Posted on June 3, 2019
Surprise Yoga is my answer to the void!
For so many years now, I have been passionate about there being so much more to YOGA than (asana) postures.
But it’s not easy to slip the other elements into an asana practice – not in a way that helps students and seekers understand the depths that the teachings have to offer. And unfortunately we have done YOGA a disservice, because mostly the entire world thinks that YOGA is some kind of exercise!
Surprise Yoga was an idea I had, where I would offer one whole practice session (60 mins), touching on some of the other elements of YOGA – not just asana.
You actually can be doing Yoga all day and never step on a Yoga mat or form your body into a pose! Yes, indeed you can!
Not everybody feels drawn to Yoga asana, for one reason or another, and perhaps some are limited because of physical or perceived limitations. Asana is just one part of a gigantic and ancient system of Wisdom, so it is important to me as a Yoga Guide, that I try to open that up for people.
So far we have had an evening of deep relaxation and self-inquiry with an iRest® Yoga Nidra Practice, practising complete stillness with Restorative Yoga practice where we use yoga props to hold us in positions of comfort and ease, Savasana practice listening to audio teachings from wonderful teachers from around the world, a Kirtan evening of live music, chanting and hot cacao, breakfasts in the courtyard outside the yoga studio, and lots of interactive discussions touching on the Philosophy of Yoga, the Yoga Sutras (my favourite growth spurt!).
Come along on Thursday mornings from 7-8am, for a surprise practice – maybe meditation, may a Restorative Yoga, maybe an iRest® Yoga Nidra Meditation, or perhaps a light breakfast of fruit and herbal teas with an informal, friendly sharing of elements I have learned, and gorgeous input and insights from the attendees as well.
You can book your spot online HERE AND by texting me on 0405 132 432 to confirm.
Also, please don’t hesitate to text me if you want to know more or have any enquiries at all about it. See you on the Moroccan cushions!! ☺️
Posted on May 1, 2019
Welcome to Yoga Club!
This term we are spicing things up a little to keep ourselves warmed as we move into winter, so why not create a Cosy Clunes Club Collective?! 😃
The morning practices will all be yoga asana, we will master a new pranayama (breathing exercise), and build our meditation practice over the 8 weeks. So we will continue to practice known poses and learn new ones. Working to move and expand energy, create heat from the inside out, strengthen the muscle groups around the joint complexes, and work on balance, posture, strength, stamina and how to remain calm even if and when we are in stressful situations.
And yes, you will of course, with regular practice, become more flexible, but I don’t place great emphasis on flexibility . . .
… not without strength and a sense of resilience, AND the ability to breathe using the diaphragm so that we can self-regulate our nervous system. That goes for both body AND mind.
At Pure-Li Yoga, we are working to become conscious of how to move meaningfully and in a way that supports our individual lifestyles, promoting both our mental and physical health and wellbeing, whilst also having fun and cultivating our community within our community!
Please know this style of yoga is not about how to look like a pretzel, or requiring of you to be in any way some kind of gymnast.
It is a safe, intelligent practice, with variations and modifications for people of varying experience and physical limitations.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t touch your toes, or do a ‘downdog’ . . .
… that’s the whole point of practice. You LEARN! Not just about the poses, but about yourself, your habitual patterns, the inner-critic and the quality of your self-talk. How much or little you push yourself, and if it helps or hinders your existence!
Yoga is a practice of self-inquiry, after all. At Pure-Li Yoga, you are here to learn how to move actively and also how to be actively still, in ways that are harmonious to YOUR body and YOUR mind. This is YOUR yoga!
The Tuesday evenings, welllll …. they are going to be something a little different.
They are going to be what we might call “SURPRISE YOGA”!
Each week we will welcome something unpredictable. We will be practising yoga in every day life! And I will present something based largely or loosely on yoga. At the very least something seen, experienced, or practiced through the lens of yoga.
Maybe it will be an iRest® Yoga Nidra , maybe it will be a meditation talk & practice, maybe it will be a restorative practice. It might be that we gather the cushions into a circle and talk about yoga philosophy, or that we chant and/or sing together! Expect nothing and be open to everything, but trust it will be a safe and, from week to week, a well-thought-out practice whatever I come up with, with an informal, warm and friendly feel to it, and all you have to do is show up with your open mind, and maybe a friend to share the experience!
I understand this session will possibly seem more appealing to existing students, as there is already in place a sense of trust between us, and it need not be confronting! If you are new to Pure-Li Yoga, and you decide to try out the Surprise Yoga on Tuesday nights, please be assured that while the tone of the evening may be friendly and informal, it will still be a professional and safe environment, and nobody will make you stay if it’s not your thing, so you need not feel tethered. Also, it may reassure you somewheat to read the Testimonials from existing and past students?!
