RAIN TO LIGHTEN THE HEART

RAIN TO LIGHTEN THE HEART

Namaste Beautiful, Amazing, Unique You!

I wish You, from the depths of my Heart, happy new moments and wonderful connections! 

Let’s make this year fulfilling with integral interactions, honest humour and sensitivity to our reality.

INTEGRAL INTERACTION & CONNECTION

Integrity and that sense of fulfilling certainty in the goodness of life, comes when we embrace the totality of our selves and our reality; the great, bad and utterly ghastly. To clear the fields aftrer the rain, so the warmth of the sun can awaken the potential creative power of life within us.

To start this year off I’ve created a short video to help us do just that, slowly, but surely

Lightening the Heart – a 10min RAIN meditation

Holding space for difficult emotions and uncomfortable feelings can be intense, even painful. RAIN stands for – Recognise Accept Investigate Nurture. A framework to allow ourselves to explore the discomfort, while letting it move through us. 

And us through it. Helping us have a circle of influence, realigning with our power, to investigate and nurture our true self again. 

CRITICAL THINKING & REALITY SENSITIVITY

Personally, the last two years have hollowed me out as I’ve tried my best to stay uplifted, motivated and moving forward as a mother, seeker, entrepreneur and honest human being. The constant changes and demands and losses, socially, financially, spiritually have drained me on many levels. Though not as badly as a burnout.

While research points to the facts that C19 is here to stay; endemic1 and those of us under age 65, without anxiety and chronic conditions 2such as diabetes3, are safe from hospitalisation and longterm effects of covid, questions about the continual rabid push to vaccinate, and ostricize unvaccinated, is warrented.

The huge wealth distribution toward big tech and pharma in these last two years, is till now, only felt by low income families and small businesses. Those wealthy enough to not feel the pressure and are not incentivised to demand or seek answers to questions they do not yet perceive or feel.

Censorship of critical voices of vaccination safety and effectiveness, especially when considering children, has led many scientists and medical professionals to be ridiculed, threatened and silenced. This should raise everyone’s eyebrows. Still many stick their heads in the sand due to feeling unable to influence the situation.

Yet if each of us uses what little or big influence we have, we can co-create a world worth living in.

DI-VISION LEADS TO DIS-EASE

I personally think it’s only wise, healthy and necessary to ask questions, probe and find out what is really relevant when health and wellbeing of the population is at stake. In context of all the facts, taking in account the mental wellbeing of the younger population, and life years lost to the stress in feelings of hopelessness and no prospects or perspective anymore.

Persecution, persuasion and bribed by authorities, division sows seeds of fear, anger and resentment increasing our cortisol, adreneline and cytokines’ associated inflammation. Chronic inflammation leads to hormonal imbalance, increasing likelihood of chronic conditions; autoimmunity, diabetes, addictive behaviour as we try to ineffectively self-regulate, creating a viscious cycle of biorhythm disfunction and dis-ease.

People who are reasonably healthy are now being undermined from many sources. Putting more people at risk for chronic conditions.

Both the context of lacking social connection and the healthy hormones promoted from feeling happy in the presence with another feeling human being, as well as taking away the benefits of physical activity, future options, heap ontop of this the stress of future debt, division and disinformation from the governing bodies of countries, are huge burdens for us to bear, especially our young!!

Ministre comes from the Latin to be of service. Meaning governmental ministers; payed by people’s taxes, are servants of the people. Yet tax money has been syphoned to the biggest tech and pharma companies, who in turn keep us glued to screens preventing health even further. Why are governments not acting on these facts? And they have been sent copious documents by many professors and concerned bodies.

Why disseminate information that predisoposes us to dis-ease, is my main concern.

CREATIVITY THROUGH CURIOSITY

I’ve been reading books to get perspective and come to terms with what is actually going on globally; 

21 Lessons for the 21th Century- Yuval Noah Harari

The Master and His Emissary- Iain McGilchrist

The Biology of Desire- Marc Lewis

The Dawn of Everything – David Graeber and David Gwenrow

Debt, the First 5000yrs- David Graeber

7 and a Half Lessons About the Brain- Lisa Feldman Barrett

The Genetic Lottery, Why DNA Matters for Social Equality – Kathryn Paige

and find ways of living that are sustainable and enjoyable.

According to Lisa Feldman Barrett, our society, national borders and global state cries, are just social realities we’ve created. And as long as we believe their shadows to be real we can’t see the light that is already all around us and within each single, special being. Iain McGilchrist theory is about how an overly active left hemisphere, which is wonderful to disect, discern, pull aprt, isolate and conceptualise, but lacks the ability to see context, relate, emote fully such as the master, the right hemisphere does so well, is why we see this dichotomy of living, thinking and structuring which is causing our meaning crisis, as John Vervaeke calls it on his podcast series, Awakening from the Meaning Crisis.

Bob de Wit likes to think we can go glocal, meaning global and local, decentralising power back to invested people in their own communities. Thereby not only taking back our power but just as importantly our sense of belonging, responsibilty, ability and sense of social purpose, which we are lacking greatly currently.

Yuval Harari paints a very vivid, bleak future, as well as options that could put to use tech and science to communal benefit. Kathryn’s work points out how science can help activate more inherent equality through nurturing the right aspects of ourselves.

All point to our common responsibility. Each and everyone of us.

HONEST HUMOUR

So, there’s not a lot to be done. I mean we only need to find more creative, caring and connected (truly connected) ways of growing, working, paying, living and playing. Co-create economies that uphold balance for healthy societies, environment and power dynamics.

No big deal.

Maybe no deals.

Or maybe, many honest deals, everyday, with ourselves and each other. Again and again and again.

All COVID points to is our inherent power and responsibility to co-create and no longer wait!

We’re being asked to see the roses as well as the thorns, the soil, the consequences of planting too early, too much, not enough, or manipulating because we desire control.

Life is chaos. Beauty lies in the uniqueness of mistakes, which is also the birth of creation and the breath of inspiration.

Life and the new is birthed, ushered in with love and dedicated attention, not made by science or tech.

As a mother, seeker, entrepreneur and honest human being, with fears and hopes, I invite you to reach out, so that we can together create a world of caring connections, creative ways to support and uplift each other with ideas and insights to how we can move forward in harmony and common-unity.

