Category Archives: yoga

The Art of Manifesting Part 2

Another full moon this weekend so another excuse for some manifesting! Following on from last months blog on manifesting this month I’m exploring what happens when you’re not sure what your goals are.  Some people set out on things with no idea where it will lead.  They have some vague idea or notion but can’t yet get clear on what the end result looks like.  It feels like too big a commitment to say “that’s definitely what I want”.  There may be too many options to consider which all look appealing.  How can you choose a definite path?

So this month I’m working with “this is where I’m heading for now”.  Taking things one step at a time, see where things lead.  Remember nothing is permanent and things can change. And they will change!

Look back across your life and see how many changes you’ve been through – new homes, new jobs, new relationships. So just because you manifest something into your life it doesn’t mean that you can’t then make changes in the future.  It’s an ongoing and evolving process. And the more you do it the more skilled you’ll become so when you are ready to make those big changes you’ve had plenty of practice.

We need to commit to our goals and visions. If we go into them half hearted the end results will reflect that. But there will always need to be tweaks, we may not get things quite right so we can continually adjust and fine tune. And once in a while you might see the need for a complete overhaul. Don’t stress about it! Let it flow.  

My life has twisted & turned through varying jobs, careers, friendships, romances, interests & hobbies. Each one manifested from what I put out and each one an opportunity to learn and evolve. Some of them stick with you for life, some don’t. It is all part of life’s rich experience – and you are the creator of your life.

The Art of Manifesting

The Art of Manifesting

Yes, Spring has finally Sprung!!  It’s a time for visioning, setting goals for the year ahead, and with a second full moon this month, a Blue Moon, what better time to set some intentions and start manifesting what you want from life.

When it comes to manifesting it doesn’t actually matter when you do it – full moons, new moons, beginning of the season or month, beginning of the year, beginning of the week, a new day or any  symbolic moment in your life.  Any particular time you feel drawn to creating a new beginning is a great time for setting intentions and manifesting.  Listen to your intuition – if you are wanting to make changes then “now” is a good time to start.  In terms of Seasons, Spring is the perfect time for looking ahead, for setting out what you want to achieve in the year ahead.  Planting those seed intentions and then nurturing them throughout the year so that they can grow and expand.

I like to create some rituals, to create a space to think and dream. Nothing overly complicated, do what feels right for you.  You might want to light a candle, grab a notebook, have an object with you that will be symbolic of the change.  Meditate to get you into calm and focussed state of mind.  Then start to dream.

  • What do you want to achieve over the next year?

Be specific, dream, but start to create a clear picture in your mind of what you want to achieve, how it looks. Take time to really explore that picture in your mind and see how it feels through all 5 senses.  Let go of the if’s, but’s and maybe’s – this is your dream and it is limitless.  What does that dream look like?  Explore that picture – the sights, sounds, smells.  How does it feel?  How do you look in that picture?

Once you have this picture your unconscious mind can start looking for opportunities that align with your dreams.

  • Why do you want to achieve this?

Understanding why you want this, what your purpose is, gives you a context for achieving your goals.  Like having a compelling picture in your mind, having a compelling reason for what you want to achieve is great for keeping you on track.

Make sure that reason is for you and not linked to someone else’s expectations.

  • What do you need to do to achieve your dream?

Now you have this compelling picture in your mind you can start thinking about the steps that you need to achieve it.  It might be a big goal or dream so start breaking it down into chunks.  What can you start doing now that aligns to your dream and will help you?  What tasks are on a slightly longer timeframe?  Plan them out, write them down.

Once you start breaking it down into smaller chunks what might seem like an impossible dream suddenly looks achievable.

  • What do you need to let go of?

What is stopping you moving forward with this dream?  What is holding you back?  Acknowledge these things.  Ask what purpose they are serving in your life.  Wht are they holding you back?  The majority of times it is fear that holds us back – fear of the unknown, fear of change.  If this dream is something that you really want then something has to change.

Can you let go of these things that are holding you back and no longer serving you?  Revisit that picture in your mind of what you want to achieve – make that picture so bright and compelling.

