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Updates + Taking action towards your goals…

Hi there,

I hope you are well and enjoying summer.

My summer has been a mix of lots of travel and fun, and working behind the scenes on a project.

When we think of the essence of summer, it is the most active and ‘out there’ time of year. Summer connects with the fiery, solar energy of Manipura chakra. The sun energy has two major properties – heat and light. The fire within our belly is what leads us to take action towards our true values; to be strong and courageous and true to ourselves. The light reminds us to not take ourselves too seriously, to be light-hearted, laugh a lot and to enjoy ourselves (equally important!)

For the past few months I have been working on a new project – creating an online Yoga Therapy / Personal Development course. It is something that I have thought about doing for about a year. As the summer season started, I felt a clear message that this was the time to take action!

Yesterday I finally finished recording all of the videos (about 27 to count!). It has taken a lot from me. No-one to push me on a deadline or force me to work when I’d rather be relaxing. Just me. Truth is, it would have been easy to keep putting it off. I could make a million excuses. ‘I’m not ‘ready’ yet. It will be too technically challenging. I’m not good on camera.’

Here are some things that helped me to keep on track:

  • I kept coming back to WHY. Why do I want to do it? What values is this goal connected to?
  • Consistent monitoring and mindfulness of all of the reasons why I should give up (‘thank you mind’ for that one!’)
  • Taking regular, consistent action – breaking it down into small steps
  • The feeling of excitement every time I finished filming a module (like one of my favourite anologies – the motivation is the exhaust, not the fuel. The more action I took, the more it fuelled me to keep going).

(a sneak peek of one of the videos, me in Goddess pose, my favourite!)

In fact I speak about all of these things in the module on Manipura Chakra. How can we find the strength and courage within ourselves to do things that make us feel a little (or a lot) uncomfortable? How can we trust ourselves, rather than having to get approval from other people? How can we cultivate this warrior strength physically, as well as psychologically?

I’ve still got a way to go with putting everything together, but I am proud of myself for getting to this stage. I’ll keep you updated!

So what about you?

Is there a dream or vision within you that is waiting to be birthed into the world?

What things inspire you and light you up?

What is the next right action step?

This Friday I am off to Sardinia for a week’s holiday before teaching with Sardinia Yoga (p.s still time to join me!).

A few things upcoming events to share with you:

  • The next 8-Week Yoga Therapy course begins in Bournemouth on Wed 4th October from 6.30-8.30pm. Early bird booking is open until September 1st (I have already had several bookings so get in early if you’d like to join!). You can download the registration form here.
  • Interested in taking the Level 2 course – Personal Transformation through the Chakras? I have a provisional date in the diary starting Monday 9th October from 6.30-8.30pm. Please drop me an email if you are interested in this course.
  • Tomorrow evening (Tues 22nd August) will be the last Summer seaside yoga session of the year! While it hasn’t been the most consistent summer, the weather is looking good at the moment and it would be great if you could join. See the event info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/158348161409696/?ref=br_rs

That’s all for now.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Speak soon,

Love,

Lauren

From shame to empowerment – what to do when you are ‘triggered’

Hi there,

I want to start by asking you a personal question…

What things tend to trigger you the most?

What are the particular comments that people make that are most likely to send you into some form of self-beat, feeling of unworthiness or total failure? (i.e. make you feel totally crap about yourself)

Is it the case that the criticisms that hurt you the most are the things that deep inside, you fear to be true about yourself?

(Reflect on that one for a moment…)

I know for myself, that one of my triggers is around receiving (negative) feedback. Starting a new part-time lecturing role over the past year, teaching Psychology to hundreds of students (who are there to learn a very physical-based therapy and thus sometimes a little hard to engage in what can be perceived as the ‘fluffy’ stuff) has opened me up to receive a lot of feedback.

On the whole, my feedback has been very positive, and I have told how much the students and staff have appreciated my input and enjoyed my classes. However, as human minds tend to do, I found myself at times honing in a couple of negative comments that had potential to send me into a really negative state.

I noticed that every time I would open one of the ‘mid-year feedback’ emails, my heart would start pounding and the dreaded anxiety would arise. My mind would spin with thoughts like ‘I am finally going to be found out! (aka classic ‘imposter syndrome that I am not good enough’) or ‘It’s true, I am a failure after all!’ I remember reading one particularly painful comment that my class was ‘badly delivered’ and un-engaging. Ouch!

The reason that I am sharing this is because it made me really reflect on what I believe to be true about myself – the voice of my own inner critic. While it can often feel vulnerable to share these things (my ego would much prefer to think that I totally have it all together!), as Brene Brown says, it is through our vulnerability that we create connection…We are all imperfectly perfect human beings and shying away from this fact often causes us more suffering in the long-run.

