4. OPENNESS AND ADAPTABILTY IN RELATING

4. OPENNESS AND ADAPTABILTY IN RELATING

Imagine that no matter how challenging a situation, or how someone presses your buttons, you meet it with grace and clear equanimity. Imagine how great you’d feel. You radiate confidence and self-love, and therefore easily accept and accomodate others.

Rigidity and the habitual are the opposite of adaptibility and acceptance.

Over the last three weeks we’ve looked at how we can reclaim self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence before, during or after, burnout. Once these three steps are integrated in body, mind and psyche, the next step is flexibility and adaptibility, leading to self-acceptance. Because mindful yoga practice is reflective; connects the dots between body, mind and psyche, through physical flexibility we discover mental and emotional adaptability.

How?

PHYSICAL FLEXIBILITY EQUALS PSYCHOLOGICAL ADAPTABILITY

Our physical body is like a map, a template, for our mental and emotional bodies. When it’s flexible and able to move into different spaces and places without too much resistance and friction, it relates this to our mental body through how we feel as we accomodate new dynamics and forms. Take for example nimbly running with your child in the forest, dodging branches and jumping over fallen trees. Your ability to quickly change speed and shape enables you to move with grace, possible when your joints have mobility and muscles flexibility.

Flexibility gives flow to the many physical movements, changes and taking up space in new places. Because Yoga reflects different facets of self, flexibility in body equals adaptibilty of mind. Adaptability gives flow to your relationships and vitality to our sense of self in social interactions. Your body reflects your mind and energetic stance in life. Flexibility equals dynamism to lifes’ challenges and changes.

3 KEYS TO ENHANCE ADAPTIBILTY

  • Self-acceptance and adaptability go hand in hand
  • Grief, sadness and an unwillingness to let go and accept changes; external or internal, withhold your natural ability and receptivity to give and take; stopping flow and flexibility
  • Accepting the changes; personal, professional, relational, creates space for growth and finding peace with our new self

Accepting our self means accepting all of it; the great, bad and utterly ugly. It’s holding space for whatever comes up within ourselves, but also outside of ourselves, and remaining emotionally present, or connected to self and other. And learning to let go of ingrained habits and beliefs is key to mental and emotional self-acceptance and adaptibility. What helped us in the past, but may not serve us any longer, is outgrown; what got you here, won’t get you there.

LETTING GO TO GROW

Sadness and grief are emotions that ask us to let go. To release, the familiar, the unseen, the unaccepted, unappreciated, unforgotten and unnecessary.

If we fear letting go, maybe because subconsciously we believe we can’t deal with the consequneces of releasing a habit, no matter how detrimental it is, can result in depression. A coping mechanism to prevent change; supression of other emotions such as anxiety, shame, guilt and denial, which are associated with the sadness or grief, are held at bay in this way. This holding on is strength, but it also prevents growth.

TO GROW WE NEED TO LET GO!

Adapting is stretching into the new of self and life. Reaching into the unknown with light-heartedness, a willingness to open up and see. Closing off is a great way to avoid possible pain, but it also stops newness coming in. New experiences stretch our awareness, open up new ideas and inspire us. Revitalising our mind, opening our emotional self to possibility and promise.

And sure there’ll be more bumps in the road- such is life- but we’ll be carrying less baggage.

PRACTICE

Now feel your heart and distinguish how open you are to new experiences, is there a flow of incoming and outgoing? How does it feel if you were to see it as a stream? Now using safety, rest and strength feel that you are resilient enough to open up a little. See how that feels, breath in and out from your heart. Can you hold whatever arises with lightness, strength and trust? What happens to your mind, energy and body?

Strength, rest and safety enable us to soften and open up, allowing a sense of flow back into our lives. Knowing we can connect as participants of life again gives hope and revitalises us.

The body becomes an entry point, or map, to create flexibility in mind and psyche so we open up to new capabilities.

Holding back, resisting change and not letting go because we fear the unknown, is keeping life from flowing through us and us from flowing through life. Accepting our self and the changes we return with dynamism more quickly.

Much Love,

Shira

“Working with Shira has taught me I have the capacity to uplift myself and there’s a sense of coming home”. – Nelleke Scharroo

Want to know more about the Yoga Wellness & Resilience Course? Click here.

YOGA THERAPY FOR BURNOUT PREVENTION & RECOVERY

YOGA THERAPY FOR BURNOUT PREVENTION & RECOVERY

Burnout is often a slow slide of unconsciously neglecting ourselves. To tend to our wellbeing and health is as essential as any other aspect. Within us the aspects of self-knowledge, self-care, building strength and adaptability through self-acceptance and expression, all need a little TLC daily. Just as we tend to the gardens of our career and relationships, learning to tend to ourselves is fulfilling, rewarding and deeply nourishing not only for ourselves but for all those we love and look after. And essential to living well and reclaiming the wellbeing we so desire. Download PDF for easy tips.

Our present stress epidemic results in 80% of doctor visits. 52% of professionals are at risk of burnout. And 80% report that their stress is work related. Burnout affects two thirds of employees mental, emotional and physical health[1]. Burnout prevention prevents employee absenteeism.

Burnout that is left untreated can lead to chronic depression, anxiety attacks, a loss of control and self-confidence, as well as heart disease and high cholesterol. Worldwide 615 million suffer from depression and anxiety, costing US$1trillion each year in productivity[2]. Both yoga therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy are equally effective, and even complementary, in prevention and recovery of burnout,[3][4] because we work top-down and bottomup; meaning we use cognitive as well as somatic and sensory restoration and reintegration to heal deeply and allow the calm to move through our many layers.

