Living with Intention
I was walking along the beach yesterday and suddenly heard loud and clear “you need to write about living with intention!”…so, here goes. I thought I would start with a bit of scholarly fact:
Intentional living requires one to be aware of one’s fundamental beliefs and to be willing to make an effort to have their behaviour reflect these beliefs in a form of integrity in relation to his or her conscience and environment.
According to the writer Joshua Becker, the steps can be summarised as:
- Realise that life is made of choices. Attitudes and decisions do not have to be determined by our past but can be chosen.
- We are surrounded by a culture. We can determine its direction and see if we want the same or not.
- Know who we are and what we want (to do, communicate and contribute). Give time to our passions.
A few years ago my amazing friend and soul wife Pennie introduced me to the idea of intentions. We were planning our first Women’s Circles together and she was helping me to shape what I wanted to bring to the circle. She asked me what my intention was behind the circle? At that time I dint understand what that meant, so she would ask me questions like ‘What does it feel like to you? What do you need from the circle? What do you feel everyone else needs from the circle?” This was a completely new concept to me and something I felt very out of my comfort zone with, I didn’t fully understand it but obviously I went with it. We held our circles together, our first one I can still remember so clearly. Bonnie was 8 months old and I was completely consumed by grief and loss (that I understand now was loss for our time together with her as a baby as I retuned to work so soon)….I had never felt so sad, lost and broken in my life. I remember my heart beating so strongly in my chest as I started to welcome the brave women into circle, I thought it would surely explode. I was sweating, I was so nervous…those first few circles passed in much of a blur. I cried deep down to my bones for the pain I was feeling, and yet sitting in circle with these other women I KNEW would heal me….I was being held by the women in circle and in turn we were all being held by the circle. So Pennie and I continued with our intention led circles. And now teaching and leading in this way is second nature to me, it’s so innate and so in built in me it’s part of me to LIVE with intention. So I wanted to share it with you I case it might be supportive to you.
When you set an intention, for anything, you are creating an energetic blueprint that is carried out into the universe, and this energetic signature, or blueprint, will attract people, places, things and other energies that are aligned with your intention – thats to say that SUPPORT this intention coming to life and becoming reality. Say for example you are going to Lidl to do the food shop with the children. You say to yourself and the little ones “how shall we best move around Lidl? What do you think will support us in Lidl?” And you might come up with something like “compassion for ourselves and all shoppers!” Stepping into the madness of Lidl with INTENTION frees you from any chaos that may ensue, anyone who looks at you with their resting bitch face will be greeted with loving eyes from you because, by setting your intention, you will have projected into the future and laid the energetic pathway on which you are then pushing your trolley. See if you can really meet all those who look upon you from a place of fear and pain with true kindness…not that act of “killing with kindness” that can be so fake. See if you can really understand that they must be so scared, suffering so much, so angry that they cannot feel clearly what is true. We are all getting squeezed so tightly at the moment, even I have had moments where I have thought “oh maybe I should be doing xyz…maybe…” and then I realise that I am getting pulled into the story, because the narrative is so strong! This last ditch attempt to control at all costs is happening now, thats why it’s even more important that at this time now we are seeding good energy out, and staying in our truth. I’ve kind of gone off on a tangent here but I feel this message is important too. Try to release yourself from the illusions that the darkness is rising – pain, fear and anger are very hot and loud – they grab for attention – they grab for Hearts and minds. Love is quiet….but no less powerful – in fact it is the most powerful. Love is rising with a quiet force across Earth right now and anything you can do to be a beacon for Love and Truth will support everyone, no matter how lost, sad, scared and angry that might appear. All of this is really just about getting very CONSCIOUS and present. So much of our days we can be on autopilot, we might be doing the same things in the same way over and over, so that were not actually needing to THINK about that we’re doing – its become such a habit and so much like second “nature”, that we become unconscious. By setting an intention , even if you are then going to do similar things, you are changing the energy of the task, or whatever it is. You are gifting yourself a pause to really consider how you want to interact with the world and what you wish to bring to the collective consciousness.