If I had received feedback that I am disorganised, that wouldn’t have been so painful. Why? Because I know that that can be true, yet I fully own that and don’t have shame attached to it. But seeing the word ‘bad’ instantly sent my inner critic into overdrive.

Here are some questions to consider:
• Notice what things trigger you the most and ask: do I, in some way, believe this to be true about myself? Is that why it hurts so much? You’ve touched a nerve in some way… When we recognise this we can start to own it. When we own, we let go of projections, blaming others, and putting up our defences.

Once we own, we can start to shine light and create more understanding. You might ask questions such as:

• When did this belief first arise? What is my first memory of this (e.g. not feeling good enough?)
• How does this belief affect my life now? Where am I most triggered? What happens when this feeling is triggered? Do I tend to shut-down, dig myself a hole of self-shaming?

How to move forwards:
• Once again, awareness is the first stage. If I can own that I am imperfect, that I sometimes make mistakes, could improve in some way, accepting my vulnerability WITHOUT shame, then I am much less likely to be triggered by someone else. I am able to take in the feedback that is helpful, use it to help me grow, and let go of the rest.
• I can also start to become really familiar with this inner critic, recognising it as an external voice, knowing that it has likely developed over many years. Because of that, it makes me believe that it is the truth, but I know that it is just a voice, and not necessarily the truth.
• I like to say things like ‘Aha, here’s the I’m not good enough story again – I’ve heard that one before!’ Or, you might give a name to the voice, imagining it as a type of character (perhaps a mean head teacher). Any way that helps you to create some space and perspective in your mind.

* Notice here that I haven’t suggested that you argue with the inner critic. I could easily start to build a case as to why I’m not a complete failure – listing my qualifications and achievements etc. However, the inner critic doesn’t care! It is not a rational voice. Until you start believing in yourself, no external source of validation is going to make this happen.

• Finally, learn to self-soothe. When I feel triggered, I like to place a hand over my heart and say some soothing words to myself like ‘Wow, this feels really painful right now. I am feeling vulnerable. It’s ok. I’m here for you.’ Or, ‘may I be kind to myself right now.’

We are all on our own journeys. Just like you, I am continually being challenged, confronted, learning to grow. I am also deeply committed to doing my own inner work so that I can stand in my truth and develop deep self-acceptance, so that I can also support others to do the same.

So, over to you. I invite you to really reflect on these questions. Real empowerment comes from turning inwards, owning our truths, vulnerabilities and letting go of the shame. We are all imperfectly perfect!

As always I’d love to hear from you. Just hit reply to this email with any comments.

If you’d like to challenge yourself a bit more, reply by letting me know what triggers you the most, and one thing you have taken from this blog post. Voicing our vulnerabilities is a powerful act in itself!

If you’d like some more support, just get in touch.

Love,

Lauren

Being happy and ‘in the moment’ versus thinking ahead…

Hi there,

One thing that I have been reflecting on today is the balance between setting goals / visioning the future, and also being happy ‘in the now.’ I recognise that for me recently, I have spent much more time in the former state. It comes naturally to me to set goals, think ahead, plan and dream. It makes me feel inspired. However, at times it can come at the cost of continually being in the ‘striving’ state.

When I achieve X, then I’ll be happy…

Once I have figured out X, then I’ll be happy…

Whatever that ‘thing’ is, it is really important to be mindful of the tendency towards future thinking. While achieving our goals can make us feel happy, inevitably something new comes along and we now have a new thing to strive towards.

‘Dreaming big’ is a phrase that is thrown around a lot. While I believe that it is really important to work through negative mindset patterns which limit our thinking, enabling us to widen our perspective, I can also see how dreaming ‘big’ can also make us forget about the small things in our daily lives that make us happy.

Here are a few that I wrote down today:

  • Writing in my journal – there is something about writing freehand that releases my creative juices
  • Having a bath or a long, hot shower without feeling rushed
  • Diffusing essential oils around my home
  • Candles
  • Cooking healthy, wholesome meals from scratch
  • Baking
  • Taking a walk down the beach & walking barefoot on the sand
  • Doing yoga
  • Meditating
  • Drawing myself a card from an Oracle deck
  • Cuddling my partner and / or cat!
  • Reading a book

Yoga therapy Bournemouth

These things make me feel really happy, but it can be so easy to overlook them as ‘less important’. I also know that I can easily fall into the trap of unhealthy habits, especially when I am feeling stressed and busy. The biggest one is aimlessly scrolling through social media or checking my emails! It is my intention to really cut down on this, turn my phone off much more often, and start slowing down to take in more of those small, happy moments.

So what about you?

