Blessings and Happy New Year from the hills of northern NSW.
May the coming year hold much laughter, learning and love for you.
May you come into deeper relationship and trust with Life.
May kindness guide you and when that fails, forgiveness.
And so it is.
Have you heard the adage "if you don't have twenty minutes to meditate then you should meditate for an hour and a half"? How does this statement make you feel? Does it inspire you to carve out that suggested hour and a half? Or does it make you feel a bit hopeless and shamed about your inability to do so, so instead you give up on any practice at all?
A couple of weeks ago a friend and colleague who has recently taken charge of her health and well-being by quitting smoking and having a healthier diet shared a bit about what has helped her. She gets up a little earlier and does about 30 minutes of yoga. She seemed both proud of and a bit embarrassed by the humility of her practice - "ït's only half an hour, but it really sets me up for the day ahead."
When I first started developing a home yoga practice, I had this idea in my head that if I didn't do an hour and a half practice, it wasn't really a practice at all. Because I have a job and a family, a mortgage and a full life, my practice would fall away because of the challenge of carving out an hour and a half for a "real" practice.
Now, like my wise friend and colleague, I make time where I can to nourish and support myself, whether it's in five minute increments or whole weekends away. It's not necessarily an hour and a half a day. And it's not always meditation as we traditionally understand it. Sometimes it's lovingly sipping my delicious morning coffee or ignoring the need to hop out of bed and instead stay cuddled in bed with my kiddos. I feel nourished by walking with my dog in the rainforest, reading a good fiction novel, napping, dancing, or watching my chickens peck and graze free-range-style.
Lovingly caring for ourselves shouldn't be just another chore on our to-do list. Our practice, whatever it looks like, should be developed and supported from loving compassion for ourselves, as opposed to a sense of obligation. And the best practice is the one you do, so do what enchants your soul, what makes your heart smile, what sets your spirit alight.
We can become disconnected with what nurtures and delights us. If you want some support reconnecting to your delight, I have a couple of offerings starting soon:
Spring Special! Invest in three one-to-one sessions and get a fourth free, for the month of October. One-to-one sessions allow you the chance to explore exactly what you need. Each session is tailored exactly to you and can include either meditation and/or yoga.
Yoga for Resilience - This six week online yoga and meditation class starts 20 October at 10:00am Sydney time. This class is specially designed to support mental and physical wellness and is appropriate for all levels of experience. You are welcome to attend online or watch the recordings (or both!). The investment is $75 AUD
Yoga for Stress Relief - This six week yoga and meditation class takes place in Mullumbimby and starts 28 October at 9:30am. In addition to the six weekly classes, there is the option to add a one-to-one before the course begins. The investment is:
$170 if registered by 19 October (this includes the one-to-one)
$195 if registered by 20 October (this also includes the one-to-one)
$135 for returning students
Thank you to Miguel Bruna @mbrunacr on upsplash.com for the beautiful image.
Today I listened to a talk offered by a prominent psychologist and meditation teacher. In the talk particular advice was offered about how one should tend to one's thoughts, particularly the challenging ones. This teacher's advice was that we should tell ourselves "not to trust our thoughts".
This advice didn't sit well with me. Now, I'm not saying we should take all our thoughts at face value. But to walk around telling yourself all day, however compassionate the tone might be, "don't believe this thought", "don't believe that thought" seems like placing you in conflict with yourself. The painful, troublesome thoughts, in fact, offer us an opportunity to go deeper within and explore what needs aren't being met.
For example, each month around my moon-time I get particularly cranky with my husband (poor guy!). Often the deepest unmet need behind the crankiness is not some flaw in my beloved, but the need within me to retreat and rest and look after myself. If I walked around telling myself "this thought isn't real" the part of me that needs attention, the part of me offering these irritated physical sensations and thoughts of frustration at my husband, might feel shamed, belittled and abandoned.
Instead, I dig into the irritated physical sensations and angry thought patterns. What is underneath all this? How can I take care of myself and tend to my needs?
I use the rest of the advice offered by the prominent teacher, which makes sense and seems a compassionate and loving response to internal suffering - come into the present moment, attend to your physical sensations, thoughts and emotions. And step into loving awareness, either from within or received from the Universe.
If you would like some time and support to step more fully into being on your own side, then my online Yoga for Resilience may be just what you're looking for.
Yoga for Resilience is designed to relieve stress and increase well-being. Specifically designed for folks suffering with stress, anxiety, depression or trauma, the program combines both trauma sensitive meditation and subtle yoga poses. It incorporates yoga movement and restorative yoga postures, gentle forms of exercise and relaxation soothing to both mind and body.
Yoga for Resilience starts online Tuesday, 25 August at 10:00am (Sydney time). The classes will run for six weeks and you can either attend online or if the time doesn't suit, watch the recordings. The investment is $75AUD and it includes weekly live classes, class and meditation recordings and emails packed with resources to explore the work further.
Even if you have completed an online or in-person series with me before, each round includes new insights and learnings.
Thank you to AndiP from Pixabay for the image.