There is also something to learn from it being a surprise, we can learn the art of being open, trusting, and accepting, and also giving ourselves permission to rock up and participate or not.
And while I advertise that you can trust me, trust really comes down and back to YOU. We all do better when we learn to trust ourselves over what others say, teachers, gurus or peers etc. (Btw, trusting that you will be ok, even if things are not ok, is one of the benefits of a committed meditation practice!)
The intention for the Tuesday evenings is for it to be a fun, improvisational, creative and delicious evening, where you learn how yoga can be a way of life, at the very least, certainly more than just postures.
When you buy your Yoga Club term membership, up front in advance, you are buying entry to, up to and including, 4 yoga practices a week, for $26.25 per week or $6.55 per practice, for 8 weeks.
It’s an incentive deal.
The idea is that you commit to your practice, and there’s nothing like paying up front to help keep a body motivated to turn up!
The NEW weekly practices times are as follows:
Wednesdays 6.30 -8am
Your subscription welcomes you to all or any of these practice times.
I hope you will share the next term with me … if not with the Yoga Club deal, know that you can book yourself in for a Drop In Practice as well, just text me also on 0405 132 432 to make sure there is a spot held for you.
SEE YOU SOON!
Love Lila xo
Posted on April 25, 2019
My lovely yogi friend Mischa, perhaps sensing my frustration, kindly sent the article below to me, written by Matthew Beard, which I want to share here – it’s worth a read on this important day of Remembrance.
I’ve copied it out so you can read it a little further down here, but it comes from ethics.org.au and you can read the original article HERE
My issues with it are related, but I have more than just this.
To me, it feels as if nobody out there is reading this kind of opinion or perhaps haven’t thought much this way – certainly I don’t see or hear it reflected in many people’s reactions to ANZac day. In fact to me, it seems so confused. I understand the importance, the respect and the beauty of remembering the ANZacs, my heart breaks every time I think about it.
Which is why I don’t understand the pride, the piss ups and the two ups.
It is an absolute TRAGEDY, a day of mourning if anything, they as Eric Bogle wrote, were lambs to the slaughter. For what? For WHAT??? And that we still send soldiers to wars that have nothing to do with us?
Let me vent. I just feel so confused and frustrated, that people want to honour the ANZacs, but don’t do anything to actively prevent the exact same experiences from continuing – WHAT TO THEY THINK DEPLOYED ARMY PERSONNEL ARE DOING IN THE WAR ZONES THEY ARE SENT TO TODAY?
We know how harmful and debilitating trauma and pts and ptsd are, we know there are all sorts of complications that can occur from a soldier committing to even BE deployed. Seems like not many people I meet think about that?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to deny anyone the piss-ups and the two-ups,
but maybe a little bit more fed-ups would be good. Fed up with the blind eye turned to the reality of this situation? That we mourn for the lives that were lost for nothing, and yet we simultaneously don’t seem to bat an eye or raise a voice or even a beer, for those who continue to go to war. AND FOR WHAT???
It is a great sadness to me, and may the souls of these departed and of these survivors, rest in peace.
Can we celebrate Anzac Day without glorifying war?
BY MATTHEW BEARD 23 APR 2016
Michael Salter’s article on masculinity and the Anzac story asks important questions of the Anzac story in the Australian consciousness. He paints a compelling story of how militarism threatens to taint both the traditions of Anzac and modern Australian masculinity.
Salter points to William James’ calls for a “moral equivalent of war”. James sought a way to inspire young people to commit to their shared sense of duty without needing to rely on militarism and a general affection for war. It’s crucial, James believed, to provide a social narrative that drives citizens beyond the selfish “pleasure economy” wherein we forget tradition, civic duty and our responsibility to the community.
In today’s Australia, the Anzac story is a crucial aspect of that narrative.
James described the military character as a “pure piece of perfection”. It’s pretty easy to see echoes of this idea in the modern image of the Digger – sacrificial, loyal, hardy, well-humoured, and courageous. Everything a good Australian should be.
The problem is when this story cannot be separated from the military context – when the virtues of the warrior lead us to believe war itself is virtuous and intrinsically worthwhile. That’s what James (and Salter) mean by ‘militarism’ – the mentality that war is good because it teaches virtue.
It’s the threat of militarism that led James to call for a moral equivalent of war. Salter points to the difficult tension for a society that rallies around military stories and figures while also facing an epidemic of (male) violence against women. Is the threat of militarism too great for the Anzac ethos to overcome?
William James described the military character as a “pure piece of perfection”.
