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/

6. YOGA THERAPY FOR MENTAL CLARITY

6. YOGA THERAPY FOR MENTAL CLARITY

The minds original state is called Buddhi in Sanskrit. Its inherent quality is clear, deep, reflective and still like a mountain lake. Each impression can be seen as a causing ripples, distorting the image of what is actually infront of us. Learning the tools and steps involved in using those tools adjusted to the individuals’ needs is the science of yoga therapy.

Yoga therapy is based on scientific and medical evidence integrating the lastest western findings with ancient eastern practices. It combines the best of both worlds and is specific in it’s aims of health development. Whether physical, physiological, neural, or psychological, when east meets west, we can move mountains and return to the pure lake of Buddhi.

That said, for many of us who’ve tried everything in the books, on the net and from specialists and well meaning individuals, we can still feel like we’re going round in circles.

WHY MENTAL CALM CAN SEEM IMPOSSIBLE

Mental calm is cultivated through withdrawing the senses from the outer world to the inner experience. Stopping the incoming flow of information is the first step. Allowing us to process, mentally digest, all we’ve already taken in. The input also needs and output. If there’s not enough time for output we end up with mental and psychological constipation.

Mindfulness, breath awareness, concentration and meditation are the most common practices used acting as the conscious output of mental impressions.

But when our nervous system is on high alert and hormones with messages of threat or excitement course between systems, these tools can fail us. Sitting with our feelings of wired restlessness and nervous states can make us feel even more out of control. That’s why specific trainings or a therapist guiding the process are so essential in healing from complex conditions such as burnout, anxiety, addiction and obsession, which involve many different systems as well as different bodies, koshas.

GETTING SPECIFIC HELP PREVENTS FURTHER LACK OF CONFIDENCE

Therapists specializing in, or trainings specifically aimed at, calming the nervous system through evidence based research, enables us to more effectively access a state of mental tranquility. Having a spillover effect on hormones, which in turn affect every other system within the body, from digestion to sleep to immunity and brain health.

The quicker we get out of the exhaustion and disconnection cycle, the less it eats away at our self confidence and esteem. Preventing the associated wiring and mindset of inability to cope, confusion and lack of energy. Knowing why and how we are to move out, and feeling not alone in our situation, removes the shame, guilt and stigma. Again, essential to reclaiming our mental health.

MENTAL HEALTH IS THE BASIS OF MOVING THROUGH & FORWARD

One reason mental calm and clarity evade us might be the unconscious habit of not expressing clearly what we perceive, feel and see as the right approach, steps or actions to take. Swallowing our knowledge and views, we people please, holding back for fear of… fill the blank, and therefore unintentionally, and mostly well-intentionally, create distortion overwhelm. Muddying the lake.

Mental health equals mental digestion. Mental health is the state where what comes in also has enough mental space to be digested, assimilated, integrated and eliminated. Creating projects, trainings, communication or other action based steps that express our minds’ perception and recreation from those experiences, is how we eliminate mental build up.

The extreme mental overwhelm during burnout is alleviated by mental distancing and disconnection. Re-creating the mental space to digest. Moving through the mire in our minds’ contents allows it to rise to the surface of consciousness. And overtime slowly sink to clarity.

Mental clarity leads to calm and self-agency. Good planning and clear overview of issues helps us rise above the challenges and remember what life is really about- relating and living well.

BASIC TOOLS TO ENHANCE MENTAL DIGESTION

A busy mind is either in the past or the future. Being embodied brings us back to the present moment and relieves mental wandering. To be embodied we can use yogic tools to enhance vagal tone. To set the stage for a smoother path to moving out of burnout we can again rely on western science and eastern tools. We work in these three steps;

  • Vagal activation to move us into rest and digest, yogic breath and body practices create present embodied awareness, a prerequisite for mental digestion and clarity
  • Once we create a habit of vagal activation of PNS, we calm and clarify the mind and feel more capable and confident to deal with change
  • Mental wellbeing is further improved by mental output; journaling, meditation and planning how to deal with set backs, which will happen

Impressions are food for thoughts. Media, films, marketing, books, conversations, ads, ad infinitum. Information and education are forms of mental input. Eat all day and what’s the outcome? Exactly!! Setting ourselves up for mental health success is just as important, if not more so, as work and relationship success. You can only work and relate well when your mental being is well.