Much Love,
Shira

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8461290/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34551070/

2 https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2021/pdf/21_0123.pdf

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7375314/

YOGA & SPIRITUAL BYPASSING

YOGA & SPIRITUAL BYPASSING

Spiritual bypassing can feel good for a while, sometimes a very long while, but at some point we hit a wall. And the practice we once loved seems to fail us, and we’re going round in circles. This is when we hit a crossroad of transformation or degradation.

Do we stay or do we go? Do we move through or bypass? Will we choose to go all in and expose our ungainly self, or do we opt for ease and deny the diffculties ahead? Moving through is the fulfilling opportunity to growth. To remain with and hold space for, our dark, earthly solidity moves us into the light of consciousness and soul, in an encompasing awareness of our full potential.

Immature Understanding

When I first started out on my spiritual journey, I was 15years old, and naively believed being really, truly spiritual meant transcending the world and all our material, maternal, and nutritional needs. Even our need for social connections. Detachment was high on my list of values. Being a free and spiritual adventurer I’d managed to escape being social for decades. No material plans, constraints, agendas, desires or goals. I felt extremely spiritual, non-human. Highly esteemed in my bubble.

 

Facing Our Shadows

Becoming a mother of a very social child burst that bubble. After giving birth to my daughter personal development quickly shifted from spirituality to social-ability. Forced to be part of society inadvertently I discovered I actually love people. I love learning, sharing and exchanging. It also revealed my many weaknesses and blind spots. Limiting beliefs, scarcity mindsets, my escapist attitude. Non-realistic ideals. It left a lot to be desired. Especially as a mother in a complex culture influenced largely by domination structures of patriarchy.

The gap between on the one hand, unfulfilled desires and projected fears, and the other transcendental living, was now a huge cataclysm. I saw no support, community, shared insights and wisdom to guide my choices as to what’s a healthy way to live in a world placing productivity and financial gain above nurturing and caring. I saw no examples of conscious, empowered, single mothers creating change in their communities in modern western culture. Was it me or my mindset?

 

The Gifts of Our Shadows

Spiritually bypassing our biggest chances to face truth, the good, the bad and the utterly ugly, to grow and transform, are sacrificed for glory and gratification.

To be truly spiritual means taking a good look at our ways of relating to self, other and world. As a young mother, and out of desperation and frustration at being such a beginner again, I asked my meditation teacher Rose Baudin, what my purpose was. She answered clearly and without further ado, “Whatever is in front of you at any given moment is your purpose. You’re a spiritual being having an embodied experience”.

Though that didn’t quench my thirst then, it sure has been my experience since. And the more I accept and appreciate this embodied life and the limitations we experience being in a body, the more I’m driven to find intelligent and integral ways to communicate, relate and connect. It’s the only way to live fully. To honour this gift called life. Handed down to us through billions of years of incredible evolution, biological intercommunication across species and time, transforming constantly.

 

Ayurveda & Yoga Enable Transformation

Without Ayurveda, Yoga has the potential to become superficial at best. Ingraining already present patterns of ego, separation, coping mechanisms, defences, projections, and escapism, into deeper grooves. The abuse of power we’ve seen surfacing in nearly all patriarchal yoga traditions in the last years are devastating examples of bypassing unresolved and suppressed psychological domination patterns. The ingrained, violent and misdirected frustration, domination and exploitation of races, minorities and diversities. Which literally is the life-line that makes our world so colourful and beautiful.

Transforming our wellbeing, includes transforming our world and societal structures. We need to face the underlying currents and belief systems. We have to see these examples as deeper issues revealing our world cultural tendency toward power abuse, fear response and deep distrust issues. For this to happen we need inclusivity of all aspects of living, which includes our emotional selves. Emotions are the rivers of sensual joy, beauty and intelligence flowing through us. Connecting one to another. It’s the blood connecting all social species.

 

Emotions as Clues

Because Ayurveda looks at emotional states and sees the imbalance, or direction of our mentality and physiology, it adresses spiritual bypassing. Emotions are so often misunderstood, supressed, managed, repressed, unexpressed and redressed. Emotional intelligence and empowerment allows us our access, desire or knowledge to the power behind any emotion.

Emotions are passion, the opposite of patience, but a powerful force when we learn to ride their waves.

A potential we should explore.

A deep journey. One that can feel dangerous, difficult and painful if we don’t feel supported by others, through this process. When we internalise unexpressed painful or difficult emotions, because our company can’t handle them, enough times, it becomes a trigger. A tricky and painful place. Left unheard and unseen, a traumatic feeling. All of us have experienced trauma, small or large T. We all have some struggle, growth and trauma process to move through. And the emotions and memories associated with that can overwhelm us when our emotional repertoire has been kept limited and restricted according to outside values.

Leave this terrain completely unexplored and we have spiritual bypassing.

Include & Move On

Often we need to leave behind certain things. Things which have been the backbone to our entire way of living, functioning and relating. Limiting thoughts and habits, family traditions, beliefs, activities, cultural ways of coping, defence mechanisms, and ways to relate to others, handed down by anyone we’ve identified with in the course of our life. The tribal mind.

Psychologically leaving behind the tribal mind can feel life threatening. Like we’re going to die. Because for 2 million years of evolution, leaving the tribe meant death. It’s only since 10,000 years we live with some guarantee of safety. And only since fifty years we, as individuals, dare to speak our truth. Other values. It’s a psychological and emotional leaving the nest.

Once we see the underlying beliefs and associated pain, emotions, fears and insecurities, and own that story, no matter how gory, we can move on. We don’t need to be blameless and shining beacons of spiritual glory. Being a good, honest human is liberating not just for ourselves, but for all those who experience the imperfection of being human.

To move through is the opportunity to grow fully. To remain with and hold space for, our dark, earthly solidity moves our shadows into the light of consciousness and soul, revealing our full potential.

Much Love,

Shira.

WITNESSING AWARENESS, LIGHT IN THE DARK

WITNESSING AWARENESS, LIGHT IN THE DARK

Travelling through our physical body with asana, our energy body with breath and our mind body through mindfulness, concentration and internalisation, we touch our psyche, unconscious patterns and emotions through meditation.

Once we clear some of the dross of the unconscious, we sometimes land in our witnessing awareness. A space of pure potential and calm awareness, untouched yet deeply responsive.

Full and simultaneously empty is our witnessing awareness. That’s when we get to our bliss body, the mother of emotions.

Witnessing Awareness & Holding Space

Our witnessing awareness leads to emotional wellbeing by holding space.

As emotions are divine life energy expressed through us, we don’t need to suppress or reject these feelings. We just need to hold space for their full fruition. When we surrender, feel and deal with them, we release and heal ourselves. Just witnessing our emotions, their rise, blossoming, withering and fall, and our reactions and thoughts toward that process, dissolves them and is our path to bliss.

Witnessing Awareness, the Light in the Dark

Harmony, as an emotion, allows our silent witness to come to the forefront. Our mind, no longer disturbed by the apparent reality of the endless separateness within manifestation, can see the big picture.

Cessation of manifesting our projections brings about a standstill of illusion, and an end in our experience of Samsara. Every moment presents us with the choice to enter the River of Life with its continuous flood of changing forces and forms, or not.

Sitting on the bank of the River and find our centre and seat, our Asana, remaining calm and reflective, we’re no longer uprooted by Samsara. The choice is always there and always ours to make. It’s our light in the dark, our sun in the world and our soul that guides us in this journey through life. It’s our deepest yearning that never leaves us, our profoundest aspiration that drives us, no matter what. It is the witness that truly sees and feels this Miracle called life.

We can feel harmony by burning emotional toxicity through a healthy energetic, mental and psychological fire.

Our Fire is Key

Agni, or fire, exists at all levels of being.

In our physical body it’s our digestive fire transforming food into tissues. In the pranic body cellular intelligence absorbs breath and converts it into prana, life energy. In our mental body it’s the power to perceive impressions and inflect them into knowledge. In the intelligence body it’s the power to discriminate burning all untruth until only truth remains. In our most subtle body it is our ability to distil love from each experience.

We can encourage Agni in each of the five Koshas so each aspect of our being has a well blazing fire. A healthy fire digests and consumes all experiences and transforms them into understanding, wisdom and compassion. An overfed fire rages and overconsumes, wasting resources. We can also fail to tend our fires and let them go out so that our experiences are not digested, understood and leave residues and toxins. Or we can attend to our fire sporadically and create a fire that causes smoke, waste and confusion.

So the impressions we take in all these bodies, and the activities or outputs of all these, need to be balanced according to our needs, desires and abilities, to create a brilliant fire on each level.

Living With the Witness

Our journey this last year to develop a healthy fire in our five bodies, we discover many wonderful emotions and reclaim our passion for life.

Safety and trust as our root, playfulness and joy as our sacred basin, belly radiance and a forgiving fire, a heartful of peace and connection, creativity and communication as our expression, and intuitive vision and wisdom from our third eye. Facilitating feelings of unity, divinity and creativity. Able to witness the One-in- All and in ourselves. A goodness within of loving, warm, fuzzy, welcoming space where all is possible, recognising that we are all.

Being fully present and aware to just witness the beauty of life unfolding with or without the clouds across the lake, our mental mirror isn’t fragmented. There’s no need for expectation or condemnation, nor desire or aversion. With a witnessing awareness we can hold space for the full conundrum of life.

This Mysterious Miracle called life or Lila, becomes apparent, we are instantaneously transformed, completely bound in relation and freed from all karma at the same time. It’s our connection point to universal Prana, witnessing awareness and pure potential.

Witness Awareness Practice

Today’s live has a short 10 minute practice, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4qgHurbdes

The very real experience of ‘I see me in All’, and, ‘I see All in me’. It’s the essence of knowing That I Am, Tat Aham.

And all is welcome to come and go.

We can only reach the heights when we dare to explore and embrace the lows. We each are worlds of extremes and imbetweens. And life is full when we allow our self to move through the full range of mountains, valleys, seashores and oceans depths. Be well, be kind, be great and be the whatever you feel you need to be in this moment.

Much LOVE,

Shira

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF YOGA

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF YOGA

Yoga and Ayurveda are all about relationship. To self. Other. Environment. Planet. And everything in between, from Matter to Spirit. 

Understanding and working with our wisdom and psyche body leads to healthy relationships. It’s the psychology of Yoga and Ayurveda.

The psychology of Yoga releases limiting beliefs and patterns, making space for generous and autonomous beliefs and values. An accepting and broad perspective without compromising our own views and feelings. Transparency coupled with inclusivity. Accountability. Integrity to the fullest sense of the verb.

Relationships Form Our Beliefs About Ourselves & World

We all desire and deserve healthy, deliberate, conscious and compassionate relationships. To self and other. 

It’s our first and most primal need. 

Moving through our relatedness, naturally experiencing our interconnectedness, is the deepest desire of the expression of duality. All of us seek union. Consciously, or not. At heart all of us are compassionate and caring. Honesty, generosity and autonomy is inherent in every human. Whether we express it depends on our earliest ‘training’ in relationships. What is the experience of being separate and held by another?

Relationships are the first educator of our wisdom and psyche body. Most impressionable from conception till the first 3 years of life. Anything we learn and experience repeatedly with those caring for us, intensely shapes what we believe to be a truth. Our values or conviction? Deeply rooted in psyche as personal experience shared with those we most, or must, trust. 

We understand our experiences by comparing them to other past impressions and from that draw conclusions and understanding of the world around us. A template. Context of what’s ‘normal, right, wrong’. From it we create our wisdom treasure trove. And seeing in our earliest years of life, we can’t give voice, verbalise or express, we internalise. These form our deepest known truths. Our wisdom and values. 

These beliefs colour, filter and light what we accept and reject. Run to or from. Our beliefs about ourselves, relations, intimacy, environment and world. Forming our future.

Emotions & Our Psyche

The intensity of emotions associated with our experiences, affect the depth of our convictions. And tenacity in memory. The earlier the unconscious training, the deeper. Implicit memory. Called Samskaras  in Sanskrit, and inner drives, in psychology. Open Pandora’s box or patterns from preverbal infancy push and pull at us our entire lives. Patterns needed then to adapt to contemporary circumstances were healthy, but most likely not serving us now. 

Honouring our sense of self, our identity and integrity, and we begin to respond instead of react. We feel infantile in these situations first. Then new, young and fresh. Ripe. Capable and connected. Interdependent and autonomous.