I have been re-reading Rachel Naomi Remen's "My Grandfather's Blessings". In this book she suggests that we, just as we are, are what is needed to heal the world. This can sound so far-fetched, but I find it such a hopeful notion.
It can be so challenging to be with and make space for our wounds, but Dr Remen suggests that it is our very wounds and imperfections that make us exactly what is needed.
In practice it can be very difficult to feel our feelings and to believe that we really are okay just as we are in this moment, to know that our wounds don't have be suppressed or denied, but instead can be embraced and shared. I believe this is the work of a lifetime and a major way that we can effect real change in the world.
In order to know we are okay and to heal the places within us that still don't believe it, we have to find a sense of safety in our body so healing can take place. In my upcoming online Yoga for Resilience, creating a felt sense of safety is one of the many themes we will work with.
Yoga for Resilience is designed to relieve stress and increase well-being. Specifically designed for clients suffering with stress, anxiety, depression or trauma, the program combines both trauma sensitive meditation and subtle yoga poses. It incorporates yoga movement and restorative yoga postures, gentle forms of exercise and relaxation soothing to both mind and body.
Yoga for Resilience starts online Tuesday, 11 August. The classes will run for six weeks and you can either attend online or if the time doesn't suit, watch the recordings. The investment is $75AUD and it includes weekly live classes, class and meditation recordings and emails packed with resources to explore the work further.
Even if you have completed an online or in-person series with me before, each round includes new insights and learnings. Reach out if you have any questions or you would like to join me for online classes.
We are living through such unusual times. I wonder what you are doing to stay connected to that which soothes, nourishes and delights you?
As we are bombarded with the tales of woe of the world, our nervous systems react as if they are happening directly to us. Our nervous systems cannot tell the difference between fact and fiction, imminent threat or that which is far away. I am careful in consumption of media in all its forms, careful to safeguard my nervous system and mental health.
In addition to avoiding over-consumption of media, I consciously feed goodness into my system, with yoga, meditation, funny movies, enjoyable reading, nature time, friend catch-ups (socially distanced if necessary) and family time.
My next in-person classes will bring together gentle yoga and meditation, endeavouring to provide a practice that will sooth what worries you and help train your gaze towards what delights you.
Yoga for Stress Relief starts Wednesday, 5 August, 9:30am - 11:00am. If you register by 27 July the investment is $170 ($195 as of 28 July), which includes a one-to-one with me, six weekly classes and a weekly email packed with resources, including a recorded meditation. If you have attended classes with me previously, you are welcome to forego the one-to-one and so the investment is $135.
This trauma sensitive gentle yoga program is designed to relieve stress and increase well-being. Specifically designed for clients suffering with stress, anxiety, depression or trauma, the program combines both trauma sensitive meditation and subtle yoga poses. It incorporates gentle yoga movement and restorative yoga postures, a gentle form of exercise and relaxation soothing both mind and body.
The themes for each week of the course are as follows:
Week 1 - Cultivating Self-Compassion
Week 2 - Delighting in Your Senses
Week 3 - Breathing your Breath
Week 4 - Staying in your Window of Tolerance
Week 5 - Working with our Obstacles
Week 6 - Filling with Gratitude
This term I will not be running my evening Mullumbimby classes. I have agonised over this decision because I know there are a few of you out there keen to return. I just can't stretch my own personal and my families' capacity to make the class work. I hope to return in the future.
If the in-person class time doesn't suit, Yoga for Resilience starts online Tuesday, 11 August. The classes will run for six weeks and you can either attend online or if the time doesn't suit, watch the recordings. The investment is $75AUD and it includes weekly live classes, class and meditation recordings and emails packed with resources to explore the work further.
Even if you have completed an online or in-person series with me before, each round includes new insights and learnings around the themes. I can tell you from personal experience, I have worked with the aforementioned themes countless times and each time I find a new level of depth, wisdom and integration.
My intention this year is to add some more free guided meditations to my website. Of course this was my intention last year too. Well, I'm off to a roaring start so far. Here is a short five minute guided meditation to cultivate self-compassion.
Kristen Neff, self-compassion researcher, breaks the practice of self-compassion into three steps:
1. Mindfulness - being able to feel what is happening in the moment and the physical experience of your big emotions and yet it knowing this suffering is not all that you are. “This hurts and yet it is not all I am.”
2. Common humanity - you are not alone in your suffering. Everyone suffers. Really, everyone does. "I am not alone."
3. Self-kindness - when we are suffering, we have a chance to check in with ourselves and inquire as to what might support us, rather than judge or abandon ourselves in our time of need. "How can I support myself?"
And my beloved friend and mentor, Alison Potts, adds the two following steps as well:
4. Removing blame - we can often turn the blame for our suffering inward, taking responsibility for things that are not ours to carry. "It's not my fault."
5. Honouring all of your emotions - in order to befriend ourselves, all parts of ourselves, our experience and our emotions need to know that they are welcome. "All my feelings matter."
May this short practice help you cultivate self-compassion and compassion for the world around you.
