Accepting Yourself

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In a world that thrives on telling you that you are not enough, do you have the strength to embrace self-acceptance?

Self-acceptance is the first step towards self-improvement.  In yoga, we recognise that if we cannot accept ourselves first, then we cannot hope to accept others. Similarly, if we cannot love ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to love us?

The practice of yoga has allowed me to grow, to change, to transform.  On the mat I learned to love myself, and that overflows off the mat in to my life.  So, here are some tips to help you on your way:

  1. Let go of your need to be perfect.  We have so many expectations of ourselves, particularly women.  “Perfection is the absolute lowest standard you can have for yourself because it’s impossible to attain,” Tony Robbins. Every blossom is perfect.  In fact, it’s their imperfections that make them unique and beautiful in their own right.
  2. Find yoga that works for you.  In fact, I am of the belief that the yoga should always fit the individual, rather than the other way around.  So, if that is not your experience, I encourage you to look for a teacher that works for you. The same in life.  Why struggle to get a square to fit a round hole?
  3. Approach your yoga practice as a conversation.  So often movement, including yoga, gets wrapped around the axle of competition and achievement. As you may have experienced yourself, that is usually a path to discouragement and burn-out. I encourage you instead to approach yoga, or any movement practice, as a conversation. Ask yourself what do you need in this moment in time, and how can you meet that need?
  4. Listen. Actively listen to your body and your self.  With your own body, after asking yourself a question, show yourself you’re listening by responding to the need you identified, or at least telling yourself why you’re not or finding a different way.

The key, I believe to self-acceptance, is learning to truly listen to that quiet voice in your heart.  Instead of living in your head and trying to figure out what your foot was doing in a pose, learn to have a conversation with your body and yourself because that conversation is the root of acceptance.

From there, make self-acceptance part of your actual life and it becomes something lasting and sustainable that can adapt and grow with you over time. It’s here that we move towards creating the lives we want.

Melting Forwards

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Unless you are in the southern hemisphere, July leads us into the peak of summer.  Here in the United Kingdom, it has been rather hot.  Temperature records are being broken throughout Europe, and I am surprised that the road tarmac in the UK has not melted yet?!

So what of our yoga practice?  When life heats up around us, what we should look to do is cool things down, rather than provoke the heat.  Too often I see people ploughing through their fitness workouts, driving forcefully ahead with their work, keep moving through a demanding yoga practice.

There is a time and season for everything.  There was a time when we used to respect the change in the seasons, and life, and danced with those changes.  We woke up when at sunrise and went to bed when the sun went down.

With technological changes, we seem to have lost touch with our deep rooted connection with nature.  Ultimately, we are still part of the animal kingdom and we do have the animal part of our brain.  Yet, we just ignore it.

What is the use of plundering through life?

What are you chasing?

Why are you pounding your body?

Yes, I am a driven individual, and there I have goals that I wish to attain; and that requires work.  I have also always realised that there is a time to move and a time to rest.  In my twenties, I refused to listen to my body and chose to listen to my ego; and I paid dearly for it.  Since then, I keep in flow with the life and my energy levels. That does not mean that I completely back off from what I am doing. I still keep “touching” the different aspects of our businesses, but I also rest.

So this month, I invite you to melt forwards.  On the yoga mat this month, we are focusing on gentle forward bends, with the use of the cooling breath, mindful salutation and cooling meditation.  Off the mat, we are still moving forwards in life, …. gently.  Live compassionately and in tune with Mother Nature, and notice how she will still guide you to where you are suppose to go.

Have a lovely month x

I’m Fat!

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Yup!

That was one of the first things my mom said to me when I landed in Bangkok a couple of weeks ago.

“You’re fat.”

“You need to watch the middle-age spread.”

In the Chinese language, there isn’t a politically correct way of stating things like this.  You can’t say, “Oh, you’ve filled out a little.”  Or, “You’ve put a bit of weight.”

And, people in the Far East are just more direct.

What I love about it is that what they say is to the point.  It saves time, and it’s not personal.  It’s stating a fact.

Am I “fat” as we think fat is in the west?

No.

Has my body shape changed in the past 6-12 months?

Yes, it has.

I had a really bad shoulder injury, which restricted what exercise I could do.

My hormones are all over the place as I approach menopause.

I have been busy building our businesses, and therefore, haven’t exercised as much as I could (injury, or no injury).

Fact.

Truth.

Yes, it does make you wince when someone speaks the truth, but there’s no point arguing, or trying to come up with an excuse.

Own it and move on.

Either choose to do something about it, or let it go.

What truth have you been confronted with recently?