Beads of Light

chakras i am

I love working with the chakra colours. In this relaxation/meditation, I have weaved the colours and an affirmation associated with the 7 main chakras into a creative visualisation. You could practice this in savasana (lying on the floor) or seated upright. Ensure your body is supported and comfortable to allow for a deeper experience to unfold. When we support our body in meditation, our energy and attention is drawn away from the physical layer, opening to higher levels of consciousness and a spacious enquiry.

You may choose to rest in stillness and silence after the guided relaxation, allowing your attention to open to all that is inside and around you. Let your focus be relaxed and open, aware of everything but nothing specific. As your attention is drawn to and lingers on a specific thought, sensation, emotion, sound, memory or image, open your attention out – be expansive and spacious.

As the energy of Spring draws us out into the world with new projects, time in the garden, clearing out cupboards and drawers and generally being more active, remember to also cultivate the inner “garden” through relaxation, meditation and other mindfulness practices.

Out of Hibernation

Wow! I cannot believe it’s been almost 3 months since my last post. It wasn’t intentional but it seems I have been in hibernation.  I did recently celebrate my 50th birthday (no grey hairs yet) and have just returned from a beautiful relaxing retreat in Fiji, so I have also been a little preoccupied.

hibernation2I was fortunate to attend a 7 day silent retreat with my spiritual teacher, Richard Miller on 20 April and it has profoundly changed my life. As part of moving deep within and letting go of the busyness, I found that my priorities changed. I live more in the moment, allowing myself to be guided by what brings me happiness and peace. Even the mundane tasks can be pleasant and satisfying if done with awareness and purpose. I take more time in the “in between” moments; after a job is done, when I arrive somewhere in my car – time to pause, breathe and simply be in the moment. I have found that when I make space for myself, I create more space in my day. How cool is that?

Meditation has been part of my mornings now for just over 12 months and it really has made a difference to how I see, experience and meet each moment. I am more content than I have ever been and feel deeply connected to all of life.

With the days getting a little warmer and the wattle and blossoms beckoning, I feel a gentle pull to look outward again, to become more active, start planning and looking forward.

I would love to share with you a beautiful sequence called the Goddess Vinyasa. It’s beautifully warming, opening the upper body while strengthening the lower body. The combination of stability, movement and breath is wonderfully uplifting. You will feel great afterwards! Thanks to my friend Gina for the inspiration and recording below. As we approach Spring and the warmer weather, this would be lovely outdoors.

Goddess Vinyasa

With love,

G

‘Mind Wanting More’ by Holly Hughes

eagle, water, sunOnly a beige slat of sun above the horizon, like a shade pulled not quite down. Otherwise, clouds.

Sea rippled here and there. Birds reluctant to fly.

The mind wants a shaft of sun to stir the grey porridge of clouds, an osprey to stitch sea to sky with its barred wings, some dramatic music: a symphony, perhaps a Chinese gong.

But the mind always wants more than it has—
one more bright day of sun, one more clear night in bed with the moon;
one more hour to get the words right; one more chance for the heart in hiding to emerge from its thicket
in dried grasses—as if this quiet day with its tentative light weren’t enough,
as if joy weren’t strewn all around.

Let it Go ~ a poem by Danna Faulds

As we move deeper into Autumn, I am finding a quieter place within even as the jobs continue to pile up. I recently attending a VCE evening (my son Zach has commenced year 11) discussing study skills. “The children”, said one of teachers, “can become overwhelmed with the enormity of the year, with homework and exams and the pressure of being expected to know their chosen path in life at the age of 17”. The advice given was for the children to focus on one day at a time; consider what needs to be done today, what can I realistically achieve today, just today. Essentially, this is a practice in mindfulness and presence, of being in the moment, the only point in time we can reletting goally have any influence over. What this means then is to Let Go of the future, the unknown, that which we cannot control. There is nothing new here, however reminders are often timely and helpful.

As we see the leaves around us change and fall, this reminder of Letting Go is ever present. Please enjoy this wonderful poem by Danna Faulds.

Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold: the holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go.

Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear,

and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go.

Let it all go and flow with grace that washes through your days whether you received it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.

Take this on faith; the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you move forward nonetheless.

Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace and certain transformation.

Busyness robs us of the gift right in front of us

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. Rushing from one thing to the next, racing through life and feeling there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. I find myself at times saying “I’m super busy!”, as if being busy is a good thing; I’m being productive and contributing to life. What I am being is stressed, tired and disconnected.

“Busyness robs us of the gift right in front of us.”

One of the great things about being a yoga teacher is I practice and teach presence and mindfulness almost every day. When you practice doing just one thing at a time (such as breath awareness), you sharpen your ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate. When we practice one-pointedness, we are developing our ability to remain with a task for as long as it is necessary to accomplish a particular  goal. If we are to succeed in any endeavour, be it bringing an end to insomnia, anxiety, busyness, accomplishing a job at home or work, or awakening to our True Nature, the mind needs to possess the ability to remain one-pointed for as long as is necessary to accomplish our goal. The more you practice these skills, the easier they become and before you know it, you are more mindful in other aspects of your life. So when you become busy or rushed, you notice you are busy and when you notice you are busy you have an opportunity to make a choice. You can stay busy (and at times this is necessary and appropriate) or change your behaviour. We can choose also to be calm busy or chaos busy.