I’m not convinced. I think it makes a good case for expanding the kinds of stories we listen to in silent contemplation on Anzac Day, but it doesn’t follow we need to do away with the story altogether.
What we might need to do is counterbalance our social interest in the virtue and nobility of the warrior character (including, dare we say, the warrior ethos that lived in Australia for 40,000 or so years before Anzac) with some honest reflections about the reality of war.
A study compiled by McCrindle Research in 2015 – which Salter also cited – suggests more than a third of Australian men would sign up to a war equivalent to WWI if it occurred today. That should be concerning – for most nations involved in the conflict the ethical justifications are hazy. Just war theorist Nicholas Fotion says, “of the major powers to enter the war in 1914, Britain is the only one that does not constitute a difficult case”.
Given this, there is good reason to believe many Australians are confusing the always tragic, sometimes necessary ethics of just war theory with the idea that participating in war is always virtuous. Do they need to stop being taught about war or do they need to be informed of its tragic reality?
Perhaps we’ve remembered the valour of soldiers from decades ago while overlooking the testimony of many of Australia’s modern Anzacs.
According to some reports, former US President Theodore Roosevelt hoped his sons might lose a limb in war as a mark of valour. This militarism though, disappears somewhat from his later letters after his sons were injured. Although he still believes his sons fought with valour, he is more circumspect than what he may have been earlier.
And this presents us with a possible solution – to broaden our war stories to include the horror and suffering it inflicts alongside our praise for the valour and sacrifice of the Anzacs.
Perhaps we’ve remembered the valour of soldiers from decades ago while overlooking the testimony of many of Australia’s modern Anzacs. Those whose character has been profoundly affected by war in ways William James never imagined – PTSD, traumatic brain injury, homelessness, substance abuse, unemployment, family breakdown – also need to be thought of and reflected upon.
If the readiness to use force when necessary is indeed a virtue, it needs to incorporate a full understanding of the personal and moral costs of violence.
This serves the intended purpose of Anzac – to bear silent witness to the sacrifices of Australian military men and women. As an added bonus, it might counteract the rampant militarism James feared – and which might be infecting us more than we know.
BY MATTHEW BEARD
“Matt is a moral philosopher with a background in applied and military ethics. He is a philosophy and ethics university lecturer and a sought after speaker. In 2016, Matt won the Australasian Association of Philosophy prize for media engagement. He is currently a columnist with New Philosopher magazine and host on ABC’s Short & Curly podcast.”
Complimentary and complementary … worth a listen:
Posted on April 13, 2019
Khitchari is a healing food, known in Ayurvedic medicine for it’s balancing qualities, and it can be made to support individual doshas (Ayurvedic body type) or, like the recipe I’m sharing here, suitable for all doshas.
It is a super simple dish to make, and is popular in India as a healing and nourishing food, something you might typically eat if you are unwell or need to build yourself strong again, and a comfort food – maybe India’s version of chicken noodle soup?!
The nourishment from this uncomplicated dish, has more than one benefit. It is easy to digest for starters. The mooing dal and the rice are gentle on the tummy and the spices help to balance out what is needed in the digestive system in order to eliminate toxins and also absorb and assimilate the nutrients from our food. They also make it taste mighty fine!
I don’t use onions or garlic here, nor in most dishes – they’re a ‘sometimes food’ for me. But to keep it a sattvic dish, meaning balanced, clean and easy to digest, and to flavour in favour of the former, I use asafoetida instead. I did a separate post on asafoetida or hing, a long time ago, you can click here to read it, if you like.
The rice and moong dal also provide all the amino acids that are required to form an essential (body cannot produce on it’s own) complete protein, and this makes way for stable blood sugar levels, supporting us with the physical and mental energy we need to get on with life!
I recently made it again, after a long time, and thought it would be a good one to share, considering it’s simplicity and it’s benefits.
I usually make up a big batch and freeze some, and eat some. As it is also considered a detoxifying food – the astringency of the moong dal is said to create a natural and GENTLE pulling action that helps to loosen up toxic build up from the intestinal lining – I would usually eat it a few days in a row, in order to stimulate those detoxification effects.
But I just like the damn thing. If you’re not bothered about following the Ayurvedic side of things, you can just eat it any ol’ way you like! I often roast vegetables and add them through the khitchari to make it a little more exciting, and it’s lovely served with a raita or chutney. You can eat it as a side, sling it through a salad, squish it into a wrap, or slop it in your soup! It’s versatile, warming and comforting, and knowing it’s good for me keeps my heart-mind happy too!