What things tend to take you away from being ‘in the moment’?

What would it look / feel like if you were to feel fully immerse yourself into precious, joyful moments?

Love,

Lauren xx

Activating your third chakra

Hi there,

Today’s blog post topic is about activating the third chakra, also known as Manipura. This chakra links with self-esteem, having clear boundaries and taking action towards our goals.

Many people (especially women) stuggle to assert themselves, protect their time, and say no to other people’s demands, without feeling guilty.

This is something that I struggled with a lot in the past, getting tied up in various commitments that totally drained me, just because I didn’t have the courage at the time to say no. I was a chronic people pleaser!

Because of this, helping people to honour their worth and value themselves is something that I am really passionate about.

Here are a few tips for activating your third chakra in everyday life:

1) Get clear on your priorities and values
If you don’t decide how to fill up your time, someone else will. Without having a clear plan, it is so easy for your time to get taken up with other people’s demands, or doing the never-ending list of jobs around the house. This is fine from time-to-time, but if you never prioritise your goals (or yourself, for that matter), things will never change.

It is equally important to make self-care a priority. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission. Just because it doesn’t generate a productive outcome, it doesn’t mean that it is any less worthwhile.

Write down your intentions the night before so you know exactly what your plan is for the following day. If necessary, tell others so that they are aware.

life coaching bournemouth
2) Choose discomfort over resentment.
Saying no to other people can be challenging, especially if we find ourselves feeling guilty. However, short-term discomfort is much better than long-term resentment – trust me! Try repeating this mantra often ‘I consciously choose discomfort over resentment’

3) Get physical.
In yoga, the third chakra is known as the power-house. When we feel activated physically, especially through cardio exercise, strong yoga and core work, this can manifest outwards, helping us to feel more confident and ‘lit up’. Do some kind of movement practice everyday.

4) Watch your posture.
On a similar note, it pays to be conscious about your posture. If you haven’t watched Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on power poses, I suggest you do. When we consciously have an open posture, we are sending messages to our brain telling it that we are safe, secure and confident. This is why practicing yoga can be so liberating, especially if you suffer with depression or low self-esteem.

In the Chakra Yoga course, we work from both the inside out (shifting our inner reality and mindset in order to create external shifts in our lives), as well as the outside in (using the physical body as a way to shift our inner world). I truly believe that working with both the mind and body is the key to real growth and transformation.

The next course starts this Monday (8th May) from 6.30-8.30pm in Bournemouth. There are still a few spaces left if you’d like to join.

Click here to download the Chakra Course registration form

Click here to find out more about the course

This will be the last course until October, so if you are thinking of joining, don’t miss out!

To book your place, simply complete the registration form and email it back to me. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Lauren x

Spring Equinox Blessings & Reflections

Bournemouth yoga

Hi friends,

Happy  Spring Equinox! This day is traditionally known as Ostara, which comes from the Greek Goddess of Spring time – Oestre (later becoming the festival of Easter).

As we move into the part of the year where the lightness increases, many of us are feeling a burst of inspiration and hope. Just as the seeds that have been resting under the earth during winter now find the strength to burst through into their first blossom, we too start to feel a sense of awakening deep within.

I invite you to spend some time today reflecting on these questions…

~ What does balance look like for you? ~

The word equinox means equal day and night. This is a great time to look within and ask how we could create more balance in our lives (this is also amplified by the fact that today happens to be a half moon). It calls us to recognise the equal value of both light and dark; darkness to rest, restore, bring our energy within; and lightness to step out, take action and feel inspired.

Often darkness is depicted as negative, but in order to fully blossom into our full potential, it is so important that we honour the body’s natural rhythms and need for rest. Do you de-value rest as being indulgent or lazy? Or perhaps you need a little more activation? Get honest with yourself.

While it can be difficult to achieve total balance as life is in constant flux, consider any small ways that you could cultivate more balance. How can you declutter your life and your time? What non-essential things, that you perhaps do out of habit or a feeling of obligation, could you let go of?

~ What visions / dreams / hopes are stirring within you? ~

Just as nature is coming alive with fertility, it is a good time to ask yourself – what is blossoming within me? This time of year invites you to dream big and allow yourself to be filled with inspiration. Don’t get too caught up on the ‘how.’ Don’t get bogged down by needing to be ‘realistic’ at this stage. Ask yourself – how could I be more authentic? Where do I hold back or play small due to fear? Where am I ready to take a bold leap of faith?

Read books that inspire you. Play music that uplifts you. Move your body. Go out in nature. Quieten the mind and ask within. Visualise how you would like things to be different. Feel your truth within your bones. In order to attract what we want into our lives, we have to allow ourselves to feel inspired. As one of my mentors Sianna Sherman says – Joy is the magnet! When we feel joyful, we are in a much more receptive space to be able to manifest out vision.

