HOW YOGA IMPROVES COMMUNICATION & RELATIONSHIPS

HOW YOGA IMPROVES COMMUNICATION & RELATIONSHIPS

So why do I keep going on about emotions, you might ask, and how can Yoga improve them? Emotions drive our impulses. They filter our perception, relation and reactions, in that order. If we don’t know which emotion prompts us, we react instead of respond. We risk communication and relation breakdowns. 

Communication is the basis for co-creation. And emotions the initiator of that expression.  

Ultimately Yoga is all about having deep, fulfilling and honest connections and relationships. Early on my Yoga road, reconnecting with my inner self, gave immense joy, courage and a sense of empowerment and contentment from the bliss we find within. Somewhere mid journey we uncover our deeper connection to Self, the divine. It inspires us to dive deeper. It dares us to climb higher peaks we never thought we could, and even fly a little, until we hit a very concrete part of our humanity.

As we mature on our Yoga journey we realise the knowledge, confidence and resilience we finally reclaim, are the essence of deep healthy relations, connection and living as complex social beings. The last few years my Yoga path is about realising how to be a better human being. Not a human doing. Nor a human not doing. But a human being who makes the effort, in order to manifest ease, not just for self but for others just the same. Sukha and Sthira. That’s the only Asana, seat, we need to create as the foundation of our expression, gift and work. It’s a fine balancing act. To be a being of compassion and yet proactive. That profound recognition of our responsibility and ability. To create the changes, we need to turn around in ourselves and the Earth. To be proactive and co-create, the first step we need is to learn to communicate.

Importance of Skilful Communication

The importance of power dynamics between teacher and student can’t be understated. Especially since the exposure of power abuse in many of the yoga communities. And communication is key to support healthy interpersonal relationships and create balanced and empowering power dynamics. 

Denial, disastrous communication, or lack of it, leads to frustration, fear, loneliness, anger, grief, emotional and mental imbalances, and even suicide. Just as healthy communication has the potential to free us. To empower us and to create long lasting, satisfying relationships. In two weeks, I begin another Yoga therapy training.

To get the most out of any education, good communication is essential. Even though I’ve made effort my whole adult life to improve my communication skills, I still find myself lacking in trying situations. An important part of Yoga Therapy training is learning skilful communication, observation and deep relation. All key to Yoga being therapeutic. 

Healthy interpersonal communication is vital to happiness, health and success. To transform outgrown patterns, it takes two to see, hear, speak, share and dare to work together toward change. Empowering the individual toward their own healing process. Only guiding them enough to take the steps of creating their own wellbeing. Yoga’s greatest strength lies in it’s potential to empower the individual. And how Yoga does this is through cultivation of self awareness, deeper levels of honesty, sensitivity and skill in action, toward the good, the bad and the ugly. So communication with self is key to healing, self and others, through deep listening and responding. 

Communication as a tool to empower

Communication is key for our relationship to self and others. It helps us recognise our and others needs, strengths, challenges and gifts. When we relate in these, we own our part in the play. This allows the other to own their part. We mutually empower. There’s no power battle when we listen, honour and find a win/win way for all involved. When we’re honest we deeply honour our values, feelings and thoughts. Doing so creates an empowered, autonomous and confident sense of self. 

We’re only as empowered as we are honest with who we are, what we stand for and what we feel in relation with to any given situation. And being emotionally intelligent, means we know what we feel, why and how to communicate that. Being honest and speaking our truth, we give others the chance to do the same. It naturally empowers them in the process. We honour others values, feeling and thoughts too. Because it’s a two-way street. It feels so great to feel honoured and empowered, we only wish the same for the other. Emotional intelligence opens up the pathway to this mutual feeling. Fulfilling relationships and skilful communication come from the baby step of honesty and ability to express it kindly.