Hello Dear Hearts,
Thank you so much to the beautiful souls who joined Rebekah Ray and I yesterday at Living Yoga Sanga in Mullumbimby. I love teaching with Rebekah and watching the transformation that happens to each attendee. After two hours of relaxing deeply people emerge looking clear, bright and shiny with a sparkle in their eyes. What a privilege it is to share the magical combination of sacred sound and restorative yoga.
Rebekah and I will be in Brisbane the last weekend of February. We would love for you to join us for two blissful hours of beautiful sound and soothing yoga:
- Saturday, 23 February, 9:45am - 11:45am at Banyo with Clear Skies Yoga - the early bird discount has been extended to 15 February! Book now!
- Saturday, 23 February, 5:45pm - 7:45pm in Bulimba with Inna Bliss
- Sunday, 24 February, 10:00am - 12:00pm in Wynnum with Inna Bliss
I am offering a new class in Mullumbimby, Yoga for Stress Relief, starting Wednesday, 20 February at 9:30am. The 20% off early bird discount ends Friday, 15 February, so book now and save $$$!
Finally, I now have more time during the day for one-to-one sessions. If you would like some coaching for your meditation and/or yoga practice, please contact me on 0429 995 822.
There are so many research studies emerging about the benefits of yoga and meditation for managing the symptoms of stress, trauma, depression and anxiety. It is with this in mind that I designed the six week course "Yoga for Mental Health". I have experienced (and continue to experience!), firsthand, the transformative nature of yoga and meditation, both in my own life and that of my clients.
The course begins with a one-on-one with me, Tabatha, where I get to know you and we explore an initial yoga and meditation practice specifically tailored for you. Then, over the ensuing six weeks, we experiment with a sequence of yoga forms and meditative practices. Each week builds on the week prior, so that at the end of the course you have a yoga sequence and the foundations of a meditative practice that you can take with you and build on.
The symptoms of stress, anxiety, trauma and depression are experienced on multiple layers of our being. It is not only our mind that is effected, we store these things in our body. Talk and drug therapy can go a long way to helping many people, but they may not help everyone or go far enough. Yoga can be a wonderful adjunct to therapy precisely because it helps us get into our bodies and it's sensations.
When someone is overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, there are a host of physical sensations that accompany the racing mind - shortness of breath, sweating, muscle tension and/or headaches. If one can enter those sensations, tenderly and thoughtfully, often just the act of attending to them makes them more bearable.
Trauma is also not just in our minds, but our physical body as well. People who have suffered traumatic events may have learned that the body is not a safe place and that physical sensations are too overwhelming. This can lead to hyper-arousal or a deadening of bodily awareness, a sensible adaption during the traumatic event, but not so adaptive in the long-term.
Depression can be experienced as a lack of feeling altogether, like the world just can't reach or touch you. Andrew Soloman describes that the "opposite of depression is not happiness, it is vitality." Yoga and meditation may assist in a return to vitality.
In this six week course we will explore ways to tenderly attend to our minds and bodies. We will work to re-establish a safe connection with ourselves, our senses and our physical sensations. We
If you are interested, please book in soon. There are only a couple of spaces remaining in the Wednesday night class.
Please note that I am not a Registered or Clinical Psychologist. I do know some very good ones though, and I am happy to provide referrals.
Our lives are so full. And there is so much to celebrate and delight in about that fact! But sometimes we need some time out, a chance to retreat from and reflect on our lives. That is why Mark Scott from MindFlowMethod, Catalina from Yoga with Cata and I are offering our next retreat at Ulurumaya in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. We have all experienced the transformative effects of retreat ourselves and we love the opportunity to share our passion with others!
Personally, I find time to retreat at least once a year, more often if I can swing it! As the mother of two small children, a wife, a teacher and coach, I give a lot of myself to those I love. But I cannot continue to give if I myself am depleted. So, in addition to my daily practices (walking, yoga and meditation), I carve our chunks of time to devote wholly and solely to myself. And when I come back from these breaks I am re-energised and excited about my life! I can appreciate my life more fully because I have time out.
When was the last time you took some time out? We would love to have you join us. To register, go to http://www.nourishedsoulnow.com/ulurumaya-retreat.html
Permission to Rest
In this wild and wonderful time that we are living, there is a great emphasis put on DOING. We often define ourselves by what we've accomplished. We fill our days with the multitude of things we need and/or want to achieve. Even our free time we over-schedule and fill up with DOING.
So, when we take time out, when we create space to rest and renew we are committing a radical act, swimming upstream against the current of our time. Take time to delight in just BEING can often bring up "judgy" inner voices that tell us we are lazy and self-indulgent.
But rest we must. And by taking time out from our the busy-ness of our lives we reap a number of physical and spiritual benefits. Physically we activate our parasympathetic nervous system (PSN) and so experience improved immunity, mental clarity, digestion and overall sense of well-being. We are also offered the opportunity to touch our inner wisdom and feel deeper integration.
Come give yourself the gift of BEING and savour the transformative power of rest on Wednesdays from 6:00-7:30pm at Living Yoga Sanga in Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia.