How Mindfulness helps me be a better Mother

We really do get thrown in the deep end as parents, we go from having a little baby wiggling around in an overfull belly one day to holding them in our arms the next. So how do we cope with so much change and ‘newness’? I believe that mindfulness is key. I know it’s a bit of a buzz word, but when we really break it down, it is something we have all experienced. You know those times when you feel completely in the moment, unaware of what else is happening that day or anyone else watching what you are doing. When the mind is focussed on exactly what is happening and being experienced in the present moment, that’s mindfulness. No fancy apps or need to meditate every day.

What is not mindfulness is how many of us spend our time. Something, women and Mum’s often pride themselves on, the art of ‘multi-tasking’. Being constantly available, connected and switched on. We cannot focus our full attention on our baby (or on what we are doing without our baby when we get a moment to ourselves) if our mind is doing more than one thing.

A beautiful approach to mindfulness that I came across on a yoga retreat a few years back is called bhakti. Roughly explained it is to approach everything with an attitude of love. The way I see it we can do small things with big love. Washing the dishes- do it with a love and curiosity about the sensations. Cuddling your baby- do it with love and really feel with all 5 senses. Driving your car- do it with love and an appreciation for how convenient transport is.

When we are rocking our baby what if we pause and take a few deep breaths and commit to ‘just’ rocking the baby, no need to keep time, drift off into a dream about what we can get done once we put them down. If you are standing, feel your feet on the floor, the movement of shifting side to side, the temperature of the room, the slight sounds you make as you ‘shh’, the weight of your baby, the smell of your baby, the faces they make, the cuddles they give, even the crying. It’s all an opportunity to accept what is happening in the moment you are in.

When we are new to parenting, we may jump ahead in our thoughts and wish to be further along the parenting timeline and out of different phases. Cluster feeding, teething, sleep regressions anyone? However, if I have learned anything recently it’s that the more we resist something, the more difficult it becomes. Once we accept where things are currently, more often than not, a shift happens, something changes again, we are in a new phase.

A little trick I have been experimenting with is to stop looking at the clock/watch/phone so much. This one has been most helpful overnight. Instead of keeping track of the hours of sleep (or lack thereof), we can respond intuitively to what the little guy needs. So, no phone or watch in the bedroom overnight. To be completely honest sometimes I do check my watch if I’m unsure if it’s been hours or minutes, but I put it in the bathroom, so I have to walk further to check it, meaning there is more of a mindful choice made. Now instead of thinking there was only “__ hour of sleep last night”, we can go by how we feel in the morning instead. Usually it’s a day that starts with coffee, but sometimes we get lucky and that coffee if more for the enjoyment than the caffeine hit.

Parenthood & Judgment ‘Each to their own’

Sometimes a bit of healthy competition is wonderful as it drives us forward in life. If you know me, you know I enjoy getting competitive in certain situations such as on the sporting field or playing monopoly. Who doesn’t strive for dominating the board owning all the things when playing the well-known boardgame? But, during the early days of motherhood, competition is not your friend.

There are so many ways that we can choose to raise our children. Ultimately, I have never met anyone who sets out to harm their children. Having worked with families in child protection, plus holding some cynical views about fellow humans, I still believe this. In truth, everyone is doing the best they can with what they know. Sometimes we are not aware of the ways in which our actions impact our kids. Other times we are all too aware and may desire to do things differently but struggle to do so.

There is always going to be debate about the ‘best’ way to do anything. But our views on parenthood are impacted by so many factors e.g. how we were raised, our friendship circles, our priorities, our support networks, the type of things we see socially. Here are just a few of the options parents face every day:

·         Breastfeeding or formula

·         Co-sleeping or baby in own room

·         Stay at home Mum/Dad or both working

·         Cloth nappies or disposable nappies

·         Vaccination or no vaccinations

·         Baby led weaning or spoon feeding

·         Gentle sleep patterns or cry it out training

You see, there are so many daily choices as a new parent. Sometimes we feel comfortable and strong willed about certain choices and less certain about others. It’s a vulnerable time. This makes sense, we have opened our hearts up so wide, to make space for a whole new family member. Whether you are a first time Mum or a fifth time Mum, I am guessing the feeling is the same, of trying to work out what is best for this baby.