When we change our behaviour, the outcomes and consequences of our actions change too. I know this sounds simple and it is. The hardest part is noticing; being present enough to ask ourselves, “Is this behaviour or choice bringing me closer to contentment, happiness and peace or further from it?”

 

Tips for practising presence / mindfulness at home.

1. Do one thing at a time.one-pointedness

2. Eat slowly and mindfully (away from TV’s, computers and smart phones)

3. Focus on what can be done today. Think about tomorrow, tomorrow.

4. Plan your day before it begins. Ideally the night before or early morning.

 

One word to support action and inspire change

buddha In the busy and often unpredictable nature of our day, it can be  often challenging to stay centred. We may become reactive and  behave in ways that don’t align with our higher self. Ideally we  create space between what life offers us and how we choose to deal  with it; what we say, what we do. When we are mindful and present,  we learn to respond rather than react to life.

Harmony flows within us when we operate in line with our higher self, our inner truth. We may find within this space, a conflict free environment that cultivates peace and wellbeing: a space from which clarity may arise and creativity can flow.

Several years ago I was asked by my mentor at the time to choose one word that would move me in the direction I wanted to go and grow. This word came easily : SPACIOUSNESS. The next task was to chose one action that would support my word. This too came easily: to chose a regular time each week to sit and write articles for my blog. What followed next was really interesting: spaciousness flowed into many areas of my life without effort. I began creating more physical space around me; in my office, around my home, at the studio and immediately felt more relaxed and content. What one word comes to mind for you? A word that moves you towards your dreams and goals. A word that immediately feels right and inspires you to make change. Consider, when we change our mindset, we must feel ready in our heart and be prepared for necessary change in behaviour to follow.

So what can we do to help cultivate the space required to know what we truly want and where we want to go. For me, I chose my breath and stillness. When I find my breath and hold it gently with my awareness, connecting with its natural rhythm and flow, I feel soothed.  It is a balm for my nervous system that radiates out to fill my entire being with space; a space that opens to clarity and inner wisdom. Simply sitting quietly in meditation for 5 – 15 minutes is enough. Ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. Who am I?

2. What do I want?

3. What is my dharma (life purpose)?

Asking these questions will plant a seed into the fertile mind. Don’t dwell – plant the seed and let it be. Each time you come back to these questions in meditation, you are watering the seeds and they will grow. Be open to life around you and any opportunities that arise that align with your intentions.

 

Another way to create inner space is to find stillness through rest: stop what you are doing and lie down somewhere comfortably. In a yoga practice, we find this space within savasana, however we can reap the benefits of stillness anywhere that is comfortable where you will not be disturbed. Just a few minutes of  focussed stillness can move one from feelings of anxiety and tension to a place of calmness and clarity.

Here are some simple tips for a rejuvenating rest :

1. Once comfortable, close your eyes and connect with the natural heaviness of your body; the weight of your bones and muscles. Release the weight of your head, backs of the shoulders and hips into the support of the earth.

2. Scan your body for areas of holding and tension and  let your breath create space and ease around any areas found. Allow time for resistance to melt away: this is a process of undoing.

3. Look within and connect with the natural rhythm of your breath. You don’t need to change the breath, simply watch the natural rise and fall. Feel your body open to receive the breath and surrender as the breath is naturally released. Stay with it; become aware of the space at the top of each inhalation and the bottom of each exhalation. Don’t create the space or hold, simply notice what is there. 

4. If the mind wanders, simply begin again; heavy body surrendering to the natural rhythm of the breath.

Great if you can stay with this for 5 – 15 minutes then stretch gently and reenter your day with more clarity and ease.

In a few days, I’m off camping with my family to Echuca. Here in the quietness of life, I will consider my one word and action for 2015. On the banks of the beautiful Murray river I will go within and listen to my heart, not my head for guidance and wisdom.

Blessings for a wonderful and spacious 2015.

Weaving yoga into each day

At tchristmas 3his time of the year many people find it difficult to get to yoga classes (with Christmas shopping or perhaps kids are home from school) and also many studios close over the Christmas/New Year period. The challenge can be to keep up a regular yoga practice when we can’t get to classes. Ideally the skills we learn within the class environment, once integrated, can be woven into the fabric of our lives.

I recently attended a wonderful yoga retreat where we explored the many and varied ways we can weave mindfulness into every moment of our waking life. We can use dharana (concentrating the mind on a specific object or technique) to find stillness, equanimity and peace of mind. In this place too, we may drop into the gap, the place between thoughts, between breath where we may experience our true nature first hand.

There are an infinite amount of techniques we can use to experience presence; here are a few that you may find helpful.

  • eat slowly and mindfully using all your senses. Avoid eating in front of a computer or TV.
  • go for a walk in nature and leave your phone and music behind.
  • when stuck in traffic or in a cue, take the opportunity to watch your breath (don’t change it, just watch it)
  • if feeling busy, rushed or overwhelmed, STOP and breathe. Breathe IN patience, Breathe OUT love, kindness or compassion.
  • find 5 minutes each day to sit quietly and simply listen. Listen to the sounds around you. There is no need to identify what they are or where they come from. Resist labelling them are pleasant or unpleasant. Welcome all sounds equally.

   beautiful food bare feet on grass