RETRUNING TO THE MOUNTAIN LAKE

Mental clarity is reachable with daily moments of mental rest from information and impressions. We have self-agency when we choose our life habits, not when our habits guide our choices and influence our lives. Journaling, breath awareness, conscious movement, sensual experiences, meditation and mindfulness bring us back in our own bodies, minds and values. It’s the exercise and output of our conscious mind and thoughts.

Just 5 mins of PNS activation plus 5-10 mins a day of meditation, creates the mental calm to choose habits wisely. This will give back hours of your day to feel clear and connected to self. And it can be as easy as going for a walk, run or swim in nature, WITHOUT ANY INPUT.

Much Love,

Shira

5. EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION FOR HORMONAL BALANCE

5. EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION FOR HORMONAL BALANCE

In this article we look at why emotional expression is vital to reclaiming wellbeing. The first step, self-knowledge, is the foundation of all the other steps. So, knowing more about our emotions and how they affect our hormones and nervous system; physiology, is key to undoing a vicious burnout cycle.

The next three steps;

  • self-care
  • strength
  • adaptibility, all work on physical and vagal nerve health, indirectly affecting physiology and hormonal balance. This short article looks at our how we can affect our hormonal and physiological health. And why they’re influenced by breath, energy and emotions.

HORMONES THE CHEMICAL EXPRESSION OF EMOTIONS

Hormones are complex. And for women even more1 so because not only do we cycle each month between fertile, full, falling and fallow, we also cycle through a lifetime of complex and wonderful changes that enable us to create an INCREDIBLE NEW LIFE. Fully intelligent, able to grow and evolve on it’s own. Something no science or tech will ever be able to achieve no matter how wealthy and powerful a man becomes. Sorry guys. It’s the one power women will always have till the end of time ;).

It’s also the reason women suffer more often from burnout2; 60%3. because this complexity makes balance a much more precise art of scienctific and chemical self-regulation. Medicine either gives you the chemicals your body isn’t creating, or represses the production of certain chemicals, both due to an underlying imbalance.

These chemicals, Candace Pert PhD., a phenomenally passionate neuroscientist and pharmacologist called the molecules of emotions. These molecules of information are our neurotransmitters and hormones. There’s no difference between them, only that their effect happens in a different part of the body; brain or organs and tissues, and therefore their effects either rapid, seconds, or long lasting, hours.

Hormone means setting in motion. Emotional expression ensures hormonal balance. Emotions are energy in motion and need to move through and out of the bodymind by expression, to avoid build up.

EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION PREVENTS CHEMICAL BUILDUP

They trigger a cascade of chemicals to connect different systems within the entire organism; endocrine, nervous, muscular, organs, respiratory, cardiovascular, lymph and immune, to name a few. Enabling communication of what is going on and which joint effort the organism is to orchestrate; jump up, dance, dive and hold the breath.

When we think, say or do something, we create a feeling within ourselves, which our vagus translates to the brain; visceral/afferent information. The brain responds/emotes to this stimulus with emotions, causing us to act, feel, think and interact in return. It’s the input and output of the chemical charge within our body.

This is healthy.

Anyone who disagrees still believes that we need to supress or manage emotions. Yet it’s not by supressing or managing that we co-create a better world. It’s through emotional awareness and literacy. Being able to discern our emotions and know what prompted them and what steps they want us to take.

Emotions also hold a great deal of energy and charge behind them once they’re released. We need to understand they’re innate message and move with them, rather than repress our body’s inherent wisdom, which leads to hormonal and chemical buildup in the tissues.

HOW EMOTIONS AFFECT HORMONES, MOOD & ENERGY

These curious chemicals are received by the receptors of a cell. The cell starts vibrating with and from this information4, opening up to the orchestrated joint effort, like bees dancing to pass on information of a new nectar source.

Every cell in your body has receptors for every hormone and chemical cocktail our body can make when it has the right building blocks. And we can naturally make all these hormones ourselves. The fact that our endocrine system is both responsive and receptive, to our external as well as internal environment, it needs sufficient rest, intense exercise, healthy whole foods and according to the cycles of the day and year; biorhythms. Affecting our bio-energy, inturn affecting our biochemicals.

