Tag Archives: compassion

Be kind to tension

be kind to yourself - release tensionWhere do you hold tension?

We all have a place where we feel it most.

It might be in your back; your jaw; your shoulders. It might be in clenched fists or tightness in the chest or throat or perennially clenched buttocks!

Maybe it’s become so habitual you don’t even realize you’re constantly holding a part of you tense.

For me it’s in my shoulders, throat and often my jaw.

Our busy, fretful, planning, judging, rarely-present minds create this chronic tension in our bodies.

So, it’s time to come out of your head and into your body.

Listen to your body and it will show you its wisdom.

And it’s definitely worth listening because often the whispers of tension will become shouts of pain or illness if we ignore them.

But, a word of caution. Read more…

Gratitude to lift your mood

Grey skyDecember. Full of joy and sparkling lights. Full of cold bugs, coldness and darkness. Every coin has two sides eh?

How are you feeling?

Me, I work up earlier than usual this morning. It was still completely dark. I wasn’t feeling full of joy, to put it mildly (more to do with being day 26 of my cycle than anything else: I know from charting my monthly cycle all through this year that days 25/6 are often the days my inner critic gets LOUD).

But I still took myself to my meditation cushion and sat and allowed whatever was coming up, to come up. It wasn’t particularly pretty. But, with mindful awareness I offered kindness towards myself and to what I was feeling.

I began my usual practice – focusing on the cool-in breath at the nostrils and the warmer out-breath. I gradually took my awareness down through my body to ground.

Feeling grumpy, I continued to breathe. Read more…

Losing the comparison game? Let yoga & mindfulness help you

Scales of justice
Do you compare yourself and find yourself wanting?

The comparison game. Do you play it?

The constant comparing yourself to others? Not feeling good enough? Feeling frustrated, ashamed, or angry that your life, achievements, appearance don’t match up?

Don’t feel bad – we all do it and get that sinking feeling of being not-good-enough-in-comparison to someone else.

There’s something about our culture which promotes comparison.

The glossy magazines, the adverts showing unattainable lifestyles, the side bars of shame. The carefully curated social media streams designed to illustrate how perfect that person’s life is.

Every day we see images and message which press our “not good enough” button which leaves us feeling anxious and stressed and disappointed.

But it’s not good for us to think and feel this way. It erodes our self-esteem. Read more…

Less fear, more love: reflections on the UK’s EU referendum

Less fear more love{Politics alert!}

Today I’m feeling sad, disappointed, worried and, yes, scared.

The tone of the debate in the UK’s EU Referendum is nasty. It’s ugly. Both sides are scare-mongering.

Those with the highest profile on the leave side (the Brexiteers) are encouraging fear and hatred and scape-goating of immigrants – of fellow human beings who’s only “crime” is to have been born outside the UK.

It seems hatred, scape-goating and small-minded nationalism is on the rise across the UK. History shows us what that can lead to. Read more…

Yoga: what’s the point?

The Yoga Path: Mindful yoga in Southampton and Eastleigh
The yoga path: often challenging but always rewarding

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…

Why you need to stand up for serenity and leave struggle behind

Uphill struggle
Does life feel like an uphill struggle?

Life can seem like such an uphill struggle sometimes.

Too much to do, not enough time.

Arguments with the family, friction at work.

Worries about your or your family’s health.

The media telling you should eat this and not that, that you should exercise like this and not like that. That you’re drinking too little, not enough. That you should be doing such-and-such for a happy life, live somewhere else, feel different, be different.  Argh!!!

You crave a way to find a moment’s peace; to drop the angst and self-judgement and find some serenity. Read more…

Love the one you’re with (that’s you, by the way!)

Listen to your heart and learn to love yourself(Photo credit: Stella Tomlinson)
Listen to your heart and learn to love yourself (Photo credit: Stella Tomlinson)

So it’s Valentine’s Day again.

Maybe you love the chocolates and roses and romantic meals.  Maybe you’re single and find this time of year poignant or painful and wish it would go away. Or maybe you prefer to ignore it completely whether you’re single or in a relationship (I fall into this camp for the record, rather viewing it as yet another cynical exercise in manipulating human emotion to make money… so there!).

But whatever you feel about Valentine’s Day, there’s no escaping the messages telling us to express our love for another by buying things of a rosy-shaded hue…

Which leaves me pondering; why are we so rarely encouraged to express love for ourselves? Can we truly love another if we don’t love ourselves first?

And if we’re not used to, or even comfortable with, loving ourselves, how do we even begin to go about doing it?

Phew, that’s a big topic!

So, I’ll approach it from a yogic point of view (naturally!)… Read more…

Shine your light

Shine the light in your heart
Shine the light in your heart

As we approach the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, you may, like me, be finding the short days and the darkness rather trying.

We get up in the dark and sunset comes around all too quickly. It’s damp, it’s cold. It feels too long since the bright days of summer!

But know that inside you is a light source to which you can connect whenever you wish. A light which never dims.

This light, this energy, is your heart energy. Full of love, compassion, understanding and gentleness. Read more…

I feel your (back) pain…

Muscles connecting the upper extremity to the ...
Backs are strong but complex! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have something to share with you. Something I feel almost guilty to admit it. Something I feel shouldn’t happen to me, because I’m a yoga teacher.

I’ve hurt my back.

Not sure how it happened, or precisely what happened, but since Monday evening something odd has been going on in my lower thoracic spine.

It tends to start off as a bit of a niggly ache in the morning and gets worse through the day. Sometimes as I move the muscles in the middle of my back spasm – leading to much catching of breath and grimacing :-(

I can’t pin point when it started and can’t link it to anything specific I’ve done.  But it’s there, and it’s getting on my nerves… Read more…

Yogis just wanna have fun!

What’s your idea of a perfect yogi(ni)? Ultra-bendy? Serene? Unflappable? Perfectly balanced? Serious?

Well, if so, I have a confession to make: I’m a yogini and a yoga teacher … and I’m none of those things.

  • Am I ultra-bendy? I’m flexible but I still need to bend my knees in Sitting Forward Bend because of tightness in my hamstrings.
  • Serene?  My relaxation and meditation practices help me gain a sense of perspective on life, but no, I don’t go around in a state of perfect serenity, equanimity and zen calm all the time.
  • Unflappable? I’m pretty laid back generally but I’ll get annoyed and have a bit of a whinge and sulk if something gets on my nerves.
  • Perfectly balanced? I can balance when my mind is quiet but I’ll often wobble when demonstrating Dancer in class.
  • Serious? I take my yoga seriously because it means a huge amount to me but I’ll have the giggles sometimes when teaching my classes (see point above!) or when I notice my mind doing its thing and going off on judgements and tangents when practising at home – and I feel all the better for it!

Plus, as well as loving:

Stella Tomlinson Yoga Teacher
Loving yoga

I also enjoy this:

Mmm, a nice drop of red wine
Mmm, a nice drop of red wine

Read more…