In addition to the Inspirations on my web site, my writing has also been published in these places…
Before writing this, I went back and read my 2015/2016 ‘New Year Newsletter’ and It did make me smile on reflection. I was pretty burnt out and had had a very busy year of teaching commitments, as well as some personal hurdles to overcome, and serious family health worries. Therefore, my intention for 2016 was about cutting my workload, spending more time with family and friends and also to look after myself by taking more down time to do the things that I love.
Well, I can honestly say, hand on my heart that that is exactly what I did, in fact for me personally 2016 was a very good year indeed, just like a good wine, it will go down as a one to remember. I spent the whole month of February with friends and family in Goa, India and also got married out there. I taught 3 yoga retreats in stunning locations, I also had a milestone birthday and so did my Dad, which meant that I spent some real quality occasions with my friends and family celebrating. I also spent some treasured time away and at home just hanging out with my husband and 2 children last year, which was so enjoyable and fun, especially now that they are both adults with great personalities.
I’m so aware that one day I may wake up and find that there won’t be anymore time to love, so family and friends time will always be a priority for me from now on.
Now I find myself at the start of 2017 pondering, feeling remarkably refreshed and ready to move on to new pastures with my teachings and also out of my current very comfortable ‘comfort zone’.
I have reached an age whereby, I don’t need or want to compete or compare myself with every other yoga teacher because it will not make me a better person, move me further ahead, improve my situation, or help me to find peace. Instead, it can fuel feelings of inadequacy. The reality is that there is not one correct path for a yoga teacher these days because we all have our own unique journey. A path that’s right for someone else won’t necessarily be the right path for me and now finally – I’m ok with that. My life isn’t meant to look like anyone else’s because I’m a person with my own unique set of abilities, obstacles, needs and visions.
So this year is about simply listening to my own inner wisdom, as well as trusting that I am enough, I am worthy and that my life is enough, I believe that I’m where I’m meant to be right now and that I will end up where I’m meant to go……
I’ve never been one for setting big intentions but I do listen to my dharma, in other words, my visions, what feels right, what makes me feel fulfilled and how can I stay true to that. I have decided that 2016 is the year that I would like to really refine who I am on the mat? Don’t get me wrong, I have everything I need right now, life is good and I love what I do, but there is a sense of wanting to dive deeper in to myself in order to facilitate more quality rather than quantity in my teachings. My meditations, (the study of svadyaha, being still and simply noticing who I am and what forces are at work, the ones that I have control of and the ones that I don’t) have been speaking with real clarity lately, with regards to what I see myself doing and where I want to be eventually. You see, I have plans and a vision that hopefully have an eventual destination, even though this seems a little vague at the moment. Its so easy to overly place extraordinary value on an end goal and objective when actually what is more important is creating the intuitive stepping stones and simple groundwork that is required to put into the journey that will ultimately take me there. Ten years from now, I want to be able to say that I chose my life and that I didn’t just settle for it.
These past 2 weeks, I’ve been really busy plotting, planning and collaborating and consequently have some exciting personal teaching events in the pipeline for 2017.
Here’s what’s on offer for the first half of this year and there are more surprises to come too.
Saturday 14th January
Friday 3rd March
Sunday 5th March
Friday 31st March
Sunday 23rd April
Friday 5th May
Monday 29th May
Tuesday 20th June
I have so many more ideas and plans still waiting to come into fruition so watch this space for more exciting collaborations to come……..
This year, my mantra is “I believe in myself”
im taking a deep leap of faith to make this year exceptional in every way. I am good enough, I am worthy, I am knowledgable, I am full of sparkle and compassion, I am not afraid of the truth, I am loyal, supporting, loving and surprising. I make mistakes, but I own them and I learn from them. I keep it real…..
Love Brigitte xxx
True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.” — Aadil Palk
Here we are at last beginning to feel the surge of rising Spring energy as the days get longer and evenings lighter, as well as snowdrops, daffodils, and primroses all blooming.
And we can also see the beginnings of a brave new world emerging with such optimism and possibility, after a long challenging, tumultuous year of Covid lockdowns, restrictions on our freedom, heavy heartedness, and dispiritedness.
Possibility is such a poignant word right now, we can feel it right at the tip of our fingers. The possibility of conclusively getting some normality back in our lives; work, hobbies, travel, adventures, family get-togethers, socialising with friends, pubs, restaurants, concerts, festivals, holidays and above all coming together as communities again – perhaps through yoga practice.
All of that said, I’ve kind of got used to my daily inner recluse lockdown routine, as have many of you I’m sure. However, now the UK has an exit plan, I feel that many of us have lost our sense of purpose or direction and are asking ourselves the un-nerving question, “What am I going to do now?”
I have been mulling over all the things that I miss pre covid, but also how my mindset and goals have changed considerably since covid. I am not the same person that I was a year ago, this pandemic has taught me so much about myself and more than anything, I’ve had the time to reflect on what I want to do and where I want to be in my future life.
I have been fortunate, as although I have had my own share of heaviness and felt very low on some days, the past year has also allowed me the time to stop working so much, to stop striving, to let go of trying to be more, to look after me, and dare I say, I feel that I have arrived at a stage in my life whereby I am proud of my achievements and I no longer have such driven ambition. In fact, I now have a much clearer vision of where I want to be in my life at the age of 54.
I literally have asked myself, “What is no longer serving” and “How can I simplify my life more to create more time for my family and myself?”, as well as “What still ignites passion and motivates me”. My intention being to establish a new way being and move forwards with deeper clarity and motivation for this new chapter of my life.
Over the past year, I have really appreciated having evenings and weekends to myself for the first time in 18 years, so one thing I know for sure is that I’ve decided I will no longer be teaching regular weekly classes. If you have attended these classes in the past, I really hope you understand – and you can rest assured that there are plenty of fabulous yoga teachers in and around our area now. I can remember a time when I was one of only about 4 teachers in Milton Keynes when I first started out and now there is an abundance.
Whilst this is sad and will certainly mark the end of an era for me, I’m also excited to concentrate on the more specialised diverse part of my work that inspires me and is also rewarding in return; one to one therapeutic sessions, one to one teacher mentoring, mindfulness courses, the occasional specialised masterclass or workshop and of course I will continue with my retreats which have such a wonderful following now.
Something new that has been born out of the past year was my YouTube channel, I originally started this, to offer online classes to my regular students over lockdown and never expected anything back in return. However, it has been such a wonderful platform and has given back more than I could have possibly imagined. I regularly receive messages of gratitude and inspiration from both yoga teachers and yoga students, with the added bonus of having re-connected with students that I have not seen in years and years.
By setting clear intentions, and then daring to share them or even saying them out loud, we are letting the Universe know exactly what we want to manifest for ourselves as we transition into this budding, brighter, and optimistic Spring/Summer of 2021.
These intentions need to be set in practices that involve silence, awareness, breathing and kindness towards ourselves. There also needs to be a remembrance that we cannot awaken and rebirth until we are able to spring clean by shedding old layers, habits, and antiquated beliefs. We therefore need to ask ourselves; “What do I need to let go of?” “What do I want to awaken in myself?” “What possibilities does my/our future vision hold”.
Quite simply when we wake up and listen, to our own empowerment, we then ultimately feel empowered, abundant, alive, vibrant and life flows more smoothly.
This has been a year of indefiniteness, and we have learnt that even if we have had no control over what is happening around us, we do always have control over our mindset. This is where the concept of possibility is most potent.
Learning to hold possibility in our hearts and minds can help us balance the art of letting go, working out what the past year has taught us and where that might take then us, then actively creating, and trusting the process of moving forwards.
Doing this work will make ‘possibility’ your new reality – and this is the path of yoga. Nothing in life is binary or easy to define, however, we can tune in to our senses as well as intuition and be guided by them. Life is constant, circumstances invariably change, who we are in relation to others is always in a constant state of fluctuation, walls move, relationships shift, and life becomes more complex.
Change is the only constant. Living in possibility is simultaneously disconcerting but also liberating. Living in possibility means we get to reinvent ourselves with every breath and every cycle of life. And what we practice, we become more adept at, body and mind, we get to choose where we want to focus our future energy. It’s challenging and scary at the same time, but when we explore change, the possibilities are endless.
‘Behind me is infinite power. Before me is endless possibility. Around me is boundless opportunity. Why should I fear?’ – Stella Stuart
Sending so much love and support – as you too navigate your way forwards in to a brave new world
Keeping it Real
Namaste – I’m back!
You may or may not have noticed that I dropped out of social media sometime after lock-down began and only came back a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t a conscious choice, it’s just that I had absolutely no inclination, motivation, or enthusiasm to scrawl through posts or to write anything inspiring. There are a few reasons for this that some of you may well relate to.
At first, it was kind of a novelty to chill out at home, bask in the gorgeous sunny weather that we were blessed with, with my husband Brian, and give back to myself after 18 years of teaching yoga and giving to others. Also, a couple of weeks into lock-down, my son whom has been working in NZ and Australia for the past 2 years had to cancel his travel plans and fly back to the UK, it’s been so lovely having him home during this time.
I have also had to cancel or postpone so many future yoga events that were scheduled in my diary, from teacher training’s, workshops, and retreats, this has been not only disappointing but also quite stressful. I have been dealing with issuing refunds and doing my best to reply to many concerned emails. Then, there was the coming to terms with the fact that I have no future revenue in the pipeline for the foreseeable future.
Lastly, and you may find this quite funny, I became completely absorbed with and addicted to ‘online scrabble’ during lockdown and still am, although, I now set a time limit to how often I play! 😉
There have been times when this situation has felt overwhelming, I’ve missed socialising with my friends, family and of course my yoga students. I basically love being around people and teaching yoga is very much about interacting with others as well as inspiring others. I’m ashamed to say that about 5 weeks into lock-down, I had not only lost my sense of purpose and self-esteem, but my personal yoga practice had also begun to dwindle.
We are all as a collective, (not just me), trying our best to adjust to this new normality, all be it that perhaps we are struggling or striving in different ways. Some of us are also in isolation all alone, others are trying to entertain/ home-school their children while continuing to work from home and of course some of of us are part of the essential front-line workers, working extremely hard to support the whole country during this crisis.
I guess we all have our own very personal story to tell about these strange and unprecedented times too. The year we thought we were going to have, has not materialised, and now it seems we’ve entered into a very new world and are trying to do our best to come to terms with new ways of being.
It’s so easy to completely lose our sense of identity, became quite insular and consequently close our hearts and minds during difficult or challenging times.
However, I am a yoga teacher I am supposed to be among the world’s most gifted people when it comes to putting a positive spin on things (written tongue in cheek). One day, 6 weeks in to lock-down, I literally just woke up, gave myself ‘a pep talk and decided “today is the day I choose to change my mindset and flow with this new way of being”.
During the first few weeks of lock-down, I had many messages from past and present students asking me if I was planning on teaching online as many other teachers were already doing this.
I contemplated and pondered, then after attending a couple of online zoom master-classes with my own teacher, Tias Little, had decided that personally it wasn’t for me. Please don’t get me wrong if you do teach or attend live online yoga classes, it’s just that for many reasons, it didn’t sit well with me at that time and quite frankly, I was also savouring my new found freedom of giving back to myself. I didn’t want to be tied to fixed teaching dates and times (I’m also hopeless with computers and tech).
I was chatting to my daughter one day on the phone and she came up with the idea of creating a new platform for myself by recording classes and posting them to YouTube. This way, I could give back to my loyal students that have supported me over 18 years and at the same time build a new online community. I am also blessed that I have a private log cabin yoga studio in my garden – so the perfect place to take myself off to practice and film videos.
Without hesitation, I flowed with the idea. What a great opportunity to serve and support others by sharing my experience and teachings of yoga so that they may benefit in the same way I that have from the teachings that have been gifted to me over the years. Yoga has healed me and picked me back up so many times now I have lost count.
To be honest, the first few classes were quite amateurish, I was not at all comfortable talking to the camera but the more classes that I taught, the more the more the camera became my friend and the more comfortable I became. I’ve now invested in a new camera (as YouTube needs to be filmed with a landscape lens) which has made a huge difference to the quality of our videos.
Well, I never ever thought I’d hear myself saying this but the benefits of posting classes to YouTube, whilst at the same time getting my yoga back on, far outweighed my expectations, especially as I am offering these classes out for free. My simple twice weekly (or more) appointment with my body, mind and breath gave me back my motivation and I began to face each day with a new found positive outlook.
Yoga always gives back, physically, emotionally and psychologically, it offers us the resilience to withstand and adapt to whatever is going on in our lives and in the world.
I have now taught far more people than I could have possibly imagined via my YouTube studio classes, and have received the most wonderful messages from yoga teachers and yogis (not just in the UK but from all over the world). Most of these students have practiced with me in the past, either on a retreat, workshops or classes (spanning the whole of my yoga teaching career), and then have either moved away or lost touch. It has been so wonderful to read messages from yogis that I haven’t seen or heard of for years. Many positive messages have also come from local yoga teachers who no longer get the time to practice with me as they are too busy teaching now. I’ve also had a few messages from people whom I’ve never met, thanking me for my classes and saying they’ve been a real inspiration and lifeline during this time of isolation.
Each time I read a new message or comment, I’m reminded of why I love teaching yoga and practicing yoga so much. I am also more importantly reminded how hugely satisfying as well as gratifying it is to be able to give back. The energy of life is full of good will for us, even if we do not always see it or understand it, if we choose to trust this benevolence. There is an old saying, ‘The more you give, the more you get’. I don’t know exactly what this is yet, but I do have faith that there is a bigger picture here that will eventually unfold. My online YouTube platform is growing slowly but surely, I am gradually getting new subscribers to both of my websites as well as Facebook and Instagram. I’m obviously a novice on YouTube but apparently if I make it to 1000 subscribers, I may earn some money from it eventually, so please do subscribe to my channel, like the videos and comment on them (if you enjoying them).
So, giving back to my online YouTube community has literally lifted me back up, it’s given me back my sense of purpose, inspiration and enthusiasm for life and more importantly my passion for teaching yoga.
I am now choosing to open my heart to it all. I’m open to the not knowing, I’m open to uncertainty and I’m open to a being out of my comfort zone, I’m open to trying not to overthink things and as I currently do not know what the future holds, I am trusting that the universe has a plan and I’m flowing with it.
Above all, I’ve pulled myself together and embraced this new way of being. I now have time to ensure that I’m meeting my needs in terms of what and when I eat, when I relax and even simple things like taking time out for myself every day to go for a long meditative walk or run. I especially relish the fact that I don’t have to go out and teach in the evenings anymore. I treasure my nights in at home, it’s been absolutely heavenly to spend time cooking a wholesome meal and then to just switch off and relax.
I therefore wanted to take this opportunity to thank you massively for your ongoing support. This lock-down journey has been and still is providing us all with so many incredible lessons.
It takes so much courage to still love the world with all of its brokenness right now. I truly hope that you too can find it within yourself to navigate smoothly through whatever you are facing. This is an unsettling time and none of us know how long it will last. For many of us, life feels a little (or a lot) out of control. However, one thing we can control right now is how how we choose spend this time that has been given to us.
Today is another day in which we are blessed with the opportunity to rise,
To continue, and awaken.
To slowly nod with forgiveness,
Squint the eyes –
Just a bit,
I got this.
Sending support, blessings and love in abundance 🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻
PS – Big shout out to my husband Brian for supporting and encouraging me so much during this time and for being so patient when we are shooting videos. Sometimes, he has to do 10 takes before I’m happy with my opening greeting 😉🙏🏻
DAY 14 LOCKDOWN
For the first 10 days of lockdown, I was in busy mode!
I have had to cancel many events, from retreats to masterclasses and teacher trainings. I’ve sent email after email, I witten to many gracious and understanding yogis and also some that were a little fearful and ungracious. It’s been exasperating to say the least.
This sadly, is a reflection of life and the sorry state of the whole world right now; everything has abruptly had to be put on pause, it seems as though life is conspiring against us. However, we have no choice but to accept……
A few days ago, I had a bleak heavy day! I had completed most of my emails and decided to give myself permission to have a free day. I went for a walk-in nature and I did some yoga and meditation. However, instead of experiencing feelings of peace, calm and contentment, I began to feel negative emotions coming up to the surface. Feelings of real anxiety and emptiness, I felt on edge, sad, lethargic and disconnected, as though I had lost my sense of identity which is not like me at all. These feelings had been bubbling up inside of me all along, but I had not given myself the time or space to genuinely feel them and listen to them.
Feelings of overwhelm both physical and emotional are often caused by underlying anxiety. It was only when I gave myself time to ’just be’ that these emotions presented themselves to me.
This situation we all find ourselves in right now is unprecedented, meaning it has never happened before. Suddenly, we are on a roller coaster that doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon, with life continuing to change for us all at a rapid speed. The coronavirus pandemic is challenging to say the least and it’s also disturbing to our peace of mind, perhaps forcing us to question our own existence. Why is this happening? Why can’t I go on with my usual life? How did this problem escalate and why? What do I miss most about my life before lockdown? What do I not miss? What am I learning about myself? Perhaps also questioning our careers and busy lifestyles before all of this began.
“Nothing ever goes away before it teaches us what we need to know” – Pema Chodron
Impermanence is life! Life circumstances never stay the same and when we’re least expecting change, it can be very unsettling. However, if there’s one thing I know for sure, when something is out of our control, we literally have no choice but to just flow/go with it. Impermanence does not necessarily lead to suffering, but what makes us suffer, is wanting things to be permanent or continue as ‘normal’ when that is not the case.
Many of us have also experienced other stressful and difficult times in our lives, countless emotions can arise such as anger, confusion, fear, loneliness, bitterness and sadness, just to name a few. During these times, it’s important to stay present and awake more than ever. Allowing these emotions to surface, as well as being curious in the process is very necessary to appreciate the true meaning of our lives, as well as to achieve healing and transformation.
When we feel powerless or find ourselves in the grips of uncertainty, staying present keeps us grounded and observing means to be with ‘what is’ as it is happening. This means neither denying, or rejecting our feelings, or ignoring the way things are. Instead, accepting our vulnerability and acknowledging whatever is awake within ourselves, whether agreeable, unpleasant or neutral. In bearing witness in this way, we gain the emotional buoyancy to cope with our own fate and the fate of the world right now.
We must believe that growth and potential will follow in the wake of this hardship and tragedy.
Something positive that Coronavirus is teaching us is how to be human again. This epidemic has been challenging for us all collectively, we have been thrown out of our routines and forced to change. Yet we are supporting each other more, we may not ‘be’ actually together, but we are together now more than ever before.
We are taking care of our families, our neighbours, we are recognising and appreciating our wonderful NHS workers and many others on the front line. We have come together as families, communities and as a nation.
And because many of us have more time on our hands, creativity is thriving. Beauty is everywhere; in the stories of complete strangers, in our daily exercise outside, in a knowing smile as you acknowledge each other standing on your line outside the grocery store, catching up with friends on a live zoom chat, communication in our neighbourhood and friends WhatsApp groups, cooking homemade food together as a family, the list is endless. We’ve have the time to reflect on our lives and learn what is truly important.
LOVE is keeping us together and as a race we can learn to live with this situation and even thrive because of it, by responding with love and unity.
Life is so fragile and fleeting, yet at the same time it is resilient. This new normal is heart-breaking and yet heart-warming at the same time, bringing with it an involuntary shift in our mindset and perspective.
I am learning so much about myself right now and my priorities in life, I encourage you all to contemplate and do the same. Don’t focus on tomorrow, take each day as it comes and stay present in the here and now. If negative emotions arise, then allow, accept, understand them, relate to them and then eventually you will process them.
As a yoga teacher I have been preaching this forever, but now we are being called to practice this meditative awareness with greater wisdom. The key to mindfully dealing with your difficult emotions is to let go of your need to control them, instead, be open to the outcome, consider what unfolds from your truest, deepest authentic self.
With so much love
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
Opening to Grace’ is a term often associated with yoga practice. It is a way of leading everything we do with the quality of an open-hearted attitude, infinite trust, belief, possibility, support and gratitude.
The willingness to receive what is already in the core of your being is the willingness to not run from your own longing, to discover right now within yourself the source of that longing. Then you will discover that the longing itself carries you to the core of yourself, where true peace and perfection are revealed as never separate from the truth of who you are.
In life, grace means honoring the inherent goodness that is in all of us, and also in everything around us. Opening to grace allows us to make life-affirming choices and to look for the good in all things, even moments that are veiled in sorrow or misfortune. 💕
We can often feel the pressure for January to be a time of setting new beginnings or powerful intentions but I like to you instead explore and invoke the beautiful qualities of ‘Grace’.
My practice then becomes an internal journey, beyond the physical experience of yoga, into the subtle movements of the body initiated by prana – life force. As I integrate expressive movement perfectly in time with my breath, the flow becomes effortless beauty, pure, free, more subtle, conscious and liberated – then you will tap into the source of Grace within you – mind, body and heart become one.
“Grace wakes us up when we are asleep, brings light to where there is darkness and removes obstacles from our path”. – Krishna Das
Sitting in stillness and observing your breath is healing on every level 🙏🏼
“When you practice sitting meditation, the first thing you do is to bring peace to your breath and to your body. Pay attention to your in-breath and out-breath. Your breathing will naturally become more peaceful and smooth and it will also become very pleasant. Sit solely for the joy and nourishment of sitting.
Breathing mindfully brings your mind home to your body. Bring your awareness to your body, relax your body and release any tension that is there. Your body is a miracle. When you can touch the wonder of your body, you have the opportunity to touch Mother Earth within you as a wonder, too, and healing begins straight away – we don’t need to wait ten years for healing to take place. Many of us have become sick because we’re alienated from our body and from the body of the Earth. So the practice is to go home to Mother Earth to get the healing and nourishment we so desperately need. Mother Earth is always ready to embrace us and help nourish and heal us. And as we heal, we’re helping the Earth to heal at the same time.
We tend to think that we have to do something to heal the Earth. But sitting with mindfulness and concentration is doing something. We don’t have to fight in order to feel the benefits of sitting. Just allow yourself to sit quietly. Allow yourself to be yourself. Don’t do anything. Just allow the sitting and the breathing to take place. Don’t strive; relaxation will come. When you are completely relaxed, healing will take place on its own. There’s no healing without relaxation. And relaxation means doing nothing. There is only breathing and sitting. Don’t try to force your breathing. Just allow it to follow its natural rhythm. We just enjoy our in- and out-breath. Healing begins when you aren’t trying to do anything. This is the practice of non-practice”.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
We held the space for a deeply relaxing, rejuvenating, refreshing and replenishing yoga retreat in The Peak District in November 2019 which truly was food for the soul.
Our group stayed in the most gorgeous comfortable barn conversion with stunning views of The Hope Valley. We walked, we talked, we relaxed in the huge open plan lounge, we ate the most amazing nourishing, grounding food and we did some profoundly specialised, remedial yoga practices which offered transformation on all levels.
Holding space for yourself and others is the conscious act of being present, observing, listening, being open and allowing, which can be so difficult in our busy day to day lives when we are constantly on the go and doing!
For Rosemary and myself it was a real privilege to hold the space for such a lovely friendly group. Our true purpose and desire on these rejuvenating weekend retreats is to be able to impart our combined teaching experience as well as knowledge, and to support everyone in any way we can.
We are both fully committed and passionate about delivering innovative yoga teachings that really resonate on a deep level. Our joint intention being to offer a deeper understanding to each individual of their own personal body anatomy, the inner subtle body, the organ body and how it works, as well as to encourage the group to listen to their innermost feelings. Our wish is to intelligently guide, advise, inform, enlighten and increase consciousness through these profoundly healing practices.
Holding space is accepting others as they are, without judgement or any desire to change them, this gives others a priceless gift—the freedom to relax fully and be their true authentic selves. Therefore as teachers, we try to intuitively allow ourselves to hold awareness and be whatever the group needs us to be in that moment.
Huge thanks to everyone whom attended.
With love from Brigitte and Rosemary
Vulnerability is a strength not a weakness.
Vulnerability is having the courage to show up, show our feelings, be intimate in our relationship with others and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.
We are born vulnerable and stay that way for our entire childhood. Our relationship with vulnerability is something we are familiar with as children, yet sometimes abandon as we experience pain and hurt, and merge into adulthood.
Depending on individual circumstances, some of us then tend to unconsciously build a wall around our vulnerability. We can then become afraid and find it hard to reveal our true feelings as well as other aspects of ourselves to others.This is because, it’s actually easier to protect ourselves by suppressing our emotions and holding everything in.The ego self likes to protect its image and vulnerability is a crack in its armour.
To break down our heart’s protective shell and to heal our past pain, it’s imperative to feel and process all of our emotions fully. In a nutshell, when we allow ourselves to feel then we can heal. Being with our feelings can be painful, as all sorts of psyche and sentiments can rise to the surface, however, eventually, we are able to process them and then let them go. Letting down your guard is a commitment to healing, moving forwards in life, contentment and personal growth. Releasing a grudge, forgiving, learning to love again, speaking from your heart with feeling and compassion, being open, truthful and intimate in all relationships means taking off your protective mask and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.Therefore, what is required in order to heal is a shift in our awareness so that we learn to stay open and strengthen our emotional well-being.
All of life’s past experiences and emotions are held in our physical body. To heal means allowing ourselves to also be vulnerable in our yoga practice rather than using our practice to mask emotion. Yoga can bring us into our bodies to explore being vulnerable and we can teach our minds to dwell there.
In the yoga studio, I often witness students feeling very uncomfortable or even fearful, particularly in postures that open the front body. Opening the heart centre, shoulders and upper back for many, takes a lot of courage physically mentally and emotionally. An animal only ever reveals its front body when it feels safe, secure, relaxed and loved and human beings are no exception.
When we hold on or cloak our feelings, we also unknowingly but instinctively protect our front body, consequently creating a hardness especially around our upper body. However, stretching, expanding, lifting and softening the chest can really help to release emotions that have become trapped and held here.
“What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.” — Haruki Murakami
Yoga is way of taking yourself into life’s pulsing heart. It will inevitably lead you to your own vulnerability, to your raw places. But vulnerability also opens the door to love, grace, and the deepest forms of healing. Your vulnerability, scary as it can be, is inseparable from your capacity for intimacy so if you push it away, you’re also pushing away love and we all deserve to love and be loved.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. Vulnerability is a commanding act of strength and courage. vulnerability is the core, the heart, the centre of meaningful human experiences.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
With Love B xx
is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be.
Rest is the essence of giving and receiving.
Rest is an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically.
To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals.
To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right.
To rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner static bulls eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.
The template of natural exchange is the breath, the autonomic giving and receiving which is the basis and the measure of life itself.
We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imagination and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world.
We are rested when we let things alone and let ourselves alone, to do what we do best, breathe as the body intended us to breathe, to walk as we were meant to walk, to live with the rhythm of a house and a home, giving and taking through cooking and cleaning.
When we give and take in this easy foundational way we are closest to the authentic self, and closest to that self when we are most rested.
To rest is not self indulgent.
To rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given.
In the first state of rest is the sense of stopping, of giving up on what we have been doing or how we have been being.
In the second, is the sense of slowly coming home, the physical journey into the body’s un-coerced and un-bullied self, as if trying to remember the way or even the destination itself.
In the third state is a sense of healing and self-forgiveness and of arrival.
In the fourth state, deep in the primal exchange of the breath, is the give and the take, the blessing and the being blessed and the ability to delight in both.
The fifth stage is a sense of absolute readiness and presence, a delight in and an anticipation of the world and all its forms; a sense of being the meeting itself between inner and outer, and that receiving and responding occur in one spontaneous movement.
A deep experience of rest is the template of perfection in the human imagination, a perspective from which we are able to perceive the outer specific forms of our work and our relationships whilst being nourished by the shared foundational gift of the breath itself. From this perspective we can be rested while putting together an elaborate meal for an arriving crowd, whilst climbing the highest mountain or sitting at home surrounded by the chaos of a loving family.
Rested, we are ready for the world but not held hostage by it, rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way.
In rest we re-establish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember, and someone others would want to remember too.
Are you a people pleaser or a drifter who is stuck in a routine of regrets OR are you living your truth?
Your truth means being your true authentic self, it is the voice of your intuition, your gut feeling, your instinct, your inner knowing, it’s about your own personal wants, needs, desires, goals and your beliefs.
YOU have the total power to live your life any way that you choose and to be faithful to the truth of your own feelings. Being true to yourself means that you shouldn’t need to worry about pleasing other people or living by society’s standards and rules.
If you are not living authentically you may feel suppressed, anxious, confused, depressed, helpless, or even angry. If you are not living the life that you want to live, it can feel suffocating.
We all compromise our truth at some stage in our lives, perhaps it’s your job, marriage, family, friendships or a situation that you feel stuck in.
Ask yourself, when you feel most triggered, and also when do you feel the most contentment?
If you can you truly listen to your intuition and then be strong enough to act on it, then the choices and decisions you make in life will satisfy your soul because you are living in harmony with what’s important to you and what sits well within you. It means that you are expressing who you really are at your core, you are standing by your beliefs and taking responsibility to live your life in the way that feels right for you.
Then what you have left, is fulfilment.
Love B xx
Something that I’ve been working on throughout the whole of August is creating more space in my life for me!!
Sometimes life gets so busy there is no time for me…….
Space between thoughts, personal space, space in my physical body to allow prana to flow more freely and space for myself in the form of time.
When life becomes too full, it can be very easy to focus on the areas that we feel we are lacking in and space is a big one for most of us.
Space is always there. we just have to access it. When we are practicing on our mats its amazing how much we are able to move and open both body and mind.
With a regular yoga practice we actually don’t need much space to create space – because breath and movement are one of the quickest, easiest and most sustainable ways of feeling spaciousness not only in our bodies but also in our minds.
When we introduce a deeper state of awareness internally, we are able to see our lives with more clarity, which in turn offers a sense of spaciousness in all parts of our lives.
We all have a bag.
We all pack differently.
Some of us are traveling light.
Some of us are secret hoarders who’ve never parted with a memory in our lives.
I think we are called to figure out how to carry our bag to the best of our ability
How to unpack it, and how to face the mess.
I think a part of growing up is learning how to sit down on the floor with all your things and figuring out what to take with you and what to leave behind.
A dear friend and student of mine sadly passed away recently. I had so much love and respect for this special lady and feel so much for the loved ones she has left behind.
When she first found out that she had 3 brain tumors, she was of course upset but also at the same time very realistic, pragmatic and accepting, we could all learn so much from her attitude. I would visit her house every week armed with bolsters, sandbags and blankets and we would meditate, practice restorative yoga or sometimes just have a good natter and put the world to right and we would sometimes laugh out loud, in fact she never stopped laughing in all the time she was ill.
I remember her saying after our first meditation session, ‘it is what it is, I can’t change it, but I can stay present and live my life for right now’.
She did just that, after her first lot of chemo was finished, she made it her mission to come on a retreat with me to Champney’s, she took her little girl to Lapland with her husband that same year, and also did many more meaningful things (too many to mention here), that weren’t just about her. She went out of her way to inspire others in the same situation, she carried on living her life and making very special memories with her young daughter, in fact once her daughter did yoga with us too. She eventually became bored with being at home, (she was a presenter for a local radio station) so she went back to work and tried to live her life with as much normality as possible.
Some of you will remember her from my Granary workshop sessions or my Tuesday morning therapeutic sessions. She loved talking about life and philosophy..
Her Facebook wall has been flooded with hundreds of beautiful, inspirational comments since she’s passed, I have had tears streaming down my face reading them, but I have also weirdly been smiling at all of the lovely stories and memories. 🙂
We don’t know when our time is up people, stay present, live your life and make every second of it meaningful and worthwhile.
I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
To allow my living to open me,
To make me less afraid,
To loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
To live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom
And that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.
Feeling the love from my practice today. ❤️
I am a stronger, more positive, more open-minded, more stable as well as a much more content person now, compared to the me of 25 years ago. I no longer want someone else’s life or someone else’s ‘things’ because I’m too busy living mine to the full and I’m genuinely happy with my lot.
I’ve learnt to believe in myself and to trust that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. Yoga and meditation have given me permission to listen to my inner most truth and to then follow through with my goals, visions and my dreams for my future.
Practicing yoga has the ability to alter your brain map and the way that you think, so that you see things from a different perspective. This ultimately means that yoga can positively lift you and change the way that you see yourself, others and the world around you.
You may think it takes years of dedicated practice before you start to see results, but that’s not the case at all. For me, my mindset began to shift within 3 months of starting regular yoga classes all those years ago. I gained clarity, I could see my life more clearly and realised that I didn’t have to stay in a situation that made me feel negative, unhappy and didn’t inspire me.
Research has shown that the ability to become more aware and the ability to be able to regulate your breath cycle is key in terms of lowering stress and becoming more grounded. Both of which are needed to alter pessimistic mood states so that you start to feel happier within yourself. Long-term yoga practice will therefore create long-term changes.
These days, I have a clear and exciting vision for my future and I believe in my own strength to carry through.
In a nutshell, yoga strengthens our brain-body connection. The integration of awareness, breath and movement can clear blockages and open energy lines within the body. The body then sends messages to the brain that rewire it, making it feel calm, peaceful, content, happy as well as strong, positive and re-inspired. 🙏🏼
Yoga is my passion, rock and inspiration and today I’m feeling so blessed that it’s also my job and that I’m able to share precious teachings and teacher training’s with others 🙏🏻
I came across this gem the other day, a great reminder to us all.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Let the goddess we all have inside, shine and light the world. ✨
The Sanskrit name for this pose is Utkata Konasana. Utkata and means powerful or fierce angled posture. When we combine a physically powerful posture with body language that enhances feelings of power, we can really make an impact upon the mind and body. The original intention of this posture was to inspire elegance and almightiness, unapologetic confidence and pride. This variation, folded body with with eagle arms is challenging, for muscles and mind therefore demonstrates exactly how I’ve been feeling of late!
Shifts are happening in all areas of my life. Growth is stepping out of my comfort zone and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now. I am feeling determined, grounded and at the same time challenged but quietly proud. I have a vision for the future which is empowering, I’m hanging in there, working hard, staying present, letting go and trusting that I have the infinite potential to carry through. All will be revealed in good time 😉
Goddesses don’t become goddesses by playing small. They let themselves shine, they inspire others, they’re wise and they aren’t afraid to be their truest authentic selves. 😉
‘Benefits of Goddess Squat’
This pose strengthens the entire lower body, including the glutes, hips, thighs, calves, and ankles. It opens the hips and chest, stretches the thighs, and elongates the spine. Goddess Pose helps to warm and energize the whole body. It improves balance, focus, and concentration. This pose also stimulates the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, while helping to relax the muscles of the pelvic floor..
“Inhale, pause, Exhale, pay attention to the flow of your breath……” – In a yoga class these should be the most spoken words by the teacher – And yet I’m often hearing that some ‘yoga teachers’ don’t emphasise the breath or even teach breathing techniques these days!
The most important part of our yoga practice is to build an intimate relationship with the quality of our own breath, which in turn builds an intimate relationship with ourselves, this is the basis for healing on every level.
Your body loves its breath! When we truly pay attention to our breath, our breath starts to become more expansive and rhythmic. We feel stronger and more alert, but at the same time, calmer and more relaxed. Deep internal breath work invites softness, vulnerability, openness, trust, euphoria, empowerment as well as a sense of ease so that we can flow with the ups and downs of our lives with greater mindfulness, composure and intelligence.
The very first thing that I tell students to do when they come to class is to sit or lie down, close their eyes, turn inwards from their day and pay attention to the quality of their breath.
As soon as we actually become more present and focus on the current of our breath, it starts to regulate and take on its own unique biorhythm. Yogic breathing over time and with practice becomes a delicate, effortless dance, that involves actively moving with your breath while passively receiving its flow. We are not trying to overpower, master or manipulate the breath (which I quite often witness with beginners). A practised yogi instead witnesses, listens, observes, invites freedom, spaciousness and allows the breath to breathe their body, then their practice becomes one that involves effortless effort.
One of the primary goals of yoga is to calm the mind while energising the body, to do this, the breath becomes our guide and support, when we flow with our breath, our practice becomes a smooth, fluent moving meditation.
When focusing on the breath during our physical asana practice, the control of the breath shifts from the brain stem (medulla oblongata) to the cerebral cortex (evolved part of the brain) due to us being aware of the breath. It’s in that moment, when we are aware, that the magic starts to happen. The mind will become quieter and a deeper state of consciousness arises, emotional stress and random thoughts are less likely to occur. .
“To breathe well is simply to move the body in exact synchronicity with the breath. The body movement is the breath movement” – Mark Whitwell
I teach breath-inspired classes no matter what the style of yoga I’m teaching. We always place our focus on the steady flow of our breath, I encourage students to inquire and observe at all times. Our breath has the power to guide and ignite literally every single subtle pulsation or movement of our body/mind. Even when we hold a pose for a long time, for instance in a yin class. I still encourage students to pay attention to the flow of their breath, this allows for the pose to explore awareness, stability and steadiness with the inhale and yet also to delve in to release and freedom with the exhale. Subtle breath movement also facilitates a deepening and expansiveness of the breath. Consequently, the body, breath and mind are felt to be part of a single flowing movement. This creates life current – otherwise known as prana. Then as the prana, begins to flow more freely throughout our body, it clears emotional and physical blockages, thus freeing both the body and mind from tension. This is the ‘feel good’ effect that we experience after a yoga practice because the body responds by feeling absolutely elated and yet at the same time peaceful. This is the power of synchronising breath with movement, this is yoga.