Symptoms

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Disturbed sleep and biorhythms
  • Low immunity and confidence
  • Digestive issues and lack of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Mental distancing and skin problems
  • Lack of focus and decision making
  • Chronic fatigue and depression
  • Darkening of skin pigmentation of face, especially around the eyes

Causes

  • Long work hours, excessive work, workplace politics, perfectionism, job insecurity[5]
  • People pleasing, our own sense of never being good enough or doing enough
  • Too many responsibilities, choices, roles, expectations
  • Insufficient rest, family time and time management

Excessive intake is a major culprit to mental and emotional overwhelm- We take in more information in one day than someone did in a lifetime 150yrs ago![6]

Treatment & Strategies

  • Social support
  • Yoga Wellness & Resilience Training[7] that includes
  • Rest and relaxation techniques
  • Physical strength building
  • Physiological regulation
  • Hormonal homeostasis
  • Vagal tone
  • Mindfulness 
  • Emotional literacy training
  • Recognising and creating boundaries

Taking time to process the INTAKE; information, media, conversations, social interactions is done via OUTPUT; rest, pause, physical activities, yoga, meditation and creative work or journaling.

Yoga Therapy Wellness & Resilience Training

Yoga therapy wellness trainings use both the body and the mind; top down and bottom-up approach, creating an integrative and effective strategy. Reclaiming overall wellbeing with longer lasting benefits due to body awareness and self-knowledge, allowing continual self-regulation long after the training or therapy is finished.

In the next 6 weeks I’m going to share with you the six steps to a quicker recovery, a better prevention techniques and results based steps needed to ensure we don’t slide into the old habits that brought it about in the first place. These help us gain body-awareness, effective self-care, emotional agency, mental clarity and enable physiological self-regulation.

Knowing ourselves and listening to our bodies cues, we understand our needs, abilities, weaknesses, boundaries and goals, both personal and professional. Boundaries require a healthy sense of self from which to feel our emotions and distinguish them from others. Enabling us to discern our needs, wants and abilities for physical, physiological and psychological. 

6 Weeks to Reclaim Wellbeing

Week 1 Self-knowledge Understand your personal health needs, abilities, boundaries, weaknesses and goals. Re-evaluate.

Week 2 Self-care Learn how to move from fight/flight mode into rest/digest to heal and restore. Relax.

Week 3 Strength & Resilience Build physical strength to improve physiological homeostasis; mood, energy and bounce back. Resist.

Week 4 Adaptability & Flexibility Physical, emotional and mental flexibility equals adaptability to life’s changes and challenges. Revitalise.

Week 5 Emotion & Expression Clear emotional expression affects physiological and hormonal health beneficially. Reclaim.

Week 6 Mental Clarity Vagus nerve activation improves mental calm and clarity ensuring wellbeing and self-agency. Reintegrate.

Benefits of Yoga Wellness & Resilience Training

  • Learn techniques to access vagal parasympathetic activation for rest/ digest, tend and befriend
  • Gain self-awareness, mindfulness and associated mental calm, focus, solution identity and clarity
  • Improves physical strength, biorhythms and diaphragmatic breathing
  • Increases physiological homeostasis, energy levels, self-regulation and agency
  • Decreases sense of loss of control, emotional reactivity and exhaustion
  • Improves Sleep health, Digestion, Breath capacity, Energy levels, Sense of connection

Immunity & Sense of Self, Mental focus, Mental clarity, Adaptability, Ability to relax, Emotional availability, Mental presence 

Be Moved Feel alive & Move Into Living Well with and through your own effort, knowledge and some very simple and effective tools.


[1] https://www.actec.com/2018/09/17/how-to-prevent-employee-burnout-absenteeism-and-turnover/

[2] https://everyonesocial.com/blog/employee-burnout-statistics/

[3] https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-018-2141-9

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32805013/

[1] https://barendspsychology.com/burnout-facts/

[1] Fiona Agombar, Yoga Therapy for Stress, Burnout & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 2021, Singing Dragon.

[2] https://hbr.org/2019/12/burnout-is-about-your-workplace-not-your-people

FROM SHAME TO SELF-CONFIDENCE

FROM SHAME TO SELF-CONFIDENCE

Self-worth. Self-respect. Self-confidence revealed by self-sabotage of success. 

There are many reasons we self-sabotage. Unconscious inner drives make us go round in circles, related to past traumas, undigested fears and internalised shame. Shame and self-confidence are both on the same continuum, I explain more in my forthcoming book, Reclaiming Our Wellbeing.

Negative thoughts, beliefs, patterns and reactions reveal a healthy underlying need for self-protection. These surface to be explored, expressed and embodied so we digest internalized past traumas through clarity. Clarity and identifying patterns is connected to our Fire’s ability to act, do, give light, transform, energise and discern.

Moving from shame to self-confidence can be really hard because its one of our deepest emotions for social survival.

 

Research shows shame is correlated to autoimmune dis-ease, cancer and other inflammatory conditions. It’s an internalised biological expression of the belief that we are not welcome, worthy or wanted. It’s one of the most excruciating emotions a social creature can endure, and therefore we internalise it.

To move from victim to victorious means leaving behind the safety of the known. When we can’t stomach the shame of our past, our identity or present relationships, disgust arises as self-protection. That self-protection allows us to take distance, reflect and identify what causes us to feel so ashamed. For this we need the energy and heat of fire.

