The problem with jam-packing your evenings, is that it can sometimes leave little room for spontaneous creativity. I am getting better at that, for a Virgo it's often tricky to let go of the ‘organised' left-side of the brain and just be more with the right-side, but it's something I am definitely improving at by living more in the moment and keeping free time aside. The Live Your Legend blog challenge topic yesterday was to put together my ‘elevator pitch', which basically means to share what I am excited about, what I am trying to build and the things I really care about. The blog challenge for today was to state “What difference do you want to make” and I am combining those two into this one post with a bit extra at the end.
When I look around me, I see a lot of stress and a lot of disconnection between people, not just between each other but I feel that people are losing their connection with their environment, with nature and just lessening their experience with life. I wrote about this in a recent blog post “Disconnect to Reconnect” The problem with being glued to mobile technology is that you can spending a great deal of time staring into a very artificially created little world when you have all this beauty, magnificence and splendour around you. When we become so focused on ourselves and our own schedules, our little bubble-world, then we can lose the ability to show true compassion and kindness to each other. I've lost count of the amount of times people commit to something only to bail at the last-minute or when I've been trying to put a point across that really means something to me, only for them to be distracted by their phone or just not having that mindful listening skill that is so vital for a true, meaningful connection.
Now, how can we change this? Well, we can start by putting our phones down and engaging in real-life activities. We can practice meditation and mindfulness to get in touch with the world and with people on a genuine and authentic level. We can push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, learn new things, take up yoga, pilates, tai-chi, qigong, drop the old, negative self-talk that we are not good enough, let go of the bitterness about small things that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. In a nutshell, find your flow!
I'm reading a book right now called “The Happiness Track” by Emma Seppala and she hits the nail right on the head:
“Everyone wants to be happy and successful. And yet the pursuit of both has never been more elusive. As work and personal demands rise, we try to keep up by juggling everything better, moving faster, and doing more. While we might succeed in the short-term, it comes at a cost to our well-being, relationships, and, paradoxically, our productivity.”
You can check out a brief TedX Talk below where she touches on the importance of the breath. If you want to remember how important the breath is then just hold it for as long as possible, you will soon gain a new appreciation for your breath that we can sometimes take for granted.
Now, how does all this fit into my “Elevator pitch” – well, I want to help people de-stress, to relax more and to be free from worry, unhealthy habits, overcome health problems and just enjoy their lives more, achieve their dreams and goals, have more fulfilling relationships and just be happy, moment to moment.
It's ambitious and I still have quite a lot of work to do. I have coaching programs waiting for people, I have developed an initial 4-week Mindfulness course starting next month and a more ambitious 6-week course in the New Year, as well as having the hypnotherapy skills, workshops planned and 1-2-1 consultations. It's a busy time and although it takes a lot of planning, reading and research, I am really looking forward to getting started to actively help people who are struggling. There can be a stigma that some people feel to admit they may be struggling but “Mind Health” is as important, if not more so, than physical health. We think nothing of going to the gym, going running, yoga etc but when it comes to training our mind, we can often neglect this part and I hope to become as much of a Mind Coach as a Health Coach. The mindset and ability to handle difficult emotions and circumstances is a skill that can be taught through a varying amount of techniques and can transform people's lives who may be struggling, into one where they jump out of bed looking forward to their days with relish.
Being Mindful, I try not to have long-term goals but it's my dream to be able to travel and deliver talks and seminars across the world. Baby steps though, and I'll be happy to get a little community together here in the West End of Glasgow for those who just want to live each day with joy and happiness.
It was not always the case that I was waking up with a spring in my step, more like a lead weight around my shoulders, but over the last 3 years I have spent A LOT of time learning skills, training and finding out what brings me joy and happiness, and just doing them consistently. As important, it's about finding out the things that don't serve you and stopping that habit. It can be tough to break some routines, but there is no such thing as a habit that cannot be broken and be replaced with a newer, healthier habit.
INFINITY AND BEYOND
This week is my 1-year anniversary with Infinity Yoga in Merchant City, Glasgow. When I think back to when I first started attending the lunchtime Yoga and Pilates class at this fantastic little boutique studio, it's almost as if I am looking at a different person. I had some stress lingering, was overweight and was in physical pain after re-herniating a previous disc injury. I could barely get into some postures, was on Ibuprofen or co-codamol during (and after) some classes in the early days, and almost every single position hurt, bar Savasana! I stuck with it though, I received excellent corrections and advice from all the teachers at Infinity. I have had weeks when I just was in so much pain I couldn't make it along to class but when I did go I almost always felt better after I had been. I learned through the teachers to listen to my body, it was usually saying “What the absolute f**k do you think you are doing to me!” – apologies for the language but it was THAT intense at times. I have always hidden my pain and it was only really when I fully embraced mindfulness a year ago that I learned to breathe towards the pain, to ease off, to let my ego go to get into a posture ‘properly' – hint…the only proper posture is one that is suitable for YOUR own body. I've tried to push myself as much as possible and slowly but surely I felt myself reduce the huge gap between my body and mind, through the breath I have learned to move at my own pace, to not give up, to push myself without pushing myself through pain – did that a few times and it's not a good idea!
So here I am now 1 year on and I finally feel that I have the ability to know when I have the energy to attend class and when I don't – I go, pretty much every lunchtime that I am at work (thanks to my very understanding boss for allowing me 90 minutes lunch break!) – it benefits me at work and at home. I am so much more relaxed and together with Mindfulness/Meditation practices I feel much more centred.
I just want to say that I owe a huge debt of thanks to Colette Ward who runs Infinity – I've told here this a few times now but she has been a tremendous inspiration and mentor to me, she is such a warm, caring and genuine person and she radiates health and caring to anyone she comes into contact with. Her classes are always fun and engaging and a real delight to attend. She has so much energy to perform SO many classes without any drop in focus, alignment and to keep it all so light-hearted and entertaining is a tremendous gift and something to look forward to. It also gives me hope that I can keep progressing in my practice, such has been her obvious drive and determination in her journey.
Jamie McFadden has taken A LOT of my lunchtime classes and he has also been a huge help and encouragement to me – he brings so much humour to his classes, they are always fun and he has helped me out no end with advice on alignment and what I can do to get this aching body into postures I never thought possible including my first headstand this week – yaaay.
Lola always gives a very warm welcome to everyone. I have sometimes been in a bit of a low mood when coming in some days, whether due to my mind, the weather etc but to have her welcoming smile and sense of humour never fails to brighten up my day. Her artwork is also a joy to look at, she is a supremely talented artist and I hope starts doing more of this – I hope to see her exhibit her art one day!
I've also been in classes over the year with James, Cat and Steph who all bring their own unique energy and skills to their classes and the variety is something I really like…you never really know what you are going to get which keeps it so much fun and a welcome break in between the working day. I also wanted to say a big thanks to all the other yogis and yoginis who make the classes energetic, fun and just provide a great vibe every day to be around them.
My core is stronger, I am more flexible and my mind is calmer than it has ever been. If you are based in and around Glasgow I recommend you check out this little oasis – its pure heaven and I hope that I can get back to attending more weekend classes too as I am missing my Yin fixes there on a Saturday and Sunday! That is my resolution for next year – to up my Yin game lol
Of course, it's important to balance out your energy. There are other studios that I totally love with equally inspiring teachers that I have written about before but I just wanted to say thanks to all the crew at Infinity Yoga for giving me my lunchtime fix and being a huge part of helping me back to happiness and health. I love you all and hope to be able to help people as much as you have helped me. I love you all x
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