Self-Care – My journey with Yoga

I am finding it a little hard to be posting weekly at the moment and considering maybe pulling it back to fort nightly, as I have just taken a big step in my personal life and decided to do my Yoga teacher training. I am only a few weeks into my 6 month course and it’s already transforming me! Beyond anything I imagined. It’s been a long time since I have felt (besides motherhood and family), that I have been exactly where I am meant to be. Like I am working towards something that I feel passionate about and that feels like it has real purpose and meaning.

You see I am one of those creative types, ha! I love a project and so my interest span over so many things, Music, art, craft, WRITING, poetry, reading, performance and the list goes on. I love working in flow and using my hands to create. Although writing is something that I have always loved and been constant, I seem to flip in and out of things quiet a lot. It could be due to my broad interest and I genuinely do love learning so many mediums. It could also be that I have struggled with my confidence and never see things through at the sheer terror of failure. I would say mostly though it’s because although I love to experience many things, none of them seem to stick, never crossing that bridge from enjoyment to feeling a sense of passion and purpose. Maybe you need the magic combination of all the above.

I have desperately been seeking that feeling where I would love to sink my teeth into something. Maybe  I was looking to hard, not actually allowing things to evolve and I guess find me. I have done a few courses over the last few years trying out different things and although they gave me a sense of satisfaction, I didn’t get the feeling like they were things that I would want to do as an everyday practice. It left me feeling lost, like I know there is something out there for me but maybe I would never find it. Yet here I am with that feeling like ‘I have arrived’. The funniest part is that when I enrolled in this course my goal was not to be a yoga teacher exactly, I was open to what may arise but thought maybe this would help me deepen my practice and help me find some answers into what next… Yoga has been a big game changer over the last 12 months and so it felt naturally like a good idea.

As with all great ideas then our minds get in the way! Funny that huh? In making my choice to do this I decided to try something different from my usual approach. I am a pragmatic, grounded thinking Virgo! I analysis everything and I tend to make choices from my head. I lead with the practical mind and not so much from the heart. This is something I think that has escalated since having children. I shouldn’t do this because… it’s so much money, takes so much time, doesn’t work with everybody’s schedule, will put people out, doesn’t fit in with my plans….and so on and on and on… But mostly because maybe somewhere deep inside it’s easier to hide behind excuses than own my space.

So I sat in meditation for a few weeks and just felt exactly what my heart was telling me to do. I had reached this crossroads where I was sure (SO SO SO SURE) that I was done doing what I have been but not sure what the next step was. As much as my head was talking me out of it my heart was telling me there was something here for me. So I jumped in, heart first. I feel like I am so in sync with myself and I had almost forgotten what it felt like to feel like that. A sense of utter joy in the doing..

About a year ago I started committing to my practice several times a week, no excuses. At home and classes. I feel like I have worked through so much stuff on my mat and it has filtered through so many aspects of my life. Key areas are parenting, self-love and care. I feel like the more I am dedicated to a regular practice, the more grounded I am with the kids, more rational, more connected and more conscious. I feel I don’t fly off the handle so much and I tend to just not let the small stuff that used to get to me, affect me so much. It has made me observe how I am as a mother and acknowledge things that I feel I am doing well and other areas where I feel i can modify things. Also more grounded in the decision-making of how is it that I truly want, need, must parent each individual child. I have my mat out at home and even if I feel like things are getting too much I literally go sit, or stretch on my space and give myself a break. Even this, the kids ask what I am doing and it either opens up a dialogue about how I am feeling, how they fell or they join me. My son actually asks me and his Dad to do meditations now. Hurrah!

I have learnt in the time and space that I allow myself (guilt free now), how hard I have been on myself for so long. How hard I push myself and how much pressure I put myself under. I have been the cause of most of my suffering for so long. Now I approach myself with more love, kindness and gratitude. The nicer I am to myself the more I seem to flourish and thrive. I focus on my strengths and acknowledge my weaknesses but don’t channel my energies there any longer. I channel them where I want to see myself shine. Invest them in the people and things I love.  Trust in the process of life and try practice being present. As mothers we give out so much loving energy to our children and families and to raise these beautiful souls it uses ALOT of vital energy. It’s certainly not an easy job and it is relentless. The little energy we have left we need to harness not direct into self loathing, or feeling unworthy.

