Expression

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Sometimes, live throws stuff at you that you really don’t feel ready to handle. It can be a change in work circumstances, health or something more personal and we fall to pieces.

When something drastic happens, most of us go in fight or flight mode and start reacting by trying to find solutions, trying to make sense of what happened.

And yet, it is at these same tumultuous times of change that we need to pause and take stock of how it makes us feel. Are you sad, angry, feeling empty, strangely calm… ? It all depends on our personality and how we normally react to change. It is important to make space for our feelings to come to the surface as our feelings are there. Nobody can go through a radical change in their live and not feel anything. But a lot of us won’t find a way to express it, and the feelings will stay in your body and will resurface later on, in a way that can be even harder to deal with as they would have had time to grow inside you.

Children are a wonderful example on how to express our feelings. Something unpleasant happens to them and they cry, throw a tantrum, mope for ages. Everybody knows about it! And then, after a little while, the sadness/anger… has been expressed and they perk up, as if nothing had happened in the first place. Talk about living in the moment!

Most adults can’t leave things behind as children so naturally do, but we can all make space for our feelings to be expressed. Even if it is in the privacy of our bedroom, car, bathroom…

I remember when I was – much – younger, having a good cry over some thing or other and feeling so much better afterwards. I remember feeling tired – as most of the adrenalin had left my body – but so much better.

Then again, feelings don’t always get expressed through tears. They can equally be expressed by going for a run, exercising, cooking, walking… Anything that works for you and gives you a way of processing what is happening and how you feel about it.

Whatever made you feel that way in the first place will still be there when you come back, but you will be in a calmer, more centred state of mind to deal with it.

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Keep on moving

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Today is my last blog about finding inspiration and keeping it going.

Personally, it is always the second part that causes me the biggest trouble. After a little while of abiding by the principles of following small achievable goals to reach my larger ones, there always comes a time when, either live gets in the way, or I just lose interest and focus.

Let’s face it, it can be easier to go by your daily life without having to find time to achieve a long term goal or follow a dream. I find plenty enough to keep me occupied and entertained with the kids, the house, the Christmas planning! But then, a small part of me is still nagging at me and telling me that there is still that goal ahead of me, that I still want it, even if right now, I can’t seem to find the motivation.

That little voice that you hear in your head can spur you on – which is exactly what you need! But, it can also make you want to put your end under a pillow and forget about reaching for something bigger. This little voice can make you feel guilty, make you feel like what you are doing isn’t worth it, like these little goals are too small to get you anywhere anyway. It reasons with you: “you have enough on your plate”, “it is almost Christmas/Easter/your birthday and you have so much to plan” It can be so convincing that you decide to stop trying to achieve your little goals.

But if you do that, what happens? Well, the answer is, nothing happens. If you keep doing the same thing all of the time, you will keep getting the same thing all of the time. If you want a change in your life, if you want to reach that goal or, at least to get closer to it, you will have to move towards it. The speed at which you do so is irrelevant, providing you keep moving, keep doing your bit, a little at a time, but relentlessly, every week a little bit more, every week living a little bit more of the dream, of the inspiration that got you started in the first place.

As I write this, I am going through one of these moments where my enthusiasm isn’t at its highest. And yet, despite the fact that it was cold, and dark, and that I was tired, I forced myself to sit down, switch on my laptop and started writing. Surprisingly, it felt good, even though I really didn’t feel like doing it. I am proud of myself for having gone over that apathy I felt earlier. The vision that inspires me is still a long way away but, through this act of actually doing what I had meant to do, I didn’t let myself down, I moved in the direction I want to go.

It is important when this happens to take the time to congratulate yourself. Take a minute to pause and think to yourself: I have done it! I was tired, busy,… but I still did it! Well done!” A lot of us might not share our inspirations with others at the beginning so it is crucial to be our own cheerleaders and supporters to keep ourselves going.

To summarise, once you have been inspired by something, it takes good work to reach this place of inspiration. Throughout this journey, some days will be easier than others, there will be times when the inspiration and the will to do is plentiful and others when it is really hard to come by. All through this, keep your head up high, being kind to yourself, treat yourself occasionally, and enjoy the journey. Be aware that each little step that you take is moving you towards your inspiration.

Inspiration – how to keep it going

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Today, I will look at how to keep the inspiration alive and how to best keep going towards your goal.

When finding inspiration happens very much spontaneously, keeping it alive and striving towards your goal takes some dedication.