Here’s how I make it:
1 cup moong dal, rinsed well and soaked for at least 6 hours
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed well and soaked for at least six hours
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or traditionally, ghee)
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons fresh ginger chopped roughly
1 tablespoon fresh red chilli
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
2 cups of hot water
Fresh coriander for sprinkling
- Rinse the rice and moon dal well a few times then soak (separately) in bowls. I add about twice the amount of water to grain, so they are well covered and have some room for expanding, then add a good squeeze of lemon juice, stir well, and cover. Leave for 6-8 hours to soak.
- Dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds in a heavy based pan ( I use a large heavy-based casserole pan) over a medium heat until you raise that beautiful spicy aroma and they have darkened in colour.
- Remove the seeds from the pan and grind in a pestle and mortar.
- Heat the coconut oil in the same pan and when hot, but not smoking, add the mustard seeds and fry for the short time it takes them to pop (don’t let them burn!)
- Add the ginger and chilli and fry for a few minutes
- Add the roasted cumin and coriander, turmeric, garam masala, asafoetida, salt and pepper and fry, stirring gently for a couple more minutes
- Drain and rinse one last time the soaked rice and moong dal, then add them to the pan with the spices, stir it all around gently and then add the hot water, slowly stirring all the while.
- When well combined, put a lid on the pan and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the dal and rice are cooked, adding more water along the way if required.
Serve it warm with chopped fresh coriander on top and a drizzle of coconut or olive oil (or ghee if not plant-based). (You can eat it cold too if you like – I do!)
L o v e L i l a x o
Posted on April 3, 2019
“Why are the lives of vaccine-vulnerable children, who public health officials do not want to acknowledge, valued less than the lives of immune-compromised children they will acknowledge?”
I am so over this ridiculous shit fight. No matter how many times I post about this over the years, someone always wants to argue about whether vaccines work or not.
THAT”S NOT THE POINT!
Can you expand your binary thinking from whether it’s right or it’s wrong, and worse, you are right or wrong, to what the hell are we letting happen here? This way of thinking is just polarising and distracting people.
Leave your personal choice aside and fight instead for the right to make your own decisions about your health and the health of your children. Why let some politician make them for you.
Why give up such responsibility and power to these people who take NO responsibility for outcomes and are accountable to NOBODY?!
This is already place in NSW, with financial support penalties withdrawn from parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Schools and nurseries not allowing children to attend etc. if they are not vaccinated. Amongst other penalties and punishments including social polarisation and dehumanisation of people whom reserve their right to decide. And now they have managed to delete Natural Therapies options from our VERY EXPENSIVE private health insurance cover! WTF!!
LET US DECIDE FOR OURSELVES!
THEY HAVE US NICELY DISTRACTED with the IDEA of what is right and what is for our best interests. Puh-leeeease – when are we going to stop giving away our power as individual citizens with a right to choose?
CAN WE WAKE UP NOW AND FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS?!
Posted on April 1, 2019
Perhaps my most formative years were, amongst a few other crackers from the 60’s, harmonized by Crosby Stills and Nash.
And Young when he dropped in, but we gave him fair quarter as a solo artist too, so we didn’t miss out.
Perhaps like me, you will enjoy this podcast with David Crosby.
It’s a great insight, and an interesting story. I met Graham Nash a few years ago when he was on tour here in Australia – one of the many great things about working on the Front Desk at the ABC – and what David says about Graham in this podcast is true – Graham really has no time for David. It made me sad when he spoke briefly about it. He was over the whole CSN thing. And didn’t hold back paying out Mr Crosby at all either. Weird to hear someone who inspired so much love, clearly be bothered by so much …. well … let’s just say ‘distaste’ for a fellow harmonizer, and after all these years too. It was sort of uncomfortable hear but he didn’t hold back!
I told him that one of my favourite songs of all time was ‘Carried Away’, and he told me he wrote it. (I didn’t know!) He was about to tell me what or maybe whom it was about but he had an unsmiling girlfriend hovering, and his hesitation turned to refrain!
Well … regardless of their story .. CSN & Y are true musical legends and crazy talented guys! No one else like em! And I still have a softness for David.
Feel pretty damn lucky to have had such a groovy gang of friends back in my late teens, that listened to and loved music so much . . . fiery gems indeed.
x x Lila.
Ps. In case you missed the link to the podcast above . . . here is is again!
Posted on March 16, 2019
Look around you in your room. Everything that surrounds you was once a thought. And here it is now, manifest in your life.
So when I talk about ‘imagine you’re lifting from the lower back … ‘ up off the floor into kneeling plank as if you’re really actually doing that …. it’s this.