According to the yoga tradition, prana not only rules over the five senses, but also over the whole body. It is prana that allows us to experience life more fully. It’s said that if a part of the body is not functioning well, it is likely to be deficient in prana. Prana is the energy that rides on the breath. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the breath itself, but we are often breathing, while still lacking life force. It’s what we do with our breath that either increases or decreases our prana.
Most of us do not “breathe into” our entire body, sometimes our breath can be shallow or erratic, often there is a shortness to our breath, this can be due to our posture. However, there is a breath associated with every emotional state. anger and anxiety are often associated with short, shallow, rapid breaths. Sadness, depression and hopelessness are often associated with long exhalations or sighs. Happiness, joy and love are often associated with deep, rhythmic diaphragmatic breaths. The way that we breathe ultimately informs our mood state at any given time.
When we practice yoga with full awareness on the flow of our breath we dial into our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS conserves energy, lowers stress and lifts our mood. Therefore, keeping a connection to breath will prevent us from over-exertion and nourishes our nervous system. Maintaining a steady, even breath reminds us to slow down and set a tempo that suits us. Next time you’re practicing try to let the breath lead the movement, allow your breath to set the timing of your movement rather than the other way around. Use each pose as an opportunity to breathe deeply. Let the shape of the pose be a secondary experience to the depth of the breath. Each one of us has an individual unique pulse, when we can tune in and flow with this pulse, our practice becomes a slow elegant dance and you’ll feel simply wonderful when you get to the long relaxation at the end of the class.
The breath is the thread that ties the conscious and subconscious together. By tuning in to the breath you have a window into the deepest layers of the mind.
Yoga means union of the mind, body and breath, therefore only awareness of breath and synchronising breath with movement is yoga. The way that we breathe has an intimate relationship to the overall movement of prana (life energy) throughout our entire body. the breath and mind are so connected, awareness and mindfulness of breathing can lead to insight into the nature of the mind. Insight into the nature of the mind leads eventually to freedom from suffering.
So people, please, please make sure that you go to a yoga teacher that emphasises the breath – all of the time – otherwise it’s not yoga and you’ll never understand the true meaning of yoga. When you place emphasis on the inner experience of the breath, there will be no limit to how deeply your practice can go.
“To the ancient masters, a powerful physical practice was not merely a form of exercise to increase flexibility or fitness. It was a spiritual way of life based on the intuitive understanding that everything is arising from one nurturing source. It is direct embrace of that power. The key to the power of their practices was and continues to be the breath.” – The Promise – Mark Whitwell.
Love your breath 😊
Love B xx
F-cked up Circadian Rhythms, and severe Jet Lag verses the power of Restorative yoga – Restorative yoga wins hands down.
After visiting my son in New Zealand, my biological body clock was majorly disrupted.
My digestive system was been out of sorts, I had muscular aches and was generally feeling sluggish as well as groggy. After about 4 days of insomnia and sleep deprivation, I was starting to feel run down so decided that I was in need of a restorative yoga session.
I began with meditation and lots of breath work, followed by several of the most basic restorative poses. Our practice ended with legs up the wall which is an invaluable pose that offers so many benefits. After 2 hours of gentle stretching and relaxing on bolsters, my body felt so amazing and revived afterwards.
A realigned circadian rhythm, promotes optimum health, mental alertness, immunity, awareness, and physical empowerment.
A circadian rhythm is a biological clock that is present in all living things. It follows a 24-hour cycle and is conditioned by sunlight, darkness and temperature, influencing the sleep-wake cycle, hormone release, body temperature, and other important bodily functions. There are certain circadian rhythms in our body that are optimally active during the day and dissipate when the sun sets. Similarly, there are other circadian rhythms in our body that are optimally active during the night and ebb when the sun rises. These biological rhythms represent the optimum performance of different organs at certain times and their relaxation at other times. The circadian rhythms are easily disrupted by time zone difference, irregular sleeping patterns, stress, emotions, and poor diet. The consequences being insomnia, daytime fatigue, sluggishness, difficulty concentrating, and digestive issues.
After my 2 hour restorative yoga session, I went to bed at 9pm and slept through like a baby until 6.30am, when I awoke, I was re-energised and felt so uplifted in myself again – my circadian rhythm was back on track.
Restorative yoga on a Sunday afternoon in PJ’s should be available on the national health! It was absolutely magical and so very healing in every way.
If like me, you’ve been hibernating or feeling lethargic for most of January, then trust that your body is simply syncing with nature and showing you exactly what is truly needed right now.
The festivities of Christmas are now well behind us and we suddenly find ourselves being pushed into busy – 2019 let’s go!
I used to always feel pressured as a yoga teacher to send out a New Year Newsletter on the 2nd January wishing you all a Happy New Year and inspiring you to set intentions as well as plans for the year ahead. However my wiser and more mature self has given myself permission to not stress over it anymore and to encourage you to unburden yourselves too.
We are still in the depths of a very cold winter, therefore I kind of feel that emerging into readiness and doing is not quite possible yet. Transitioning and eventual emergence is a process that needs to unfold in it’s own time.
So if you’re feeling tired and not ready to face the world yet, then give yourself permission to rest more, move slowly, do less and be kind to yourself. Do contemplate about the year ahead but also stay present, listen to what is needed right now instead of what you think you should be starting, organising or doing. This actually will keep you more focused and grounded and eventually, you can move from being in to doing when the time is right for you to resurface and you will have more clarity.
Winter is a time for inner work and trusting that from a place of nourishment all things are possible. Long nights and cold, short days can definitely take their toll on our health and wellbeing but when we give ourselves permission to be more introverted, we can source our power and awareness from the inside.
That said, I’m still allowing myself to digest the highs and lows of 2018 and I’m purposefully just deliberating on 2019 – 2020.
2018 was a year of powerful shifts, I know that many of you felt this too. For me these involved extreme personal challenges as well as lifestyle changes for my husband and I (some of which are still ongoing). However with shifts also comes growth and in the face of adversity, we have found strength together. We have learnt about each other and our relationship has certainly developed a deeper level of aptitude in the process.
Last year also gave us plenty of good times too, positivity, laughter and happiness, good times that we made happen because we planned and created them. Even when sh-t happens, you can decide how to deal with it and then with that comes the realisation that you get to choose which direction to take and create your own happiness and destiny. There is always a choice, to stay stuck or move forwards.
I am proud to say that my yoga events and retreats last year were all a great success, I feel so humbled and lucky to be doing what I love every day. With continued study, I have been able to take my teachings to the next level each year. Thank you so much for all of your attendance and support.
I am also blessed to have formed a very promising new retreat business partnership with Rosemary Booker, the future looks positively exciting, all will be revealed soon….
In the meantime, here are my offerings for the first half of this year;
My husband Brian is starting up a yoga basics/beginners class on Tuesday evenings from March.
If you have a husband, partner or friend that may be interested then please do share. For more info on this and all of my regular classes; Weekly classes
I have many master-class dates of which I’m teaching vinyasa flow, yoga jams, therapeutic yoga, yin yoga, satya somatics yoga and yoga nidra. For more info on all of these; Master-classes
I am teaching just 2 retreats abroad this year;
The south of France, Monday 24th June 2019 – Monday 1st July 2019
Turkey, Monday 30th Sept – Monday 7th October 2019
These are both already filling up nicely. For more info on these and other retreat offerings;Yoga Holidays
Lastly, myself and Rosemary are holding a one day Vitality, Health and Wellbeing Summer Urban Retreat on Sunday 7th July, for more info; Vitality and Health Summer Retreat Day
Each new year we get to mull over the past and look ahead with promise, envisioning the potential before us. For me, I always want to grow more consciously which simply means I want to step up. Nothing unattainable but personal growth, new found wisdom, stepping out of my comfort zone, stepping up my teaching knowledge, personal visions for our future as well as spending precious time with family/ friends and always travel.
I’m very excited to soon be visiting my son in New Zealand, whom I’ve not seen for almost a year whilst he has been working and travelling. This time next week, the whole family will be reunited (my daughter is coming too) and we will be travelling around New Zealand in a campervan for 3 weeks – happy days.
Know that if you set your mind to it, follow through with little steps first and truly believe it can happen, you can choose and create your own destiny! I for one, never thought in a million years that I would be visiting New Zealand in this lifetime…..
Enjoy your contemplating, deliberating, incubating and planning, who knows where you could be this time next year. Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant.
Signing off with one of my favourite quotes;
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams;
Who looks inside, awakes.
Brigitte is one of those unique teachers who is always growing herself through practise, training and experience and manages to synthesise these facets into understandable practises and philosophy for her students. She is an inspirational teacher and writer, helping me push my personal boundaries. She has also helped me rebuild post various injuries and surgeries over the last few years, yet manages to keep the experience fun and challenging, hence the reason I always come back.
Her retreats are exceptional and the fact that she cares about you as a person too, shines through everything she does. I could not recommend her more highly.
If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” ― Mo Willems.
You’re allowed to leave any story you don’t find yourself in. You’re allowed to leave any story you don’t love yourself in.
You’re allowed to leave a city that has dimmed your light instead of making you shine brighter, you’re allowed to pack all your bags and start over somewhere else and you’re allowed to redefine the meaning of your life.
You’re allowed to quit the job you hate even if the world tells you not to and you’re allowed to search for something that makes you look forward to tomorrow and to the rest of your life.
You’re allowed to leave someone you love if they’re treating you poorly, you’re allowed to put yourself first if you’re settling and you’re allowed to walk away when you’ve tried over and over again but nothing has changed.
You’re allowed to let toxic friends go, you’re allowed to surround yourself with love, and people who encourage and nurture you. You’re allowed to pick the kind of energy you need in your life.
You’re allowed to forgive yourself for your biggest and smallest mistakes and you’re allowed to be kind to yourself, you’re allowed to look in the mirror and actually like the person you see.
You’re allowed to set yourself free from your own expectations.
We sometimes look at leaving as a bad thing or associate it with giving up or quitting, but sometimes leaving is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Leaving allows you to change directions, to start over, to rediscover yourself and the world. Leaving sometimes saves you from staying stuck in the wrong place with the wrong people.
Leaving opens a new door for change, growth, opportunities and redemption.
You always have the choice to leave until you find where you belong and what makes you happy.
You’re even allowed to leave the old you behind and reinvent yourself.
Tap in to your power!
Do you listen or pay attention to your voice of self doubt?
The one that butts in when you have a great plan, idea or vision
Beneath self doubt, there is a deeper voice
It is that deeper voice that self doubt is talking to
It is the one that is your innermost truth, desire and intuition
Is it the weak one or the strong one?
Can you let this voice at your innermost core speak louder than self doubt?
Can you believe in your own truth?
It is always your choice which voice you listen to
You have the power to banish the voice of self doubt
Let your true voice speak louder than your fears
Doubt has only been created through conditioning and life experiences
But your true voice has always been with you
Be still, be silent, breathe and you will hear it
Then you will know it’s been with you always
Trust it and be empowered by it
It is you! 🙏🏼
When the darkness of winter darkens your mood, you may get mood swings, feel mentally and physically drained as well as fatigued. It’s thought that some people’s bodies can’t properly adjust their internal clocks to winter’s shorter days. This has been closely linked with the body’s increased production of melatonin, which can make us feel sleepy, or its decreased production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s thought to contribute to feelings of well-being.
This is because our body depends on a tiny gland called the pineal gland which is located near the centre of the brain. The pineal gland reacts to bright light to produce melatonin, a serotonin derivative that controls our sleep/wake cycles. Melatonin is not only important for healthy cell growth, but it also affects the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol and is important for its effects on our mood, immune function, circadian rhythms, and the quality and quantity of our sleep. High melatonin levels reduce cortisol, allowing us to sleep at night while low melatonin levels increase cortisol, causing anxiety and can disrupt our sleep patterns.
The production of melatonin by the pineal gland is activated by darkness and inhibited by light. Once released, melatonin circulates through the brain and enters nearby blood vessels for distribution to the rest of the body. When melatonin levels are disrupted, people can experience mood swings, depression, and seasonal disorders.
Therefore, the pineal gland plays an important role in mental, physical, and physical health especially in the winter time. Given its important role, it is not surprising that a healthy, activated pineal gland has been connected with yoga and meditation. 😍🙏😍
The good news is that a regular, slow, mindful, winter yoga practice and meditation with plenty of rhythmic steady breathwork can boost melatonin! Mindfulness practices help to clear blocked stagnant energy, increase our intuition, wisdom and awareness as well as connect us to a higher state of consciousness thus improving not only our mood state but our wake/sleep cycles.
So the message here is that during the darkest time of year, it’s more important now, more than ever to maintain your practice, we should be celebrating and stimulating the light with regular yoga and meditation, Practice compassion for yourself and breathe. 🙏😍🙏
Love B xxx
This photo speaks volumes, our last evening together in Bali and 36 very happy, healthy smiling faces literally glowing back at the camera.
Rosemary and I feel truly honoured to have held such a transformative space for all of these radiant beings. To be honest we have been feeling quite emotional and completely humbled by the beauty of what was created here. We would like to offer our heartfelt gratitude to this tribe, for travelling all the way to Bali after earthquake and volcano scares, thank you all for placing your trust in us and investing in this trip, our teachings and ‘yourselves’.
This Retreat actually started as a vague thought about 18 months ago, then a more creative idea that became a potent vision, a professional business partnership was formed and now our dream has shaped itself into reality. We are still pinching ourselves, as we worked so hard behind the scenes leading up to this trip, we wanted to make it special and to also add our own very personal touches to make it a little different to other yoga retreats. So far the positive feedback that we have received has been astounding and more than we could possibly have hoped for.
What a wonderful journey we all shared, there was such a positive vibe from day one and it just continued to get better the more connected that everyone became.
The nature of bountiful beautiful Bali inspired us all, from the Rainforest in Ubud to the peaceful Oceanside resort on the North of the Island. This group blossomed, evolved and bonded so very powerfully, we have cried, loved and laughed together and great friendships have been born and nurtured. Twice daily yoga also encouraged a deeper state of consciousness amongst the group, altering our outlook, changing our perspective and helping us to make clear choices about the way we live our lives. Consequently we all became more sensitive to each other and closer to nature which has given us a greater sense of purpose and grace.
Lastly, we have to give a big shout out to the men in our lives. We are so very grateful to the support of our husbands, we could not have held the space for this retreat with such strength and clarity without their daily input.
We are so proud that Brian played such a vital and important role in our team. This is the first time that he has ever taught yoga on a retreat and he stepped up into his role so effortlessly. He is an excellent teacher and focused on inspiring our beginners as well as students that prefer a slower pace to their yoga practice. His teaching has been amazing and we have received such brilliant feedback from all that attended his morning sessions.
Lastly but absolutely not least, a huge special thank you to Richard whom got up super early every morning and arrived early before our evening sessions to set the the studio up with mats and props and then cleared everything away again afterwards.
These two also helped with so much more behind the scenes, it goes without saying that they are our rocks and a vital part of our RBBR team.
Bali is just the beginning, we have a big international ‘bespoke’ retreat plans for the future. Watch this space…..
With so much love and gratitude
So last week when we were teaching our retreat group in Ubud here in Bali we arranged a special treat for our yogis. A visit from a very inspiring teacher (and well known in the yoga world) who just happened to be teaching in Ubud at the same time as us. We invited him to share his wisdom and to lead us through our afternoon practice.
The legend that is Mark Whitwell from ‘The Heart of Yoga’ rocked up to our Shala at Ananda Cottages on his motorbike looking cool! He would probably hate for me to call him a legend as he aspires to being a very unassuming ordinary man simply on a mission to inspire others to practice yoga.
Mark studied for two decades with T. Krishnamacharya, often referred to as the “father of modern Yoga” and teacher to B.K.S. Iyengar, B.N.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi and others.
We chatted about life in general and Mark reminded us that we are all already perfect, no matter how advanced our yoga practice or who we are (or think we are) or where we come from. There is a yoga practice that is appropriate for every person, regardless of age, health, body type or culture.
After a question and answer session, he then lead us all through a very basic breath inspired practice. He reminded us that Asana practice is the body moving with the breath, the inhale merging with the exhale, the strength in receiving and the strength of giving. Breath is simply all there is, the overriding principle of all yoga is to stay with the breath, as it provides the method for the practitioner to realize his or her highest potential.
We are so grateful to Mark for taking the time to share his teachings with us, after he left, the whole group were all so uplifted.
Yogis, watch this space, next year we are planning on hosting Mark here in the UK! 😊
Love from Bali 🌴☀️👌🏽
It never ceases to amaze me when September rolls around, how our level of energy and activity increases, literally after a slow lazy August, the hustle and bustle of September has now rolled into full swing. However, with it, September brings cooler drier air and light blustery light winds which can stimulate our physical energy and make our minds a little overactive too.
Therefore, as we head towards the Autumn Equinox on 23rd Sept, it’s important to remind ourselves that this is the beginning of the Ayurvedic Vata season. Yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda is the Vedic science of living a life of optimal health and healing, in tune with Mother Nature, this means that seasonal changes can also affect physical and mental changes that we may experience within our bodies and minds too. Vata, which is a mix of the air and ether elements, is associated with Autumn and is linked to dryness, spontaneity, creativity, lightness, but also worry or anxiety. Too much Vata (lightness) in the air can therefore affect our ability to focus or bring on a feeling of being a bit scatterbrained, nervous or overwhelmed perhaps with excessive thoughts or chatter. An overload of Vata in the body may also affect appetite, joints, digestion or our skin may feel drier or more sensitive. Hence, at this time of the year, it’s important to really look after ourselves through diet, grounding exercises and mindfulness practices.
Grounding poses such as mountain pose, sitting chair pose and warrior poses root your feet into the earth, having a stabilizing effect whilst also building strength.
Balancing poses are also grounding as well as strengthening and give a great focus to body and mind.
Twists build heat and contribute to balancing our digestive system, they also revitalizing as well as balance the spine.
Prone backbends—bhujangasana (cobra pose) and dhanurasana (bow pose) are great to help stabilize and ground as well as warm the lower back.
Forward bends are the pinnacle poses of self-reflection and finding comfort. They cultivate the energy of turning inward, connecting more deeply to both what is happening in the body physically, and what is happening on a deeper emotional level. They offer us the opportunity to release muscular tension, let go of unhealthy movement patterns and reflect on how we feel in the present moment. As you move into a forward bend, your head is last to go, finally bowing down toward the body or the floor, drawing your attention away from the busy world around you and instead to inner quiet..
Lastly it’s great to finish your grounding practice with Viparita karani – AKA legs up the wall – this pose brings the parasympathetic nervous system into play and is therefore calming and very relaxing.
As a tree has no attachment to the leaves that fall from its branches in autumn, we too can let go of that which is no longer serving us. This allows us to move forward and rediscover ourselves amidst the quiet felt throughout our yoga practice….
Love B xxx
Yoga teaches us to love and accept ourselves exactly as we are because we are all worthy no matter what……..when we love ourselves, then confidence exudes from us and we become empowered women.
And that also means embracing being over 50 and ‘the menopause’. This is a subject that is little discussed, some women like to even pretend it’s not happening, some are embarrassed and yet we should all be standing proud at this stage in our lives. I hear so many women my age saying that they can’t cope with the symptoms of the menopause and that they miss their younger years. They say they’re going to age gracefully – that meaning they’re going to let go of their bikini, frayed shorts etc and cut their hair into a suitable older lady style. You get the picture, they’re either giving up or the opposite – trying too hard to stay looking young!
Well I urge all menopausal woman to instead embrace this beautiful liberating stage of our lives.
What’s there not to embrace? For most of us, our children have left home, We’re free to live our lives as fully as we want to and to make choices that are now all about us. Instead why not choose to love life right now. I have a fantastic circle of friends, I have worked hard and now have the freedom to travel to exotic countries around the world, I eat healthily (and sometimes unhealthily), I practice yoga, I walk in the woods daily, I have an exciting vision for my future and I still love to party occassionally!
Yes I’ve gained weight, yes I have a lot more wrinkles and lumpy bits since the menopause kicked in, yes I’m drying up (as my doctor so kindly put it), yes I ache more when I get up in the mornings and it takes me longer to recover from a night out – as well as many other menopausal symptoms – too many to mention. However, the difference between those of us that feel we should act our age and those of us that just see our age as a number is ‘acceptance’. It’s learning to love ourselves exactly as we are and to continue to dress and act in the way that we feel most comfortable.
Maturity means, I actually no longer care what other people think! I can do whatever I like and wear whatever I like. Of course I still have moments where I imagine what botox may look like and how it would be great to have an ‘everything lift’ or yearn for my young fitter body but my age means I am free like never before! I am a woman full of maturity, confidence and wisdom.
I stand proud at this next stage/ adventure of my life and I’m looking forward to the next chapter with zest and a completely new outlook . 😍
Love B xx
Intimacy has to start with you, it’s about looking inside and first understanding ourselves
It is sharing absolutely everything with those you are close to without judgement or reproach
It is having people that support you fully and are there to catch you when you fall no matter what
It is being with friends or a partner whom understand you and mirror your thoughts and moods
It is giving and receiving
Its being vulnerable as well as able to share our truth and reveal our fears – even when it’s really difficult to do so
It is being willing to communicate no matter what
Yoga deepens our awareness so helps us to see more clearly. It is from this place of seeing and living in truth that intimacy can occur, but truth is not comfort, in fact it can be very uncomfortable .
Intimacy in any relationship can only occur when we dig deep and open our hearts to each other.
I have been studying yoga somatics for the past 3 years now and finally am feeling confident to share and teach workshops on the subject.
I teach on average about three 121 clients a day and this work has been profound for me in its capacity to realign, rebalance and heal the body.
Through somatic awareness we give a different quality of attention toward the deeper layers of the body which helps to build new neural pathways. This means that the body and mind relearn new patterns of being. This practice is best done lying either on our backs, fronts or sides (never standing), as it is important that we are not lifting upward against gravity. When we do not resist gravity, we begin to move patterns of resistance, both physical and psychological out of the body. When we allow gravity to move through us, we can begin to alter not only the body’s connective tissues, but affect our electromagnetic pulse that is orientated to the earth’s centre. Some of the movements are quite passive, meaning that you get to completely relax and just focus on what you’re feeling. Other movements are active but graceful, slow and fluid like, they require a great deal of mental focus. These malleable active movements allow for the release of chronic muscular contraction and habitual conditioning of the body, therefore the body starts to relearn natural more efficient movement patterns.
One of the aims of this practice is to increase the flow of neurological current thus encouraging greater wakefulness to the bones, muscles, tissues and organs. The more extensive the flow of information within the sensory motor system, the greater the range of motion in the body. Instead of using one’s will to achieve a release or an opening, this work teases out releases and openings without force. Facilitating movements out of our conscious control activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
This process requires sensitivity in order to bring about greater wakefulness and space within. Somatics supports the body’s innate autonomic nervous system so it can heal, self regulate and attune with blood, lymph and its natural biorhythms.
BENEFITS OF SOMATIC YOGA
Release and reverses neuromuscular pain – chronic and acute
Long term pain relief from numerous common conditions including neck, shoulder, back and hip pain
Improve posture, flexibility, coordination and balance
Improve mobility, stability and strength
Increased mindfulness and self awareness
Ease of breathing
Relaxation, stress relief and improved sleep
Increased awareness of your stress triggers and the means to relieve stress
Improve physical fitness and athletic ability
Create a new freedom of movement
Life long skills that teach you how to regain voluntary control of habitually tight muscles
A safe, easy and common sense alternative to drugs and surgery
For me, this yoga method has not only healed an intense ongoing shoulder injury (I was told that I needed surgery) but it has also helped to rebalance and free my Sacrioliic joint where I have slight scoliosis and arthritus in its early stages.
If you are interested in booking in for a private 121 for any personal body issues or misalignments that you are struggling with, please do get in touch.
Love B xx
You’ll know the people that feed your soul because you feel good after spending time with them. Ive just spent another wonderful weekend in Norfolk co teaching a retreat with my lovely friend and partner Rosemary Booker and yet another beautiful group of yogis.
Our teachings were so well received, we taught some beautiful yoga practices that all focussed on one central theme – ‘infinite potential’ .
Infinite potential is within each and every one of us, when we can take the time to relax, become more conscious, introspective and intimate with ourselves, we see more clearly, we receive clarity. It is then that we feel, believe and expand into our finite form. Through mindfulness practices, we can choose to let go and feel at peace with ourselves, that finite form then starts to become more infinite and takes the shape of our passions, desires and dreams. When we start to believe in what we really are capable of, there is no more being small and stuck in our programmed minds because the infinite always visualises a much bigger picture.
Your infinite potential is not some daunting thing you have to become. It’s the you that already exists underneath the clutter and busy-ness of your everyday life. The only limitations are those that you have put upon yourself, don’t ever let self doubt hold you captive, you are capable of anything you set your mind to.
Huge gratitude to all whom have attended retreats with myself and Rosemary this year and last, we are loving our partnership and are both so looking forward to co-teaching again in Bali this October.
Then who knows where our combined infinite potential will take us? We have big retreat dreams, visions and plans so watch this space…..
Love B xx .
My pose of the week; Bridge pose – Setu Bandhasana. Balancing the heat of summer by cooling the lungs, calms the brain and builds a bridge to free up space in the body. So simple and yet It is often practiced with pelvic misalignment.
I teach bridge pose more than I ever used to and I prefer not to call it a back bend because it has a lot of therapeutic qualities. For this reason it should not be overlooked by advanced yogis especially if you love backbends! Bridge pose is a great way to open the hip flexors and psoas, which is essential for keeping the back healthy and strong.
Here I’ve placed a folded blanket under my shoulder blades to open my chest cavity and to lift lungs and heart which improves breathing capacity. I’ve also placed a block beneath my sacrum to keep my pelvis in a balanced tilt and to prevent prolapse of the abdominal organs (the block can be on a lower level if more comfortable), it’s important to try and keep the belly soft. I also have a block placed between my thighs to stabilise the pose from the inside out and to prevent hardening the glutes or rectus abdominis muscles.
As you take the time to explore the different actions in this pose with the support of blocks, the bandhas will engage naturally, without requiring will or effort.
Bridge pose lengthens the front body as well as the back body, creating space between your vertebrae and relieving pressure on the disks. It is therefore an excellent antidote to common everyday activities. It’s also helpful for training the shoulder’s rotator cuff muscles. The head is essentially in a forward bend, with the occipital area at the base of the skull (where the parasympathetic nerves, including the vagus nerve, are concentrated) pressed into the floor. If practicing without blocks, it’s important to resist the urge to thrust the hips up, this will compress the lumbar. Distribute extension evenly, from the tailbone to the neck. .
As you hold the pose steady, you will enjoy a great pranic flow the whole length of the spine. Be observant, breathe freely and you may receive valuable insights on pelvis positioning that will help progress many other advanced postures. 😊
I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.
Just over a week ago, I arrived back from teaching my 3rd yoga retreat on the magical island of La Gomera with the loveliest group of 21 women. In fact this is only my second retreat in 13 years of teaching retreats that I have taught an all female group. The rapport between this special group was so deep and meaningful on every level, each day, we all shared many personal and supportive stories and conversations as well as much light and laughter. With the infusion of twice daily yoga, plenty of good clean fun, relaxation and healthy vegetarian food, this was undoubtedly a very successful yoga holiday, by the last day, many friendship bonds had been formed and there was a great deal of love all round. It was also inspiring to us in a very different way – please read on……
The Finca Argayall is a very unique retreat venue and in the language of the native people of the Canary Islands the name means “place of light”. Every time I teach here, I absorb such a peaceful energy and always come home feeling very renewed and recharged. Community activities also include many other awareness practices such as meditations, satsang, dancing, reiki, holistic massage, kundalini and more. The Finca forms a particular vision, which is a desire for community life and ‘the crew’ whom live and work here are contributing their own personal values towards sustaining our planet in this beautiful setting. The qualities as well as ethics that are respected are team work, support, authenticity, integrity and creativity. Visitors, consequently often discover a sense of personal transformation and freedom which impacts their lives during and after the time they spend here.
In the middle of our stay, my group were invited to watch a film about the symposium of ‘The Pachamama Alliance’ The film was very graphic and made a real impact on those of us that watched it, it basically encouraged us look squarely at the state of our planet as it is today—where we are and how we got here which was in my mind shocking. The film then explored what roles we can play in enabling the world to become more environmentally sustainable. It talked about how today’s ‘environmental wreckage’ can only be addressed through consciousness and personal awakening which is required individually by every single one of us. If we can all own that truth and believe that we can help our planet in our own small way, it is absolutely possible that we can inspire transformation on a completely global scale. The documentary asks “Where are we?“, “How did we get there?“ and “What is possible now?“. It shows a way out of the collective dream of the ‘modern day world’, rooted in consumption and competition, to one of sustainability, justice and fulfillment for all.
Consuming more than we need creates a demand that the planet can’t cope with. Natural resources are being gobbled up faster than the Earth can replenish them. It’s also struggling to cope with the resulting waste and emissions. We take too much stuff from nature and then we make it into stuff we use – from chemicals to plastics to fertiliser to smart phones to foods – and then dispose of it carelessly into the atmosphere, the oceans and the land.
What most of us do not realise is that we are ALL responsible and that we ALL actually have a very limited time to turn things around. We have reached a stage where the amount of resources needed to sustain this population exceeds what is available on this earth!
Did you know:
- Fresh water reserves, fish stocks and forests are shrinking, many many species are under threat of extinction and fertile land is being destroyed.
- The primary driver of the human-induced mass extinction of animals is not just some people hunting a particular lifeform to extinction. In fact, it’s mainly just two things; systematic destruction of land habitat – forests, grasslands, wetlands, peatlands, mangroves – in our endless effort to capture wild places for human use (whether it be residential, commercial, mining, farming or military)
- We have destroyed waterways and ocean habitat by dumping radioactive contaminants, carbon dioxide, a multitude of poisons and chemical pollutants and plastic.
- By over fishing in our seas, rivers and lakes, this has led to what scientists call eutrophication, or excessive plant growth. The fewer fish we have, the more plants that grow – the more plants that grow, the fewer fish we have – trapping us in a vicious cycle that gives us fewer fish to eat and upsets the delicate balance of the eco system our planet needs to survive and thrive.
- That 80% of china’s water reservoirs are contaminated, and the rest of the world continues to over consume and contaminate its water supplies.
- The more energy (power) we use, the higher the earth’s temperature, the carbon dioxide spewed by coal and other fossil fuels is warming the planet. This has consequently decreased the sea’s oxygen levels and caused the death of the marine life crucial to the delicate balance of the ecosystem our planet needs to survive and thrive.
- Most experts predict we will exhaust accessible oil reserves within 50 years!
- Natural gas reserves could plug some of the gap from oil, but reserves of that – some of which are in Russia, the Middle East will not last into the 22nd century either. We currently use it for around one-third of world electricity generation.
- By the end of the century, there will have been at least a 4°C rise in temperature, climate change and its results in extreme weather conditions such as avalanches, wild fires, droughts, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, sinkholes, tsunami and erupting volcanoes
- Food is also one of the key factors in an environmental crisis that threatens the basis of life on earth
- Agriculture has changed more in the past two generations than it did in the previous 12,000 years, this is because of the transformation of our food system from sustainably based, locally focused production, to a fossil-fuel addicted, industrialized supermarket system
- We are eating more meat than we can sustainably produce – most particularly beef, because farming cows requires lots of land and water, erodes and depletes soil, leads to deforestation, methane is emitted which is a greenhouse gas and has a 23 times higher negative impact on climate than carbon dioxide (CO2).
- The United Nations predicts that by 2050 the world’s population will reach a whopping 9 billion – which means we’ll all be competing for increasingly scarce resources, it will be slower and more difficult to mobilise people to change, there’ll be much further environmental pollution.
- Developed countries including the USA, the UK and Europe emit the most greenhouse gasses, yet it is the poorest countries that suffer the most from environmental fallout. 5 billion people in the world still live below the poverty line, 3 billion are living with no access to basic water or energy, and hunger and malnourishment persist for many. Meanwhile, income inequality is rising, leading to heightened tension and social conflict.
- Most of our energy comes from coal and natural gas, which cause harmful emissions and further negative climate change. Energy needs are likely to remain un-met for hundreds of millions of households ongoing, unless we urgently find more sustainable sources of energy for all.
- Most of the plastic waste in the UK doesn’t actually end up in our oceans, but a lot is disposed of in our environment – burned or buried in landfill sites. People are increasingly worried about this and its impact on nature, and they’re right to be. 79% of the plastic waste ever created is still in our environment. We are leaving a legacy of plastic waste on our planet that will take years to put right.
If we continue to produce, consume and power our lives the way we do right now, forests, oceans and weather systems will be irreversibly damaged.
As you are reading this, you might say “How I can I help, this has nothing to do with me?” But the great news is, that we can all help in our own small individual way – because we are all consumers! Most of us are living in a culture of excess, meaning we consume more than we need – myself included – guilty as charged!
We may work hard and pay our taxes but did you know that most of us (especially in the west) probably consume more than our fair share of world resources which means that the majority of us are all participants in the system of exploitation and global warming. We all expect and demand consumer products, consumer fuels and consumer food, etc, all of which are produced by using land and water habitats, and the resources derived from them.
All we have to ask ourselves each time we are about to buy something or use something that involves energy is, “Do I really need this?”
The more we can share an awareness of the importance of the environment, the more we can do together to conserve it. Here in the West it is so easy to turn a blind eye and pretend that this is not happening, but the smallest of things can make the biggest of differences. The the most powerful way you can participate in saving our planet is simply to reduce your own personal consumption while increasing your self-reliance.
- Recycle whatever you can from food, to clothes, to bottles to paper, cardboard and more.
- Food waste, we throw away a third of the food we buy in the UK. Think of all the resources that go into growing and producing that food. The time, energy, packaging, transport and yet we are happy to throw it away. Measure out portions, freeze leftovers, use common sense with sell by dates and only buy what you need.
- Reduce your consumption of food that is derived from animals since animal agriculture is causing a considerable strain on the environment, I’m not saying that we must all become vegans just cut down.
- See if you can source your food locally when possible, or better still, try to grow your own food, so energy is not wasted on transportation.
- Try to reduce the energy that you use in your home, from central heating to turning your pc off at night, to not leaving lights on, etc, ask yourself – “what do I need on”?
- Try not to buy too much plastic.
- Think about your fuel consumption for your car, only take necessary journeys and where possible walk or cycle.
- Purchase durables made in an eco-friendly manner. Often the packaging of such products will feature a seal indicating they are eco-friendly
- Stop caring about material things and buy less stuff.
- Appreciate what you have
- Educate your children as much as possible, as they are the ones who will live in the world of the future.
- Try not to overuse or waste water
The list could go on and on but you get it, just little things can help if we all consciously try in our own way.
In a world where advertising is constantly shouting at us to buy more, it’s not at all easy to get away from consumer lifestyle. I absolutely don’t have a step-by-step instruction manual for creating a sustainable world, but I do think that we should try to share awareness of this situation. The key words here are to simply ‘CONSUME LESS’.
We only have one Earth and are utterly dependent on it for our survival and well-being, to ensure that nature, the species we love so much and we ourselves are able to live in harmony on this planet, please do whatever you can in reducing your consumption.
Please please share this post;
Let’s care about our future generations and save our planet.
Love B xx
In yoga the body takes shape because we encourage it to.
Sometimes it is a gesture we are yearning for in order to express ourselves or to find some kind of release.
The question is, can we freely enter our own landscape of openness towards our body, mind and heart without fear?
Can we ask the body to let go, shift it’s shape and show the way….
For a backbend, just like a sunset is the articulation of something much bigger….
A backbend is individual, unique and completely personal to your body and to you.
It communicates with your heart and opens you up to so much more than just the physical pose.
When we harness this openness and its expansive qualities, life flows more naturally. Relationships are deeper. Passion burns brighter and the body/mind becomes stronger.
Can you practice staying open both on and off your yoga mat?
L O V E
‘Wu Wei’ means – Non-action and is one of the most famous Taoist concepts, repeatedly pointed out in Tao Te Ching, the great Taoist classic. We should not hurry to action, since most things in the world take care of themselves if left alone, and order will eventually prevail. When we do act, we should do so cautiously, or we might destroy more than we solve…..
We are a culture of doers, even at a young age we are taught that doing is best. So much of our time is allocated to doing, that there is often a sense of urgency to get things done, we were brought up to achieve and most of us also have a daily to-do-list too.
