practice we skip important details, lose connection to breath and perpetuate this “go, go, go!” pace that already plagues our lives
  8. Meditate on an image, or a phrase that will help us through any challenging time
  9. Breathe!

Building better resilience takes time, effort, commitment, and focus. Use your yoga practice to take time: time to breathe, time to move with the breath, time to feel the pose, time to acknowledge where we are and who we are. The pauses in between the Poses are important here, as they allow us the opportunity to reflect, and then decide on a path and means to move forwards to the next Pose or Sequence.

Know also that these times will pass and we will rise, stronger in spirit and in heart. Adversity is alchemy. When we surrender to the fires of adversity, we start to sense a deeper purpose behind our troubles. When we live our lives from the inside out, we will realise a force within ourselves that will transform our sense of self.

 

Yoga Christmas Re-Treat

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It’s December and 2018 is coming to a close.

How does December make you feel? I love this time of the year, as it is always a time of enforced rest for most people, and I use this time to re-treat, to hibernate, and to give my body, mind and spirit breathing space.  Whether you run your own business or not, I feel that most of us, these days, are moving at full speed; and whilst it great and needed if you are moving towards a goal, we can also do so with less speed and also take time out every so often to re-charge.

Most of us tend to be naturally forward facing. We are future-oriented, always moving on to the next task, event, or responsibility. Seldom do we take enough time to think about why we succeeded at something, never mind celebrate. We also struggle to evaluate our mistakes and failures because it is hard. It forces us to take a look at ourselves and face things that we might not like. We need to realise that both sides are equal parts challenging, frustrating, motivating and rewarding but are vital to goal setting.

So, as the year draws to a close,

  • Look back through the calendar for the year
  • Look back through your social media accounts
  • Scroll through your emails for any projects that you have been working on
  • List any major life events that happened over the year, any notable challenges or mistakes, and any notable successes
  • Evaluate why each of these was relevant to you and what, if anything, you learned from them

Without looking back and reflecting on what has been, it is easy to make the same mistakes. Reflection is an important part of self-awareness, which is at the heart of self-improvement.

Take some time to reflect on the last year so you can set goals for the new year ahead.