I would like to leave you with one of my favourite poems: Blessing for a New Beginning, by John O’Donahue:

In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Love and blessings!

Lauren

 

p.s. Check out my upcoming Yoga Therapy courses below starting this May. I would love for you to join me! Booking is now open and early bird price is available for another couple of weeks. I also offer 1-2-1 therapies – click here for more information.

Full moon reflections ~ authenticity

 

Hi friends,

Today is the full moon, which is always a powerful and symbolic time of the month to reflect and think about what needs to be released.

This weekend my partner has been away, which has given me a great opportunity to have some ‘me time.’ Truth is, I didn’t really feel a strong urge in January to set goals or do deep reflections. Even though I did, it actually felt a little forceful.

Now that spring is approaching I am naturally feeling the desire to get clear on where I am, what I want, and what is getting in the way. I have been doing a lot of study recently into understanding the rhythms of the year (in my Urban Priestess course), which has helped me to feel so much more in-tune and aligned.

In January, we were still in the depths of winter, the time of hibernating, reflecting, and not so much the time of deep inspiration. Spring is the perfect time to do this. Just as the seeds are starting to sprout and burst through the soil, our minds and bodies often feel a little more hopeful, lighter and inspired.

One question that I have been journaling about and meditating on is:

~ What is the deepest expression of my heart’s desire? ~
~ What do I really want? ~

I know for myself, I can sometimes lose sight of this truth. My own truth starts to merge with the expectations of others, society, family, as well as my fears. I often convince myself that I ‘want’ something else, or that I’m fully happy with how things are, but I know deep within that it isn’t true.

When I connect with my truth within my body, it feels hopeful, alive, vibrant, energised. It is undoubtable.

Love. Connection. Authenticity. Freedom. Inspiration.

I feel this when I teach yoga; when I create new courses and birth them into the world; when I work with ideal 1-2-1 clients.

Second question:

~ What gets in the way? What am I ready to release / let go of? ~

This is a big one, and requires us to get super honest with ourselves.

Through exploring the many layers of this question, some things for me are:

Fear of judgement. Fear of not earning enough money. Fear of failure.

I recognise that I often feel a push-pull in my career. I can struggle to feel like I am being my true self in my academic role. I sometimes feel like I will be judged, mocked or punished for my spiritual beliefs.

Before I got my PhD, I felt so excited about becoming a ‘Doctor.’ However at other times, it has felt like a curse. Can I be a ‘Dr’ and spiritual? Can I be a Dr and a Yoga teacher? Can I be a Dr and a ‘Priestess?!’ Should I just throw in the title?!

I teach others to stand in their throne and OWN their gifts and talents. Yes, I might not fit in the box. Yes, I might not follow a typical career. But, I earned that doctorate and my Psychology background influences everything that I do.

Many women seem to hold their fear of judgement deep in their bones. It is as though it goes back to the time where women were burned on the stake for speaking their truth.

So today I am making a declaration to myself and to you…

I am no longer going to limit myself through fear of judgement. I know that not everyone will connect with me, and that is ok. I give myself permission to be unapologetically me.

Why? Because what matters to me most is authenticity. Authenticity can feel vulnerable, however it is through this vulnerability that deep connections can blossom (and I crave deep connection).

I choose to release all perceived limitations and see things differently.

I invite you on this full moon to take some time exploring your inner truth… Ask yourself through journaling / meditation / taking a walk in nature:

~ What is the deepest expression of my heart’s desire? What do I really want? ~

~ What gets in the way? What am I ready to release / let go of? ~ (I suggest writing these things down and then burning them in a fire ritual).

With deep love and respect to you for listening to my truth <3

I would love to hear from you about anything that has been stirred up within you from this post.

If you feel called to connect with me more and develop the tools to create spaciousness and ease in your mind and body, I invite you to join me on one of my upcoming Yoga Therapy Courses (info below). If you have already completed a course with me, there will be new offerings coming forwards soon (I am allowing the creativity to arise in its own time!)

We finished the current cycle of both courses last week, and I have shared a snapshot of some of the feedback with you below. I am so incredibly grateful for all of you. These courses were simply a JOY to teach!

Love and blessings,

Lauren

———————————————————————————————

Course feedback

“I have loved this course, it really has been a journey of personal transformation. I have learnt so much about myself and it is just the beginning of an exciting journey.10/10 ” (Annabel, Chakra course)

“I came on the course to help me managed anxiety and low mood. It met my expectations and was a very positive experience. Lauren was a fantastic teacher, explained things so well and the course has been a good grounding for future practice. 10/10” (Emily, 8 week course)

“Beyond expectations. I’ve found it very transformational – both spiritual and practical. The group has been amazing and I can’t imagine a better teacher. 10/10” (Kelly, 8 week course)

“I enrolled on this course to enable me to have a clear mind as I approach career crossroads. I left with a real sense of knowing myself, my boundaries and what brings me joy. Thank you for all the inspiration, it will stay with me always. 10/10. (Tracey, Chakra course).