Our bio-energy and biochemicals is the basis of our ability to build the blocks of our cells, tissues and more complex systems such as organs and nerves. All chronic disease is due to a chronic chemical imbalance5, which over decades goes on to create dis-organised tissues and organs, unable to communicate, receive or respond well.

We can can reverse this cycle by increasing our ability to absorb, integrate and use these building blocks through improving diet, exercise6 and activities7, both the doing ones, active and productive, and the being ones, reflective; yoga, meditation, mindfullness, gratitude and prayer.

Part of reversing the cycle is listening to what we feel and want to emote and do so in a beneficial way for all involved, we turn the current of energy and hormones from detrimental to beneficial.

Clear, healthy emoting leads to long-term physiological and psychological wellbeing, and inadvertently affects our vagus, brain and nervous health too.

EMOTIONAL CONNECTION IMPROVES RELATIONSHIPS

All this to say, by honouring our own emotional need for expression we allow ourselves and others to truly connect, feel good and therefore allow our receptors to open up to the chemical information our body is communicating. Opening up is a huge part of our bodymind being able to heal.

Relating and relationships, personal and professional, are built on emotions. Living well depends on our emotional literacy and awareness. Helping us distinguish who is sending which energies in any given space, and deciding which steps are set in motion for a healthy outcome, is possible with the first four steps of safety, calm, resilience and adaptibility.

Clearly communicating our feelings and emotions sets healthy boundaries, clears misunderstandings before they mount and prevents psychological overwhelm.

  • Self-expression of emotions leads to physiological homeostasis within mins-hours
  • Emotions are the expression of our subjective feelings. They are not right nor wrong, but personal and meaningful to us. 
  • Emotional literacy enables voicing our feelings beneficially

Life is relating. Emoting is output, feeling is input.

PRACTICE

Because breath affects our physiology and vagus nerve, it influences our hormones too. We can use breath and gestures, which also affect how we feel through neural wiring and the spillover effect to our hormones,

Feel any emotion that’s present right now in your body. Feel its temperature, quality, movement direction and maybe any associated colour. Then strength on a scale from 1-10 of this current. 

  • What event or circumstance is this emotion related to?
  • What is it trying to set in motion?

Now imagine befriending it. Breathe into it and out of it until it starts to open up and move through you. See if you can follow its movement, what is it saying? Can you guide the energy into a direction that benefits you? A poem, a song, dance or bodily movement? Maybe a constructive conversation, change of plan, new project or relationship that honours what you feel about any given situation.

Know it’s ok to feel what you feel, even if it’s not the same as others. It’s subjective and relevant to you. Relating them as a personal is asserting emotional experience without fear of rejection or shame. Enabling you relate issues with confidence as they arise. Changing how you feel, wake up and live each moment is reclaiming wellbeing.

Lack of communication an emoting creates a build-up of electric charge and eventually bogs us down. A healthy sense of self is found when the energetic charge behind the emotion needs is released and directed in an assertive and clear channel; creativity, self-expressive communication, dance, sing and other inventive channels of output.

And we can be creative, benefit ourselves and others while enjoy doing it! Eventually.

Much Love,

Shira


1 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25273522/

2 https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210928-why-women-are-more-burned-out-than-men?at_medium=custom7&at_custom4=3992428A-389B-11EC-BB6D-CD200EDC252D&at_custom2=facebook_page&at_custom1=%5Bpost+type%5D&at_campaign=64

3 https://barendspsychology.com/burnout-facts/

4 Candace Pert, Molecules of Emotion, Scribner, 1997.

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241367/

6 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16380698/

7 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22773769/

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.

3. YOGA, PHYSICAL STRENGTH & MENTAL RESILIENCE

3. YOGA, PHYSICAL STRENGTH & MENTAL RESILIENCE

Whether we’re slipping into a burn out, are on the edge of one or are in the midst trying to scramble out, often we’re faced with overwhelming fatigue and muscle weakness. Yet letting go of physical strength adversely affects our physiology. This changes our hormonal balance, impacting energy, mood, emotions and mental health. Self-esteem, confidence and acceptance can be affected by this complex circuitry.