 

 

FIRE TRANSFORMS ONE STATE TO THE NEXT

Emotionally, mentally and physiologically our digestive fire consumes, assimilates, integrates and eliminates. Absorbing what’s good for us and excreting what’s harmful. We discern, clarify and get to the point by moving between two extremes. And fire initiates that shift and discerns what’s needed and what’s not.

That’s how we find a middle ground, which leads to feeling confident, enthusiastic, empowered, passionate and worthy. To get to those feelings we need fire to bring light to the unconscious drives, digest the undigested and get clear on what we’re angry and ashamed of, so we can eliminate it from our system. Understanding if your fire is excessive or deficient helps you know if you need more or are over doing it.

 

  • Deficient  WORTHLESSNESS, SHAME, SELF-SABOTAGE, BLAME, RESENTMENT, FRUSTRATION, ANGER.
  • Excessive JUDGEMENTAL, CRITICAL, ARROGANT, CONCEITED, HAUGHTY, DISDAIN, NARCISSISM.

In a relationship where one person has excessive fire, the other is almost always deficient in fire. So often you’ll find these dynamics at play.

By allowing yourself to feel shame, see if you can let it shift into resentment and then anger. Maybe you supress anger and it becomes self-sabotage. Anger gives us plenty of energy and power to move onto self-worth because we honour our core values. Using focus, determination and self-reflection we find our own way and shift towards self-confidence, by focusing on what we really want, being honest even if its not what someone else wants to hear, and that clarity leads to brilliance. 

 

 

TRANSFORMING SHAME INTO SELF-CONFIDENCE

The following journaling prompts come from my new course the Yoga Teachers class, which leads us from self-knowledge to self-confidence and self-expression. These prompts can be used for facing your shadows, neurotic behavior, limiting beliefs, self-destructive habits, painful patterns of emotional reactions, unclear projections and stressful relationship dynamics, and the underlying positive intent that wants to be brought to light.

Write down what have you self-sabotaged in the past; a project, a relationship, your life, career, studies. 

Now apply the next three steps to that experience and understand what your subconscious was trying to bring to light.

 

1. DREAM BIG

Turn your self-sabotage situation into your dream, ideal situation, if you believed anything is possible. Write down your DREAM situation and be limitless in your imaginings, courageous in your abilities, and generous with its impact.

* What would your ideal situation consist of?

* How would your life feel, sound and look different to what it is now?

* What would it change in other aspects of your life?

* How would it affect other people’s lives?

Name five associated emotions that means ideal to you? (Example; Safe, Freedom, Connected, Empowered, Alive, Satisfied, Joyous, Engaged).

 

2. NOTICE LIMITING BELIEFS

As you write the above you most likely have a voice saying ‘You can’t do that because …!’

So hear the voice and what is its main message? ‘You don’t have enough time, energy, resources’, or ‘It’s impossible because…’ or, ‘Who wants another…?‘, or ‘I know I can do that, but am happy as I am.’

These beliefs, thoughts and mindsets help us avoid growth. Growth means change, moving into unknown territory, and out of our comfort zone.These beliefs let us off the hook of leaving behind our outgrown self, and say, ‘Stay small, because you might fail, fall, waste time, need to change or leave behind…, …,’ 

Self-sabotage leads to frustration, anger and resentment, critical, arrogant and conceited communication, because subconsciously we know we’re not moving on. Sitting with these beliefs and associated emotions is key to releasing the charge and undoing our limiting habits. RAIN is an easy effective practice to move through pain.

 

3. IDENTIFY SHAME JOURNAL

Now you know which beliefs keep you in shame and away from self-confidence, self-respect and self-worth, identify which emotion is holding you back and find the opposite of that emotion. 

Examples; 

Shame – Dignity

Anger – Radiance

Resentment – Autonomy

Critical – Authentic

 

JOURNALING FROM SHADOW TO RADIANCE 

 

Remember a time when you experienced this emotion, say it’s radiance, and you were ridiculed, ignored, shamed for it. Or it was taken away, in some way or form. Use this in the journaling prompts below. This is your shadow, even though its a positive emotion, its connected to a negative experience. 

This is key to realising why we go round in circles, hold ourselves back from making our dream a reality. Dig deep, until you find the one memory when feeling that great hurt that much. Maybe you can’t remember because you were an infant, then just feel into the emotions, you’ll know when you have found that one that’s excruciating.

Dear (radiance) ___________  your shadow,

I’m angry with you because

 ___________ ruined my life because

I hate ____________ because

I’m scared of ____________ because

I feel bad about ____________ because

I feel sorry for myself regarding ____________ because

I feel excited with _____________ because

I love me with _____________ because

I’m happy with _____________ because

This makes me feel _______________

I hope this helps you get under the deep dark shadows of self-sabotage, and bring to light the radiance that you deserve to embody, hold and share with others.

Much Love,

 

Shira.

 

The journaling prompts have come from Ashley Turner and Mona Miller.

 

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CELEBRATING WOMEN’S NATURAL WISDOM

CELEBRATING WOMEN’S NATURAL WISDOM

Women are the reason there is Life. Women can carry another life in their womb for 10 months. Every single being that is, is because of Woman.

This simple fact, taken for granted to the point of dishonour, denigrating us since monotheism. The Goddes in Her infinite and often mysterious forms has been trampled into the dust of derision.

Our current culture has thrown independent women, healing herbs, fascia, emotions and healers, to the wayside for thousands of years. WE, who bear children, whole families, basically all diversity, are still struggling after thousands of years to live fully.

We’re free to work for our money, drive cars, live alone, take any professional path and even become leaders. But the path for a woman is always a battle field. Whether overt sexual insinuation, assualt or abuse, or subtle remarks, looks, beliefs and laws that encroach upon our self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of self-worth. In religious texts, media and medical instituitions we’re bombarded with messages of being inferior, or objectified as some thing to be had by another.