8 Week Yoga Therapy course
This course is ideal for anyone who is seeking inner peace, ways to reduce & manage stress and anxiety and wants to learn yoga and mindfulness tools that can be integrated into daily life.

– Couse starts: Wed 3rd May 2017. Click here for full information.

Download 8 week course registration form

Personal Transformation through the Chakras – 7 Week Yoga Therapy Course
This is an ideal follow-on course if you have already done the 8 week course, or if you have previous yoga experience and are looking for deeper self-transformation. This course takes you on a journey of self-inquiry and personal growth through yoga, meditation, lifestyle reflections and discussions.

– Course starts: Mon 8th May 2017. Click here for full information.

Download Chakra Course registration form

Sardinia Yoga Retreats
I am really excited to be returning to Sardinia this summer with Sardinia Yoga. I will be there from 9th – 15th July and again from 2nd-9th September. The great thing about Sardinia Yoga is that you can stay for as long or as little as you’d like. The season is open all summer, with new teachers each week. Of course, I would love it if you could come when I’m there! You can find out more at http://www.sardiniayoga.com or email me if you have specific questions.

121 sessions and small groups
I also offer 1-2-1 private sessions using yoga therapy and / or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I can also offer small group sessions at my home.These take place on Monday and Friday daytimes. If you are interested in taking one of my Yoga Therapy courses but aren’t able to do evenings, please drop me an email and if I have enough people I can arrange a daytime course.

How to do your own shadow work…

Hi friends,

Today is the last session of my Chakra Yoga Therapy course and it has been such an amazing 7 weeks! We have had tears, laughter, deep reflections and personal insights. Above all, on both of my courses there has been a beautiful feeling of everyone in the group holding space for each other to be heard and accepted.I created the Chakra course to provide a sacred space to explore all aspects of self. In the yoga and self-help world there tends to be a big focus on positivity. While I believe that this is really important, it can also come at a big cost – pathologising normal human emotions.

Only when we shine light on the dark places can we bring about true growth and transformation. It is through our vulnerability that we create connection. Through vulnerability that we dare to look within and see ourselves fully, honouring our light, beauty and gifts as well as our perceived weaknesses or ‘shadow’.

One of the most powerful tools that I have learnt over the past couple of years is to do our own ‘shadow work’…What does this mean?

Carl Jung described the ‘shadow’ as aspects of ourselves that we don’t like / consider weaknesses / tend to ignore / deny. Often, the things that become our ‘shadow’ are qualities that were deemed unfavourable within our family. For example, consider someone that grew up in a family that did not express emotions, and they therefore learned that negative emotions such as sadness or anger are ‘bad’ and should be avoided. Or, perhaps they had a father who was very angry and they learned to be very obedient in order not to provoke his anger. Later in life, they may struggle to deal with anger.

Sometimes, their shadow may show up through an angry outburst, or they might witness someone else showing emotion and find it very uncomfortable. They might think ‘they have anger issues!’ when actually it may be an indication that there is some processing that they need to do around their relationship to anger.

The truth is, no emotion is ‘bad’ – it is our relationship to the emotion, and how we respond to it that is most important. Continually avoiding this emotion could mean that this person struggles to stand up for themselves through fear of conflict, or fear of judgement. Or perhaps they struggle to say no to other people, because they fear that the other person might get angry.They might take on the role of ‘peace-keeper’, which may have some benefits, but can also be a limitation in situations where being assertive is important.

The shadow can also take the form of ‘I’m not (good / clever / slim etc) enough’ (most of us have some version of this story!). Anything that triggers this feeling (such as receiving constructive feedback) may lead to a disproportionate reaction (e.g. thinking, ‘I’m a complete failure! Why do I even bother!’) Someone might make a general comment, but you see it as an attack on you.

Any time that we find ourselves being particularly ‘triggered’, it is useful to look within and to ask – why is this triggering me so much? Which aspect of my shadow is showing up?

It is really important to note that recognising our shadow and identifying our triggers does not mean that we should turn to self-blame. Everyone has ‘shadow.’ When we identify ours, we can learn to treat ourselves with compassion and understanding. We start to recognise how, where and when these patterns may have developed, and we bring kindness to these places.The better we understand ourselves, the less likely it is that others will trigger a sense of shame within us when we fall short or make a mistake.

