Just For Today – a Meditation by Tom Evans

Hi Everybody!

This week’s “guest speaker” meditation was given to us by Tom Evans and it is called “Just for Today”. It is designed to be practiced first thing in the morning, as we set intentions for our day. If you would like to practice it again, this is the link:

How Yoga Can Help us to Evaluate and Manage Stress

One of the most frequently heard expressions today is “I’m stressed”. Stress is an inevitable part of modern-day living, however, most stress can be reduced considerably and even eliminated.  Here are some considerations when contemplating stress in your life, and suggestions for reducing it:

(1)     What causes me to become stressed? Commonly shared examples of stressors are: Time-keeping, negative relationships, and money …  However, stress is very personal.  What may stress one person, will not stress another.
(2)    What can I do to reduce my stressors?  Take, for example, being unpunctual.  If being late stresses you, then allow more time for your journey, plan for the unexpected, and add extra time if necessary. Give yourself more time than you are likely to need so that you can relax and  enjoy the journey, rather than rushing and arriving stressed and on edge.
(3)    What can I not change? If you cannot change it, then try to make it acceptable by viewing it from a different perspective.  Annoying relatives perhaps will seem less annoying if you can understand and accept your differences.
(4)    Invest some time on your mat in quiet contemplation.  Ask yourself “why am I stressed, and what can I do about it right now?” Allow the question to settle, and quietly watch your breath. Trust in your vijnanamaya kosha, the wise part of us that holds the answers, and wait for inspiration to come. It may not come as quickly as you like, and it may not always been the answer you were hoping for, however it will be the right answer for you.
(5)     Contemplate the Serenity Prayer, and let it’s wisdom inspire you to trust in the guidance you receive:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
(6)    Be active and expunge negative energy.  Use the adrenalin that your body is supplying: Run, walk fast or choose a more energetic yoga practice … whatever works for you.
(7)    Breathe consciously – slowly and deeply, comfortably and with control.  Focus on the body as you breathe.  Notice the rise and fall of the front of the body with each breath-round.  Notice the lungs expanding with the in-breath and the body softening with the out-breath.  Allow the breath to ease the mind and the body into a state of tranquillity.  Remind yourself that it is impossible to breathe slowly and calmly and be stressed or anxious at the same time.  So now you have a choice to be calm or stressed.  Although stress starts in our mind, we can  erase it through the way we use our thoughts, our breath or our body.  And a combination of all three is powerful … it is what we call yoga!
Om Shanti (Peace to Everyone)
If you would like to know more about yoga, stress and anxiety management, mindfulness or relaxation techniques please contact Sarah, email me at: freetothinkmail@aol.com, find me on Facebook under Free To Think, or text or telephone me on: 07817623330

What Happens During a Yoga Therapy Session?

Yoga therapy is about treating a person holistically.  In other words, regardless of why the person has come to see me, all aspects of the individual, and all of our levels of being are taken into account.

Restorative poses are prescribed for their ability to relax and heal on a deep therapeutic level.

Restorative poses are prescribed for their ability to relax and heal on a deeply therapeutic level.

Sessions are structured so that we can explore the best treatment methods, using yogic techniques that encourage the Self to heal and flourish and move towards optimum wellbeing.

Yogic techniques might include pranayama (breath-work), asana (posture-work), relaxation, mindfulness or meditation, restorative yoga (placing the body in supported postures to promote rest and healing), nidra (deep relaxation) and sankalpa (purpose).

The experience of yoga therapy creates a partnership between client and therapist which allows the therapist to deepen her/his understanding of the client and devise a home practice for the client to take away and use.  This empowers yoga therapy clients to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, and gives them the necessary insight to develop their own intrinsic ability to self-heal.

If you would like more information about yoga therapy, or to make an appointment, you can email me at: freetothinkmail@aol.com, or text/telephone me on: 07817623330.

Stay well!

Spalding Sponsored Charity Yogathon

I have to say that I am so excited about the  Spalding Sponsored Charity Yogathon that will be taking place on Saturday, 24th January!

Yogathon - Agape 3The event is in aid of two Spalding-based charities, who help disadvantaged people in our local community. Agape runs the food bank, which also collects from a radius around Spalding, and serves a lot of the areas in between. The food bank helps people who, usually through no fault of their own, find themselves ‘down on their luck’ and struggling to make ends meet. Some of our visitors are homeless, with nobody who cares and, again, they never envisioned themselves ending up in that situation.

Yogathon - SpotsSpots helps children from less affluent families, through performing arts, by giving them somewhere to be and something to help them shine.

All 40 places for the event are now sold out (which is fantastic!) and all of our Yogathon participants will now be looking for sponsorship. If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact me. Just £1 will give a homeless person a hot meal at Agape, so if that is all you would like to offer, it will still make a real difference and your support really will be very much appreciated!