So we often feel like we’re stuck in a vicious cycle. And no one seems to have all the answers; something works for a while but then a few weeks later it’s no longer effective. For two years I was in this situation.

That’s why I’ve created these six steps to ensure we include all the aspects of self and each pillars to support healing and growth.

PHYSICAL STRENGTH & MENTAL RESILIENCE

It’s a fine line between growth and regression. So it’s vital to increase physical strength incrementally and improve physiology and bounce back without wearing ourselves out more. Nor allowing our physicality to whither away. We want to create a point of resistance in our physical body, a strong charge. This physical body map translates to mental and emotional bodies.

Physical strength makes us feel capable of meeting the demands of our physical interactions. Leading to self-confidence and lending itself to mental resilience. Knowing our needs, desires and abilities, discussed in step 1 on burnout, and how to relax deeply shared in step 2, creates a reservoir enabling us to build strength; step 3. One that resists external pressures, so we set up healthy boundaries, physical, psychological and professional, to further ensure wellbeing.

3 THINGS THAT AFFECT OUR RESILIENCE

  • Resilience depends on our autonomy; whether physical, emotional or mental, affecting our sense of self. Building any of these up affects our other layers. Leading to willpower, ability and confidence both mentally and emotionally.
  • People pleasing, perfectionism, overachieving, overdoing and burnout go hand in hand. These defence mechanisms to avoid facing our unconscious lack of confidence or self-worth, or maybe unacknowledged shame and low self-image, drain mental, emotional and physiological energy, making us reactive, irritated and exhausted instead of receptive.
  • Core strength rebuilds a strong centre from which we can see if we’re honouring our own worth or that of others. When we work with our physical body, the one we can easily study, see and experience with our five senses, it become a template to better understanding our subtler bodies of energy, mind and psyche. Which also have ‘limbs and organs’; diverse functions and abilities, as well as needs and desires; SWOTs.

RESILIENCE AS SELF-CONFIDENCE

Physical strength and physiological resistance are the solid container upholding our boundaries. The psychological bounce back to life’s challenges affect mood, energy and emotions. It’s our autonomous juice. This resilience gives us a physical and psychological sense of response-ability and with it returns our self-confidence.

EXERCISE: Now without changing your present posture in the slightest –

Feel your posture; become aware of your core strength, feel your energetic stance. Notice your emotional charge and perceive your mental space. Now become aware of your heart and deeper consciousness. Notice the qualities of each layer. Ask yourself, “What are the dynamics, movement and textures I find in each layer? Is it solid, fluid, full, spacious, heavy, light, vague, open, flowing, stagnant, numb, scattered?” Use descriptive words to name what you feel and experience.

Now for a few moments sit with energy, certainty and embody strength and concentrated emotional charge. Imagine being a solid mountain or very magnetic person. Now feel and note any difference in your centre. What kind of qualities do you experience different from before? Is there some form of resistance and containment? Where is it coming from and how did you create that? Allow that charge to sink in, absorb and embody it.

Now, imagine someone asks, or pressures, you to do something you really don’t want to do, how would you respond when feeling strong from within and embodying that posture?

STRENGTH IS THE GATEWAY TO SELF-CONFIDENCE

Building strength is the gateway to resilience. And strength requires us to resist. To push back and create a core centre of self.

You build strength and resilience incrementally with body-awareness, honesty and by adapt practices to present needs and abilities. The first two steps of trust in self and enjoyment in life are the building blocks to reclaim self-worth. They give us the juice and safety to dare and take up space, to walk out when someone steps over our boundaries. 

Shame and boundary invasion, the opposite of confidence, are patterns we perpetuate when we have self-worth issues. Making us do things we probably don’t actually want to do, if we’d listen to our inner wisdom; visceral cues.

Resisting what feels wrong is a sign of inner strength. Honouring that inner wisdom is a sign of psychological integrity and autonomy. Cultivating your sensitivity to what is healthy for you will rebuild a strong self-worth and mental and emotional resilience.

Dare to speak up, to feel bold and brave. People will respect you for it and you’ll feel alive and embody well-being. Being from our inner resource, not from outer approval and acknowledgement, we reclaim wellbeing.

Join the YOGA WELLNESS & RESILIENCE COURSE here.

Much Love,

Shira

Please leave your insights below and add to the conversation.