The funny part is when we offer our selves that space, even as little as an hour a week to tap into ourselves. Reconnect with ourselves in something that makes us feel great, a walk, a class, a meditation, a good book, a coffee child free!, WHATEVER YOUR ZEN MAYBE! When we make ourselves a priority two things happen we find a joy in ourselves again, a love for ourselves, a contentment in our life and it flows into all aspects of our lives! By us loving ourselves enough we are also teaching our children one of the biggest lessons in life too. That they must love themselves enough, they are worthy and need to make themselves a priority! As one day they may choose to become a parent, or maybe that is not their path but either way they will know by the example that was set for them, that self-love is one of the most important kinds of relationships that we engage in as it will determine all the others we experience throughout the rest of our lives.

I encourage you this week to find a space even if it’s for 15 mins to just sit with yourself and see what comes us for you. Just drop down into your heart, feel and listen. You may be surprised what you hear or maybe the freedom of dropping out from the constant noise may free you in a whole new way. Just remember YOU ARE WORTHY!

Blessings A x

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Children’s Book Review: I AM YOGA – Susan Verde, Art Peter H Reynolds

So a few weeks ago now I completed a kids yoga teacher training course. It was awesome and I loved every bit! Although it was funny to observe myself in a large learning group, I find I do get overwhelmed and can feel myself kinda slip into some old bad habits of being hard on myself and feeling doubtful of one’s capabilities. But in saying that I was able to take a step back and check myself, like “hey sure I am not a super bendy, yoga master, but I have a hell of a lot of life experience, knowledge and depth that I can share. I have a lot to offer and I am passionate about giving children tools to be the best in mind, body and spirit they can be, so  hold up a minute and just do this.”

So over the last few weeks I have been looking for some resources that I can use, adapt and that inspire me and I came across this little gem that I thought I must share! It’s such a sweet read and for anyone who wants to get there kids attention with yoga or alternatively see if they have an interest, this could be a great starting point.  I know I already said it but it really is such a sweet read!

So I would say this book would be great for pre schoolers to early primary. But that is just me, I kinda think if you are enthusiastic the joy is infectious and as I read to my 4 year old, my almost 2 year old loved it also. Plus the illustrations are stunning and really detailed. It takes you through a series of 16 poses throughout the story and as I read through to Mr 4, he is happy to impress me with what he can do.  He tells me ” This is easy I can, I can do this!” and ” Oh this one is a bit hard mum”. It’s great to watch them navigate their bodies through a gentle instruction and to see their reactions.

I love how the book begins with a young girl who is feeling “small in a world so big”,  “wondering if she fits in”, feeling overwhelmed by life. ( Hey I still have these feelings) This could even be a great introduction for children, which no doubt there are many whom are experiencing these similar feelings but finding it hard to express or communicate them. Also a subtle way for parents to open up a dialogue if they have any concerns. She the goes on to “tell my wiggling body to be still”, “tell my thinking mind to be quiet” and “tell my racing breath to be slow” and so it begins ..

She closes her eyes, opens her heart, mind and imagines… I AM YOGA!

Then she goes on a journey through the trees, sky, ocean and so on and makes her way through the following poses :Mountain , Tree, Airplane, Star, Half moon, Boat, Camel, Eagle, Downward Dog, Warrior 1 and 2, Peaceful Warrior, Flower, Bow/Basket, Child’s, Relaxation.

She then comes to the end feeling calmer, happy, loved as her mind is still, her body is relaxed and her breath is steady. It’s really simple but addresses a lot and I found it super effective and easy for my kids to connect with. I love the wording as it’s so gentle, magical, soft and really encourages that connection.

I also like at the end  of the book, each pose is explained in more depth, a “how to” with sanskrit name also.  So it can meet many different ages and learning levels.