Getting to know our shadow is the first step towards transformation. Through doing this work, we find empowerment. Here are some questions to help you to get to know your shadow:

  • What emotions were deemed as unfavourable in my family growing up? How do I relate to these things now?
  • What types of people / situations do I find most difficult / triggering?
  • What I tend to keep in the dark about myself is…
  • What I least want others to know about me is…
  • The emotions that I am least comfortable with are…What are your three greatest strengths?
  • From these exercises, what would you say are your three biggest ‘shadow’ qualities?

Some of my shadow qualities:

  • I can easily get drawn into self-doubt and feeling ‘not good enough’
  • I find conflict very difficult and can easily fall into ‘people pleasing’ mode (and then feel resentful)
  • I can find it hard to accept help from others and feel a need to ‘do it all alone’)

Speak soon,

Lauren

 

P.S My next Chakra Yoga Therapy Course starts May 8th in Bournemouth – click here for details

The medicine of nature ~ Lessons from water

Isn’t nature so healing?

It teaches us so many lessons. I love drawing upon the elements of fire, earth, air, ether and water, and their connections with the chakras in my yoga therapy work.

I’m not sure one should have a favourite element, but if I were to choose, mine would be water! Choosing to live by the sea is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The element of water is connected with the second chakra, known as svadhistana, which is deeply connected to our emotions. It relates to our ability to ‘go with the flow’ of life; to be with change and uncertainty; and to feel the full spectrum of our emotions, from joy to sadness.

I got home on Monday evening after spending 5 days in Scotland with my mum. It was so nice to spend precious time together, with lots of walks in nature, home-made food and (probably a bit too much) wine.

In beautiful Loch Lomund

When I got home my cat was poorly, which meant that I had to take her to the vet before going into work yesterday. So my day started on a bit of a low, and this feeling seemed to continue into my day.

I just felt a bit sad. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on my. Perhaps it was because of saying goodbye to my mum, being in an office when my soul craved being outdoors, my partner being away, my chronically ill cat, the grey weather, hormones, feeling really tired. There were many possibilities.

That lunch I took an hour break and went for a walk by the sea. Taking a walk in nature is up there as one of my biggest non-negotiables. No matter how busy I am, I always try to get outside.

When I got to the beach, I spent some time sitting there in stillness.

Taking time to be still in nature has become one of my favourite and most healing practices. I love walking, but there is always a sense of needing to get somewhere. Being still gives you chance to just ‘be.’

Lesson #1 – Be still and experience the medicine of nature

As I sat there, I closed my eyes and just allowed the full experience and healing of the water to enter into my soul.

The waves crashing into the shore, the birds, the breeze… I felt the intensity of it all.

I saw my own emotions being reflected to me through the waves. How on some days they feel big and intense, but then they subside. And then they come back. And that is just life.

It is nature’s way of reminding us that life is never going to stop producing ups and downs, highs and lows. Our own inner healing is about learning to ride those waves, and recognising that there is beauty even when the waves are big and life feels overwhelming. There is nothing that needs to be ‘fixed’.

As I sat there, I allowed myself to feel everything that wanted to be heard from within. I felt the full spectrum of emotions in my body.

All of a sudden, a dog ran up from nowhere and just came and sat next to me for a few moments. In that moment I knew that this dog was a message from nature saying – ‘I’m here with you!’

I instantly felt a deep sense of love and connectedness, and a sudden outburst of tears!

There was something so comforting about the dog just being there with me. He / she wasn’t asking whether I was ok or giving me advice…Just being there with me for those few moments in which my heart felt a little heavy.

As humans we can tend to feel a bit uncomfortable around emotions. We want to understand why they are there, and most importantly, how we can get rid of the ones that we don’t like so that we can feel more happy. This can lead you to feel ‘bad’ about feeling unhappy.

(I remember experiencing this a lot when I was younger – just feeling sad for no reason. When others would ask what was wrong, I would say I didn’t know. And they’d would think that I was hiding something. That then made me feel a bit guilty that I shouldn’t feel sad unless I actually have something to be sad about!)

Lesson #2 – Emotions are ‘energy in motion’

But what if emotions were just energy in motion? Sensations that move through the body, reminding us of our humanness… Emotions aren’t there to be fixed, or dramatized, but rather to be felt and acknowledged.

I didn’t need to have a reason for feeling sad, or to analyse the feeling, I just needed to feel it and to allow it to move through me. Just like the dog that sat with me without any judgement, we have to learn to be there for ourselves, compassionate and non-judgemental, even (and especially) when we aren’t feeling our best.

Just like the salt water of the sea can smooth the edges of the hardest rocks, so does the salt water of our tears help to soften our edges. Tears are soothing.