1. BURNOUT & RE-EVALUATING NEEDS THROUGH SELF-KNOWLEDGE

1. BURNOUT & RE-EVALUATING NEEDS THROUGH SELF-KNOWLEDGE

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. 

We re-discover who we are through journaling about our present thoughts, fears, needs and dreams. As well as doing fun activities such as personality tests, Ayurvedic contitution tests or an Ikigai. These help us re-evaluate who we are now, compared to who we were 5-25yrs ago when we last check in with what we really want, know and value.

There are three key aspects we need to consider and re-evalute to regain and reclaim our wellbeing.

  • Emotions and their effects on hormones- therefore our energy, mind states and even physical health
  • Our biorhythm cycles affect
  • Vagus nerves activation

EMOTIONS OF SAFETY & TRUST ENABLE RESTORATION & HEALING

Saftey and trust rest on the bedrock of feeling like we belong, have something of value to offer and a sense of worthiness. Lack of self-knowledge contributes to distabilising our esteem and confidence. Knowing who we are, what we’re good at, what we value and love, and what we really don’t want, like or even hate, is essential to mental and emotional health.

Fear and distrust are factors that contribute to burnout. The normal baseline for the brain when we are not doing, is to seek for possible threats. When we learn to pause and act appropriately we’ll rediscover our energy. 

Often for those of us who burn out, we are either high achievers, people pleasers and very motivated persons wanting to create big shifts and cahnges in our world. Underlying most people pleasing, perfectionism and overachieving is a stress factor of fear of not being accepted, or lacking of sense of self; we overdo to be accepted to create a sense of safety.

Your first relationship is to yourself, understanding yourself and your needs, relating becomes easy, fulfilling and even fun. And as we change so do our needs and desires. Burnout is an opportunity to re-evaluate why we do what we do, and how to change it if we’ve outgrown

Example: Imagine for a moment there’s a wonderful person you want to talk to. Imagine also that you have a very solid sense of self, knowing and accepting all your qualities; the good, the bad and the ugly, fully. Imagine we all walked around in full honesty of ourselves. Feeling your full integrity imagine how you would feel to walk up to that person. How would you feel different?

With body awareness and self-knowledge you too will learn to gauge when to rest and allow your your body and mind to heal, and when and to what extent, you can rebuild strength to reclaim wellbeing, both physiologically and psychologically.

WELLBEING NEEDS REGULAR BIORHYTHMS

Self-knowledge and awareness lead to self-care, resilience, adaptability, mental clarity and clear emotional expression naturally. Not knowing our specific needs, desires and abilities, nor how our nervous and hormonal system works and how we can affect it, is the only thing in the way of reclaiming wellbeing.

Learning our unique and diverse needs for healthy sleep, exercise, work, food habits and relationships, is part of self-knowledge; WE ARE NOT AN ISLAND. We are always in relationship with all the above. And what might be healthy for your partner or child, may not work well for you. Figuring out your Ayurvedic constitution and specific needs according to present abilities, needs, goals and resources, is part of re-evaluting what will get you back on track.

Our physical needs, which are real and worthy, affect our physiology; energy and biorhythms, which in turn affect mental health through setting up healthy boundaries to ensure we take care of our self well.

VAGAL TONE & PHYSIOLOGICAL

The last point to work on in self-knowledge is knowing what activates your autonomic nervous system from rest and digest to fight flight and back again. The fight/flight sympathetic nervous system is needed in the morning; when we need cortisol levels to rise so we feel awake and ready. And the rest and digest, parasympathetic nervous activation, in the afternoon/evening, for winding down.

The thing with burnout is that our adrenals are incapable of providing sufficient hormones, because they are- Burned out- the medical term being adrenal insufficiency. The adrenals are part of the HPA axis of the endocrine system, responsible for regulating the body’s entire systems and biorhythms. So we wake up feeling groggy, foggy, listless and unable to do much of anything. Which can trigger guilt, shame and fear again.

The most important thing to do is to slowly and safely build up strength whilst also ensuring deep relaxation to restore the adrenals and our endocrine system. A maximum of strenuous exercise in the morning, (without causing muscle shakes, which means we’ve gone past our present abilities), even just 1 minute, and slowly build up strength and stamina overtime, whilst also building in 10-40 minutes of restorative practices.