  • Take Action in alignment with your dreams

Start taking action – start making progress on those small steps that you’ve identified.  Don’t put them off.  It’s amazing how quickly times passes by so start taking action NOW – by taking action in alignment with your goals you are sending a powerful message to the universe that this is where you are going, this is what you want.  Once you start taking small actions it also reinforces the dream in the unconscious mind and it will keep looking for opportunities.  Keep taking small steps forward and the plan will start to come to fruition.

When we take action that’s not in alignment we are sending messages to the brain that it doesn’t really matter, it confuses the brain & it will direct us back towards comfortable habits.

Take action now.  Do it with purpose and focus.  No half-hearted measures.

  • Stay open to possibilities and opportunities

Don’t become too rigid in your goals.  In Spring time when we set goals we can become too wooden, allow space for flexibility, for new ideas and opportunities to present themselves and above all, allow space for magic to happen.

When we stay open it is amazing what opportunities might present themselves to get you to where you need to be.

  • Tune into, and Listen to, your intuition.

Sometimes we become so fixed on our goals that we say yes to things that seem like they might be good but our intuition says “No”.  They might be part of someone else’s dream and tempting as it sounds might not be quite in alignment with what you are doing.  Listen to your gut instincts

  • Get EXCITED

When we are manifesting new things we are manifesting changes to the current status quo and change can be uncomfortable thing.  Pushing us out of our comfort zone, into unknown territory.  Be curious about where that could take you, get excited about where that could take you.  See it as an exciting new adventure full of learning, full of new possibilities.

Where will your dreams take you?

Spring – Detoxing & Energising

Spring has Sprung

Spring has finally sprung and with the clocks going forward last weekend we now see the lighter nights.

Winter always seems so long, just when you start to notice the longer hours of daylight and think spring is finally here – bam, a deluge of snow, a beast from the east!  But finally, some lovely sunshine over the last few days, spring bulbs sprouting up from the earth, new leaves forming on the trees.

Spring is a time for growth, rising energy pushing up from the ground.  The organs associated with Spring are the Liver and Gallbladder – the liver removes toxins from our bodies so it’s a great time to be thinking about spring cleaning – home, body and mind.  The gallbladder is our decision maker so it’s a time for getting clear on your goals for the year, setting some objectives and starting to take action move you forwards.

Cleansing and Detoxing

Greens are great for the cleansing the liver.  Try vibrant green juices with spinach or kale or make simple stir-fired greens.  The liver works hard to process toxins from the body, processing alcohol, drugs, excess hormones etc.  If the liver becomes overloaded the toxins build up in the body so it’s important we give the liver some TLC and ensure it’s in tip top condition.

Detox your environment too.  Spring clean your home, car, office space.  Get rid of things you don’t need and also consider the quality of your environment – get some plants to improve your air quality.  Have a look at the cleaning products you use – are they creating more toxins in your home environment and the environment as a whole?  Have a look at switching to eco-friendly products.

Detox your self-care routines – have a look at what you are putting on your body as well as in your body.  Your skin absorbs products you put on the skin so make sure they are full of natural ingredients and not leading to more toxins in your body.

Detox your mind – how toxic are your thoughts?  Take some time to cultivate a positive mind set, maybe keep a gratitude journal, have a digital detox and step away from social media, meditate.

Goal Setting

Over the winter months we’ve had time to reflect on what we want and don’t want so now is the time to start putting some thought into setting goals.  What do you want to achieve this year?  How are you going to get there?  Big goals can be overwhelming but when we start to break them down into smaller goals they start to seem possible.  Set some clear visions, create a clear and vibrant picture of that vision in your mind, see it through all five senses so it becomes so compelling your unconscious mind starts looking for ways to make it a reality.  Create a vision board that you see everyday to remind you of what you want to achieve.  Then start taking positive action to achieve your goals.  It’s only through taking action that your goals will materialise.

Finding Time

So many people say to me that they really want to do something but don’t have the time.  My response is always the same – if you really want to do it you’ll find the time.  The question is how much do you really want to do this thing?