If you would like details of future charity events please contact Sarah.

Yoga Workshop – Saturday, 22nd February 2014 – The Seven Primary Chakras

So the first of our 2014 Saturday Yoga Workshops is nearing and I am really looking forward to it!  If you have attended before you will already know that the workshops all strike a balance between practising, discovering and evolving.

This workshop will reflect the philosophical nature of the chakras, in that we will be working very meditatively, turning our attention inwards, and reflecting on the where’s, how’s and why’s of each of the seven primary energy centres.

If you only like the physical postures side of yoga, then this workshop is probably not for you as the emphasis is more on reflection and self-awarenes, and not on the physical asana aspect of yoga.  That does not mean that we will not be practising postures. We will, in the light of the work that we are doing, take postures that are specifically aimed at each of the primary chakras.

So if you would like to discover more about the philosophy of yoga, and in particular the unseen energy systems in our bodies and how they affect each of us, emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually, then this workshop will probably be of interest to you.  Participants will be given an introduction to the theory of the chakras and a physical asana practice that is designed to balance, heal and integrate the chakras for improved physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health.

And of course, because it’s yoga, you will probably leave feeling uplifted, positive and inspired!  

I still have some places available, so if you are interested, or would like to book your place, please email: freetothinkmail@aol.com or text/ring me on: 07817623330.

I – I’m OK, You’re OK

The expression ‘I’m ok, you’re ok’ was first used in a book of the same title, which was written by Thomas Anthony Harris MD, an american psychiatrist and author (born April 18, 1910, died May 4, 1995 in Sacramento, California). The book was a bestseller and its name became a cliché during the 1970s. ‘I’m ok you’re ok’ relates to the area of psychiatry/psychology/psychotherapy called ‘Transactional Analysis’ which integrates the theory of all three approaches in the examination of how we, as individuals, relate to each other. It is described as integrative because it has elements of psychoanalytic, humanist and cognitive approaches. Transactional analysis was first developed by Canadian born US psychiatrist Eric Berne (born May 10, 1910, died July 15, 1970), who wrote a famous book on the subject entitled ‘Games People Play’.

Transactional analysis sets out how people are psychologically structured by using a model known as the ego-state. The ego-state model mainains that we are always in one of three basic modes: Parent (a position of authority, not necessarily a parental relationship), Adult (a position of assertiveness, not necessarily a condition of age) and Child (a position of powerlessness – not necessarily a condition of age).  When we communicate with others, we will be in one of these modes (to a larger or lesser extent).  For example:

Parent to child: “You still haven’t cleaned your room!”

Parent to parent: “Children should keep their rooms tidy.”

Parent to adult: “My child keeps her room tidy.”

Child to parent: “Why do you always hassle me?”

Child to adult: “Alright, I’ll get it done now.”

Child to child: “God my parents get on my nerves!”

Adult to child: “Let’s get your room cleaned and then we can go out.”

Adult to parent: “I’ll get it done now.”

Adult to adult: “Let’s get this done so we can go out.”

By examining these differing states of interaction, we can see that the way in which we speak to others is very powerful in determining the sort of response we will get back.

To return to the statement ‘I’m ok, you’re ok’, there are four life positions that a person can hold, and our life will depend enormously on our own position.  These positions are:

  1. I’m OK and you are OK. This is the healthiest position about life and it means that I feel good about myself and that I feel good about others as, on the whole, I believe human nature, life in general and particularly my own situation, to be good.
  2. I’m OK and you are not OK. This is not usually a healthy position to take since I feel good about myself but I see others as damaged, impaired or inferior to me.
  3. I’m not OK and you are OK. In this position I see myself as inferior to others and will be the weak partner in relationships. If I hold this position I will unconsciously accept abuse as being OK.
  4. I’m not OK and you are not OK. This is the worst position to be in as it means that I believe that I am in a terrible state and the rest of the world is as bad. Consequently I will feel that there can be no hope at all.

The position that we hold in our life may sometimes have been carried with us into adulthood from childhood.  If, for example, we always felt powerless as a child, and were never encouraged to be assertive, then we may well remain in our child position of feeling powerless.  There are many complex ways in which we can be stuck in one or other of these positions, however the majority of healthy individuals will move from one position to another many times every day, depending upon who we are talking to. When we examine our most usual position(s) we can find out a lot about how we fit into our world and relate to it.

From a Transactional Analysis (and therefore CBT) perspective:

  • All people are OK, in that every person has validity, importance and deserves respect.
  • Positive reinforcement increases feelings of being ‘OK’
  • All people have a basic lovable core and a desire for positive growth (however well that may be hidden).
  • Everyone (with only few exceptions, such as the severely brain-damaged) has the capacity to think.
  • All of the many facets of an individual have a positive value for them in some way.
  • People decide their story and destiny, therefore these decisions can be changed.
  • All emotional difficulties are curable.

The aim of change, under Transactional Analysis, is to move towards: freedom from issues held on to from childhood, spontaneity, intimacy and problem solving, as opposed to avoiding or passively remaining in an unwanted situation. This is all done with a view to progressing and moving into a new, healthier position of ‘I’m ok, you’re ok.’

Further reading:  Eric Berne: Games People Play.

                              Thomas Harris: I’m OK, You’re OK’.

H – Happiness

How do we define happiness? Is it getting just what we want out of life? Having lots of satisfying and supporting close relationships? Peace of mind? Not having to worry? Or maybe it is a combination of all these things?

According to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), an English poet, literary critic and philosopher – “The happiness of life … is made up of minute fractions – the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment.” If that sounds too easy to be true then think about it for a moment:

Do you spend your time thinking about all the things you don’t have that you would like; all the people around you who annoy you; all the things you have to do that frustrate you? If you do, then I expect you’re feeling pretty fed up. If, however, you fill your day thinking about all the things you have that you can be grateful for (particularly the little things as suggested by Mr Coleridge); all the people around you who care; and all the choices in life that you have, then chances are, when you look back over your day, it will have been a good one (or at least not bad!).

Happiness and gratitude work hand in hand, so why not try spending an entire day being grateful: For the opportunities you are given – to hug somebody you love; the choices you have – cheese or tuna (at least I know I won’t go hungry); the actions you take – saying thank you, paying a compliment, making a difficult decision and trusting yourself that it will be ok.

Most importantly, be aware of your thoughts. If you notice a negative thought creeping in, then try to replace it with a neutral or positive one. For example: “I bet it’s going to rain again today” could become “It might rain today so I’ll take my brolly just in case” or even “who cares if it rains today, I’ll have my brolly!”

 

Think about what makes you happy and inject some happiness into your life everyday: 

  • Spend more time building positive, supportive relationships. 
  • Invest time and energy doing something that brings you happiness.
  • Take time out to be alone and be with yourself, just being you. 
  • Look after yourself: eat well, sleep well, exercise well, live well. 
  • Be in the here and now – make the most of every moment and see if you can enjoy it for what it is.

Free your thoughts, live your life

… and be happy!

 

Saturday Yoga Workshop – 8th June

Just a timely reminder that my next yoga workshop is this Saturday, 8th June, from 10:00am to 3:00pm.  The subject this month is the seven main energy centres known as the Chakras.

For more information please click here or contact me by clicking here contact Sarah.

Workshop This Saturday – 18th May

Just to remind anybody who may have been planning to come along to my next workshop: It’s this Saturday, from 10:am to 3:00pm, and we will be exploring the subtle energies of the body.

Have you ever wondered why you automatically like some people and not others?  Or how we are so good at detecting other people’s emotions?  Why do we always sense somebody when they are standing very close to us?  If you would like to know more then why not come along and find out.

This is also an ideal opportunity to give yourself some important ‘me time’ in  a relaxed and friendly environment … What more could you ask for!

The cost of the workshop is £25.00, drinks and light snacks and a workbook/journal are included.  To book, or for more information email me at freetothinkmail@aol.com or call me on: 07817623330.

H – Holistic

H  – Holistic

Traditionally, one of the biggest differences between the eastern and the western approach to healing, was that here in the west, illness and disease were treated in isolation, whereas in the east, a holistic approach was taken.   My 35 years-old Pocket Oxford Dictionary doesn’t even contain the word holistic!  However, the concept is more popular now, so what does it actually mean?

The definition of holistic (according to the current Cambridge Dictionary) is “dealing with or treating the whole of something or someone and not just a part”.  When we talk of a holistic approach then, we mean that we are looking at, not just the physical whole of the individual but, the emotional, psychological, social and spiritual aspects as well. 

When a client or patient is treated using this approach, all parts of the individual are considered and takenHolistic Health into account.  When, for example, we are anxious, there is a distinct inter-play between the body and the mind: the body may be sweating, the heart will be beating faster than usual, the throat may close up and breathing becomes more shallow and speeds up. At the same time, our thoughts become more confused and begin to spiral out of control, leading to an emotional reaction, as feelings of panic, disorientation, lack of control, etc all combine with the physical symptoms causing feelings of being ‘out of sync’ and general distress.  So anxiety is neither just a physical condition, nor is it just psychological either.

It is now generally recognised that no part of the mind or body is separate from the Whole and so every aspect of an individual must be taken into account and treated accordingly.  When western medical practice is partnered with an eastern approach, it is felt that the individual is given the best possible treatment and the outcome is considered to be a great deal more favourable.