When we set an intention for our practice, and for the rest of the day / week / year … it’s this. We always visualise clearly in our minds the intention, and, thanks to my training in iRest® Yoga Nidra, we always phrase it in the present tense, as if it is already a reality …. it’s this!
And when we visualise, put focus and energy into what it is we WANT in life, as if it is already exists for us (and not on what we don’t want), … it’s this.
The Servant Becomes The Master
Now called ‘neuroscience’, this neuroscientist honours the tradition from where it emerges … and that’s why I warm to what he shares!
This is what YOGA teaches, IF you get down and dirty with it, immerse yourself in the teachings and practices, become vulnerable enough to really allow them to seep in, and be open to all that arises from those teachings and practices, using the framework of the Eightfold Path of Yoga, as your support, it will make what he’s talking about a LOT easier.
THIS IS THE ACTUAL REASON WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO PRACTICE YOGA AND MEDITATION
. . . not because it’s trendy, or you want to look graceful, or you want to get fit (go to the gym), not because you need to de-stress, although that is definitely a by-product of practice!
One of the reasons we all need to slow down, is so that we start to realise the difference between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind – and what separates them – that being the analytical mind. When we start to slow down, by practising eg. Restorative Yoga, or iRest Yoga Nidra, or Pranayama, or Meditation ( – oh funny – all the things I share here at Pure-Li Yoga!!), when we practice these things we can start to change our brain waves by slowing them down, and only then can we enter what Dr. Joe here calls the “operating system”, where we can begin to make some really important changes.
THE TIME IS NOW!
BECAUSE WHY WAIT UNTIL EVERYTHING FALLS APART?
For me – I was somehow blessed by an unknown force in the past, to do trainings in Self-Compassion with Stanford University, not having a clue why I had signed up for it at the time, and all my yoga trainings – I didn’t realise it at the time, but they prepared me for a time when I was really, no – REALLY, going to need them. And they allowed me to adapt and change, with grace and integrity and gentleness (mostly), and with a higher understanding, that didn’t always get to the surface before my human reactions, but they were there, nonetheless, embedded somewhere in my software, and I am so lucky and grateful for that!
Dr. Joe talks about how most of us wait, until we are sick, or some tragedy, loss or crisis hits us – why wait until that strikes (because you know it will, right?). We can choose to start learning techniques while we are happy and healthy – much easier for the brain than when the we are in pain and suffering through some sort of crisis.
Anyway, just watch the video …. you’ll see for yourself how much SENSE IT MAKES – even if you’re not a yogi, or meditator etc, YET!
I LOVE what he’s saying here, the reverb is strong for me … I saw him speak quite a few years ago, at Conscious Club in Sydney, and it set me off on a path … a path that I am loving … a path that has held me in good stead through storms you wouldn’t even believe … no doubt a large contributing factor to WHY I share what I share in yoga and meditation here at Pure-Li Yoga. What he is talking about IS yoga.
It’s powerful stuff. Are you ready?!
Dr. Joe Dispenza is visiting Sydney again in May this year, you might want some more?! Also there are sooooo many generous sharings of his conferences and talks on Youtube, so you don’t need to feel fomo if you can’t get to Sydney this year!
Hope it moves you as much as it does me!
Love Lila xo
Posted on February 25, 2019
Crikey! Time is whizzing by it’s already come to end of term and those darker days are dawning with chilly mornings and evenings set to come . . . I’m excited to see how often the folding doors are going to be closed . . .
ARE YOU READY?!!
In recent years, I’ve noticed I feel little ache in my heart at this time of year, letting go of the intensity and freedom of summer, a sense of tightening comes over me thinking about bracing a cold winter ahead – it gets cold here in Clunes! I selfishly want to slink off back towards Ireland having grass is greener thoughts (well it actually is greener, but you know what I mean!). I’m staying put.
Because once it has arrived and I am in it, I am all over it! That’s me, when I’m in, I’m all in! More often than not, thinking about things messes me up! It’s always the thought of something threatening that is worse than the actual thing itself once it’s in motion, don’t you find?! We naturally adapt to survive, we naturally self-regulate, thoughts and worries create havoc with these natural, innate capacities, because the brain, and then in turn the body, doesn’t differentiate between what is actually happening, and what we are imagining when we are worrying and doomsaying . . .isn’t it another chance to remind ourselves to come back to the present moment, because right here and now everything’s just fine?
Anyhow I digress!
This autumn and winter, I’ve decided to charge in!!
Well … I’m just going to focus on continuing to build my internal fire and my ability to heat myself up from the inside! Not with tea alone! But with breathing practices, meditations and movements designed to make me feel like I could hold the sky up!