Whether it’s getting to an exercise class, eating healthily, making time for friends or family, learning a new skill, finding time for yourself.  Work takes up so much of our time and so our “free time” is extremely precious.  But do we act as if it is as precious as it is?  Do we fritter the time away – wonder where the weekend’s gone when we’ve binged on the latest boxset and then we beat ourselves up because we really wanted to get to the gym/out for a walk in the fresh air/spend time with a friend……

Let’s put things into perspective:

There are 168 hours in a week

  • If you sleep for 8 hours per night that leaves you with 112 hours
  • You might work for 40 hours a week, deducting this leaves you with 72 hours.

72 hours of free time, that’s more than the hours you work in the week!!  It’s 3 whole days!!  What could you do with all that time?

Okay, so you might work more than a 40hour week, you might have a long commute which eats into your non-work time, you might need more than 8 hours sleep a night (and you might need less giving you some more free time!) and you need to eat within some of that time.  Sit down and work out how much free time you actually have, then consider how you spend it.  Do you spend it wisely?  Take 5 minutes out of your day to figure out how you spend your time and how you could use it more wisely.

I’ve spent the last year changing my life around to work more flexibly so I have time to do the things that matter to me.  But that still means getting up early and doing meditation, sometimes going to an early morning yoga classes at 6:30am, studying late into the evening.  My yoga practice matters to me because it helps me develop for both my teaching and for my self-development.  Learning is also important to me, again for my teaching and for my self-development, so I’d rather spend time learning than watching TV.

Where can you make changes in your life to fit in the things you really want to do?  Can you get up 20 minutes earlier to get in some exercise?  Can you utilise a train commute for learning something new?  Is your life working for you or are you working for your life?  How committed are you to doing the things that you say matter to you?  Will you look back on your life wishing you’d watched more netflix?

I’m not suggesting that you need to fill all your time but if there are things you want to do you have to make time for them.  That might mean saying “No” to some things and prioritising.  I believe whole-heartedly that if you really want to do something you will make the time for it.  Do you keep putting things off saying “when I have more time”,  “when the kids are older”.  Yes, we need to consider events in our lives, but where can you make even the smallest bit of time to do the things that matter to you.  Even if it’s small steps that start you on the path.

What could you do with 3 whole days?  What will you do with that time?

Seasonal Yoga – Winter

Winter is a time for relaxing, restoring and recharging your batteries.  The kidneys and bladder are the organs associated with the season of winter according to traditional Chinese medicine and the kidneys can be thought of as our own battery pack.  We need to ensure they are recharged to support us through the year.

It is a time for reflecting – contemplating what continues to serve us and what no longer serves us.  But this is not a time for taking drastic action or making radical changes.  It is a time to reflect and contemplate, building a bigger picture so that we can start planting seedlings in spring that we can nurture and grow.

Water is the element associated with winter.  It reminds us to go with the flow or to be still and reflect.  When the kidneys are out of balance we tend to feel fear – the adrenal glands are paired with the kidneys and are involved in our ‘fight or flight’ stress response so if you are feeling a bit stressed or fearful practice some gentle flowing yoga or find stillness in meditation to calm the body and mind.

With the start of a new year many people choose this time of year to go on a diet but this is the time when the body is seeking warming hearty meals such as soups and stews.  That doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be unhealthy at this time of year!  Fill up on healthy vegetable with warming spices – curried parsnip soup or cumin spiced roasted root vegetable.  Check out @seasonaleats for some weekly inspiration.

Winter Recipe: Spice Roasted Winter Vegetables

  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Sweet potato
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • Olive oil

Wash & peel the vegetables & cut into large chunks/wedges.  Combine in an ovenproof dish with the garlic and cumin seeds.  Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven (180C) for 30-40 mins or until the vegetables are tender.

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Watery Winter Moon Flow

This lovely practice is great for easing out tension and gently moving the body.  Moving between child’s pose, upward dog & downward dog. Flowing through the spine, closing your eyes and taking your attention inwards.  Listen to what your body is asking you for, spending a few breaths in one particular posture, perhaps swaying the hips from side to side in updog or down dog.  Keep the focus on the watery, fluidity of the movement.

Child’s Pose – Up Dog – Down Dog – Up Dog – Child’s Pose

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There are still some spaces left at my Mini Retreat this Sunday (14th January) at Prana Yoga Hamilton.  Give yourself some time and space to relax and recharge.