Womens Wisdom in Our Cycles

Our cycles, when honoured and listened to can deliver not just babies, and families, but beauty that radiates from within. A deep satisfaction and strength that connects us not just to each other, but to the stars and planets. It’s our universality that is a womans power. Our menstrual cycle flows round like the seasons of the year, it ebbs, peaks and flows back out.

With each moon turn, we go within, we see what needs to be changed, we blossom, flower, bear fruit and whither once more.

Starting from our menstruation we follow the moon tides as follows;

Menstruation. New Moon. Night. Winter, fallow. Higher progesteron is good for researching, restoring, returning to within to replenish. It’s also a time to clear, cleanse and eliminate.

Follicular phase. Waxing Moon. Morning. Spring, blossoming. Outgoing, enthusiasm and expression. Starting new projects and getting creative.

Ovulation. Full Moon. Mid Cycle. Midday. Summer, high estrogen, blooming. Verbal fluency. Left brain activation great for creativity and physical, mental and emotional fertility. Fulfilling projects

Luteal phase. Waning Moon. Evening. Autumn, whithering. Reflective, letting go of the outgrown and making changes. Finishing projects.2

Yet we’re asked to adapt to the phases of day and night, daily, which is the natural hormonal cycle of men. And that’s why we eventually burn out, feel nervous, anxious, depressed, lonely and become so ’emotional’. This Womben’s Cyclical Wisdom PDF helps us to easily see where we’re at in each phase and what lving, yoga and work practices work best.

Facts & Faces of Feminine Disrespect

  • Most anatomy textbooks use male bodies as the default, yet inutero the first 3 months of life, we’re all female.
  • Adverts in men’s magazines objectify women 76% of the time in 52% in womens magazines.
  • Only 11% of girls worldwide would dare to call themselves beautiful.
  • Every ten minutes a teen girl dies due to violence in this world.
  • 33,000 girls become child brides each day.
  • 1/5 girls is sexually abused before her twenties.
  • Safety features in cars are designed for men causing 47% more injuries to women.
  • Only Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, France, Luxemburg and Latvia give women equal legal work rights.
  • 22% of STEM professionals are women.
  • Only 20% of national legislators worldwide are women, and when ridiculed or remarked upon, it’s often for their hair, dress or other outer appearance.
  • Globally 45% of women use hormonal contraceptives.
  • Globally 64% of Gyneacologists are male, before 1990’s 95% were male!

Contraceptives as a Form of Control

Though hormonal contraceptives are touted to prevent and relieve us of the many inconvieniences related to menstruation, and off course prevent unwanted pregancy, they often cause many more symptoms. Leading to chronic conditions in the long run. Our body naturally produces the hormones we need to create life.

Interferring with intelligence of our endocrine system, off course affects our entire menu of hormones and neurotransmitters. This causes changes for our entire body and mind. Some good, some bad. And all unnatural. Telling our organism it’s continually pregnant is what the dairy industry does to cows. It’s cruel, toxic and controlling. Packaged as a freedom Pill we swallow it willingly.

Eventually it causes our moods, energy, and mind states to swing as our body’s naturally seek balance. We risk depression, weight gain, ance, nausea, vomitting, changes in libido and vaginal fluids, changes in menstrual flow, headaches, migraines, breast tenderness, increases risk of breast cancer, hypertension, hypotension, endometriosis, gallstones, facial discolouration.1

Internal Freedom From Patriarchy

And so we suffer to keep up on the treadmill of patriarchy’s productivity. As long as we feel free to be just ‘as great as men’ assume to be, nurtured through society who still thinks men as the default. But the cost is higher for us because not only do we earn less globably as women, no matter how highly educated we are, we also work harder, cycle differently and so will always feel behind because we can’t rest those five-seven days when we menstruate.

When our night/menstruation arrives we’re still going, knowing, learning, nurturing, connecting and caring. We need to shift our mindsets and honour our menses. And men honour our cycles, as we do theirs- day and night.

And why do we have male gyneacologists?! Being told that chlamydia is a good contraceptive by one, another shouting me out of his office at age 19 when asking about an abortion, I’m strongly against male gyneacologists. Why would a man want to put his hands in a woman’s warm insides all day, and yet have absolutely no understanding, nor experience, of what their cold tools being pushed and prodden inside us feels like, is beyond comprehension.

Reclaiming Women’s Wisdom

We need women to help women’s health, it’s complex, intricate and complete. We have all we need within us when we work with our internal wisdom. In that way we free ourselves of many constraints and consumerism aimed at women under the guise of beauty, wellness and health. When Women honour womens ways we are well beauty-full and whole.

Let’s honour our Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Aunties and All Women and the Wisdom by listening to our bodies needs as we move through each phase.

Much Love,

Shira.

1, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_oral_contraceptive_pill

2. Chrstianne & Kate Northrup have expounded this reality in thier books, Womens Bodies Womens Wisdom & Do Less, respectively.

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.

YOGA TO EMPOWER DURING DIFFICULT TIMES

YOGA TO EMPOWER DURING DIFFICULT TIMES

Yoga to Empower Emotions During Difficult Times

I’ve been on a journey of reclaiming wellbeing since I was young. Passionate about finding answers to pain points for loved ones and understand health on all levels, I was drawn to Yoga, Buddhism, naturopathy and herbalism early on. Seeking foods, plants, practices and philosophies as remedies for issues of body, mind and soul.