So I’ve added a few more practice times to the schedule, and hope that you will join me on the dark and cold mornings and evenings, to practice building heat and strength in the body, ready to take amber autumn and her erratic elements!
I’ve got lots of new blankets for Savasana and Restorative Practice too, which I am getting slightly giddy about, I love being wrapped up warm on the inside, and listening to the rain and the wind doing their thing on the outside – don’t you? It reminds me of the sensations that go with feeling safe, protected and cared for . . . It is scientifically proven to be empowering to keep reminding ourselves that we are enough, and that we are resourceful, and we are complete just as we are!
Now THAT makes me feel better! No lolling around whinging about whatever it is we tend to whinge about, getting whipped by the wind and lashed by the rain, oh no NOT I!
After a few years of injury preventing me from taking on anything more than Restorative Yoga, I feel ready to become Amazonian again! 😂 Ok, so it’s just a feeling – but we know the feeling is enough to become our reality! 😉
The new term brings a new sequence of postures, the further we move into autumn, the more we will start lighting ourselves up from within!
Pure-Li Yoga For Beginners 8 week Course Recommences on March 12th at 6.30pm-8pm.
There is an Early Bird discount which ends on March 8th so don’t dilly dally, and a discount for current course students as well – check your email for the code!
I call it Pure-Li Yoga For Beginners because we are all Beginners really! The sequence comes from my teachers Simon Borg Olivier and Bianca Machliss of Yoga Synergy, where I used to teach.
We take a series of postures and we learn from the ground up, with lots of detail, playing time and question time. The course has informal, fun feels – more like a workshop – because I want you to understand the core principles of the poses you are learning so there is time for you to ask questions, and to try and find your way in the poses that feels harmonious with your being. My hope is that you will have a solid understanding of how to do things, and importantly why you are doing them the way I’m showing you – to empower you to be in control of your own body and not just monkey see monkey do me! Also you will learn options and alternatives for days when you might not be feeling so strong, so that you can still practice, you just adapt the practice to suit your body.
Always that is what we are doing in Yoga – finding where the challenge is for us within a moment, a pose, a breath etc, and adapting not just our bodies but our minds around it. All the while being firm but calm. It’s a great challenge, simple yet not always easy, but so so rewarding when we succeed. For me just the trying is rewarding!
To support the workshop style of the course, and to respond to some requests from the local community, I’ve added some more practices to the schedule. If you’re on the course, these extra practices are an excellent opportunity for you to really get what the course is teaching you, into the very bones of you! A chance for you to start developing muscle memory for the postures, and indeed the breathwork and meditation too.
If you’re not on the course, these practices are available as drop in practices so if you’re irregular in your practice but want to do SOMEthing that is safe and accessible, then you can drop in and out whenever you like, by texting me to book your spot. You can also take advantage of the TWT Deal … committing to practice more frequently, this is an incentive to get you here and make the most of your practice, the more you come the less it costs you, check it out by clicking the link!
It’s important to me that I try to help you understand, that a) yoga is more than just postures, and b) no matter if you are super-stiff or hyper-mobile, that you will learn how to adapt postures and practices to you as an individual, that you will feel replete after practice! What I mean is, it’s not about everyone doing the same thing to the same degree – we are not robots! It’s about taking in and taking on, enough to fill YOUR cup, and if you don’t know it already, you are about to find out just HOW LIBERATING that is!
Hope you can join me!
Love Li xox
Posted on January 21, 2019
So the other night, I made a reference in our Beginners Yoga Course, to a technique with which I’m familiar, blindly assuming everyone knew what I was talking about.
Blank faces! How egoist of me to assume everybody knows what I know, thinks how I think etc etc … I realise I gotta get out more! So anyway, I thought I’d post a little about it here … its not a bad starting point to understand more about it, and a bit how I like to work it for me.
I often use this technique when I’m feeling overwhelmed or when I am in a resting space and my mind fixates on a number of tasks that are facing me, when I’m ‘supposed’ to be relaxing.
So I go through the motions in my head, step by step, then I am able to return, more quiet-mindedly, to the task of resting.
I can’t remember where exactly I heard about it … I do remember seeing a documentary on a gymnast who was competing at a high level, who employed the technique – perhaps called something else, there are a few ways to refer to it – and so this gymnast broke down every micro movement that needed to be made in order for her to reach her target. When she visualised it that way – broken down into micro movements, she hit her target, when she just sort of ran into the move without thinking too much about it, she wasn’t able to reach her goal.
Then I came across it again with my yoga teacher Simon Borg-Olivier, who described the same technique without labelling it, in directing us how to move from one position to the next, safely, and with a view to start the beginning of movement from a certain part of the spine – which, I have to tell you, seemed impossible to do. Impossible when just in words, but together with these words, my thinking it, seeing my spine in my mind’s eye, then making the action, there was a tiny shift! A real difference in how it felt. Which is EVERYTHING in an intelligent physical yoga practice!