Yamas and Skilful communication

The Yamas are the basis of all yoga. Communication rests on these pillars of the Yamas. Especially Ahimsa; kindness to self and others, Satya; honesty and Bramhacharya; keeping our energy within our sense of self, which is actually emotional intelligence. Our ability to communicate depends on our relationship with self; honesty and self-awareness of what we think, feel and belief, kindness and self-inquiry of the way we relate to self and others, keeping our Prana within our senses and how we respond or react to what we discover within and without. 

Without self knowledge and self awareness its difficult to communicate what we want, think and feel. And even harder to create a life that reflects these ideals.   Growing up with the themes of misunderstanding, loneliness, depression, blaming, shaming, are common. We see, live with, accept, and in our incredible ability to adapt, we find ways to even thrive and be happy amongst the confusion and changes of socia But for some these themes are too painful, especially if we lack the ability or urge to communicate. Sharing our emotive visions inspires us. 

Communication connects us, allows us torelate and feel heard, held and honoured. It grounds us when we’re understood. It frees us from the heavy burden of carrying feelings all alone. Sharing allows the intelligence behind the emotion; the impulse to create change to honour our sensibility to what’s good for us now, guides us to improve connection and bolsters healthy relationships. Underneath there is a calm love and wholeness that we all can access. 

Holding the space for emotions to flower, flourish, bloom and wilt, we can hold the space for others to communicate their feelings. Then what we envision can come to the foreground. Behind every emotion awaits a force so strong to create wholeness. Its our job to learn to hear the silent but powerful messengers. To decipher and shift gears. Then we can co-create together. Because alone we will never move mountains. Alone we can dream, together we can do it.And its so much more fun with others. 

Namaste and I’d love to hear how you share your truth and co-create,   

Much Love,

Shira.

One Yoga Pose to Feel Empowered, Uplifted, Improve Energy and Relationships

One Yoga Pose to Feel Empowered, Uplifted, Improve Energy and Relationships

“Since emotions run every system in the body, don’t underestimate their power to treat and heal.”

– Candace Pert. 

How powerful that feeling of total bliss or joy is when we’re elated, delighted and excited all rolled into one. It gives us energy and motivation to do incredible things with ease and confidence.  

Or equally devastating those depths of despair, where happiness seems unimaginable and each step a steep mountainside. Every little bump or challenge sucks our life energy right out of us.
Both these states are due to our emotions. The last months we’ve explored how emotions work and affect our mental states, and vice versa. This week it’s how do emotions affect our energy. And what we can do to reclaim that power and direct it with Yoga and mindfulness.

A Brief History of Energy in Motion

The E-word in the world of science and medicine, Candace Pert joked, for what can’t be measured, can’t be real. Remember our emotions are responses of our inner world meeting the outer world. Ultimately emotions are Love, Bliss and Clarity, according to Yoga and Ayurveda.  
Candace, a passionate neuroscientist, pharmacologist and biophysicist, innovatively sought biochemical links between consciousness and body.


Twenty years ago, in her deeply inspiring book The Molecules of Emotion, Candace revealed how emotions affect the entire biochemistry in of our bodies. Her extensive research led her to discover that emotions are the link between mind and body. More to the point, we are a bodymind.


Emotions change the electricity and chemistry of every single cell in our body, affecting how we feel, what we perceive through the five senses, how we react depending on what we perceive as most important.
This affects our tissues, organs and channels of mind. These filters, the cellular memory and innate intelligence of our body responds easily to the infinite changes.


These changes are recorded within the receptors of cells. When changes and experiences are not expressed or digested healthily, they become toxins, ama in Ayurveda. Toxic emotions build up in the unconscious, clogging mental channels of perception. Our ability to receive and accept the full power of Love behind every E-motion as an expression of free flow of Prana, depends on how conscious, embodied and alive we meet the outer world each time. 
Fortunately, science is slowly shifting. We now know that the body is the mind crystallized. The only sure thing in the material world is change. Science is catching up and affirms what Seers around the world have said for millennia. We have all we need within. 