After that, I felt a big sense of relief. I softened into it all, recognising that sadness is part of life, and that tomorrow is a new day and I will problem feel better after a good rest.

And I did.

Over to you…

What is your favourite place in nature?

Which emotions do you tend to battle with, suppress, or judge as bad?

Next time you are by the water (whether the sea, a lake, or a stream), take some time in stillness to experience its medicine.

What lessons can it teach you?

Where do you need to soften?

To allow?

To let go?

To ‘feel’?

xxx

p.s. If you’d like to learn more about the healing power of the elements, join me on my Chakra Yoga Therapy course starting Wed 23rd Jan in Bournemouth. Find out more here.

I also offer 1-2-1 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (face-to-face and online) to help you to work with difficult thoughts and feelings in order to live a meaningful and inspiring life. Find out more here.

 

 

 

 

 

Creating a vision board

I love creating a vision board at the start of each year. I find it so inspiring, and in my experience it has been an incredibly powerful way to manifest my dreams! Here are some examples…

In 2015 I included on my vision board a picture of me doing yoga at an airport (image below). This represented my desire to teach yoga retreats abroad. I had no idea how this would happen, but I thought it would be a good goal.

yoga bournemouthOne day I met my friend and fellow yoga teacher Zoe in a local shop. We got chatting about yoga and the retreats that she had been doing in Sardinia (I always looked at her photos on facebook with total awe!). She told me that they were looking for teachers and would put me in touch with the owner. Following this, I went to London to meet him, which seemed to go well, but he said they were full for that year and would keep me in mind for the following season.

Then, my partner and I wanted to take a 10 day trip over Easter. I went to one of the websites where you put in your dates (without specifying location) and it tells you the cheapest deals. Where came up…of course, Sardinia! So off we went, for the trip of a lifetime! It was one of the best holidays that I have had, and I totally fell in love with the island.

In the law of attraction, it states that one of the best ways to manifest your dreams is to truly believe that it is possible. You can use techniques such as visualising that you are already living the dream. The reason is that this process raises our vibration, so we are more aligned with the outcome that we are looking for. When I was there, I read the book ‘Ask and It is Given’. I was instantly hooked. Even though the science-driven part of me was sceptical, something in that book just rang true. So I spent the holiday feeling amazing and writing down my visions. Of course, I wrote down that I would love to come back and teach yoga retreats!

When we landed, I turned on my phone to instantly receive a text from the owner of the company saying that a teacher has dropped out, and asked if I could go there in 3 weeks time! A rare break in my teaching schedule meant that I could actually go that week – and that was that… I ended up going there 3 times in that year, and 4 times this year! And it is as incredible as I thought it would be!

In law of attraction terms, this was a powerful manifesting combination. I was in the place where I wanted to be (Sardinia), practicing yoga outside daily, while also writing down goals and visualising that it was already happening!

Second example

At the start of this year, I wrote a goal that I would work a couple of days a week as a Psychology Lecturer (I really enjoy teaching, but also wanted something flexible that would fit around my business). I knew that this wasn’t possible at my current place of work, and I didn’t want to commute. This pretty much ruled out most options, as there is only one university in Bournemouth, and I was already working there at the time.

Then, one day in early summer, a friend of mine (who I had told this goal to), sent me a link to a job advert for a part-time Psychology Lecturer at the Chiropractic College in Bournemouth. This came as a surprise; I knew about the college, but I had no idea that they taught Psychology! After a series of interviews, I got the job! Plus, given the applied nature of this course, I get to use all of my skills from therapy work, yoga and mindfulness which is really fun.

Lessons learnt

These are just two examples, I have many more. I truly believe that there are no ‘coincidences’ in this life! What it has taught me is to trust and surrender. Being a bit of a control freak at times, I can sometimes struggle with this. However, in those moments where I have had faith and let go of the outcome (just allowing myself to dream), things have happened in ways that my mind would never have anticipated.

The universe has creative ways of bringing things about. Sometimes, we just have to let go of the ‘how’ and trust that if it is the right thing, it will come about at the right time.

Of course, there have been other goals that haven’t manifested. There have been jobs that I didn’t get, courses that I planned to run but never did…However, I don’t see any of these things as failures. While I may have felt disappointed at the time, when I look back none of these things really felt right. Often, it was when I was trying to force myself to follow a path that wasn’t really my own (like convincing myself that I wanted a job which other people ‘thought’ I should do, but deep inside I didn’t really want).

This is why my 2017 for me is about learning to trust and surrender. I have to remind myself to trust in the process, keep allowing myself to feel inspired, and let go of needing to control.