I observed, for some obstacles led to opportunities, while for others the opposite. Emotions and mental states were always very intriguing for me.

As yoga teachers our practice is vital to our wellbeing on many levels. But what happens when one, or more, of those levels isn’t transformed by our practice? What if, even after decades of study and practice, we feel lost and have no idea what’s going on? As a yoga therapist, with decades of yoga, mindfulness, meditation practice and continuing education, I hit that point. My emotions were wild, my energy levels unreliable, my mind unclear at best. Outbursts, frustration, fears, doubts, power struggles, relationship issues, feelings of loneliness. Like a blade of grass breaking through concrete, no matter how solid our practice, inevitably emotions begin to break through unseen cracks. If we don’t deal with our unconscious, it’ll deal with us. Breakdown got me facing my shadows. Our shadow work is vital to our Yoga journey. It’s the healing process of reclaiming all we repressed, rejected, neglected and abandoned long ago. Ultimately emotions showed me the limiting unconscious beliefs holding me back in fundamental ways. And so the journey to a fuller wholeness began. Beyond Peace to Breakthroughs Within the dis-ease lies the cure. Feelings and thoughts can’t be divorced. And how we think and feel influences our life and our practice. Yoga and other modalities help us access our relaxation response, calm and restore the nervous system and mind while integrating bodily systems. Bringing integrity, peace and a sense of bliss. But sometimes it’s not all about peace and bliss. Wholeness also includes aspects preferably denied. Getting stuck in seeking bliss isn’t a solution in itself. The wholeness guides us in our daily choices, but its not a state most of us can remain in, let alone lift others up from. Yes, we can show or clear the paths for others, or we walk together. And others show us the way, but without shadow work, it becomes ego world. We’ve got to do the heavy lifting for ourselves first, if we want to do any in the world. And right now we’re all being asked to do that. Switching gears and moving beyond bliss through breakdowns and into breakthrough, allows us to embody consciousness fully. ‘Mastering’ and masking the less glorious aspects of our nature is spiritual bypassing. To unconsciously avoid, deny or resist certain aspects of our selves, lives and the related necessary changes, out of fear, shame, guilt or some other difficult emotion, is ignoring our shadow. Pushed into the unconscious. Yet wherever we go, there it is. Seemingly irrelevant, we override these emotions for years. Or our ego, the ingenious dividing principle, whispers, “We’ve conquered it!” Now think about this; just as strong as your resistance is to that change, that much energy and possibility lies beyond the breakthrough. Sure it asks us to our explore our anger, fears, shame, and our responsibility. To dig deeper and find that motivational force which we all have within, to change our present situation. Which is exactly what emotions are. They’re calls to action. To step up, raise the bar. Our present world situation is asking us to take action in integral, sustainable, collective and proactive ways. We need collaboration to find solutions together. What better time than now. Stepping up to find our strength and empower ourselves, each other and our environment proactively, means a pretty impressive impulse. A push. Emotions are energy in motion. Some very convincing; anger, fear, exhilaration, guilt, have lots of potential behind them. That’s why we struggle, we’re forced to find sustainable solutions.

The Power of Emotions

Apart from ‘positive ones’, emotions aren’t often talked about, freely to expressed or embodied. Yoga, equally powerful, brings about healing and associated ‘positive’ emotions. Popular positive think culture sees happiness as the ultimate goal. Spilling into our Yoga process, we miss the deep transformative potential of breakdowns beyond breakthroughs. Being emotionally illiterate can inadvertently causes feelings of being inherently flawed and broken. Outcast. Can we co-create a world of harmony, honesty and integrity, when certain aspects are left in the dark? Off course not. Beyond feel good are untold overlooked opportunities of growth. Only when we move through our pain, fears, and other ‘negative’ emotions, can the phoenix rise. And fully step into who we came here to truly be. Turning wounds into wisdom, instead of vice versa. And emotions are vital. Guideposts to finding out what any situation calls for from us as individuals part of a social group. Being awake and on a spiritual path means we see everything we can, with clarity. And from that clarity take steps to move ourselves, and our collective family, forward. To do that we need to honestly face our shadows first. We can only handle the shadows of the world, a reflection of our collective shadows, once we manage to hold our own. Reframing Emotions as Life Energy in Motion Emotions, powerful messengers between soul, body and mind, are transient. They have no substance. If we can just contain them long enough to hear their call to action, we can move mountains. They’re that powerful! Why waste their potential for change? There’s inherent intelligence behind each emotion. Energy is Shakti’s deepest desire is to live, thrive, give, fulfil and become. Her moving through us as emotion. It’s a conversation. A message between our inner guidance conversing with the inner guidance of another, both filtered through ego. And the way we experience and express emotions, and their underlying needs, depends on our many filters of past experiences. Memories and perceptions, influenced by family, culture and anything with which we identify. We have thousands of emotions. A vast universe. Imagine allowing yourself the freedom to experience a limitless space of emotions. Instead of pinning it down to a limited few, hear the actual conversation between your soul and the present situation. Use this precious time to see yourself living in the immense possibilities of all visceral sensations. A movement from our beautifully wise, nurturing bodies, nervous system, mind, and limitless self. This time is an opportunity for exactly that. Emotional Literacy, Reframe & Transform Your Emotions into Actions Our mind and body are incredibly malleable. We can rewire our feeling of anxiety into an invitation into newness. Just 5 minutes daily of reframing emotions using feeling your sensations, feelings and holding them with mindful self compassion in meditation, can be powerful when practiced consistently over months. Then we can take these emotions onto the mat, move with them, then take them into the world, as bold statements. With reframing and consistent practice, we begin to experience nervousness in a universe of emotions, instead as a fluttering exhilaration for a fresh, young anticipation to explore. Adventurousness. Nervousness re-examined gives us extra energy and alertness to raise our ability, intelligence and consciousness in a more engaged, creative and curious ways. Feeling anger doesn’t ‘make us angry’. Anger is a powerful, dynamic and concentrated energy. It can be explosive. Explore it’s quality and ability before it’s on the scene in that state. Through consistent mindfulness practice we learn to feel anger in our spacious awareness moving through our body-mind. We befriend our emotions. Slowly learning to channel it into action steps for radical change instead. A new project, plan or activity, or conversation, creating change in relation to what triggered our anger in the first place. And so we explore the universe of emotions, learn their vast language and movement. Emotional literacy. It’s yours and unique. You’re a master of your emotional vocab, no one else. No more shadows, no more projecting your beauty, power and fears onto others. It’s all You. By giving back the full scope of emotional experience through a more nuanced language, we reclaim the potential energy within emotions. Allowing ourselves unlimited expression to experience our feelings, allows energy to move through us, rather than to us. We’re called to action and the universe is waiting for our soul response. Begin to have a deeper conversation with your feelings. Step into your power, feel and see the subconscious speak through subtle pathways as Shakti’s wisdom and Prana moving through you. Let your universe of emotions expand and your shadows dissipate. Let’s have some truly deep, transfromative and real conversations. Leave a comment below and reclaim your voice, wellbeing through self expression. With Love,

Shira.

MIND SPACE- CREATIVITY, COMMUNICATION & EXPRESSION

MIND SPACE- CREATIVITY, COMMUNICATION & EXPRESSION

MIND SPACE, EXPRESSIVE POWER

Don’t you love it when You get that feeling you’re able to do anything? Not the megalomaniac kind. Just knowing our pure potential and ability to create anything we desire at any given moment. 

Well this is delightful, exhilerating and creative feeling the realm of Space. 

Of the five elements, Space is subtlest and closest to the Unmanifest. Before we move into consciousness, understanding the subtle power of space makes our mind space more accessible.

We’ve gone from solid to subtle in the last 4 months. Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space. The five elements make up our world. They’re the substance of soul, mind and body. Different ways Self expresses its infinite possible diversity of existence. 

A balanced space element is when we express ourselves freely and with ease. We’re great listeners and know the art of telling stories. That exhilarating feeling of communicating with clarity and conviction. Our ability to speak our feelings, thoughts, ideas and vision.

Space in our physical body is within ears, tongue, all channels, and the cavities of throat, chest and pelvis.

Space, the element of pure potential and creativity

Sound is subtle and Powerful. Words are powerful. And like space, sound is the subtlest of manifestation. We can’t smell it, Earth, we can’t taste it, Water, or see it, Fire, nor feel it, Air. But we can hear it and feel its vibrations through space and in our body’s channels and cavities.  

And just as the Space element is the most subtle, the organs of space receive and express the subtlest of manifestation best. Think music, song and Mantra, poetry, story and any other medium that conveys our deeper hopes, fears and emotions. Feeling that vibration when something speaks to the very core of our soul. It resonates. It realigns us with our true essence. 

That recognition is space at its finest. Our inspiration and spark for creation comes from the space of possibilities. It’s the bridge between in and out, heart and mind. And because Space is the element of communication, expression, and creativity, we refine it through our throat.

The connecting link between experience and expression of thoughts as well as feelings.

Purpose & Power of Space

Space is the seat of inspiration[i]. Because it’s also the meeting point of subtle and material, it brings balance and purification through interaction and integration of spiritual with physical. 

When our headspace is clear it’s easy to express our visions, dreams, insights, feelings, thoughts, and desires. Articulating these we begin the process of making it real. Through communicating we get feedback from others. This feedback allows us to define, redefine and remix what our real vision and gifts are. We purify our feelings, thoughts and deepest desire, through this constant exchange. We get clarity. And clarity is power. So, the space element is an empowering element to manifesting. 

Our original Shakti; deepest desire and power, can begin to work its magic when Space is clear. Every action, word, thought, and desire of safety, pleasure, and power are initiated by this creative force. An initial wish expressed to come into life as a unique being. It’s ready and waiting for this communication, creation and expression of Self through You.

Space Out of Balance

Ever had the feeling no one listens to you? Or you’re too embarrassed to speak your idea, opinion, or truth, even though you completely disagree with what’s being said? Well this is a deficient space element.

Have you been told you’re a terrible listener, or that you talk too much and never let another speak? Excessive Space.

Between experience, expectation, expression and the resulting exchange, we relate to others a clue about how and if we’re listening, and how, or if, we are being heard. To transform and be empowered, our voice, ears and throat give us very clear feedback. Our voice leads to our creations. In this process, we purify our experience, expression and communication of self. We learn by listening to the actual exchange. 

We also refine our other four elements, Air, Fire, Water and Earth, through our ability to communicate.

Tools to bring back balance to Space

Mantra

Even in the Big Bang theory, sound is the first of any manifestation. The Vedic equivalent of creation theory is the sound AUM, Om. The first sound when we open our mouths, A, it signifies beginning creation. U, which is the continuation of creation. M, the sound that naturally arises when the lips are closed. Teaching starts with Om to honour the creation process. In Greek philosophy Logos, or Word, is the divine principle that permeates the universe. “In the beginning, there was the word. And the word was with God. And the Word was God,” “When there were no depths, I was brought forth,” Genesis, all resound the concept of space, sound, creation and manifestation.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga rebalances our space element because it allows us the time needed to open up gently, and through calm attentive breathing in the opened areas create space without force or coercion.  For example, lying in supine Cobbler pose over a bolster, supported by blocks and blankets, gives our belly, heart, chest and hips the chance to open. Creating space releases tension, energy, and any issues in our tissues.  It allows us to reconnect to areas that are usually closed and unconscious.

The space element provides the denser elements freedom, a gap in time to transform and become, a window in space opening doorways to opportunities. That’s why

Meditation

Imagine there is absolutely Nothing, only unbounded space and stillness. Within there lies a dormant, rich, fullness of all the pure potential of creation. When these infinite potentialities begin to stir, and move, the Air element is breathed into existence. As Air awakens and begins to shift, rouse and initiate with more velocity, it creates heat. The Fire element is inspired into being. Fire’s light and heat separates from the heavy qualities of cold and wet. Giving way to Water. Within the Water, are particles even denser. Compact, solid and unmoving. Here the Earth element is delivered.


[i] David Frawley – Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses

CREATE BRILLIANCE, CONFIDENCE & POWERFUL PASSION

CREATE BRILLIANCE, CONFIDENCE & POWERFUL PASSION

This is the month of Light, Fire and the returning of the Sun. The Hindu festival of Holli starts this week. Celebrating the returning light in our lives. Light is the power to see, the energy to move and the ability to do.

Our fire in body and mind, bestows brilliance, confidence, will power and the passion to create our gifts and bring them into the world. When our Fire is lit we glow. We radiate an energy that inspires others.
Understand the power of fire and learn to create brilliance, confidence, will power and passion.

The Power of Fire

Fire is all about discerning, distinguishing and discriminating clearly what it is we need, want and absolutely don’t want at any given moment. It’s being awake and alert. Know the difference and choosing what’s right for us. Whether pertaining to food, activities, impressions, friends, family, social events, books, films, you name it. All these things have the potential to feed our fire or dampen it. 
Truth is the clearest of light, piercing through all illusions.

To be brilliant, to be alight and alive, we need a healthy fire. That intelligent discerning light shows us the way, and the wrong turns. It gives us the ability to choose what we except and what we want to leave behind. Just like truth, there’s a sharp edge to fire.
Through that cutting edge we distinguish ourselves from other. We shine and radiate confidence when we know who we are, what we stand for and what we want.

Our fiery insight and clarity to see things as they really are, gives us our sense of self and uniqueness. Our autonomy and individuality makes this universe so amazing and wonderful.
Without fire our boundaries get murky. We begin to lack clarity on our needs, wants and desires, and those of others. We lose self agency, responsibility, and allow others to abandon their responsibility.
The possibility to take advantage and abuse power opens up when there’s a lack of fire, clarity and truth. We should own our separateness. Our own ability to shine our light of consciousness, like no one else can.

Belly Brilliance, A Healthy Fire 

So how do we create a fire that’s strong, healthy and releases energy and gives us and others light? 
Just think of a real fire.
We need to feed it good wood. Material that’s not too heavy and damp, nor to brittle and empty. We need substance, something that will sustain us. Every fire needs enough activation, fuel, space, rest and continual consistent interaction, checking in.
A fire doesn’t need to be overfed or undernourished. We don’t heap huge amounts of wood on a small fire, nor expect a blazing fire to last with tiny twigs. Nor does fire continue to give us warmth and light if we feed it inconsistently. Either it begins to smoke, goes out, or rages out of control, or smoulder. 
Its exactly the same for each of our fires; physical, energetic, mental, psychological and spiritual.

Increase your willpower, confidence & passion 

  1. Discern, Release energy

The first thing is to discern. When we discern we recognise, understand and see, and separate different aspects from a single experience. We get clear on what we need from any experience, what drains us and can be left behind or ‘burned’, and what actually feeds us on some level. Discerning helps us breakthrough, break free, and releases the energy within. This can then by applied to all levels of living; physical, social, mental, psychological, emotional, spiritual.

  1. Tend your digestive fire- Body Radiance

Our fire burns bright when we feed ourselves according to the seasons, our inner urges of feeling of hunger and thirst, and in a balanced and rhythmic cycles. This means we eat fresh foods grown in our local areas, when our viscera sends signals that we actually are hungry and according to our activities and needs. So it’s much less a science and head thing than a feeling and urge from within.

  1. Awaken your energetic fire- Pranic Glow

Do the practices of Bhastrika and Kapalabhati. These both activate our energetic fires. Seeing fire is the balancing force between inner and outer, matter and mind, when our Pranic fire is alive and awake we know which activities will enliven us, or drain us. A Pranic body that is alive helps us to glow, to discern energetically what we need and don’t want. 

  1. Focus your Mind- Mental Brilliance

Trakata, flame gazing, strengthens mental fire and it’s a wonderful practice just before bed. Sit in front of a candle that is both at arms length and eye height. Gaze gently for 1-5 minutes, then close the eyes and see the after image. Keep bringing back this image until its completely gone. Do this daily for at least a month. This gives enormous mental clarity, focus and sharp eyes. You’ll miss no detail.

  1. Empower your Soul- Wisdom

Journal about all the things that are going well in your life. Find all that you’re grateful for. Focus on the good. And then in a different book, or page, note all the things that bring you down; people, places, practices, circumstances, and choose to spend less time, energy and focus on those on a daily basis.
If you feel stuck because its part of your life, such as family or work, then begin to make choices about creating change. Either you can stop giving your emotional energy here and create very clear boundaries. To do this you need to know what is it exactly that hurts, irritates, frustrates, saddens or depletes you in these situations? Use your fire of inquiry.
Once your fire is applied here by discerning what exactly it is that drains you you can use the fire to change these dynamics. 

Fire is power, will, passion and the audacity to be You, fully, unapologetically, amazingly unique and perfectly empowered. With clarity and desire to inspire, awaken and enliven others to step into that same power.

Dare to Step Into Your Power!
Share your fiery practices and leave a comment below.

Much love,

Shira.

PURPOSE & UNDERSTANDING OUR PATTERNS THROUGH OUR BLISS BODY

PURPOSE & UNDERSTANDING OUR PATTERNS THROUGH OUR BLISS BODY

Our life purpose becomes clear when we see our life’s patterns through the Bliss Body.

We’ve journeyed from Body Beauty, through the physiological- Energy Body, mental- Mind Body and psychological- Wisdom Body, and we culminate at out deepest body, our deepest desire to live and potential to give. 

In Yoga we call it the Bliss Body, Anandamaya Kosha. It’s the essence of why we exist and what we came here to do.

Whats the Bliss Body and Why it Matters?

Our Bliss Body, the very drive of our life, is our casual body. It’s the desire to come into life as an individual being. To experience, express and share our knowledge, power and life force with others. To nourish, enjoy, bring change, feel, and bring into the world our unique gift and vision, in a way only we can.

Our uniqueness is our gift and the purpose off our life is to uncover it fully and share it. 

Our strengths, quirkiness, weaknesses, fears and potential power to become a greater version of ourselves all lie and live in this Bliss Body.

It’s the underlying drive off all our actions, our desires, needs and perception of life and relationships. And most of us ignore our Bliss Body, until…

We hit rock bottom. We enter ‘mid-life-crisis’. The dark night of the soul is our day and night existential reality. When all we do, or don’t do, doesn’t seem to effect our dance with the devil. When deep, painful psychological, physical or emotional turbulence disturbs our existence enough to realise there’s more than meats the eye.

After a Breakdown Comes a Breakthrough 

If we honour our path and purpose, we don’t hit walls, bottoms or end up dancing with our dark side. But most of us aren’t that lucky.

Most of us need the earth to shake or be pulled from underneath us before westart asking deeper questions. 

Planet Saturn, known as the Great Teacher, presents us with immense and intense life questions. Saturn returns to the same solar placement every 29.5 years. Some of us begin with existential questions around this time; 27-32years of age. Some wait till the next, age 54-64, or the one after that.

This unconscious force is our Soul’s deepest desire moving us toward our purpose. Instead of continuing the same old comfortable, but often meaningless path, which seems futile, shallow or at best repetitive, our Soul asks us to dive in. It knows our potential and asks us to uncover it.

Because this is such a difficult transition time, we ask why. Why did this happen? Why me, why now? What could I have done different? Why are we here? Why am I here? For what purpose do I do all these things?

Because we won’t find our potential power without a quest. We need to digdeep, soul search, fight the demons of our psyche, rescue our victim self and uncover the jewels within. 

This is sure to shake our fundamental beliefs about self, life and our dearest relationships.

The Jewel of Bliss Underneath the Ruins of Uncertainty

In the throes of this seeming unbearable pain, we can’t see an end in sight. When through to the other side, we can look back, take distance and see the patterns. We see a pathway starting to emerge. We uncover a strength, beauty and wisdom that only occurs through personal experience of suffering and leads to deep compassion and empathy.

Someone once asked me if it’s possible to know another’s suffering, withoutgoing through the experience. I believe we can only understand what we’vefelt, known and been through fully ourselves. 

Without the experience, we can’t empathise nor empower another.

We don’t have the past lived experience to know what it feels like, what depths of suffering, doubt, shame, pain, grief, fear and loneliness we cansuccumb to, or endure. Nor can we grasp the patience, acceptance, love and empathy needed to be there for ourselves as we struggle to get out. 

And yet we will come out.

And underneath that, that deep experiential knowing, lies our radiant jewel of Bliss. The wisdom, beauty and empathy of our deep desire to share, show and guide others through their similar struggle. 

This in and of itself shows us our strength and ability and gift.

We know nothing can break us. We are stronger than a diamond, more beautiful than the highest mountain, deeper than the blackest hole and clearer that a silent lake.

There is certainty in that. And from this certainty we can hold others pain, fear, grief, shame and suffering.

Uncovering your Bliss Body

A student in class, when talking about the 5 bodies said she was baffled by hercasual body, our bliss body. She wanted to know the raison d’etre. I think more and more young people ask this question with all the uncertainty we face with our wonderful world in so much turmoil.

One of the most effective ways to find out why you’re here is journaling on your story. Your past and present struggles and get to the core feelings.

It doesn’t need to be a very long story, you don’t need to get into details. Rather be objective and see the pathway you walk/ed and what have you understood, learned and know so well that no one can tell you otherwise.

It is as simple as asking three questions and find the undercurrent, recurrent pattern.

Write down My Story, and answer

What was it like? 

What happened?

What’s it like now?

From this short and succinct summery of your story you’ll see what it is You know better than most people in your life. And reframe it as an empowering experience. One in which you’re the main character, get to choose the role, the trajectory and destination. You’ll begin your journey back to your Bliss Body. You’ll hear what your Soul is trying to move you toward all along. Know there’s others who would love your guidance, support or understanding and empathy.

Know you’re not alone.

Know you are amazing.

Know you have the power to choose, change and cancel anything from this point onwards.

If you choose to.

Much Love,

Shira

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.