How We Can Make the Shift

The innate intelligence of our body, what Yoga and Ayurveda call Prana, is a conscious force that moves through us knowing what it needs and how to heal. “We have a natural pharmacopeia already within us” Candace stated. We can inherently orchestrate our own healing process through knowledge and application of the practices.


Our body heals when our cells are healthy and clear. We can create the clarity and vibrancy on a cellular level, not just through healthy food and exercise. But by being conscious in relationships and connections with others. That outer relationship is a reflection of the inner relationship. How your cells communicate with each other. How they meet and greet, respond or react. 
That’s why yoga is so powerful. We learn to move our body, breath and mind with consciousness. We can connect to it, and to others. Yoga affects not just the connection with self, but with society and spirit. Connection, relations are our spiritual practice on this earth.
The connectedness we feel of bodymind profoundly changes our emotions into positive states. We’re literally removing old memories from cellular filters. 


These filters affect our thoughts, perceptions and experiences. And we in turn can create new filters any time we choose to make that effort. We can awaken our e-motional state, energy in motion. This energy movement within and through our cells and organs, directly affects our bodymind, and this impacts our energy levels.

A Two-Way Stream 

We can also use our body to change our biochemistry through posture, muscular engagement, to affect our emotional and mental state. We can reverse engineer, we can create the energy level we want. We can let ourselves feel down, relaxed or uplifted, anger, excitement or enthusiasm, contentment, detached or disappointment. 


Emotions are the key to uplifting ourselves and our energy levels. And the way we use our body language, the parts of our body we activate, or soften, will affect how we feel and change our energy levels directly and effectively. 
It does take practice. Like anything in life we need to attempt it many times to become good and feel and see its effects. But this simple technique can be used daily, until you start to integrate that mental awareness, emotional activation and bodily engagement in daily activities and life.

Try it

Sit down, let your body relax, even slump. Let your head sit unintentionally, slightly disinterested. Don’t try to be embodied, rather be disembodied, be in your head.
Now say to yourself, “I feel alive, vibrant, I do everything with joy today!”
And FEEL IT.
How do you feel?
Do you feel alive and vibrant? 
Did you feel you change in the physiological state a flow of energy?
Does this generate a good feeling or uplifted energy?


So a simple stance, or lack of it, let’s our energy run down and out, and it’s not going to give us that vibrancy or upliftment, we actually seek in our waking state.


Now to be empowered means we have power to affect and claim our part in the play of life. And for Yoga to be empowering we need to first know where we are, where we want to arrive at through our practice and what practice will get us there.
So an easy and effective way is to tune into what you’re feeling at this moment. 


Stand up in Mountain pose, plant your feet firmly on the floor, connect to the Earth’s abundant energy supply. Feel the front of your body awake, alive and open, ready to receive that flow of energy. Let the back body soften but with an intent to receive energy.
Now be embodied, feel the sensations in your body, the amazing flow of life moving through you to your head. 
Let the mind be reflective like a lake, awake and clear with intent. Now say to yourself, “I feel alive, vibrant, I do everything with joy today!”
And FEEL IT. 
How do you feel?
Do you feel alive and vibrant?
Do you feel you changed the physiological state?
Does this generate a good feeling or uplifted energetic state?

It’s really simple.
Now if the difference wasn’t so big, that’s ok, you just need a little practice. 
If we have a habit of letting or energy run down and out, we just need to swim upstream a few times and turn the current around.
With practice anything is possible.


Joy doesn’t come to a lucky few, it comes through practice and preparation, understanding and opportunity coming together like old friends.


Now its your turn to take this into the world.
Leave a comment below and tell us how it will change your current situation.

Much Love,

Shira.

EMOTIONALLY EMPOWERED BY SEEING YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS

EMOTIONALLY EMPOWERED BY SEEING YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS

We can empower ourselves emotionally and live fuller lives. These two simple steps will help you overcome fears and understand your limiting beliefs. Giving you more control, calm and resilience. 