One of my favourite affirmations that I use a lot is ‘I relax into the flow of life, knowing that everything is in divine right order.’ This is 100% fitting for me and I do feel that I embrace it much more nowadays (though I still have to remind myself). And just to add a further coincidence, I found that affirmation when I looked in Louise Hay’s book ‘You can heal your life’. I was suffering with an illness and this is was the exact affirmation that she suggested to use for that condition!

So, over to you. Will you create a vision board for the new year?
Or at least take the time to write down some goals?

I have included a freebie download with my top tips for creating a vision board. Download it below.

Free guide to creating your vision board

I would love to hear from you! When you share your goals with someone else it makes it feel so much more real (and often a little scary). What are your big dreams for 2017?

Love,

Lauren

 

p.s. If you would like to join me for some Bournemouth Yoga Therapy this year, earlybird for the courses runs out today (2nd Jan). Click here to find out more

 

End of year reflection and releasing ritual…

Hi friends,

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and had a great Christmas!

I wanted to message you because tomorrow is a special day: the final new moon of the year!

Being the darkest night of the month, in the darkest phase of the year, it is a powerful time to delve inwards and put aside some time for reflection.

One of the things that I have done a lot more of this year is to create mini-rituals for myself. A ritual is a time that you set aside to journey inwards, quieten down and explore your inner world. It is so important that we give ourselves time to reflect on the bigger picture of our lives. Otherwise it is so easy for time to move quickly and before we realise, another year has passed.

Below, I have written some guidelines for a ritual that you can do at home (tomorrow, or whenever you have time over the next week or so).

End of year reflection and releasing ritual

(p.s I have created a PDF version of this which you may like to print off – you can download it here)

bournemouth yoga

Carve out 30-60 minutes for this practice.

Prepare the space
First of all, with any ritual it is important to create a resonant space. This helps to attune your body and mind into the present moment. Here are some suggestions:

  • Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed
  • Light a candle
  • Burn some sage / palo santo to clear the energy field (otherwise use incense / oils)
  • Have a journal / notepad to hand
  • Have a small bowl of water next to you

Prepare your mind
To start, set a timer for 10 minutes on your phone (you download a meditation timer to have a nice bell sound rather than alarm!).

Spend 10 minutes in silent meditation, focusing on your breath. (Chanting 3 rounds of OM just before meditation can help prepare your mind).

(p.s Don’t worry if you haven’t meditated before – just close your eyes, focus on your breath and keep bringing your attention back there each time it moves away. You can’t go wrong!)

Journal
Now, get out your journal and write down answers to the following questions (and anything else that comes to mind). Don’t overthink – write the first thing that comes to mind…

What things can I celebrate from the past year? What went really well? What am I proud of?

What situations led me to feel most joyful, alive and present?

What challenges did I face this year, and how did I grow from them?

What situations led me to feel most drained?

How much was I able to balance ‘doing’ and ‘being’ this year?

Releasing ritual
Ask yourself: What patterns / habits am I ready to let go of? Write it down (examples: being overly critical of myself / putting up with an abusive partner / saying yes to everyone and feeling resentful / binge eating)

Optional: Burn this piece of paper over a candle flame (be careful!). Then place it into the bowl of water (or fireplace if you have one). Fire represents transformation; both in the physical sense of turning matter into ether, as well as psychologically; helping us to transform our limiting beliefs.

End
Blow out your candle, put away your things and thank yourself for this precious time!

It is likely that answering these questions will prompt you to start thinking about your intentions for next year, but don’t force that just yet.

Over the New Year I’ll be in touch with some questions to get you thinking about intentions & goal-setting for 2017 – but for now just allow yourself to process this year and spend lots of time resting, reflecting & dreaming…

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What’s on in January

8 Week Yoga Therapy course
This course is ideal for anyone who is seeking inner peace, ways to reduce & manage stress and anxiety and wants to learn yoga and mindfulness tools that can be integrated into daily life.

– Couse starts: Wed 18th January 2017. Click here for full information.

Personal Transformation through the Chakras – 7 Week Yoga Therapy Course
This is a good follow-on course if you have already done the 8 week course, or if you have previous yoga experience and are looking for deeper self-transformation. This course takes you on a journey of self-inquiry and personal growth through yoga, meditation, lifestyle reflections and discussions.

– Course starts: Mon 23rd January 2017. Click here for full information.

Life Clarity Sessions
This 2 hour in-depth session is a chance for you to be deeply supported as you explore your dreams, values and goals (even if you aren’t sure what they are yet). I help you to work through any limiting beliefs that have been preventing you from being where you want to be and teach you tools for overcoming them.

If you would like to book a session (face-to-face in Bournemouth or via Skype) or find out more, email me or click here.

Speak soon,

Love,

Lauren

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