Therefore non-doing is a valuable antidote to the effects of activation and over stimulation of the body/mind. The pause of not doing allows our nervous system to return to its own unique steady rhythm and form. It is in non-doing that the body’s innate intelligence can take over which can be immensely healing to both body and mind. Not doing or active relaxation has a very different feel than passive relaxation, it includes alertness and wakefulness with effortless effort.
As human beings coping with the stresses of everyday life and consequently feeling out of balance has become the norm for most of us. Stress is not only harmful to our physical body, it is also one of the ways in which the subtle body deteriorates. Society has conditioned us for input and action. We have become so conditioned, that if we are not doing something, we feel like something is missing in our lives, we may even feel down or depressed. The nature of our minds is to always be processing information and be preoccupied with thoughts. Equally the nature of our bodies is to hold on to the tension that has built up via our overthinking minds and over emotional states. Information overload can occur resulting in stress. In overload, essentially all systems shut down in a mode of self-protection and from a neurological perspective, being in constant action is absolutely not productive. When new information has been introduced to the nervous system, a period of pause (or stillness) is essential so that our systems have the “time and space” to integrate what it has learned.
Therefore making the time to engage in mental stillness on a daily basis is one of the most important health practices available to us. Over time and with practice of ‘the pause’, we are able to regulate our mind state so that we feel both clarity as well as a state of balance, nourishment and inner calm.
‘The pause’ means being able to stop in the middle of doing on a daily basis ( just for 2 – 5 minutes, maybe 3 or 4 times a day), so that we can reach deeper, listen inwardly, reset, find clarity, stillness and spaciousness, which ultimately will have a profound effect in bringing us back to a state of equilibrium. This of course is challenging to slot in to our constantly busy lives, nevertheless very relevant, even though many of us will say “but I don’t have time”. When practiced regularly, it becomes easy and you will find plenty of moments whereby you realise that you can just slot the pause in to your daily routine. Maybe after the school run, sit in your car for 2 minutes in silence before starting up the engine again, or if at the office, just turn away from your screen and close your eyes for a few minutes of silence, whilst standing waiting for the kettle to boil, you could be still and close your eyes, or perhaps you could take a few minutes when you get in from work to sit or lie down and be still and so on, there are always moments whereby you can take the time to be still and pause in your day if you can habitually make the time to do so. I often bring ‘the pause into my vinyasa classes, maybe 4 times in a 90 minute class, we will just stop be completely still and silent for 2 minutes. I will encourage each student to feel, breathe, observe and just be.
It is in ‘the pause’ that we can release feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, stressed and let go of our restless and habitual conditioned mind. When we are silent and introspective, we can receive moments of quiet reflection, we can relax in to our inner knowing, exploring ‘the pause’ in the middle of our day also means we can also experience great wisdom from within ourselves. Practicing ‘the pause’ is the balance between expansion and contraction, from non action we can rebirth right action. When we allow the mind to rest, to focus on one thought, on one breath, on one moment, we free up space for more powerful neurological connections to be made and these connections come from being in a feeling state rather than a doing state. It is In the stillness that we can finally hear our most authentic selves, ultimately tuning in to the more subtle levels of ‘prana’, the life force in the body.
The pause is not falling asleep, being lazy or just hanging out, its not watching TV, gardening, playing tennis, cooking or enjoying a glass of wine.
The pause means to be completely still and silent, it is light and wide full present awareness of right here, right now. It is inner inquiry, intimacy with self, listening deeply and a personal witnessing of whatever is coming up for you. It is the willingness to just ‘be’ and flow with just that.
It takes willpower to just ‘pause’ as it’s not something that was instilled in us as children and society generally doesn’t support this silent inner listening. That is why ‘the pause’ is so important, it offers possibility to alter our mindset and expand our perception of the world around us.
You can practice ‘the pause’ at any time of day and as many times as you feel you need to. All that is required is that for 2 – 5 minutes (or more if you have the time), you close your eyes, be still, be silent and train yourself to observe, inquire and become aware of your breath. As soon as you pay attention to your breath, the breath becomes healing and begins to re-regulate the body’s natural pulse and biorhythms. There is no need to change or manipulate your breath to be anything different than it already is, but the simple act of noticing your breath helps to create balance and over time any necessary changes in your breathing will happen naturally. Our body/mind is miraculous and intelligent when given the right environment, it will flow naturally towards a state of receptivity and balance. Simple noticing of the breath, simple noticing of ourselves, just as we are, here, right now. is the first step in restoring balance and health to all bodily systems. You are simply giving yourself the opportunity to slow down and you may be delightfully surprised with how you feel afterwards.
Know that when you leave ‘the pause’ nothing will have changed on the outside, but everything will feel different on the inside. You will feel like yourself again, and you will be able to return to your everyday life feeling restored, rebooted with a new found passion and inspired spirit. It is so simple, in this still point the whole body has the ability to recharge and reset.
‘The pause’ is a place you can go, to just be. there are no demands, this is a place where you don’t have to be strong, you can stop, let go, re-calibrate, breathe, find balance and feel like yourself again. When you learn the art of non-doing, you will be amazed by how you can do less to achieve more. Most of us like to feel that we’re in control, or being proactive, we feel that it is more important to be doing than doing nothing. However, doing nothing is doing something, and is the best and easiest way to find contentment and true happiness.
‘In the pursuit of the Tao, every day something is dropped.
Less and less is done
Until non-action is achieved.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone’.
Hope you enjoy your new found wisdom from practicing ‘the pause’
Love B xx
I wrote this piece about partnership and love to read at my brother’s wedding recently. It was really well received amongst the guests, so I thought It’d be nice to share on here. I’ve obviously taken out the names and a few other sentences that were personal. Enjoy….
Every person on this earth desires to love, to be loved and to know love, it is human nature.
Love is the fundamental energy of the human spirit, it is the fuel on which we run and it is the wellspring of our vitality.
Love is about sharing a very deep intimacy with each other, it is finding the hidden places in your partner even the ones that they didn’t know were there.
Love is never about walking away and shutting the other out.
It is learning the art of really listening to each other.
Love is about always talking absolutely ‘everything’ through.
It is about letting go of needing to be right, it’s being able to forgive easily and not stay angry with each other.
Love is not expecting or controlling.
Love is not ‘needing love or demanding to be loved back.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience and understanding.
It is not looking for perfection in each other but accepting each other exactly as you are – faults and all. Love is always about compromise.
Love is about being able to offer love freely to each other without being asked.
Love is about making time for each other all of the time.
It is finding the time to do things together, it is about having new adventures and sharing fun times.
Love is being able to laugh out loud together often.
It is getting excited and motivated by the same things
Love is about mutual respect and loving each other as equals. It’s about always standing together and supporting each other in the face of adversity.
It is encouraging each other to evolve and grow independently as well as together.
Love is about having a mutual sense of values, goals, visions and dreams for the future.
Love is forming a circle of love and intimacy that encompasses the whole family.
It is about sharing the same mutual family principles and values.
Love is doing things for each other, not because you have to but because you want to.
It’s about never taking each other for granted.
It is about showing gratitude in thoughtful ways without being asked.Love is never being too old to hold hands and look into each other’s eyes.
Love is two best friends.
I’ve been a bit quiet on the writing front for a while, I haven’t had the inspiration, inclination or the time to be honest. That’s because there’s been a fair bit of adjusting and a lot of ‘change’ to get used to since we got back from India in February.
When ‘change’ knocks on our door unexpectedly, generally, our first reaction is to become anxious, over analyse, panic and of course worry. I have felt all of these emotions over the past month, sometimes it can seem so much easier to close up to the world than open up to feelings and face things head on.
For me, I have experienced ‘change’ that has involved having a massive house clear out, getting rid of accumulating stuff has actually been quite draining. Everything that I have thrown out has been about letting go of sentimental things from my old life and my past. Letting go is so much harder than holding on, I’ve had to tell myself, this is just stuff. Possessions that are not in use are simply an attachment of the mind and ultimately clutter.
There has also been ‘change’ that is in the form of redecorating our house. This has caused so much upheaval, messiness as well as major disruption to my work focus, as my head has been all over the place as well as my house. Meditation was not even an option for a while as my mediation space did not exist, just s quick walk with the dog had to suffice. However even our animals have been a little disoriented lately..
Another major ‘change’ that we’ve also had to take on board at the same time, has been to do with my husbands company. Without going in to detail, this has been especially unpleasant and stressful for him and is also likely to take a long time to negotiate and eventually process.
Another ‘change’ has been my son finally leaving home, not only that, but he is now living on the other side of the world for a while, which will take some getting used to. I’m so happy for this next stage of his life, its a great new adventure, but equally I miss him lots.
Then there has been ‘change’ that is very much about my body going through the ‘change’. The menopause is taking its toll, especially on my joints, consequently my yoga practice has had to change massively and to a certain extent, my lifestyle. This of course has involved a great deal of acceptance on my part but I’m getting there.
Then lastly some ‘changes’ that my husband and I have been planning and making that involve our future. In the long term this will be in the form of a very positive new beginning. However right now as we sow the first seeds, it all seems very fearful, daunting and surreal as there is so much to think about, organise and sort out before our vision eventually becomes our reality in a few years time.
Sometimes things happen in life that are completely out of our control. Situations can really impact us in a negative way, immediately shattering our status quo. Consequently, routine, sleep patterns, metabolism, relationships, work and everything in between gets disrupted. Our mindset in particularly starts to worry and overthink everything, then this leaves its mark on our body which will automatically start to hold on to tension and tightness.
So, how do we deal with disruption and feeling like we are out of our comfort zone, when we haven’t seen it coming?
Well for me, at first, everything was a haze, I didn’t know if I was coming or going for the first 2 or 3 weeks.
Then I made myself go to my yoga studio and practice for the first time in ages. It was a deal breaker, I began to feel like myself again. Feeling means I wasn’t suppressing anymore and overthinking. Instead, I got out of my head and listened inwardly to my heart as well as my intuition. This meant I was calm, trusting as well as more open and I could see a bigger picture emerging. Staying present means not looking back and not looking forward. When we can take each moment and each day at a time, to a certain degree, we are able to alleviate stress and take back control of our own destiny.
We can ask ourselves; “Am I going to feel this through, accept this, deal with it, process it, then move forwards and see a bigger picture” or “Do I stay stressed, closed, worried, overthink and try and fight the situation”. The latter is obviously the more difficult option.
My practice of yoga and meditation has always been a great life tool. The first principle of alignment that I learnt from my Anusara training was ‘Open to Grace’. This basically means stay open in the face of adversity, when things get too much, take a deep breath, soften, stay present and trust that you will be ok. Staying open means open your body, move, stretch, open your mind and open your heart to new possibilities. Embrace it all, release yourself from the limitations that bind us from freedom and saying yes to life.
When we can take the time to let go of control and slowly feel our way through upheaval and change first, we can then begin to process it. Eventually, we will learn, grow and evolve with the realisation that perhaps it was all meant to be. Problems/change are often our best teacher.
Sometimes it’s difficult to think of every action step that you need to take. Staying present and not overthinking is key, you don’t have to plan the entire solution, just plan the next step to take, and as you take that next step, plan the next step after that. If you go through this process, the outcome to the problem will often just present itself to you.
So right now, we are feeling a little lighter. We are doing our best to stay present and although it is difficult, we have envisioned each step that we need to take in order for us to get where we want to be in the future. Each step will require action on our part and maybe more stress, it’s all part of the process. I know for sure that we are definitely heading in the right direction though.
Looking back on the past month, I can’t help thinking that all of this has happened for a reason and that it will all start to unfold perfectly if we can continue to stay present and trust. We have been shown a path that may be a bit bumpy for a while but once we get over the hurdles and around the corner, the path will hopefully be smooth and sweet.
Real power is the ability to see the light and keep your heart open and positive even on the darkest of days and in the face of impermanance.
‘Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them, that only increases sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like’.
Are you offering your loved ones ❤️‘Conscious loving’?❤️
If I’d been asked that question 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have had a clue, but now I know ‘conscious loving’ is the vital key to the success of all relationships. The ability to ‘consciously love’ is probably one of the most complex yet rewarding strengths you can possess.
The practice of mindfulness and yoga has helped me to understand over the years that there are no prerequisites for love. In other words, loving another human being is about ‘conscious’ loving and that means, not fearing, not running, not numbing your feelings and more importantly not blaming or making others responsible whenever there is conflict.
Love and intimacy is not about needing to be loved back, it’s about our capacity to ‘consciously love’ and understand ourselves first and then it’s about our capability to consciously as well as freely give love and understanding to others. Conscious love is about being unquestionably truthful, vulnerable and continually supportive towards ourselves and others.
In my relationship with my husband, we are both conscious individuals and by ‘conscious’, I mean that we practice yoga and meditation, we read books and articles about self-development and we both understand fully what it means to be an ‘observer of yourself’ or to ‘look inside’.
Becoming the ‘observer’ is about closely observing the way that you react when any kind of conflict arises, the moment that you notice how you react in different situations is the moment that you can make a conscious choice to alter your mind set in a way that will enhance and evolve your direction in life and in your relationships. This means, becoming more aware of how you personally see yourself, think about yourself and to closely scrutinise how this connects with your automatic behavioural patterns, impulses and feelings when there is contention, this is not an easy task.
One of the turning points for the positive evolvement of my relationship came after we both read ‘The Power of Now’ and ‘A New Earth’ about 5 Years ago. These two books taught us about what Eckhart Tolle calls ‘the ‘pain body’.
Basically, the ‘pain body’ is an emotional residue of tension that lives in you, it is habitual patterns, experiences or pain from your past which have become lodged in your mind and body and condition how you see the world. All of life’s experiences (good and bad), leave behind a residue of memory that lives on in you, so of course some people carry a heavier pain body than others. If we stay unconscious to this cycle, the same painful energy will keep repeating itself over and over in the future.
Your ‘pain body’s’ favourite person is your partner, family or someone that you are close to, because although we love them unconditionally, we often unconsciously and impulsively say things that hurt or provoke them, subsequently this can then trigger an enormous reaction from their own ‘pain body’.
However, the moment you are able to pause, become present and observe the energy from the pain body, (this may be in the form of anger, anxiety, stress, upset or perhaps a recurrent pattern of not feeling good enough and so on), when you take your attention to it, then the identification is broken because you have become more conscious and started the process of developing new neural pathways. You have now become the witness, the observer and even befriended your pain-body. This means that it cannot use you or control you anymore.
Therefore when both parties consciously choose to evolve like this together, whenever there is a disagreement, point of contention or differing of opinions, the relationship can only emphatically mature. In other words, for love to work, can we open our minds with compassion to each other’s ‘pain body’.
In my relationship if we see a reaction emerging in the form of a conflict or argument, we now acknowledge it by saying “you just triggered my ‘pain’body’ when you said that.” We are both much better now at developing the awareness to stay present, pause and give each other space before we say the wrong thing that will fuel a disagreement. Therefore because we understand each others ‘pain body’ this has deepened our love for each other too.
“What is commonly called “falling in love” is in most cases an intensification of egoic wanting and needing. You become addicted to another person, or rather to your image of that person. It has nothing to do with true love, which contains no wanting whatsoever.” – Eckhart Tolle – ‘A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose’.
Here are some guidelines that I devised dedicated to the success of ‘Conscious Loving’;
Conscious love doesn’t have needs or make demands.
Conscious love is about acknowledging that neither one of us are perfect and that is ok.
Conscious love is not about having all your shit worked out or never getting angry, but observing it and becoming aware of it when it surfaces.
Conscious love is about being open and intimate with each other.
Conscious love is about listening to each other’s point of view and learning about each other.
Conscious love is about respecting each other no matter what.
Conscious love is being supportive to each other in any given situation.
Conscious love is about trying your best to be non-judgmental, to understand each other and be compassionate towards each other.
Conscious love is about giving each other some ‘me time’ and space from time to time.
Conscious love is being open to your partner’s ‘inner craziness’ and also being open and vulnerable enough to allow yours to be seen too.
Conscious love is letting go of ego or the need to be right.
Conscious love is communicating truthfully, telling each other everything, trusting, sharing and being authentic.
Conscious love is about being able to accept each other, faults and all.
Conscious love is having a sense of humour and not always taking each other too seriously.
Conscious love is being able to let go of the past, stay present and to grow collectively together for the future.
Conscious love is loving each other as equals and to grow more consciously together.
I must also be brutally honest here; my husband and I are still work in progress with some of these guielines and we certainly do not have a perfect relationship – if there is such a thing. Of course, we still have disagreements and say hurtful things to each other on occasion, but these occasions are becoming less these days. Often now, we are able to avoid a full-blown argument from ensuing, by recognising our ‘pain body’, both in ourselves and each other, then, it can no longer feed on past conditioned impulses and reactions. Gradually over time, its energy decreases, however, both parties must be devoted to the outcome.
My husband and I are both willing partners in ‘conscious love’. The anecdote to healing for us is to openly and calmly talk about how we feel. It’s quite simple really, when there is real closeness, honesty, understanding and compassion, there is forgiveness. Our relationship is certainly much stronger because we are more sincere with each other and we are not afraid to show our vulnerability, the side that we hide most from the rest of the world. As a result, the way that we experience intimacy has changed dramatically, our love has become a love that now recognises as well as acknowledges both the negative and positive aspects of each others psyche.
This is obviously a lifetime of practice and a lot of shadow work and it takes a very high level of awareness to address the shadow, but eventually there will be a more meaningful communication between yourself and your loved ones. When we can begin to love one another more consciously and more intimately, our relationships and friendships shift towards becoming more intuitive, more caring as well as more compassionate.
” The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way. That immediately takes you beyond ego. All mind games and all addictive clinging are then over. There are no victims and no perpetrators anymore, no accuser and accused. This is also the end of all co-dependency, of being drawn into somebody else’s unconscious pattern and thereby enabling it to continue. You will then either separate – in love – or move ever more deeply into the Now together – into Being.” – Eckhart Tolle, ‘The Power of Now’.
Ultimately, the secret to keeping a close, loving and fulfilling relationship, is for both parties to participate fully and be completely committed to ‘conscious love’ and ‘conscious growth’ together.
With conscious love ❤️ Brigitte xxx
This is my core philosophy on life – live, laugh and love 💕 always.
Just back from a wonderful trip to India, as always we embraced it all, the culture, the food, the locals, new friendships, festivals and the whole Indian way of life. I’m now full to the brim with inspiration and creativity.
When you can live your life to the full, with purpose and heartfelt meaning, you attract the same back.We only get one go at this life, so make sure you live it in a way that inspires both yourself and others and make sure you’re doing things that you love on a daily basis. 😍
Laughter is born in you, smiling and laughing offers your lightness of mind. When you can laugh out loud, you can push away fear and it warms your soul. Life does not always have to be serious. Laughter is the main ingredient to having an open kind and positive outlook, it is also so healing. 😂
Life is perfected by practicing love and compassion to ourselves as well as all sentient beings. Love takes us beyond our separate selves, when we truly feel love – we will always be content and at peace with ourselves. 💖
So over the past 3 weeks in India, I have been feeding my soul, I have lived fully, laughed daily and rested lots, so am feeling the love so much right now.
Perched on a large rock cemented to the ocean floor. As the waves expand and contract, in the midst of turbulence, the rocks stay heavy, strong and grounded.
In our body, we also have currents that are constantly flowing. There is the ebb and flow which are our waves of consciousness that come and go. There is also another current that permeates us, just as powerfully, and that is our breath. Like the waves, like the tide surging toward the shore, then pulling back, our breath surges through us, never stagnant, always flowing. Right here In the midst of the noise and the force of the crashing waves, the sheer steadiness of this solid rock invited me to find my breath and a dancer was born.
Love B xx
‘Vinyasa’ – to link and flow movement with breath.
This intimate communion between mind, body and breath offers each of us The opportunity to come back to our own unique, rhythm and harmony. The breath linked with effortless flowing aligned movement cultivates a mindful connection to our hearts and ultimately to love When we integrate our bodies (bones, muscles, fascia) with our breath – in aligned, comfortable positions on our mats, this can also line up our minds, so we are actually learning how to consciously navigate our lives in the same way off the mat. The decisions we make, the thoughts we hold, the company we keep, the actions we take, and the words that we speak are all a reflection of the things we choose to align ourselves with.
Each time we roll out our mat, we know we are developing a higher state of conscious, this means we are making conscious choices about the way we align our bodies, strengthen our minds, deepen our breath, and open our hearts to receiving and giving to others. We are constantly developing our awareness, inquiring, exploring and feeling for the optimal alignment to serve our bodies, minds, and souls. This can become a metaphor for the decisions we make outside of the yoga studio.
We are, poets, painters, authors, artists and deliberate creators of our own destiny. Vinyasa is to be the most poetic, articulate, perfectly placed expression of yourself both on your mat and in your life ❤️♀️❤️.
Love B xxx
I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is Sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; It’s just not their task
I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; It already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know that I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness. I believe, I Believe.
-Mary Anne Perrone
Wishing you all a wonderful 2018 filled to the brim with love ❤️❤️ Love makes the world go round and makes the bumpy ride worth while ~~~~~~
2017 has been a bit of a rollercoaster year for me, full of extreme highs as well as extreme lows. I’ve experienced fun times, dread, despair, sadness, happiness, laughter and the realisation that there is always lightness after darkness. The one thing that has made this year so very special for me, is my friends and family.
Ive made a lot of new friends and I have some cherished old friends that have really been there for me when I’ve needed them most. They also have simply lifted my spirit unknowingly either through joyful shared experiences, their words, their behaviour, their open hearts or their beautiful beaming smiles.
Consequently, personal growth for me this year has been, knowing that my friends and family will always support me no matter what. They know me exactly as I am, they understand where I’ve been, accept what I’ve become, and most importantly, they do not judge me.
In my eyes, knowing that we have friends and family that care, believe in us, love us unconditionally and are willing to trust us implicitly too, is the most important thing in the world.
Some things are out of our control but the one thing that we can control is the choice to be fulfilled by the people we choose to surround ourselves with.
New Year is a time to celebrate, so celebrate life and celebrate love. Reach out to others, hold hands, hug each other and remember that the one faith that binds is all together is love
Wishing you so much love in 2018
L O V E Brigitte xxx ❤️
Never underestimate the power of yoga and mindfulness, because the love that we uncover through them is such a beautiful gift that we can offer out to the world;
I was inspired to write this after a beautiful silent walk in the woods yesterday, closely followed by a deep soulful meditation in my cabin.
💕💖💕 L O V E 💕💖💕
Love gets me through the bad times
Love is a drug
Love is healing
Love is taking one day at a time
Love is what drives away negativity and hate in the world.
Love brings people from all walks of life together.
Love is sometimes complicated
Love is exhilarating
Love is kindness
Love is acceptance
Love is all encompassing
Love is not judging another
Love is friendships
Love is patient
Love is simple
Love is all we need
Love is a celebration of life
Love is unconditional
Love is a state of mind
Love is beyond logic
Love is a force of nature
Love is a feeling
Love is freedom
Love is staying present
Love is conscious awareness
Love is forever
Love is everything
We are all one love
Love is love
Love B xxx
1. Give yourself some ‘me’ time every day. Do something that’s about ‘you’
2. It’s ok to slow down. Conserve your yang energy and invest in restoring energy reserves by practicing more Yin or Restorative Yoga.
3. Eat more moist, warming and grounding foods such as soups, slow cooks and roasted root seasonal vegetables.
4. Meditate daily, observing your breath automatically gives it a slower rhythm which in itself is healing. Self reflection means we pay more attention to our negative and positive thoughts. This in turn gives us clarity and the wisdom to evolve and open up our mind to abundant possibility.
5. Rest and sleep more. At this time of year our bodies naturally need more time to rest as their is less sunlight, therefore less energy. Rest and sleep keep our mind and body in balance and maintain a healthy endocrine system as well as immunity from winter illnesses and bugs.
6. Walk outside in fresh air daily. Wrap up warm, go outside and walk in nature, this more gentle form of exercise is great to keep your body and joints moving in the winter. Walking in nature also has an amazing effect on lifting your mood and reducing your stress levels especially if you’re feeling sluggish or uninspired. Daylight and fresh air are food for the soul.
7. Lastly stay hydrated. In the winter months, it’s natural not to feel as thirsty but it’s still essential to keep hydrated to boost immunity. Try to drink warm herbal teas or hot water with ginger and lemon which is detoxing and great for the digestive system.
8. This one is just for me! I must practice what I preach
Love B xxx
At this time of the year I love to practice Chandra Namaskar (moon salutation), slowly, mindfully rhythmically, drinking my breath and pausing between the breaths. Just ten minutes of practicing this slow rhythmic flow will leaves me feeling so amazingly revived, calm, switched on and focused afterwards.
At this time of the year maintaining our natural rhythm is essential to our health both physically and mentally. The way that we move, think and breathe literally mirrors our life. As we know, life is a constant rhythm of contraction and expansion, it is a process of taking in, absorbing, then letting go of any holding on and processing as well as resting in the moments in between.
Therefore if we suppress, speed it up or fall out of this natural rhythm, we can start to feel anxious, our immune system can weaken, we may get mood swings, insomnia or get stressed and feel unable to cope, for some of us depression can set in.
Following the natural rhythm of our body enhances the function of the organ body and the various different systems of the body such as the endocrine, nervous, musculoskeletal, respiratory, circulatory, immune and digestive systems.
Our time on the mat should serve to remind us to slow down. This rhythm will arise naturally and organically from developing awareness, being guided by our breath, noticing the pauses between the breath and moving with effortless effort. Keep it light. Seek the still point between effort and surrender. Activate and engage the body so you’re able to move with both alertness and at the same time complete ease.
Self-enquiry begins when we begin to practice more slowly and through self enquiry we are able to evolve and connect more intimately both with ourselves and others.
As long as we are alive, we are in motion, the dance of the breath, these constant subtleties on our mats serve to align our bodies and minds more harmoniously. Ultimately slowing down heals us and then flows through us in to others. 🙏🏼.
Love B xxx
Yoga has taught me that the willingness to grow comes from growth itself!
None of us are where we were 5 years ago and probably most of us are aware of how are lives have changed and how our needs have also changed.
The past 3 years have been a huge growth period for me. After years and years of giving, holding the space for others, sharing my passion, offering warmth, consistency, compassion, help and love, I’ve finally learnt to also hold space and look after myself. I’ve learnt to rest, take holidays, have regular massages, go on yoga retreats as a student and attend trainings just for myself not necessarily to share with others. I’ve learnt to let go, to take my own advice, to ask for help when I need it and to actually show up with love for myself when I am in need of nurturing. I’ve also especially made sure that I take time out to spend precious time with my loved ones and the special people in my life.
Giving back to myself has actually really enhanced my work more, now I can be a clearer and more authentic channel for those that I serve. Everything that flows into me also flows freely from me in to others, if I feel peaceful, healed, healthy and vibrant then that also touches others.
My mission and my passion is to serve more well being and to light up bodies, minds and community to a deeper sense of consciousness!
I am blessed to have the experience and knowledge to now regularly teach workshops, retreats in amazing places as well as teacher trainings and I really love that part of my work.
BUT what really rocks my boat, is my local grass roots community and my weekly yoga classes, these friendly souls are my tribe. I have lifted these people up when they have been down and they have equally given me the same support when I have needed it over the years. Together we have journeyed together, my classes have deepened our awareness of ourselves and the world that we live in, we get it and we get each other. It is my regular loyal students and these classes that have sparked my fire and given me the grace and confidence to expand and live the life that I now live and for that I am so grateful.
We have all been willing participants in ‘growth’.
Love B xxx
All ‘beings’ need support and intimacy.
Feeling supported by my family, friends and colleagues means that the peace and love inside of me can grow. It means that when I doubt myself or others, I have the support in accepting things that I have a hard time swallowing and at the same time I am gently reminded not to give my power away.
With support, we can love easily, be reminded to let go and move forwards from pain or hurt, forgive deeply and be comfortable with uncertainty. Support will take us to the places inside of us that need nourishing, nurturing.
To get support, first of all, we have to learn how to become more intimate both with ourselves and others.
Yoga is ‘intimacy’ and ‘support’ because we are learning to be more open not only in our bodies but in our minds.
To be intuitively in sink with someone is to be intimately connected. This means there has to be a softening, sensitising, a peeling back of layers and a gradual revealing of our most vulnerable selves. Being intimate is allowing your heart to be naked, raw and exposed, no holding back with each other. To be intimate with another is to communicate exactly what we are feeling at any given time.
Intimacy means there is no control or ego in all friendships and relationships – just love, compassion and respect 💜
Love B xxx
Expansion and Contraction
“The practice of yoga is the merging of all polarities already in union”. – Mark Whitwell – Yoga of Heart.
For 15 years, the core principles of my teachings have always been about expansion and contraction of body and breath in order to find a sense of freedom both from our yoga practice and in our lives.
This year has enabled me to delve deeper in to the underlying meaning of this more than ever. A few months ago, I received some completely unexpected devastating news, I felt intense hurt on the inside, not just for myself but also for the other people involved too. My hurt was not physical but a raw intense ache. Unknowingly, I processed this pain in its raw state. At first I felt such sadness, then for a while intense anger, then grief, but then after some weeks of processing, my feelings changed to compassion towards the whole situation and then there was a kind of dull pause and lull. I would like to call this one of life’s contractions and we could have all got stuck here.
A few weeks weeks later, several positive, joyful situations and events occurred, I chose to let expansion in and for it to alter my contracted mind state. A huge surge of happiness and freedom literally replaced the feeling of pain. I would like to call this one of life’s expansions.
Somehow, the two polar opposite states of being, eventually offered me a sense of balance as well as clarity and enabled me to move forward getting back in to the flow of my life. Don’t get me wrong, of the course the pain is still there, it comes and goes but its easier to bear and at the end of the day life goes on….
Life has an expanding and contracting pulsation and rhythm, it always will continue on regardless.
Expansion and contraction are manifested in every aspect of our lives and our bodies. When these two energies are in balance, the equilibrium brings us to our essential state peace, but when imbalanced we suffer because sometimes in our life we can get stuck in one polar and forget that the opposite exists….
Yoga is the union of opposites, it’s a way to line up with the the throb of life that pulses at the very core of who we are. If we move in harmony with the natural pulsation of life; if we cultivate practices that support its freedom, then we’ll find ourselves more present, more available, more spacious and more able to process contraction after expansion. Our yoga practice allows us to participate more fully with life as it enables us to cultivate the ability to sit with discomfort or contraction, knowing and believing that it will eventually be followed by a time of growth or expansion. Both of which are perfectly natural polarities of being.
I teach my yoga students that our bodies carry this same contracting and expanding rhythm of life force. For example, every time your heart beats, it contacts and expands and as long as you’re alive, this never changes. Just as inhale becomes exhale, light becomes dark, wake becomes sleep and yin becomes yang and so on – everything pulsates with contraction and expansion of opposites.
When we practice yoga, we are able to alter the reception and transmission of energy. This is because as we integrate our breath perfectly with our movement, energy is able to move and flow more healthily and freely both within us and around us. When we can tune in to the pulsation of this energy, we move closer to understanding our selves and life. This keeps our body, mind and spirit both enlivened and in balance. In other words, we are able to flow with the ups and downs of life with more grace and ease.
When I’m teaching I always encourage students to consciously breathe and really listen and observe the pulse and rhythm of their breath intently as it moves subtly through their body. Of course we are always breathing, but often we are unaware that we are not breathing fully or freely. With each breath you take, a symphony of muscular activity occurs. As you inhale, there is a natural expansion. The result is an expanded space for the lungs, other internal organs and for the breath. As you exhale, the breathing space contracts again, through a complex set of muscular actions. For smooth and effective breathing to take place, the muscles involved in the breath symphony must be fine-tuned and coordinated. When we breathe with real expansion and contraction, we learn to recognise, accept and allow the energy of all emotions to move through us. Just as you cannot breathe in forever, you cannot breathe out forever either. You must contract and then expand again.
Expansion and contraction are the in-breath and the out-breath – one cannot occur without the other and our bodies and minds literally expand contract with the breath . As living, breathing beings on this planet, we see that we are part of the greater pulsation of life itself.
What you feel in your body is what happens in every aspect of nature, whether we choose to pay attention to it or not. Everything in life has a rhythm, from the seasons, to the tides. Everything that expands also contracts. The movement of your breath, receiving and giving, rhythm and stillness, in and out, action and inertia, feminine and masculine……
You have to expand before you can contract. You must contract in order to expand. Expansion and Contraction is an ongoing rhythm that is part of our existence. Knowing this can help us to have patience during difficult times and deeply appreciate the beautiful ones.
With Love B xxx
Ok – so it’s not perfect but it’s been a very long time since I last visited grasshopper pose! My (post injury) left shoulder almost held up and I’m there – just! We all face challenges on our mats that we must overcome during the progression of our practice whether it’s a difficult pose, lack of flexibility, lack of strength or even injury, but we can also welcome those challenges with open arms, embracing the opportunity to grow.
I’ve just started teaching an intermediate\advanced asana master class once a month on Friday evenings and it’s been received so well by our yoga community here in Milton Keynes. It was an absolute privilege to teach yogis that are so aware and practiced.
Learning new poses and advancing our practice teaches us so much about how we cope with life off of our yoga mats. It teaches us to align our bones and muscles in a way that feels comfortable, to be open, to be aware, to take chances, to be playful, to not mind when we fail, to accept ourselves exactly where we are, to trust, to be curious, to laugh at ourselves and of course we learn to let go of our ego, be humble and most of all to be at peace with ourselves.
The most beautiful thing of all is that after a practice of integrating breath perfectly with with movement, the body is at a place where it can let go of tension and be still, as a consequence the mind follows and what ensues is pure grace. 💕🙏🏻💕 .
Love B xx 💜
Saw this is my feed yesterday – it resonates so much with me, especially right now! I’m getting there, I’m not settling and if someone had told me 10 years ago, this would be my life, I would have laughed in their face and said to them -‘no way’.
There’s been a few obstacles in my path of course but I kept my passions and dreams alive and still do. People often say to me, ‘you’re so lucky’, or ‘it’s alright for some’ or ‘you have a great life’ or ‘I wish I had your life’ etc.
However, I created this life, it didn’t just happen over night, it wasn’t luck! – I decided not to settle!
Whether you are young or old, you don’t have to settle! Of course there are times in our lives when settling is necessary, like when I was bringing up my children for instance, but its also so easy to fall into that trap…same old, same old etc.
Then there never seems to be a right time to do the things that you’ve always wanted to, your passions, your dreams, adventure, travel and the things that make you happy etc etc.
For me, I took a bit fat chance, I literally left all that I knew and changed the direction of my life in a big way. It was terrifying at the time and boy, it wasn’t easy. I left my marriage, I lost friends, had no money and had to start again in a different place,a different home and as a single parent. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am today but I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I love my life again, Im in a happy relationship, I have wonderful friends and I do what I love, that also involves travelling to exotic locations around the globe and sharing what I love most in the world – yoga – and I get paid for it! WTF – But, this didn’t just happen, I made this happen. My passion and my dream is now my reality and even though I’m now in my 50’s, I still have more aspirations to work towards, I’m keeping them alive every day.
So don’t ever give up people – keep that dream alive, manifest it daily, that means think it, say it out loud and most of all believe it and you’ll get there. Don’t settle if you’re not feeling happy or fulfilled, make a plan, hold out for what you deserve, you are worth it.
I am living proof – sometimes I have to pinch myself 😉
L o v e yourself 💕
Dancing in my favourite place.
Yoga is an intimate dance with your life. Let your life reflect your practice and your practice will then reflect your life. Our lives are ever evolving and never static, sometimes I practice yoga to slow down and find peace, sometimes it’s to lift my spirit and energy levels, other times I may just want to move my body in a way that feels good or simply sit in meditation and observe 💖
As we practice, we are offering ourselves up, completely, we are listening inwardly to our body and mind, we’re being intuitive to our needs in that moment. Yoga is about being true and honest with yourself every day👌🏽
Love B xx 💕💃🏻
Reach high people! 🎉
“You draw to you the people and events which resonate with the energy that you are radiating. You attract what you are, so be your best.” Lynda Field
This just about sums up how I feel about my life right now. So far this summer has been a rollercoaster of ups and big downs and then more highs than I could have imagined. I have met so many new and lovely friends just in the past 2 months alone and also spent some really treasured times with precious close friends and family. I cannot tell you how much these beautiful people have lifted my spirit and at a time when I really needed it most. I love how when you just flow with it, the universe has your back always. I have learnt so much in the past couple of months about happiness, sadness, grief, feeling raw, being open, being real, going with the flow, trusting, feeling, crying, laughing, friendships, support, living life fully and above all love – LOVE heals ❤️LOVE gets you through dark times, LOVE is everything!
Therefore the energy I’m radiating right now is LOVE and it’s all powerful, I truly feel blessed to have so many beautiful people in my life to share this path. ❤️ .
From tadasana to shavasana and beyond, I am truly proud and honoured to have held the space for this fun loving, eclectic and quite frankly hilarious bunch of yogis, (aged from 23 – 60) over the past week.
