Tag Archives: yoga

Setting your intention: in yoga and in life

10 Feb
Image

Me in class. Hahahahahahaha. If only.
Photo credit

 

At the start of tonight’s Dynamic Yoga class at Qi Yoga in Manly, our teacher Ashley asked us to set our intentions. What would we focus on? Where would our energy sit?

I chose ‘peacefulness’. 

After a hectic day of deadlines and client revisions, I sure as heck needed some peace!

But half-way through the class, I was anything but peaceful.

Red-faced, sweaty, sore and itchy, I wasn’t at all calm. My hamstrings were still tight from trotting on the weekend, and I started doubting my yogic abilities.

‘This class is too advanced,’ I told myself. ‘I’ll never be a lithe, flexible yogi.’

I even held my big toe incorrectly in an asana and had to be corrected.

My big toe. Seriously. Wasn’t holding it correctly. Totally hilarious now, but not at the time!

And then I remembered my intention: peacefulness. 

Berating my self, criticising my self…is that really my intention? Is that what I want to put out in the universe? That I should be judged? 

Hell to the no.

So I refocused. Was gentle on myself. Softly whispered ‘peaceful’ on every exhale.

And as the class wound down into shavasana (corpse pose – or ‘sleepy time’ post as I like to call it), I did feel peaceful.

I had sweated and stretched out the crap, the criticisms. And I felt zen and centred and all self-loving. 

Do you set a daily intention?

It doesn’t have to be during yoga. You could start each day with a one-word intention – or a phrase or affirmation. Something that gives you focus, gets you going and really resonates.

When we rush about or spend our hours reacting to things, rather than being proactive, we aren’t practising self-kindness or self-awareness. We’re just flapping about, doing things, saying things, without any purpose.

Let’s set a daily intention. Let’s give our days on this Earth meaning.

What’s your intention today?

I can’t relaaaaax, I’m anxious!

19 Jan

meditating

For years, yoga instructors have told me to ‘relaaaaax’. Massage therapists have told me to ‘relaaaaax’. And yesterday, a new friend who’s training me in a new sport (I’ll tell you all about that once I’ve pitched the magazine story about it) told me that to truly master the technique, I needed to ‘relaaaaax’.

I know this. I’m aware of the tension in my shoulders and neck. Aware I look worried a lot of the time.

But I just can’t relaaaaax!

Meditation, massage, yoga, willing myself to chill out…they all feel incredible at the time, but then I go back to being tense.

So what’s the deal?

I’ve realised it’s not tension, it’s anxiety.

That’s a tough thing to admit. Moi? Anxious? Quelle horreur!

But yes, it’s there.

Apparently when I was 8, I ran home in tears and told my mum, “I’m not going to pass the TEE!” The TEE are university entrance exams. That you take in year 12. Yup, I was anxious about something 8 years away.

Walking into a room full of people has always terrified me. Searching for a friend in a crowded cafe or bar makes me nervous. No idea why. That’s anxiety for you. And being a sensitive soul. 🙂

So rather than focusing on relaaaaxing, I’m going to address my anxiety.

I’ve no idea how, but the search starts now.

Do you have any tips for treating anxiety (naturally)? Would love to hear your thoughts…

Top resources for doing yoga at home

16 Aug

It’s taken me a looong time to discover a handy and helpful yoga studio. A friend recently invited me to a class at the Life & Balance Centre in Glebe.

I trudged along, expecting a sterile studio and hectic class, like the ones I’ve tried in noisy gym rooms. What I discovered, however, was a serene studio and a holistic approach to yoga. The instructor took the time to correct my poses, explain the asanas and their benefits and create a lovely supportive space.

Unfortunately, Glebe is a little out of the way for me to commit to regular classes. Which is why I love my in-home DVD collection. I simply step into the living room, put on a DVD and enjoy an hour-long yoga routine. While the DVDs lack individual instruction, I love not worrying about what’s going on around me.

My faves are the Element collection and Shiva Rea’s range. I also love Tara Stiles’ YouTube channel, one of the many useful online resources for practising yoga at home.

Susana Frioni recently wrote a post on The Wellness Warrior, with her 11 favourite resources for practising yoga at home. Check it out for a fabulous range of resources – some free, some paid.

What yoga DVDs or online resources have you tried? Can you recommend any?

Today I…say yes

15 Mar

‘No’ can be such a naughty word. I’ve noticed that I say it quite a lot. No to an impromptu dinner invitation, no to the gym, no to my alarm when it bleeps incessantly for me get up and meditate or do yoga. It’s just so easy to say no (except when I’m offered a Tim Tam).

‘No’ doesn’t require any effort, any risk. But a life without risk means a life without rewards.

A few months ago, an old school friend mentioned she was throwing herself back into travel and asked if I would like to join her in India in July. Immediately I said no. A million excuses raced through my mind: ‘I won’t be able to get the time off, I won’t be able to afford it, India is scary, I might get mugged, my hair will go frizzy, it’s easier to just stay at home in my normal routine and let everyone else gallivant around the world, they don’t have Tim Tams there…’

Two days ago, she asked me again. ‘Come and meet me in India in July. I’ll be taking photographs and wandering the streets. You could come along and write.’

YES!

Why the heck shouldn’t I just say YES? Yes to throwing myself in the deep end. Yes to leaving my life behind and seeing what awaits me in one of the world’s spiritual hubs. Yes to opening my heart and my journal and seeing what flows forth. Yes to frizzy hair! YES!

I’m ready to get real, to get raw and to descend on a foreign land and see where it sweeps me.

I’m ready to live!

What have you said yes to today?

I try…yoga (for the 50th time)

4 Mar

This is me in yoga class. Just kidding. I don't wear blue pants.

Me doing yoga is not a pretty sight. I stomp around on the mat, huffing, puffing and trying so terribly hard to be zen. When I do the downward dog, I look like I’ve dropped my keys on the floor and can’t get back up. While the instructor is always so lithe and lovely and floaty and free, I’m tugging at my top, blowing away my frustrating fringe and waiting for the session to end.

 

I have mastered one pose. It’s the one at the end when you lie down and snooze. Yep, I rock that one.

I’d like to go on one of those silent yoga retreats. But I’m afraid people will take one look at my wobbly Salute to the Sun and laugh me out of the place. Silently, of course. Yes, they’ll be laughing at me with their ever-enlightened minds.

Not one to give up however, I’m going to give yoga another shot. I’ve stocked up on beginner’s DVDs and have dusted off my purple yoga mat. The idea is that, in the comfort of my own home, I can puff and pant (and perhaps even do a little fart) without worrying about the pros bending and twisting around me.

Session one starts tomorrow morning, at the crack of 9am (dawn is not my friend on Sundays). I’ll let you know how I go…

Until then, namaste. At least I’ve remembered something from yoga!

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