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Gather all the parts of yourself back

Last week I took my Matryoshka dolls to class. Why? Because I’m a visual person and I know others are too, so it’s important to find ways to convey verbal cues that are given.

Often the imagery I suggest is to gather all the parts of yourself you’ve left elsewhere over the course of the day. This is typically done at the start of a class in order to set the scene (so to speak) and to allow the transition from the day into the yoga class.

 

I often speak of all our parts as women that have become fractured over the day and to imagine we are breathing them back.

 

But what does this mean?

Take the dolls: at the start of the day we will be the larger one – vital and ready for the day. Something happens and part of us splits off and the energy is taken from us and this continues so by the end of the day, we can be left feeling reduced (exhausted, frustrated – whatever best describes your felt sense).

 

The aim by the end of class is for all the smaller parts to become part of the whole again!

 

Our next course of classes will be open for booking shortly. Come and gather all those parts of yourself back again.

 

[Image: Google / legomenon.com]

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Retreat within your retreat

[Image © Fototeca ENIT / Gino Cianci]

 

Halfway through your week at The Watermill, we shall take a retreat within your retreat to spend the day soaking up some of the amazing sights this part of Italy has to offer.

Lucca is a beautiful Italian city, imposing dark red brick walls, wide enough to walk (or cycle: hire a bike) all the way round. The centre is wonderful with superb architecture, notably the San Michele church, the Cathedral, the medieval Piazza del Anfiteatro echoing the shape of the old Roman amphitheatre, the classical splendour of the Piazza Napoleone. And there are shops where you’ll find great shoes and leather goods, and there’s an elegant pedestrian shopping street, the Via Filungo. The train heads slowly from the station at Aulla on the single-track railway, meandering through the Alpi Apuane regional park, taking about an hour and 30 minutes to get to Lucca (and about one hour and 45 minutes back, don’t ask why!), but the journey itself is worthwhile not just for the great scenery (the impressive marble mountains, sparkling rivers, hilltop villages) but for observing Italian life.
Join me on this amazing opportunity in September – full itinerary and details here: Unplug & Unwind

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Transitions

In last night’s Women’s Wisdom Yoga, transitions and the parasympathetic nervous system were the main focus.

 

This was really bought home to me after running my signature workshop at the weekend – Being Stillness. The importance of ‘rest and digest’ and how little space we give ourselves for this very important function.

 

We are constantly in a ‘forward’ motion, physically as well as structurally and anticipating what will be coming next, often well before what we are currently engaged in has completed, let alone allowing time for us to absorb and consolidate before moving on.

 

Transitions happen all the time:

 

From one conversation to another – have we really listened and understood or have we simply got the ‘gist’ of it?

 

From work to home – have we truly arrived in every sense of the word (physically, mentally, emotionally) or are we still fractured with events of the day still demanding our awareness?

 

From one yoga posture to the next – do we allow time for our bodies to absorb the essence of what is happening before we change shape?

 

From one breath to the next – is it smooth and even, or is there a jaggedness about it?

 

Transitions help us maintain equilibrium so that our fight or flight response isn’t always switched on.

 

Yoga simply isn’t what happens on the mat – it is carried through your whole being into every interaction you have.

 

Notice how you transition today – it can prove very interesting!

 

[Photo: Shutterstock under licence]

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The Untethered Soul

Learning that meditation is not a soft option

Often when we hear certain things, we immediately bring to mind an image or thought of what we know or remember. It could be a sunset – we all have our own image of what comprises a sunset, but it won’t necessarily be the one that your friend is sharing with you. It could be the enjoyment of a slice of carrot cake – you remember the last slice of carrot cake you had, but it won’t be the same as the one you are just about to enjoy (hopefully!)

The same can be said of meditation…we have our own thoughts and impressions on what meditation is, and over the years, I’ve seen it described as something that’s light or without much substance – “It’s easy, right? Simply close your eyes and that’s it”…um, no, not exactly.

Often we have great expectations of something prior to starting. Well, we need to have a certain amount of enthusiasm and hope otherwise we wouldn’t start anything would we?

Meditation falls into this category – seems like a good idea, but then…well, we come face-to-face with all the ‘stuff’ we’ve been trying to push away or forget. There’s the argument you had with the mum at the school; the ungratefulness of your boss when you stayed late to get that report finished; or how about the time when that car pulled out on you whilst you were driving the other day?

In fact, when we sit and anticipate, (even hope), that it’s going to be a gentle transition into 10 or 20 minutes of blissful oblivion, it turns into something of a monstrous, mental wrecking ground.

Believe it or not, this is normal. This is what happens. Only problem is, not many people tell you about it, let alone talk about it. If these things are not discussed, how can you possibly learn to deal with them when trying to meditate?

In Meditation & More, we discuss this and so much more, which is why those attending are seeing the fruits of their meditation practice. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not happened overnight, but it is happening and that’s the point.

Those attending find the group environment very supportive, open and friendly and this alone is what keeps them on their meditation cushion (chairs are optional too!)

We have also just begun our next group book – The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer – (image at the top of this mailing shows you more). By using a book as another aspect of our practice, it provides us jumping off points in what’s coming up in our sitting practice and more importantly, everyday life.

Our next session is Saturday 11 June at 10.00am and it would be lovely to see you there. The journey with meditation can start at any point and I provide a gentle process for those who are just getting started. You can find out more here

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Coping with backache in pregnancy

Experiencing aches and pains is a normal aspect of pregnancy as our bodies are being pulled and stretched in ways that they’ve not had to previously.  Added to this there’s also the increase in weight on the front of the body - its no wonder that backache is so common.

 

For many of you, when we have a break from our yoga class it can be felt physically, as it can be surprising just how much our yoga practice can support us in this regard.Classes offer opportunities to move and work with our discomforts, finding what works and brings us ease. Just like we will need to do when in labour – responding to the cues our body gives us and meeting it with movement and breath.

 

Some help and support can also be found via the following local therapists, who I can highly recommend in the Watford area:

Dr Julia Flash – Telephone: 01923 770061

Tracy Morgan – Telephone: 01923 250605

Gareth Morris – Telephone: 01923 802028

Classes continue from next week and if you haven’t done so already, you can book via the website here. There’s still the money-saving course booking, or drop-in is also available.

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