New Term at Pure-Li Yoga

This term, August 3rd – September 13th 2018, I am offering Restorative Yoga twice a week.

On Mondays, is Restorative Yoga 1, which is a beginners style Restorative practice, where I help you get into the positions, and instead of allowing the space to become silent, there is intermittent guidance for a busy mind. This practice is designed for those of us who would find complete silence a little too challenging, and that is the case for many amongst us – the voice in our heads can get really annoying!

So I offer you mine instead, and I share with you some techniques in how to sustain stillness, and feel ok regardless of what arises in our still, soft music background, quiet time together.

It might be that your thoughts are running riot, you start feeling super anxious, or a pain that you are dealing with becomes louder and more bothersome than normal, or you have the desire to get up and run the hell out of the room!    This is all normal, it still happens to me sometimes!  But with this practice we learn how to stay.  How to stay and persist with a softness, through the anxiety, the fretting, the to-do lists, the pain, the heartache, the sadness, the uneasy feelings, the whatever-it-is that keeps us bolting around, feeling more and more ungrounded.

MONKEY MENTAL MIND!

I offer ‘Restorative 1’, because this is a really common response to the body becoming still.  The guidance offered, helps you to guide yourself to a safe place, USING mind rather than BEING USED BY IT, where you can practice visiting, and cultivating feelings of calm, or just ‘okayness’, whenever things get overwhelming.  And of course when you get versed in these skills on the yoga mat, you can find they are useful in situations OFF the yoga mat too.

On Saturdays . . .

. . . we have Restorative Yoga.  This practice takes a similar ‘shape’ to Restorative 1, it’s just more of a silent practice.  So I don’t play music, and I don’t talk throughout the practice, apart from showing new students how to take the positions, and reminding you once in a while to be comfortable and release tension.

This is a great time to observe your thoughts, how you speak to yourself, and also maybe to daydream, sleep, or reflect on issues in your life.  It is pure and real time-out.  Nothing to do, nowhere to go, just lying down and resting in utter comfort and warmth in a safe place.

There is no wrong or right way of doing this practice.  There is simply a reminder that we are here to Be, not always to do. It is a deep inquiry into Self.   It’s actually whatever the heck you want it to be!

And people come for varied benefits.  It’s a practice that ultimately helps us to feel more whole, less disconnected and disjointed.  It’s not for any one ‘type’ or group of people.  Everyone wants to feel connected and whole, everyone wants to operate at optimum levels.  This practice can offer ways of cultivating that.  It’s not a solution to all your problems, it’s a way of practising how to move through them.  Avoidance makes us weak; jumping in, committing to practice, abiding with what is, makes us strong, makes us resilient.

RESILIENCE

This practice is about learning to abide with what is.  Sounds so simple, yet if more of us were able to   a b i d e  with what is, imagine how much energy we could save by not fighting against what is, complaining about what is, feeling miserable about what is, that energy we could instead use to make meaningful action, and positive change in our lives and the world!

Not sure if this is for you?  Let me share a few of the benefits: for some students, they want to spend dedicated time in the week to themselves, without interruption, where they can just feel some peace, others come because they feel rested and restored afterward, some come to address deeper issues in their life and use this as a quality time to go inward and connect to their intuition and higher Selves, some come because they understand scientifically, that true rest allows the body to regenerate at cellular level, allows the organs and systems of the body time to rest and digest, and heal some, sharpening the axe so to speak!  Some are committed yogis whom, for one reason or another, are unable to practice asana anymore and just want to keep up a regular yoga practice, some come just because they are curious, enjoy a nurturing environment, and an opening in their week where they meet with themselves.  Others come because it brings a sense of calm to their feelings of anxiety, helps them sleep better at night, and overall brings a feeling of contentment back to life that has somehow been lost.  Some have made new friends and business connections, in our little community of local yogis.

These are all common results of connecting with ourselves.  When we connect with ourselves on the interior, the stuff on the exterior starts to flow more effortlessly.  Feelings of unhappiness and discontent emerge when we have lost that connection to our true selves.  