Or join my weekly Restorative or Yin Yoga classes at Seasonal Yoga Academy Glasgow

I’m also starting a monthly meditation workshop which kicks off on 11th February.  This monthly workshop is suitable for beginners and those with a regular meditation practice.  It will offer a supportive space to learn more about meditation, develop a regular practice and dive deeper

Restorative Yoga – What is it?

On Tuesday 9th January I’ll be starting a new restorative yoga class at Seasonal Yoga Academy.  But what is restorative yoga and how can it benefit you?

Restorative yoga is all about bringing the body to relaxation.  We hold so much tension in our bodies – sometimes without realising and it’s not until we try and relax that we suddenly realise how tense we are; sometimes we know just how much tension we are carrying around with us but don’t feel able to do anything to release it. Tension accumulated through stress, poor posture, repetitive movements, injury etc.  And the more the tension builds the more we start to compensate with other areas of the body – an injured knee perhaps leading to more weight being put through the opposite leg or adapting the gait putting more strain on the hip.

Restorative yoga aims to gently stretch the body in a relaxed way.  Using bolsters, bricks, cushions, foam rollers, chi balls (you name it, we have it!) to support the body and ease out the tension.   Postures are typically held for several minutes to allow the body to fully relax into them.

Restorative yoga gets us back into the parasympathetic nervous system – our body’s rest and restore setting.  We live so much of our lives in the sympathetic nervous system – the fight/flight setting – always on, always active and releasing stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol) into the body.  By switching over to the parasympathetic nervous system we allow the body to clear away all those stress hormones bringing it back into balance.

Restorative yoga is a great complement to more active exercise and sports – allowing the muscles to relax fully and recover from injury and stresses placed on them, gently increasing flexibility and restoring the body’s natural balance.

Whether it’s stress, injury, general aches and pains, long term illness or just space and time for relaxation come and join me on Tuesday evenings 8pm at Seasonal Yoga Academy.

New Years Resolutions

The start of a new year, a blank slate, an opportunity to make changes.  I love the start of a new year, closing the door to the old year and stepping into the unknown: 365 days ahead of opportunities, new challenges, new discoveries and adventures.

I’ve long since given up on setting resolutions though – so many years of setting unattainable resolutions that fall by the wayside by mid-January.  The majority of new year’s resolutions fail within the first 2-3 weeks because people suddenly make drastic changes without getting the mid fully on board – joining the gym/diet groups to be fitter, healthier, lighter, stronger then the initial enthusiasm wears off, it’s winter and you just want to hibernate, eat comforting food and stay at home.  We’ve suddenly pushed ourselves right out of our comfort zone, which is exactly where we need to be to make changes, but if it’s too much too quickly the mind just wants to take the quickest route back to the comfort zone – picking up a takeaway/cake/wine/beer/ etc etc on the way!  And then there’s the feelings of failure kicking in – the negative chatter, the downward spiral, before we know it we’ve eaten more cake, drank more wine, missed the gym sessions, we’re beating ourselves up even more!

Although I don’t set new years resolutions anymore I still love to plan and set goals, but not just yet.  In traditional Chinese medicine winter is considered a time for recharging, restoring and reflecting rather than taking action.  Definitely not the time to be making radical changes to diet or lifestyle.   Instead of resolutions I like to set some intentions for the year ahead that I can then build on as the year progresses.  As winter is a time for reflection it’s the perfect time to ask yourself some searching questions so that when spring comes you’ve got some seedlings to start tending.

As I was reflecting on 2017 a lesson that kept popping up for me was remembering to stay present, enjoy the here and now as the present is all we have.  Last year is now memories, the future unknown. I have to find a balance between setting my intentions and then relaxing and letting the universe take over.  So I set aside some planning time – time specifically dedicated to reflection, daydreaming and manifesting.  An afternoon or an evening, I get cosy, light a candle, make a pot of tea, put on some inspiring music, reflect, dream, & let my imagination run wild.