So if you are looking into some books and resources for kids to play and have fun in the realm of yoga. If you want to introduce them to or even create a little morning or bedtime ritual I would highly recommend this book. It’s a beautiful read and I feel lighter and brighter after I read it also!  I will also be trying to share some tips, techniques and resources I come across as I navigate my way through the amazing stuff that is on offer out there.

Please let me know how you go with it or if you have read it before!

Blessings friends.

 

The year that has been…

This year has been one that I would sum up by being quite challenging on a personal front. It started off in a crazy fashion (save that for another time) and seemed to continue in that direction both internally and externally. Although I have found this year hard, yes I will say it aloud HARD, I feel like I have really broken through some personal boundaries, had some core revelations and come through to know myself a lot deeper, understanding who I am and what it is I am here to do.  I don’t quite have the clarity around the next stages that I would like but I am trusting in the process and have surrendered to this path that I am on.

I have come through to the end of 2016 knowing myself  better and through much reflection and meditation finding clarity and peace towards living an existence that I desire and feels right. Letting go what no longer serves me, giving thanks for the lessons but trusting in life’s process. Onwards to a new path which is calling and walking forward without fear. I am tapping into my connection, my magic, my inner light and allowing it to shine once again from a space of authenticity. Recognising that I have always had that magic, it’s not gone anywhere but I had forgotten it, possibly buried it for sometime and now remembering who I am and returning home.

I have reignited and pursued my passion of writing, which has lead me to start writing this  blog, to connect my thoughts and experiences on this project and open my self to connect through my passion. For such a long time it has been something I wanted to pursue but thought maybe I didn’t have the goods, I realise now that raw talent is just part of it really. We all have something to express, experiences to share, stories from the journey. It has become important for me to pass this on for anyone who is open to receiving it. To share our human story through art. If you want to be a writer than write! (This is what I told myself). If it’s pure people will be drawn to it’s truth and it will resonate. I have a better chance of becoming a finessed writer if I actually put words down than if I never try at all. So here it all is…

I also have started a more dedicated yoga and meditation practice and through these mediums I find myself elevating and strengthening myself mentally and psychically. It’s like I am in training for the greatness about to unfold, the journey I am embarking upon.I feel happy and present in my body, mind and heart when I practice. Like this is exactly what my body needs in order to be the best it can be. I am worth taking time to dedicate to myself, we all are and I have consciously made the space in my life to make this happen.

Doing a lot of work on myself has really affirmed my desire to home educate my children and to travel more. I think on some level we all have a voice within that is telling us what we are, who we are and what we need to be doing. For whatever reasons we choose to acknowledge it or not. For me although home education seems like a mammoth task on so many levels, my intuition is telling me this is exactly what is right for my family. If we do not have the time and space to connect with the ones we love the most, share intimate experiences, teach and learn from each other, to grow and be human side by side what is the point of this all? We are here to journey, if I don’t teach my children that it’s ok to question and make bold choices than I am failing them. The greatest rewards come with the greatest risks. Even if I “fail”, I want to teach them that it’s ok not to get where you thought you were going, but you have to honour that voice inside telling you it’s right. You will be ok, it’s all leading you somewhere.

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I am now in the process of doing a vision board of goals for 2017. There is so much I want to achieve and this both excites and overwhelms me, but I think having these visual notes, guides and images helps me to keep on my path. Helps me to go fourth fearlessly, remembering what my intentions are and what I have set out to achieve. I don’t want to live an ordinary life, although day to day simplicity appeals to me by nature, I want to experience everything I dream in my lifetime. Sharing experience is what this journey is about for me. So to all the dreamers out there I leave you with this link of a youtube video. ” The Art of Being Yourself ” Caroline McHugh. I loved this and it deeply resonated with me as I think in order to move forward to your dreams, one must master the art of being true to one’s self. Although it all seems so simple in theory, it can be quiet challenging in practice. I hope you like this and please get in touch if you do. Remember we all have our own magic so go fourth and use it!

Peace