I want to be very clear here, I’m not saying practising yoga and meditation makes all your life’s worries and pain disappear.  It does not!  But even better than that, it offers us a new lens through which to observe what we experience. This lens, offers us MORE INFORMED CHOICE in how we respond to what emerges in life, because we are more in touch with ourselves, connected with our needs and values, and increasingly aware of what we can realistically choose for ourselves, offer life and others.  We become less robotic – operating on automatic, on learned behaviours and old patterns.  We begin operating on consciousmatic!

So when you hand me your money for your practices here at Pure-Li Yoga, I don’t then hand you the magic pill that makes feelings of unhappiness and discontent disappear, you don’t turn into a lycra clad pretzel figure, or suddenly feel all Zen (necessarily, although that zen one can happen & catch you by surprise!)

But you begin The Work that so many of the zombie nation will never even see, or recognize, going about their daily life on automatic, unaware of any purpose or choice, living solely on their instincts and conditioning, not engaging the gifts that Body and Being, as a Whole, offer us in order to thrive not just survive, in order to live a more connected life with nature, other humans and beyond, and perhaps most importantly, a life where suffering is not the only option. but absolutely optional.

And you will begin the courageous journey to KNOW THYSELF

The unexamined life is not worth living

– Socrates

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At Pure-Li Yoga, the number of participants is relatively small, this is my preference as the guide, and it helps keep the atmosphere informal and friendly.  It also means that space is limited so do text me in time to hold your little nest, on 0405 132 432.

We still have the special offer of $30 if you attend both Restorative practices in one week – so this term that means – come Monday and Saturday and receive $10 discount financially, you will also gain in other ways – more familiarity and skill with the practice means the world will slowly but surely become a better place! 

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For everyone . . . with love.

Because we are all going to die.

One highly regarded Irish author, Nuala O’Faolain speaking on her experience of finding out she has terminal cancer.  The interview’s a few years old now, but timeless al the same.

Can I be so bold as to say, that it is really, REALLY, worth listening to this perspective.

Some things about it, and about Nuala, a famous Irish writer, really surprised me.  And some things felt deeply resonant.

Aparigraha.  The yogic practice of learning to let go …. of our ideas, our image of who we are, our relationship with space and time, our contribution to the manifest world, our breath as we let go of the exhalation and take a new inhalation . . .

It’s coming for us all  . . .   WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO PREPARE?

LISTEN HERE

This is not some kind of scary dark side of the looming full moon.

Or maybe it is … but the reality is, none of us escape it, and we all have to face it alone, regardless of our set up.

So this is a poignant reminder, and maybe the beginnings of something meaningful and beautiful, if you choose to see it that way.

After all, how is life life, without death?

 

Doing The Work

Karla McLaren’s work is deeply insightful and practical, it has had a positive and super helpful approach to my work and my life and I highly recommend it to all.

I would wager that there is no one amongst us who wouldn’t benefit from it personally, but even if you only familiarise yourself with it to help others, or help you accept/understand others, then it will make a great impact.

I love this piece which she posted to her Facebook page:

Working through depression

 

Here is a link to the amazing Sounds True website (an incredible resource), where I purchased the audio download of her work The Language of Emotions.

Now … strip yourself of any assholes around you, and good luck!!  Let me know what you think!

Bhramari Breathing

This term at Pure-Li Yoga we are working with Bhramari breathing as our Pranayama practice.

It seems it is something that at first, students are a little shy when it comes to participation, so I wanted to share some of it’s secret powers with you all!

Bhramari comes from the Hindi word Bhramar (मधुमक्खी), which means Bumble Bee, and you may also encounter this practice by the name of Bumble Bee Breath!

Bhramari breathing can be practiced in different ways, including using mudra or blocking the ears with the fingers, it can even be practised in silence!