Last weeks blog about was about how feelings and thoughts can’t be divorced. And how our vagal nerve allows us to enhance our relaxation response with a smooth, slow and rhythmic practice, of breath and movement. Helping us switch from active to responsive. Using the body to calm the nervous system and mind.
Yet sometimes, even though we do relaxing activities, our body is still tense and our mind restless. “Where on earth has peace and calm wandered this time?” I find myself wondering.


We all know we have the power in our hands to create health in body and mind. Especially when we educate ourselves and apply that knowledge. But even then, sometimes it’s really hard to switch from active to calm, and somehow, we jump to reactive.Trivial events trigger us. And it feels violent when we have a ‘Creating world harmony’ ideal.
Even after practicing mindfulness and yoga for over 29 years, it’s still a work in progress.
Why?  

Obviously, emotions.

Emotions, those wonderful messengers between body and mind. Energy in motion. They’re transient. They have no substance, but they’re very powerful forces!
There is an inherent intelligence behind each emotion. A message between our inner experience and the outer stimulus. Underneath each emotion lies our body-mind intelligence communicating with us in waves of change. And the way we experience and express that e-motion, depends on many things.
Often our inner experience is strongly influenced by past memories, thoughts and perceptions associated with the outer event.

The crashing of fear

And the strongest wave is that of fear. Because our brain was intensely wired to fear for more than 2 million years, ensuring our survival, we have a fear bias. Fear triggers us to react and fast.
Using the vagal nerve is called a bottom up approach.
This week it’s a top down approach. Using the mind to understand our fear and calm the mind, nerves and soma. Both bottom up and top down complement and enhance each other. To move us away from fear we need to use all tools in our toolbox.

Somatic practice and psychology is a beautiful marriage  

1. Create Mental Space to See Triggers
Using the body, breath and mind to create mental space we can start to see triggers earlier.
The reflective moments we create through yoga and meditative practice, especially breath centred, calms the nerves and creates more mental space. Chittakasha is expanded.
Because there’s more space in our minds, we take distance from our fears. Emotions are like waves, the come crashing on the shore of our consciousness from the unconscious. Spacious mind sees the waves of fear coming from afar.
This spaciousness let’s us see what undercurrent thoughts triggered the emotion. Emotions don’t happen to us, but move through us to change. A better change, a positive change. Opportunities to improve next time round. And there’s always a next time. (Remember nothing is perfect, especially the first time, we have many opportunities to try again.)

2. Find the underlying thought 
As we see the wave of emotion coming earlier the underlying thought also becomes clear. Underneath any reaction surges a fear. And behind every fear lies a good intention. Every negative habit has a positive intent. To protect us. Find that positive intent. Hear the fear behind it. Most reactions stem from one of 5 fears.
Martina Sheehan and Susan Pearse in Wired for Lifespeak of 5 fundamental fears:
1 Fear of rejection or standing out
2 Fear of losing out or scarcity mentality
3 Fear of losing control
4 Fear of failure or not good enough
5 Fear of facing the truth or being responsible
Socially, we need acceptance of our ‘tribe’, to survive. This desire to fit in is deeply ingrained and stems from our brain, the limbic system, the oldest part of our brain. All emotional triggers, especially fear, ensure we please our tribe. That may be our society, family, peers, colleagues or friends.
So find the fear. Hear the story you keep telling yourself subconsciously.

And then take action, move with emotion

Let that energy move through you not to you. 

1 Fear of standing out – Find our voice. Diversity is beauty. Only you define yourself, not the opinion of others.  
2 Fear of losing out – See the abundance. Know whatever you have to offer, there are people out their who need your gift. Think win/win, not win/lose. When others succeed see it as prove that you can too.
3 Fear of losing control – Let go. Accept things as they are. Uncertainty holds opportunity. 
4 Fear of failure – Take the chance, the challenge and grow. Progress not perfection is key to moving forward.
5 Fear of facing the truth – Take responsibility. Own your life, thoughts, feelings, actions and situation. Then take the steps to create the life You want to live.