Allowing us to be more accepting of self and others. The first doorway, Ahimsa, self-love and self-compassion, leads to self-knowledge and self-care. Accepting our perfect imperfection. Opening the windows and doorways for others be perfectly imperfect too. Spaciousness makes way for our sense of responsibility. And for our need of boundaries. Opening a space for others to do their part in the play of each other’s lives. 

The very first baby steps. 

Problems and differences are no longer personal.[i] Just two people seeing and experiencing in their unique ways. We can accept conflict as part and parcel of life. Compost for growth. And dare to confront people without fear of rejection or abandonment. We separate issues from people.[ii]

The Psychology of Yoga

This is the psychology of Yoga.

With this accepting stance Pandora’s box won’t overwhelm us. So we take these baby steps, again and again, to bolster us. So that when we take a good look at our wisdom body’s perception, emotions, choices, reactions, and eventual actions, we’re forgiving, compassionate and honest. 

Our psyche and wisdom body’s main purpose is integration. To make sense and give place to all events, experiences and expressions in relation to our internal perception, reception and mental digestion. The continual shifting between internal and external world is communicated through our emotional states.[iii] The intimate space where our soul and the material world interact, exchange and co-create energetic changes through emotions. The prime motivators in social species.

It’s the body of wisdom and perception, and often the root cause of dis-ease. Even at the biological level. Experience and belief. It’s the part of us that’s intuitive and receptive. Reactive. Respond-able. Responsible. Integrating this body of lived experience equals wellbeing.  

Understanding our inner drives and uprooting our deepest fears we undo the knots of past impressions. Move into fulfilling, rewarding, delicious relationships. Less running around in circles accusing, arguing, coping, walking away, blaming, shaming. More connection and real relation. Fully present.


[i] Melody Beattie – Beyond Codependency

[ii] Melody Beattie – Beyond Codependency

[iii] Daniel J. Siegel, Interpersonal Neurobiology, 2012, W.W. Norton & Company Ltd.

FULFILLING RELATIONSHIPS RESPONDING INSTEAD OF REACTING

FULFILLING RELATIONSHIPS RESPONDING INSTEAD OF REACTING

Feeling like we’re going with the flow in our relationships is possible when we identify with people, projects and places that uplift and inspire us. A feeling of visceral flow shows us we’re with the right people for where we’re at now.  Responding instead of reacting can feel like such an achievement, like success. And it’s the most fulfilling and rewarding way to relate to others. But how often does it happen when in confrontational settings?

Have you ever made a choice you regretted, yet next time round you again made that same stupid choice?

Do you ever feel like your going round in circles when it comes to certain relationships or situations?

Have you ever wondered why you deny, fear, avoid or run from particular people, places or parts of yourself?

All of us have moments when we feel out of control. We react instead of respond. And the actions we take from these emotionally charged moments cause regret, resentment, grief and can make us feel like we’re going crazy.
 

Vijananamaya Kosha & Inner Drives

Kosha means sheath and Vijnanamaya means wisdom. Wisdom is something universal, known to all; consciously or unconsciously. This knowing is strengthened by repeated personal experiences in the presence of  our first teachers; carers and parents. An experience of wisdom as infants learned through relation, connection and bonds of trust.

There is also learned wisdom, which is part of this sheath. Therefore anything we learn and experience, repeatedly, when together with loved ones, intensely shapes what we believe to be a truth; our wisdom. A deep conviction is rooted in personal experience shared with those we identify with, associate with or trust.

These emotional reactions are patterns we were unconsciously trained in at a very early age. Habits we used to adapt to the circumstances we were born or brought up in. We’re also at our most impressionable from conception till the first 3 years. This is when anything that’s repeated over and over, and we cannot explore, express or communicate about consciously, becomes a certainty. And therefore forms our beliefs about ourselves, our loved ones, our environment, world and our lives and experiences in love.

These latent impressions become our drives. Drives are directed by our subscribed to beliefs, conscious or not. Our beliefs are shaped by those we are influenced by; those closest to us. These impressions in Sanskrit called Samskaras and in psychology inner drives.

Working with Vijnanamaya, Yoga Psychology

Yoga psychology is all about relationship. To self and other. Understanding and working with Vijnanamaya is the psychology of Yoga and Ayurveda.

Vijnanamaya kosha is the body of wisdom and perception. Experience and belief. It’s the part of us that’s intuitive, receptive, reactive, respond-able and responsible. Without integrating this understanding of living and experience, a yoga practice can help or hinder, empower or inhibit, even make or break our health and wellbeing.  

In Yoga therapy a huge part of creating a practice is understanding the wisdom sheath. Our inner drives, the root cause of many imbalances. Understanding our inner drives and deepest fears gives us a big clue to how we can undo the knots of past impressions. Because we want to move into fulfilling, rewarding and delicious relationships. No one wants to go around in circles accusing, arguing, coping, walking away, blaming, shaming etc.

We all need, desire and deserve healthy, deliberate, conscious and compassionate relationships and connection to self and others.

Understanding our Inner Drives 

Understanding how our wisdom body influences our perception, emotions, choices, reactions, and eventual actions, allows us to make new choices. To flow more naturally through our relationships, and experience our interconnectedness.

It allows us to be more accepting of self and others. It’s the first doorway self love, self compassion and self care. Because we can love ourselves as imperfectly perfect, we open the windows for others to also be perfectly imperfect too. This spaciousness makes way for a sense of responsibility to do our part and also to set up boundaries, that allow others to do their part in the play of life. Problems and differences are no longer personal.[1] Just two people seeing and experiencing in their unique ways.

We can accept conflict and confront people. We separate issues from people.[2]
When we honour our sense of self, our identity and integrity, we respond to situations instead of reacting.

Identity, a Template 

The bottom line of why we react instead of respond is our sense of identity. Identity drives actions. As new-born’s we identify wholeheartedly with our caregiver. Whatever the repeated reaction, physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically, sets the example for us to do the same.

We only differentiate as far as we feel safe enough to still be accepted as part of the family /tribe. These early adaptive patterns ensure survival. But if we never psychologically or emotionally leave home and find our own identity, they become our basic default drives throughout our lives.

Our beliefs are based on the repeated behaviour of the family/tribe/group/culture/society with which we identify. The behaviours, like latent impressions, create templates of beliefs of how we should act and react. These beliefs become filters for what comes in and out of our wisdom body. The filters, Samskaras, informs our perceptions. Our perceptions in turn influence our experiences, emotions and reactions.

In this way, identity drives our choices and actions, again and again. We’ve lost the ability to respond or see clearly without filters and distortions of past experiences. And seeing we’re a social species, one of the most powerful influences are our family, friends, teachers, and mentors. Whatever we immerse ourselves in, we’re influenced by. The degree of influence depends on time;  how much we spend with them, how much we’ve invested into that belief and way of life. Not whether we like what they feel, think, say or do. Identity drives action.

Changing Tides, Responding Instead of Reacting

We can use this to our advantage too. When we identify with inspirational people, we flow like a stream toward that way of living and looking at the world. Because their life, actions, words and thoughts embody and exemplify what we aspire toward. We’re guided by their beliefs, perception and choices.

We identify with whomever we hang out with. And the five people most in your daily life influence you most. So just hang out with people you want to be like. If you can’t hang out with them, read books, articles, watch interviews, documentaries of how inspirational people live, laugh, share, care, create and integrate their wisdom into everyday living.

Our perception, beliefs and intelligence; becomes our wisdom. This template of latent impressions all inform our choices, reactions and inner drives

Guided by the healthy people we surround ourselves with, choosing which books we read, films we watch, activities we take part in or the music we’re immersed in a self we want to be with. This is exactly how we influence our psyche and set ourselves up for success when it comes to relating and connecting. 

Our wisdom body is the psyche that knows our interconnection. We see ourselves in the heroines and heroes of stories. Identify with archetypes. That’s why it’s vital who our leaders are. We see unconscious and subconscious patterns playing out in each one of us.

Bringing these patterns to light of consciousness through meditation, mindfulness, concentration and journaling. Reflectinng on inspiring stories and uplifting films is exactly how we empower our wisdom body. Once the patterns are conscious we see and understand what’s going on underneath our inner drives. We dive underneath the play of details into the immense incredible fabric of consciousness, and connect to our identity with bigger self, universe, cosmic, higher, divine, whatever You want to call it.

We can identify with the heroine and hero, the Goddesses and Gods, because even they make mistake and have their fair share of flaws. 

Issues, imperfections and mistakes are the bounty of playful living, they make us laugh, let us relax and see the silliness of our seriousness. They give us room to BE.

Love to the fuller, bigger and wiser You, the self that dares to step onto the Heroines’ journey.
Love the You you are now, perfectly imperfect, finding your beauty and power as you go.

Much Love,

Shira. 

[1] Melody Beattie – Beyond Codependency
[2] Ibid.

OUR MIND BODY & MENTAL CLARITY

OUR MIND BODY & MENTAL CLARITY

We can easily create mental clarity and focus when we understand our mind body, Manomaya Kosha. With mental clarity and focus, confidence, curiosity and creativity flow naturally. Our mind when working at its fullest potential, is reflective, clear and deep. And like the mountain lake, when our Mind Body has clarity, we’re calm, collected and centred, even during the full catastrophe life. 

This state of mind is known as Buddhi in Sanskrit. It’s where the word Buddha comes from. Someone who sees clearly, without distortions or waves of confusion.

Do you ever wish your mind was someone/thing you loved to live with? Does it sometimes remind you of a spoilt brat or tyrant?

It’s only since about 4 years I love my mind and see it as a friend rather than foe.

Our reflective and calm mind can be cultivated with the practices of breathing, meditation, mindfulness, detachment, intention, affirmation and visualisation.

From Physical to Subtle, Through the Elements

In the article Yoga Therapy, we looked at our five different bodies; food, energy, thought, intelligence and causal. This month we’ve travelled from the tangible physical body to a subtler experience of living. We dove into our energy body in our last article Pranamaya Kosha. In this article we’ll shine some light on our mental body, Manomaya Kosha.

For philosophy lovers wanting to puzzle the pieces and get a glimpse of the big picture, our five bodies are related to the five elements; earth, water, fire, air and space. 

Our physical body is mainly made up of earth, heavy, inert, solid; ‘soil-idd’. Our energy body when healthy, flows like water, stagnate when we move too little, or dissipates when we spread our energy too thin into too many channels. 

Because mind is connected to the element of fire, our mind is often overheated. Fire gives us heat, light and energy to move. Without the sun or a flame, we’d bump into things and never grasp their full beauty or purpose. Fire allows us to see, discern, differentiate, organise and design.

But we can also take this wonderful tool and channel for granted. Seeing we live in a time where vision is our main way of relating in the world, media, marketing, design, it’s not so strange that our mind is overwhelmed, overstimulated, yet undernourished.

So, what can we do, living in this world of constant visual input? 

Let’s first see the power of our mind, then understand how we can channel this amazing tool.

The Power & Purpose of our Mind

Our mind is what sets us apart from all other creatures. Evolving over millions of years to accommodate creating the most wonderful, wild and wicked creations. It has the power to discern, discriminate, pull apart, put together, reconstruct and fabricate. It has the will to direct, empower and eventually bring into manifestation, anything.

Our mind body is made up of thoughts, imagination, memories, logic and conscious and sub-conscious impressions. The mind is agile, quick, nimble, adaptable. It loves to show off it’s dexterity. It takes the form of whatever is in front of it. Its nature is to mimic, connect and find new ways to bring different concepts, knowledge and impressions together. 

This is the beauty of the mind. 

It’s downfall when we take in too much information, versus education, which is a slower process.

Our mind is like an empty vessel. Because it’s endlessly empty it fills itself with whatever is in front it. In a world full of ideas, fantasies, impressions, opinions, claims. These become memories. And seeing our mind is always trying to and make sense and find purpose of events in relation to our own impressions and cognitive processes, there’s an endless possibility of variables thoughts we can conjure up. 

This busy-body is a master at moving, change and doing. That’s its nature. Since in utero, we’re all ‘trained’, to grasp and hold onto any concept, idea, pattern, impression, logical process, to ensure survival and acceptance into our family/tribe. This prerequisite has made us so busy being busy, we’re often more human doings than human beings. 

Therefore a little less doing and a bit more being is the core path to create mental clarity and focus. To create that calm, confidence and curiosity, and cultivate that reflective mind, simplicity is key. 

Being visually surrounded by scenes, images and impressions of clarity are directly reflected back by Manomaya.