If you are like me and tend to take on board comments others make or even openly suggest, I urge you to consider that what works for your family may be completely different to another. In a recent conversation I had with my doula and a friend, we spoke about the phrase ‘each to their own’. We can get invested in what other parents are doing, we can seek advice in person, from professionals or online. Truly though, all of this is just extra information, often we can feel in our hearts what we believe and feel comfortable doing. We may second guess ourselves when confronted with opposing views and that’s OK, it’s normal to not agree with everyone about everything. Parenting seems to be one of those areas of life, such as politics or religion, that open us to a wide range of ideals. You may find that some friends and family have strong views on a different end of the spectrum. It’s normal to want others to agree with us, it makes life easy and conflict free. The reality is, that’s not how life works.

Often when we feel most challenged, we are uncertain about what we are doing ourselves. It is not helpful for anyone as it creates separation and difference. If we are less judgmental about others, we are also less likely to feel judged. New Mamma Motto “More love, less judge”. Next time you think a Mum looks great, is doing a good job etc. tell her, you will probably make her day.

A few terms that I find useful to remember:

‘Good enough’ parenting. Instead of striving for perfection, doing a good enough job, daily, making happiness and sanity the priority.

‘It works for us’. If something is not an issue in your household, don’t let others make you believe that it is.

‘We are learning as we go’. There is no right or wrong and be comforted you can change your mind along the way.

To sum everything I’d like to share a poem by Maya Angelou called Human Family.

Human Family

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

 

 

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Becoming Mum

Sometimes in life our expectations and reality do not quite match up. When thinking about becoming parents, I often imagined my husband and I running around after little ones on different days for a few days a week, balanced with working and having catch ups with other Mums. I didn’t really picture what I would ‘do’ every day with a newborn. In fact, I was fast forwarding to when children could be a little more independent of me and easily cared for by others.

In the early days of being a Mum, I enjoyed lots of cuddles and tried to savour the little moments; new baby smell, cute sounds, milk drunk smiles, all the mini milestones that only parents truly care about. Mostly though, I was doing the physical recovering from a quick labour, resulting in blood loss and low iron levels. Mixed in with doing my best to figure out what in the world was ‘normal’ for a newborn. I had my husband home on annual leave for a bit over a month, which I am forever grateful for, as it allowed him to help look after me, so that I could give my energy to looking after E. Little by little, my energy levels returned, we worked out breastfeeding and keeping me nourished and the love really started flowing then. I credit oxytocin, which is fostered by breastfeeding, cuddles and is literally the love hormone, for encouraging this love to flow too.

Once my husband went back to work, I had 3 goals for myself each day:

• To eat well •

To have a shower

• To get out of the house at least once.

Simple stuff really. I would recommend this for all parents, as it can be easy to get caught up in taking care of your little one that you forget to meet your most basic needs.

Eventually things have become a bit more predictable, in terms of being able to have a vague idea of when E will be feeding, sleeping and playing. Essentially, these 3 words are said to categorise what babies need to grow and develop. The more reading you do, you will find that what seems so easy is not. Babies do not come with an instruction manual to feed, play, sleep, repeat. As much as some articles will suggest, there is more to it than that.

So now I occasionally get an hour or so out of the house to myself to get to a yoga class, out for a dinner with friends, a massage or even just to pop to the shops to do the groceries. Doing the groceries on my own is now an enjoyable moment for me, I put headphones in to listen recordings from friends, music or podcasts, so it becomes a useful break time. When I am out in the adult world, I often get asked how are you sleeping, is E a good boy, or how are you adjusting to motherhood?