We laughed until we cried and we loved with all of our hearts which was truly healing for our souls and became more and more contagious as the week went on. All I did was facilitate the space and teach passionately and intuitively from my heart, then the beauty that unfolded was absolutely stunning to witness
I’m so grateful to every single one of them all for being so open to learning, to making new friendships, their generosity, and their free spirits. I had 7 days to teach them as much as I could about yoga and how to navigate their lives with more grace and skill, however what these yogis taught me was also so inspiring. Don’t ever let anything hold you back from experiencing the fullness of life, we had so much fun and shared so many playful as well as memorable moments last week, far too many to mention.
I am just so grateful to the universe for perfectly placing this wonderful group of people together for this particular week, quite frankly, the timing couldn’t have been better. And as I continue walk this path of yoga teaching, it has also been such a great reminder that when we give and receive love, we can impact the world, there is such happiness, freedom and fulfilment in serving others.
This group proved to me that we are so much more powerful than we realise, don’t ever be afraid to show who you really are. Stand out from the crowd, be proud, be different, show your true colours, be wild, be bold, show your exquisite light and unique talents, don’t pretend to be anything else, just shine brighter, be the true you and build relationships where you feel you belong. Your vibes will be higher, your hearts will be happy and you will attract the same right back.
Right now, the world needs more explorers so we can focus on what’s good and positive to raise our collective vibration. So instead of dwelling on the bad stuff, be the best version of yourself, be kind, help others, lift others, count your blessings and always choose love. Your wellbeing, blissfulness and ecstasy are contagious ❤️
If there is one thing yoga has taught me, it is that life is not static – it is a continuous ebb and flow. Sometimes we’re high and ecstatically happy then sometimes we’re low and feeling sad, as well of all of the feelings in between. However through all of this, life still continues to flow and go on around us. The question is, do we stay still or stuck or can we flow with it?
As I continue to learn, grow and experience the full spectrum of life, I like to remind myself every now and then, that my yoga on the mat as well as off the mat will also continue to flow and evolve.
The energy of any given day can be a big influence on this, whether that energy comes from the beautiful fullness of the moon, a raging storm or a personal situation going on in my life. Yoga has taught me to use that energy to my advantage in order to maintain some kind of personal sacred rhythm and steadiness to my body and mind.
It’s so important to remember that we when we step on to our mats, we are not just practicing for the sake of practicing. Our normal view of who we are can be limiting and based on present or past unresolved traumatic experiences, current experiences and maybe a limited mindset.
To enhance our state of minds through yoga, we have to be mindful, we need to be aware of all of the many different shifts of energy within ourselves. Literally shifting from who we think we are, to who we really are and how we’re really feeling on any given day. To do this we need to connect to something much bigger and soulful so that we can rewire our neural pathways as well as find a new perspective towards processing stuff which will eventually lead to freedom and perhaps carry us towards a new healing embodied version of ourselves.
Therefore, when we practice yoga, it’s so important to be honest and authentic with ourselves. I always start by sitting and centering on my breath. When I breathe into myself, I immediately feel that sacred connection with the energy of myself, I notice my own vibration, I notice where my energy is residing and whatever else is coming up for me. I then try to shift my awareness to my heart, acknowledging it and remembering that I’m here on my mat to honour myself exactly where I’m at.
When I am ready to begin my asana practice, I again remember, there is no agenda, I’m just here because I’m here. I just allow, I don’t push, I’m open, I’m flowing, I’m still, I’m listening, I’m loving myself and I’m riding on grace to carry me back home to myself.
Eventually, I’m no longer stuck, I am back riding the continuous ebb and flow that is life 💕
This hollow back handstand allows me to isolate my upper chest, protect and contain my lower back, and feel what it’s like to keep open and move forward. It’s a fantastic feeling! .
I’ve been practicing inversions and just hanging out upside down this morning. This not only feels amazing but also really opens up the chest cavity so that the lungs, diaphragm and heart feel so expansive. .
In yoga we say you’re only as old as your spine. In other words, as long as you have a healthy and flexible spine, your participation in life is endless. The spine is your vitality; it houses all the nerves that keep your muscles and organs functioning optimally. For the spine and joints, gravity is not always our friend because over time it causes wear and tear, even loss of height, osteoarthritis in the joints, then consequently less mobility. Therefore when we can open the spine in every direction without compression, in other words in a state of traction, this can do the complete opposite and release compression in the vertebrae. So hanging upside down is actually a very cool thing to do .
Its much easier than it looks but does require being able to kick up to handstand (so you may need to practice that first);
✅set hands back some distance from the wall, depending on how open your shoulders and chest are.
✅Kick up to handstand letting your feet find the wall.
✅Then bring your legs and feet together and let your thighs slide down the wall and press them firmly against it to stabilise and protect lower back.
✅Keep shoulders stacked over wrists. .
✅let your head be in neutral, I prefer it just hanging, then there is no stress in the neck.
✅puff chest forwards
✅smile, it feels great.
Next the work is try away from the wall and work more powerfully with your core – I’m still working on that
“You need to experience this to really know what Yin Yoga is all about. After you have experienced it, even just once, you will realize that you have been doing only half of the asana practice.”
― Bernie Clark
I love this photo taken whilst I was teaching the yin class (for my urban retreat day), because everyone looks both focussed and yet relaxed.
I have finally grown to love practicing and teaching Yin yoga, however when I attended my first yin class about 12 years ago, I hated it and vowed never to go back. I found it so boring and I really wasn’t convinced about the safety of the practice or with the effect it might have on my flexible body and joints. I was also completely immersed in teaching Anusara yoga and correct body alignment of the muscles and bones at that time, so was quite closed to other styles of yoga.
Then about 4 years ago, yin started to become more ‘in’, it was becoming cool to be in the yin crowd, so I decided that I would give it another try and stay open to it this time. I attended a class with a very inspiring London teacher and I loved it, more importantly, I now understood it. A year later. I completed a yin teacher training course and have never looked back, I now know that yin can be practiced very safely under the eye of a qualified teacher and with the help of yoga props to support each individual’s body. Then when we are fully able to let go of muscular tension, there is a much deeper release in the underlying tissue.
Don’t get me wrong, stronger yang styles of yoga provide enormous benefits for physical and emotional health, especially for those living a sedentary modern lifestyle, yoga helps remove energy stagnation as it cleanses and strengthens our bodies and our minds as well as lifting our spirit. However, this practice by itself, may not adequately prepare the body for a yin activity such as seated meditation which depends on the flexibility of the underlying connective tissue, therefore yin is the perfect partner to balance a yang yoga practice and also compliments a more active yang lifestyle.
With yin, there is no flow, we settle in to specific poses, but yin still requires skillful sequencing in order to open up the body for release. Yin poses can be held from 2 minutes – 10 minutes, this is where the real work of yin begins. Rather than working our muscles, yin focusses more on releasing the deeper connective tissue and fascia underneath the muscles allowing for a much deeper release. Yin requires you to stay mindful and to inquire, paying attention to whatever is showing up for you both physically, emotionally and mentally. I always encourage my students to explore and to notice every single feeling or sensation, whilst at the same time trying to surrender fully into the pose. I ask “when there is intensity, how does your mind and body deal with it, does it want to pull away, do you feel tense, frustrated, bored or angry, or can you be alone with your breath and mindful openness with the will to commit to right here, right now?”
As yogis, we all know that when we can find freedom in the body, we can also find freedom for our mind. Yin yoga fully facilitates this and in a deeper way than a flow or hatha practice, it can offer expansion, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. I like to think of a yin class a a deep internal cleaning, opening places that may be stuck, closed or stagnant (mind and body).
I now think of yin yoga as the best friend to my yang yoga, it’s mature yoga, it offers me release, expansion and a complete overall feeling of peace.
This is dedicated to all friends and yoga students that have told me this year; that they feel under too much pressure to behave or look a certain way, feel drained, feel ashamed, feel inadequate, not good enough, low self esteem, unfulfilled, unworthy, not respected, don’t believe in themselves, fearful of rejection, the need to compete, the need to defend yourself, the feeling of being judged, suppressed, the need to be loved – and the list goes on……
Believe that you are ‘enough’
This has been my mantra this year, to believe in myself and to know that I am enough, its been a tough one but it’s finally beginning to sink in, especially as the universe has offered me such synchronicity. I have recently studied with my 2 favourite teachers, Tias Little and Elena Brower, both of whom have threaded this very same message and quality in to their teachings this year, thus inspiring and reaffirming it even more fully in to my body, mind and spirit.
Real inner beauty is simply a natural expression of knowing as well as believing that you are enough. Enough in your job, your relationships, when you look in the mirror at your face and your body, when your tired or stressed, knowing that you are more than worthy of being loved and taken care of both by yourself and others. You are enough means that you can forgive yourself, let yourself off the hook for making mistakes, you don’t have to strive to become more valid, more acceptable, or more loved because you already are all of those things.
There are things you might want to work at, perhaps to become more open, more authentic, more free, more honourable, more purposeful, more loving and maybe more empowering, etc. However these are all expressions of your enough-ness. They aren’t about changing yourself, they’re about being yourself.
We are all born with the capacity to express our inner beauty and enough-ness, but more often than not, we start to place unrealistic expectations on ourselves based on what society, our loved ones, friends and colleagues define as being good enough. We are all guilty too, of being influenced by the world around us which constantly challenges our state of mind, clouding the way that we see ourselves. Especially when we are feeling out of sorts or out of balance, perhaps if we are busy, tired, uninspired, stuck in routine, emotional or generally feeling disturbed by different situations going on in our lives, these are the times that we question ourselves and start to feel inadequate and not good enough.
Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation can be our saving grace, because when you feel at peace and at ease on the inside, you are able override the thinking mind which constantly analyses. Over time, you start to realise your inner potential and feel good about yourself again. When we feel in balance, through mindfulness, relaxation and a healthy lifestyle, we can allow our barriers to drop, become vulnerable, freer and more open, enhancing the natural emergence of our true selves and an inner beauty. When we awaken in this way, we let go of feeling deflated as well as the need to cover up or defend, and instead own all of ourselves and accept our so called flaws and idiosyncrasies. When we find ourselves, it’s empowering.
Last year and even more so this year, I have learnt the art of empowering my inner beauty and it’s really quite simple. It’s about looking after yourself and not feeling guilty to give yourself the gift of love and ‘me time’ Here’s what I try to do;
Walk in nature most days – it lifts my spirit.
Play, socialise, hang out with my friends, laugh and have fun.
Dance, sing or listen to music, it elevates and enlivens my mood.
Keep myself inspired by reading, doing trainings or deep philosophy talks with my yogi friends when I can.
Eat nutritious healthy food.
A yoga practice that serves my body, it may be soft and restorative or flowing and expressive or simply 10 minutes in shavasana, depending on what I need.
Regular massage/ acupuncture/ Reiki/ Hot stone (if I’m broke, I swap yoga lessons with therapy)
Get a good nights sleep
So you get the gist, it’s about living a balanced lifestyle and having the courage to look after you, be more authentic and true to yourself by giving yourself permission to do more of the things that you love, whatever rocks your boat. You have to be strong and make some serious changes when you need to and absolutely no guilt, because you are worth it, you are investing in your own personal fulfilment of life. You’ll start to love yourself again and when you love yourself, that is reflected out in to the world and many others will love all that you are too.
And the great thing is, that over time, you will start to feel yourself becoming more compassionate and understanding towards others because you are able to give freely to others what you have given to yourself.
So my message to you is to forgive yourself for the past you’re ashamed of, the times you could have done better, for the moments your not proud of, don’t be hard on yourself and do expect too much from yourself, let go of the constant negative self talk. Let go of all of that.
Instead commit to yourself, take care of yourself, fall back in love with yourself, find balance and patience, find your voice, don’t try and hide or fit in, give yourself permission to accept yourself fully and believe that you have infinite power. You were enough before, you are enough now, and you will continue to be enough as you become more of who you were made to be and reflect that back out in to the world.
I dare you to go look in the mirror, look deep in to your own eyes and tell yourself;
I forgive you,
I love the way you think,
I love the way you act
I love this body,
I am proud of the person you’ve become,
I love you 💖
You are enough 😌
Love B Xx
There’s a quieter, more soulful presence that comes from being arched, rolled, softened and nurtured deep within the curl of a long, deep forward bend. Although I love back bends, mostly my body prefers to fold forwards especially when feeling frazzled. When I fold forwards, I’m back home with myself, I settle down and fall away from stress, my nose nestles toward my legs and my mind sinks into darkness, into the unknown, surrender and release. I stop grasping, reaching and trying too hard and remember sometimes the simple things in life are often more rewarding, less can be more.
Then after I emerge I feel like I’ve woken from a blissful sleep, humbled, a little taller, more grounded, calmer, peaceful and ready to be carried through another day.
My morning yoga practice today was a reminder to stay open and keep shining in this world? Knowing that ‘I don’t know everything’ means that I am open – but the moment I say ‘I know’ or ‘I can’t’, I am closed. Your body can’t be forced in to flexibility or a pose for that matter, however we can always tap in to a place of ease, power, trust, pure grace and perhaps the unknown, allowing ourselves to be open to possibility and that feels so good.
Don’t shrink so that other people won’t feel insecure around you, shine your light, stay open, be bright, be radiant, inspire, motivate and uplift others. We were born to shine, so go do your happy thing and keep smiling people.
“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson
Love B xx
Hello koudinyasana ll – I’m back, aged 50 and menopausal!! Aha!!
Spring is finally upon us, somehow I feel like I’ve woken up from a long sleep and am aligning with a renewed energy this week. Night and day is even and I feel that Im no longer swimming against the current, instead I’m being carried by it….and guess what – my shoulder is finally getting stronger too.
I can’t quite believe this is me in this pose again, in fact I was so excited that my shoulder was strong enough to hold this, that I fell out of it too early in absolute amazement. It’s been over 18 months of rest, patience, perseverance, relearning and lots of physio since I injured my left shoulder with a tear to my rotator cuff and impingment of my infraspinatus muscle. It’s been a long journey of rehabilitation, regular massages, sleeping with pillows, restorative and therapeutic yoga, honouring where my body is and being ok with that, boring exercises, realigning and building up strength again slowly, slowly, slowly. I’m chuffed to bits that I can finally start introducing arm balances back in to my practice again. I hope that this can be inspiration to anyone else out there nursing shoulder injuries especially if you’re a woman in your 40’s or over, as the joints, tendons and muscles can take a long time to repair with reduced oestrogen levels. Look after yourselves and choose to be healthy, ‘self care’ wins every time. 😊💖😊
When you remind yourself to surrender to ‘what is’ your life feels aligned and you feel aligned again, not only that but the universe keeps on providing.
Love B xxx
Life is a series of mistakes and failures……
Those who seemingly flow through life making it look easy, have often fallen the most and probably made a lot of bad lifestyle choices first.
Making mistakes really is part of life, sometimes we make the same mistakes again and again but eventually if and when we become more conscious of ourselves, we can evolve from them and use them to our advantage. Mistakes are simply a situation, or choice, or a blip in our lives that didn’t turn out quite how we thought it would, but we didn’t realise it at the time. Mistakes can be our best teachers in order for us to become a more rounded, wiser and happier person. The way I see it is that life is constantly unfolding in to a newer version of our own reality, in other words, as we mature, if we choose to learn from our mistakes and see things differently, then we are choosing to become more enlightened beings.
My children are 22 and 23 and I am watching them now as young adults going through the same things that I did at their age and sometimes not making wise lifestyle choices. However much as I want to advise them, instead, I am trying my utmost to be a cool parent and not be over protective or controlling. Whether it’s their career, their love life, their friends or the state of their bank account, I maybe smile knowingly and give a philosophical opinion, but I don’t interfere. They have to experience and process life first hand for themselves, otherwise, how are they going to learn, develop and make their own way in the world. I want my kids to thrive and flourish into mature adults that do not fear failure and making mistakes.
I was having this same conversation with a friend the other evening and we were saying that we would love to go back to our younger selves (perhaps when we were in our early 20’s), but with our more mature wiser minds…….The conversation became quite silly and playful as we created some very funny scenarios in our heads and we did laugh, but after a while we both had to question whether we could actually do it. After much debate, we decided that it would be nice to be in our younger and more able bodies but that it would be a struggle to go back and re-live life in the fast lane……therefore we would just revisit for a long weekend rather than a year or more……….
I’ve had my fair share of failures; I’ve felt irresponsible, I’ve felt ashamed, I’ve felt guilty, I’ve felt fearful, I’ve felt imperfect, I’ve felt embarrassed, I’ve felt sorry for myself and all because of things that I’ve said, bad judgements, choices and decisions that I have made in my life and still do, but thankfully, not nearly so often these days. Although, I have absolutely no regrets. On introspection, I wouldn’t swap any of it for the world now, because it’s all made me who I am today. One of the greatest lessons I have learnt from making mistakes is forgiveness, with every mistake, I’ve learnt how important it is to move on, let it go and to forgive myself as well as others. Today I can proudly say I am really starting to understand this, I am more conscious, I am more rational, I am more contented and have a much improved, lighter philosophical view of the world.
Making faux pas are part of being human, they don’t mean we are less capable. With each mistake we make, we discover more about ourselves, our limits, our capabilities, as they encourage us to be more compassionate and tolerant both with ourselves, others and the world. We discover that perfection doesn’t really exist and that just trying to do our best on this journey we call life is enough.
I often tell my yoga students that their mat, is their classroom, we are learning about how to pay attention, open and align our bodies but also how to align and open our minds. Our minds after all are often the biggest hurdle, can we be open to failure and if at first we don’t succeed then can we back off, sit with it, process it, learn from it and then try again, perhaps with a different alignment and mindset. At each attempt of the pose, we can observe our reactions again and again and gain insight from the experience, it’s all about practice – just like life. Yoga poses give us time to practice making decisions, learning and applying feedback while holding ourselves accountable with compassion for the trying. The more we allow ourselves to experiment on the mat, the easier it becomes to take risks in our life off the mat. Ultimately, yoga teaches us to be comfortable with discomfort.
Mistakes are actually lessons in disguise, they can help us combat our greatest fears, live with fewer regrets, be less judgemental of ourselves and others and most importantly, they teach us not to give up at the first sign of failure.
So my advice is – let yourself off the hook when you make mistakes. Apologise, forgive, let it go, do whatever you have to do so that you can pick yourself back up, dust yourself down and say – ‘oh well, I resolve to evolve’
‘Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes’. – Oscar Wilde
Love B xx
‘Practice your yoga in a way that supports movement into stillness, compassion, and complete conservation of your body.’ Tias Little
Just back from a 5 day training course all about the subtle body with Tia’s little. These precious and very inspiring teachings are exactly what I need in my life right now and exactly where I am in my own body right now too.
Subtle body training is all about really deep intimate inquiry and practicing yoga with humility, mindfully, slowly, carefully and even simply. Offer support to your body, wake up it’s own innate intelligence, constantly explore, investigate and listen to it. Honour it by not pushing, forcing or propelling it into an extreme pose that it doesn’t like or is not ready for yet…..
As I get older, I’m in the game of conserving prana (energy) rather than burning it – effortless effort is the way forward…..
So we all fell in love with Cuba – I’m not quite sure when or how this happened, but I do know that the feeling was mutual among our (24 strong) yoga group.
Cuba is simply unique.
In this 21st century, it’s like an oasis that has been separated away from the insanely greedy, consumer crazed, fast paced, stressed world and excesses of mankind. Cuba literally exists on a sheltered island all on it’s own .
Last year, when Free Spirit Yoga (they organise and run most of my retreats for me) asked me if I would like to teach a yoga holiday in Cuba next January, I kind of just flippantly thought, OK I’ve not been there before, I’ll do it! Little did I know then how much of an adventure and how full of surprises, this trip of a lifetime was going to be…….
What with the sunshine, the fantastic classic 1950’s open top cars, rum cocktails on demand, stunning white sandy beaches, turquoise sea, rugged countryside. Then there was the deteriorated 50’s and 60’s buildings that had seen better days, combined with some beautiful old architecture, as Cuba is stoked in history and what made us smile was the very out of date bed linen, curtains, furniture, decor and ornaments. It all make’s Cuba what it is today and we fell in love with it all.
All around us, there was a very vibrant uplifting energy and it just fed happiness in to our souls….
My interpretation of this wonderful energy, is that it comes from the Cuban culture and the beautiful innocence of the Cuban people. They may have a communist chaotic system of governing their country (that’s a whole new blog) and they may not be up to date with gadgets, devices, WiFi, internet and the standard of living that we simply take for granted. However, the way that they live seems to work so perfectly. It actually took me back in time to being a child of the 70’s. There is such a feeling of a safe, tight knit closeness and community, ball games in parks, pop up bands, random dance meet ups, groups of friends standing on street corners laughing and chatting, or sitting on the verandas watching the world go by, kids running free, unsupervised and playing. Even as adults, the Cubans hold hands with each other which I thought was lovely, they are a nation that love to touch, hug, kiss, embrace and bond, even with complete strangers.
Most of the people we met were really friendly, positive, hospitable, happy, open minded, (sometimes living in hardship but not seeming to dwell on it) and – always ready to party at the drop of a hat. Cuban people just love to make music, dance and sing and that is why I feel they are such a happy conscious nation. And the music has such great rhythm, you absolutely cannot top the atmosphere of a Cuban bar or club full to the brim of energy and happy, dancing, smiling, laughing people, you have to see it to believe it and to feel it! They just dance – anywhere, everywhere, tirelessly, all day and all night long – even on school nights!
Located on the beautiful beaches of Playas del Este, east of Havana city, Mhai Yoga retreat centre showed us all a more personal side of Cuba. There is no choice but to slow down, catch your breath and chill out. The authentic and carefree culture of the Cuban people is a welcome reminder that happiness and inner-peace can come easily. It was very special and all of the staff at the yoga Shala where our accommodation was based were so lovely and welcoming, we also got to meet and take a class with Cuban Iyenga yoga master, Eduardo Pimentel whom is solely responsible for teaching and sharing his love of yoga with Cuba. He has written yoga books and trained other Cuban yoga teachers, it was such a pleasure to practice with him, talk philosophy with him and share new ideas.
On our first evening, Coco our host who was Canadian (she arrived in Cuba a few years ago to visit and loved it so much that she didn’t leave), told us that Cuba is full of surprises. We came to learn a saying that both the locals and the tourists used during our time there – “but this is Cuba….” – meaning things don’t always go to plan, anything can happen! As a group we really bonded and were all pretty open minded, so we embraced it all. We felt so blessed to experience the real Havana, we even got to meet locals at our local Salsa dancing class on the first day whom became our friends. From that day on, they would often come calling and offer to take some of the group out dancing at some great venues in Havana. Our hosts also arranged some fabulous trips and surprises that were sometimes off the regular tourist trail, consequently we shared some very special adventures and times together, (often against our better judgement as it is easy to spend your money in Cuba) but definitely no regrets.
For me one of the highlights has to be the yoga class that I taught high up in the hills of a coffee plantation one day whilst we were out on a trip, the energy up there was so incredibly peaceful and we were all greatly moved by the experience.
This really was like no other yoga holiday that I have ever taught before, a typical day would be yoga, breakfast, optional salsa dancing, beach or trip, lunch, beach, yoga, dinner, rum cocktails (optional), out dancing in to Havana – maybe followed by more rum cocktails, then up early to do it all again…..such fun and happy times.
Wow what an experience, I can still hear the lively chatter and laughter at our dinner table every evening, such cherished memories that will stay with us all forever.
Thanks to the eclectic gorgeous group of yogi’s that shared this wonderful trip with me, you rock and remember our little agreement – ‘what went on in Cuba stays in Cuba!’
Cuban motto – ‘drink rum, smoke cigars, dance & be happy’.
LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU CUBA
Dear fellow yogi’s,
I would like to thank all of you dedicated students for your open heartedness, sincerity and for making our yoga sessions such a pleasure for me to teach once again this year. Whether you have supported me here on my face book page, at a regular class that I teach, on one of my retreats, at one of my workshops/masterclasses or a private one to one, each and every one of you has moulded me in to the present teacher that I am right now today, without you I couldn’t serve up what I do. You are the best teachers of all, without your unique bodies, feelings, thoughts, enthusiasm, loyalty and intentions, I cannot learn, evolve and grow in to a more refined teacher each year.
This year, the world has seen so much fear with regards to our future which has resulted in inflated egos, materialism, obsession, greed, selfishness, disrespect and complete disregard for our fellow human beings. It has been utterly shocking! But it has also shown us that now more than ever that we need to learn from this miscommunication with each other, maybe this break up of unity was really needed in order for us to come back together with even more solidarity, I sincerely hope so. We need to share what we have learnt from yoga and meditation, both of which can be transformational in to spreading a little bit more peace, balance, care, love, understanding, compassion and gratefulness in to the lives of others and to this beautiful planet that we all live on together. Let’s reunite, be the change we want to see and try our very best to bring more harmony in to the lives of everyone we meet over this holiday season. 🙏🏻
Wishing you all love and light for a very happy, healthy, stress-free, restful and peaceful Christmas and New Year.🎄
Om shanti, shanti, shanti
Keep spreading the ‘lurve’ B xxx 💖🙏🏻
So tomorrow – Wednesday 21st December, Winter Solstice is finally upon us and to celebrate this, I’m so looking forward to holding space for my yoga students to feel both grounded, peaceful and lifted, Im teaching 2 very special meaningful and soulful solstice classes, one tonight and another tomorrow night. Winter Solstice comes at the middle of winter and marks the longest night and shortest day and Solstice celebrations are believed to go back 30,000 years. It is a time of the year to celebrate the return of the sun by naming our dreams and visions which will grow with the increasing light.
At this time of the year, there is a sense of everything standing still and drawing inwards, but the solstice means that we are can begin to come out of hibernation and the way is now open for the rebirth of our active selves. As we look forward to the return of light, we can celebrate the presence of spirit and the power of outward growth, faith and hope. Celebrating means creating a space to cultivate our future visions that may come in to manifestation.
Let go of what has gone and ask yourself what has been important to you over the last year, what have you learned?
Also what is it that you have been incubating during this dark dormant part of the year?
Then surrender to your dreaming, reflect and celebrate the dark where your inner life has been nurtured, because out of the darkness, new growth will eventually emerge as well as inspiration and ideas for the future.
Have an affirmation – What dreams do you carry inside? What are you envisioning or hoping for?”
Another lovely thing to do at Winter Solstice is to create a ritual, my favourite is to not use any electrical light for the entire day and when darkness arrives, welcome it by lighting Solstice lanterns and candles.
Its also a nice idea to share this ritual with your friends or family;
Place one unlit candle on the table with other candles around it, then turn off all the lights and spend a moment in darkness, remembering and reflecting the dark times from your year and perhaps how they have helped you to evolve and then honour the suns light by one by one lighting a lantern or candle. Once all candles are lit, a Happy Solstice blessing that has meaning to you all can be offered in unison.
NB Did you know that many traditions that we associate with Christmas such as Christmas trees, presents and Christmas wreaths actually come from the ancient celebrations of winter solstice, also known as Yule Tide. Let’s lift our spirit higher on this dark winter night, knowing that all over our planet people will be joining you in spirit and doing the same.
Wishing you all a warm and peaceful 2016 Solstice and Yule Tide with blessings in abundance for the extension of sun light in the coming weeks.
Love Brigitte xxx
So yesterday was not a good day, if I could, I would have stayed in bed all day. I was feeling a bit low about all sorts of stuff and the weather didn’t help either. I had some woes weighing heavy on my mind and was feeling negative, tired and completely de-motivated which actually is not like me at all. However, I know that this is a common time of the year (in the Northern hemisphere) to feel a little bit despondent, overwhelmed or woeful.
Then this morning after a terrible night’s sleep and many hot flushes to boot, I told myself to get it together, I had a busy day of teaching ahead. I remembered my most basic yoga grounding rules to adhere by when the going gets tough, to stay ‘present’ and another one that is the simplest and most effective way to turn a negative day, week or month around into something more positive and better is to focus on ‘gratitude’.
I went downstairs, sat in meditation and mentally reminded myself of all of the things that I have to be grateful for. It started with my body, my breath, my health, my home, my family and then the list went on forever… once you start, it always does. I often teach this type of meditation and its always so uplifting. As I write this now, I have since taught 3 one to ones, walked my dog in the woods and done my own practice too, I am also very inspired about the class I’m teaching this evening and completely have my mojo back. Don’t get me wrong, my problems have not magically disappeared, I still have some stuff to work through but I have a different perspective now .
I know there is so much fatigue and low self esteem out there at the moment, so hopefully this may inspire and lift you too if you’re resonating with this post. I’ve read both of these poems out in class before and I will be reading them out this week too – enjoy!
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in you settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and you
remember again that life isn’t a relay
race; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as you
forget, catch yourself charging forward,
that many times you can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, to be, and to walk
slowly into the mystery.
By Danna Faulds
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
Chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
A house into a home,
A stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
Brings peace for today,
And creates a vision for tomorrow.
By John O’Donohue
Love B xxx
Feeling Liberated! 🙂
Finally I am at a stage in my life where I’m starting to get to grips with not being bothered about what others think of me. I feel free and it’s very liberating in every sense of the word, you see these days, I have the confidence to be fully myself without apology? I have realised that I can save myself a load of energy trying to fit in and be someone that I’m not. Actually its really none of my business what others think of me and at the end of the day, let’s face it, I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, I totally get that.
We can worry so much about defining ourselves with regards to how we think other people ought to see us or perceive us. We can so easily take on a false identity, just from the labels we place upon ourselves, the roles we undertake and the activities we complete. I might see myself as a wife, a housekeeper, mother and a yoga teacher, however that external validation can impact and affect my personal personal growth and happiness. My true identity is shaped from so much more than that. Who I really am are my qualities and attributes, what I can offer to this world and what I really feel on the inside and that is what helps me to connect more fully with others.
The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself and you’re own sense of self worth, that’s why I practice yoga and meditation because it deepens my awareness of myself and how I really feel on the inside, yoga helps me to understand my ‘self’ and to feel good about myself. If I ever go for a period of time without practicing awareness, sometimes I may see a dent in my emotional behaviour and well being which can knock my sense of feeling balanced, my self esteem and confidence. Yoga transforms the mindset in such a positive and dramatic way, she reminds you to focus on your breath, pay attention to yourself and bring your body, heart, mind and emotional balance back in to context. This helps us to feel whole again, literally collecting what was previously separated. At the end of the day, your emotional well-being depends on how you feel about you as a result of the relationship you have within yourself. In other words, you know that you are worthy of being treated with the utmost love and respect without trying to people please or be down trodden or be someone that you’re not, you have given yourself loving boundaries.
Can you lose the labels that you have hung around your neck and how you view yourself? Don’t get me wrong here, we all long to be noticed and for people to love us but do we have to have social acceptance or reassurance constantly? Of course we all do to a certain extent but can you also be happy in your own skin without worrying about the opinions and judgments of others? Do you do whatever makes your heart sing, are you guided by an inner feeling of what makes you feel alive? If you can be true to yourself, you are acknowledging and loving yourself fully. Being confident in yourself means that other people’s misconceptions and illusions cannot affect your sense of worth, then you don’t feel the need to try and fit in to ‘society’ – trying to fit in and looking for external recognition means that you’re not being honest with yourself.
These days all that matters to me is that my friends/ tribe resonate with me, they know the real me. They love me for my deep sense of self, the things that I’m passionate about and are important to me, my mistakes, my loyalty, my raucous laughter, my crap memory, my humour, my love of cheese and wine, my easy going attitude, my need to withdraw and be on my own sometimes, my honesty – ‘I am an open book’, my ability to love wholeheartedly and my spontaneity. In essence my faults and my core values and the sense of who I really am – and that’s all that counts in my book.
The wonderful thing is that since I have felt comfortable to be unashamedly myself, I also have found that I have so much love to give. Yep, I’m really happy to serve the world more love, that’s my gift. I have the capacity to both give and receive love and hopefully that can impact or inspire others and encourage them to feel more supported to be themselves too – even if it’s in the smallest way.
When you can stand up, rock out who you are, be proud and be yourself, the walls of the ego and the need for acceptance or acknowledgement by the world are pushed away and you make peace with yourself. Then you will find true contentment, you will also live a direct authentic, happy and liberating life of freedom.
Will the real you please stand up?! 😜
Shine on 💖
Love B xxx 💕
Im finding more and more at this stage in my life that advanced asana is no longer a vital part of my practice, it really doesn’t float my boat like it used to and just isn’t that important to me. What is important to me is purifying breath work, free movement, warming my muscles, lubricating my joints, sitting in meditation and walking out in nature so that I get my daily dose of fresh air. Generally I just want to feel good about myself and feel balanced. I guess maturity means I have less hormones, less stress, less ego, less mind chatter and more than that, I know myself, I can be fully myself without apology and let myself off the hook without any guilt at all which is so utterly liberating. ☺️ #lovingbeing50
Love B xx
Just back from a very inspiring 5 day yoga intensive with Rod Stryker. The teachings were extremely profound and will take me a while to process. We delved deep in to the subconscious and conscious mind – not so much through asana but much deeper mudra work, pranayama, mantra and long empowering meditations.
My favourite teaching of the week from Rod was this;
“Fear and negativity are born of misunderstanding our own reality. Only when we can alter our perception and see beyond our own reality can we become fearless. Through these practices, we can refine the mind, body and nervous system, so that we can see see what is real and also become less fearful of it.”
One exercise we practiced to get clarity on this was to meditate (preferably without blinking) for 30 minutes staring at a piece of white A4 paper with a black dot on the middle. Afterwards everyone’s reality of the dot was different colours, movement, patterns and light. Basically the dot became energy. However what we learnt was that the dot was simply a dot and that our own minds energy and perception had altered that. It was simply an illusion that we saw – in other words – our own minds reality!
More empowering writings and teachings coming soon! 🙏🏻☺️🕉
Hallelujah! I was just looking at some of our Morocco retreat photos and came across this playful one of me on the beach, 6 months ago I couldn’t hold my left arm out like this without there being a numbing pain!
My shoulder is slowly – very slowly but finally I think starting to heal. When I took a moment to think about it, I realised that I am not in as much pain as I was 3 months ago and finally this must mean the beginning of the long road to recovery. It’s been a full year of very intense pain at times and tears of frustration and many many nights of discomfort in bed.
I’m still no where close to doing arm balances or deep back bends again yet but I can feel that I have made a little progress. It’s been a year of such deep acceptance on every level and a year of dare I say – seriously unlearning shoulder loop alignment technique that I feel was very over emphasised for me, in my many years of Anusara trainings.http://www.yogajournal.com/…/alignment-cues-decoded-draw-s…/
My recent trip to Morocco was a wonderful turning point as I was literally on the verge of taking my surgeons advice and going down the route of surgery before I left, in fact I had an appointment booked for when I got back which I have since cancelled.
So I taught the yoga holiday and also did my own rounded but quite basic practice every day, less can be more sometimes and for me, this has been the staple to my recovery. Add to that prana, rest, laughter, uplifting contagious energy and sunshine then you have healing.
The following week I stayed on for a personal holiday with my husband where we practiced together most days and I was able to really focus on myself and where my shoulder and arm was positioned in every pose. We even shot video of ourselves and when I watched it back, it was a great teacher, literally it showed how my injured shoulder was sometimes compromised. At home, with my busy yoga teaching schedule, my body had begun to pick up the habit whereby my right side was doing more work to protect the left where there was an obvious weakness. In fact I saw this again this morning when he videoed me doing a wide legged headstand in my warm up before my class.
I still have a long way to go yet, bursitis and tendinitis in my left arm and a tear/ impingement to the rotator cuff don’t heal quickly, but finally, I now believe in my body’s capability to heal and I’m not allowing myself to spiral.
I have to thank 2 therapy friends (osteo and physio), that have both encouraged me and firmly told me that I more than anyone can do this without surgery. There have been many times when I seriously didn’t believe them or believe in my capability to this and nearly buckled.
I do however powerfully believe that attitude is everything, mindset can get through anything. In fact brain studies now reveal that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions. I also see that injuries are opportunities in disguise, we have to use them to learn about ourselves in the belief that we will always come back stronger and more knowledgeable😊
This time more than any other I am realising that yoga is a practice of allowing. It allows us to be weak, to stumble, to be brave, to be strong, to fall and then surrender, to survive, to be raw, to be real and to be nothing less and nothing more than the reflection of myself which is perfectly imperfect.
So here I am still lazing around being a beach bum in Morocco lying on my sun bed, listening to the sound of the waves crashing, watching camels walking along the beach, counting my blessings and smiling – still high post yoga retreat feeling so very grateful to do what I do.
Spending time connecting with some very lovely special people (once again) last week has really warmed my soul to the core. After teaching a yoga holiday, I’m always inspired and also always feel compelled to write about it afterwards.
Life is so damn good when you have sand to walk in, salt water to wash in, hammocks to lie in, practice yoga daily as well as having the right people around you to converse with and make you laugh out loud every day. It’s quite a simple recipe really, spending time becoming more aware with like minded people heals and promotes feelings of contentment and peace and that is what we reflect back in to the world when we get back home to our real lives.