Create Clarity & Focus With Ease

First of all to create mental calm we need ease. So let’s keep it simple. No complicated formulas or projecting we need some external authority to access our inherent intelligence. We’re all able.

The mental field is subtle and therefore seems difficult to understand. But we can re-ignite our mental amazingness if we understand these four things; 

  1. Impressions from the senses strongly affect our mind. Mostly through images and words; media, films, books, songs, magazines. The intensity of affect depends on the level of affection/identification, we have with the source of these impressions. 
  2. When the mind digests all experiences without misunderstandings, it remains clear. That’s why clear communication skills and boundaries is not only valuable, but a necessity, for mental clarity and focus.
  3. The movement of our body’s energy directly affects the movement of our mind. Mental movement is a major influence over our state of mind. That’s why regulating our breathing with specific exercises is vital to mental wellbeing. 
  4. Because the mind often thinks in words, what we think, we will see, believe and create. Words effect us deeper than action. It stays in our memory.

PRACTICES FOR create mental clarity and focus MANOMAYA

These four tools can help us cultivate the mind we love to live with. Rather than dominating all our actions, words and thoughts.

Breathing Same In as Out- Samavritti

Breathing inadvertently affects our mind through our energy body. Physiology affects psychology. So breathing in a pattern of equal, smooth and same ratio of in as out, calms the mind. One by focusing our attention, and two, by steadying the waves of our breath body, we calm the waves of thoughts.

So a ratio of 1:1 breathing is all we need. Meaning we breathe in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds. You can increase this up to 10-15 seconds. But remember, as long as your breathing is smooth, calm and feels good to your nervous system, it calms the nerves, the senses and therefore your mind. 

Concentration

Through the practice of concentration the mind is trained to stay still. In the beginning you might have delusions that your mind stays still for minutes at a time, but when you sit day in day out for years, you’ll meet the incredibly cleverness of this mental acrobat.

Slowly it does calm. By not doing, the mind empties once again. As much as you’ve put in,that long it’ll take to empty…! 

Do Nothing

Lie down in the sun, or on your sofa, daydream, absorb the moment, listening to the birds, just like a cat. We love watching the grace, ease and beauty of cats. But if you meditate on their behaviour, their just very graceful at being lazy. They do it with such unapologetic poise, that we think they’re sleek, sublime and superior. 

And they are. 

At the art of Being, rather than doing.

Cardiovascular activity

Get out of your head and into your body.

Being in your body, feeling your legs and heart as your run, or your whole body ability and freedom of expression as you dance, will clear the mind in no time. When you’re here and now, you’re embodied. Embodiment is the best place for a mind to live and thrive. Embodiment is human being rather than human doing.

With these simple steps you can create the mental clarity and focus of a psychological ninja.

Whilst in the midst of the full catastrphe of Life 😉

Be. Not busy, just being.

Be all the things we were never trained for.

Be yourself, unapologetically. Allow yourself to empty. Live fully.

Namaste,

Shira.

GET CLEAR, CALM & COLLECTED IN 7 STEPS

GET CLEAR, CALM & COLLECTED IN 7 STEPS

Getting clear, calm and collected in 7 Yoga steps to stop anxiety. 

Yeah!! It’s finally spring for those in the northen hemisphere and autumn in the southern. My favourite seasons. The seasons of change and renewal. Also the seasons of increased Vata. Last weeks article was about emotions and how we can transform them through Yoga and meditation. This week we’ll be looking at anxiety from Ayurvedic eyes and what we can do specific to empower ourselves if we feel overwhelmed. 

  • Understand what causes anxiety
  • Learn how you can change your nervous system with Yogic practices
  • Use your diet and daily routine to balance your emotions and mind
  • Enjoy self care that will calm and centre your body, emotions and mind

Most of my teen and adult life I struggled with anxiety. Most who know me wouldn’t know it, because I was really good at acting like I was fine. I think a lot of us live our lives that way.


You probably experience bouts of doubts, worry, anxiety, panic attacks, emotions changing for no real reason. Or maybe You’re feeling stuck in flight or flight response and want to manage or even master this feeling.


Do feel like you have become a different person compared to how You used to feel?
I know I have many times… 
And You want Yoga practice and knowledge to become resilient and confident again. That’s exactly what I wanted and didn’t know how or what. But after years of trial and error, I have some tools that can make a huge difference. To do that let’s dive into what causes anxiety to better understand how we can remedy.

Anxiety and it’s Causes 

Medically, anxiety is the nervous system stuck in fight/flight response. The fight/flight response occurs when there is any stress, whether the threat is physical, mental or emotional. It releases adrenaline, a stress hormone, preparing our physiology to escape or fight. It diverts the blood away from the internal organs of digestion, regulation and growth, to motor muscles. If our body is flooded with adrenaline we can get stuck in this alert and ready f/f mode.  


(If stress is chronic and consistent over long periods of time, our adrenals become exhausted, medically called Adrenal Fatigue, better known as Burnout.)


Ayurvedically, anxiety is excessive Vata dosha in the nervous system. Vata dosha is the psychobiological function of movement within the body/mind complex. Vata is like Wind; movement, breath, life changes. Too much wind becomes erratic, cold and drying movement of our energy and emotional states and quality of our living.


Vata when balanced is expressed as positive mental and emotional states like creativity, joy, intuition, expansiveness and deep spiritual understanding. When imbalance due to excess, Vata creates nervousness, doubts, worry, restlessness, just like too much wind will do to your skin. Because like increases like, opposite decreases. Therefore, to remedy excessive Vata, we need to increase the qualities of rhythm, warmth and moisture and the heavy quality of oils, sweet foods and anything that is not light, cold and erratic.

How to Change Gears of the Nervous System with Yoga

Advice is all too often, ‘Minimise stress’. But when our nervous system is stuck in the fight/flight gear, it can be really hard to switch to the rest/digest response. Luckily Ayurvedic principles applied to Yoga is powerful and effective.
Therefore, like winds’ irregular movement causing waves on the lake’s surface, the mind becomes erratic when we lack routine, rhythm and regularity. This affects our sense of clarity, our energy levels swing and our emotions become unreliable. Now imagine a movement that is soft, smooth, rhythmic within your body, breath and mind. This is the pattern we want to teach our breath, nervous system and mental fluctuations.  Because this will affect our body, energy, emotions and mind. So the key is to go slow, smooth and softly in our day, practice, daily routine and any movement.