So grab your notebook and set yourself a bit of dream time.  Some questions to prompt you in reflecting:

  • What did you achieve in the past year?
  • What worked/didn’t work and what you can learn from the experiences?
  • Are there patterns that keep repeating? What needs to change to stop the patterns repeating
  • What would be good to take forward into 2018, what can you let go of?
  • What do you dream of doing? Let your imagination free for a while.  Let go of the ‘buts’ that stop you and let your mind be free to wander.  What steps would you need to take to make some of this a reality?

As you reflect on these you can then start to build up a bigger picture and sense of direction over the winter months so that when spring arrives and the energy starts to increase you can start planting seeds to nurture and grow over the summer months.  You’ll then be reaping the rewards later in the year.

Whatever your intentions you can start making small changes, If it’s to be healthier committing to adding a few more veggies to your diet.  Maybe some gentle exercise – going for a winter walk, some gentle restorative yoga.  By starting small & taking gradual steps you can get the mind on board much more easily, it doesn’t feel like big scary change.  It makes staying on track much easier and as the small changes become habits you can start adding more changes through the year, building and building.

So what intentions are you setting this year?  What about the intention to look after yourself, self-care, nurture and nourish?

Come and join me for some yoga where you’ll have time to relax, restore and reflect:

Tuesdays Restorative 8-9:15pm & Thursdays Yin 8-9:15pm (Starts 18th January) bot at Seasonal Yoga Academy, Darnley Street, Glasgow, G41 2SE

Plus, sign up to my monthly newsletter to be kept up to date with details of my mini retreats, day retreats, yoga holidays and yoga and meditation workshops.

Time to Reset Your Body Clock

The Body Clock, our bodies natural rhythm runs in a daily cycle.  Energy moving from one organ to the next in a set sequence so that our bodies can operate at their optimum.  Each organ carrying out it’s functions at a set time each day – the most appropriate time – and resting and restoring in between.  But all too easily in our busy lives our body clock can become out of sync.

The stomach has most energy in the morning, the best time to digest a nutritious breakfast to set you up for the day, whereas energy goes to the liver and gall bladder overnight when we are resting so that the body can process all the toxins from the body so that they can be expelled by the body.  Following the liver and gall bladders active time, energy passes onto the lungs and large intestine so that they can then eliminate all the waste from the previous day.

Do you ever experience that 3pm slump – this is when the energy passes to the kidneys to recharge.  The kidney’s, home to the adrenal glands, act as a battery pack and as the energy moves here we can feel that slump as they recharge.

Late nights/early mornings, little sleep, shift working, eating late, skipping meals, eating the wrong foods, alcohol, drugs, medication, travelling to different timezones, external pollutants & toxins……..all take their toll on the body.  Our bodies get confused and don’t work so efficiently and the organs have to work harder, depleting the energy reserves.  We can then get into a vicious cycle  – using caffeine, sugar, alcohol, drugs to keep us going, which the liver then needs to work harder to process, reducing the energy even more.  The cycle continues.

But you can get your body back on track…..

  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins from the body
  • Cut down on sugar, alcohol, caffeine
  • Don’t eat too late at night
  • Eat a nutritious breakfast to set you up for the day ahead
  • Take walks into nature – breathe in the freash air, absorb vitamin D from the natural light

In addition, you can use yoga to reset the body clock – by using poses that stimulate the meridians of each organ in sequence we can get the body back on track.

With the clocks changing next weekend this is the ideal time to reset your body clock.  Join me on Friday 3rd November at Seasonal Yoga Academy where I’ll be teaching a restorative body clock sequence followed by a guided relaxation.  A great way to set yourself up for the coming months.

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Time to Roar

I always feel that new moons are a great time for stating afresh, setting some new intentions.  Yesterday saw the new moon in Leo which is said to be a very fiery time – “stoking the flames of our potential …..Courage to be our true selves, To find strength in our vulnerabilities , our truth and our rawness and to live from the inside out……….ultimately it is up to us to tend to our own heart flame by kindling it with what will bring it expansion and illumination” (Mysticmamma.com)

i am certainly feeling that this is a week for getting stuff done.  i woke up this morning with more energy than i’ve had in ages and even after a productive day i’m writing this blog at 10pm.  It could also be that it has been a scorcher of a day – Glasgow seems to have found the memo that it is summer!  Hurrah!  Whatever the reason, when these waves of productivity arise they have to be put to good use and not wasted.  SO….. more productivity for the rest of the week to bring some exciting new projects to life.