My outlook and end goal of a yoga retreat has shifted so much over 13 years of teaching them. It is no longer just about dynamic yoga and advancing our poses. I have come to realise that more isn’t always better and that often actually less can be a much bigger celebration sometimes. I do not feel the need to be defined by my yoga teacher status or how advanced my own practice is anymore and I really don’t want to be more than my students. Don’t get me wrong, I want to advance, encourage and inspire my students but not just in their performance of asana. I also recognise that I am the same as them, after all underneath our armour we are not separate, we are all vulnerable humble human beings walking the same path, trying to evolve through self love, insight and wisdom.
These days my yoga holidays are more about how we can lighten up and become more expressive in a vinyasa class, or how we can listen inwardly and learn about ourselves from meditation. It can be just as challenging to learn how to completely let go and relax in restorative yoga or communicate and become more intimate with others through partner or acro yoga. I promote laughing and having fun with back bends and inversions but also how to become more conscious and aware of intensity when the going gets tough in a yin class. All of this combined helps us to navigate our way in this world more skilfully and joyfully and that is yoga in my book.
Ultimately yoga nurtures us and teaches us to delve even deeper than the pose and to peel back our outer layers, to become more aware of our fears, lack of confidence, or other negative personality traits so that we can eventually heal our so called shame, clear emotional debris and perhaps free repressed emotions, thought or behaviours patterns.
A yoga holiday gives us complete permission to go slow, let go, expand our lives, explore all possibilities, appreciate each moment and realise our complete worthiness and magnificence so that we can contribute with more purpose and meaning to this often harsh demanding world that we live in.
Some days are easy days, yoga retreats and sunshine and some days are storms and heartache but every day is a blessing and the road to feeling better is not always the road that leads to more but the road that teaches us that what we create is what we become and what we give out is what we get back.
Love and friendship always wins in my book. ❤️
Love B xxx
I can hardly believe that we are already well in to September and still basking in beautiful blue sky’s and hot sunny weather. For me this summer has been an amazing happy whirlwind one to remember, especially as I had a milestone half century birthday!
After teaching a lovely retreat on the island of La Gomera in June, I kind of gave myself a summer sabbatical of sorts, I literally more than halved my weekly teaching schedule and slowed the pace right down.
For most of July and August, I have chilled, pottered around the garden read books, been for long summer walks in the woods, met friends for coffee, been a lady that does lunch, I’ve been to concerts and mini festivals. I also had the most superb 50th birthday celebrations, as well as an awful lot of eating, drinking and catching up with friends at various social gatherings. My summer break then culminated with a romantic birthday trip to Barcelona curtesy of my lovely husband. I have to say this summer couldn’t have been more different to last summer if it tried!
I am therefore now absolutely filled with gratitude and feeling very blessed to have spent time with so many wonderful friends old and new, many of whom I have met through yoga. However, now my beautifully imperfect flawed self is so ready to step back in to my power and re- emerge back in to a dedicated yogi.
I love how the energy of life swirls, twirls, tumbles and turns. It doesn’t move in straight lines and it’s rarely predictable, it’s vibrancy pulsates with rhythmic waves and Im about to ride a new wave right now as Autumn beckons.
After these wonderful full 2 months of happiness, I feel refreshed, full to the brim of receiving, inspired and really ready to give right back through the gift of Autumn yoga offerings.
I love this time of the year, the sun is dropping in the sky, the evenings are a little cooler, nature is shedding and we are shedding as we bring ourselves back to routine. Although we are still experiencing warm days, there is also a cool Vata roughness in the air expressed by flurries and light movement. These qualities may make us feel a little imbalanced, so to combat them, there are many things that we can do as the seasons begin to change. Try starting your day with a large glass of warm water with a slice of lemon to cleanse, hydrate and warm you on the inside, as well as encouraging elimination. Another thing to work into your diet at this time of year are seasonal root vegetables which I for one love. Their inherent earthiness can be really grounding. A final suggestion from the Ayurvedic tradition is to start to use warming spices in your dishes. Spices like ginger, cinnamon, garlic, pepper, cumin, and turmeric serve to not only make things more tasty, but they can also help warm and ease the digestive system – yum.
Lastly of course our yoga practice can also bring us back in to balance. My Autumn yoga timetable is back at full capacity again and I’m really feeling re- motivated ready for a new term of all things yoga. I have also set myself an intention to have a much more dedicated inversion practice too – so beware!
Here is a little insight in to my yoga calendar events for the next few months;
Next stop is Morocco – Yoga, Surf and Spa retreat next week from the 20th – 27th Sept. As always a very lovely group of yogis have booked on and it’s going to be brilliant, I can feel it in my bones.
Please note that my Wednesday classes will be cancelled whilst I’m away, however I struck lucky and have 2 fantastic teachers subbing my Saturday classes, David Keens and Samantha Turner. Its always good to practice with different teachers, it opens your eyes to new snippets of wisdom and different ways of doing things, both David and Sam have an amazing practice so please do turn up and try out their classes 10 30 – 12pm at Broughton Pavilion.
New Thursday evening yoga basics class – starts 6th October at The Heart Yoga Space
I have a brand ‘new’ Thursday evening level 1/2 class starting up at The Heart Yoga Space in Wolverton – 7 – 8 30 pm each week. I’m so excited to be back teaching there, this time for my lovely friend Geni, whom has has been coming to my classes for as long as I have been teaching. Geni has taken the studio over from Estella and I’m so looking forward to collaborating with her on various yoga offerings. We are both ofen inspired by the same teachers and the same style of practice and have been on many Thelma and Louise road trips to yoga workshops across the country, so I just know that whatever Geni does it will be perfect, meaningful and and right from her heart. The space is so beautiful and really does have a heart, Gen also has some great ideas brewing for next year.
On Friday 29th October 7 – 9 pm – I have a Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra session at The Granary studio, this will be so deeply relaxing and reviving on every level. I already have some bookings for this so please do go ahead and follow the link to payment on my website if you would like to join us as spaces are limited.
Champneys Yoga and Spa weekend – November, 4th – 6th. I am teaching my annual nurturing and reviving yoga weekend at the contemporary Champneys, Springs in Leicestershire, for which there are only 5 places still available. Please follow the link on my retreats page through to Free Spirit yoga if you would like to book.
Friday 16th December – Restorative Yoga and Gong. I am collaborating with Kanti for 2 hours of restful Restorative yoga accompanied by the vibrational healing sounds of the Gong and singing bowls – At the Granary studio.
My 2017 Yoga holidays are already booking up;
Cuba Yoga Holiday – January 14th – 21st – only 4 spaces left….
Norfolk weekend retreat – Friday 31st .March – Sunday 2nd April – only 7 spaces left. I’m collaborating with the lovely Rosemary Booker on this one and its booked up very quickly, if you’re interested please do contact one of us asap. This weekend hideaway is an absolute gem and in a perfect location, we are so lucky to have found it and are really looking forward to sharing all things yoga with everyone.
Next stop – Yoga Holiday – Dayan, Turkey – 29th May – 5th June (May Day Bank holiday week) – I can’t keep away from here for more than a couple of years, this is one of my most favourite beautiful places in the world to be for stunning scenery and nature, Dalyan has my heart.
Crete Yoga Holiday – 20th – 27th June – if you like being a yogi, a foodie and a beach bum – then this one is for you. It’s a Greek tavern in a pretty village right on the beach with a huge Yoga Shala facing the ocean and really great homemade typically Greek food.
I also have lots of other cool ideas bubbling up in the pipeline for future teacher training offerings and workshops next year, will keep you posted when they materialise.
All info and details for everything above is on this web site, just click on to appropriate pages.
As we shift seasons, we will soon bid a final farewell to summer, maybe feeling a tad sad for the loss of this particular summer, but striding confidently onward on our path, welcoming a new phase of our life — a new season, new experiences and opportunities, new schedules. Looking forward to sharing with you.
Wishing you all Autumnal blessings in abundance as as we move in to this next new cycle.
With Love B xxx.
Ps – thought this pose was most appropriate of an Autumnal newsletter as, it’s called sun-dial pose
Can you let go of your expectations, and embrace the unknown?
Accepting ‘What Is’ – is the essence of life, in fact it’s what makes the world go around, life is always going to be unpredictable. Sometimes we crave change. Other times we dread it, either way though, we just can’t escape it. I’m feeling change in the air at the moment with the current political climate in the UK and other countries too, also some of my friends are going through major changes in their lives and I too am setting the wheels in motion in preparation of transition towards a future lifestyle change.
Since yoga and mindfulness have become part of my life, my eyes are now always open to the opportunities that can come from change (the highs and the lows), in the hope of the next adventure, life experience or philosophy lesson to be learnt. A major lifestyle change is what brought me to where I am today and I still can’t quite believe that this is me and my life now – but I haven’t always been this way…
About 15 years ago, I unwillingly got pulled out of the realms of my comfort zone big time and trust me, I really didn’t want it then. My mind was programmed with preconceived ideas and I expected my life to go a certain way, so when it didn’t, instead of embracing change knocking at my door, I became very stuck. I didn’t know how to let go and I didn’t have the self confidence, or the know how, to move forwards. Therefore I was fearful and fought it, I became anxious, I lied to myself, I cried, I got angry, I had sleepless nights, I was very unhappy, in fact, I was feeling a whole load of negative emotion and carrying the world on my shoulders. I desperately tried to hold onto everything secure around me with both hands, I think that I kind of thought that if I could just stay put, it would all sort itself out eventually. I dream’t for the stability and real happiness that used to be, in fact, I was so focused on my need for what I saw as my ideal life, that I was ignoring listening to my inner most feelings – my truth.
Then one day (in fact it was after my first yoga teacher training course), I literally had the most amazing meditation and everything became clear, I realized that I couldn’t pretend to myself or others anymore, I didn’t have to stay in a life that no longer fed my soul, it was my birthright to be happy again. When I eventually stepped out of my comfort zone, it took a lot of guts and a huge leap of faith for me to take charge of my life again with the added responsibility of 2 children in tow. For a couple of years or more, the emotional pain from this huge life change was immense, but it belonged to me and I knew that it was ok to grieve and in doing so I was being essentially human, it was an important part of the healing process.
How I would have got through it though without a regular yoga or meditation practice is beyond me, mindfulness practices helped to reduce the stress associated with change big time. Yoga get’s us more in touch with our feelings so that we can be guided from an inner wisdom rather than our conditioned busy thinking mind. The more peaceful the mind, the more you can let go and the stronger your intuition and clarity will be, which in turn will help you to make wiser decisions. Yoga has taught me to be honest with myself and to really listen to my own desires and truth, its also taught me acceptance of ‘what is’. When we can sit with the present moment and let our mind relax, something in you also releases and a kind of purification or ‘letting go’ just happens all on its own.
I often tell my students to observe how their body feels physically, mentally and emotionally whilst they are holding their poses and to also notice how they react to this level of discomfort. I ask them, what does your instinct tell you to do when something is disagreeable, what emotions or thoughts also habitually come up? I encourage them to stay with it and to resist the urge to leave the pose. Our yoga practice is always an opportunity to notice, to learn and to evolve, so that in the future we can focus, tune in to our breath and find a way to develop a sense of calmness and comfort in a not so comfortable or unpleasant situation. It is a fact that this increases our oxygen flow which in turn calms our nervous system and reduces our levels of stress instantly.
Basically life is unpredictable, circumstances are unpredictable, situations are unpredictable, people are unpredictable and things happen that we don’t always like, therefore ‘letting go’ and ‘acceptance’ are key to being able to gracefully surf through these times. We can plan and prepare and provide for as much security in our life as possible however we can never predict or determine what may happen next, therefore, there is no point in creating negative energy by trying to control something that is beyond your control. You can only change yourself… your thoughts about it and your actions.
What I could never have known when my life changed so dramatically, (as none of us can), was what the future held for me and the positive things that would come from letting go and facing my fear of ‘what is’. However, I did remain positive, I had faith that I would be ok and to a certain extent trusted in a higher power of consciousness.
It is our our ability to meet these challenges in life head on that largely determines the outcome….which can either make or break us. We must learn to never take anything for granted and to know that much as we might hate it, we are where we are and we need to sit with what is happening. Another imperative belief in my opinion is to know that with every door that closes, another one opens, Every time I find myself a little bit lost or coping with life’s latest curve ball, I try my best to turn it in to a positive and see the bright side – its always possible if you look hard enough.
We are contantly in transition. We are never not becoming and mindfulness practices change the hearts capacity to – ‘let go’, ‘move on’ and ‘accept life as it is’.
RELAX, nothing is in your control. 🙂
Love B xxx
My heart is full to the brim with gratitude for this life that I am living right now. Before I went away I knew that something had to give in order to make space for new teaching offerngs that I have been churning around in my head for a few months now. Being off grid, my mind became calm, my perception altered and I had time to reflect, consequently I have made some positive decisions that feel right for me at the moment.
Last year I learnt a lot about myself, I was not sure what direction I was heading with my teaching, and fear was definitely present, especially when I decided to go it on my own so to speak without a regular income to fall back on from working for a studio. This undoubtedly is why I worked so much, set myself goals and became too driven, my earnings most certainly reflected my hard work but I also got injured and actually lost myself and a sense of direction. “Can I make it on my own, am I capable of this, am I worthy, am I a good enough teacher” – were all questions that I constantly asked myself and then I set more targets and took on even more. On hindsight perhaps I was trying to prove something to myself, after all most of us feel that effort equals success but actually over effort can mean struggle and lack of fulfilment personally. I was doing too much and therefore not enjoying what I love with a passion – teaching and sharing yoga.
Forward wind and right now, my body is telling me where I am and I’m listening, I feel completely joyful. This week I am on fire, weaving yoga poses together with creativity, strength, grace, sweet surrender, celebration and real passion. On top of that, I seem to have re-found a wonderful certainty for who I am and what I am again and I absolutely do not feel the need to prove myself, compete or compare myself to others, (we are all guilty of that from time to time).
I have given myself complete permission to undo some stuff on my calendar, under-achieve, back off and shrink a little in order to embrace more vastness but with less struggle and effort, as the saying goes – ‘Less is more’. Of course fear is always present but it is no longer dictating my choices or direction in life. Right now, I feel very comfortable in myself, I feel a little more whole, more free and more importantly, I believe in myself. I know what I love doing, I know what I’m best at, I know what the student’s that attend my classes love and feel that it’s vital that I pursue this desire and let go of the other stuff that is less meaningful or fulfilling to me.
Sometime’s in life we take dips and dive’s and sometimes we simply fly effortlessly and then soar even higher. Finally I am flying again, who would have thought that slacking could be more inspiring, I can see the horizon, everything is becoming more clear.
Here’s to slacking, more reading, studying, learning, writing, planning and then sharing …..
Aha – watch this space yogi’s ……
Love B xxx
Just back from teaching another inspiring and amazing yoga holiday on the stunning Canary island of La Gomera. Feeling so very blessed to do what I do, once again a truly beautiful group of yogis. Thank you all for sharing a special week and bonding with laughter, love and happiness. This is our last session together (minus 2 missing in action) sharing a savasana plait. We did laugh out loud!! 😀😂😆. One of the themes behind my weeks teachings was to love yourself and let your beauty shine from the inside. This poem says it all – 🙏🏼❤️
‘She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines.
She was beautiful, for the way she thought.
She was beautiful, for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved.
She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile, even if she was sad.
No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks.
She was beautiful, deep down to her soul. She is beautiful.’
F. Scott Fitzgerald 🙏🏼❤️ Love you all – you are beautiful 😘
I’m about to go off grid for 10 days, to teach a beautiful yoga retreat on the island of La Gomera (a magical Spanish Canary island), where we will be disconnecting in order to reconnect.
The wonderful thing about this retreat is that it really is a retreat, literally tucked away in its own secluded bay with mountains as back drop and the vastness of sea all around.
There will be no mobile phone or internet access so we really will have the time to completely unplug so to speak. When we disconnect from our devices, we plug in to life, we reconnect with ourselves, nature and each other. We will have the space to reflect, and relax without any outside stimulation. Our body and mind’s will be treated to healthy, locally sourced and beautifully prepared food, daily meditation and breath work, twice daily yoga, relaxation, body movement/dance classes, the sheer magnificence, peace and quiet of nature. All of this experienced with like minded people and deep and meaningful conversations. 🙂
I know that when we emerge, the experience will have given us all, new found inspiration, clarity, vision, creativity, improved sleep, focus, decreased stress and increased gratitude – all of which are the tools to create more mindful, meaningful, balanced and happy lives.
Right – back to packing, see you in a while 🙂
Adiós Amigos 🙂
Last night was the last week of my 8 week beginners course, I have absolutely loved teaching these guys and I’m so proud of how far they have come. It’s been so refreshing as a teacher to teach humble beginner’s mind’s and go back to basics and the foundations of our yoga practice. On their 1st week, they all looked a little daunted and I saw worried faces looking at me as I sat to begin the course but last night as I took the seat of the teacher, I saw happy smiling confident faces looking back at me.
Over the 8 weeks, we covered so much from just learning to stay present and aware of our breath, to learning about the use of props, working to create balanced energy in each pose, engagement of core and bandha locks, a little bit of therapeutics, yoga nidra, breathing techniques, meditation, energy lines and meridian’s and how yoga can help us so much in our every day live’s.
We have shared tears, sweat, peaceful moments, serene contented smiles, raucous laughter and a lot fun.
Last night for me was the icing on the cake, we began with a bit of partner work, then a full sequence with crow thrown in to take them out of their comfort zone and culminating with our apex pose – Ardha Chandrasana – and here they all are doing there very best (which is always good enough for me). Then we celebrated in true style and went off down the pub to have a social.
Viparita Karani – Legs up the wall pose.
I’ve been really busy teaching therapeutic restorative one to ones in my cabin studio this week, every time, they are so beautifully mind-blowingly powerful and deeply gratifying both to the student and teacher. Restorative yoga is nurturing and healing in every way, whatever the client’s ailment, mental, emotional, physical or internal, it is literally food for the body, mind and soul and never fails me. This is ‘Legs up the wall pose‘.
Here, this lady is lying on a cushion of yoga mat and blankets, I have placed a large supportive bolster under her sacrum, a sandbag on her lower belly which is calming to the nervous system and one on each shoulder too which can feel so grounding. Also I made a small roll to support the occipital at the base of her skull to help release tension in the neck or headaches. The legs have been wrapped in a blanket and another blanket is tucked around her torso for extra warmth and comfort. An eye pillow soothes and blocks out the harsh daylight so the eyes and the forehead can completely relax.
Sometimes I also place the end of a sandbag on the forehead and wrap the fore-head with a bandage or place a rolled up blanket around the head – especially if a person is anxious, stressed or suffers with migraines.
Restorative yoga sprinkles her magic every time – it should be on prescription. 🙂
Benefits of Legs Up the Wall Pose:
Regulates blood flow
Alleviates menstrual cramps
Relieves swollen ankles and varicose veins
Helps testicular, semen, and ovarian problems in men and women respectively
Restores tired feet or legs
Stretches the back of the neck, front torso, and back of the legs
Improves problems of the eyes and ears
Relieves mild backache
Provides migraine and headache relief, especially when done with a bandage wrapped tightly around the forehead and back of the skull
Helps keep you young and vital
Relieves symptoms of mild depression and insomnia
I think of positive energy as anything that makes you feel good or react in an uplifting way and it can come to us in many different forms. It could be something as simple as the weather, being in a feel good place or hearing a song play on the radio.
A few of the things that bring positive energy into my life are:
Yoga and Meditation
Being outside in nature
Being with my family and friends
Listening to music
Being around someone who motivates or inspires me.
Everything is energy, we are constantly engaging and exchanging energy with each other. Energy that we like being around can be deeply healing, uplifting and rejuvenating. On the other hand, being around things that we don’t like can make its way into our minds and bodies’, it can even make us feel ill, depressed, depleted or emotionally-exhausted.
When we are feeling depleted in energy – that is what will radiate from us and it will have a direct impact on others whom come in to contact with us too. Therefore can we observe not only the energy we are exposed to and but also the energy that we are available to receive.
Of course we can’t always be constantly emitting positive energy all of the time, sometimes shit happens…that’s life. However, we can learn to pay more attention and become more aware of what does rock our boat.
Our experiences create how we feel and how others feel. The things we think, the things we say and the things we do are contagious…… choose your energy wisely people…..
Love B xxx
After a busy weekend of teaching and family, after my son and my husband left early for work this morning, the silence was heavenly music to my ears. It was that perfect sweet communion that I was craving. My meditation cushion beckoned, as I took my seat and inhaled the alluring smell of my favourite incense, I knew that I had arrived home to the feeling of myself once more. The moment that I closed my eyes, the world was muted to a hush as though all things had turned in to this breath and I was magically being drawn in to a deep stirring within. The more that I submerged myself in to this silent reality, the more I heard – silence is profoundly peaceful but she also talks to us. Then when I opened my eyes at the end of my meditation, I was blown away by my reawakened awareness, it carries hope, love, forgiveness, potential and opportunity and I no longer feel separate, we are all in this together….
Love B xxx
This is very personal, honest and a little opinionated – but it may just resonate
I Love You, I’m Sorry, Please Forgive me, Thank you.
I so needed to read this in my fb feed this morning.
For those of you that know me, you will know that I am quite an optimistic person and my glass is usually always half full, well on Monday it was well and truly empty and I had a little self pitying cry. The day before I had gone to a workshop in London nursing a serious injury and let my ego get the better of me, therefore Monday was a day of pain – physically and psychologically…..
I have had my fair share of injury’s over 30 years of practising yoga, from hamstring tears, to sacroiliac pain, to knee issues. Injuries can be debilitating, however they can also be a huge learning curve both physically and emotionally if we choose them to be. As I have taken time to recuperate and heal, I have gained knowledge therapeutically in the process which has matured my own personal practise as well as evolved my teaching experience no end.
For about 3 years now, I have had a recurring shoulder injury which I believe was originally caused by practising ‘108 sun salutations’ for a charity yoga event. I personally now feel that for me, this was a very stupid thing to do. Firstly I was practicing between 2 strong and fit male yoga teachers so my ego perhaps got the better of me. Secondly, I feel that a repetitive movement performed over and over again, especially as you start to tire can make you lose awareness of correct muscular alignment. Thirdly and the main contributor I think for me, was that I was over 45 and at that stage of my life known as Pre-Menopausal. As a woman reaches a certain maturity in age, her oestrogen levels drop and the stress hormone cortisol can dominate. This can weaken, tire, and tighten our muscles and joints, in some cases triggering a condition known as menopausal arthritis
Sun salutes, when practised repeatedly can create too much friction to the rotator cuff tendons and muscles (these are responsible for connecting the upper arm to the shoulder blade). While moving through this sequence, you are asking your shoulder joint to negotiate a delicate dance between flexion, extension, internal and external rotation, all whilst bearing weight. Then the tendon of the supraspinatus muscle gets sandwiched between the bones of the shoulder blade and the arm, consequently resulting in de-stabilizing the shoulder joint and causing impingement. So this is exactly what happened to my shoulder a couple of days after the 108. I was performing an arm balance in my own personal practice, my shoulder had already been weakened and compromised, so it gave way, I literally felt something go and splat – fell flat on my face.
My injury began to improve and get better after 18 months of honouring where my body was, working therapeutically with it and taking things easy, but then it reoccurred again in August of last year. I continued to practise mindfully and carefully, but by November it became more permanent. The pain became more intense and this was now was seriously affecting not just my yoga practice but my sleep and just doing mundane things in my everyday life such as filling my kettle full of water, carrying shopping, changing gear in my car, even putting my coat on.
Yoga is my everything, it is the one thing that always puts me back together again and helps me find my way in this world and I had always taken this for granted. Due to my shoulder discomfort, yoga was fast becoming just my job, coming to my mat felt like a chore, I practised enough to be able to teach well but I seemed to have lost my yoga soul. This latest injury was unforgiving and perhaps a wakeup call about accepting that my body is changing and that I can no longer practice in the way that I always had, without fear, playfully, painlessly and with true passion
When our bodies are physically compromised, how can we continue to move, stay limber, strong, and maintain a connection to our asana practice so that we stay open minded and grow as yogis and students? The word Yoga means to yoke – the mind, body and spirit, I have always taught this and therefore was determined not to feel defeated or discouraged, so I sat with my shit and allowed my injury to unveil yet another layer of myself.
After all, I knew full well, that yoga is not just about finding bliss and serenity after 90 minutes of vigorous vinyasa practice, it is not an escape from reality but it actually it helps us to deal with and work with the reality of right here right now so that we open our eyes, continue to move forwards and see things differently.
This is my yoga now, I’m motivated to make the effort to learn what I can, do what I can, and let go of what does not serve me. Like all things, this will take work, dedication, time and an honest desire to let go. I know that I have to honour where I am right now in my life, stop pushing myself, reduce my busy teaching schedule, rest more, respect my body more and give it time to heal.
Well, for 3 months now, I have been teaching and practising modified vinyasa flow sequences, sometimes without any sun salutations, which so often are used to hold together the sequence. I see this as a new process of self discovery and it has actually made me more creative and inventive when devising my routine’s. My focus for my home practice includes more meditation, pranayama, somatic yoga and restorative yoga, all of which are so very nourishing to my mind, body and soul at this period in my life.
This challenge and experience has inevitably changed me and has added an extra bow to my teaching and to the ongoing shifts that need to occur in order for me to grow as a person and a teacher. The most wonderful thing is that I’m falling back in love with yoga again.
This is the absolute beauty of yoga in action, it wakes up residues that have been lying dormant within us so that we can reflect on where we want to place our energy in the future.
In the words of the wise sage Patanjali – “Unnecessary suffering must be avoided.”
From now on this will be my daily mantra, “I Love You, I’m Sorry, Forgive Me, Thank You” – Ho’oponopono – Dr. Joe Vitale
Love Brigitte xx
Note to self and to anyone else out there who has a very long ‘to do’ list today;
Be gentle on yourself,
Meditate and take some time out for you – and don’t feel guilty,
Don’t stress and don’t be in a rush, go slowly and methodically,
Things will be done when they get done,
Expect the unexpected and take one moment at a time,
Does it matter if it doesn’t get done – there’s always tomorrow
Your best is always good enough
You are good enough
Love B xx
Give yourself time to listen to your inner being daily. It is a still small calm quiet voice, it does not shout, it is not erratic or harsh – it actually gives you hints and snippets of advice if you are silent enough for long enough. Then intuitively you will find that you know which directions to take in your life and what actions to take too. You will start feeling your way not over thinking your way and you will become more mature. Maturity sometimes means trusting and taking a risk in order to be more fully yourself and to listen to your own truth.
So with the chaos that surrounds arriving home after a month away in India such as feeling jet lagged, mountains of washing, hundred’s of e mails and general busy-ness, I found that I needed to feel calm and grounded when I stepped on to my yoga mat this week.
We literally can feel more rooted to the earth through recognising and becoming more aware of our physical connection to the ground such as through the soles of our feet. Feeling grounded is also important not just physically but psychologically. When I find a connection to the earth – I feel that I connect to something much bigger than myself – it’s a feeling of lightness but at the same time I feel fully supported and perfectly at peace with the world again. This reminds me that I am not an isolated ego but just a tiny particle in this vast universe which leaves me feeling reconnected to the feeling of myself.
I take time to slow right down, to tune in to my breath, to pay attention in order to feel more mindful, grounded, stable, peaceful and calm. When I take my focus inwards and keep it there, I am able to deepen my awareness ultimately letting go of any drama in my mind so that I can see things with more clarity and a sense if inner calm.
Love B xx
Love is the answer, Love conquers all, Love is all you need BUT Love is perfectly imperfect
Any of us who have chosen to share a life with a partner will also confirm that each moment spent can bring not just joy and laughter but also tears, fears and challenges that perhaps we thought were not possible in love.
Having recently just got married, I have had so many friends and acquaintances completely in awe of the love that my partner and I have for each other as though we are characters straight out of a fairy tale. However in reality, we are just a couple that fell in love and are trying our best to keep that love alive. Yes of course we share a very deep love and respect for each other and yes I feel that we are soul mates but this is because he is also my mirror, he is my teacher and I am his. We are on the same path in life, we want the same things, we share the same visions for our future but more importantly we both get and understand philosophy. We literally have woken each other up and torn down each other’s wall’s. We both know what triggers will set each other off and make us react but because of that we have learnt about ourselves and we are also learning to recognise our ego selves and our own personal conditioned patterns of thinking and behaviour, also neither of us are afraid to be the first to say sorry. We truly understand what effort it takes to be able to grow together, we are constantly learning about ourselves and about each other and therefore we are evolving together towards the future that we want to share.
I feel that love is sometimes used as an inappropriate concept in our yoga world too. I have experienced there can be a tendency to be overly false or overly nice and dare I say occasionally too much hugging, exaggerated happiness and positivity. But the reality is this – there is no light without darkness, we turn our eyes from the darkness because we are afraid it will smother the precious light we have discovered through our practice.
I have learned so much about love in my lifetime so far. I really feel that you cannot control love and expect things to be perfect. Love is about the choices that I make to myself and others. It’s about setting boundaries and honouring my space and my needs and also the boundaries, space and needs of others. It’s about being intuitive with myself and others and trying my best to be authentic so that I stay true to my own feelings and who I really am whilst also respecting the feelings of others.
Being nice to others, understanding others and loving in general will happen naturally when it flows from a place of love and respect for yourself not fear or control – that is your gift to the world – use it wisely and it will come back to you tenfold.
I cannot wait to be back teaching my regular yoga classes this week. let’s spread a little l o v e.
With Love Brigitte xx
Finally – I am leaving ‘busy’ behind because life should never be too busy for the things that matter most to you…..
I am so lucky to love what I do, and that in turn means that I do it with love and opportunities seem to present themselves to me at exactly the right time…..
In the last 12 months I have taught 4 (fully booked) retreats, 9 workshops, 10 teacher mentoring sessions, mentored 5 yoga teachers individually, taught 14 master-classes, 72 yoga classes and 90 one to ones. I’ve also attended 4 amazing teacher trainings in London with really inspirational teachers, Ive written 47 yoga blogs and 2 articles were published for on line magazines. I also have an incredible new web site which was a year’s work of pure dedication, love and hard slog.
Phew, it’s been a totally crazy whirlwind year and although its been challenging, it’s also been a very self empowering one too and the rewards have been absolutely heart warming. Thank you to all of you whom have moved forwards with me and supported me on new my ventures and on social media too.
In this past year, I have literally only taken one weeks holiday on the end of a retreat and the odd couple of days off here and there.
Something that you may or may not know is that also in this past year we, (Brian Riley) and I have been planning a wedding too – our own!
Therefore, from tomorrow, Im so looking forward to escaping for a month in the sun to our beloved Goa with my love. I shall be savouring a break from teaching although I also plan on getting my own yoga on and visiting a wonderful yoga shala with some really great teachers, ‘Brahmani’, whilst Im there.
Then in the middle of the month we will be exchanging rings and very personal lifetime promises and vows, it’s going to be a really beautiful wedding ceremony on the beach surrounded by our closest family and friends. Right now I am feeling very blessed indeed and extremely grateful that we are able to do this and today I have actually finally started to get very excited too. Is this real? Is this me and my life?
This page may be quiet for a while, but let me leave you with this bit of advice;
We are often caught up in being busy, such is life but please never forget that it is also important to spend time with family, build relationships, have different experiences, go places, create things, help others, or whatever else rocks your boat. Heck just get out there and do something for you.
See you in a month when I’m sure that I will be well rested, rebooted and inspired beyond inspired.
With Warmest Sunshiny Love
So we are in the wake of David Bowie’s death, he was a hero to so many of us and he really was an absolute rock legend extraordinaire of all time. ‘Turn and Face the Strange’, what great words to live our lives by. These lyrics inspired me way back when I first heard them but they inspire me so much more today when I listen to them again. This song was about defying our critics and having the courage to believe in ourselves in order to step out in our own unique way. Sometimes we have to adjust and be open to the frequent metamorphosis’s that we have to make in this constantly changing world of today. That was Bowie all over, he loved to embrace artistic chameleon reinvention.
Time is meaningless and impermanence is inevitable, the world is constantly shifting and changing and if we don’t want to get left behind, we have to acclimatise ourselves with it, sometimes that involves taking a leap of faith, leaving our comfort zone and trusting whatever whatever the future holds. When you consciously embrace change wholeheartedly as an inevitable part of life and align your focus to creatively seek different ways to utilize new changes, your life will embody ease and abundance. “Progress is impossible without change.
Turn and face the strange
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time….
Bowie’s life was well-lived, music, adventure and always change, his death was no different from his life – he went with the flow of it and made it a work of art.
Each of us also has the opportunity to change and grow until our very last breath too – if we wish to…..Always be ready to expect the unexpected….
Classes this week will be themed ‘Turn and Face the Strange’
RIP David Bowie
With Love and the greatest respect
So once more we are coming to the end of another year, for me, it’s been an interesting year of really unexpected and unanticipated adversities which I hope have helped me to evolve so much as a mother, daughter, partner, friend and teacher…..
Personally, it’s been a busy and challenging year with regards to supporting my close family as well as some serious health issues concerning my Mum too. Then, heartache at the end of the year when I tragically lost 2 of my beloved cats.
With regards to my work, the beginning of the year was a whirlwind, we all had such an amazing time on retreat in Kerala in January and my teaching reflected that and I came back on such a high. Then suddenly, my yoga world fell apart over night, I found myself no longer teaching at Whitespace Yoga Studio. I was literally devastated, I absolutely adored teaching there, I loved the students and my family of co workers all of whom I still miss so very much.
Situations and the people involved in them can become so blown out of proportion, misinterpreted, misunderstood, misconstrued and we can all sometimes become embroiled in our own personal stories. Time however, is a great healer and now I see a much bigger, clearer, brighter and different picture nearly a year on, life has a wonderful way of unfolding just as its meant to if you can just trust and flow with it.
I have learnt this many times in my life now, the universe knows what she is doing, we just have to hold on when life gets a bit bumpy and have faith in the outcome. It’s been reassuring to know that if I stay true to myself, listen inwardly to my intuition as well as believe in myself, then follow through with all of that, I am supported. I have also been so incredibly lucky to have had so many caring students and friends whom have accompanied me with solidarity and such encouragement through the ups and the downs this year.
I have embraced change wholeheartedly, made some important decisions and stepped out of my comfort zone big time. This year my teaching has taken me down a very different path but also very exciting busy path to another level which has been both daunting but also hugely rewarding. The landscape of my life has changed so much over the past 12 months and now I find myself asking how I would like to see things develop over the next twelve?
The New Year always offers us the opportunity to make more positive choices and this year as it still sits in its gestation, I’m looking forward to a fresh start. I’m setting intentions of new more nourishing and beneficial habits.
I want to do things differently. I intend to not take on so much (this is the hardest one for me), I intend to love more and listen more. I intend to take better care of myself (this one comes up every year), I intend to show up much more for my family. I intend to be more organised and plan ahead more. I also want to contribute something of value to this world (I already have an idea and a seed planted)……
Our new year intentions should be not just once-a-year resolutions but daily commitments and daily actions and when you forget, when you revert to the comfort of past patterns, forgive yourself and begin again as often as needed.
2016 also has a very special pull for me because I’m finally tying the knot and marrying my love, my rock and my partner of 6 years, Brian. We are spending practically the whole month of February with family and friends exchanging lifetime vows and celebrating in our most favourite place in the world, Goa, India.
Until then, I have a busy schedule of events in January and some other new exciting programs later in the year that are still waiting patiently to be birthed. Watch this space….
Saturday 2nd January – 90 minute Detox Vinyasa class – 10 30am – 12pm
Sunday 3rd January – Urban Yoga Retreat Day – Setting New Intentions – 10 am – 4 15 pm
Saturday 16th January – Teacher mentoring session, modifications and working with props – 2 – 5pm
Friday 30th January – Yin/Restorative Restful Yoga Master class – 7pm – 9pm
All of these and details of all other classes and workshops can be found here on my web site.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, successful and peaceful year ahead, I look forward to sharing and shifting yoga practice with you throughout 2016 and remember to keep your visions alive every day.
With Lots of Love and Light Brigitte xxx
I’m just back from taking my dog for a walk, it’s Monday 21st December, today has been the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. The sky was alive and colourful just before the sun started to go down at 15 53 precisely and it was a reminder to me that today marks the turning of the sun and the day’s starting to get longer again. Yippee!
Winter is the season of dormancy, darkness and cold, and many of us are very much affected by lack of daylight perhaps even unknowingly. Often at this time of the year we are lacking in energy, which means we lose our get up and go, we can become more irritable, emotionally imbalanced or lose interest in life in general perhaps feeling less sociable, or even depressed or ill.
The Winter Solstice marks the new start of the solar year and has been celebrated in cultures all over the world for thousands of years (before Christianity – and Christmas). This year, 2015, will be no exception. the precise time of the actual solstice is Tuesday 22 December at 04:49 which means that this evening can be a time to celebrate light and the rebirth of the sun.