The 7 Simple Steps to Overcome Anxiety

The first 5 steps are to calm the nerves. The last one is to strengthen the nervous system.
Or download my Free PDF Yoga for a Calm Mind

1 Routine & Regularity

Eat regularly, wake up & go to sleep consistently, meditate, exercise and relax regularly. Find a rhythm that works well for You and stick to it. Prediction immediately calms the nervous system. Even symmetry and a clean and clear home will create a collected and centred feeling.


2 Stay Warm

Eat warm, oily food, dress warm so nerves are not constantly stimulated by chills. Warming the nerves engages the relaxation response, slows down the mind and grounds our emotional state. It switches us from fight/flight response to rest and digest response. 


3 Breathe Out Slow

Slow breathing calms the nervous system, but the out breath activate the parasympathetic nervous system- the part responsible for the relaxation response. So breathe in for 5 breathe out for 10, do up to 10 rounds. Don’t do retentions, they might trigger nervousness.


4 Grounding Yoga Poses

Any poses that are close to the ground, bringing the energy inward and down will ground the nervous system. Any open and spacious movement will only create more anxiety. So forward bends such as cat/cow, child’s pose, wind relieving pose, forward fold, and garland pose. Even just lying on the floor, and hugging the knees, is very beneficial and centering.


5 Self Care

Self care can’t be overstated for anxiety, we tend to worry and spend too much time in our head. The most grounding practices are a warm bath, oil massage and touch. After a warm bath with essential oils such as Jasmin, Rose or any sweet smelling oils, oil yourself with a warming oil such as mustard, sesame or almond and nourish the soul, through touch.  Touch is major healer of nervous sytem disregulation and anxiety. What every mother knows, when a child or baby cries nothing is more effective than holding, hugging to call the fears and sense of loneliness. More hugs and hand holding activates the relax response. Getting an oil massage its vital in calming the nerves. Also watch a funny film, allow yourself to indulge in an activity that will literally cheer you up.


6 Physical Exercise

This is huge! As a Yoga teacher for a long time I thought this was irrelevant for me, but human body is meant to run, walk and climb. Since 2 million years we have evolved to do just this. Therefore, when we do vigourous exercise our bodies are used to their full potential and that enlivens and awakens the natural intelligence of our bodies. Once the above routine calms your system, start jogging or doing a physical exercise that strengthens the entire body.


7 Proactivity

Being proactive means we do things to progress, not to perfection. Perfectionism causes paralysis and procrastination, cutting confidence. So its opposite is take action, see the fear and do it anyway. Anxiety is also associated to thoughts of the future, whereas depression is to do with the past.  So act on those thoughts of the future, don’t ruminate or become paralysed, just act. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, or someone doesn’t like you for what you do. You can’t please all the people all the time. We are human, not supernatural. Accept yourself and You will believe others are more accepting of You.

Now it’s time to turn ideas and insight into action. Write down in the comments below what You do to contribute to your anxiety and which steps you can take right now to remedy it.

Much Love,

Shira.

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS INTO POSITIVE ACTIONS

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS INTO POSITIVE ACTIONS

From waves of emotion to the sea of self confidence.

The waves of emotions 

Emotions are powerful. They lead to self-confidence when we know how to ride them. They strongly influence our body and mind. They create imbalance or vibrancy. Havoc or harmony, and manifest as confusion or creativity.
They affect our hormones, our mental state, our physiology and energy levels. 


The waves of emotions are created when the inner world meets the outer. The tides of energy exchange. The ebb and flow of the movement of life within us. Every sensation within your body is just an expression of these two ‘strangers’ meeting in myriad forms. 
Off course our fullest expression of any emotion is ultimately Love. But how often do we really feel this love with a capital L daily? A few seconds, maybe minutes at most. And wouldn’t it be great if we could feel a fuller version of that emotion or live, breathe, eat and sleep with more passion, contentment, satisfaction and surrender?  


Well we can. But first we need to understand emotions purpose.

The power and purpose of emotions 

Every emotion has a story to tell. Emotion is energy in motion. Emotions exist to propel us into action. Emotions are the connection between body and mind. The bridge, if you will. Whenever we interact with the world, the exchange creates energetic movement within the body.


We act in response to that energetic movement, E-motion.  


When emotions are positive, we feel harmony and enjoy and absorb that joyousness. But when negative, we usually react instead of respond. Emotions push us to honour our inherent intelligence. Our soul’s purpose wants to be honoured, heard, felt, valued, seen, and can be ignored, negated, supressed, surplanted, uprooted, or neglected, resulting in emotion. An unmet need.

The 5 difficult emotions and our respond-ability

Fear – or anxiety asks us to discern and then act upon the intentions and actions of others. When we align with that we create feelings of safety and trust.  
Guilt – asks us to look at our own intentions and actions. When we honour this, we create feelings of satisfaction and pleasure. 
Anger – or shame is our values, needs and desires being refuted, ignored or trodden on. It asks us to move forward, create change and transform that situation. When we see to this emotion, we create feelings of success, self confidence and autonomy. 
Sadness – asks us to stop, look, and listen to the grief, and feel what it is we are letting go of. When we feel this emotion, we create feelings of peace, contentment and Love. And a little wisdom, as we grow by letting go.
Suppression – asks us to speak our truth, to own our voice and express our values, ideas and opinions, even if thats not in accordance with public opinion. When we own our stance, needs and goals, this feeling makes way for creativity, openness and freedom, and self worth and acceptence become solid ground.  

Knowing the emotion allows us to create positive change

But often we don’t know what we’re feeling. Often we’ve been taught to supress, reject or ignore our emotions. Remember emotions are energy in motion, if they get stuck, energy becomes condensced and becomes a matter.  
Do this too often, too long, and they become toxic. They build up and get stuck in our tissues, organs and systems of the body and mind. Clogging our physical and mental perception and sensitivity. Clouded or insensitive to our feelings, when our emotional needs aren’t being met or expressed, we internalise those dynamics of relationship, relating and living.
Our emotional fire and desire dims, and we lose the ability to connect and relate. Emotions become toxic, often lifelong patterns. 
So what can we do?