I’ve been manifesting these projects for a while now, they just started with a little seed of intention and have been growing slowly with a lot of nurturing and care.  I love this process of setting intentions, developing them and seeing them grow.  Taking my life in the new direction that i have planned.

What will you be doing over this new moon cycle?  It’s time to roar!!

Sign up for my newsletter to keep up to date with these new projects as they unfold.

There’s also spaces still available on my Arran retreat 21st & 22nd August – treat yourself to some time dedicated to you.

Although we don’t want to think about summer coming to an end I’ll be back at Prana Yoga in Hamilton on 2nd September for a Later Summer Mini Retreat.  Late Summer is a time of returning to the earth, harvesting all the good things we  planted earlier in the year. Reflecting on what we have achieved & building up our sense of self worth.  It is a time to nourish yourself both physically & mentally so give yourself this time to slow down, go inwards & rediscover your self.

Guided Relaxation – Why should I use it?

I am a great fan of guided relaxations which allow your body and mind to completely relax and have just released my first collection of guided relaxations to download – Earth & Sky (Available on iTunesCDBaby Amazon & Google Play

In our current lives we are pretty much on 24/7 and I find through my yoga classes that people find it very difficult to relax.  It’s not something people are used to doing out with sleep and it’s not something people tend to consciously make time for.  I love seeing the effects on people when they’ve experienced a guided relaxation during class – the sense of lightness and calmness in their faces and bodies – and I wanted to share this collection so that people can receive the benefits more often.

It’s incredibly important that we find time to properly relax.  In this 24/7 busy and stressful lifestyle our sympathetic nervous system is switched on a lot of the time.  This is our fight or flight mode.  Whether it is work, family life, financial pressures, anxiety over the future, there are a whole host of stressors which trigger this fight or flight mode.  When the sympathetic nervous system is engaged our heart rate increases and our breathing rate is increased in order to get oxygenated blood to the major muscles to react to the stressor.  We make short terms decisions based on the information we have to hand to get us away from the stress.  With the blood supply busy transporting oxygen to the major muscles our digestive system doesn’t get what it needs to function properly.  If we live too much in this state it has a negative impact on our bodies and our lives.

It is therefore important that we ensure we make time to rest and engage the parasympathetic nervous system.  This allows our heart rate to slow down, the circulation system to deliver blood and nutrients to all the organs to allow the body to function optimally and repair itself.  When we are in a more rested state we are able to take longer term decisions, have the space to step back and find creative solutions to problems and be able to respond rather than react to events.

My guided relaxations are written to allow the body to come to complete muscular relaxation while staying awake and aware.  The conscious mind can switch off.  I like to think of these as a away for your mind to do a bit of file sorting – if the mind is continually busy it it can get overwhelmed with the filing of information and information gets filed in the wrong place or distorted.  When we allow the mind to relax it can have a bit of a tidy up and process information effectively.

In the relaxations you also have the option to utilise a sankalpa or resolve.  This is a short phrase, intention or affirmation that you can say near the beginning and end of the relaxation for something that you wish to change.  As you relax your mind can take in the intention so that it can act as a reference point for future actions.  Here are some examples:

  • I am beautiful and loved. I am proud to be me
  • I trust life to unfold in positive ways. The universe loves me and supports me
  • I choose to see everyone and everything with joy and love
  • Life is change. I adapt easily and accept the past, the present and the future

Any phrase or affirmation you use should be short and simple so that it is easy for you to remember.  It should be in the present tense ie said as something that you are doing now rather than something you have done in the past or will do in the future.  It should also be in positive language, bringing positive things in to your life rather than being about giving something up.  For example “I choose to eat healthy and nutritious food” rather than “I am giving up food that is bad for me”

Using sanklapas and affirmations in this way when we are going about our daily life our mind will look for ways to support these beliefs which will help to make positive changes if you choose.

Earth & Sky album is available to download on iTunes, CDBabyAmazon & Google Play.