The cycles and the seasons remind us of the ever flowing, ever changing life that we are a part of. Therefore, I invite you to do what our ancestors have done since the beginning of time with this little ritual on this Solstice evening. Turn off all the lights in your house and spend a moment honouring the darkness and even the dark times of your life as they have helped you to learn, grow and evolve. Dig deep for your truth and spend a few minutes in darkness, reflecting, meditating and remembering. Then instead of switching on your electric artificial lights afterwards, invite lightness and solar energy in to your house by lighting lamps, lanterns and candles, then offer a new personal intention and a meaningful blessing to honour this coming new extension of light.
Celebrations of the lighter days to come and nature’s continuing cycle have been common throughout cultures and history with feasts, festivals and holidays around the December Solstice. Also many traditions that we associate with Christmas such as Christmas trees, presents and Christmas wreaths come from the ancient celebrations of winter solstice, also known as Yule Tide. In this season dominated by everything Christmas, lets lift our spirit higher on this dark winter night and the Winter Solstice from Stone Henge in England to Lapland and beyond, know that all over our planet people will be joining you in spirit and doing the same.
The start of the solar year is a celebration of light and the rebirth of the Sun, lets do it folk!
Love and Solstice Blessings to us all!
Love B xx
This is the time of year where we should be honouring darkness at it’s peak, we have less daylight and longer darker nights. If we don’t step back and look after ourselves, this can seriously affect our health and emotional state. Most mammals sleep more or slow right down or even hibernate through the winter, not us humans though. For us life only gets more busy when temperatures drop and the holiday season arrives.
Put simply – we need to rest more and it’s absolutely vital that we consolidate our bodies energy levels. Therefore, this month leading up to the winter solstice on the 21st December should be a time for reflection and life in balance.
Yoga improves powers of attention and concentration, fights depression and fatigue. It has the ability, to decrease and decompress the effects of the stress hormone cortisol, which, in elevated levels, is associated with weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Yoga in a nutshell transitions the mind and body quickly from stress to calm. When the body is deeply relaxed and the nervous system is balanced, the mind is able to engage in our direct experience, enhancing optimum health.
My teaching offerings for December’s classes will reflect this, so expect delicious slow flow winter reviver sessions each week. Each class will begin with a seated meditation where we will sit and simply observe ourselves from a place of quiet. We will then practice deep rhythmic ujjayi breath or nadi shodhana cleansing breath, then from stillness, our postures will begin to slowly and methodically unfold with open awareness of movement and breath flowing in sync. Winter Yoga Poses access the water element and support the health of the spine, low back, brain, nerves and hormonal balance. We will therefore be mostly practising free flowing fluid heating poses to warm the waters of our body to lift and balance energy. We will also focus on forward folds, as well as gentle heart and shoulder openers followed by inversions such as supported headstand and supported shoulder-stand. Then we will gift ourselves a deeply relaxing restorative pose where we can sink, float and rest suspended with blankets, bolsters, sand bags and eye pillows, unburdening and releasing the strain from our bodies and minds. Lastly I promise, there will always be a long winter warming shavasana on the menu and we will take rest in the well and sanctuary of inner silence within.
Winter yoga basically has the ability to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety, depression and illness.
Love B xx
“We all have within us the ability to move from struggle to grace.” – Arianna Huffington
Writing stuff down and sharing can be very healing…..this is me honouring where I am right now and taking the risk of sharing my true authentic self, maybe this will inspire others, so here goes;
‘Keeping it Real’;
The past week, I’ve been a bit disconnected from my teaching and my writing, in all honesty, life has been a bit of a down hill struggle, I therefore didn’t have anything intuitive or uplifting to say or write, the last thing I wanted to do was inflict my misery on others.
Life is not always roses, love and sunshine, in fact sometimes it’s just plain crappy. This is exactly where I am right now, feeling a bit down and crappy. Last week, I was feeling pretty ill with a cold and a sore throat and a busy week ahead, then things took a turn for the worse. I had a very worrying, sad and upsetting personal family trauma to deal with and process, then some other negative mundane things came up, then just when I was starting to look forward to the weekend, on Friday, my beautiful gentle boy cat, Teddy was run over and killed by a car. It sure was a stressful and sad week in our house – and it also somewhat marred the celebration of my son’s 21st Birthday.
Apart from one class that I had to cancel on Tuesday evening, I taught he rest of my regular classes all week, then somehow managed to teach a workshop on the Friday evening and my Saturday class the following day. Although I felt a bit detached, yoga sprinkled her magic for the time that I was teaching, she kept me present and when emotions are rife, teaching and practising yoga can be so very healing. I also went out on Saturday night and put on a brave front as we had tickets to go to a Faithless gig with friends. I probably drunk too much alcohol and partied too hard to numb the pain – and then I ached even more with grief and sadness the following day.
So all in all not a great week but the reason that I wanted to share is because this is the reality of life, tough times creep up on you when you are least expecting them, you get knocked to your knees leaving you wondering – what the hell just happened?
When life throws curve balls – don’t fight against it, deal with tomorrow when tomorrow arrives with what ever it may bring. Absorb each moment as and when it arises and allow yourself to feel whatever comes up, then give yourself time to process that shit! Fighting it, numbing it or pushing it away only causes more pain and suffering. Life is not always easy and when it gets especially rough, it can be hard to remember that you just have to try your best to be ok with what is, some things are out of our control. Also know and believe that you are strong enough, you will eventually get through this and also that someone else out there is struggling more and in a much darker place than you.
Yesterday, I told myself, this is a new day. I got up and did my yoga practice for the first time in a week, I taught my morning class with feeling, expression and integrity, I took my dog for a walk out in the rain in nature and perspective got shifted, I re-evaluated what I already knew…..
One of life’s greatest gifts is ‘difficult times’ because, when we experience disharmony, it helps us to build invaluable strength of character if we choose to learn and evolve from it. We also gain more compassion for others when they have difficulties, which means we are able to make a difference in this world.
I read this poem to my students at the end of my class yesterday morning, it speaks volumes to me right now;
The Door Is Always Open – By Donna Faulds
Fear. Pain. Dark moods,
Despairing moments. Plentiful distractions.
The human drama plays through me
as it always has, with one abiding difference.
Knowing what I am opens the door to truth.
Sometimes I step across that threshold and sometimes I don’t,
but the door is always open.
Love B xx
Question – “How can we possibly achieve world peace?”
Peace is a verb, in other words it is a ‘doing’ thing. Therefore ‘to do’ peace, we have to all unite and work towards it. We must try our best to achieve peace in our own minds and our own lives first, then – can we offer it freely to others and not just the people that we choose and like but to all sentient beings?. This means that we have to become more conscious, it is not enough to dream about it or talk about it or simply want peace. We have ‘to do’ so much more than that, we have to live it, we have to breathe it, we have to try our best to carry it around with us. Basically each and every one of us human beings has to become more aware of how we behave in this world that we live in. Peaceful co-existence is the only way of existence in this world.
Peace is about totally letting go of our every day minor, friend, family, colleague fall outs and believe me they are trivial in the light of the dreadful atrocities going on in this world we live in. Peace is about seeing a much much bigger picture. It’s about being kind to everyone, its about loving whole heartedly, its about forgiving, its about tolerating, its about generosity and giving, it doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, the smallest expression of good will will suffice.
Personally I believe that it’s coming – very very slowly, but word is getting out there especially as yoga, meditation and other awareness practices are becoming more main stream every year. I say there can never be enough yoga teachers in the world if we can all teach and inspire people to become more informed, more aware and more compassionate.
Also don’t lose hope, – there is a new generation of ‘peace makers’ growing up right now. My kids and their friends (all in their early 20’s) are so much more conscious than I was at their age, they have asked me about meditation and they get it. They are far less judgemental, less prejudiced and way more open minded. My son cannot be indoctrinated by politicians, he has his own opinions and stands by his beliefs as do his friends, in fact it is so refreshing to have conversations with them about politics. Young people are therefore vital participants in future peace building – they have the potential to help improve world relations in years to come, especially with social media technology which is also helping them all to grow knowledge and become even more interconnected.
Above all, this concept has to be nurtured, we have try not to be disheartened when we watch the news. Instead lets be optimistic, it won’t happen over night, of course not but we have to believe that it is possible one day in the future – if we all pull together, we can ‘do’ WORLD PEACE.
Where there is tolerance there is peace, and where there is intolerance, there is war and violence. This is the only universal formula of tolerance for peace, and this same formula may be successfully applied to one’s family life and to social life, as well as at the international level. Peace requires us to foster a culture of tolerance, for intolerance can lead only to war.
Peace and love B xxx
Most of the time the things we need and love in life conflict. For example;
I long to be nurtured whilst at the same time need my independence.
I crave stability and yet am always planning new adventures.
I love spending time with my closest friend and yet also yearn to spend time with groups of friends.
I drink freshly squeezed juice and smoothies but also enjoy a few glasses of wine at the weekend.
My favourite pastime is walking in the silence and beauty of nature, but sometimes roller coasters or riding pillion on a fast motor bike are my thing.
Yoga and meditation are my absolute passion and yet I also like to party hard and let my hair down occassionally
………and so on and so on …….
Do not resist this, you are you, live for you, do not apologise for it and do not try to fix it, accept your own contrasts. Continue to live a life of conflicts, after all, this is keeping it real and balance is key to living a real life. Sometimes we may spend so much time being self reflective or focusing on intensities that we miss out on the actual experience of living. How we continue to juggle and maintain balance encourages us to keep on learning about life’s rhythm and complexities, so that we can gain wisdom from our experiences and evolve in to the person that we are meant to be.
Love Brigitte xx
The focus for my public classes for the 2nd half of this week will about ‘balance’ and exploring ‘Samana Vayu’ – the balancing of opposing energies (apana and prana) in the body.
“You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Dont waste your time on anything else”.
Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life.
There is nothing more liberating than realising that not everyone is going to like or love you. No matter what you do, you cannot make them and it is none of your business to be worrying about why, just trust and be ok with it. Instead be grateful for the people who do know the true real authentic you, the people whom love you unconditionally and will stand by you no matter what because you are you and they love you just for that. A rich contented life is measured by how much happiness, love and enthusiasm you emit – as it always comes back to you 10 fold.
Love B xxx
Sometimes life just gets so busy, you work non stop for months, yes, even when you’re a yoga teacher! I always have great intentions at the beginning of the year to set time aside for me and then such is life that it takes over. I get new ideas, circumstances change, I get lulled in to new projects, persuaded to do an extra workshop or arrange a workshop/training from another guest teacher then before I know it, so much is happening. Sometimes the road is smooth and effortless and things go to plan, then other times the road gets bumpy because there is so much happening and things don’t go to plan. Even walking the dog became another chore, there was so much of everything everywhere and yet it seemed not enough!
Don’t get me wrong, I am truly blessed to absolutely love what I do and have been lucky enough to have taught 3 fabulous retreats in exotic locations this year, but the truth is, I was actually feeling quite burnt out before this last one in Turkey. I was lacking a little in inspiration and what I was going to offer out to the group. Before I left, it was manic, so much to organise and plan.
However as always they were a really lovely bunch, they all had a real zest for life and fun – and that inspired me. Yes that and the twice daily dose of yoga as always did her job and started to lift my heavy cloud of bus-iness.
Then after the yoga retreat, I got to have ‘my’ first holiday this year – yes my first holiday (other than the odd couple of days here and there) for me and my man to just ‘be’. I just let my hair down and experienced everything from, the mountains, the sea, the sunsets, the boats, the river, the fishes, the ducks, the cats, new friends, exquisite food, jazz bars, dancing, lakes, jeeps and adventures, then, do you know what – it all just took my breath away, everything was perfect again, even my daily Turkish cup of tea was just perfect.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with busy schedules and normal every day chaos and yet all we have to do is give ourselves some breathing space to reflect, appreciate and let gratitude wash over us. When you give yourself the gift of time – you can move forwards with so much more grace.
So my friends, the lesson here is; do yourself a favour, offer yourself the gift of space, be present and be forever grateful – new moon intentions….and all that…
Now, I’m off to the kitchen to rustle up a nice little Turkish salad from my grateful heart
Love B xxx
So we have come to the end of another amazing yoga holiday – this time in Turkey. Its sure been a busy and eclectic week this time but so much fun has been had by all. From chillin by the pool, 12 island boat trip, seeing turtles released from the turtle hospital back in to the ocean, shopping and more shopping, mud baths, evening boat trip, hammam, massages, chanting in a tree house and of course yoga twice daily – Phew! Once again a lovely lovely group of yogis, I’m filled with so much gratitude for the waves of life and how yoga gives us the ability to ride them with grace and ease. A yoga holiday always offers us the chance to recharge, gain clarity and be inspired as well as the opportunity to make new friends and try new things. One thing for certain is that I have seen 22 very happy faces this week and have had lots of lovely hugs today. Keep smiling retreat peeps, I love you all for your individual uniqueness.
Beautiful first morning practice in our Turkish Shala today grounding and balancing our lunar and solar energies. This latest full blood super-moon in Aries was our inspiration as it is about moving forwards, renewal and nurturing our divine feminine energy. The focus of our practice was on lunar energy which is cool, receptive, and inwardly focused. Society typically encourages our solar, more masculine impulses often meaning that we are lead by our heads rather than our intuition. Although the aim of hatha yoga is to balance our lunar and solar energies, even our asana practice tends to reflect a bias for the solar, emphasizing sun salutations and heating. If the divine lunar force could speak, she might lovingly remind us to chill out before we burn out. Like a mother, the moon can teach us to slow down, listen to our own needs, and be receptive to change.
Love B xxx
Autumn Equinox = Balance
Cooler weather, less sunshine and falling leaves Autumn is upon us once again and I for one have been feeling a deep sensory whirling internal energy this week. Not only due to the Autumn Equinox but we are also in the lead up to this year’s closest ‘Super-moon’ to the earth’s orbit. This Harvest Moon will undergo a total eclipse too – this Sunday – 27th September.
Today is the beginning of darker, shorter and colder days for us here in the northern hemisphere. It’s actually really important to be reminded of theses geographical facts because the sun and the moon can radically influence our bodies, souls and minds, as do the changing seasons.
I personally feel the need to pause and recalibrate my rhythm to nature in order to feel more balanced. Today I walked in the woods, absorbed the smells, the warmth of the sun and the crisper air, for me this time of the year really reminds me to stay balanced, it can also mean that my yoga practice changes it’s rhythm too.
There is always flow in our daily lives, so it’s important to check in with yourself with integrity, intuitively and really listen to your body and mind at all times. You may be feeling a different energy too. The Equinox signals balance (day and night are equal) and the nights will start to get longer in the coming months. We will be moving from sun to moon, light to dark, yang to yin, outer achievements to inner reflection and action to contemplation. So this post is just a gentle reminder to look after yourselves.
Love Brigitte xx
This statement has been doing the rounds on social media for a while now and for me, it speaks volumes .
After 13 years of teaching yoga I have noticed that I have not only become more aware of myself and the world that we live in, but I’m also more authentic, more intuitive, more motivated, more uplifted in every area of my life and guess what, I attract the same back. It’s the law of physics, it’s the law of the universe. Don’t you just love it when you meet someone for the first time and they echo your sentiments completely, you become instantly drawn to them and them to you. The likely hood is that you will also like each other’s friends too. I see this so much in my life now and feel so blessed to have so many special (conscious) friends to hang out with, they raise my vibe.
After all, the special connections that we make with others also pay a key role in supporting us and helping us to grow as human beings. The wonderful thing is that as we each build our personal community of friends, they can then offer you more strength, support, courage and positivity so that you can become even more vibrant and committed to what you are offering out in to the world. This is because like attracts like, in other words whatever you give out to others is what will come back to you.
When we can acknowledge that we reap what we sow, we are actually getting to decide our own destiny. For instance if we are happy go lucky, are able to let go of the past and be in the flow of our lives, that is the kind of person we will attract back, but on the flip side, if we are too serious, or try to control situations or find it difficult to let go or perhaps unknowingly put barriers up literally not allowing others in, then that’s the vibe we will attract back.
Learning to become more present and aware, really supports and attracts our personal positive Tribe of Friends. This is because when we practice yoga and meditation, over time, we are able to let go of past hurts and negative thought and behavioural patterns. Awareness practices can bring us to an all encompassing state that can be described as connecting to our true authentic selves, to love, to warmth, to tenderness, compassion and positivity towards ourselves and all sentient beings which of course will attract the same back.
This quote is a perfect one to summarise;
“When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks, but celebrate them with cries of “Me, too!” be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdo’s are your tribe.”
Be your true authentic, crazy vibrant self and you will inspire and attract the same back…
Love B xxx
Is it right to simply remove yourself from a difficult situation and block it out of your life? If you do, you leave a piece of yourself behind. The more that you push someone away or block them from your life, the more you are showing your own fear of the situation and you are rejecting love. Fear is only an emotion. An emotion that has transpired from your own thought forms. With awareness practices such as yoga and meditation, you can learn how to separate yourself from your own thoughts and emotions. What you see as wrong and right are actually your own moral guidelines that you identify with to ensure at the end of the day, you can lay down in your bed at night and say Im a good person?! Of course you can’t change any experience that you have had but you CAN change the way you feel about it.
Humility is the most wonderful attribute that any person can ever have, however with humility must come humiliation and the feeling of humiliation can be one of the hardest to cope with. Humility helps you to understand that things really aren’t as big as you make them out to be.
Don’t ever stop dancing;
Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve written any words of wisdom, just lately, my life has been pretty busy with one thing or another. I am a human being after all and sometimes, social events, parties, family do’s, being there for my children and other commitments can take over. Do you know what though, mostly I’m ok with it all, because of my ‘spirituality’, I know to stay present and simply allow myself to be in the flow of this dance that is life.
My yoga practice, meditation, my reading, writing and being out in nature are what spirituality really means to me. When I’m doing one of these things, I feel deeply grounded and connected to the feeling of my true self. These things that make me truly present and more conscious give me the freedom to keep going, to live my life fearlessly and fully without regrets. I know that when life becomes hectic and inevitably it sometimes does, one of these awareness practices will always help me to recognise that I’m more than my body and thinking mind, these things keep me sane, feeling balanced and remind me that I am connected to a much bigger picture, the energy of all creation, I am part of it and it is part of me.
This morning, I made a conscious decision that I needed ‘my spirituality’, and that it needed to be in the form of yoga. I got up early and had a great practice followed by a deep meditation and do you know what, like magic – I’m back feeling like myself again and able to take on the world. That is the wonderful thing about having an awareness practice, it can be something you love, anything, whether it is running, walking, painting, cooking, playing the piano or doing yoga, it can literally be any activity that calls for focus so that it enables you to feel empowered, content, steady, stable and ready to flow with whatever life throws at you next.
When you feel in balance, you get the sense that everything is moving along as it should be and you are just fine. You take things in your stride, you feel healthy, vibrant, even content. Sometimes you may be challenged and busy, but your mind is relaxed enough to stay present and deal with it all – and with less stress and more ease. Allowing the truth of who you are – your spiritual self – to be your purpose in life, means that you stop panicking, you stop struggling, it is literally your coping mechanism.
One of the best books I have ever read is ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle, it resonated with me so deeply, that it actually shifted my whole perception of myself and the world after I read it. Yesterday, I picked it up again and opened it up on this page – this quote;
Enjoying life fully and being able to deal with the ups and the downs, is about becoming more conscious, then you are giving yourself permission to be 100% in its flow. Experience it all, make a decision daily, to be in the world fully present and always grateful. Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen, sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow but importantly don’t get upset when the rhythm changes – stay in the moment and go with it – KEEP DANCING.
Love B xxx
“Hurt people hurt people. Thats how pain patterns gets passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future.” Yehuda Berg
You have the power to change the perception of – yourself, your family, your friends and everyone you come in to contact with in this world find the courage to stand up and stop the hurt. Go within, find your compassion and meet the world head on with a full heart. Always respond with love and kindness. It is impossible to carry both the negative and positive of human emotion. Choose the positive every time!
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgement drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn’t a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I
forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I’m going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.
~ Danna Faulds ~
It’s August, do yourself a favour, be a rebel and slow down, right now its a lazier time for most of nature too. Slowing down is a conscious choice, not always an easy one admittedly, but you’ll see and appreciate so much more – and it makes you less stressed and more happy.
“Same old, same old, here I go again……oh well!” – Sound familiar?
Do you ever beat yourself up about a habit in your life that does not serve you, but you keep doing it anyway? Getting stuck in mundane routine and lack of motivation or enthusiasm can turn in to patterns and patterns then take over your life. If you want to change then wake yourself up, take back your power, be committed, be willing to change your thought and behaviour patterns and most of all believe you can do it. Do it today, don’t wait until tomorrow, there’s no time like the present. Be brave, stay strong, be the change that you want to see – and if at first you don’t succeed, then try over and over again. Make a personal promise to yourself not to give up and always remember that every day is another new day and another new opportunity again be a better version of the person you were yesterday.
Habits can be broken, so what are you waiting for – Break free! 😄
Love B xxx
So proud of my man, he is broad in the upper back and tight in the shoulders but finally can clasp his hands in ?#?gomakasana? Never push or strain your body when it protests, instead be humble but never give up – keep giving the pose a whirl. Then one day, something amazing happens – you achieve the pose, it may not look great at first but it feels great and such an achievement! When it feels great on the inside – that is the yoga sprinkling her magic. She offers you little moments and glimpses combined with the flash of possibility so that you believe in yourself and keep trying. The seemingly impossible……becomes possible. Yoga is a metaphor for life, never give up, keep trying in the face of adversity because that is the only way that you get closer to your goals.
Holding on to our pain makes it spread inside us, like cancer. Keeping our emotions to our self only locks people out, and with no outlet, we are left alone with our minds and our fears and our regrets. Yoga/ Meditation and other Awareness practices are crucial to helping you find balance and peace, it doesn’t matter how long 15 mins or 2 hours, but get on your mat and get back in to your body or go for a walk, meditate, do something that you love, see a friend, it can be so freeing, it helps you to be open, to feel uplifted again and to be more present with the here and now. The yoga teaches us that it’s ok to be fragile. To be vulnerable. To bare our hearts. It’s ok. Know that everyone feels the same things, just not always at the same time, and that sharing your story is the first step to letting it go. Tell the world how you feel. Ask for help. Call a friend and tell them you are not ok. There is no judgment here. In the end, we are all just walking each other home.
Last week I was asked a question;
What does it mean to be Open Hearted?
The dictionary defines open hearted as being kindly and warm. Disclosing intentions and thoughts clearly; candid!
I feel that being ‘Open Hearted’ is a little deeper than that. Being open hearted is profoundly healing, it’s being able to peel back our protective layers so that we can allow ourselves to not pretend any more, to live our truth, even when that means showing our vulnerability. Those of us who choose from one moment to the next to live with tender open hearts, have consciously taken down our guard and walls of protection, we have chosen to show up in the world 100% completely as ourselves our true selves without apology, secrets or suppressing anything from the world. I believe that buried emotions or hiding things from others can be absolutely crippling towards our own personality and the way that we act and behave in our lives. If we can let down our barriers, then we have love on our side, we can genuinely feel it and give it – freely without even trying.
I believe that if we can be wide open even when ‘sh-t’ happens and we are really hurting, we should let everyone see it, because our bravery to be vulnerable and to show our truest feelings can have such a beautiful ripple effect on others and it can open their hearts too.
Our experiences and our stories make us stronger. If we can let ourselves feel hurt and if we can be present with it, then when our hearts eventually heal, we actually expand and strengthen our capacity to be true to ourselves and others. This means that we can love more and more and more.
In a nutshell, I believe that when we can truly openly connect to our feeling self, it is there for everyone to see and it will show up in everything we say and everything we do. Having love on our side, doesn’t mean that we won’t sometimes hurt but being open hearted means exposing our hearts to reveal new ways of being, of thinking, and most importantly of loving.
Love Brigitte xxx
For me – Yoga is a complete ‘pick me up’ – Happiness is Yoga!. The time that I spend on my yoga mat is magnificent in its power to alter my ‘mind state’.
Every time I roll my mat out, even if I have had a bummer of a day, or am feeling self doubt, or I’m tired and not even feeling motivated to practice, I know that yoga will work her magic. I always gain self discipline, flexibility, strength and expansion in my body and I’m so grateful just for just that – but then before I know it something else kicks in, the yoga has the capacity to liberate my mind, it makes me feel good about myself again, it opens me to possibility, and to seeing beyond my ‘conditioned mind’ .
Yoga teaches me the most important lesson of all, even when I’ve been busy, running around like a headless chicken all day – yes yoga teachers do that too When Im on my mat, its my time to come back to ‘me’. It’s my sanctuary, immediately, I feel uplifted and my energy state changes, I remember to be open, to pause, to become more present and to breathe in this most wonderful existence. I can literally feel the very fibres of my own being in the here and now and I feel appreciative of my life on this planet.
That’s the power of yoga, let your practice guide your body to liberate your mind and unleash your radiant spirit of possibility on this world. You are amazing, you have potential.
Practice Yoga = Practice Happiness.
Love B xxx
What do I want from this gift of life I’ve been given? ……….I want to know that I took chances and risks. I want to know that I kept my visions alive and followed my dreams. I want to be inspired by following the truth and the warmth in my heart so that I can live freely and give freely. I want to try my best not to be selfish and practice compassion instead. I want to be free from self doubt, fear, stress and worry. I want to be someone whom my friends and family can lean on, love and trust with their lives. I want to always practice mind/body awareness so that I continue to open my body and mind to gain positivity, clarity and intuition on a daily basis. I want to progress and move forward both on my yoga mat and in my life. I want to share deep meaningful, inspiring conversations with people from all walks of life so that we get to see a much bigger picture of life and let go of our tunnel vision. I want to keep my dreams alive always. I want to live in the sun by the sea with my man and my pets, having a healthy, relaxing lifestyle that of course will include, long walks in nature, music, reading, friends, teaching yoga, meditation, and having much more time to write. I want to always be inspired and try to be the best version of myself every day.
I have been thinking a lot lately about Compassion and what it really means to be compassionate towards others. My understanding of this word has changed immensely in the 12 years that I have been teaching yoga but never more so than right now .
In the words of the Dalai Lama – If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Hmm Easier said than done! Eventually though, through regular practice of meditation, my reading of a few deep meaningful books and attendance of several workshops with some highly regarded meditation and philosophy teachers, I am gaining more wisdom and Im getting on track with compassion. Im starting to fully comprehend it, but it requires a lot of reflection, the ability to keep it real and genuine practice in my every day life.
Compassion is at the heart of our Yoga teachings, but do you completely understand what being compassionate really means? Basically, in life, some people either rub us up the wrong way, annoy us, really irritate us, upset us, make us angry, leave a very bitter taste in our mouth or just plain – piss us off! My question to you is; Do you retaliate and give as good as you get, do you react in a selfish way, or do you even choose to avoid these people, block them on social media or just cut them out of your life completely? If you do any of theses things, then you are literally standing in your own way, in other words, you yourself are standing in the way of true compassion and your own feelings of inner peace and happiness. If you cannot let go, you cannot move on with love and kindness in your heart …
Every time I teach meditation, I always begin by telling students to let go, because until we can let go of trying to control everything, past experiences, influences, thought patterns or our own hang ups, we are holding ourselves back from moving on with our lives in a positive open minded way. This means that we cannot possibly begin to connect to authentic deeper feelings of warmth, kindness, love and peacefulness within our own being.
Compassion has to begin with letting go in order for us to be able to feel empathy towards another. Now I know this can be really really hard initially, especially when we may believe (through our own personal perception) that someone is annoying or has mistreated us in one way or another. So perhaps we need to take a little time out first to reflect, meditate, be calm and get clarity. Then and only then, can we get over our own emotions.
Letting go of what has rubbed you up the wrong way is absolutely paramount to compassion, if you cant let go then you are getting in your own way once again and you are the one that will suffer. We have to get over ourselves and our personal opinions and solely think of the other person. When we think about how we should be treated, what we want, how something has affected us, we cannot be compassionate to the other person. Being compassionate is to instead, try to put ourselves in the mind of the other person and imagine what they could be going through or have been through in the past that made them behave in a way that provoked you. Also, try to imagine the background of that person. Try to imagine how that person has been influenced as a child by their parents and everyone that they have had a relationship or spent time with since they were born. Everyones past experiences will be a reflection of how they see and deal with the world today. Try also to imagine the day or week that person is going through, which may have affected their mood and state of mind. Compassion begins when you can understand that their action was because these behaviour impressions are set in them and it is all they know.
Compassion is having a desire to actually go out of your way to be kind, empathetic and understanding to all of the above. Compassion is being self-less rather than selfish because the moment we turn it back on ourselves, we cant possibly empathise. This of course requires practice and training just like anything else in our lives, but it has to be an emotional response of really truly caring when encountering what is actually a persons suffering.
Scientific studies report that there are also physical benefits to practicing compassion, we can produce 100% more DHEA, which is a hormone that counteracts the aging process, and 23% percent less of the stress hormone cortisol.
The other main benefit is that get this You – yourself become happier, and then it has a knock on affect, others around you also become happier compassion is contagious.
Compassion is one of the main tools for achieving happiness so invite it more and more in to your life. Try your best to practice Compassion and Kindness every day to everyone.
Go spread the lurve ~~~~~~
Love Brigitte xxx
I am grateful for this beautiful moment – this photo of me meditating was captured by a lovely friend and it is a meaningful and poignant reminder of all of the many things I have to be grateful for. I am so very blessed to be able to teach my passion ?yoga around the globe. I am grateful for all of nature and what it teaches me. I am grateful to wake up every morning and to be conscious in my mind and body. I am grateful to be able to give love, receive love and feel love in every part of my being, I am grateful that my body is thriving, I am grateful for all of the beautiful people in my life and especially those that cross my path and inspire me or help me to grow in some way. I am grateful to have my 3 cats and my dog lying on my bed and my man beside me as I type this. I am grateful that my daughter is downstairs cooking us all scrambled eggs and tomatoes for breakfast. I am grateful for the sun trying its best to shine outside and for this brand new day and what it has to offer me. I am grateful to be smiling as this was only meant to be a short post with a photo I am grateful that I can waffle on about gratefulness Have an amazing Sunday.
Love B xxx
Just for now, without asking how, let yourself sink into stillness.
Just for now, lay down the weight you so patiently bear upon your shoulders.
Feel the earth receive you, and the infinite expanse of the sky grow even wider as your awareness reaches up to meet it.
Just for now, allow a wave of breath to enliven your experience.
Breathe out whatever blocks you from the truth.
Just for now, be boundless, free, with awakened energy tingling in your hands and feet.
Drink in the possibility of being who and what you really are so fully alive that the world looks different, newly born and vibrant, just for now.
~ Danna Faulds
This poem perfectly sums up how inspired and uplifted I feel after a week away teaching a lovely group of yogis at a very special place that I didnt want to leave Finca Argayall on the island of La Gomera;
As a group we shared a magical and inspiring vibe here and as we became more present, the energy became more potent as the week went on.
Words cannot explain the feeling I got when I first stepped in to this retreat centre, I was shown to my room which was a rustic log cabin in a peaceful tropical garden. I immediately felt like I was home, I felt comfortable, protected and very safe literally bathing in the arms of Mother Nature. With the powerful diverse back drop of huge mountains behind us and the vastness of the sea in front of us, in-between, there were many unusual colours, lush vegetation and friendly animals even the lizards that slither across the path as we were passing through seemed to communicate.
The feeling that I got, was all to do with the power of conscious awareness linked to the power of nature and that has been the exact recipe of this place for more than 30 years. At any given time, there are approximately 20 crew living and working here, they are friendly happy hippy warriors who believe in authenticity, integrity and creativity. They live an alternative, experimental community life in this beautiful and unique setting. Every meal was made with love, there was attention to detail everywhere, from the flowers in our rooms to the strategically placed artistic beach stone monuments on our little patio or in our gardens, around the grounds were secret little places where we could find sanctuary and relax. It is the crews ability to share this magical and powerful place with guests that keeps the experiment and the energy of the place alive, vibrant and absolutely contagious.
All kinds of weekly activities, retreats and workshops go on here from massage, yoga, meditation, dancing to all kinds of diverse energy work.
It has been scientifically proven that theses healing practices can directly influence our physical material world. Everything that exists in this universe is energy that is constantly spinning and vibrating and human consciousness is connected to it, because human awareness is also energy and can influence nature and even re-structure it.
We experienced this several times last week; one time being our very last meditation together, by this time we had really bonded as a group, there was a real energy feeling of family love and togetherness in the shala. A very powerful force was created in that meditation that literally invited the birds to sing and powerfully lifted the wind and the sea too, we also felt heat and tingling within our bodies. This is not an uncommon occurrence at Finca Argayall and was most certainly not a coincidence
..I have seen this before and I am sure I will witness it again and again ~~~~~~~~~
The power of thought/prayer/consciousness/awareness/energy it reminds us that we are all part of a whole and that we are not separate.
Once again I have just got back from teaching the most amazing yoga holiday at La Finca Argayall on the island of La Gomera. This was a very extraordinary place and it more than exceeded my expectations. Everything was special, from the happy vibrant group of yogi’s, to the rustic garden accommodation, the food was both exquisite and mouth watering and the connection to such pure and diverse nature was very very powerful. The plants, the wild life, the mountains and the sea gave off such a potent, electric natural energy and life force, every day became more inspiring and enlivening to my senses.
There is always an element of the unknown when planning for a yoga holiday, however I just always try my best to humble myself to the power of yoga from the beginning, I literally let the yoga speak and in no time at all, there is special vibe both from the place and from the group. As the week went on I let myself be lead by the group intuitively, teaching what I felt was needed. I know that when I can do this, it becomes more meaningful and that Im teaching from a place of compassion which in turn will inspire. Then wham bam the hard work is done, the yoga does its job, it opens everyone up, it connects us all to something much bigger. The experience students have on a retreat is mostly the outcome of the practice of yoga, which is why we all leave feeling we have been touched by something very special and unique.
Over the course of the week, we practiced lots of yoga and there were so many firsts which are always so uplifting to see, from, arm balances, to back bends, to handstands, to headstands to feeling each others kidneys!! Every practice is progress and even more so on a retreat, we learn to trust, to never to lose hope and believe that anything is possible with a little bit of patience and perseverance. We loved, we cried, we let go, we played, we danced, we sang, we properly belly laughed and of course we all without exception opened our hearts to it all.
I never feel completely drained after teaching a yoga retreat because one of the most magical things is its ability to always give me back more than I give.
I have come home feeling completely nourished, nurtured and renewed. I am inspired, refreshed and have a new passion for all that lies ahead of me this year. A week of yoga with an amazing group of people changes your perception and I feel so blessed and grateful for my new vision. I love each and every one of you for your individual uniqueness, from the bottom of my heart I thank you – Namaste.
Love Brigitte xxxxx
Blossoming – by Janet Arnold-Grych
In the beginning,
With each unraveling of the mat,
We are anxious to add to our garden,
To gather the beautiful buds,
And coax each asana to open quickly.
Feet in the dirt we stand,
Sometimes for the first time,
Connecting earth to muscle and muscle to sky,
The energy of an immense lineage
Pulsing with promise.
But as the poses settle,
As we settle,
We find that yogas true gift is not about more
The outline of the poses remain the same.
Yet when the space between is fed,
When ease replaces expectation,
When patience replaces petals,
We find that the asanas are no longer
About holding on,
But letting go.
And in that release,
Without judgment or force to impede,
Breath floods in,
Releasing the mind and freeing the heart.
That core of serene nothingness,
And learn that in letting go,
We gain everything.
“I feel the energy rise and fall with my breath.
Closing my eyes I follow my breath,
Like Alice down the rabbit hole I seek the edges,
Of my body,
Of the Energy.
When I encounter resistance,
Within my body in a pose,
I have come to understand that the root,
Of this resistance lies within my mind.
Memories etched in the unconscious mind,
In movement revealed,
Come as I am ready to heal them,
So I let them come.
I do not resist because I know,
All things in their time will surrender,
To the Love that lives within,
And the pose will evolve.
I have come to trust my breath will lead me to relinquish the pain
And bring me to that moment of release,
Where my being conjoins,
And I reach the state of Oneness.”
– Liz Smith-Anderson
Yoga is what keeps me young at heart. Don’t get me wrong, I have saggy bits, I have cellulite and wrinkles so I may not look so young on the outside but – Yoga keeps me young in the only way that counts on the inside. Through the practice of paying attention, integration of breath with movement, the practice of letting go, and learning how to correctly align my muscles and bones; yoga gives me;
undisturbed sleep every night,
flexibility and strength of body,
a young nervous system,
decreased heart rate,
decreased blood sugar levels,
the ability to stay calm in any situation (most of the time)
yoga empowers me,
and most importantly, it gives me a Young out look.
