Tag Archives: work

Yoga in difficult times

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When I look back at the past year – or two! – I have to say things have been challenging.  Difficult, really. Just plain hard a lot of the time.  On previous occasions when the challenges have come thick and fast, I have stopped taking care of myself. It’s been a definite pattern. I’ve taken care of others, yes, but myself no. On these occasions, I have been known to stop meditating.  For years.

This time it’s been different. I know that’s my tendency, so I have been careful to maintain some form of my daily practice in whatever way I can.

I have expanded my business and opened my own yoga studio. Some of you reading this may have already come along for classes and / or treatments. The process hasn’t been easy but I am incredibly proud of the space we’ve created.

There have been personal health challenges, and in fact these have strengthened my commitment, as, along with super-healthy diet and lifestyle, I truly believe that yoga and meditation have directly contributed to moving beyond these.

There have also been family health challenges – and these have been more difficult. By necessity, when you are caring for another’s needs, time for yourself does disappear. My own energy levels and health were affected considerably, and there were plenty of mornings when meditation just wasn’t going to happen – because I’d been up all night and / or my day just started at 5am, full on, no time off.

But even then, I continued to practise in some way.  Perhaps just a few mindful breaths now and then, looking at the view out of the window. Maybe a quick stretch, a minute or two, snatched when I could. A far cry from my regular hour in the mornings, but something. And always the intention to get back to my practice at the first opportunity. A resolve to look after myself again when the time was right.

And that time eventually came. Life still isn’t back to normal. But as a wise friend said a couple of months ago, it’s my ‘new normal’. The stress levels started to subside. My mornings could be reclaimed for my hour of yoga and meditation.  So the stress levels dropped a little more.

And here I am, writing again. This hasn’t exactly been a regular thing over the past couple of years. But…..life got in the way.

 

 

Keeping my feet on the ground

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I have been working really hard in my business just lately – that’s why you may have noticed less writing going on than usual. I’m working on something really big – it’s too early to share what it is, although hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I can let out all my excitement and share it with the world!

What I have noticed over the past few weeks, though, is that achieving a dream takes an awful lot of work.  A dream, however long you have held it for, remains just that – a dream – unless you are prepared to  take the steps that make it a reality. We get inspired to do things all the time, but those inspirations will only result in a material change if we are prepared to put in the work required.

Suppose you feel inspired to go for a walk. The idea of it is so nice – the sun is shining outside, you can imagine how good it would make you feel to get out there and get some fresh air and exercise, but until you get your shoes on and take the first step, it just exists as a nice idea inside your head. I remember someone who was completing a registration form on joining one of my yoga classes asking if Wii-Fit counted as exercise?  I answered yes, at which point she admitted that she hadn’t yet taken it out of the box. We laughed, but this illustrates the point so nicely…..unless you actually do something, an idea is just an idea, a dream is just a dream – they live inside your head.

So, if you like the idea of something, but it seems unattainable – too big, too scary (my dream did!) – then what can you do about it? I always find it helps to break it down into tiny steps and see which of them you can manage easily. And for those you can’t manage, can you think of someone who can help you with those steps?  Don’t assume you already need to know how you’re going to achieve it all, just take those first steps, and get help where you need it.

If you would like to become more flexible, or more relaxed, or less stressed, or able to relax your body at will – don’t assume that you should just know how to do those things.  Most of us don’t.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn. Read books, find a teacher, go online – just pick a starting point and see where the journey takes you. And if you really want that walk, get out there and enjoy.  Take your first steps and keep your feet on the ground!

Alison x

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Taking time out

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Recently, I’ve been practising a lot of meditation.  Not so much writing as before,  but a lot of meditation.  There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do all of the things that make us feel good.  But it is so important to find time to do at least some of them.  For me, yoga and meditation make me feel good, as does writing, reading, quality time with my family, listening to music, cooking (but not the washing up!) – the list goes on.  You may like to think about what would go on your list.

But all too often, our days get filled with the things we must do.  The hours whizz by in a blur of work, driving from one place to the other, cleaning, tidying, phone calls, appointments and so on,  until we finally fall into an exhausted sleep at the end of the day.  Long-term, this will not do any of us any good at all.  We all need a break now and then.  And that week or fortnight that most of us manage once a year is probably not enough if we rush around frantically for the other 50+ weeks.  We need to look at our list of what must be done, long and hard, and work out if some of it is really necessary, if we could get help with it, or if we are creating unnecessary stress by our own perfectionism, our own demands of ourselves.

We also need to look at that list of the good things, the things which make us feel alive, nurturing our inner selves.  How can we fit more of that into our lives?  If you have a regular yoga and meditation practice, congratulations – you are helping to look after both your physical and mental wellbeing.  If you used to have a regular practice, which has fallen by the wayside due to the other demands on your time – well, we’ve all been there.  If you used to listen to positive, uplifting music, walk in the countryside or by the sea, and no longer do that, think how you could fit that into your day.  Maybe the whole world won’t fall apart if you have a few minutes out of each day, or a few hours out of each week to do the things which help you to feel good.  Maybe, just maybe, you will find that all your other duties seem easier to accomplish, that you achieve more and better by taking that time out.  And maybe you will be an awful lot happier, more relaxed, more vibrant , and more able to deal with the undoubted challenges of everyday life.