So, hear the story you keep telling yourself, and find the underlying push your subconscious is trying to give you to move you toward a greater self. A less limited self. And if you dare to be really brave, a limitless self in a world with certain limits.
Namaste dear friend, so much love to You, Be that brave One,

Shira.

 Next time reaction happens ask which of the fears is asking You to change and move forward.

 What limiting belief or fear holds You back?

ONE NERVE TO EASE OR DIS-EASE

ONE NERVE TO EASE OR DIS-EASE

The Vagus Nerve

A hype in Yoga therapy circles, adamant I wasn’t joining in, for years, it sat on the shelf. Then Ganesh Mohan mentioned Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory at the Yoga therapy training, thrice. Finally, I dove in… 

Why hadn’t I done so earlier?!

Mindset, fear, limiting beliefs, lack of self confidence, resistance, procrastination, lethargy. Take your pick. If you ask me, a little of each. 

The vagus nerve affects all of these, and so much more, for better or for worse, depending on which pathway our vagus activates easier.

Two paths, two very different outcomes

The Vagus nerve has two pathways one to excite, sympathetic, and the other to relax and rebalance, parasympathetic. Yoga-based practices intrinsically promote vagal tone and decrease the wear and tear of the body. Yoga practiced intentionally, with slow rhythmic breathing during the physical, emotional and mental challenges of practice, allows us to exercise non-reactiveness in stressful situations. It increases parasympathetic vagal tone.

So you might ask, “What does that mean for me?”

Well, the tone of our vagus nerve directly impacts our wellbeing and physiology. If we work more in the activated and excited state,that most of us are in daily, we strengthen the tone and circuitry of sympathetic- fight or flight response. and if we are great at relaxing, allow our bodies to rest and restore when it asks for it, we increase parasympathetic- rest and digest response circuitry.  

This impacts everything from our weight, sleep, immunity, inflammation of organs and tissues, stress response, general wellbeing, to our ability to relax, the shine of our hair, the health of our skin, our energy levels, which affect depression and anxiety are affected by vagal tone!

How it Works its Wonders through Wandering 

Its name comes from the Latin vagus,means wandering. And like a vagabond it’s dedicated to travelling from all the organs to communicate our organic state. Our perception of it’s value is vague because it moves so subtly. 

If we wander with the longest cranial nerve in the body on a journey from brainstem, striated muscles in the face, head, neck, back of the tongue, ears, down the throat to the lungs, heart, and deep down into the gut, we touch all feeling tissues. The vagus nerve connects skin, muscles and our entire visceral body. Viscera means deeply feeling. Its our innate organ sensing and communicates with our brain how we feel. Basically, its our emotional pathway.

Most nerves are either able to sense or enable us to move, the vagal does both. It controls sense and motor communication between feeling and acting. It’s importance as pathway of bodily intelligence, is finally beginning to surface in modern medicine. Physiologically interwoven throughout our entire system, Yoga benefits the vagal nerve. Vagal tone is strongly impacted by slow rhythmic breathing of Yoga, and movement enhances our sensitivity to our inner states.[i]

Pretty influential, when you feel it.

Visceral messages like gut feelings, butterflies, instinct, intuition, are all initiated by this amazingly wondrous nerve. Called Neuroception, this perception of the body’s neurons without awareness of the mind instinctively sense our environment and another’s neural signals. These feelings draw our awareness and attention within the body. These sensations tell us we need to make some changes. Either in the lifestyle or dietary habits, or our environment, the people we hang out with or the work we do. 

When we ignore the body’s intelligence that something’s wrong, again and again, we’ll develop dis-ease. This is just the body’s way to say, “Hello, you’re not listening! Hey, you up there, you need to make some changes!”. Continue to ignore the cues, due to insensitivity, lack of will, or ignorance, and it builds up into deep seated dis-ease. Ayurveda calls this process Samprapti. It becomes chronic. 