Lately, when thinking what I could share about motherhood, I have reflected on the transition from Maiden to Mother. I am genuinely surprised by how much I enjoy the role of being a Mother. I expected to be bored, sitting at home, wishing away the time when I could have freedom & independence again. Begrudging being woken up overnight, as I was always an 8 hour a night kind of girl. Little did I know how rewarding and mindful it can be to spend time with a tiny human. The quote ‘the days are long, but the years are short’ comes to mind. Some days do drag on in a bit of a blur of tiredness, when I am relieved to see my husband arrive home, but overall there are so many beautiful moments and developments each day that the time is flying by quickly.

I read somewhere in the early days of motherhood that when we feel frustrated, tired, sad about being so depended upon, we can reframe our thinking. Instead of ‘I have to’ insert any number of things e.g. wake up to feed you, change a dirty nappy, rock you to sleep_________ change to ‘I get to’___________. This simple change of language has helped me a great deal. Just last night when E woke at 3:30am, bright eyed and ready to play, I cuddled him and walked around the house thinking I am lucky to be able to hold you in my arms, look into your eyes, receive your playful smiles, watch as your eyelids get heavier. There is no greater sense of accomplishment in my eyes right now than providing E support to get to sleep when he is tired. It is a privilege and a blessing.

I remember, before deciding to start a family that my husband and I spoke about whether having children is a selfless or selfish choice. Now, I think it waxes and wanes between both, but mostly in my view it’s selfish. We receive so much love and admiration from our babies, we really are the most important thing in their lives. What’s more selfish than being the centre of someone else’s universe? We get to choose everything about their life, for quite a long time. What the days are spent doing, what they wear, who they spend time with, where they sleep, when they sleep, how they eat, the list can go on. While, on the other hand, we do require a selfless attitude to be able to give our energy and love towards meeting the needs of someone who cannot yet do much without our support, especially in the middle of the night.

Until next time. My parting thoughts…

Savour all the stages of your life. Aim for balance. Find your own way. Trust and back yourself.

Our Birth Story

Early in the morning of Tuesday 14th August I woke up to go to the toilet, to my surprise I found that I was probably seeing some early signs of labour. If you are like me and want to know all the emotional as well as physical details, read on….

So, at around 4am I could feel that I needed to go to the toilet, that is when I saw that the mucus plug and perhaps some amniotic fluid had come out, what is called the ‘bloody show’, I was also getting some strong and long lasting ‘braxton hicks’ contractions. Eventually I headed back to bed, with a bit of a smile on my face, knowing deep down today would be the day that we welcomed our baby.

Chris wakes up early around 5:30am to get ready for work, so I tell him to keep his phone on during the day as I suspect we will officially become parents later the same day.

As those who have given birth probably already know, time and logic can go out the window. I knew my own Mum had a relatively fast active labour, but I didn’t really make the connection that our experience might be similar. I have heard from my Dad that he was called by Mum saying she was in labour at 10pm at night (he was at the pub after playing indoor cricket and without mobile phones, she would have had to call the bar). Then I arrived at 11:58pm, with my parents thinking I might be born in the car or hospital hallway!

So, back to our labour experience. . .

Around 8am I messaged our private midwife to say I wasn’t sure if I was in false labour or the early stages of real labour as I was having ‘tightening’ sensations. She advised rest, drink and eat where possible and to keep her posted if things became more intense as that would signify active labour when the midwife generally comes. After watching some episodes of Call the Midwife, reading parts of Juju Sundin’s book Birth Skills (talk about cramming information in at the last minute), having a few soothing warm showers, laying on the lounge and bouncing on the fit ball, I started to get a sense that it was possible I was really in the early stages of labour. I guess I was almost in denial and simply distracting myself from the physical intensity of the contractions.

After eating a vegie wrap for lunch, things seemed to kick up a notch, with some extra heat in my body as well as nausea. I don’t even recall doing it, but I was recording the timing of contractions in my phone and they progressed from being irregular, to 5 mins apart after lunch.

At around 2pm I decided to call Chris to come home to be prepared, just in case. I still felt as though I was overreacting calling him and that he would be back to work the next day telling everyone it was a ‘false alarm’. By around 3pm Chris was home and we were relaxed; watching telly and having a cuddle on the lounge. I think I was still finishing an episode of Call the Midwife then too. When things became a bit harder, I was breathing through contractions by leaning over a new footstool or the lounge. In between contractions I would focus on my breath and moving around on my hands and knees. This is where yoga seemed to help, as you can tune into the present moment and what movements are helpful. I was quite aware of the feeling of the rug beneath my feet and remembered to use one of the techniques suggested by Juju, which was to press my feet into the rug and rub my feet on it through the contractions.

Looking back at a couple of notes in my phone I could see that when Chris got home the contractions became a bit closer again, more like 3 mins apart, so I messaged the midwife again to keep her in the loop. It amazes me how, being in a calm environment with the love and support from Chris arriving home, probably helped me progress and dilate further. I decided I was getting hungry, so sent Chris up to the shops to get some supplies for dinner. I really wanted haloumi! While Chris was in the kitchen, my attention went inwards, and I was really using my breath and sounds to cope with the feeling of the contractions, which were becoming stronger.

Around 6pm, just as Chris was putting dinner on the table I called out to say I thought I was going to be sick. Chris was too late with a bucket and my hands couldn’t do the trick either, so it ended up all over one of our rugs. From there I moved to the bathroom, looking back I think this was because it was the coolest room in the house.

Around 7pm, we called the midwife who listened to me labouring on loudspeaker and could tell that things had progressed but didn’t yet think it was active labour from the sounds I was making. Our midwife did ask Chris if I was in the pool yet. At which point we realised it was not even full of water to get in. So, Chris figured he should start filling it up and turned his focus to the task, so it would be ready quickly.

By 7:30pm as the pool was gradually filling up, I started to feel the urge to push and told Chris to call the midwife. He made a very quick call and the midwife was immediately on her way. I felt there was a lot of pressure building up and it was becoming harder to speak or do anything much other than breath through the surges. I felt as though I could already feel the head coming out. I checked with my hands and could feel something round, slimy and firm poking out. I thought of course, this must be the head. I asked Chris to look and tell me what he could see. He said it’s the amniotic sack not the head. Not convinced, I made him take a photo to show me what he could see! My waters had not yet broken, so the amniotic sack was still intact and starting to protrude out. We decided to move rooms, so I could get into the pool, as I wanted to have a water birth. At this point I felt as though I was going to accidently have our baby over the toilet! I crawled along the ground with Chris spreading some yoga mats in front of me to make things a little gentler on my knees.

When we got into the baby’s bedroom where the pool was set up, Chris let me in on the fact that the water was cold. Turns out all the showers I had throughout the day had led to us running out of hot water! Chris had been desperately trying to fill the pool with boiled water from the kettle when he realised, but it wasn’t meant to be. I felt the temperature with one leg and jumped back out. Instead the pool became a nice distraction from pushing. I was able to lean against the side of the pool for support and wade my hands through the water.

By 8pm the amniotic sack was emerging again, as the move from bathroom to bedroom retracted it. I had an overwhelming sensation to push harder. I was kneeling and making a whole lot of noise by this point. With each contraction I made a low sound that reminded me of a lion’s roar. I started to tell our baby ‘Come on’ and ‘Hurry up’. I knew we were getting very close to having our baby. Facing Chris, I was laughing with relief, excitement and all the hormones rushing through me. Chris was an absolute champion birth partner, I have so much gratitude for him being along for the ride. He was matching my breathing and being a calm presence. With another big push I felt that there was a release of pressure, which was as the sack popping and my waters breaking, all over the floor. Then, next push out came our beautiful, big, healthy, screaming baby BOY!! The time was 8:07pm. Chris was able to reach through to catch him. We still wonder how either of us knew what to do and kept our cool, but it was instinct and less scary that it might seem. Chris even managed to take a few pictures after passing him over to me and announcing, ‘It’s a boy’. I think we were so full of love (and some adrenaline) to manage an accidental free birth on our own. We spoke later about how we could have had our midwife on loudspeaker to guide us, but we felt comfortable to carry on in our little family bubble. I took my shirt off to have skin to skin contact and little man (LM) did his first wee over the floor. It just added to the mess we made from my water breaking, plus the blood that comes along with childbirth.  

Then I was able to lay down on the floor of the room to allow LM to lay skin to skin and work out how to feed for the first time. After such a rush of hormones, love, excitement and a fast labour, I was exhausted. I remember looking down at LM in awe of how he was able to wriggle his way to find the breast and suckle quickly. I also felt surprised at how big he was! I didn’t think I had gained a whole lot of weight throughout the pregnancy, so was expecting an average size baby.

When the first midwife arrived at our place, Chris let her in and she could hear that LM was already crying out. She hurried in to check on everything. Chris was then invited to cut the cord, which he did excitedly. The placenta was taking a little too long to come along, so we decided it was best to get an injection of syntocinin into my thigh to help things along. Both midwives assisted with the delivery of the placenta and encouraged me to ‘let it go’ and thank it for all the work it had done. This idea helped me to relax and it came out smoothly and intact. After it was all checked over, we got to place it in a container to freeze, so that we could plant it in the future. I wanted to honour it in some way as it was the ‘tree of life’ providing while LM grew.

I was feeling a bit dizzy and needed some extra energy, so had some labour aid ice cubes I’d made up for the freezer, they tasted so good after so much action! While, I was being tended to by the midwives, Chris got some cuddle time with LM.

Being at home, we got to head into our own bed which was such a nice feeling. I needed help to get there and was carried by Chris and both midwives in a team effort. Once I was all sorted out, Chris did the first nappy, wrap and placed LM into his Moses basket. We were all set up with our little man right next to us and left to start the greatest adventure of our lives.



Tapas- igniting your fire without burning it out

In yoga, we often focus on the physical side of things- we come to a class once a week & practice what is called 'asana'. This is just one aspect of yoga. Maybe you have also tried or heard of meditation, that's another aspect. When we go a bit deeper into yoga we start to realise there is a whole new way of approaching life - this includes our yoga on the mat as well as 'off the mat'. 

A well known yogi called Patanjali created 8 limbs of yoga. These include: 

One of the Niyamas is 'Tapas'. If you have read our most recent newsletter you would have gained a simple understanding of what this means. The word roughly translates to 'fire' in Sanskrit. I associate this with self-discipline, passion, finding what lights your inner fire, how to keep stoking your fire. This doesn't mean that everything is serious & we have to work super hard or push ourselves. If we work with the analogy of the fire, we need to have a balance of elements- flame (passion), oxygen (attention) and fuel (your mind). Think of it like this, if we have too much force and effort and the fire burns out, too little attention and encouragement and the fire never ignites. We need just the right amount of working hard, sticking to a routine, committing to something even when things get difficult, while also balancing not going 'too hard too fast' and smothering the fire out. 

Practicing Tapas at this cooler time of year seems to make sense naturally, as we come out of our winter 'hibernation' and into the warmer weather. We might start to feel a bit more energetic and commit to new activities.

Here are my top 5 suggestions for practicing TAPAS:

  1. Create a steady morning routine (e.g. wake up & meditate for 5 mins before checking your phone, that takes self-discipline!)
  2. Set a goal that you know is going to be difficult but achievable, this will test your ability to ignite your inner fire & keep it going
  3. Do things that you enjoy and are passionate about, this allows your fire to burn naturally
  4. Try something that challenges you e.g. a new pose in yoga, attending an event alone.....whatever it may be for you
  5. Direct your energy to something mundane with 'burning enthusiasm' (this is what I do when I need to clean the house, pop on some music & just go for it, getting things done)

Love to hear your thoughts on what TAPAS means for you and also how you may practice it both during yoga classes & off the mat?

 

Perfectly imperfect and our hidden potential

Where does the idea come from that there is a right and wrong way to do this thing called life? Maybe there is even what is seen as normal and then variations of it. To some extent I understand that we humans like to have a point of reference, something to compare against. More often, doesn’t it cause us unnecessary suffering, worry and self-doubt?

In a book (The Diamond Cutter) that I’ve been trying to read for over a year now (cue inner perfectionist struggling to write that I have started a book & not yet finished it!), we are encouraged to look at each thing as empty but with hidden potential. I really resonate with this idea. It takes a bit of explaining to understand, so I’ll do my best to translate through the wordiness.

Acquiring something- be it a yoga pose you have been striving to achieve, a new belonging, a relationship, a certain pay grade, a house, a pet, a clear mind is often seen as the goal. We usually see things as either good or bad, black and white, goal met or not. So, if we are even a millimetre off what we see as the perfect result, then we get disappointed, frustrated, we are not satisfied. What if we can consciously change the goal posts we have set just a little and view everything as just as it is. Neither inherently good or bad, just empty with hidden potential according to how we perceive it.

‘Everything in the world, by the way, is the same. Is a trip to the dentist for root canal in and of itself a bad thing?’
— The Diamond Cutter Geshe Michael Roach

I hear you, fellow non-dentist loving humans, of course it is Bad, bad with a capital B! But think about it….. Regardless of how bad it may seem to us, for someone else it is good e.g. the dentist gets good money for that operation, the dentists’ family might be really needing that money, the children could be sent to a new school with that extra earning, the dental supplies salesman also gets something out of it, and so it goes on. What is ‘good’ for one person is often ‘bad’ for another. So, you see, it all balances out and this is how we have what we call ‘emptiness’ and ‘hidden potential’ both there within everything.

In yoga, we have postures that we often assume have a ‘perfect’ way to create that form within our body. I’m here to tell you that no two people ever look the same even when they are doing the exact same pose. We all have compensation strategies, subtle differences in our body composition, different ways of breathing and so on, that make each of us unique. For me, this uniqueness is what makes things interesting, you can be guided by a teacher to be safer in your posture/alignment, reminded of your breathing and encouraged to challenge your thought patterns. I suggest that taking this information and then exploring/finding what works in your own body is where your practice really lies.

From what I have seen and learned about over the years as a teacher is that where something seems perfect, there is often something imperfect too. For example, a person who seems to be super flexible & able to perfectly have their head touch their knees with ease, often lacks the strength & stability in their joints to really feel much of a stretch at all, it is too easy. We really cannot compare ourselves to anybody but maybe our past, present & future self. I’d caution against too much self-comparison, as we are in a state of constant change, all that we truly know is now, our present experience, everything else is in our head. The past has already happened=memory and the future is yet to happen=imagination.

So, my advice is to give yourself permission to be perfectly imperfect, explore your hidden potential, let go of comparison and thrive in your own way.

So what's the fuss about yoga for the individual?

“Yoga must be made to suit the individual, not the individual to suit the yoga.” T Krishnamacharya

I remember during the first week of my yoga teacher training our teacher Idit reminded us just how lucky we were to be able to have such important, ancient & sacred knowledge passed on in such a quick and convenient way. My teacher training course was over 5 months for 1 day each week. Other people choose to immerse themselves in month long training in India, Byron Bay, Bali... There is so much available to us. So whatever way you come to access yoga, you can feel grateful for just how lucky we are to have this ancient tradition passed on so readily. 

Yoga was traditionally taught in a very personal way, with a yogi teaching & mentoring a student over a number of years or even a lifetime. Now we have access to a variety of classes and teachers, whether online or in person, right at our fingertips. But in my humble opinion, not all yoga is created equal. When we have a huge room full of people, the energy can be electric, but the teacher cannot truly be present or able to create safety for all students. So the responsibility becomes on the student to know when to slow down, when to rest etc. to not cause themselves any stress or worse injury. However, I myself have been in those big classes, trying to keep up and despite all my inner work on not being such a perfectionist, when a teacher tells the class to repeat a fast sequence 3 more times 'at my own pace' I for one am generally not completing at my own pace, but rather trying to keep up with everyone else. 

When in a yoga therapy session, the focus is solely on working out what will best suit an individual person. So rather than the individual bending to fit in with a room full of people, the yoga tools used are able to bend to match the person. Yoga therapy does not simply involve physical postures (asana). Yoga therapy draws upon many different elements of the yoga tradition including: meditation, visualisation, breathing techniques (pranayama), hand gestures (mudra), yoga nidra, sound (chant), affirmations (mantra) and at times lifestyle suggestions. A skilled therapist is able to pick and choose from the wide range of yoga tools, to adapt a practice that suits the individual person at one point in time. Often times a yoga therapist will see an individual over a number of years, each time for something different e.g. a physical injury, a heartbreak, a mental health issue. 

So, you see, there is a big different between personalised attention in a yoga therapy session or a private yoga class. Which do you choose for your health & wellbeing? The value is in more than the cost. The value is in what you gain personally, emotionally, spiritually & energetically. 

 

If you are considering a yoga therapy session and would like to know more, contact me for a free phone call as an initial consultation. Sessions are held at flexible times, days and locations, to make your yoga journey truly accessible. 

*I am currently charging considerably less for yoga therapy sessions in order to build up my registration hours. So now is a great time to give it a try. 

Self care at Christmas time

Self-Care at Christmas Time

Ask yourself how you would like to feel after time off over the holiday season?

Is it refreshed, happy, energized, inspired OR perhaps tired, exhausted, in need of a break?

We choose how we finish one year and start the next. Although it may seem like you have obligations and commitments to keep, potentially you need to learn to exercise your NO muscle.

So often, we say yes to every offer of an event over these next few weeks, that by the time we end up starting the new year, we are actually just tired, stressed and in need of another holiday.

Think about what activities inspire you and give you energy and choose them. At first, your friends and family may feel as though they are not seeing you as much as they’d like to. But, ask yourself who does it serve to say yes to every possible offer, does it help me or someone else?

I am not saying that we all need to go into hibernation and isolate ourselves. More to consider where your time is spent and if this is what you truly want or if guilt is being placed upon you by others.

My top tips for self-care this silly season are:

  1. Say ‘No’ to at least one activity or offer each week
  2. Set aside some time as an appointment with yourself to do something alone e.g. meditate, read a book, take a bath, journal about your year ahead, lay on the grass, sit by or float in the water
  3. Deliberately choose who you would like to talk to at any events and seek them out for good conversation
  4. Get mindful and aware at events, take in all the different sensations & choose to focus on those that are favorable to you e.g. taste of food, smell of flowers and so on
  5. Let go of expectations- of yourself, of others, of situations. I for one know that dreaded feeling of planning to have ‘the best new year ever’ and then going overboard with pressure on the moment, meanwhile missing the moment.

Enjoy the moment, live a balanced life, where you matter as much as others!

 

Is solo-tasking the new multi-tasking?

So you might be thinking you are acing life when you can juggle at least 10 tasks at once. But what if I told you are actually being less productive not more? You could be surprised to learn that our brains can truly only be present for one thing at a time. If we split our attention, our brain does just that, splits into much smaller percentages of focus, so that none of the tasks get adequate attention.

Think of your brain is like a director for a stage show. The stage show is your life in moments or ‘scenes’. The actors/actresses are your thoughts. You can only really adequately ‘direct’ one cast member or scene at a time. As soon as you try to direct more than one at a time, it all falls apart in a multi-tasking mess. Like those moments you try to quickly talk to someone while also taking a sip of your drink and it all spills all over you. This one is a regular for me! I used to get really frustrated when I made a mess and had to clean it up. Now I laugh at the little reminder to be present.

When was the last time you were truly present for those you love, for yourself or for one particular task at hand? I know I am often thinking of a hundred things at once. It is certainly a practice to be mindful in any given moment. I believe that children can teach us a whole lot in this respect. How often do you see a young child so focused on what they are doing that they don’t ever want to leave the moment? It doesn’t matter if they have repeated the same thing over and over, they approach it with such attention and enjoyment that their minds cannot begin to try to focus on something else. I am thinking of little ones singing along to a Wiggles song that has been on repeat for the last 10 minutes of a car trip and still being just as excited to sing it again all the way until the destination.

Is there a way you could bring more mindful attention to moments throughout your day? Here are my top 5 ideas to get you started:

  • Stop to enjoy all the sensations as you take your first sip of tea or coffee in the morning
  • Deeply listen to the favourite parts of your loved ones day (without the phone in hand)
  • Watching the sunset or sunrise as if it is the first time you have ever witnessed it
  • Washing the dishes with love- feeling the warm water, the ability of your hands to lift and wash each item with care
  • Try some yoga balancing poses and really focus on balancing with your gaze set on a focus point (I always find the mind can’t do much else or you fall out pretty quickly)

Let's embrace the rise of solo-tasking!

Changes in the works

They do say that a change is as good as a holiday....... Another cliché..... 'Change is the only constant'

As some of you may have already read about in a recent email (assuming that you open all your emails), Your Balanced Life Yoga will be moving to a more convenient location for everybody. From the beginning of June classes will be at Suite 3, 2A/16 Boyle St, Sutherland. It is right near Sutherland Station and at class times you will find plenty of on street parking.

I know we are all creatures of habit and I can hear some of you protesting that this is not in fact more convenient for you. But, hear me out.....At this new location you will have access to a range of benefits that I could simply not offer within the space we were using at the Hall.

Here are my top 5:

1. There will be the ability to pay on card at the front desk if you prefer (or forget cash)

2. The room will be more comfortable for you in a few ways- heater in winter, air con in summer, cosy carpeted floors (no more bruised knees anyone?)

3. You won't have to bring a mat or pillow or anything other than yourself in your choice of 'active wear'

4. There will be props galore (mats, bolsters, blankets, blocks) to make everything that little bit more supported

5. You can access more class times, which may lead to more yoga in your life - which I think we could all agree is a great thing!

I am really excited to be sharing a space with some wonderful like - minded women whom you are sure to get to know as well. The space is currently utilised by Sutherland Yoga with a group of yoga teachers who are able to offer classes at other times too. I will post a link to the timetable once it has all been updated for now here is a sample of what it is likely to be offered for you:

Monday 7:30-8:30pm|  Hatha Yoga (Emma)

Tuesday 1.05 – 1.50pm  |   Yin Yoga (Patrizia)

Tuesday 7:30-8:30pm|  Hatha Yoga (Emma)

Wednesday 6.30 – 7.30pm  |  Feel Good Yoga (Georgie)

Wednesday 8 – 9pm  |  Yin Yoga (Emma)

Thursday 1.05-1.50pm  |  Feel Good Yoga (Patrizia)

Sunday 9.30-10.30am  |  Feel Good Yoga (Georgie)

I understand it will be a little unsettling at first getting used to these changes, but I think we will all find that the change will be for the best. Much more convenient in terms of class times on offer & options should you need to change from your normal routine.

All classes are $15 cash or via EFTPOS. The online booking system won't be necessary as you can turn up to any of the classes as you wish. You can attend classes with me or with the other teachers. I am hopeful that this added flexibility will be suitable for everyone.

SPECIAL OFFER - Tell your friends about coming along too. For the first week of classes in June it will be bring a friend for FREE to any of my classes!!

Namaste,

Emma