After-thoughts of Savasana

These are after thoughts of Savasana... or of any moment where you stop and appreciate the work you have done to get you where you are.

When you pause and take a moment to be still, you allow the processing that has happened on the emotional, mental or physical level to be absorbed by the body.  We can heal the body and heal through the body.

These golden moments is where your body has a chance to do its own magic, there is nothing you can do with your mind to force your body to heal and repair, all you can do is to allow your body this time that it needs.  

Quite often the thoughts that come through the mind during Savasana moments have clarity and insight that is not always accessible during the distractions of daily life.

Each week I write up these thoughts and include them with the live class recordings. Here I share those themes that persist through the month.  

Afterthoughts from The First Stretch Challenge

(January 2022)

 The First Stretch of the First Stretch

               We kicked off this year with a 7 Week Online First Stretch Challenge, a fundraiser for The Havin’ a Laugh Charity. Through this we have made available a selection of Yoga classes, bonus talks and ceremonial practices to help us all land safely into the new year.  I had the pleasure of taking the class with our newest teachers Carolanne and Nicola this week and I am actually just so full of gratitude and Savasana type thoughts I knew it was time to get some words down on paper for you. 

On Tuesday evening 7pm, Carolanne brought us through a 45min Yin practice focusing on rooting and grounding and working with Kidney Bladder and Spleen meridians.  There was certainly much more she was working with but that is what I can remember as I was busy blissing out for most of it.   According to Chinese medicine this time of year, our winter, is when any deficiencies or vulnerabilities in our kidney energy will make themselves known.  The postures Carolanne brought us through helped to bring awareness so we could feel into what’s there. I was surprised to find in myself a lot of restriction across my lower back.  Well, the truth is I knew I had some achiness there but was doing a good job of ‘avoiding it’. With Carolannes guidance I was forced to really acknowledge and also be gentle with myself.  The longer I stayed in the postures supported by bolsters and cushions I could tangibly feel a release. So simple, stop, support yourself, and then allow your body a chance to let go!

On Wednesday I spent the day trying out new equipment in the studio and then got to meet our regulars and some new faces for the mid-week mixed mobility session.  I really love to teach these chair-based sessions.  With movement a secondary aspect these sessions bring us back to the breathwork, the foundation of any practice.  I’ve been reading Wim Hoff lately and doing daily coldwater dips and I love how it is supporting my own fundamental belief that the breath is the core and the foundation of all healing and resilience.

It wasn’t until I got into Nicolas Fusion flow on Wednesday evening 7pm that I fully realised the benefits of the practice Carolanne had brought us through.  The achiness I had been ‘managing’ through Christmas had been dispersed, I had freedom in my hips that I had been eluding me for weeks.  I kept laughing through the practice as my foot landed comfortably in lunge with none of the twinges I had been wincing at the week before.  Nicolas class was so empowering with strong breath practice, strong movement and repetition and variations offered so everyone can follow along at their own pace or level.   I hadn’t expected the combination of Yin Tuesday and Fusion Wednesday to be so complimentary but for me it really did work.  With Yin you get to check in, listen to your body, know where your limits are, know where the freedom is.  Then on Wednesday you get to move with intention and integrity in your body, with an energetic uplifting practice.  The chair based mobility provides an anchor mid-week to help keep us stay centred in the breath. Max will be taking over these session for Weeks 4 & 5 and will add to the mix his expertise in mobility coaching and pain relief.

I finished late on Wednesday night and joined a friend for Cold Water Dip in the Dark, submerged in the crispy darkness, an underwater Savasana, I felt such elated gratefulness for all we have access to. We need not doubt that everything we need is available within our community. I endeavour to keep highlighting and sharing the best of what we have to offer, I encourage you to just keep trying everything until you find what it is that works for you.


(October 2021)

Making The New, The Norm!

My intention of late has been to become familiar with a new norm and I'm starting to recognise what might be a set of steps to establish a state of wellbeing.  Like the breath tune in at the start of the practice, the priority must be create a sense of internal safety first. It's taken me many years for me to get to a point where I can say confidently that I feel that.  I use anxiety as my marker, knowing that when I am anxiety free it is because I have connected to that safe place within.  I can say that after 7 years of chronic anxiety I now experience most days anxiety free and have been like this for nearly 2 years...except during tax returns, that sh^$ still gets me!!;-) Looking back on the progress I have made I would lay these out as the steps I have taken.  Not in step-by-step order exactly but cycling through at different stages as required.

Learning to breath -  and learning why breathwork works, its important for me to understand the whys and not just the whats.  Conscious breathing calms the nervous system and helps develop healthy vagal tone. Healthy vagal tone is foundation upon which all other states of the nervous system can start to function positively. Fight or flight turns into friendly competition and freeze turns into safe intimacy, theres more on this in the full Yoga for the Nervous System Workshop.

Learning to move mindfully.  This is how I've always taught vinyasa, and in teaching it this way I have integrated the understanding into my psyche.  However, continually coming back to awareness and accountability of thoughts and emotions is not an easy path...and why it is necessary to know how to turn on the internal safety mechanism.  And why it is essential to learn how to breath first.