Since then, I have looked back over the past few years, and watched as I manifested my visions. I am aware this sounds quite hippy trippy. Care not I how it sounds, because I have created exactly what I wanted. Along the way my thoughts definitely got in the way, but there was a constant scene or vision present in my minds eye, and a whisper in desperate times to ‘trust the process’. It didn’t leave me and I’m living in it now!
During this time, my study and practice of iRest Yoga Nidra® intensified. This yogic modality also uses the ‘Mental Rehearsal’ technique in a way – where we assert as already fact and in the present tense, what in the old days we might have prayed for in the future, . So swap things like ‘May I be healthy’, for ‘I am healthy’, ‘May I find love and acceptance’ for ‘I am loved and accepted by those around me’, May I feel peace and wholeness’ for ‘I am peace itself and already whole and complete, just as I am’.
A little simplistic you might think? Well it IS simple, but it’s not easy! However, the science tells us that this is how we create new neural pathways and therefore change our brains – which guess what … changes our reality! Yeeouw!
There are some similarities between iRest and Desenstitization Therapy (which is mentioned in the article below). But iRest goes a little deeper and uses more protocols, including the use of ALL the senses, not just visualisation, to create, and importantly, more easily access, that sense of ground required to step off of to face our challenges.
I will be running an 8 week introduction to iRest Yoga Nidra course in March, and will let ya’ll know more about that in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, for my students and anyone who wants to read a bit more about it, this is a juicy enough article from Forbes magazine that explains the science a bit, and it has some links for those that want to get into the nitty gritty a bit more. (Please mote this is the direct link to article as it’s transcribed below.)
Tapping The Power Of Mental Rehearsal
In a fascinating recent Forbes article, Andréa Morris reviews groundbreaking neurological research from Stanford University demonstrating how the mental performance of a task can lead to actual learning and performance improvement. Monkeys with brain implants that enabled them to manipulate a cursor with motor cortical activity became more skilled in actually moving the cursor using arm movements. Morris notes the similarity of this research to mental rehearsal methods in performance psychology, where visualization of athletic performance can facilitate performance in real time conditions. In this article, we’ll take a look at what is happening during mental rehearsal and how we can best tap into its potential.
How Mental Rehearsal Works
One evidence-based technique in psychotherapy for overcoming anxiety is desensitization. By repeatedly facing threatening situations under calm, controlled emotional conditions, we learn to respond in desired ways, free of threat. A good example would be someone who is paralyzed with germ-related phobias, washing hands, showering, and changing clothes dozens of times daily. By encouraging that person to rehearse cognitive reframing and relaxation methods while gradually exposing themselves to sources of germs, a therapist helps build the sense of safety and mastery. Step by step the work proceeds to tackle greater challenges, from looking at germ-laden objects in the toilet to quickly touching doorknobs to shaking people’s hands and beyond. Quite literally, desensitization reprograms our emotional responses by rewiring our brains.
Interestingly, desensitization typically begins with virtual, “in-vitro” exposure to sources of threat and only later proceeds to “in vivo” real-life practice. During the in-vitro exposure, the anxious person vividly imagines a threatening situation, such as touching a doorknob in a public place. Once the visualization arouses anxiety, the person practices their relaxation methods and mentally rehearses reassuring self-talk while visualizing themselves touching the knob. The mental rehearsal generalizes to real life situations, providing a sense of mastery even before actual doorknobs are tackled.
As Morris notes in her article, the secret sauce in mental rehearsal is motor preparation. The anxious person in desensitization treatment doesn’t merely imagine themselves to be calm. They vividly imagine engagingin threatening acts (thereby arousing anxiety) and then they activate effective coping strategies. This motor preparation enables them to create new mental pathways, connecting actual life performances with new emotional consequences.
At a broad level, we can think of mental rehearsal as a vehicle for state-dependent learning. A wealth of research suggests that we are best able to process and retrieve information when we return to the state in which we originally acquired the information. Quite literally, what we know and how we experience ourselves can meaningfully differ from one state to another. This is most dramatically seen in traumatic stress reactions, where a person feels totally secure in one situation and then falls apart in another circumstance that triggers a past, traumatic event. Not surprisingly, the mental rehearsal of desensitization is also an evidence-based treatment for traumatic stress.