However, at Pure-Li Yoga, you are invited to practice it by simply by:

  • Sitting in a comfortable sitting position, with the hips higher than the knees
  • Closing the lips together, and keeping the chin slightly, gently tucked in to the middle throat so that the back of the neck is long
  • Using the exhalation to form into a sound like a deep resonant hum, instead of the regular sound of a breath
  • Gently working to bring the sound from deep in the throat, so that you might feel a vibration in the lips, the jaw, face and throat – maybe even with practice, into the whole skull.

It is basic and simple to do, and a safe practice for people of all ages.  

There are some things to know, in order to understand and get the most from your Bhramari practice:

  • What we are doing is in fact, lengthening the exhalation, which science has shown to promote a calming of the nervous system
  • Let us not undo that benefit by over-breathing on the inhalation
  • Be mindful not to take big gulping breaths in, or to be in some kind of race to produce the exhalation hum which can sometimes lead to huge fast gulps of air coming into the body.  This causes the diameter of our blood vessels to shrink and results in taking us back into the sympathetic nervous system – so produces the exact opposite of the point of the practice.  Smooth, slow and steady breaths in and out.  Just the practice itself lends to a natural lengthening of the exhalation, which is what does most of the good work.
  • Always return to the natural breath if you feel pain or discomfort, or even if you feel a bit out of breath at first – its good to go back to natural breathing to gain your ground again before trying again. Remember you are in control at all times, and can choose if it is something that is good for you or not.
  • See if you can release any unnecessary tension you may be holding, in the body and in the mind.
  • Enjoy your practice!

So what we are doing is manipulating our nervous system, altering our mood, relaxing our body and so in turn quietening the noisy busy mind, expanding our perspective and the lens with which we view life.

 We are taking conscious steps towards being responsible for our own mental and physical wellbeing.  All part of what YOGA is all about!

Make it noisy! 

Also, the noise that we make with this buzzing bumbling bee boom, if you are open to to taking it to a certain volume and resonance, can create a blissful barrier from the recursive thinking and general cheetah chatter of our minds that fuels our anxieties and fears. It is a brilliant and such a simple way to start focusing the mind, a great doorway into meditation and stillness, and the residue of calm and peacefulness is invaluable.  

One of my teachers, Simon Borg Olivier, tells us that:

‘Humming has been shown to cause up to fifteen times the normal production of Nitric oxide gas in the sinuses of the skull [Weitzberg & Lundberg; 2002]. Nitric oxide has been shown to have several beneficial effects on the body. It is an important signalling molecule that acts in many tissues to regulate a diverse range of physiological processes including vasodilation (expansion of the blood vessel width), neuronal function, inflammation, immune function and in programmed cell death (apoptosis). Nitric oxide has also been implicated in smooth muscle relaxation, pregnancy and blood vessel formation (angiogenesis). Nitric oxide functions as a neurotransmitter in both the central and peripheral nervous systems [Snyder; 1992]. Endogenous and exogenous Nitric oxide possesses anti-parasitic effects on both protozoa and metazoa [Ascenzi et al., 2003]. Nitric oxide has a central anti-stress effect, apparently mediated by limiting the release of catecholamines [Bondarenko et al., 2001].”
Other research also shows us how Bhramari breathings can significantly reduce heart rate and blood pressure, and provides for the body a relaxed state, where the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system overrides the sympathetic (fight, flight or freeze) nervous system. 

It’s free, can be done at any time of the day or night, requires no special equipment or clothing – WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!!

Adventure with me to practising Bhramari Breathing in a rolling breath – here I start off and you join in, everyone goes to their own rhythm and breath capacity, that way the sound just rolls on and on, there are rarely silences or gaps.  This allows us to really focus and detach from what everybody else is doing or where they are in their breath etc.  It gives us the space, the permission and the freedom to make the practice your very own, and takes you more deeply inward.  I ring a bell at the end to signal the practice coming to a close, and you just keep going wherever you are in your breath, until you come to the end of your next humming exhalation.

 

Crescendo Through To The End

So much sense . . .

This week, circumstances have me thinking or perhaps, feeling, about the sadness that usually accompanies the end of life. Dying and the associated suffering.
Restorative Yoga provides the space and time for us to reflect on who we are, the choices we make, and our decisions that create the experience we called life.  Time to consciously step out, how to crescendo through to the end?

Making space.

If nothing else, Restorative Yoga can be the space where we remind ourselves, that we are just a speck in the greater greatness of this thing we call life, and that we are often avoiding the control or affect, that we COULD have on the life we live, by being disconnected with the idea of death and dying.

How much time do you put aside to think with a focus or an intention, about what is inevitable – some of us will go fast without much suffering, some of us won’t be so lucky.

What ways are you preparing for the inevitable?

 

Yoga Is Science

Yog is ancient science.  Neuroplasticity is modern science.

We are re-realising what Yoga has always taught us . . .  It’s in the Vedas, the scriptures.

INTEROCEPTION is where it’s at peeps!

Restoration in 45 Minutes?!

Thursday nights at Pure-Li Yoga offer you the chance to enjoy an iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation practice.

Depending on what time of the year/term you are coming, this can mean anything from a simple guided meditation, introducing aspects of iRest, to an Autogenics meditation, to a simple Yoga Nidra to a full blown iRest Yoga Nidra!  So come along and try it out – whichever one we are doing, the intention, purpose and results are effectively very similar – quite simply you experience DEEP RELAXATION AND RESTORATION. 

And it doesn’t matter what part of the term you come in – there is nothing you need to do, other than commit to being as still and quiet as you can in the practice!  You don’t need to know how ‘do’ yoga, or know ‘how to meditate’.  This practice is for EVERYONE, from people with inflexibility, injuries or impediments, that might inhibit a regular yoga practice, to those who enjoy a very active lifestyle / yoga, from the young and impetuous to the older and wiser amongst us.  And it’s a lovely way to get to know each other in our lovely little community in Clunes,  and co-create a spirit of wellbeing together!

iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation has been the subject of many research studies, and has proven to improve disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and insomnia amongst others.  There are few of us nowadays who don’t experience some level of anxiety, whether its a troubled sleeping pattern or a propensity to over-worrying, or an A.D.D. of some kind.  Mental health is something we all need to be aware of and take good care of, and these practices I’m sharing with you, are ways of keeping such issues our ‘friends’, so that we can live a thriving life WITH them, as opposed to struggling to thrive because we are suffering FROM them.

This can be a practice of  TRUE SELF-CARE where were make time to compassionately witness and observe who we are, so that with practice, we start living a life that feels less constricting, and we walk out to meet life past our self-imposed unhelpful boundaries, and discover a freedom that can become our work in motion!  It’s an ongoing sort of affair, limitless if you like!

Real self-care is not about taking ourselves away from ourselves, or in someway trying to escape ourselves, our emotions, or the reality of our situations.  

True self-care is a practice, and varied practices, that take us a little more deeply inside ourselves, so that we can see the truth we need to see, in order to live our best lives.  Many of us, don’t want to face that, IT”S SCARY sometimes, but as the great teacher Pema Chödrön says, ‘nothing ever goes away, until it has taught us what we need to know’.   THAT’S why the same shit keeps reappearing over and over again in our lives!

So are we willing to endure the pain of being stuck in an unhelpful, and often damaging cycle, or take a chance and be open to the pain of growth?  We all have that choice.

If you are someone who finds yourself coming up against a similar situation, over and over again, or find yourself repeating yourself to deaf ears and getting nowhere but upset by it over and over again, or having the same argument with your partner over and over again, you might just decide to try this practice as a means to access something more profound within you, by offering it the space and time to be heard.  This is where the magic begins to happen.   And when I say that, I don’t mean the magic happens when I ring the bells at the end of practice, or once you hand over your $10!  It’s WORK, it’s a commitment to a process, not a short term goal, it’s either calling you or it’s not.  If you’re slightly curious, or there’s something peaking your interest, how many excuses are you going to let stand in your way of 45 minutes of – if nothing else – a nice time lying down doing nothing in a safe place?!!!  And maybe that’s ALL you need to come for, SOME TRUE PHYSIOLOGICAL REST!   Who is NOT going to benefit from that?  Seriously?  

Yeah!  All you have to do is show up, lie down, and see what happens!  In this practice, I guide you so that the mind has something to focus on, worry not – it is really helpful for busy minds.

All you need to bring, is a clean body (no perfumes please) and an open mind . . .  mats, props, blankets and a clean, toasty warm space are provided, so that you can settle down in comfort and ease, and allow yourself to truly rest, relax and try this style of meditation.

It’s still only $10 for this practice!

So come along and try it out before the special offer runs out!  You can purchase it online HERE, or bring it along on the night …  We will finish promptly by 5.45pm in time to grab a table at Clunes Pizza Night! 🙂

HOW TO BOOK YOUR PLACE:

If you’d like to try it, the only way to book is to please TEXT ME on 0405 132 432 to hold your spot, as places are limited.  Even if you pay online, please pop me a text as well, just to confirm, as the slow local internet sometimes means I might not get your email without a delay!  So text is best to avoid awkward disappointments!

Looking forward to meeting you, and creating a special space for you here at Pure-Li Yoga!

Kindness,

Li. xo

An Emotional Time Returning To Logic

For the day that’s in it … this is my soundtrack of choice for this situation … often, songs are mightier than words alone.

 

Well done Ireland.  #The8thIsRepealed

 

Only The Good Die Young

Are you expressing your true feelings?

Is your ‘ role’ more important than you?

Are you responsible for how other people feel?

Some questions raised by Dr Gabor.

For some time now, I’ve been floored and freed to a degree, by the fascinating Dr. Gabor Maté.  There’s something so comforting about the knowing . . . that strange feeling of resonance, when you hear scientific research and results, when you’re not that ‘sciencey’, and

it

just

makes

sense.

 

Resonating??!!  Then …

W A T C H   T H I S   V I D E O !

IT”S EXCITING!

And Dr. Maté has recently discovered the practice of yoga and apparently is reaping rewards!  Although some people perceive it as ‘new age’ or ‘airy fairy’, YOGA is in fact not new at all, actually it’s been around for thousands of years.  It is a practice, a way of living, or in other words – an art and a science, the wisdom coming from The Vedas (the ancient tomes where actually modern allopathic medicine established its’ very foundation, but now has many of the ‘good bits’ taken out!)

If you don’t know me, it is generally safe to assume, that when I talk about ‘yoga’, I am not talking about a series of postures or exercises, I am talking about living according to the many practices of yoga – a system, a practical philosophy which provides a framework for intelligent living.

I’m thinking that what resonates with me about what Dr. Maté shares, is familiar to me because it lines up with what I have learned to date in my studies in yoga.

 “The compulsive and automatic concern for the needs of others, while ignoring your own, is a major risk factor for chronic illness.”

GUILTY.  This is my tendency.

Yoga helps me.

Ahimsa, is the first tenet of the yoga philosophy, and is often translated as non-violence.  I have a personal dislike and a sort of impatience for this translation because where does your mind go when I say don’t think of elephants??!  Non-violence is not a very descriptive or encompassing translation, it’s seems limiting to me.  I find a more beautiful and fitting translation in the word COMPASSION.  Do No Harm is another way to understand it – hippocratic, non?!  Anyway, this tenet is supposed to be practised in tandem with all other yoga practices.  And it’s one we are constantly given the opportunity to work on!  My sense of it is simply, if we are not practising compassion we are not practising yoga.

So how can we care truly for others, or even have equal regard for all humans, if we do not have a practice of self-compassion?  Compassion is a practice that needs SELF-COMPASSION in order for it to be sustainable.

I’m not talking about this estimation of ‘self-care’ and ‘self love’ that’s hitting our social media screens, ‘trending right now’, and giving millennials a bad name!!!   It’s not as simplistic as treating yourself to a bath or a ‘mental health’ day off work, or even saying no to things to which we might automatically say yes.  Whilst all these things are indeed beneficial practices within a self-compassion practice, unless we are teaming them up with a self-reflective practice of some sort, and a higher goal or intention, they can run out of steam and lack substance.

“You can’t separate the mind from the body.  It’s unscientific”.

The benefits really come and are sustained, when we are looking deep inside ourselves and observing our reactions and responses, when we realise our needs and how they are or aren’t being met.  When we address our shadow side as well as our ‘light’ side.  That’s when the practice of compassion can get juicy!

Dr. Maté  worries about ‘nice people’! Love it!!

Being so good all the time, constantly caring for others’ needs over our own needs, worrying about upsetting the apple cart, are the reasons why only the good die young!!  We are wearing out our telomeres!!!

Michael Leunig Genius

“Are your behaviours and thought patterns creating your illness?”

Are you even aware of how you are thinking?  And of how your thoughts create and shape your reality.  Are you choosing to think thoughts, create beliefs, and make actions in the world, that support you, the greater good and each other?  That encompass goodness, abundance, connection with each other and compassion for all?  Or are you choosing thoughts, creating beliefs and making actions in the world that are ruled or rooted in fear and lack, that create a ‘them and us’ mindset, and are a result of our attachment to our preferences?  Do you observe your thoughts, words and deeds and have any higher intention or goal for your way of life?

This is an important part of a self compassion practice.  Time set aside for you, no sorry, not to get a mani pedi, but to get to know YOU.  Dr. Maté says “who gets sick and who doesn’t is not accidental”!!!  Are you aware of the patterns you are creating, repeating, passing on to your children, or your peers or those you influence?  How can you stop getting ill, if you aren’t even aware that how you are living is creating the illness.

It doesn’t show up for us all in the same way.

SURE – you eat too much bacon, you get fat.  But you might be doing everything ‘right’ and still be getting sick.  What he’s saying is you still haven’t listened, there’s something missing in the interpretation, the transmission isn’t yet complete.  There is more work for you to do! (f.y.i. theres always more work for us to do!)

Why Restorative Yoga Supports A Compassionate Mind

What I’m saying is, etching out time to enquire is a solid foundation for a true compassion practice.

First we set aside time away from what we get caught up in – aka LIFE!  We get our bodies very comfortable in a trusted and safe place, and allow it to be in a state where cellular healing and neural relaxation can take place – supported positions of physiological rest, that illicit the parasympathetic nervous system and allow the sympathetic nervous system to rest.  And we use this quiet time to observe the mind’s noise, we make space for emotions, thoughts, sensations to arise, in order to hear and acknowledge our needs, important as so often we suppress our own wants and needs because we prioritise others, or our roles in life, or we have somehow come to believe that we are undeserving of our own true needs!  And so we come away with a renewed physical body, and a renewed sense of self, and perhaps an intention to better support our needs, so that we can show up in the world and give our best, without giving ourselves.

One of my favourite songs comes to mind … have a listen to end this post on a loving note!

“You and I, we were captured
We took our souls and we flew away
We were right, we were giving
That’s how we kept what we gave away”

 

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iRest in Insight Timer

This app is BRILLIANT!  Highly recommend Insight Timer, I’ve been using it for years for meditation and more recently have enjoyed this fantastic offering as well as other meditations from one of my teachers, Dr. Richard Miller. that are on here, and . . .  ALL FREE! 

There are loads of different guided meditations, so it’s a great app for many reasons!

If you have sleep issues, try the iRest meditation for sleep … it really is pure GOLD!

 

Having trouble sleeping? If you’re finding it hard to fall asleep or maintain restful sleep during the night, check out…

Posted by iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation on Monday, April 9, 2018

 

Also, if you’re interested in iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation:

… know that I am offering a group iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation on Thursday evenings here at Pure-Li Yoga, from 5pm to 5-5.45pm . . . for the special offer price of just $10 til the end of term! 

Come practice together, in community with our community.

Text me on  0405 132 432  to book your spot as space is limited!