Yoga has taught me to live my life with every fibre of my being. As I practice yoga, I become more and more aware and mindful; mindfulness has taught me to slow down, take stock and then I notice even more. In turn that offers me more energy, more vitality, it uplifts my mood and encourages me to see myself, others and the world with a little more love in my heart.
Age is just a number; it doesn’t define who you are, how you should behave or what you should do. Being young at heart is to glow from the inside out, its the way you look at the world, its the way your body moves, its the way you smile and your eyes glisten, its the way you are able to step out of your comfort zone and embrace all possibilities with openness and light heartedness. Being young at heart attracts others to you of all ages. My son and daughter are so cool with me and my partner hanging out with their friends when they come over – aged 20 22 and they also hang out with our friends too.
Remember where Attention Goes ~~~~~~Energy Flows ~~~~~~~
If you really want to know how old you are, don’t look at your birth date, the number of grey hairs you have, wrinkles, lumpy bits or excess weight forget all of that. Being young at heart and being happy is a lifestyle choice, let go of the past, let go of conforming to how society dictates you to look and behave. Don’t forget who you really are, be happy with that, live your truth, use your talent, be kind, have fun, change your perspective, be passionate about living. Truly live get out there, travel, play, follow your dreams, be silly, belly laugh, turn yourself upside down once in a while and know that it’s never ever too late to start
Love B xxx
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I like this! Don’t let anyone dull your shine today. Shine on, be happy, be free, be yourself and follow your heart – its liberating….
My practice this morning as always has inspired me. Theres a beauty when I step on my mat for an early morning yoga practice, it actually does not happen very often. When it it does though, its always a very special time, a time for me to really express myself because its my time. I woke early this morning, my house was quiet, everyone else was asleep, it was just silence and my mat was beckoning. I stepped on to it and was immediately transported to a deeper state of consciousness.
Where I got the energy from, I do not know but, it was a strong practice, I even tried an inversion in the middle of the room that I have been working on for a while and I fell a few times (gracefully). I see this as an opportunity to simply reset and move on, one step closer for the next time. I just smiled to myself and Im ok with that. I enjoy both the progress and the set backs. Being on our mats is such a great way to discover and learn about our bodies and minds. No failure is ever negative. Self practice helps me to feel at peace with how my body moves and feels in that moment. I sometimes like to try the more difficult poses because they help me to stay centred and present. I also like to practice my favourite poses though, as this offers me complete self expression, I can breathe fully, feel absolutely beautiful and so good about myself.
The best feeling though is the feeling afterwards, I just love that floaty feeling as I get up and walk away from my mat with sparkling eyes and a big fat smile on my face ready to take on the world from a whole new perspective.
Now I am feeling so very blessed and grateful that I am going upstairs to get ready so that I can spend the whole morning teaching others to feel the same.
Love B xxx
I have no name
Until you name me.
I have no form
Until you shape me.
I don’t exist
Until you make me,
I am creativity.
I am waiting deep inside you
Touch my spark
And let me light you,
Give me life
And I’ll revive you
I am creativity.
Yoga gets the energy body moving, the energy body is our source of creativity. it fuels expression. When we make new and expansive shapes with the body, we are also encouraged to take new and expansive shapes with the mind. Therefore asana has the power to break up the habitual patterns of thought that keep that sense of freshness and creativity constricted.
This weeks classes will be encouraging you to fully express yourself and find your ‘wild side’ – so that you more fully connect you with your creative mind, body, and soul.
I dare you to listen to your inner mentor instead of your inner critic so that you can be who you really want to be.Keep your vision alive every day, dont want it too quickly or over strive for it, be patient but commit, give yourself full permission to work towards it – A dream affords you excitement and freedom!
You are no less than, you are more than enough, no one else is going to build the life that you want – so what are you waiting for
Love B xxx
We’ve pulled them out from being buried in our guts and spoken them, even if only to ourselves.
Being on the road to our dreams means:
We’ve said: this dream is worthy.
Worthy of my time, my energy, my best effort.
I will host it, I will welcome it,
I will keep the kindlings going for the fire.
Being on the road to our dreams means:
Keeping the vision alive in our minds.
Returning, again and again, to the imagined future, and letting its image guide us.
Being on the road to our dreams means:
Weve said: Im in. Im in for this project.
I will try. I will work toward it.
I will be my own friend in this way.
Freedom comes when we step, with both feet, onto the road toward our dreams not when we reach the destination.
Thats when the joy and the poignancy and the lightness of heart arrives.
When we step, wholeheartedly with both feet with permission and with surrender onto the road of our dreams.
A listening ear
A healing reassuring touch
A warm hug
Do it every day!
Love B xxx
Step back and watch your body, being a body.
Watch an arm move through space, watch an ankle turn.
Watch your body, as it likes things or doesn’t,
as it gets scrapes and bruises
as the skin darkens and falls into folds.
Step back to the perimeter of the theater
and watch your body on the stage.
Recede to that quiet knowing:
For now, I am associated with this body
not inside it, or one with it
just associated, for a time.
Casing. Only casing.
Be kind to the casing if you like put oils
on it and nourish it and move it to keep it stronger, for a time.
Never become it. There, only suffering.
Can you feel the one deep inside your chest,
who has existed forever?
Who has made a thousand journeys?
Who feels like a comet in the dark?
The inner filament?
I know, no one ever told you.
I know. It wasn’t the name you learned to write at school,
but that one is you.
That one is the real you
How intimate are you with yourself? rewire y our neurology – through breath, energy, touch and movement.
I have 2 classes to teach and a long long list of admin to catch up on and lots of other mundane chores followed by a meeting later – running around like a headless chicken – me?
No! – because today I’m being kind to myself and giving myself the gift of ‘Time’!.
1.Time to meditate for 30 minutes this morning,
2.Time to relax in the bath.
3.Time to plan my morning class
4.Time to leisurely walk my dog and appreciate nature,
5.Time to call my Mum and ask her how she is.
6.Time to study and write/journal,
7.Time to smile and and be kind to everyone whom crosses my path today.
8.Time to text my man with a loving message,
9.Time to hug him and give him my full presence when he arrives home.
10.Time to call a friend that I haven’t seen for a while.
11.Time to spend with my son and daughter, time to compliment them and and ask them about their day and week when they get in from work.
12.Time to relax and read before I go to bed this evening.
13.Time to be grateful for everything about my day.
14.Time to reflect and smile.
On writing this I have completed 1,2,3 & 4, – just 10 more to go ……….
Be kind to yourself today too – I dare you – take the risk of not getting everything done and give yourself the gift of time – everyone will benefit and most of all ‘YOU’
Love B xxx
“What the ego doesn’t want us to see is that our pain doesn’t come from the love we weren’t given in the past, but from the love we ourselves aren’t giving in the present.
“Whether we love, or close our hearts to love, is a mental choice we make, every moment of every day”.
? Marianne Williamson, ‘A Return to Love’ (my favourite and most inspirational read so far this year).
Her are some words of wisdom from me and inspired by reading this brilliant book;
What is Love? We all have an instinctive need to be loved and give love in return. When you can become selfless, when you can become grateful for the smallest of things, when you can truly let go of past fear and hurts, you will find yourself at peace and then love will find its own graceful unpredictable way in to your being. When it does, you will even find yourself feeling and offering love to people who have upset or betrayed you at some time in the past. Love does not come with conditions or an agenda. Like the sun, love is free and radiates independently of our fears and our desires if we can surrender to it and let it in.
Love is not about control, it cannot be forced or bought, you cannot be made to love yourself or others, it just happens when you can let go of your idea of what it should be. Love has no rules or boundaries and cannot be turned on or off. Love allows room for hurt, anger, grief, or pain to be expressed and released. Love cannot be withheld if it doesn’t get what it wants – for example – Love does not say, “If you want to be loved you must be nice”.
‘Love is Compassionate and Empathetic’. This is the true nature of love, it cannot be manipulated or restrained. It knows the other is also itself.
L O V E
Strength has nothing to do with lifting weights. It comes from picking myself up when I’ve been knocked down. It comes from letting go of past hurts, forgiving others and learning to forgive myself for my own mistakes. Its about working through the unease of where I am and where I think I should be. Strength is feeling deeply and loving fiercely. Strength is both soft and powerful, practical and spiritual. Strength is to trust that all experiences good and bad were meant to be to bring me to where I am now.
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor and use the strength you have built in every difficult situation of your life, so that you move in to the greatest, strongest, most beautiful version of Yourself ….
Love B xxx
Change is a constant cycle, it is inevitable but not always comfortable, it can literally spin us out of our comfort zone when we are least expecting it. The question is can we embrace it wholeheartedly ?
One of the great symbols of this constant cycle of change is the image of Shiva Nataraja, the King of the Dance portrayed in Hindu mythology as the aspect of Shiva whose ecstatic dance of destruction lays the foundation for the creation and sustenance of the universe. Shiva Nataraja dances at the center of the wheel of samsara, a cosmic ring of fire that symbolizes the eternal cycle of birth, life, and death..
Change is after all the essence of life and it can enter our lives at any moment, so we must never take anything for granted. I like to see it as an opportunity for personal growth. Sometimes change has to happen in order for us to move forwards and allow our lives to unfold in another direction.
Change however is profoundly challenging. How many times in your life have you seen change rolling towards you? Have you tried to control it, did you accept it or try to resist it but it still happened anyway. Can you accept the emotions that often accompany change too, can you simply just sit with sadness, anxiety, bitterness or anger and know that this is just a process that it will eventually pass and you will be ok?
Change asks us to be brave. It asks us to whole-heartedly embrace the unknown. It asks us to let go, and to trust the universe that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
Our yoga practice and the yoga poses (asanas) provide us with training and practice in learning how to work with change by teaching us to stay mindful. When we enter a pose we begin to seek out the physical edge of sensation. We dont want to push past it into too much effort or control, which could lead to frustration or even injury, but equally we dont want to pull away from it either. We want to rest right on that developmental edge of sensation. We breathe, pay attention and stay present, then as if by magic, the body relaxes and opens, naturally when it is ready to. A skillful, conscious yoga practice teaches us to observe misalignments, unhealthy patterns in the body or habits that are causing tension or pain, so that we can create a new ones that better serve our body.
Yoga therefore resembles our lives, sometimes we have set patterns or limiting beliefs and our minds resist or complains. If we can accept what is happening, observe, relax, stay present and trust, transformation happens and the body/mind quite simply adjusts itself, heals and opens up with grace to whatever lays ahead.
By developing a conscious awareness through yoga, meditation, or any activity that quiets the mind, restores the connection to your body, and opens your heart. You will literally make peace with yourself and the more peaceful your mind is, the clearer and stronger your intuition, that deep inner knowing will guide you forwards in a new direction that feels absolutely right.
This week I will inspire you with the mythology of Shiva Nataraja Lord of the dance the story urges you to live from your center and dance, celebrating lifes ups and downs, knowing that a part of you is connected to all the pulsations of time and space.
Lets liberate ourselves and Embrace Change
See you on your mats for a joyful, upbeat, celebration of Change be open to all possibilities
Love Brigitte xxx
Inspiration from Marianne Williamson Return to Love
When life becomes difficult or challenging, for inspiration and reassurance, I always remember my Anusara roots and the very First principle of Alignment Open to Grace.
When you Open to Grace, you open to all the opportunities, the gifts and also the challenges that life brings you for each one contains the seed for transformation, each experience contributes to making us who we are. Opening to Grace, is saying yes to the whole river of life. Grace will hold you, will transform you and also has the power to transform everything you aspire to. Opening to Grace means to be open, trust you will be ok, live fully, aspire to the highest and to believe that you will be held every step of the way.
I have realized that whenever I feel down or upset, I finally have something that I have never had before and therefore I dont feel lost. I try to trust in this principle, I trust that this is all part of my journey and that a bigger picture will emerge. As we find trust and find meaning in our struggles, we can be reassured that there is no reason to feel lost. We are simply connected to a greater flow~~~~~~~
Love B xxx
- to be more concerned with truth than opinions
- to be sincere and not pretend
- to be free from hypocrisy: walk your talk
- to know who you are and to be that person
- to not fear others seeing your vulnerabilities
- being confident to walk away from situations where you cant be yourself
- being awake to your own feelings
- being free from others opinions of you
- accepting and loving yourself
? Sue Fitzmaurice
We live in a world where we are defined by our jobs, money, relationships etc, therefore many of us have lost sight of our our true selves. Your True Self is about what you really want, your needs, your own unique outlook, your dreams, desires and your innermost feelings.
Your true authentic self is the voice of your intuition; gut feeling, instinct, inner knowing. Everyone can tap in to their true authentic self through Awareness Practices, in other words get out of your head and check in with your heart. Let go of Doing and Thinking and instead get in touch with Being and Feeling.
If you are not living authentically you may feel anxious, confused, depressed, helpless, or angry. If you are not being true to your self, you may be living your life in a way that pleases or impresses others; you may even hide your true feelings. If that is the case, you may also feel trapped.
When you can tap in to your Feeling self, it is your personal unique truth, it means you are being honest with yourself and others. Can you truly listen to your intuition and act on it? If you can, then the choices and decisions you make in life will satisfy your soul because you are living in harmony with whats important and sits well within you. It means that you are expressing who you really are at your core, you are standing by your beliefs and taking responsibility to live your life in the way that feels right for you. Then what you have, is Freedom, Happiness and Honesty, you will feel more Open, Optimistic and life will become more Fulfilling.
This week, classes will be all about connecting back to our Feeling Selves lets be authentic with ourselves on our mats, listening, paying attention to sensations, feelings and thoughts, lets tap in to a higher state of consciousness, lets let our breath be our sail so that it allows us to glide through a beautiful soulful, expressive vinyasa flow, then we will anchor down to practice some gorgeous stretchy seated poses, finally the breath will guide us in to a deep shavasana followed by an authentic seated meditation.
See you there
With Love Brigitte xxx
~Thich Nhat Hanh
We are used to striving and trying so hard for things to work out the way we want them too but sometimes they dont! Therefore, can we literally just trust, surrender, let go and open our eyes to what has been put in front of us instead. If we can, Surrender instead becomes enlightened behaviour. It becomes the most beautiful soft space of acceptance. Surrender and letting go is not about giving up, handing power over, or failing, its about allowing our life to unfold and to be what it is, irrespective of our agendas or expectations. We have to be open and at the same time deeply rooted in trust. When we can relax and trust that, even though things might not be going the way we like or the way we planned, everything will turn out just the way its meant to. By embracing surrender, we get out of our own way and this is how we experience a life of real freedom. Free from our limiting self-beliefs, and negative mind talk which is basically what prevents real growth and transformation. At first, the journey into surrender can be really hard, we may question or resist it by trying to remain in control, but eventually, when we completely let go of the outcome, surrender can be the space where everything starts to shift. Surrender allows us to step into our lives ready to receive, and willing to embrace everythingthe good and the bad times with an open heart, then, who knows, life may magically open up for us
So right now, this is me! Here I am on the surrender train, I dont know where it might stop or where I am heading but I have to trust that I will keep rolling along just fine, there is so much more to see and so many different experiences to savour along the way.
I know that I want to be free and freedom comes from a space of pure, open-hearted surrender to what is.
With love Brigitte xxx
Making progress and moving forwards both on your yoga mat and in your life can sometimes be challenging; We progress a lot when we first start yoga, we learn to become more aware, observe, experiment, explore our breath and how our body responds to it. We ultimately deepen our relationship with ourselves both on and off the mat, then one day, suddenly our practice becomes more difficult or we become injured and we are faced with obstacles.
The same is true in life, challenges arise at every turn and what we once looked forward to, instead sometimes brings us face-to-face with hard choices and different aspects of who we are and even what direction we foresee our lives heading in.Thats life, but within the face of our most challenging moments, what we are actually presented with are opportunities to find a deeper strength within ourselves, to listen for guidance from our intuition and cues from the universe.
The big question is; can you trust, can you follow through and go with the flow, literally can you say yes to all that’s in front of you? A yes to a shift in your life, a yes to moving forward out of your comfort zone? If you can be your-Self and stay present in every situation that presents itself, then your intuition will look after you, you will instinctively know how to create shifts and move forwards.
When we can communicate with ourselves in this way and challenges present themselves, we can choose to make clear, deliberate choices that put things into action. Action that moves you toward you’re highest goal and the most natural way forward for yourself. By embracing our fears, sometimes in the face of adversity and vulnerability, we can learn to trust the courage of our hearts, and the wisdom of the quiet voice inside that tells us yes you can do it. We can follow through, move forwards, take a chance with total awareness It can be both daunting by also so freeing as well wildly liberating. We all have a choice to move forward and progress if we can trust our inner knowing.
Love B xx
To relax and feel the love in your heart and keep that as your focus in every situation, that is the meaning of surrender. It changes us, we become deeper, more attractive people.
When we let go, we step back and by stepping back, we can step forward with inspiration and allow a higher power within to intuitively guide us. We can allow ourselves to shine and sparkle, this is an invisible energy with visible effects. Let go, just love, then you will see your own light shine.
Feeling the lurve
Inspiration from Marianne Williamson A Return To Love
Love B xxx
The past week has been a long one for me for sure and a powerful yoga lesson off my mat. After seeing in the New Year with great celebrations, I went on to teach 3 back to back New Year yoga workshops/classes, then the following day I attended a wonderful New Year Pigeon Extravaganza Yoga Workshop with Claire Murphy. Our bodies are incredibly wise and that same evening, my body said Please no more, and I came down with the dreaded virus that has been doing the rounds.
I am rarely ill, but this literally knocked me for 6. I spent the first 3 days in bed feeling very sorry for myself with a high temperature and absolutely zero energy. Im pleased to say that I am now on the road to recovery, but still feel as though I have several daggers in my throat. so I am resting my voice as much as possible, as I fly out to India to teach a 2 week yoga retreat tomorrow, my first class being Monday! This week, I had so many things to achieve, organise and do, as well as my usual class schedule but the universe clearly had other plans. Instead I have sweated it out, slept or lounged around on the sofa with daytime television for company! I have had such a heavy cold over my eyes and forehead that I have not even been able to read without my head and eyes hurting.
It has been a challenge indeed, but I knew deep down that in order to connect back to myself and to feel healthy and grounded again for teaching a retreat in India, I had to withdraw, listen to my body, honour what it needs, support that and practice what I preach. I had to give myself permission to slow right down and be ok with saying NO to teaching, writing Newsletters, Class plans for India, replying to E mails, going shopping, doing housework, dog walking, etc. I have had to cancel 7 one to ones, get my regular classes subbed where possible and let my lovely family nurture, look after me and help out lots for which I am so grateful.
I had to offer myself the time to top up with vitamins and nutrients, surrender, be still, rest up and sleep deeply and boy did my body need it. This has been so difficult for me because I know that my knowledge and what I do, can help and inspire others, especially at the start of a New Year when our yoga practice is about setting positive intentions. However, I also know that taking care of myself, slowing down and learning to be patient will preserve my energy so that my body can heal and make a full recovery. Our bodies are amazing, they respond to everything that we put in to them and take out of them. Therefore in order to stay in balance, we must remember that it is our job to nurture and support them to the best of our ability.
On a positive note, I now know everything there is to know about this years latest fashion trends and whos dating who among the rich and famous and I can tell you every piece of news that has occurred this week. I also know the weather forecast for the next 5 days.
Joking aside though this has been a perfect time for Reflection, as I look forward to 2015, I hope that I can keep practicing the art of patience, slowing down and most of all not feel guilty about it. I plan on looking after me more and not taking on quite such a hectic teaching schedule each week. Relaxation and Meditation are just about the best gift we can offer to ourselves each day. When the body and mind can rest and heal, you actually gain more energy and clarity. Today for instance, I am still resting my voice but I am feeling freshly inspired and creative, I have great ideas for my classes in India and I was motivated to write this blog.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that places more value on doing than on being, there is a tendency to attach our worth to our accomplishments. We are all guilty from time to time for placing more value on how much we do and how busy we are rather than what we do or how we do it. We miss the point that sometimes doing nothing is more powerful and productive than anything. Sometimes you have to slow down so that the world around you can catch up to your vision. There are often moments in life and situations where there is nothing for you to do but be still. Acting out of impatience wont necessarily make things happen more quickly, but will instead cause you more stress and suffering. Rather than forcing things into existence, slow down, practice the art of being still, silent, and waiting patiently. Connect with the flow of life that already is. Of course, this is easier said then done as being still requires practice. However we can use the time that we are doing nothing to reflect, restore, rejuvenate and to prepare ourselves for action. Otherwise we may find ourselves depleted from all of our busyness and unable to be at our best when it counts the most as I found out this week.
Consequently, this year my advice to you is dont sacrifice your health and well being by taking on too much, instead ensure that you put into place a time to regularly relax and re-energise your body whether that is through yoga or some other form that resonates with you. Finally find some time to meditate as it will keep you connected with a deeper part of yourself which will help and guide you through this beautiful journey we call life. Then by all means, if you have or feel a deep purpose that you would like to pursue, seize the opportunity, go for it, be open to all possibilities and follow through with your goals and dreams.
My next post will be inspired from my beloved India, I cannot wait to be back there and share my teachings which such a beautiful group of 18 yogis.
In the meantime, classes are on as usual and are all being covered by fantastic inspiring teachers.
My Whitespace Yoga classes are being covered by amazing teachers, check the studios daily timetable for more info and please continue to attend your regular class, its so good to experience different teachers and perhaps get a different perspective on yoga and life.
My own private classes are being covered by 2 gorgeous friends of mine whom are both excellent teachers.
Tuesday morning class at The Granary is taking a break until February and so are my private Restorative classes.
Wednesday evening classes at The Granary are with Geni, a wonderful Yoga Teacher, she brings a wealth of knowledge and loves to weave beautiful stories into her classes as well as a wicked sense of humour.
Saturday morning classes at Broughton Pavillion are being covered by Tracey who has lots of teaching experience. She will offer you a lovely upbeat creative Vinyasa Flow class sprinkled with her natural dose of happiness this will set you up for the weekend.
Look after yourselves, go slowly and mindfully, see you in a moment!
Wishing you all a Healthy, Happy and Relaxed 2015!
Lots of Love
Thank you all for your continuous community energy, love and dedication to my classes this year. Wishing you all a Happy Christmas everyone, may it be a safe, calm, happy peaceful healthy holiday time filled with laughter and lots of cake.
A Yogi Christmas poem for you ..Enjoy!
The children were nagging, not going to bed, While visions of Wanderlust danced in my head.
With mama in her yoga pants and I in mine too, We were deeply in need of our inner guru.
When up on the roof there arose such a blast, Youd think Shiva Rea was giving a free class.
And what to my wondering third eye should I see, But Santa himself, breathing in ujjayi.
His hands placed in mudra, he looked so serene, Sitting in lotus, right under the tree.
Santa! I exclaimed, how can this be? I came to align your chakras, said he.
He rose up to standing (and his pants were see-through, He must have bought them last year at lulu).
We rolled out our Mandukas and lit our inner flame, And he whistled and shouted each yoga pose name.
Now up dog, now down dog, now to chaturanga! On cobra, on cat/cow, on parsva bakasana!
The prana was flowing, my worries were gone, My mantra, I am grateful, carried me on.
Santa, it seemed, was a wonderful mentor, The yoga was helping me come back to center.
Your practice need never be out of your sight, Yoga is with you, all day or all night.
And I heard him exclaim as he drove off in his sleigh, Merry Christmas to all, and to all Namaste!
Be kind to yourselves! Happy Christmas
Henry James Metta Loving Kindness
I was in London Xmas shopping a couple of days ago and it was seriously shocking to see how erratically people behave in a fast paced city at this time of the year. I saw anger, rudeness, stress, anxiety and picked up a general feeling of manic!
We can all tend to get a little bit crazy during the Festive Season, which can leave us feeling quite exhausted, stressed or even ill. Therefore this post is a gentle reminder to slow down and be kind to yourself. Love and Kindness has to start with you and is probably the best gift you can give to yourself. Its about taking quality time out to nurture yourself every day so that you connect and find nourishment from your own heart. Literally just a 10 minute walk, bath, or sit down quietly with your eyes closed, or absolutely anything that completely quietens your mind so that you can let go of Doing, Thinking and Analysing. This is how you will get back in touch with Love and your Feeling mind. When you are kind to yourself, life in general just becomes lighter and you will feel content as well as more peaceful. Self-love is a foundation on which we can build a happy life because quite simply kindness to yourself is kindness to others. As your own well-being increases, youre more able and likely to be patient, supportive, caring, forgiving, loving and are more able to connect with others too. Basically, to take care of others, youve got to take care of yourself first, otherwise you are running on empty! Also without self-love, we have nowhere to put the love or abundance that comes to us. Even if we are in a great relationship, that person wont be able to make us happy and feel loved unless we create the space for it inside by practicing self-love.
Self love is an inside job, Metta is food for your heart, takes it easy, look after yourselves and be kind to others this Christmas folks.
With yoga and meditation we can connect back to our truest self Love, above all to be mindfulness practices ignite the love and warmth of your own heart so that you can offer it out to others.
From my heart to yours with love
Virabhadrasana or Warrior poses in yoga are often overlooked opportunities to go deeper within and reflect on what it really means to be a warrior in our everyday lives.
We are all stronger than we think how true those words are. Sometimes we just have to push ourselves a little harder to get results, as well as believe in ourselves enough to realize that we have the potential to reach our goals, or hold ourselves up for a few breaths longer.
Warrior poses can represent our own journey from lower to higher levels of consciousness. In other words; ask yourself what is my purpose in life? Can I be strong and balanced, can I deal with what life throws at me positively and with resilience? Where am I heading? What does success look like to me? Does every breath I take contain the seed of awareness to get me there with integrity?
Therefore when we flow in to warrior poses, we can visualise that we are tapping into our own inner warrior that resides deep within and guides us through. A warrior is not devoid of fear, far from it, a warrior faces fear, and the very facing of fear is enough to make it begin to disappear. By practicing warrior poses in our yoga practice, we can feel empowered and stronger.
Warrior poses are wonderfully grounding; stabilising, energising, they also offer us focus, endurance, stamina and integrity when practiced correctly. There are also many benefits such as expansion and lightness across the chest, shoulders, heart, lungs, core awareness, and stimulation of the abdominal organs and digestion. We also stretch our inner thighs and groins whilst creating strength in our shoulders, arms, core, thighs, calves and ankles.
Be a warrior, acknowledge your past, look ahead towards your future and stand tall with empowerment, grace and dignity in your present.
Love B xxx
No matter how much structure we create in our lives, no matter how many good habits we build, there will always be things that we cannot control and if we let them, these things can be a huge source of anger, frustration and stress.
Can you let go, with the flow and be prepared to sometimes be unprepared. Sometimes in life, no matter how hard you work, how much you organise, plan and expect things to go a certain way, they just don’t pan out how you had envisioned. Then if you resist, fight and stress, you close down inside and you lose your ability to see clearly, you get tunnel vision, and you interact in a way that creates opposition. To handle a situation, you need action, not resisting, can you can let go, go with the flow and be at peace with what has occurred? The moment you let go, everything seems to change. With the stress gone, you become creative and able to discover actions/solutions that you could never have seen before. You become naturally effective. Going with the flow is about surrendering to what is no matter what. Its about accepting whatever is happening in the moment, having faith and trusting that things will always somehow work out whether you know how they will or not.
The simple solution: learn to go with the flow.
Thich Nhat Hanh
This week Autumn really arrived with some stormy/windy weather, for me, this really marked the change in the seasons. Officially autumn began on Sept 22nd but in many of our hearts and minds, the start to autumn is not scientific, its simply about the changes that start to take place in nature known as phenology. Autumn is when the landscape starts to silently explode with vibrant colours and the leaves begin to drop off the trees in to beautiful crisp colourful heaps, also plants cast their seeds on the wind, gardeners and farmers are reaping fruits, berries and nuts. Big bright full moons have graced the autumn sky, temperatures have started to drop; the nights are drawing in and we need to wrap ourselves up more when we go outside. For me autumn is really here when I sadly have to resign my self to the fact that I need to swap my flip flops with Ugg boots.
In a way Autumn is like shedding a skin, its a time for turning inwards, reflecting and re-evaluating our priorities, its a time to perhaps let go of what is no longer useful. Its a time to observe your own body and mind and see what shifts need to take place in order to renew and recharge in the coming months just by welcoming different root vegetables and other foods into our meals , our bodies crave and need different foods in the colder months, maybe there needs to be an emotional shift too. Its a time to cleanse, detox and slow right down, to listen inwardly, to start to pay attention to our bodies rhythms and to be in flow with nature.
My classes in Autumn are designed to encourage just that, we can wring out our internal organs with twists and side stretches, we will let go of what no longer serves us by practicing forward folds. We can have fun with headstands (or modified variations) and other inversions to kick start our immune systems. Also a daily meditation practice can be very beneficial in the colder months to encourage our minds and bodies to turn inwards so that we can reflect and pay attention to our innermost needs in order to nurture, care and renew ourselves at this time.
Love B xx
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’ interest me what planets are squaring your moon
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled
from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer – Canadian Teacher and Author
Never ever underestimate the power of mindfulness, it can completely transform the way that you react to everything in your life;
Your personal beliefs, the way that you think and perceive the world are all conditioned in to your mind from an early age influenced by the different circumstances of your life. Your parents, family, schooling, friends, acquaintances, enemies and every experience you have had in your life up to now have developed your mindset.
By developing a deeper state of awareness, over time, this can dramatically change the way you perceive every situation in your life. Thought power is the key to creating your reality. Everything you do and say is governed by your own conditioned thoughts and beliefs.
To become the master of your mind, you must learn to control the nature of your habitual thoughts and behavioural patterns. Mindfulness techniques cultivate a deeper state of consciousness, you will soon begin to realise that your thoughts create your reactions and your reality in every situation of your life. Over time and with practice, you will be able to let go of anger, low self esteem, stress, judgments, negative thoughts and opinions your life will start to just flow and you will no longer be resisting the current that is Your Life.
Mindfulness = Contentment
Love Brigitte xx
So yesterday, some yogi friends and I had some fun Yoga playtime in my garden and my Yoga Cabin Studio. Acro Yoga really is the yoga of TRUST and this got me thinking;
Trust is very hard if you don’t know what you’re trusting, however surrendering and letting go can bring such positive expansion, wisdom and healing to your life
If you don’t believe me try letting go and trusting. See what happens, a willingness to let go, will allow things to unfold. When I let go and allow myself to just BE, my life flows with ease, joy and grace. I know exactly what I need to be doing and opportunities and spontaneous things just begin to present themselves and happen, life just seems to flow and fall in to place, everything just feels like its in sync. I am able to do this more and more in my life now, even when something feels out of alignment, I know that waiting, surrendering and trusting will create more opportunities for growth and change to unfold in my life because as I get older, I have found this to be true in my life so often now. Letting go and trusting the outcome will free you from stress, anxiety, and inner turmoil.
Try it and trust in your own inner knowing, when we stay close to the wisdom of our own knowing (intuition), then we can pretty much trust in the unfolding, mysterious wisdom of this beautiful life.
Love Brigitte xxx
Yoga has encouraged me to stay young and fearless. Don’t get me wrong, I still have wrinkles and parts of me sag! and as I am getting older my body is changing its shape too. However yoga gives me vigour and energy, yoga gives me self esteem and keeps me young in the only way that counts on the inside. Young on the inside means, young organs, joints, nervous system, young outlook, and because you glow from the inside out, you also look radiant and youthful in the way that your body moves with grace and ease. Its also to do with the willingness to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace new things. Its the way that you smile, laugh and make the most of all of life. Age is not about your birth date or grey hairs or wrinkles, its about your attitude, how young your spine is and how energised your body feels.
Embrace playfulness, you can have as much fun falling out of a posture as getting in to it. Leave your yoga class feeling energised, who cares whether or not you can do a handstand yet, yoga is about the fun we have along the way. Simply immerse yourself in your breath, accept your own unique body, leave your inner critique behind but have a sense of humour yoga is for everyone of all age and ability.
Love Brigitte xxx
My son just decided to paint his guitar last night and this is it. I am so proud, he has such a special creative artistic gift and so much to offer the world. As a yoga teacher, I am always telling my kids to make sure they live their lives doing what ever they want (not what is expected of them by society) I want them to love what they do, especially if it makes them happy.
Always believe in your talent, never give up and don’t let anyone take away your joy. On a deeper level, your talent is your purpose and your true identity. Your talent is your own unique expression to offer out to others whilst at the same time fulfilling yourself. Do not give up until you have tapped in to it and most of all trust that you will. What comes easily and naturally to you? What would you do even if you weren’t getting paid for it? What do people compliment you for? These are all clues to your talent.
Live the life you love and love the life you live.
Love Brigitte xxx
The most natural back bends can be liberating, joyful and pleasurable when we stabilise our alignment and then instinctively move with grace in to the exhilaration of the arch. Back bends are difficult for some of us, we get instinctly protective of our front bodies especially if we have been emotionally wounded in some way. Therefore opening our hearts also opens us up to vulnerability, however they also help to build courage and inspire us to to feel love, be free and to reach out toward others with this same energy. Back bends also help us to be more fully ourselves and feel more fully alive.
The big question is can we then take this celebration of yoga off our mats and in to our lives? Can we maintain our open hearts, our energised prana nourished body and steady mind? Can we still remain comfortable in our own skin, can we continue to align with ease to our own unique rhythm?
Our Heart is the centre of loving feelings, when we connect to it we are able to experience joy, happiness, freedom of spirit and lightness. The moment that you discover the depth, delight and ecstasy of your heart, you know you will always be loved and will always be able to give love wholeheartedly to others.
‘One Love, One heart, lets get together and feel alright’ – Bob Marley
Can we open to ‘love’ and live our best possible life? It’s your choice – Say YES!
Love Brigitte xxx
“Don’t let your age control your life. Let your life control your age”……we just popped up on to the roof top of our hotel (as you do) to have some fun whilst our room was being cleaned
Learning this arm balancing pose – Astavakrasana is challenging but accessible for most yogi’s with lots of practice. It involves seriousness blended with playfulness, flexibility blended with strength and patience blended with perseverance – just like LIFE. It took me 2 years of playing and willingness to practice before I got there.
Be curious, be inquisitive, be spontaneous, explore, play and be open in your mind. This is the yoga that I am teaching and ultimately it is more important than whether or not you can do the pose…
Love Brigitte xxx
Summer Solstice, brings us to the halfway point of the Year. During this time the Earth is tilted closest to the Sun giving us greater exposure to the Suns light and, subsequently, the longest day of the year which is this Saturday 21st June. Therefore this week, the sun is in full reign, reaching a peak in the sky, it is of immense power and potency. The Summer Solstice has long been a time of celebration and festivity dating back to ancient times through to present day. It is believed that Midsummer Magic has the power to allow the seemingly impossible to materialise and manifest. The brilliance of the sun allows us to see things clearly, the Summer Solstice can represent sexuality, love, creativity, prosperity, energy, luck, health, happiness, magic and wishes. This is the time of the year to celebrate your spirit, to open your hearts and to make your very own personal Summer Solstice Wish. Whatever you most desire can made to manifest in to the Light – It is said that no request for dreams and wishes to come true can be refused on Summer Solstice Day ..
Summer Solstice, Celebration Poem.
The world within
Echoes the world without
Lush foliage, leaves unfurled
Soft springy grass dotted with
Brightly colored flowers peeping through
The earth is green and bright
With warm sunny days
Clear velvety blue skies
Gentle cool breezes
Nature in glory
Our hopes blossom
With the season
The seeds of the fruit
Our desires will bear
Can be seen
On the stems
Of our dreams
Too busy to relax they say… complaints, excuses everyday
They sound so weak, so stressed, so tired… a mundane world in which theyre mired
No time to sit and just be quiet… their minds a rush of thoughts, a riot
No chance they have to hear the sound… of natures wonder all around
Of birds and trees and clouds and air… too much work, its just not fair
This really seems quite sad to me… so much to do, no time to be
Breathe I say and move a bit
Then after that we can just sit
And watch the world at its own pace
There is no rush, its not a race
And if it were, what is the goal?
Where are you going mind, body, soul?
Too busy to relax I hear… these words seem like theyre based in fear
Tired, weak and too much stress… how did our lives turn such a mess?
We dont need to look above… to find a place thats based in love
Turn instead and look within… find your self, it is no sin
Forgive, let go, open your heart… it is the only place to start
Think on that and you might find… throughout your life you have been blind
Breathe I say and move some more
Run, walk, jump, stretch on the floor
Move your body, get up and go
Feel the energy, let it flow
Dont get caught in negative
Habits that wont let you live
Too busy to relax? Not true! … this hoax must end, it starts with you
If all you do is just the same… you never will escape this game
Do something new, do something Zen… begin right now, not if or when
Do one thing different, or two, or five… change how you live, become alive
Do or do not, there is no try… step off the cliff and start to fly
Begin with this, you wont go wrong… remember to breathe, deep and long.
This is what I was inspired to feel and write after a particularly beautiful meditation;
To bluebell woods;
To sunny days;
To walking in nature;
To taking deep breaths.
