Monthly Archives: March 2015

How Discipline Actually Gives You Freedom

“Constant practice alone is the secret of success.” Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Strengthening my willpower and discipline has been an important journey for me over the last few years. Freedom has always been one of my highest values, I’ve never very much liked feeling “forced” to do something!

I have learnt though that having some discipline actually gives me more freedom. For example if I manage my money well I have the freedom to do the things I love. If I make sure I get enough sleep I’ll feel more energised to do all I want to do.  If I pray and practice my yoga I am in the best mindset to go through each day rather than fears getting in the way.

My experience is that yoga, meditation, prayer and any spiritual practice all require discipline, without I find it very hard to actually just sit still quietly every day. Life can take over, my mind can take over, busy-ness takes over, other people take over…..and before I know it my spiritual practice can be put to one side.

I have learnt to prioritise it now. I’ve experienced letting it slip when times get busy, when I actually need it then the most. I know this is common as many of my 1-1 yoga students/ life coaching clients that come to me experience the same. We have created a spiritual practice that feels right for them but often they come to me saying “oh I haven’t managed it this week because of X”. This isn’t “wrong” it’s just part of the journey towards making part of your day, and your life. It’s when we notice difference between making time for it and not doing it that we can see the benefit of being disciplined around it.

The times when things get tough are the times that a spiritual practice serves us the most. It’s easy to do it when we are feeling good but it’s when we are feeling overwhelmed, upset, run down and so on that it can carry us through.

Learning to listen to my inner voice, what is really true for me, through connection to myself through yoga has helped me to make healthy decisions and stand up for what is right for me in my life.

Having a faith in something bigger than myself has given me patience, trust and peace of mind.

Connecting with and opening my heart through yoga has helped me to learn to truly accept myself and have compassion for others.

Of course you do need to listen to what you need and if a really physical yoga practice feels too much for you that day then choose something more gentle. It might be that you don’t do your whole practice every day but sometimes you just stop to pray, or sit in silence for 10 mins, do just 2 slow sun salutations and so on. Anything that will help you connect to yourself, your body and calm your mind. Just do something every day. For me sometimes I’ll just lie on the floor and listen to a yoga nidra.

How about giving it a go every day this week? Pick something that feel manageable and realistic for you and do it every day, with out fail. Just see how it feels.

As well as all of the above once your willpower and discipline is strengthened you can then harness that energy to create anything in your life. Giving up old habits that no longer serve you start to become a little bit easier. The phrase “if it’s to be, it’s up to me” comes into reality!

If you’d like some help creating a daily spiritual practice please do get in touch – louise@createyourself.co.uk.

Namaste

Louise

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Bringing Yoga Into Everyday Life

India2012 016The wonder of Yoga is that it’s not just practising physical yoga poses on a mat, it’s a whole way of living your life.

What we learn during a yoga class can be taken into our everyday life.

This morning I experienced an example of this that I thought might be helpful to share with you.

Over the past few weeks I have had unusually busy weekends, most including work as well as fun 🙂 What this has led to is myself feeling exhausted on a Monday morning, which up until recently I hadn’t experienced since living a very different life up in London a few years ago.

When I got up this morning I felt frustrated by this tiredness. I wanted to go into Monday morning “doing mode” as my perceptions on Monday’s are that they should be “busy” being productive and getting stuff done. I know this is an aftermath habit from my old 9-6 working life in London. Monday’s are always busy day’s aren’t they?

I got on my mat, I connected to my breath, I held the poses for longer than usual and allowed my body to release tension and yield. Then it came to me. I can make my Monday’s how ever  choose to make them.

My life is simply a creation of my thoughts, I can choose my thoughts. I can choose my way of being. I can choose my perception of how things are.

Just as we can set an intention for our class, what we will focus on during that hour or so. We can do the same in life.

It’s our mind that creates fear and tension, but yoga teaches us that we are not our mind. The classic yoga story to explain this is the man and the rope; A man steps out into a dark street and steps on a rope. His mind immediately thinks its a snake and he has been bitten so he leaps around screaming. His friend comes out with a torch and shines a light on the rope, showing him the truth of what it really is.

Our mind can trick us. Our thoughts can create fears and tensions of what is not really there.

So I finished my practice. I had a long salt bath and went back to bed for a bit. Doing what I felt I needed to and letting go of those “need to be doing” thoughts filled me with inspiration anyway, and here I am enjoying writing this. It’s amazing how life rewards us for just doing what is good for us.

Namaste

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The Power of Faith

create5Something that has evolved through my yoga practice is having faith in a power bigger than myself. For me this is God, for others it might be the universe, your higher power, love and so on. Ultimately I believe it all to be the same.

Having faith that I am being looked after, guided, and that what ever happens to me is always for my higher good has been transformational. I now daily hand my life over to God, I surrender, and trust what ever happens is as it’s meant to be.

I really experienced the power of faith recently when I completely lost my voice. I had a week to go before I was running a whole day workshop which of course would involve hours of speaking! I was in complete silence for 6 days, as the workshop approached my voice was a bit better but still strained so I had to get a back up teacher in place to come help if I needed her.

The day before the workshop I surrendered, I handed the day over to God’s will. I prayed. I asked for strength and a voice to be able to carry on with it as I was so looking forward to running it! It’s hard to explain but I felt God’s energy around me, I had an inner knowing that it would all be ok and just to trust.

I woke at 4am , excited about the day ahead and continued to pray. I again had thought from deep within that I should share about this experience, about my experience of coming to believe in God in my late 30s when I had resisted it all my life. I thought well if I am surrendering the day to him I could at least share how amazing he is!

As the workshop began I could feel my voice straining, inside my mind was panicking wondering how on earth it would last the day. Again I surrendered. I slowed down, I spoke a little quieter than usual and just trusted. I felt a peaceful energy all around me. Amazingly my voice lasted through out the whole day, I shared my story and at the end during the sound bath the vibrations from the gongs dislodged a lump from my throat. When I spoke at the end people remarked how noticeably clearer my voice was!

Faith has been a big part of my yoga journey. Yoga means union, it unites body, mind, breath and spirit. This has completely been my experience of it, which was the last thing I expected to happen after coming to it initially for a good stretch and to help calm my busy mind.

If faith is something you are feeling you’d like to explore I’d be really happy to chat about this with you further. I’ve had quite a few life coaching/ yoga 1-1 clients recently who I have been working with on their journey discovering what they believe in. I have learnt through my on going journey that once you are on the path of being open to it it’s amazing how something, an energy, seems to take over and guides you forward. I never force my beliefs on anyone, I think it’s important for you to discover your own.

My next full day workshop: A Journey Through the Chakras is at Unity Studios on 10th May and it will end again with a deeply healing gong bath, I have really noticed the shift in my voice and self expression since that last one which is a testimonial to how powerful they really are.

I am also running a 3 hour workshop focusing on the throat chakra (this was planned before I lost my voice but feels like perfect timing now!) on 21st March. Details of all  my workshops are on this page: yoga workshops

Namaste

Louise x

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