What You can do to Tone that Wandering Nerve  

1. Feel Safe and Welcome

One of the most important things for our vagus nerve is feel safe. Feeling safe is the precursor of healing and thriving. That bodily sensation of safety, when we relax, rest and digest. When the nervous system rests, the vagal nerve switches from sympathetic mode, meaning active, ready to run, escape or fight, to parasympathetic, meaning passive, ready to restore, absorb and enjoy. 


Our organs of digestion, reparation and growth, are only nourished when we’re relaxed. Feeling safe is basis for a healthy relationships, social engagement and play. Safety is the foundation for higher brain function and higher states of awareness, which gives way to our creative, intuitive and joyous nature.  

2. Slow Rhythmic Breathing

The wandering nerve will wander less aimlessly if we breathe slowly and with the intention to breathe rhythmically. Especially the out breath will enhance the parasympathetic nervous system. If you find it hard to relax, then breathing out slower then in will bring the ralation mode into play. Breathe out for 8 seconds and in for 4-6, as you feel comfortable. Do this for at least 10 rounds. But the more the merrier 🙂

3. Practice Yoga with Slow Rhythmic Movement

Yoga movement practiced slow and with rhythmic intention deepens the breath, strengthening core muscles and enhances our baroreceptor sensitivity. [i]  It also makes sure our awareness is switched on. This in and of itself assures calming the nervous system, stilling the mind and regulates emotions and energy levels because we’re more attuned. 


We can use the body to engage the relaxation part of the Vagus by doing simple movements such as cat cow, or gentle or modified sun salutations.

4. Use a Positive Affirmation that Creates a Sense of Welcome

Whatever fear comes up, ask what the thought is behind that fear, hear the words and then find the exact opposite words to strengthen your positive intention to feel safe, welcome and accepted. The Vagus works both top down and bottoms up. Meaning we can override it from our bodily sensations, or with thoughts.

So we want to create a smooth slow and rhythmic practice, both of the breath, the movement and mental patterns.

The intention and the intensity will also benefit your Wandering nerve, the wandering mind and our sometimes wandering health, while we wonder where in heavens it went this time…. 

Know you have the power in your hands, body and mind, when You educate yourself and apply that knowledge!! Begin to move with your Wandering Nerve. Start that journey of wondering with life, it’s complexity, it’s completeness and your capabilities.


Namaste, much love, safety and nourishment to Your Soul,

Shira.

 
 
[i]Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Lorenzo Cohen, Timothy McCall, Shirley Telles- The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care

GET CLEAR, CALM & COLLECTED IN 7 STEPS

GET CLEAR, CALM & COLLECTED IN 7 STEPS

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

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

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

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


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


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

Anxiety and it’s Causes 

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


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


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


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

How to Change Gears of the Nervous System with Yoga

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

The 7 Simple Steps to Overcome Anxiety

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

1 Routine & Regularity

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


2 Stay Warm

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


3 Breathe Out Slow

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


4 Grounding Yoga Poses

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


5 Self Care

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


6 Physical Exercise

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


7 Proactivity

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

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

Much Love,

Shira.

WE, Women that live and breathe from their core values

WE, Women that live and breathe from their core values

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy and Honourable Power, Love and Dignity to All Women everywhere!
What amazing creatures We are!!

Women celebrating their force for good, women are the future of a WE culture, rather than ME culture.

How often does this happen to You?

There is a heated discussion, emotions arise and words fly. We know what’s being said is unjust, or just complete nonsense, but you can’t quite put it into words. Or we know exactly what it is, but don’t dare speak our truth. Or we speak our truth, but we are ignored, disregarded or belittled.

Personal values and core beliefs are being trodden on. Everyone gets passionate about their point of view. But when we look honestly and see that the others vision, values and formulation of the subject, in anyway takes the power of perspective away from another, this is abuse. Yes very slight, very subtle. But still very real.

And these things don’t only happen between men and women, but also between women and women.

Any of these are a breech of power balance. An implication that the power is not equal for all to say their piece and play their part.

These daily dynamics overtime cut others down into tid bit tiny pieces, easy to manage, mould and manipulate.