For me, organisation is key. Everybody is different but I find that if something is on a to do list. It will get done. The way you work with your to do list is a very personal matter: there are countless apps that you can use or you can use the calendar on your phone to trigger alerts and reminders. You can also go low tech and use a diary in which you write the things you have to do. I like this idea as I get a lot of satisfaction of crossing out what I have already accomplished day by day!

Once you have chosen where you will host your to do list, you need to look at your goal and split it into small bitesize pieces. Personally, writing this weekly blog is one of my objectives, so my goal is split in: coming up with an idea, writing the actual blog, finding or taking suitable pictures and publishing it. If you have a much larger goal, I would suggest you work backwards from your goal and decide on what are the steps necessary to get you there.

Either way, the large goal that is inspiring you needs to be cut into much smaller, achievable little goals. When you do that, bear in mind the amount of time you will be able to allocate to achieve each of these goals. If you are a very busy person, split your main goal into small, not too time-consuming bits, because as much as it is a lot of fun and feels good to cross out what you have done from your list, it can become quickly disheartening not to be able to do so.

What works for me is to sit down at the weekend and plan my week in my diary, making sure I don’t overload my days. For this, take a good look at your daily activities and see when you can realistically fit working towards your goal in your current day to day schedule. I find that early mornings work best for me, and mid-afternoon for the quick admin tasks. Up to you to find what is convenient for you. Please be realistic and kind with yourself, especially at the beginning, don’t plan too much in a week and see how it works. If you find at the end of the week, that you could have achieved more, then change your plans accordingly for the following week.

By doing a little bit every day towards your goal, you will maintain the flame of your inspiration alive. Every time you cross something off your list, you will have moved closer to your goal, while still living your normal day to day live.

Next week, we will look at how to maintain your momentum from week to week and, hopefully, month to month.

Go and get inspired

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As I wrote last week, inspiration can be found all around us. You can come back fully energised and inspired from a holiday or you can find the same kind of inspiration from watching Youtube videos from your living room. Inspiration is a very personal thing and most of us will come upon it by chance, when we are not looking for it.

I have noticed certain activities that have helped me to connect with my inspiration. Maybe some of these will work for you too.

Personally, I find that my daily meditation practice helps me connect with my inspiration by quieting my mind. I find it helps me to let go of the usual reservations placed upon my choices by fear and practicalities. I have a better idea of what I want to do and can get insight on how to get there.

Walking is another good way to connect with inspiration. I can let my mind gently wander as I walk, opening it up to what is around me. When doing this though, I have to watch my mind to rein it in if it starts going over my to do list or goes over and over again something that bothered me during the day.

I am a real book worm and have found that books are such wonderful sources of inspiration on different subjects from attitude to live to decorating and cooking. It doesn’t matter if what sparks your interest is life changing or not. Inspiration is all about being energised in what you are doing.

The common point in all these activities is that they take me out of my day to day rhythm. They give my mind that little bit of space and time for it to open up and start looking at things differently.

So I’ll invite you all to get walking, reading, meditating or whatever else works for you to help your mind relax and open up to new possibilities.

New Beginners’ Class

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Beginners’ Yoga Class at the Furley Park Primary Academy

New Beginners’ Yoga class starting on the 1st November 7.15-8.15pm

 

Have you ever wanted to try yoga but thought you were not bendy enough or young enough to do it? Or have you been put off by joining a large class?

Why not try my beginners’ Dru Yoga class? Dru is a flowing style of yoga that is accessible to all. It uses sequences of movements and postures as well as the breath, visualisations and affirmations to stretch your body and relax your mind. It will make you feel more energised and yet relaxed.

A perfect way to recharge your batteries for the rest of the week!

 

Classes are small. Maximum 9 students so book early to avoid disappointment.

£7 pay as you go or £24 for a block of 4 consecutive classes

Furley Park Primary Academy, Reed Crescent, Ashford, Kent, TN23 3PA

Contact Michele on 07977503897 or michele.patart@gmail.com for booking or any further information

Inspiration & How to keep it

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After spending a day at the Om Yoga Show in London yesterday, it feels right to talk about inspiration.

The Yoga show is one of these places where you can meet a huge number of kindred spirits. People who have the same values and aspirations in life. In this situation, inspiration is easy to find: through a lecture, a chat with a fellow yogi/yogini, while attending a class, or simply through the very fact of spending a day outside of the humdrum of daily life.

On my way back yesterday I was reflecting on inspiration, and why it can be so easy to find and equally easy to lose. How many of us have felt enthusiastic about a new project only to find, a few weeks down the line, that this same project doesn’t figure in our priorities. With this can come guilt and a sense that we have left an opportunity pass.

It happens to me quite a lot, daily life is busy and I can find it hard to sustain momentum on some projects at it is somehow easier to get lost in the day to day repetitive tasks of work, children, house… and repeat!

And yet, when the inspiration is back, life feels more interesting, more real and more organised. With this project or idea in mind, I find it easier to sort out through my tasks between what is really needed or what is superfluous and could wait a little bit.

Inspiration can be found in so many places, usually when we least expect it. There isn’t much I can write about finding inspiration, but keeping the inspiration alive is another matter. This is done through sustained attention to our goals as well as a level of trust that things will work out as they are supposed to.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be posting weekly blogs about inspiration and how to keep it and sustain it in our life to give our best projects and ideas a good go.

New Term, new possibilities

Schools are back on Monday and Autumn is just around the corner. Not exactly the typical time to start something new – this happens mostly in Spring – but still, why not harness the change of season and rhythm to try something new.

For me, this Autumn means new challenges in my yoga with a more intensive daily practice and children’s yoga classes which I am intending to start soon. I will also bring more mindfulness in my weekly classes. 

I am both excited and slightly apprehensive but, as one of my teachers said, if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!

So, to new dreams and possibilities with my first class back on Monday 7.30-9.00pm at the Rhode Minnis Village Hall.

So why not come and enjoy the calming and strengthening effect of Dru Yoga, a gentle and flowing style of Hatha Yoga.

Classes includes a warm up, gentle movements and postures, breathing exercises and a relaxation. 

£10 pay as you go/ £52.50 for 6 consecutive classes.

Namaste

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Hands into prayer position in front of the heart, gently bowing the head down and saying “Namaste”. A common picture in yoga classes and I finish some of my classes with this greeting but what does it mean?

Namaste is a sankrit word. It can be split into namah, which means “salutation” and te, which translates as “to you”. Literally, “Salutation to you”.

I particularly like the translation “the highest in me salutes the highest in you.” This meaning elevates this simple gesture to another dimension, a dimension of peace and calm, in which we all recognise that there is good in all of us.

The highest in each of us is this part of us that is untouched by stress, fear, anxiety… It resides deep inside each of us, more often than not, hidden away so as not to get it hurt.

But this highest part of us is remarkably strong and we could all benefit from getting a bit more in touch with it. Wouldn’t it be amazing to live our lives from a position of calm, fulfilment, confidence in oneself and the world around us? The highest part of us lives in this state and we can access it through yoga and meditation, during a walk, while being involved in something that we truly enjoy. We have all done it. It is the state of flow where you feel that everything is right. It is the feeling that time has just flown by without a conscious thought stopping in your mind long enough to be noticed.

This feeling often happens without design but yoga and meditation are ways to get in touch with this highest part of you intentionally. It is part of the reason why you feel so good at the end of a class or meditation practice. You have touched this part of you that is always there, always calm

By concluding the class with Namaste, it is an affirmation that this highest in you is truly there, present in you, recognised by others.

So enjoy its presence, and until next time, Namaste.

The Power of the Mind

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After some minor surgery on Monday, I am now unable to do any yoga for the rest of the week.

Needless to say, that this felt like a serious blow and my first thoughts were for the students I would let down this week by cancelling my classes.

The second blow was yesterday evening, when it became very clear that not doing any yoga for a day had had a definite impact on me. I was feeling rather fractious, restless and impatient. I am not saying that I don’t sometimes feel that way when I practice yoga daily but yesterday felt like there really was something not right.

As I woke up this morning at my usual yoga time, I remembered hearing about the power of visualisation. There have been studies showing that “thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions.” The same studies also revealed that “mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success and increase states of flow.” (AJ Adams)

So I decided to give it a go and started to perform a yoga sequence, moving into the movements that I could do and visualising the rest. And lo and behold, when I sat down for my meditation afterwards, my brain was calm and relaxed as if I had gone through the entire sequence.

This is good news for me and it reinforces my believe that yoga is really accessible to everybody. If you are unable to perform a certain movement and you find it hard to adapt it, you can visualise it, in this way getting some of the benefits.