Monthly Archives: February 2014

What Does It Mean To Be Grounded?

being grounded“For a tree to become tall it must grow tough roots among the rocks.” Friedrich Nietzsche

In a yoga class you will often hear the teacher speak about “grounding yourself/ sitting bones/ feet/hands” to the floor, but what does it mean and why is it important?

To be grounded means you are experiencing your connection to the earth. Your awareness is in the contact points of your body with the floor. You are not so much in your mind but more in body awareness.

When we are more in our bodies than our minds it means we are more in the present moment. Our minds easily fluctuate between the past and the future. Ruminating about what has happened and potentially anxious about what may happen, or maybe excited! Either way we are not in the moment.

Why is it so important to be in the moment? This is where life is happening! We only ever have right now and what you do in this moment creates the next. What has happened in the past has gone and any worries about the future is energy spent on something that may not even happen yet. Even if it does you will deal with it in the moment.

The earth is a stable, protective, solid, calming energy. When we experience our connection with it our minds calm, we are able to feel a sense of security and confidence.

Do you ever have days where you are totally caught up in your mind, flitting from one thought to the next, barely aware of what is happening right now in front of you. This can exhaust the nervous system, it can make it very hard to focus on one thing at a time or make sure you are really being 100% you in everything you do. Actions can be taken with out really thinking or with awareness of if they are the best ones to take. Sleep can be disturbed.

When you start your day feeling grounded it’s easier to experience clear thinking and taking action with awareness of what is best for you and others through out the day. It helps you to feel stable in the here and now.

If you catch yourself through out the day in a head spin, just taking a few moments to feel your feet on the floor, your sitting bones on the chair (if seated), will help your mind to calm. Going outdoors and actually feeling the earth beneath your feet is great, but can be a bit harder to do in the winter when it’s cold. Still touching the earth with your hands has the same effect. I like to pick pebbles up on the beach to bring my awareness to the ground.

In any yoga posture feeling grounded is the first essential element to consider. In standing poses your base, your connection with the floor is where you find your balance and pull your energy from to energise your upper body. A weak base will cause you to topple.

In the forward bends and supine twists you can use the floor or to yield to, to release, to soften down. In back bends the energy from connecting with the floor helps to extend your spine.

In all postures, being grounded brings you into the moment. Into your body. Leaving what ever is going on in your life aside just for the time you are practising. Then once your practice is over you will be able to approach life with a new perspective.

Isn’t yoga wonderful ūüôā

Namaste

photo

Yamas – Practising Yoga From The Heart

photo (100)

In Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga he gives 5 Yama’s which are a practising yogi’s guide lines to how we behave with others. Focusing on acting from a place of integrity and, as I interpret, it from the heart.

Yoga Journal explains that “Yamas¬†are universal practices that relate best to what we know as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.””

The five Yamas are:

Ahimsa: nonviolence Рin action, thought and deed.
Satya: truthfulness
Asteya:¬†nonstealing – including taking credit for something you didn’t do!
Brahmacharya: celibacy, or at least moderation of sensual pleasures
Aparigraha: Non possessiveness Рbeing aware of jealousy.

On this Valentines where the focus is on love, as each and every day should be, how could we put these into practice?

Ahimsa

Ever catch yourself thinking badly of someone? Quick to criticise? To Judge? Or maybe you are more self critical, always comparing yourself to others. Notice this today and switch it around to words of love, support and encouragement. See what a different it makes to your day.

A practice I have found useful over the years is when I catch myself judging others, getting annoyed with them over something, I ask myself “where have I done this before?”. You can guarantee the very thing that is annoying me about them is something I have done too and don’t really like myself for it. It’s shining a light on my imperfections and in that moment I can accept that part of me, warts and all. ¬†Simply switching this around is a great way of awakening compassion and understanding towards others, also towards your self.

Satya

Live your truth. Walk the talk. Speak from the heart. Sometimes it can feel hard knowing what your truth is and sometimes even hard expressing it. Taking time to sit still and really listen to your heart, that quiet soft voice that gives you words of encouragement, helps to connect with it.

If someone hurts or upsets you share this with them, with love, from your heart. Take away any sense of blame or judgement and simply explain your experience of their actions.

Are you great at giving advice to others but not taking it on board your self. Practise what you preach. You know what is good for you.

Act with integrity, which simply put is doing what you said you are going to do. As they say at Landmark Education “without integrity nothing works”. It’s true.

When you speak your truth and act with integrity you will inspire others to do the same. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable opens the minds and hearts of others.

Asteya

When we are always wanting what others have it takes us away from being who we truly are. It’s a distraction. We are all on our own unique path, there is no need to take from others when we already have so much ourselves.

You have an unlimited amount of wisdom and insight with in you. Yes get inspired by those around you but then express it in your own unique way. Your voice will resonate with the people who are right for you.

Taking from others comes from a mindset of lack, that there is something missing in our own lives. Any sense of lack; money, love, material possessions, keeps us playing small. What we focus on we create more of in our lives, by focusing on lack you will just get more of the same.

Love what those around you have, celebrate that with them and in return celebrate all you have too.  There is no need to take; it is in the giving that you receive the most.

Brahmacharya

If celibacy isn’t your thing (am sure that’s most of us, right?!) then treat your sexual life with honour, love, respect, as a sacred union between two people. Make it special. Practice it with love. Be open to give, receive and join together in love. I don’t think I need to say much more do I?

Aparigraha

This is quite similar to non stealing but is more about looking at what others have and feeling jealous. Rather than stealing what they have it’s that upset around wanting what they have.

Feeling jealous of someone you love takes you away from being fully present with them, fully treating them with the love and respect they deserve. For example if a friend comes to you excitedly to share something like a new purchase or a new relationship they have found, feeling jealous may impact your reaction to their news. Rather than celebrating it you may find yourself diminishing it a little to make yourself feel better. Simply that energy of jealousy within you will have an effect on your behaviour towards then, consciously or unconsciously.

Trust that there is enough to go around.

Trust we all have out own individual journeys and the things that are best for you will come your way.

Everyday be grateful for all you have in your life.

Everyday be grateful for the people you have in your life, and what they bring to you.

Celebrate from the heart your loved ones successes just as they will do for you.

In case you have missed my previous posts, tomorrow I am running a yoga workshop all around connecting with our heart centre. it’s at Revitalise Brighton, 2-5pm, and there are still a couple of places left. ¬£20 if you book today, tomorrow it will go up to ¬£25.

Happy Valentines Day!

photo

 

No Time For Yoga?

yogaIs yoga something you’d love to do more of but just don’t have the time?

Would you love to commit to a daily practice but life just seems to take over?

When you are busy is yoga the first thing to get knocked off the to do list?

I completely understand.

I work for myself, there are a million and one things to do.¬†I can experience the anxiety of cash flow and¬†I have a never ending to do list of things to help bring in work more business.¬†I could easily get up at 6 and work until late, but I don’t.

Yoga is my priority before I start each day. Whether it’s for 10 minutes or 2 hours I make time for it. In stressful times I could easily berate myself for wasting time on something “unproductive” ¬†but actually I don’t really have times like that, because of the yoga I am doing regularly.

Yoga keeps me calm, in the present moment, clear headed and it actually helps me to be more productive. It gives me the clarity to know the best things for me to be working on, rather than wasting time trying to do anything and everything.

Yoga unlocks my creativity, in stillness ideas spring to mind,

Yoga alleviates any anxiety about money or where my business is heading. It helps me to trust everything is working out perfectly and to be with the constantly evolving nature of life.

Yoga connects me to my heart centre which helps me to be loving to myself rather than working myself into the ground and loving to everyone who crosses my path. This makes life much more enjoyable! It also helps me to listen to my heart, to hear the quiet voice guiding me forward.

Some times my yoga is just sitting still for fifteen minutes. I may read a passage from a mediation book (A Deep breath of Life by Alan Cohen is my current one)  and then consider that. I might just focus on my breath for the entire time.

I gave a few more suggestions in my blog post Honour The Start To Your Day.

Sometimes I might just do a few sun salutations and then drop down into child’s pose. I love child’s pose for withdrawing my focus inwards, slowing the mind and for the great stretch it gives my lower back and shoulders.

Sometimes I add on more poses to the sun salutations depending on what I am feeling that day; if I need to stretch certain areas, if I want to feel more energised, open hearted, calm, release emotions and so on. There is a posture for everything!

Sometimes I go to a class, I love the energy of a group class and allowing someone else to guide me through my practice for a change. I especially love the meditation, oms and Savasana together.

It doesn’t have to be at the start of the day, find a time that works for you. In the middle of your day it’s perfect for just bringing your mind back into the moment and taking a break from all the work you are doing. At the end of your day it’s a great way to switch off and acknowledge the day you have had.

Can you see why I prioritise yoga now? It has some many amazing benefits, and as an add on I am lighter and more toned than I have ever been before, but that is not why I do it.

If you feel that you could benefit from some or all of this see where you could fit a bit more yoga into your life, and then notice the shifts it creates in your day to day life.

…..and if you would like me to create a personal practice for you to do at home please do let me know!

Now I am off to my yoga class ūüôā

Namaste

photo