Now, there’s a claim. Fear and anxiety are a natural reaction to being alive? Blimey, that doesn’t sound very positive does it?!
But if we delve a little deeper into this idea it makes a lot of sense – and empowers us to take control of how we react to life’s challenges.
It’s about the human being’s survival instinct. Ancient (wo)man had to be on a constant state of alert to the very real dangers around them – being hunted by animals, attacked by other tribes, being on the lookout for poisonous berries, and venomous insects in their environment.
As our bodies are vulnerable (we don’t have sharp teeth or claws to attack, our skin doesn’t have protective covering of scales or fur) human beings have always had to use their mind to develop ways to protect us or defend ourselves.
Over thousands of years our brains have evolved into a highly sophisticated tool which is on a constant state of alertness. But over these thousands and thousands of years the threats to our existence have very much changed. Read more…
Do you sometimes not try something because you’ve already told yourself you can’t do it?
“I can’t relax because I’m too tense”, “I can’t stand up in front of a group to speak because I’m not confident enough”, “I can’t join a yoga class because everyone will think I’m bad at it” “I can’t meditate because my mind’s too busy”.
Yes, my mind does that too!
And it happened again last Saturday at my Dru Meditation Teacher Training. Read more…
Fight, flight or freeze? Which one is your go-to reaction to stress and anxiety?
In our pressurised lives and busy, over-stimulating culture each and every day our body and mind is constantly bombarded with physical, emotional and mental stimuli – information, time demands, unexpected events…
Whether it’s constant deadlines, an over-flowing email inbox, an over-bearing boss, the daily commute, hearing your child is ill at nursery, looking after ageing parents, hearing/reading about injustice and violence in the news.
And add to this the more nebulous psycho-social pressures and fears which gnaw away about the state of the economy, your finances, your job, losing your home, fear of missing out, comparing your life with others’ …
… all of these provoke a stress response from your body.
And if you’re particularly sensitive to your surroundings and what’s going on around you and find it difficult to relax and unwind then your body’s stress response will more quickly tip you into feeling overwhelmed … and keep you there. Read more…
So, I’ve been rather confused about yoga and my place in the world as a yoga teacher of late.
Increasingly, yoga seems to be about challenging poses, contortions, arm balances, headstands and pushing through your fears – at least that’s how it’s represented and how many teachers teach it.
But to me, practising yoga has always been about “stilling the thought waves of the mind” (as Patanjali, the sage behind the ancient Yoga Sutras states). A practice of becoming aware and alive to the subtleties of my body, emotions and mind and to connect to my inner self and inner peace. Read more…
The seasons have changed again and in the UK we’re most definitely in autumn now!
Bright, crisp mornings which mellow into warmly golden afternoons. And windy, soggy, damp days which seem to weigh down the spirit with the knowledge that winter is around the corner.
Summer has been and gone. And it’s easy to feel sad about that – what with the changeable weather and all!
If you’re a sensitive soul and your body and spirit seem to be more responsive to the change of seasons than most, then you may have mixed feelings at the moment.
Revelling in the beautiful, glowing, light and the vibrant colours and abundance of early autumn, but also feeling restless and unsettled and maybe you can’t quite put your finger on why.
If this is the case for you, then take heart from the fact you’re not alone! I’m hearing from many of my yoga students that they’re feeling a bit edgy and agitated and (my favourite word of the moment!) discombobulated (i.e. disturbed, upset, disconcerted, confused.)
I know I’ve certainly been feeling this way! My mind has been constantly flitting from one place to another and very often going around in circles and wearing me out. Read more…
You’d love to meditate. To sit with mindfulness in stillness.
To experience the benefits you’ve heard meditation can bring: stress / anxiety relief, lowering high blood pressure, better sleep, improving immunity, improving brain function, bringing greater clarity of mind, improving mood.
But you’ve got one problem: your mind won’t blinkin’ shut up!
My yoga students often ask me about meditation and say they’ve tried to meditate but they just can’t do it. They find it so difficult because their pesky, noisy mind jumps around from here to there and gets even louder as soon as they try to sit quietly and clear their mind.
And I love to reveal to them: you don’t have to have a quiet mind to meditate! Read more…
Your to-do list is a mile long, and as soon as you cross one thing off another three get added! There’s always something to do, someone to speak to, some problem to sort out, some deadline to meet; some occasion to go to; some fun to be had… The list is (seemingly) endless.
And if you do manage to make some precious quiet-time for yourself, then your whirring, busy, planning, judging mind seems to get even louder! Frustrating!
So many people who come to my yoga classes tell me that they find it difficult to switch off, or, at the other end of the spectrum they’re so exhausted by all the busy-ness they just fall asleep as soon as they lie-down for the guided relaxation. Read more…
“Don’t be so sensitive”. “You need to be more thick-skinned”. “Why were you so quiet at that party?” “You were so shy as a child”. “Don’t be a spoil sport”. “You’re so highly strung!”
Have you been on the receiving end of such comments? Did they feel painful? Do they still feel hurtful?
If so, perhaps your craving for quiet-time, to withdraw from the world sometimes, to day dream, to connect to your rich inner life, feels totally at odds with a society which values and rewards being out-there, assertively voicing your point of view, speaking before thinking, always being sociable and willing to network, and pushing yourself harder each and every day.
Being quieter and introspective in an aggressive society can feel painful. Read more…