Rest

I hope you enjoyed a restful break over the Christmas/New Year period. My husband Andrew and I spent a few weeks resting deeply. Lots of time on the couch, slow walks, easy meals and gentle floor based yoga and pilates. We didn’t realise how tired we were until we gave ourselves permission to stop.

I have included below, a wonderful piece about Rest from David Whyte; take some time out, allowing the words and sentiments to seep in. Enjoy!

 

Harry, our 9yo rescued grey resting with his favourite toy

REST

is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner static bull’s eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.

This template of natural exchange is the breath, the autonomic giving and receiving that forms the basis and the measure of life itself. We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imagination and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world; we are rested when we let things alone and let ourselves alone, to do what we do best, breathe as the body intended us to breathe, to walk as we were meant to walk, to live with the rhythm of a house and a home, giving and taking through cooking and cleaning. When we give and take in an easy foundational way we are closest to the authentic self, and closest to that self when we are most rested. To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given.

In the first state of rest is the sense of stopping, of giving up on what we have been doing or how we have been being. In the second, is the sense of slowly coming home, the physical journey into the body’s un-coerced and un-bullied self, as if trying to remember the way or even the destination itself. In the third state is a sense of healing and self-forgiveness and of arrival. In the fourth state, deep in the primal exchange of the breath, is the give and the take, the blessing and the being blessed and the ability to delight in both. The fifth stage is a sense of absolute readiness and presence, a delight in and an anticipation of the world and all its forms; a sense of being the meeting itself between inner and outer, and that receiving and responding occur in one spontaneous movement.

A deep experience of rest is the template of perfection in the human imagination, a perspective from which we are able to perceive the outer specific forms of our work and our relationships whilst being nourished by the shared foundational gift of the breath itself. From this perspective we can be rested while putting together an elaborate meal for an arriving crowd, whilst climbing the highest mountain or sitting at home surrounded by the chaos of a loving family.

Rested, we are ready for the world but not held hostage by it, rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way. In rest we reestablish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember, and someone others would want to remember too.

‘REST’ From
CONSOLATIONS:
The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© David Whyte & Many Rivers Press 2015

The Yoga of Intimacy & Delight

It’s my absolute pleasure to share with you a selection of the beautiful Yukti verses (yoga meditation practices) from the ‘Radiance Sutras’, a book by Lorin Roche, over the coming months. The poetic renderings of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra explore 112 gateways to the yoga of wonder and delight.  Through my own studies and practises, I’ve come to feel and understand through first-hand experience the nondual nature of life or existence; there is no separation. We are all intimately connected, and this connection can be experienced as we learn to feel and meet life from our heart, connect being to being, essence to essence. This beautiful book invites us to connect to the divine within and around us through everyday experience. My invitation is to listen to each verse and notice how it lands in the body; feel into your truth and notice how you meet yourself, others, and the world around you. 

Verse one

The one who is intimate to all beings replies, 

Beloved, your questions require the answers that come through direct living experience. 

The way of experience begins with a breath, such as the breath you are breathing now. 

Awakening into luminous reality may dawn in the momentary throb between any two breaths.  

Exhaling, breath is released and flows out. 

There is a pulse as it turns to flow in. 

In that turn, you are empty. 

Enter that emptiness as the source of all life. 

Inhaling, breath flows in, filling, nourishing. Just as it turns to flow out, there is a flash of pure joy – 

Life is renewed.

___________________________

 

You can also listen here.

Take care and go gently,

Gx

Kaya Kriya – a beautiful relaxation for Body & Mind

buddha statue

Kaya Kriya is one of my favourite yoga practices.
In this three-part relaxation technique, the lower, middle and upper body is progressively relaxed with a movement-breath-sound combination. On the IN breath, the feet are moved inwards, the arms outwards and the head turned to the right. The reverse process is performed on the OUT breath.

Here is a short recording (10 minutes) exploring this beautiful and simple practice; an offering from my heart to yours with love. Simply rest in savasana and enjoy!

Namaste

Emerging

I must be honest and say when I heard recent news about the partial lifting of restrictions in Victoria, the previously soft and relaxed feeling in my belly immediately tightened. Personally I have loved this time in isolation. Yes, I have really missed my family, close friends and participating in my weekly Zumba and bootcamp sessions but I have thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace. It’s given me an opportunity to think about how I want to be in the world and using this clarity to make decisions in moving forward.

So back to the uneasy feeling in my belly. I know that stability is important to me and having made the necessary adjustments due to COVID, there is once again uncertainty in many areas of my life. Will people want to return to group classes? Do I? Will there still be an interest in online classes in 2 months time?

These last few months of imposed slowing down, with time to take stock and turn inwardly, is a rhythm we find in nature through autumn and winter. And now there is an external pull to move back into socialising, activity, mobilising and all the effort and energy that brings: the inevitable busyness of it all. I am being pulled in opposites directions simultaneously, no wonder I feel out of sorts!

So I’m being gentle with myself. Enjoying the luxury of morning walks with my husband Andrew and our dogs Bindi and Harry, meditations by the wood fire with my virtual yoga community, no travelling to or from my beloved yoga classes and not taking a shower until mid afternoon some days because I’m comfortable and warm and don’t need to be anywhere but here. This time shared with Andrew and my two adults sons, Aidan and Zach (as they are all out of work) has been such a blessing. We have planted vegetables, cut back trees, mulched, finished jigsaw puzzles, played games and enjoyed meals together.

My wish is for everyone to take from this the gifts that have nourished you most. Remember what’s important and continue to give the most precious of gifts to yourself and others; your time, love and attention.

It’s OK to relax…..

It’s wonderful as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, when emerging research supports what I know and feel to be true for my body and mind.

There are different ways of learning and individually you many notice you respond better to one way over the other. I tend to learn best somatically, through doing and experiencing in my body. We can also learn visually and through listening. I digress, a little. We learn by taking in and then “trying on” the new knowledge. In this way we have a first hand experience to reflect on.

Emerging research on the vagus nerve, a major nerve in the parasympathetic nervous system, sheds light on how people can tune in to their nervous systems and find ways back to a “rest and digest” state amidst chronic stress. This research suggests actions involving parts of the body connected to the ventral vagus nerve— including deep breaths, humming, or even social cues like smiling or making eye contact with someone — send messages to the brain that it’s OK to relax.

Activating the ventral vagus nerve also activates the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that deals with logic. Calming yourself allows you to think clearly and process your difficult circumstances — which will further resolve stress.

Simple Steps to Reduce Stress (this is the doing part)…..

  • Pay attention to your body’s sensations. Notice your body’s baseline physical state when you’re calm so you can notice how stress changes your body and respond accordingly.
  • Focussed breathing, especially lengthening the exhalation promotes the rest and digest response.
  • Connecting to life through your five senses. Going outside, listening to birds, and smelling a flower are all simple “grounding” activities, which can help activate the ventral vagus nerve.
  • Smile. Make eye contact with someone on your walk, at the shops or in the mirror signals our nervous system that we are safe and it’s Ok to relax.

See full article for more details….https://elemental.medium.com/if-there-was-ever-a-time-to-activate-your-vagus-nerve-it-is-now-2227e8c6885b

Here is a simple breathing practice that focuses on gently extending the exhalation. Try it every day for a week and see if you notice any changes in how you meet each day.

Much love

Touched by Acceptance, everything changes

What would it feel like to welcome ALL of you into your practice? Not just the parts of your body that work well, not just the positive thoughts and emotions. To truly allow everything to BE as it is! The busy mind, sore lower back, general stiffness and tiredness. What would happen if you met these parts of yourself with acceptance not resistance? Is it possible to notice a feeling of discomfort, a thought of “I wish I was stronger, more flexible”, with openness and curiosity? Perhaps when we let go of struggling with what is, we make space for a different outcome, a new way of being with ourselves.

When we fight or resist our experience, we bring more heat/energy to the circumstance.

As psychologist Kristin Neff puts it, “Suffering equals pain times resistance.”

The amount we suffer in life is the product of the pain itself, multiplied by the amount we resist it.

Suffering = Pain * Resistance.

Letting go of resistance doesn’t mean resigning to it. It’s about accepting that not everything is in your control. In fact, very little is.

So…the next time you find yourself on your mat—notice areas of resistance, whether physical discomfort, mental agitation or life not going as you hoped—explore the practice of acceptance.

  1. Notice when something painful or uncomfortable arises.
  2. Observe thoughts of resistance as they arise (e.g. “This shouldn’t be happening!” / “Why me?!”) and let them pass by.
  3. Come back to your centre by accepting the circumstance as it is. Be fully open to what is here, now.
  4. Bring attention to the physical sensations of the experience. Notice that they’re temporary and will pass.
  5. Continue the practice as life continues to change. Whenever you find yourself holding onto some resistant thought, let it go.

Reference: https://mindfulambition.net/suffering-pain-resistance/ by Kristin Neff

Finding Stillness

This meditation was inspired by a beautiful visualisation I experienced at a workshop a few years ago with friend and colleague Ingrid Jolley.

Here we acknowledge the ever changing circumstances around us, while connecting to a place within that is always at ease, peaceful and stable.

Give yourself the gift of time and attention.

Reflection and Intention

At this time of the year, we are encouraged to consider New Year’s resolutions. While I think this is helpful, without reflecting on the year passed, we may find it difficult to feel into what most calls us forward.

Ideally find the space and time for reflection, to journal and feel into what’s true for you; what is going to move you towards your passion or heart felt longing and what takes you away from it.

You may find it beneficial to go for a walk, spend time in nature, practice yoga or meditate. Find something that helps  create a container of quietness for reflection and intention setting.

heart

Heart Felt Desire

Intentions come from the heart – they arise from the values that are most important to you. An intention is connected to your life’s purpose, and is a specific way of expressing it at a given time in your life.

Allow yourself lots of time to reflect and write on the following questions:

1) What am I celebrating? What am I grateful for? What has been wonderful and magical about this past year?

2) What is one aspect about myself that I have especially loved this year? What am I proud of?

3) What would I have done differently this year?

4) What do I want to let go of?

5) What do I want to call in for the new year?

With love,

G x

This post has been inspired by https://maiaduerr.com/how-to-do-a-reflection-and-intention-process-for-the-end-of-the-year/

Why go on Retreat?

Retreat comes from the Latin verb “to pull back.”

So a retreat is a place where you pull back from the world.

Here are 10 reasons why retreats are important. They help you…

1. Pull Back

You withdraw from your regular life, pulling in all the energy that’s otherwise fanned out and thinned out in multiple directions.

You gather your forces to focus them on something you love.

From this place, you get a new perspective, you regroup and re-energize. You find inspiration.

Then you put inspiration into action. You bring that thing you love to fruition.

2. Become Spacious

You step out of your structured scheduled day-to-day and step into space and time.

Time on retreat is different, fluid. There’s no need to rush!

You find a space where you can give yourself time to connect with flow, genius and inspiration.

3. Get Inspired

Inspiration, translates as “to breathe into.”

So, you breathe life into your life.

Inspiration is a frame of mind that can come from a change of landscape and outlook.

We’re all creative. Creativity and inspiration happen when you take the time away from your day job to remember your day dream.

4. Listen

When you’re on a yoga retreat, you get to listen.

Why? Because there’s no kids, TV, co-workers. Time away from mobile devices is encouraged.

What do you hear? The sound of birds, the wind and life around you and maybe, just maybe, an inner calling and the quiet inside your heart.

5. Detox

Everyone needs to unplug, unload, clean out and empty their mental desktop.

You will leave a retreat lightened, clearer, recharged, refreshed, and more present.

This new perspective can guide you to make changes in your life that you know you need to make.

6. Lose the Fear

Retreat is a safe space, literally and figuratively.

An opportunity to really let go.

7. Remember Who You Are

Society wants you to be the mother, father, sister, wife, husband, friend, lover.

On retreat you can drop all the roles.

You can just be the exquisite and unique expression of life that you are!

8. Find Your People

It feels wonderful to be with people who get you. Sometimes your friends and family don’t really understand your love of yoga.

On retreat you have an opportunity to dive deep into your practice and to share this experience with like-minded people.

9. Help Others

When you take some space/time, those around you (your partner, children, co-workers) gets space/time too.

This brings appreciation.

They realise what it’s like when you’re not around, to work, clean, cook and love them.

Without you taking up your usual spot, people shift positions to fill that space.

Life takes on a new shape.

Life may be different when you return and you are free to take up a new space in it. This is growth.

People may see a new you, and they see that they’re new, too.

People are motivated to make more positive change.

10. Establish a Routine/Practice

Establishing a new routine, practice or mindset is easier to get started on retreat. These changes may then naturally flow into your life

Retreats are important because people leave retreats rested, happier and clearer.

Who doesn’t want some of that?

Inspired by this blog post…https://www.theodysseyonline.com/11-reasons-need-retreat

Moving into Stillness

Life for all of us, has its ups and downs; it’s the transient nature of life within and around us. Most circumstances cannot be controlled, however with practice we can learn to be more at peace with life as it unfolds.

More recently, my meditation practice has moved from a more structured sitting, to a practice that moves with me – Mindfulness in action. 

Rumi...Divine wihtin my heart

At first I was concerned at my resistance to sit each morning, then became curious; Is there something else that is calling my attention? I feel blessed that sitting quietly and observing what comes and goes, comes pretty easily to me, however I feel now that my practice is to find this same level of ease as I navigate each and every moment. Erich Shiffmann in his excellent book ‘Yoga. The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness’ talks about levels of stillness. The first level of stillness involves learning to relax, become centred and meditate. This technique involves being still, deliberately pausing and being still and centred in the moment you are presently in. “When you are able to relax and quietly suspend all your firmly held false ideas and limiting beliefs about who and what you are, only what is true will remain”, Erich says. “This is like polishing a mirror – removing the grime – and seeing yourself clearing for the very first time”.

The second level of stillness involves living your life with this new understanding of who you really are: in other words, meditation in action.  This involves continually letting go of the judgements, evaluations and opinions about yourself, others and the world around you throughout the day.  It’s about meeting each moment with a beginners mind, being open and curious. “This means, essentially, letting go of pretence and self-critical judgement and allowing self acceptance – letting yourself be who you truly are”. ……”By staying centred in your peace in the midst of daily life, you will validate your new perspective of yourself and gradually become fully convinced”.

In practice, I find patience and peace.

Page 1 of 7

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén