Shifting FOCUS

I am trying to shift the focus of my Yoga practice.

For a long time it was all about in fact competing with myself:

“Better, stronger, more!”

And nothing wrong with that per se, but for me it just reinforced feelings of not being enough and keeping me in doing instead of being mode.

Now I consciously set an intention of making my practice a nurturing one.

Which doesn’t mean I can’t engage in challenging poses, but doing so while listening to myself and resting in child’s pose when I need to instead of pushing through which is an all too familiar pattern in my everyday life.

Instead practising being gentler with myself and attuning to my needs.

 

What I am grateful for today:

Felt especially grateful for the sunshine today, that allowed me to sit outside, and soak up the warmth while enjoying my latte and a croissant (and yes, you can’t be gluten-free, super healthy all the time, as long as you eat it mindfully and with JOY :), which I did)

Day 2 of my 14 day mindfulness challenge – Labelling Emotions

Image courtesy of “Heart Drawing On The Sand" by arztsamui

Image courtesy of “Heart Drawing On The Sand” by arztsamui

This is Day 2 of my 14 day mindfulness challenge. Every day for the next 14 days I will do a mindfulness meditation.

Today the focus was on labelling EMOTIONS. I had a fitful sleep as I was obsessing about this work project I can’t seem to get a handle on. That send me in an anxiety spin so I spent the first hour this morning working on said project to calm my stress levels before I felt ready to do my meditation.

After connecting with my abdominal breathing, I focussed on my chest area noticing which emotions were present. It turned out that obsessing about my work is a defense against underlying feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness.

How PAINFUL!!!!

Nevertheless, I am grateful to be able to be with this issue and having the capacity for it to emerge.

What I am grateful for today:

  • Insights!
  • My “home brewed” Kombucha tea!
  • Doing my mindfulness meditation this morning!

THANK YOU!

Day 1 of my 14 day mindfulness challenge – Abdominal Breathing

MeditationWoman_myyogalivingThis is Day 1 of my 14 day mindfulness challenge.

Every day for the next 14 days I will do a mindfulness meditation.

Today the focus was on abdominal breathing. The breath is such a great indicator of where we are at. If we are stressed or anxious, chances are that our breath is up in our chest area, either shallow or rapid. Bringing the breath down into our belly has an instant calming effect on our system. Making us feel grounded and soothing our nervous system.

What I am grateful for today:

  • I slept OK!
  • Found some answers to questions I was pondering before going to sleep!
  • Doing my mindfulness meditation this morning!

THANK YOU!

 

 

Staying with WHAT IS – Being PULLED

Image courtesy of “Idea go” http://www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On some days it seems more difficult to hold the polarities of life than on others, to stay present to the tension of both sides.

Especially, if you have a tendency like me to experience the EXTREMES.

But nothing is ever just all good or all bad.There are opposites, pros and cons in everything we  do and experience.

Polarities are a normal fact of life, the issue lays in how we are dealing with them.

Whenever I feel those strong pulls in either direction and I notice myself reacting rather than making mindfully an informed decision, I try to be still. Find some space to sit with and journal about what is going on. To help me discern what is true to my AUTHENTIC self  and what is a defensive reaction to manage my anxiety about uncertainties.

What I am grateful for today:

  • My mentor who helps me name and contain those strong pulls.
  • My capacity to learn and to grow.
  • My space: Emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically.

Staying with WHAT IS – Day 35

“Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

How do you handle “sticky” conversation topics?

Like climate change or other controversial conversations?

Not that climate change is a sticky topic for me, I know that it exists.

But you may come across people who might not agree with that.

So what do you do?

Jennifer Louden, some might know her as the comfort queen has shared her experience on that very situation.

Click here for her post:

http://jenniferlouden.com/have-lunch-with-your-enemy-2/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LoudenMouth+%28Jennifer+Louden–Savor+%26+Serve%29

In short, her strategy was to not only offer a few references like Richard Muller’s recent “conversion” on climate change.

and Bill McKibben‘s Rolling Stone article on GLOBAL WARMING.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719?link=mostpopular1

but she also managed to stay calm because she was able to anticipate that that would not only serve her but the cause best.

Also check out Elizabeth Lesser on TED how to have a real dialogue with someone who doesn’t agree with you:

http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_lesser_take_the_other_to_lunch.html

What I am grateful for today:

  • My morning walk
  • My yoga class this morning
  • The fresh crisp morning air

Staying with WHAT IS – Day 33

Sometimes it takes me a while to gauge where I am at.It might need an interaction with another person to bring it to the surface.

When I checked in with myself this morning I felt kind of flat, but there was something lurking I could not quite pinpoint. But then I had an argument where I felt I couldn’t make myself heard with my partner and could feel lots of anger seeping through. ANGER which has been there all along but needed a trigger to be released.

My neck and shoulder are still sore, so I wonder whether part of that soreness isn’t anger that has accumulated over some time. ANGER from all those situations where I felt I had to be the “GOOD GIRL”, suppressing my truth and going quiet instead.

But of course the body remembers everything and anger when unresolved isn’t any different, e.g. the correlation between the repression of anger and heart disease (Miller, Smith, Turner, Guijarro, & Hallet, 1996).

When anger occurs, adrenaline gets released into the bloodstream which results in shortness of breath, skin flushing, muscle tension, in the jaw, stomach, shoulders and hands, ready to take action. As we often struggle to find constructive outlets for that charge it stays in our body, resulting in an imbalance in our nervous system.

So what to do about it?

  • Noticing it and becoming aware of “triggers” is always the first step
  • Body centered treatments (Massages, EFT, TFT etc.) help to release blocked emotions
  • Yoga, meditation & mindfulness to balance the nervous system

References

Miller, T. Q., Smith, T. W., Turner, C. W., Guijarro, M. L., & Hallet, A. J. (1996). A meta-analytic review of research on hostility and physical health. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 322–348.

What I am grateful for today:

  • My morning walk
  • Catching up with a friend
  • An old favourite, my coconut chai

Staying with WHAT IS – Day 30

There is a lot of processing going on in my system, as well as resistance to release old patterns that no longer serve me.

That’s what the pain my neck and shoulders is all about.

Resisting to LET GO!

I also stayed with the irritability and short temperedness I have been experiencing over the past view days. And what I found that at the core are negative belief originating from childhood.

The negative beliefs are around feeling powerless and not being able to get my needs met.

And while this was quite true as a child my adult self is powerful and get her needs met.

But as long as this defense mechanism is not resolved this young part will get activated and then it is like I’m suddenly experiencing the world through the eyes of a child not through those of an adult.

So how to resolve negative beliefs?

I found that mindfulness helps a lot with being able to sit with the “emotional charge” of a pattern.

Once you can tolerate the level of anxiety that the pattern triggers you can ask yourself “how does that pattern and the emotions, and bodily sensations it is accompanied by affect my sense of SELF?”

Negative beliefs serve a purpose they were put in place to keep you safe in way that was appropriate at that time. “What needs were not met at that time?”

And then also exploring the positive ground “how would you be and feel if that pattern was resolved?”

What I am grateful for today:

  • For knowing what I know
  • My life experiences
  • Being able to name and write about what’s going on for me

Staying with WHAT IS – Day 26

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This morning I woke up feeling really excited about the day ahead!

Hurray!!!!

Looking forward to my yoga class and my morning walk. Could feel the smile on my face and the lightness in my body.

What I found interesting though that I didn’t much question where the positive feeling originated from. I just enjoyed it, being grateful for the way I was feeling.

On the other hand, when faced with challenging feelings like anger, fear, frustration, sadness I always go into over analyzing with the underlying intent to somehow get rid of it.

Of course that rarely helps!

On the contrary, re-viewing them over and over just keeps me stuck in a negative pattern.

What does help though is cultivating an “inner witness” through mindful moment to moment attention of where I am at. Which means observing & labelling the experience instead of being “in it”:

I have thoughts but I am not my thoughts.
I have bodily sensations but I am not my bodily sensations.
I have feelings but I am not my feelings.

 

What I am grateful for today:

  • My feeling of excitement this morning
  • My morning walk
  • Having finished the handout for my upcoming workshop