Making Mental Rehearsal Work For Us
So how can we best harness the power of mental rehearsal? Too often, we associate mental rehearsal with positive self-talk or imagining scenes that make us feel good. That misses the secret sauce of motor preparation that Morris talks about. Effective mental rehearsal is a gateway to action via state-dependent learning. To change our emotional reactions to situations, we need to actively evoke the very emotions we dislike through visualization and/or re-enactment and then radically shift our state through positive coping.
Let’s take an example from my recent work with traders in financial markets. A young trader has experienced early success and is now encouraged to increase her returns by taking larger positions in markets. Although this makes sense to the trader, she finds herself fearful of taking more risk and thus undersizes her market positions. She subsequently feels frustrated when her ideas work out and she makes little money, undercutting her confidence. The more she pushes herself to take increased risk, the more she falters when it comes time to enter positions.
The mental rehearsal approach would have her vividly imagine coming to an opportunity point and feeling nervous about sizing up her trade. While she feels that anxiety and re-experiences all the worry associated with risk-taking, she uses meditative techniques that she has practiced to focus her mind and slow her breathing. In her more calm, focused state, she talks to herself about integrity, sitting up straight and vowing to do the right thing for investors, for her career, and for her family. As she feels the empowerment of acting with integrity, she vividly imagines placing the trade with the proper size and being at peace with the outcome.
Notice what is happening here. Under conditions of enhanced experiencing (evoking the nervousness of the trading situation), the trader shifts her physical state (slowing down); emotional state (calming herself); and cognitive state (enhancing focus and reframing the issue away from risk and toward the fulfillment of professional responsibility). Then, in the new state, she rehearses engaging in the desired action. The motor preparation is facilitated by the radical state shift. From that perspective, change occurs via state-dependent learning.
It doesn’t matter what the problem is: procrastination, negative thinking, frustration. We can vividly evoke those experiences, shift our state, reframe the situation, and rehearse desired actions. When we do this again and again and again, we build novel brain pathways and new, positive habit patterns. Without motor preparation, we remain stuck in old action patterns. In our usual states of mind and body, we gravitate to our usual ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. Every great performance–in theater, on the playing field, and in life–is preceded by rehearsal.
Posted on December 18, 2018
– please book your place early as numbers are limited –
Helloooooo!! Here it is!!!
New Year, New Yoga Pavillion, New You, New Me?!! 😀
So many of you have been asking for more yoga, new yoga, beginners yoga, hatha yoga, well – it’s here …. summer evenings in the beautiful new yoga pavillion . . .
Come join me and begin something new, start off the new year mindfully putting some fuel back in the YOU tank, easing your way into a new practice that’s about supporting you, gently creating a strong body, and a healthy, open mind. What a great new year intention!
The Beginners Course is an 8 week programme, designed to introduce you to the concepts of YOGA.
w e w i l l w o r k w i t h
- Asana (postures)
- Pranayama (breathing practices)
- Meditation practice
. . . with particles of Yoga Philosophy floating around, helping you to understand how the common mistaken beliefs such as “I’m not flexible enough for yoga” / “I’ll start when I’m fitter” / “I’m not . . ? . . enough”, are holding you back from feeling more empowered and free in your life NOW, because YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE, and it’s a beautiful journey!
This course is ideal for those of you who are completely new to yoga, as well as those who would like to re-visit the basics and brush-up on the foundations.
Paradoxically, more advanced yogis, bring the ‘Beginners Mind’ to each moment, so the offering will also benefit more practiced yogis, and honestly, anyone who just wants to feel good more often!
Starting on Tuesday January 8th 6.30pm – 8pm
Yoga Is For Everyone . . .
Youngies n oldies, fatties n thinnies, flexies n
stiffies stiff people . . .
Obviously this course won’t be for everyone – if you are in pain or badly injured, perhaps Saturday’s Restorative Yoga is a better style for you for now, but it is still true that yoga is for everyone.
Because Yoga is a way of life, a lens through which we view life, a philosophy, as well as a pile of practices. It’s an ancient wisdom, with many, many branches, and at it’s essence it is about how to reduce suffering, and get the most out of this life.
In this course . . .
. . . we will be taking a few of the postures each week, and explaining them in some detail giving you a chance to practice how Y O U R body embraces each posture, and embody the sensations that go with it. We will practise a breathing technique, that helps cool us down in these summer months, and we’ll look at the practice of meditation and include it as part of the whole practice.
Each week we will practise the poses from the week before, so that by week 8, you are familiar and rehearsed in them all in sequence, and our final practice will be a silent one, where we gently flow through what we have learned, with a sense of meditative ease and also FUN!
There will be opportunity for questions, musings, and observations, and the atmosphere will be warm, friendly and light-hearted.
Can’t wait to get sharing with you!
♥ Li, xo