Restorative yoga, taichi, Yin yoga, meditation, yoga nidra, mindful walking or resting, iRest or guided practices. Voice is very soothing for the nervous system. Make sure to choose a voice you actually like listening to, to mitigate stress through parasympathetic vagal activation. Touch and social connection is also essential to vagal rest and digest activity. Massage, hugs, hand holding, intimacy and gentle touch are great for adrenal restoration. 

Take the 3min burnout Survey and help create an azmaing training to overcome fatigue, weakness and mental and emotional overwhelm.

YOGA THERAPY – TOP DOWN & BOTTOM UP

The way yoga therapy works is both bottoms up and top down. Meaning we work with the tools and body, bottom up, and knowledge and scientific understanding of psychoneurology affecting nervous activation, top down. So we support and care for ourselves from both ends, to create a solid container of physiological safety and stability, enabling deeper restoration and healing, with longer lasting effects.

The 6 week Yoga Wellness & Resilience Training will help you re-evaluate your present needs through self-knowledge. It’s not just knowledge and tools, you’ll learn how to adapt them according to changing needs and abilities. Resulting in specific and direct physiological self-regulation and self-agency. Helping you feel better, have more mental clarity and restore quicker. Checking chronic burnout prevents us developing chronic anxiety and depression. 

Knowing what you want, need and are capable of doing in each given moment gives freedom and a sense of agency. Learning to pause and be a little more, and do a little, or a lot, less ;), is what the body’s way to ask you to re-evaluate which habits no longer serve you.

So join me in the next 5 weeks with more understanding of how to heal deeply and prevent it recurring or prolonging.

Much Love,

Shira.

Testimonials: 

“Shira helped me understand how to listen to my body’s needs so I know when to pause, act or build strength. In my body, mind and in relationships. Moving me out of my depression, lack of confidence and energy and back into a vibrant person” – Kristen Schultz

“I was overworked, physically, emotionally and mentally drained, lacking confidence in myself and body. Learning to relax, feel and see differences in my body and mind invited more focus, acceptance and energy. Shira as a professional therapist teaches to inform and adapts to the individual.” – Nazia Mangal

BURNOUT, ADRENAL FATIGUE AND DEPRESSION

BURNOUT, ADRENAL FATIGUE AND DEPRESSION

Our light diminishes into a blanket of darkness, an all encompassing heavy fatigue that obscures. When we accept this phase of life, it brings with it the most profound wisdom and understanding of our human experiences and way of living. With the right knowledge and tools we enkindle the beauty that is us once more.

Burnout, Adrenal Fatigue and Depression

For many of us chronic burnout is often misdiagnosed as depression. Yes, it looks and feels similar. The levels of anxiety we experience during burnout; physiological adrenal dysregulation and fatigue, can be so overwhelming we shut down emotionally and mentally to prevent further exhaustion. 

Long-term fatigue and the accompanying changing physiological symptoms, affect every level of our being, and leads to feelings of unhappiness, guilt and worthlessness. Unhappiness culturally seen as a sign of failure. And unkindly dismissed as wallowing in our own self-pity, also leaves us isolated. Further dysregulating our system from healing and restoration and connection. 

Accompanying symptoms
  • Slow in the morning, fatigue in the afternoon, second wind in the evening
  • Fatigue and disturbed sleep
  • Listless and feeling physically heavy
  • Crave salty and sugary foods
  • Dizziness and blood sugar issues
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Moodiness, brain fog
  • Afternoon headaches
  • Chronic inflammation, low immunity to infections, digestive issues
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Low libido
  • Dark skin around eyes and skin discoloration
  • Hair loss and brittle hair
  • Weak nails 

So we walk into the doctor’s office looking for answers, for a way back to our old self, or something resembling that state. Only to walk away with the distinct message that it’s all in our head and our only option is to swallow a pill that further disempowers and dis-associates us from our self and health. 

Burnout is highest amongst health care professions, teachers, single parents, traders, managers, bankers and entrepreneurs. Studies show women are 20-60% more likely to suffer from burnout. Women report suffering from emotional exhaustion, while men often suffer from depersonalization. And people who’ve experienced trauma at some point are more likely to experience burnout,[1] because their resilience to stress is lower.