It infleunces the way we relate, communicate and delegate. If there is any imbalance, this trickles down, seeps in and permeates all our thoughts, words and actions, and lastly our creations!

This conditioning can also be caused by women who do not see they themselves are conditioned, or refuse to see it. This is what we see when women attack, limit or try to belittle other women. Mother/daughter, friends, sisters or total strangers. No one is exempt when it’s uncoscious. ANd the trouble with the unconscious is that it’s UNCONSCIOUS! It’s only by talking about it, that we can open anothers eyes.

A ship that sets off without true direction, heads far from the desired destination.

We all have different core values and we all see those being honoured or downright disrespected according to our lens of understanding and experience.

Sure women in the west vote, drive, go to school, earn money and own their homes. But if you look deeper, men have many certain privilages, that women don’t.

Differences in women’s and men’s access to resources, status and well-being, which usually favour men and are often institutionalised through law, justice and social norms. Men earn more for each hour a woman works. Men ‘naturally’ get jobs in higher positions, they have more self confindence to ask for pay rises, extra holiday pay and bonuses. Add on to that domestic physical, psychological, sexual, verbal abuse or violence, and you discover there’s many layers to gender disparity.

This is all due to the above power dynamics which are ingrained in our psyches as infants. Boys are unconsciously taught that they can choose for themselves, go out there at get what they are after, whereas a girl will be more nurtured toward helping others and taking care of the family, house and guests.

This makes women more likely to choose not just for herself, but all included. She will sacrifice much more willingly.

In the book ‘A Path Appears’, by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof, you read again and again how most projects start by empowering women, through education. Most Non-Profit programmes and initiatives uplift communities in poverty by educate the women and girls, not the men and boys.

Men will more likely spend money on alcohol and sex. Whereas women will without a seconds hesitation choose the wellbeing of others, her family. She will invest in the longrun, working with others in her community, being an entrepreneur and empowering the lives of those who follow her example.

In high school I did a study of the demographics of all African countries. One thing that jumped out of that study was that in the countries where women had higher levels of literacy, health was improved, child mortality was lower, life expectancy higher and children literacy was up.

Every movement is about adressing an imbalance which has become so gross that it has degraded the human to animalistic behaviour and acts.

A women’s movement is about the inequality of two different forces, the male/female, active/receptive, expressive/experiential. It is about bringing back the balance that leads to a sustainable and harmonious life. One that chooses growth over gratification, longterm for Her family over shortterm, inclusivity instead of exclusivity, community of capitalism.

Sure we know there is a lot of injustice, imbalance and dishonesty in the world’s dire situations, disgusting abuse of power, and complete contempt for women in the world. And yes in other places we can’t compare. Sure we in most western countries feel priviliged, empowered enough to walk away when we don’t agree. Or not let it affect our lives.

But how often do we reflect on the power imbalances being played out in our own lives? How often do we take charge of this offcourse ship and steer the dynamics away from dispute, into guideposts for solutions?

What would the world be like, if I take a stand for what I believe in, not only in my heads, or in my family, but in the larger world?

We can, through our disputes and discussions, find a path that rectifies a power imbalance at hand, or in the home. Thereby empowering our selves, family, and transform and empower family dynamics. Transform our world.

It would be a WE place, rather than a ME place.

But how often do we actually take actions to really make changes, changes that impact not only our lives, but those of others by being more honest, open and curious to our level of conditioning?

If WE want to feel grounded in ourselves through understanding our human history, our roots, the good, bad and ugly, reading, understanding and soul searching, we can see how those dynamics were handed down and how we still, on some very subtle levels carry on these power abuses unwillingly, unintended.

It’s only when we dare to see how deeply woman, and man, is still to some extent conditioned to think women are powerless. Where, why and how this great imbalance, or bipolar culture has arisen from. And how we can find balanced and sustainable solutions.

We all have the expressive/receptive ability, and response-ability, to create a WE world!

Power to All Shero’s!

Jai to all those who speak their truth no matter what the consequences!