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Nourish ~ Yoga Retreat Italy 2017

Following the success of this year’s yoga retreat, I have been invited to return to The Watermill, in Posara, Italy next year.

 

For a deposit of £250.00 you can secure your place on this week of nourishing activities and have the peace of mind that EVERYTHING is included in the cost of your retreat: (airport transfers, accommodation, meals, drinks, excursion and all the tuition). And that’s not all. Book now and get an early-bird discount of £75.00!

 

Trust me when I say you will be hard-pushed to find anything of comparative value in Italy. The Watermill is a divine location and coupled with the warmth of the Tuscan sunshine, you won’t fail to feel the effects of both the itinerary and your surroundings almost immediately.

 

Booking is made direct with our hosts, The Watermill, where you can also choose the room you would like to call your own for the week and see the full pricing of your all-inclusive retreat.

Plus! Non-participating partners also receive a discount of £250.00. (It just gets better doesn’t it?) A wonderful bonus, especially if you don’t wish to take a break away from your nearest and dearest.

 

Itinerary

This is still subject to change but will offer…

  • x2 meditation sessions each day
  • x1 full yoga session in the morning
  • afternoon sessions will be a combination of yoga & mindful writing
  • Excursions (typically the market of Fivizzano and a day visiting either Lucca or Cinque Terre) and also wine tasting

 

Here’s a video from an attendee of this year’s retreat sharing her thoughts about her time at The Watermill …

For details of current classes, workshops and retreats offered by Claire Murphy, please visit the website: www.claire-murphy.com/courses

 

 

 

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No fancy, schmanzy yoga pants

[Image: Yoga and Body Image Coalition]

 

Body image – we can’t escape constant exposure to what the media proposes is the ideal look for women. Many of us have the strength of character to be able to dismiss the awful offerings that glossy magazines are literally begging us to buy. (Who wants to buy pages of advertising anyway?)

 

Sadly, or perhaps not, body image is fast becoming a talking point within yoga circles. Here, once again, the meagre offerings of the likes of Yoga Journal are force-feeding us images of incredibly beautiful women (nothing wrong with that), displaying their prowess in yoga postures (again, nothing wrong with that – to a point as yoga is more than the mere posture). The only issue is that I cannot relate to these images as I have very womanly curves and it’s not out of envy, but sadness, that the magazine is not representing ALL women.

 

Magazines sometimes have the occasional token gesture, like Om Yoga Magazine having the amazing Dana Falsetti gracing its cover. Yoga Journal is desperately trying to mend its ways, but for many of us, we walked away from the magazine years ago, with a vow never to return. This is summed up really well in this article from Yoga Dork.

 

I came to yoga off the back of a history of an eating disorder – as fast as I lost the weight, my mother gained it out of worry. Yoga was something of a lightbulb moment, as it helped me realise that there was more to me than what I saw in the mirror.

 

The likes of Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga and Yoga & Body Image Coalition are working hard to address these issues. The YBI’s focus on ‘this is what a yogi looks like’ is really gaining ground and opening up dialogue with many who are sharing their wonderful stories.

 

It was encouraging to see that studies in a recent Australian sample found practitioners to have a higher positive body image than non-practitioners. You can read about it in this article from Yoga U. The one issue I have with the study is that it involved those practicing Bikram – again, a whole different kind of story. Though if you have the time, you may be interested in reading more here and understanding why I won’t and don’t entertain this approach to yoga.

 

What I love about yoga, is that you can simply turn up and be real. No fancy, schmanzy yoga pants that are recycled from goodness knows what, that cost the average household weekly food bill for many in the UK. It’s about the sharing of ways of being present and for many of us women, ‘me-time’. That precious moment each week when you unfurl your yoga mat and the stepping on to it is all part of a cycle of ritual that connects us back with so many other powerful yoginis through time.

 

My classes welcome ALL women and provide an all-embracing, accepting atmosphere. I feel very blessed each time a woman chooses to attend a class with me, as it’s about being able to connect with her from where she is in that moment.

 

Classes are run in Central Watford, Hertfordshire – more details here: Claire Murphy Yoga

 

 

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Conscious Journaling

So much of our time is spent in front of one sort of screen or another – it’s either our phones, laptops or even both at the same time. The one thing that is the same is the way we input what we wish to write – via a keypad or keyboard.

 

Whilst fast and efficient (I still remember my RSA Shorthand and Typing training days on a manual typewriter!) it is more a linear approach.

 

When we swap out our keypad for a pen (pencil, crayon, whatever is close to hand), it accesses a different part of the brain – and more importantly, it can be the subconscious part.

 

Writing by hand is a more meditative process – we need to consider a little more before we commit to paper (oops! no automatic backspace / delete button).

 

Our breathing changes when we write by hand too and it also helps to generally slow our bodily systems down and it becomes a more meditative activity.

 

In January I shall be guiding a wonderful group of women through a day’s workshop of meditation, movement and mindful writing.

 

I have chosen January as this is the period of time we generally start off with some good intentions. Also, it provides a nurturing and nourishing day of rest and gentle activities to help us replenish following the busy Christmas period.

 

Perhaps one of your intentions is to start a daily journal practice? Well, you’ve heard so many other people go on about it and have often wondered how you’d even start. That’s covered.

 

It could be that you are a budding writer – you’re burning with the passion to have your own story (fiction or non-fiction) published, but keep getting stuck. That’s covered by utilising a variety of prompts, we can learn how even the most seemingly mundane can turn into juicy words on a page.

 

Our day is taking place at Stamford Arts Centre, Stamford, Lincolnshire on Saturday 14 January from 10.00 to 16.30

 

Early-bird offer runs to the end of this month (November) at an unbelievable bargain of £40.00 for the day.

 

To find out more and to book your place, please visit: Women’s Stories; What our words say about us

 

 

 

 

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how we bring our life onto the cushion

Meditation: How we bring our life onto the cushion

2016 is probably going to be marked as the year that has seen so many upsets. From the loss of so many well known stars that we’ve all adored right across to the political spectrum producing shocking results.

 

One thing that’s something of a constant is that voice that says, “it shouldn’t be like this”.

 

We find ourselves attached to the way we feel life should be without any regard for the constant change that life brings. Seasons move and change and as a result, new life emerges. Whilst difficult to imagine at this time, new things will continue to emerge as a result of old ways dying. Change also acts as a catalyst. It is an enabler. Change helps us to become more active in our lives when faced with events that are jarring or serve to rub us up the wrong way.

 

The way I teach meditation at my monthly session is that we bring all of this into our practice. Meditation may sometimes offer a retreat away from what’s going on ‘out there’, but it’s how it’s impacting on what’s happening within which is more important. We can only avoid, ignore or push away for so long. Eventually we have to face these issues square on.

 

With loving kindness and without judgement, I teach meditation so that we can learn how to bring ease into our lives. Learning how to sit with what’s difficult, even if it’s for 3 breaths. Recognising that the face of that which we fear can be transformed when we apply a different lens – a different way of viewing it.

 

To make things a little easier, I created this video which takes you through the process I apply with the aid of Lojong. The process of mind training is nothing new, but still finding relevance in being able to apply it to our modern-day lives is what keeps the practice alive and vibrant for me.

 

 

If you want to learn more or see how meditation can help transform the seemingly impossible, join me for one of my monthly sessions in Central Watford, Hertfordshire. Our next Meditation & More session in on Saturday 03 December.

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