Yoga & Mindfulness is no different to marriage or a relationship that is dear to you
It’s there for you to lean into , feel supported, connected and content , to teach you about life, our similarities and differences.
Time spent on this, in what ever shape or form you do it
Is always time well spent
I find it challenging sometimes to fit in all the things I love to do into the hours I think I have got
I’m not the worlds best when it comes to time management BUT when I am dedicating time to my essential core needs – through meditation, time seems to stand still – I lose track of it . By essential core needs, I’m talking about doing the things that help you feel safe, secure, connected & content . The Nervous System loves this stuff!
How we get our essential needs met is different for everyone though.
Repeating the practices that help us feel like our needs are met is pretty important when it comes to health & wellness, and feeling good.
Maintaining our health & “well-th” what ever shape or form that comes in, for you depends on our brain being ‘integrated’ and working well. It depends on how often we repeat the things that give us the results we need to feel good. That is “spending time” on them / with them .
This has nothing to do with how “smart” we are it has to do with what we show the mind, what we spend time focusing on.
What you show the mind will have an effect on how you feel.
One of my favourite sayings (laws of nature) is “The mind only knows what you show it”
If you want to know something well – show the mind it , more of the time.
Even though I did have a break over the holidays , I still kept up some appointments and programs for those on the Mentoring Program and the Cancer Care Programs I offer. One thing I have experienced and those doing these programs have experienced is when we are going through challenges , or feeling unwell – we can forget what it is like to feel well, to feel good (or to feel how we want to feel).
Part of Mindfulness Practice & Yoga Therapy involves taking the time to show the mind ways to feel supported, safe, secure, content and connected.
This can be a real “well-th” giving practice. It takes repetition.
It’s been great to start this year off slowly, coming back to re-visiting some essential needs , giving them more attention and to support others to do the same.
A great mate once said to me
“Start how you want to finish”
I kicked off day one of 2021 with a great Yoga NRG class with Mary Ann.
Getting along to each others classes when you Teach Yoga or generally see Therapy clients before and after work hours can be tricky , (balancing your love for teaching & for practicing with your fellow teachers) especially when you maybe all teaching at similar times in other locations, so this was a real treat.
Key words that stood out for me from Mary Anns class while I practiced was :
But most of all this one – REPETITION & FEEL
Although how we feel changes over time , there are some key foundational needs that as human beings we all need or our health and wellbeing (and for a steady mind)
To be cared for , to feel safe, secure and connected. To me this is my “Well-thy” to have abundance of these feelings. To spend time on this is my idea of well-thy.
Everyones “well-thy” looks different of course. Getting clear on what that is can be part of the Yoga & Mindfulness practice. To help us set clear intentions.
This is something that is really useful to focus on in conjunction to the physical benefits you get from the practices. Partaking in Yoga Teacher Trainings or Retreats as personal development or certification can help us with getting to know your own needs, to get to know how you personally feel supported, content and connected.
The benefit of doing this with a group or getting one on one programs is you get support to work on following through with doing the things that help strengthen these needs. You get support with managing the obstacles that arise while learning to stay true to what you know deep down is good for you and those you love.
When I can’t always get what I want😉 I can focus on what I need. To know that properly (for me anyway) means listening and feeling , as the body and mind are forever changing and we are bound by nature to be having new experiences all the time. We don’t always know exactly what to do when we come across new experiences in life , and at times even when we do know , we may have doubt, distraction or lack the support to follow through.
Giving ourselves time to “Retreat” even for just a few minutes in the morning or regularly throughout the day (or immerse yourself in a few days to get away) can help with tuning into your needs and develop the strength, flexibility, confidence and care that you need to stay committed.
Although we don’t always get what we ‘want’
For example I can’t always be surfing, the conditions don’t always allow it and sometimes surfing all the time means less time with loved ones
I don’t always have the luxury of kicking back with my husband, or to travel to see family overseas (or at times in another state)
I can look deeper though , look into the why behind “why” I enjoy doing those things in the first place.
I can sense into how these very things make me feel and give those feelings a run on the board through meditation and neuroplasticity training.
It’s like doing bicep curls for the neural pathways that give you access to these needed feelings. Closing your eyes , feeling into what you need then spending time remembering how it makes you feel, and why you want it. This takes patience and perseverance to steady the mind enough to actually feel into it. A lot of the time, especially when starting Yoga or Meditation of this kind, it takes guidance to help you manage distraction and help re-orientate the mind.