To feeling love, empathy and kindness to all living beings;
To seeing the beauty in all things including yourself;
To embracing new things;
To surrounding yourself with people that make you happy and bring out the best in you;
To bear hugs;
To laughing until your face hurts;
To being you without apology;
To trying your best not to make judgements about others;
To friends that know you inside out, they know your authenticity and that you speak and live your truth;
To making decisions from your heart;
To walking barefoot;
To being completely absorbed in a good book;
To saying I Love You;
To holding hands;
To being home;
To being on your yoga mat;
To letting go and surrendering so completely that you feel at peace;
To connecting to the vast compassion contained in your heart and trying your best to live your life from this space;
To simply appreciate LIFE and all of the moments in between;
To the power of meditation and how it alters our perception of the world so positively ..
Love Brigitte xxx
Meditation and developing conscious awareness connects us back to our hearts and to a feeling of such exquisite love. Then there is this amazing ‘Self-Realization’ that love is liberation, the only way beyond time and to unravel the understanding of existence, is to feel love or supreme consciousness for everyone and everything.
Meditation sometimes hits me with such a strong feeling of overpowering love and it conveys for me – such beauty from the inside and out. In fact, my meditation practice, has lead me to experience all encompassing universal Love/ One consciousness in a way that has really moved me emotionally. After this kind of meditation or feeling, it really is quite impossible to feel animosity or hatred toward any living being, just compassion.
To feel love, you have to LET GO completely, literally surrender to what is. I feel that this is the only way that we can move forward in our lives. Love leads the way to Surrender,and Surrender leads the way to Love…
Our stresses, anxieties, pains, and problems arise because we do not see the world, others, or even ourselves as worthy of love or acceptance. I encourage you to stay present and aware, to open your hearts to love and most of all to relax and let go. Only when you can completely let go, will you feel elated and completely fulfilled.
Love is the highest of all qualities we can experience, there is nothing but love…..Love is Consciousness and Consciousness is Love….
Love Brigitte xx
Nowhere in the world can be found a means of purification that is equal to knowledge. One who is perfected in yoga will, in time, discover that knowledge within oneself and will soon reach supreme peace. Bills translation of 4.35-39
I have just spent the loveliest Easter weekend surrounded by beautiful like minded yogis and yoginis studying an ancient yoga text The Bhagavad Gita. To be honest I actually half expected the weekend be quite tedious and dare I say a little boring! Eleven years ago, I was supposed to have read The Gita during one of my yoga teacher training modules, but in reality I just flicked backwards and forwards through it and read what I deemed was necessary to write an essay on it at the time. I had no inclination whatsoever to delve deeper, in all honesty I was probably not as spiritually evolved as I am today, and therefore, I really did not fully comprehend the philosophy and teachings. Anyway, I have felt a little guilty ever since, so, I thought that I should try again and take this rare opportunity to attend this Bhagavad Gita study weekend, as the training (hosted by a friend, Clare Murphy at her Yoga Studio in Chippenham) was with a well known scholar of the International Yoga Community – Bill Mahony. Bill is the author of several books on the religions of India; he has a deep understanding of yogic life, and is grounded in over four decades of his own spiritual practice.
Bill has the exceptional ability to keep it real, so that these teachings are much more deeply accessible and relevant to our modern 21st century lives. He is able to convey his teachings with such humility, warmth, kindness, love and openness, encouraging gentle discussion and freely accepting different view points within the group. Consequently, over the course of the weekend, I actually surpassed myself and left Chippenham on the Sunday evening on a real high, not only feeling proud of myself for staying present and interested but because I felt I had re connected to a deeply conscious place within myself, (a state of deep inner awareness). I also felt overwhelmingly re inspired to listen and observe my own truth, and lastly I had been warmly reminded that, the reason we practice yoga is to ignite and intensify feelings of love. In other words, the more conscious we become in this exquisite world we live in, the more we will feel divine love towards ourselves and all sentient beings there is noting else but divine love, it is all around us and within us.
Consciousness is Love and Love is Consciousness
The Bhagavad Gita has been described as the most important and influential of all Hindu scriptures, it encompasses everything relating to Human Beings and life on Mother Earth. I personally dont see it as a religious work; I see it as unravelling the complexity of this world that we live in, through consciously learning to use our feeling minds more than our thinking minds. The Gita is the perfect self-help book because it is not too complicated and can be seen as a source of profound wisdom, offering a path to steadiness of mind. Without going in to detail of the, 18 chapters, 700 verses, characters and narrative dialogue of the Bhagavad Gita (or you will be reading this for a week), this is the summary of my understanding re the underlying messages that can be taken from the script and practiced in real every day life. .
The Bhagavad Gita gives us an interpretation of three paths to follow in order to live in harmony with ourselves and others in this world.. Theses three paths are the philosophy of Action, Knowledge and Devotion. Although each path is different, the destination is fundamentally the same. One path is not higher than the other. All three must be harmoniously blended within our lives in order to find freedom from the conditioned mindset, true happiness within, fulfillment and to live an integrated and balanced life.
- Karma Yoga The Yoga of Selfless Action Karma Yoga is essentially Acting, or Doing ones duties in life as per his/her dharma, or duty, without concern of results. It is our nature to be active, we cannot live in this world without performing actions, but can we choose to act in a way that is selfless without personal reward or gain? Can we detach ourselves from the fruits of our actions, let go of ego and just freely give of ourselves to others? This can be difficult as most of us are attached to the fruits of our actions, however through mindfulness practices, we can learn to choose how to behave and act in any given situation of our lives. Over time, transformation happens in little shifts, so that we are able to confront difficult parts of ourselves and release addictive patterns and discontinue toxic behavioural cycles.
- Bhakti Yoga The Yoga of Love and Devotion Bhakti Yoga is regarded as the most direct method to merge in supreme consciousness. Again through awareness practices we start to feel acceptance and more importantly intense love, first towards ourselves and then it begins to radiate out in to the world. When we are able to feel love deeply, we are able to freely offer it to others, not just our partners, family and friends but everyone that we come in to contact with may be touched by that love. It is essential to feel love/consciousness so that we can recognise that there is a special divine presence within ourselves and within all beings.
- Jhana Yoga The Yoga of Knowledge Jnana Yoga is the process of converting intellectual knowledge into practical wisdom in order to live in this world without conflict. To gain knowledge we can study texts, books and ourselves. To have knowledge of oneself and to understand oneself is to observe and listen to a deep inner knowing (intuition/instinct). Meditation leading to self-enquiry gives us knowledge. To know the self is to be at peace, it is supreme consciousness.
A central teaching from the weekend with Bill was to be Your Truest Authentic Self; In other words to live your life from your own truth, instinct, and personal core values, it means to be honest with yourself and others. When thought, feeling, speech and action– are out out of alignment, we become blocked. This means that we cant be truly at peace or happy if we are lying to ourselves or not being truthful with others. Don’t try and be what others want you to be, don’t be defined by your job, status or possessions, don’t try and be someone that you are not just to please or impress, don’t try to conform if it doesn’t sit well within you, this is the Ego. You are not living authentically when you feel anxious, confused or depressed, so celebrate your own uniqueness. Sometimes (especially through mindfulness practices), connecting to your truth can have a knack of tapping you on the shoulder and it won’t go away until you have addressed your demons. Therefore disharmony and problems that we suppress or do not confront, can mean that we are not living from a place of truth and authenticity with ourselves. If however, we can look at the difficult parts of ourselves, this can become an act of great courage, because dealing with problems and un-cluttering our mind is actually extremely healing. Living your truth means living by your intuition. When we can follow the road of our intuition, it will lead to contentment because we are listening to our own needs, desires and source of happiness within. Our authentic self exists in silence. In order to reveal that self, we need to find stillness and silence for a dedicated period of time each day.
One of the greatest gifts you can give out to the world is your truth, so be real and allow everyone else to experience whatever they experience in encountering your realness.
Ultimately through practicing yoga on our mat and in our lives we can live in a state of Equanimity. This is a state of psychological stability. With equanimity there is freedom of fear, clinging, negative emotions, ego and attachments. It is by embracing our full range of emotion from sorrow to joy that we finally come to rest in equanimity thus seeing ourselves with new eyes. When we can become the observer, and develop a compassionate heart, then, we can rest in equanimity. Every time we release something, every time we make space in our hearts for love to enter… the whole universe sighs with relief. We are all connected. We are all one, we can let go, be light and be love.
Yoga is Equanimity and Equanimity is Yoga
I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to Bill for guiding us all on a beautiful spiritual journey last weekend and offer thanks also to Claire for her contribution of beautifully sequenced Asana Practices, cleverly weaved and entwined with Bhagavad Gita teachings.
By the end of the training I felt that there was the most amazing feeling of love, smiles and lightness in the room.
One who, is abiding in unity, offers love to me as the One who dwells in all beings, in whatever way that one lives ones life, that one dwells in me – Bills translation 6.31
Love and Light
Life is One great Big Adventure!
Travel as far as you can, as much as you can and as long as you can, don’t let life escape you!
Be curious, the world is your oyster, explore, learn, be inspired, have adventures, experience different cultures, meet new people and fall in head over heels in love with this beautiful world we live in!
I didn’t start travelling and seeing more of the world until I turned 40, and believe me, travel has changed my perspective massively.
Travel its the only thing you can buy that makes you richer and it opens your mind to so much more.
Live your dream. Take action, save, plan and do it!
Live in a constant state of wonder….
Love Brigitte xx
In essence, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. True self-esteem and true humility arise out of that realization. In the eyes of the ego, self-esteem and humility are contradictory. In truth, they are one and the same. – Eckhart Tolle; A New Earth
All of life is yoga, literally we are all in a cycle of learning and growth with everything we do and everything we are. There is always an opportunity to learn and become wiser so that life can become richer and more fulfilling. After reading an inspiring book last year; A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, I have been contemplating over the last few months; What does it mean to be Humble how can I try my best to bring that quality of humility in to my being?. Its a tough one for sure!
Some of the most lovely people that I have ever met, come across as such kind, pure, compassionate souls, they may also be amazing at what they do and yet they seek no glory. They are warm, friendly, non-judgmental and unassuming, they have absolutely no ego, they just exude grace and such a beautiful contagious energy, which in turn draws others to deeply appreciate and love them.
I checked out the word Humble in the dictionary, here’s what it said;
Modesty, lacking pretence, not believing that you are superior to others. It went on to say; this is an admirable quality that not many people possess, it means that a person may have accomplished a lot, or be a lot but do not feel it is necessary to advertise or brag about it.
All this being said, its a difficult one to follow though as it is pretty hard to be humble, when society encourages competition and individuality. Sometimes we can get caught up in trying to impress, comparing ourselves to others, boasting, being competitive, arrogance, being egotistical, the need to be right all of the time, or constantly trying to prove ourselves, another way we can feed our ego with attention is through the role of being a victim. Ego is basically putting yourself out there, its a sense of self-importance.
Being humble means there is no need to be heard or to put yourself out there, but equally humility doesn’t mean hiding in the corner.
When I first started out as a yoga teacher, I felt like I needed to know everything there was about yoga, and if there was a question, I felt that it needed to be answered as I wanted to convey to my class that I knew everything. I was always working on more advanced poses and dynamic sequences so that I could demonstrate how flexible and strong my body was. Looking back I guess I was playing a role. Nowadays, I dont feel like I have to have an answer to everything, these days I don’t feel the need to try too hard or to be someone that I’m not. I like to keep it simpler in class, instead focusing on a philosophical theme or alignment principle, we still rock out some fun asanas on our mats but there is more meaning behind what we are doing. I am now much happier in my own skin and like to keep it really real. I am learning to respect and honour my body more, I am aware of my limitations and listen to how I/ it feels on any given day, especially as my body is changing as I get older. I’ve also realised that sometimes its better to be honest with others or, listen and sometimes not say anything at all, so that I can allow the other person to work it out on their own, because that’s the way life unfolds and after all, its their journey.
Finding humility does not mean you have to be shy, it means to choose a more reserved path and even more importantly, to allow others to find their own path, without thrusting your path forcefully in front of them. I like to think of it as appreciating my personal qualities quietly and if this is reflected out to others, then great, it was supposed to, and if not then let it be just that. I also feel humility is not letting what you do, define you as a person; we are not acting out a role in this world but simply trying our best to live our own life whilst honouring what it means to be true to ourselves.
You can hear yourself and see yourself, through you, anything and everything is possible. Real humility is something that no one else will see. No one will know about your humility, if it’s real. Humility means to be what you are.
The most important part of trying to be more humble I feel is to find the true you, the part of you that is intuitive, that feels, that person deep inside yourself, the one that can answer all of your questions knowingly, the one that allows you to feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. When you know yourself and accept yourself exactly as you are, then nothing else matters, there is nothing to prove. Humility offers you freedom from ego, selfishness and pride.
We can only try our best to be humble, and of course just like all other virtues, its about reprocessing our minds and trying our hardest to let go of conditioned thoughts and behaviour patterns. For me, I try to implement ‘Humble-asana, though yoga, meditation and other mindfulness practices as they encourage me to accept and trust in myself, consequently allowing myself to let go of self doubt. Humility doesn’t seek at all it accepts and that is the heart of our practice To accept ourselves wholeheartedly.
‘Humility’ is for your eyes only, we can only try our best but with a life time of practice, perhaps we can begin to release ourselves from ego, become more unassuming and exude that beautiful quality of grace and don’t forget its contagious……!
Love and Blessings
Hello yogis, wow, we are already half way through January 2014!
2013 has now been put to rest for a long Shavasana, and the end of another year invites me to reflect back with such love and gratitude for the lessons, wisdom and good times that came with it.
Equally, Im looking forward to all of the new offerings that the New Year ahead has in store for me. I love the excitement of new potential as well as the apprehension of the unknown, I feel that it creates such optimism for the next phase in my journey, whatever and where ever that may take me .
Looking back at the highlights of 2013 wow, what a wonderfully busy but fulfilling year 2013 was for me as a teacher.
I feel so very blessed to have taught three beautiful retreats in such amazing places around the globe. Goa in India, Dalyan in Turkey and Calabria in Italy and boy did we rock out some cool yoga and have fun on all of those retreats. I absolutely love teaching retreats as they are so rewarding, satisfying and life enriching to all attendees, myself included.
By the end of a week on retreat, without fail, the group have gelled together as a family and not only does our yoga/meditation practice progress beyond expectation but also something transformative happens to all of us.
This is because the fast pace of every day life can make it so very difficult to listen to our very own inner guidance, or in other words, our own wants, needs, desires and wisdom. A retreat provides a sanctuary, the support and the structure to unplug from the every day busyness of life; it encourages you to immerse yourself into rejuvenation, peace and universal flow. Then, something magical happens; your intuition begins to miraculously unfold. Intuition is like our own no-fail inner guidance system that allows us to listen inwardly, become inspired, even creative so that we choose to live our lives to their fullest potential, sometimes making big lifestyle changes. Believe me; I have seen this so many times now, it really is magical and pure joy!
Some other amazing highlights on my Yoga Schedule in 2013 were;
1. My two wonderful Urban Retreat Days.
2. A fantastic workshop with the amazing Ross Rayburn in Milton Keynes.
3. The creation of Gong Flow Yoga and Gong Restorative Yoga both in collaboration with the very gifted Kanti and hosted by Whitespace Yoga Studio as well as Ourselves.
5. Our now famous community event – Milton Keynes Flash mob Peace in the City in collaboration with Naz Khakoo and Deborah Berryman.
6. My Get Milton Keynes Meditating Workshop with more than 50 peeps attending was also an awesome experience for all involved and for me as a teacher!
These events were all so well received and participated in; I cannot thank you all enough for your continued commitment and support.
2013 also marked the birth of my fully equipped mini Yoga Studio (log cabin) at the end of my garden. Here I have absolutely delighted in teaching weekly Restorative Yoga sessions and One to Ones and I am looking forward to sharing my little yoga haven with many more of you in the months to come.
I also have continued teaching my regular weekly, grass roots Yoga Classes both at Whitespace Yoga Studio and other Milton Keynes venues. These classes are my main love, and reflecting back on the fullness of the years lessons, I am truly blown away at the generosity of students/friends and the way that they continue to inspire me into new places of growth, understanding and clarity both in my teaching and in my life.
As always each Year is an opportunity for me to personally broaden my yoga knowledge and 2013 was no exception. I did a very uplifting on line training course named aptly Asana Junkies, with a wonderfully inspiring American teacher; Christina Sell (whom I have admired for years).
I also studied and qualified to teach Yin Yoga in London with a lovely authentic teacher, Norman Blair last year. Yin is a meditative slow-paced style of yoga with postures that are held for longer, applying moderate stress to the connective tissue, the tendons, fascia, and ligaments thus increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. Yin Yoga poses are also designed to improve the flow of qi, the subtle energy said in Chinese medicine to run through the meridian pathways of the body, this is said to improve organ health, immunity as well as emotional well-being. I cant wait to share my Yin teachings with some of you soon.
2013, on a spiritual level, was a year of real growth for me. I was particularly inspired by 3 books that have had impacted both my teachings and life.
1. Take Your Time: How to Find Patience, Peace and Meaning – by Eknath Easwaran
2. Conquest of Mind: Take Charge of Your Thoughts and Reshape Your Life through Meditation by Eknath Easwaran
3. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose – by Eckhart Tolle
These books in particular have taught me so much about the skill of living in the Present, Perception, Self limiting Thoughts, Ego, Behaviour Patterns and Self Identity.
Theses habits/patterns form our personalities and our tendencies in how we respond to life and can sometimes cause us to suffer or limit ourselves. As we become more conscious through mindfulness practices, we realise that we can choose how we develop and respond and that our body, ego, thoughts, senses, perceptions and even our occupation do not define who we really are and what we really feel. In time, we are able to enter into a new relationship with both our inner and outer worlds. Can we learn to accept ourselves, remain humble, curb our egos and keep our sights on the more important targets of self knowledge and wisdom? It will probably take a lifetime of practice, but we can certainly try our best.
Finally, I would like to Thank You all quite simply for your presence, and for being so open to my teachings, hopes, passions and beliefs. Yoga has brought me community with cherished friendships and fulfilling opportunities and for that I am so grateful..
Students are held in the grace of the teacher and so too, is the teacher held in the grace of the student – Christina Sell
In a nutshell, I teach because you are willing to be my students and together we are learning/sharing an amazingly fulfilling yoga journey.
For me in 2014, there still remains a vastness to explore and accomplish in my personal practice, this involves the reading and experience necessary to really deepen my knowledge and skill of yoga.
In my 30s yoga asana was fun and challenging, yet yoga studies and philosophical territory was something that I really only skimmed on. Today, at 47, my practice is essential to feel good, really good, physically and emotionally. Yoga is my path to retain health, vitality, life balance, and the courage to accept/ trust in what is, exactly as I am.
Hence, my intent this year is to be kind to myself and to invest in myself; starting with a 2 week holiday with my partner to Goa, India in February (we will practice with some cool yoga teachers over there too). I will also be winding down my teaching schedule and retreats a little bit in 2014.
My plan is to advance my yoga on and off my mat and I have marked out time to study with more senior teachers, I am also actually treating myself to a Retreat in September!.
Heres looking forward to sharing another fabulous year of yoga with you, lets dive deep, explore together and smile lots in the process. Below you will find a list of special yoga events in 2014 for your diary with links to further information;
Back Care Therapeutics Masterclass – Saturday – 1st March 2014 – 1pm-4pm – Broughton Pavillion, Milton Keynes
Yoga Urban Retreat Day – Sunday – 23rd March – 2014 – 9.30am4.15pm
Bletchley, Milton Keynes
An Evening of Restorative Yoga Accompanied by the Healing Vibrations of the Gong and Singing Bowls – Friday 4th April — 7.00pm – 9.00pm
At The Granary Yoga Studio, Brogborough, Beds
Yoga Weekend Retreat at Champneys Spa – Friday 16th – Sunday 18th May
At Champneys Spa, Springs – Leicestershire
Yoga Retreat – Crete Tuesday 1st Tuesday 8th July 2014
At Kissamos, Crete, Greece
With Blessings and Love
When I started loving myself
We as humans are programmed and conditioned for action not reflection but, please believe that you are worthy of taking time out for you. Life is stressful enough and you deserve time to relax and nurture your mind, body and soul.
We are mostly taught to give to others and that it is selfish to give to ourself but actually try turning that around. How can you give love to others before you have love for yourself? When children are nurtured and loved, they are able to readily give this affection back to others.
True relaxation is about being sensitive to our basic need for peace, self-awareness, thoughtful reflection-and the willingness to meet this need rather than ignoring or dismissing it. If you watch a baby or an animal resting, it gives up its weight completely without any muscular tension allowing for renewal and a recharge of batteries.
?In a chronically stressed state, quality of life, and perhaps life itself, is at risk. The body’s capacity to heal itself is compromised, either inhibiting recovery from an existing illness or injury, or creating a new one, including high blood pressure, ulcers, back pain, immune dysfunction, reproductive problems, and depression. These conditions add stress of their own and the cycle continues. The antidote to stress is quite simply relaxation. To relax is to rest deeply. This rest is different from sleep. Deep states of sleep include periods of dreaming which increase muscular tension, as well as other physiological signs of tension. Relaxation is a state in which there is no movement, no effort, and the brain is quiet?. Excerpt from Relax and Renew – By Judith Lasater, Ph.D, P.T.
High blood pressure and heart disease are the number one killers in the Western world that we live in, so it is absolutely imperative that we take time out for ourselves. Regular practice of deep Relaxation or Restorative Yoga will allow layers of tension to melt away thus cultivating the ability to keep our minds and bodies in perfect equilibrium in all situations. There is a rapid fall in blood pressure and pulse rate when we relax; and the strain on the heart is reduced. The overtaxed nerve centres are revitalized and muscle tension drops even below the basal muscular tension level. During deep relaxation only a very small amount of vital energy is being consumed, the remaining energy which is being constantly produced by the cells of the body can be conserved and accumulated for future use. This calms the nervous system and allows our adrenal glands to rest so that our bodies and minds can renew and heal.
Learning to relax is letting go of the need to be constantly doing something. Give yourself permission; it?s perfectly ok to take time out of your normal routine to take care of yourself. By taking time out to recharge you?ll find that you become more positive, more productive and creative. You will also find clarity as resting allows you to get in touch with your feeling mind and let go of your conditioned thinking mind so that you really take notice of your hopes, fears, dreams and inspirations.
“All life requires a rhythm of rest…We have lost this essential rhythm. Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever-growing expectations, we do not rest. Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that would show us where to go, we bypass the nourishment that would give us succor. We miss the quiet that would give us wisdom. We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight. Poisoned by this hypnotic belief that good things come only through unceasing determination and tireless effort, we can never truly rest. And for want of rest, our lives are in danger. Excerpt taken from page one of Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Muller.
Yielding to ourselves, we are acknowledging a state inside of us right at the core of our being, an intelligence, a feeling and with this awareness comes deeps compassion for ourselves and the world around us..
So do yourself a favour, give yourself a well earned holiday from your brain, Rest for 15 minutes every day if you can and learn to Love yourself.
When we have space in our life, life will find us?..
With Love Brigitte xx
So – we have come to the end of another truly wonderful yoga year. I have grown and learn’t so much this past year with regards to my teaching, myself and my students both on and off the mat. Each and every one of you in your individual, unique way encourages and inspires me on this beautiful life long journey.
I have so many things to be grateful of this past year. My Retreat to India at the beginning of the year was an amazing life changing experience for all of us. India is a beautiful, spiritual country and the feelings that I developed there left deep impressions within me. Feelings I will hold on to and cherish in my heart forever.
Whitespace Yoga Studio in Stony Stratford has also contributed greatly to my own growth too this past year. The studio has been a great success in its 1st year and I feel honored to have been a part of that and to be able to teach in such a calm, serene environment. Thanks to Whitespace and Deborah, I have expanded my knowledge and teaching in many ways. I have loved teaching Meditation classes, Therapeutic one to ones, Pranayama and Restorative classes and fully intend to train/study more on all of these subjects in 2012 . In the New Year I shall also be teaching a Workshop/Master class at Whitespace Yoga Studio every month on a Saturday afternoon – so stay tuned.
I have also been on several Anusara trainings with – Bruce Bowditch, Ross Rayburn and John Friend all of which were totally mind blowing and inspiring. I have taught master classes, weekend retreats, retreat days, international retreats, many workshops and I have hosted for international guest teachers here in Milton Keynes. Wow what a fab year and I am so grateful for it all, I have the best job in the world and I could not do it without all of your support. Thank you.
The end of the year is a great time to remember who you are what you want in this life. Sometimes life gets so busy you can get a little lost on the path of being your ‘true authentic self’. Your truth and values make up who you are and will absolutely drive your behaviour, personality and life. When we are consisitant with what we believe in, it sits well within us and we feel happy and content with our lives.
How can your values can be a part of your day-to-day life? Think about this next year, if nothing were to hold you back, what would you do? What makes you happy? What do you like to do? Sit quietly and reflect on these questions, then see yourself becoming that person. In terms of sadhana, we have to be tough in the face of self doubt and inner demons that seek to sabotage our hearts longing and desires so that we can follow through.
I am proud to say that several of you have actually have followed your dharma this past year and are going to be venturing down a new and exciting path in 2012. I for one can’t wait to see how your lives begin to unfold in a new direction and truly wish you all well in your new ventures – you know who you are!
In 2012, I encourage you all to try your best to just be yourself, know yourself, and with one love and one heart lets go down this road together, supporting and encouraging each other along the way. Being the best person we can truly be – ‘Our True Authentic Self’.
Only you will ever be you. It’s such a simple, but powerful thought.
‘Be the Change You wish to See’
Wishing you all so much love and gratitude for the past year and a wonderful New Year
Shri means Radiance in sanskrit and is also translated as beauty or that which is inspiring’
Whilst away in North Devon last week on holiday, I actually had time completely for myself for a change, literally to be peaceful and acutely aware of myself and my surroundings. All week I blissfully flowed along with the universe, supremely consciousness and experiencing complete ‘Shri’.
My base was a simple open plan wooden cabin with a pretty colourful garden on a steep hill with far reaching views of countryside and sea; it was so peaceful and serene. I walked for miles with my dog every day and practiced meditation in various locations both at sunrise and sunset. I relaxed, I laughed and loved everything and everyone, it was wonderful. I reflected on life, I absorbed nature and my beautiful surroundings ? luscious green hills, sand dunes, miles of beautiful white sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, swirling endless sea. The longer my stay, the more I connected to my true nature and joy, it was exquisite, I started to see extraordinary beauty in everything and everyone. I was adorned with such grace and found myself smiling inwardly all of the time, I loved the silence of being without outside distractions – bliss!
Like most Sanskrit words shri cannot be defined with one English word. Shri is the goddess Lakshmi; she is divine beauty both elegant and graceful. Shri is splendour; the magnificent light that shines from the rays of the sun, gleams off the water and twinkles from one?s eyes. Shri is abundant and reminds us that there is always more; the universe is expanding. Shri is sacred and affirms life.
Of course when on holiday without a care in the world, it is easy to open our hearts to beauty but maybe our daily mantra could be ?Every day can be a holiday?, every day we can look for ?Shri ( beauty) in everyone and everything just by becoming more conscious and aware. Although great suffering happens every day on the earth, we can choose to align with the Tantric vision of life that sees the world as essentially a joyful, playful manifestation of Supreme Consciousness.
When we attune ourselves with the Supreme, then joy naturally arises within us because that bliss is the fundamental ground of existence. When we get out of alignment with Spirit/ our natural flow and we try to make or expect life to be something different than it really is, suffering happens. We all experience pain and suffering, but it is not the quintessential nature of life. Just because the earth turns away from the sun and night occurs doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t always shining. It might be hard to see sometimes, but goodness and divine beauty can always be found if you adjust your vision just right. So in this Tantric view, there is always some light to celebrate within each and every day”.
Often when we begin to practice Yoga and its life affirming philosophy and approach, this can be the 1st thing that we start to realise, that actually we feel good and then our life begins to feel good too, and this then starts to resonate deep within our hearts. When we touch the light of our own hearts, eventually the feeling deepens in to true joy – SHRI. Our hearts are longing to reconnect to their source and Yoga is a gateway to our natural selves, it gives us an opportunity to self-reflect, to listen deeply, and to hear the inner desires of our hearts. When we are living in alignment with our deepest beliefs, life becomes more joyful. When the heart feels at home, the boundaries that prevent us from experiencing our natural self dissolve and what is left is the pure joy of the heart to delight in this gift of life.
My time away allowed me to reflect, sometimes we get so caught up in the stress and order of our every day lives that we are no longer inspired. I reminded myself to celebrate my highest potential of seeing beauty with every breath in every moment of every day and have recited my mantra every day since being home – “Every day is a holiday” ;-).
By recognizing and acknowledging the brightness and goodness in each person, you will help to magnify the Shri all around you. A compliment works wonders – Your smile is so bright, or You have a kind heart, or, You are so thoughtful and caring or I love what you are wearing,. Examine nature with awareness and notice the colour of the sky or the dew sparkling on the grass or the sound of the birds singing etc then like the radiance of a star you will start to see ?Shri? in everyone and everything. Take in nature, be aware, be present and you will be in awe of the beauty surrounding you all of the time.
By having this light, positive outlook and recognizing and acknowledging the divine good in everyone and everything, you will magnify Shri all around you and within you ? and you will feel so uplifted ? life is great!
I encourage you to make unique beauty in your yoga practice and in your life by generating more Shri – go for it!
With love 😉
Some of us have always known our Dharma – it is a creative meaningful expression of ourselves, its following our heart, our special talent. Some of us however are not even aware of this deep dharma presence or its its significance in our life and some of us are still trying to discover what our purpose for being here is. We all have something unique and special to offer the world. Dharma leads to harmony – it can enhance your life and touch others.
Anusara Yoga is about aligning with nature because when we align with grace on our yoga mats we are aligning our bodies physically, this feels so good and in turn it aligns and opens our minds. That good feeling is inherently part of aligning ourselves to our truest nature because when we align with nature, we are being dharmic as we are going with what is natural to us. Dharma is when we align with our gifts and talents and offer them to others, we feel joy, we feel happy because we are, in essence, offering the deepest part of ourselves and nothing could be more in alignment and more fulfilling than that.
When we don’t align with nature, we are being Adharmic because we are going against what is natural. Every one of us has something special to offer. Every one of us has things that we are truly good at ?and its through these gifts that we can bring out the intrinsic goodness within ourselves and share it with each others as a celebration. If we are offering ourselves through our gifts and talents, we will be happy and content because we are being true to ourselves.
John Friend (the founder of Anusara yoga), says, – Dharma always leads to harmony.
When you are honouring your dharma you begin to see that everything is connected and you experience freedom because you look at the world differently. When you are with a group of people who are not dharmic it makes you realise how much your life has shifted. It would not be your dharma if you did something that was not in alignment with who you were.
Many people in our society go after jobs for the money rather than following what they know in their heart what they are naturally good at and letting those gifts guide them. As a result, they are miserable and their overall energy, enthusiasm, creativity and even health is diminished. Your Dharma may simply be that you are a good communicator so interacting with people, touching, speaking and smiling could be your dharma or maybe you are an artist even if this does not earn you enough money you could use this special talent to fulfil you and give joy to others.
Delving a bit deeper – John described the 4 main aims or desires from the Rig Veda, the oldest of the Vedas.
2.) Artha ~ includes all of the things your need to live out your dharma.
3.) Kama ~ is the pleasure you experience when sharing your gifts. (This does not include indulgence. Indulgence is not life-enhancing.)
4.) Moksha ~ It?s all for Freedom! To be Free to be yourself.
Artha, Kama and Moksha all connect back to dharma. And they don?t necessarily need to be in that order. John highly recommended applying these 4 main aims to any part of your life?.job, relationship? and go through them. For example, does what you do provide you with all the things you to need to live out your dharma? Do you feel creatively free to be yourself in your work? Life is what we make of it. Yes, life has its challenges but we have an an option. To suffer from how we unconsciously choose to react to what happens rather than consciously respond.
John say’s – Dharma is about responding, the ability to respond is Dharma.? – Learn to respond to whatever is happening to you. Just do the best you can. Our dharma is to contribute to the world. To make more Beauty. To create Freedom and Expression.
Anusara Yoga opens your heart to all possibilities and allows your mind to contemplate new truths – each session awakens you to a deeper sense of self and what is natural to you….
“To awaken is your highest dharma. To be in your heart is your highest dharma”. ~John Friend
Ahisma is the yogic practice of non violence, which includes physical, mental and emotional violence towards ourselves. Its a very challenging and overwhelming practice to take on, as we we tend to judge others and ourselves. We get angry, we criticise and get irritated. Anger is actually one of the most powerful and potent of all human emotions and can be a mask for fear, and is actually fed our own thoughts.
The idea of forgiving someone who has harmed us, or who has harmed someone we love, goes against the very fibre our human nature. The small child within us usually rebels at the thought and says “What about my hurt? What about my feelings? What about me?”
So why should we forgive? We forgive because every second that we hold on to resentment we are allowing venom to occupy the place that love ought to occupy in our hearts. We will carry the poison and we will hurt until we can let it go. Being out of alignment is the reaon that these emotions arise, when we can take notice of this and try to nurture this state, we can actually change our interpretation of the event.
Ultimately, forgiveness is a promise we make to ourselves in which we say “I will not harden my heart, I offer myself peace”.
All love Brigitte xx
My very first trip to India
India is a beautiful, spiritual, humbling country and the feelings that I developed after teaching a retreat there left deep and inspiring impressions within me. Feelings I will hold on to and cherish in my heart.
Everyone we met on our Indian adventure was so kind and gracious. People went out of their way to welcome us to their homes and country ? and always with a beautiful smile. The Buddhist tradition of metta, or loving kindness, is alive and well in Rajasthan and we as a group were all inspired and transformed on so many levels.
My consciousness and passion for life was expanded spiritually in every direction ? the ancient Indian ideal ?the whole world is one family? personally captured me.
Loving kindness is the Indian way of life and by day 3 it was contagious, I could feel love within the yoga group ? it was a magical and uplifting experience for us all as we opened our hearts and minds more and more everyday.
I asked myself “What is ‘Friendliness’ really?” the answer was “Oneness, lack of distinction between the self and others, equal affection for all? and that what I felt in our castle yoga camp. When we can act with loving kindness we can surrender our struggle and live skilfully in harmony with life.
All of the incredible things we saw, smelled, and tasted expanded our senses with sheer wonder and amazement. The culture and country are so dramatically different and yet it was like coming home and everyone was so appreciative of this truly unique experience, we felt blessed.
Spirituality is simply about reflection, awareness and silence where we are able to create meaning for our lives and make sense of things. My students began to become more uplifted and expressive making beauty thru their bodies and minds and I literally saw transformation on all levels. On this wonderful pilgrimage to the homeland of yoga, we explored the places surrounding us but also the places within us that maybe we had been unaware exisited. Yoga reminded us that our essence is goodness, and that we are connected to everything through the pulsating energy that creates and sustains the universe. Our daily practice helped us to cultivate tolerance and understanding so that we recognized the essence of goodness in others, as well as inviting a joyful celebration of life!
The journey to India is a journey inward, India is spiritual. People seek The Divine every day, every hour, every breath. The material excess through which we seek peace and happiness in the western world becomes irrelevant here and it was a very humbling lesson. Generally life in India was very simple and there was a lot to be learned by this philosophically. Each day brought a unique adventure and new lesson. Our days were the perfect blend of planned and free time, during which we swirled through the day doing our own thing and painting each moment with our own experience. Every day was new gift and a new lesson with plenty of opportunity for reflection, either alone or with each other.
So from India with love lets follow by example – by committing a random act of selflessness you can start to get in touch the bliss. It feels like absolute bliss to be accepting, to give and be kind in little ways. Over time, your entire perspective can change so that you go about your day being aware of these opportunities to serve others. Randomly acting with care towards someone is a way to take responsibility toward humankind. I have learnt that as we give, with no expectation for reward, just for the sheer reward of committing a selfless act, we open to the higher level awareness of Self. You might pass by a thousand opportunities to practice an act of kindness every single day but if you smiled at every person you saw in a day, you could practice several hundred acts of kindness in this act alone.
Sometimes things line up so perfectly that you feel inspired and know that you are on the right path ? ?Divine Timing? this happened for me in India. Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty – be open to all of it
Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today, l started smiling too.
I passed around the corner, and someone saw my grin,
When he smiled l realized, l’d passed it on to him.
l thought about that smile, then l realized it’s worth.
A single smile, just like mine could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected,
let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!
– a leaflet from Raja Yoga Philosophy
Our attitudes and beliefs, our hopes and our expectations, all play a part in our own healing. A general, healthy way of being, then, is to cultivate a more positive attitude towards all that life throws our way. It might just help us live longer, healthier lives, and when we do get sick it might just help us recover faster.
Buddha said, ?We are formed and moulded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.? Joy begins with your first act of kindness.
With love and respect for India