Listening to my Body.  This isn't an elusive concept, it's as simple as stopping when I'm broken, tired or aching.  And also, conversely, knowing when the body wants to move.  I've recently discovered that what I sometimes thought was tiredness in my body was actually suppressed energy from lack of movement.  And sometimes it is just tiredness ;-)

Connecting to the Body.  The best ahh haa moment I have had is realising that there is nowhere that we need to get to.  Remembering that you are already here!  This can be a great calmer and I use it if I feel myself getting in a tizzy. Saying to myself. Remember you are already exactly where your meant to be.  And using the physical practices to give myself a sense of presence in my own body.  Our souls require us to be connected to our physical bodies, soul expression happens through the body not despite of it. The Subtle Body training has really helped to bring that home for me. Self-connection is the closest connection we can have to soul or spirit.

Connecting to Nature.  The deeper I get into the sciences the more profound the realisations become.  All the systems of nature that are designed to support human life on this planet! Photosynthesis in plants supports respiration, the rain cycle (the earths distillation system) cleanses the waters...the same waters that have ever existed over eons should be unusable by now (we're trying our best but nature keeps cycling our waters around, we really should be more grateful for this). Our internal circadian clocks synchronize with the rising and setting of the sun and all our systems are affected, the nervous system, the endocrine, cardiovascular and immune systems. Many chronic diseases are known to be caused by ignoring or trying to override our circadian clocks.   There are soo many examples, even natures ions generated by pounding water support healthy cell function.   When we take a moment to fully acknowledge all these things it's hard (for me anyway) to not feel in awe.  And getting out into nature with all these concepts in mind it gives me perspective and helps me to let go of the perceived stresses of modern life.

Becoming Comfortable with a new state of Ease.  This is my most recent learning, and my current favorite. At certain points along the journey there comes a time when you just have to accept that you are doing better and be at this new vibration with confidence.  When you can do that the residual past stresses and anchors will fall away.  It can be a habit and a pass-time of the intellect to want to pick at the old scabs but there comes a point where you have to choose to accept you've moved on.  And you may never understand the old stressors or get the satisfaction of analyzing and dissecting all your grievances fully, but when its gone, move on!  Sometimes the only way to move on from the old is to focus on the new, until the new way of being becomes more familiar than the old. 

Then you know you've made the new, the norm!


(March 2021)

The Power of Affirmations

With International Womens Day on March 8th I have been looking around me and noticing all the wonderful women in my life.  The truth is I have always been a bit of a tom-boy and I enjoy male company and the ‘craic’ had amongst the lads. I also was quite resistant to the idea of Womens groups because they felt to me to be anti-men...which I am not.   

So it has taken me somewhat by surprise to look at my life now and notice the circles of women that I see around me. These women with whom I have managed to form connections with through the crazy of 2020.   It started with Subtle Body Anatomy training, which is ongoing and forever developing, from this came the friendship with Cathi and Louise that has made Anois Yoga possible.   I have a wonderful group of surf girl-friends and we get to meet out-back on the waves when conditions are favourable.  Recently I joined an eco-feminist book club…What the heck, who AM I?

So it dawned on me, in Savasana, that I introduced an affirmation into my life about 2 years ago that seems to coincide with this shift in my friend-matrix.  My affirmation is simple 'I am my most beautiful feminine self'.  I felt at the time that I needed balance and wasn’t particular about what changes came, I just needed to feel more my feminine self.  We all need help feeling our most authentic selves and often we get fixated on what needs to change externally rather than what you need to feel internally. I might have had some ideas of what I might like to happen, but I was keeping my mind open;-D

So here’s a few tips for working with affirmations, Imagining your affirmation is a direct conversation with the Universe…not a request, a statement. You may wish for feelings of peace, freedom, motivation, passion, focus…etc.   

  • State what way you wish to feel, rather than things you'd like to have.
  • It IS OK to borrow the words of others if they fit with your hearts desires.
  • Phrase the affirmation into the present tense.  eg. If you tell the universe 'I want to be happy with my life' The universe hears a person saying 'I am a person who wants happiness' and the universe will create situations where you are left wanting happiness.  So you could rephrase the affirmation to 'I am happy with the life I have'. And the universe will provide you with what you need to be happy in the life that you have, whether that’s a change in circumstances or a change of perspective.  If you end up feeling happy with your life, then it’s worked.
  • Repeat your affirmation daily. I prefer early morning, before the phone or laptop are touched. 
  • Start with your full name ‘I am First name, middle name, last name.’ 
  • Follow with  ‘I am…..your affirmation’ Repeat as often as you like.
  • Trust that the universe/matrix will arrange itself to provide you with the experience that fits with your statement of yourself. 

For me, I now realise that although I may have been expecting a different outcome, it has actually been through these connections and communication with the wonderful women in my life that I have started to authentically feel like my most beautiful feminine self.