Is Burnout Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue leads to chronically elevated cortisol, causing adrenalin, noradrenalin and DHEA dysregulation. This has a cascade effect on all our other endocrine glands; pineal, pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, thymus, pancreas, ovaries and testes. Affecting their respective hormones and the cycles they regulate within our body systems.

Our cycles of sleep and waking, digestion, restoration and healing, get up and go and allowing ourselves to relax, are all thrown off track. This plays out as mood and energy fluctuations, metabolic imbalance, sleep disturbances, fatigue and boosts of energy at unwanted and unnatural times. Common derangements of adrenal fatigue are hypoglycaemic symptoms; low blood sugar, chronic fatigue syndrome.[2]

Adrenal fatigue isn’t an accepted medical diagnosis[3] as a disease, rather reffered to as adrenal insufficiency. But if we would realise imbalance leads to dis-ease, and burnout a protective mechanism; trying to forewarn us to slow down and make certain vital changes to our lifestyle, or disease will develop, we can prevent much suffering and shame.

Adrenal Fatigue Research Facts

Burnout studies are under-researched. One meta study; which most other burnout research articles refer to; used the data of 25 studies done on individuals with burnout and 33 studies on healthy subjects! This study states because there’s a lack of substantial evidence due to inconsistency in analysis and data research[4], we can’t call it adrenal fatigue. All 58 studies focused on cortisol levels, not taking into account other hormones, nor DHEA, which lowers cortisol levels. 

Not forgetting that study subjects are often only caucasian men of 70kg of body weight, between the ages of 25-35 years of age, leaves a lot to be desired when we’re in our 40’s, women, and overwhelmed by our many roles, responsibilities and tasks. Setting these studies up for insufficient evidence.

What Excacerbates Burnout?

Burnout is further impacted by work-related stressors; perfectionism, workload, work hours, increased responsibilities and tasks, lack of autonomy or control, financial stress, career stage, loss of meaning and joy in work, having children at home, work-life integration, decreased support, real or perceived lack of fairness in promotion and compensation, gender bias, discrimination and sexual harassment. Both an organisational and a personal problem, a one size fits all approach isn’t enough when dealing with something as complex as our endocrine system.

Other Causes & Contributing Factors 

Therefore, knowledge and owning the part that is ours to reclaim; our physical, physiological, emotional and psychological needs, we see what disrupts our health, what we need to remove from our lives to move into living well. Knowing that adrenal fatigue is a physiological imbalance, we can support ourselves through physical, physiological, emotional, mental and psychological changes with tools.

Overcoming Burnout

Physical Needs

Get tests done- at a functional medical doctor see what causes physical and biological imbalance. 

Healthy fats- olive oil, coconut oil, ghee and avocados

Supplements & Herbs- Zinc, vit D, C, chamomile, ashwagandha, liquorice, rhadiola 

Physiological Needs

Eat protein rich foods- adrenals need protein to convert into hormones aiding healthy endocrine function, relieving anxiety, insomnia and mental fatigue.

Decrease inflammation- depression strongly correlates with systemic inflammation, addressing our physiological imbalance through food; curcuma, bitter and astringent foods bring down the acidity, caused by excess sweet, sour and salty foods, can relieve any inflammation cuased by biology. Leafy greens for HPA axis health.

Mental Needs 

Strengthen mindfulness– Meditation 10-20 mins a day, Sama vritti; breathing in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 5 for 2-5 minutes, Bumble Bee breath, with an exhale hum in a low tone, allow the in breath to come naturally, repeat 10 rounds.

Emotional and Psychological Needs 

Minimise stress– see which cause most mental and psychological stress on a scale from one to ten- work, family, home, personal. Create a schedule to minimize stress and find more rest in each of those areas. This PDF with tools will help you get clarity, set boundaries and find more space in your day to day living.

Because knowledge, self-acceptance and these tools allow us to listen to our body’s natural wisdom and urgings, we can let that tiny flame within us become a healthy fire once more. One that gives light and glows with wisdom. 

Much Love,

Shira.


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

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15058215/

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/addisons-disease/expert-answers/adrenal-fatigue/faq-20057906

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27557747/

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.

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.