4 Key steps to riding the emotional waves

1. Burning up the Build Up

We can burn emotional toxicity by building a healthy energetic fire.
As emotions are divine life energy expressed through us, we don’t need to suppress or reject these feelings. When we surrender, we release them. Just witnessing our emotions, their rise, fall and dissolution, and our reactions and thoughts toward them, will dissolve them.


Now, even though we just have to sit with them, this is hard work. We need to be brave enough to feel and hold them, in all their velocity, intensity and uncertainty. And being with our feelings, and the burning sensation of it inside us, creates the fire that releases toxic emotions.
Doing just 5 minutes each day will build up our courage and self-confidence. 

2. Recognising Emotions

Once we’ve created the fire we want to begin to name the different emotions. This allows us to know what our inner world feels in response to the outer situation and act accordingly. We begin the process of transformation through discrimination. Then we don’t cheat ourselves or the other.


Feel what happens to your energy in relation to the external world. Does the person, situation or activity lift you up or pull you down? Does it move you forward or hold you back?
Take a few moments of time in your day to ask these questions when with others.

3. Hear Their Story

Emotions are always in the present, so what is THIS emotion telling you? Can you allow it to speak the whole story? Allow it to rise, swell, peak and fall away. Find out where it came from. Realise which past experience makes you feel compelled to suppress this emotion.


Then once you get past your own story in relation to it, feel its strength. What power does this feeling convey? How can you ride this wave? Feel it’s intensity, the direction it wants to take and the expression you can channel this into. Maybe in the form of movement in your body, maybe in creating a project or connecting with like minded people to create some change you feel compelled to awaken.

Honour the emotion. The stronger the charge, the bigger you can create, the further this energy can move through you and the world.
When you start to feel, recognise and express this energy, its like riding a wave that’s moving through your core. When I realised this, it was a BIG DEAL! It means we can transform to create through feeling. This blew me away.


Next time a strong emotion arises, feel where you can take that surge of energy. Channel it into something creative.

4. Honour your needs

We need to feel, see and recognise our emotions to meet our needs. We need our needs met to feel ALIVE. And we need our emotions to meet our needs. So vital and key, they complement each other. It’s like a cycle, upstream or down.


Movement is a great physical need we have. We’ve evolved over 2 million years to walk, climb, run, dig, swim, dance and jump. And off course yoga! Taking all these different forms and expressing their energy! Doing this daily to feel fully alive. To let that divine life energy flow through us just as the spring breathes life into the woods and world!


Let Your aliveness guide you not your imbalances.


Needs are different for each person, but most of us need love, safety, nourishment, connection and purpose. When these are met, we can meet powerful emotions with calm, collected clarity and curiousity.


Self knowledge gives birth to self Love. When we know what we need, want, what we are great at and what we are crap at, we know what actions we need to take to move out of an emotion that limits us. Step Into Your Power & Beauty is a in-depth training to learn how to work with your emotions and turn them into positive actions.


So let’s ride the waves of emotion. Let’s ride the wave to self-confidence, vibrancy and manifestation of a world we want to live in. One where we’re emotionally intelligent, literate and empowered.


Let’s open ourselves up to a vaster range of emotions by first diving into the not so delicate and delicious ones 😉

Tell me, what do you do to ride the waves of your emotions?

Much Love,

Shira.

Our many little children

Our many little children

We all have many little children.

Even if we haven’t had a child, we can love other peoples children just as fully as if they were our own.

We can feel responsible for other people, animals, plants or planets, just as much as a mother loves her preciously amazing and unbelievable child. We can feel a deep joy for our creative thoughts, or constructive plans that become the fruit of our futures. We can give birth to new projects, thoughts and relationships.

Even if we never gave birth to a physical child that has arms, legs and minds of their own, we still have and make many children all day long!

These creations of ours can be so beautiful, so full of joy, freshness, awaking us to new realities and pathways. And the thing is, these beautiful children do have arms, legs and minds of their own. Our children, once we dream them up, or start to fulfil our desire, start to come alive, start to ask for our attention. They literally grow full bodies that need nurturing. And if we listen too much, too soon, too often, they rule our lives, run our minds and, sometimes drag our bodies and energy all over the place.

If we don’t listen enough or with full attention, they become undernourished, resentful, or worse- unloved. And they will feel in the dark. They will feel alone, unheard, unknown.

Then our fruits can become exhausting, or pull us into the dark, or we are afraid of them. They can cause us to disconnect, to suffer or be in pain.

Think about it, all those thoughts you have, all the emotions they trigger and actions or reactions that spring into life from the continous movement of the mind. These are very real children. They have consequences, they demand our attention, they need us to engage with the rest of the actions to fulfil these desires.

So to be a good parent, to All our creations, we need a place where we can take our time to relax and reconnect with our deeper Self. In this space we can reflect, redirect if necessary, and refill. Reflect on whether we actually need to fulfil these desires, which path is the right action to take for this child that asks so much of my time? And the question, “Does this child need all my attention? Do I really need to even listen to these requests it makes? Is it really a need or a greed? Should I be listening more fully, intently, honestly?”

These are very important questions, if we don’t want to end up walking down a path of constantly chasing after or catering for creations who run our lives, for months, or worse, years.

When we have the time to reflect, we also shed light onto and discover what we have been ignoring, or “leaving out in the dark”, and actually needs more of our awareness, love and embrace. And what we have focused on too much and actually needs to be left alone for a while.

Not only the new and the fresh creations are our children but also the old and sometimes painful or difficult ones, are also our precious ones. They too deserve our love and embrace, they need our light upon them. But not a powerful focus of attention that makes us grip or hold on to it, creating heat rather than radiance. We need a light and love to free our pain and fear. We need just the right amount of fire, Agni. Agni is the Tapas that will light our awareness and bring that nurturing warmth of Mother that heals and embraces All, no matter what. She excludes none.

Our pain and joy are both like a little child- needing not too much and not too little attention, just the right amount is a very brave and discerning practice. It requires swadhyaya, or self inquiry, Aparigraha, or openhearted and handedness, and Santosha, or contentment with what is as it is. These are the Yamas that guide us from inside toward the outside.

So, let us walk that path, like Mother Durga, on the sharp edge of the blade finding balance between these Yamas. Fierce with devotion to care for her young.

Let us hold our many children with equal amounts of love, tenderness and awareness.

Let us shed our full light of consciousness onto our creations, good, bad or unbelievable.

Much Love,

Shira.