Time on my mat or spent in Meditation makes me feel good – not only for the space that it gives me but because of the focus I give it. (Specific chosen intentions)
Yoga and Meditation help me to feel the good – not because all the poses feel good, sometimes they don’t , not because sitting cross legged feels good, sometimes it doesn’t. Yoga and Meditation help me to react ‘less’ to what doesn’t feel good , so I don’t get lost in a shit storm of reactivity and miss out on enjoying my surroundings, or who I am with in that moment.
Practicing feels good because over time I have come to realise the qualities of mind getting strengthened while I’m practicing is what helps my whole life feel better. Ive come to trust not only the practice but in the capacity of the human mind, in its potential to help us meet our needs. Ive noticed though , it means taking good care of it. This is why I often attend Retreats, Trainings and time in silence to myself.
When your mind gets to know the rewards of the practice – the poses and just sitting and being , help to tap those neural pathways in the brain that wake us up to this potential . It helps us access these inner resources and feel good hormones from Mindful Movement and Making Space – it’s kind of like a pavlovian response. Your mind gets to know the good that comes from practicing Yoga & Meditation as soon as you sit down , or take your first pose and conscious Ujayyi Breath . It’s a kind of a trust that develops – like what happens in a long term relationship. You lean into it , you learn to take rest in it , knowing that it is good for you. Knowing that it is there to help you .
Remembering people in your life that are there for you , is something that your Nervous System can find calming. Doing the activities that help your body and mind feel good is just as good for it also. Giving yourself time to slow down, take it easy, to feel all of the little moments that lead up to helping you feel supported, connected and content can bring more joy into your life too.
For example my mind gets excited even at the thought of going surfing, or watching it on TV, waxing my board, smelling the wax, remembering how it feels , all these associations trigger the feel good response.
Of course there’s nothing like actually doing it – but remembering it , feeling it as a sensation in your body , comes close as far as feeling the rewarding benefits or the feelings that it gives you. This in itself is a healthy bicep curl for that particular feeling – the stronger it gets – the more often you will be able to feel it. You may not always have the luxury or the circumstances that allow you to do the activity you want to all the time, or be with your loved ones in the way you want to but you can tap into the feelings. The above image is our first ever “family photo” , it’s something special to me, not the photo itself but because of how it makes me feel, and of the special beings in it and how they help me to feel. We can use visualisation in a similar way in meditation. Using our memory to show the mind images that help you associate with the feelings you want to feel in life more often.
Of course there is a few mind-traps of the mind diverting into stories of the opposite feelings or stories about the occasions and we can bypass the bicep curl – which is why it is useful to have a guide. Someone that you can trust who has your best interests at heart. Someone who can show you how to do things on your own, even when they are not there – so eventually you trust yourself more to commit to what’s good for you, to do the things that bring you joy.
There’s not an aspect of my life that does not benefit from learning to slow down, to take things mindfully, to focus, concentrate, to relax, to be less rigid, to be a little more flexible, to breathe better to get a little cardio-stimulation, and to learn to observe the mind without reaction to it’s mood swings.
Eating, sleeping, surfing, putting on my leg rope, making love, playing with my dog, teaching, travelling (locally😉 ) All of my activities of daily living will be supported by strengthening these qualities on the Yoga Mat and Meditation Seat.
Coming back to your “Why” giving yourself enough time and space to keep remembering what makes you tick is all part of the practice. So is remembering conditions are always changing (just like the surf)
Every time I practice (and I don’t just mean on the Yoga Mat or getting to class) every time I spend time nourishing and consciously taking in the good – I remember why I teach Yoga & Mindfulness. I fall in love with it even more again and again . No different to a really important relationship that you want to sustain for as long as you possibly can (weather it be your marriage, your friendships, or being able to do something you love) because of how much it means to you and how it helps you to feel ‘you’
Wishing you all the rewards and support of the practice , helping you to spend time strengthening & enjoying what matters most to you in your life.
This year and beyond
LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AT OUR TAKE IN THE GOOD RETREAT IF YOU CAN MAKE IT
OR SHARING ONE OF OUR
MINDFULNESS BASED RESTORATIVE YOGA TEACHER TRAINING IMMERSION
With Marian Cavnah, Tammy Williams, Katie Adams and Dr Emelia Dauway
Includes Mindfulness , Restorative Yoga Techniques sequences and Pre/Post Cancer Care “Restore More”
PS – Here a little reflection, re-iterating the Mindfulness of Feeling Supported
(Writing & journaling can be a form of meditation to help strengthen the neural pathways too, have been enjoying sharing these processes in the Mindfulness Mentoring Programs – both in person and live online)