“When you have clarity of intention, the universe conspires with you to make it happen.”
– Fabienne Fredrickson
Start really simple – set an intention for the day that lies ahead of you. Your intention could be about aligning you with your beliefs and values, it can also be about listening to your own needs and taking time to reconnect to yourself, ahead of the day.
All you have to do is take a minute to think about what you want for the day. Think about your hopes for the day, as well as how you might hope to positively impact the world around you. what you want to give as well as receive from the day. The start of the day is a great time to do this because all possibility awaits you – so instead of reaching for you phone – lay a hand on your heart as ask your heart quietly.
Here are some other things to think about:
- What kind of person do you want to be today?
- What attitude do you want to have towards other people?
- What do you need to commit to in order to live a meaningful life?
- What do you need to focus on to achieve your goals?
- How might I live from my heart today?
Your intentions might change from day to day, or you might stick to one intention that you use all the time.
Once you’ve set an intention, ask yourself why this intention is important. What bigger goal, value, or desire does this relate to? This helps connect the intention to a greater purpose. See if you can FEEL the intention in your heart, and take some deep breaths into your heart imagining this intention coming to life…then simply allow the intention to be carried away. You can return to it throughout your day if you like to – simply pause, close your eyes, breath Inyo your heart and feel the energy of your intention.
In the first chapter of Christopher Isherwood‘s ‘My Guru and his Disciple, written in 1940, the writer tells of conversations with Gerald Heard concerning Heard’s spiritual values.Heard said that one of the hardest parts of the discipline was to be aware of one’s own pretensions. ‘You may rid yourself of all worldly addictions and aversions … the most deadly pretension may raise its head. You may begin to believe you are a spiritually superior person …’this is a valuable lesson. Remain humble – remain open – remember that you are not better than anyone else – we are all the same, we all came from love, we all are love and we all shall eventually return to love.
I hope this is helpful and supportive in some way! Living with intention is definitely something that is very important to me and helps me to stay connected to my heart. let me know what you think and if this supports you. With all my love Katie xxx
Transitioning into New Beginnings
This article is written in collaboration with the entire teaching family – each teacher has kindly written about how this resonates with them:-)
SEASONAL TRANSITIONS by Anne-Marie of Taste of Space Acupunture
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, late summer, related to the Earth element and the Spleen/Stomach digestive system, is seen as a distinct season marking the transition between yang (spring and summer) and yin (autumn and winter).
Nature’s abundant fruit and foliage ripens and starts to droop towards the ground, the light softens and the days gently shorten. Overall there’s a sense of lessening. The holiday season is over and school’s back – although we’re often thrown a few unexpected morsels of prime sunshine – that one last dance at the party! Late summer is a place to recentre, nourish and find our balance. A time of coming to ground, coming home.
For some it can be a tricky time as we long for the warmth, activity and social connections that summer brings to continue, maybe even fearing the coming cold and dark. Others feel relief that the intensity of summer is over. Whatever you feel about this transition, take the time to be present with the changes that are happening around and within you. See what you can lessen in order to create space to marvel at all that our beautiful earth has to offer us. The transition comes every year, but never in quite the same way.
Late summer is the perfect time to learn and do what nourishes and grounds you – physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically. Think about what you digest on a daily basis through the news, social media, the people around you and see how you can bring more balance. Seek out people, places and practices that make you feel held and supported. Familiar territory, home turf, comfort.
I’m definitely one that loves the warmth and spontaneity of summer, but I’m really feeling the call for some comfortable routine and stability this year. And I especially can’t wait to “come home” to the utterly supportive and oh so earthy Salt Water Studios!
The community acupuncture clinic is back – every Wednesday from 22nd Sept. Everyone is welcome, and treatment is offered on a sliding scale £25 – £45 you decide how much you can pay. Make space to repair, relax and restore.
The wonderful Helen Cooper-Harding teaches Pilates every Tuesday + Thursday, read Helen’s thoughts below:
So…. It’s been quite the year!!
We have all faced multiple challenges, personal and shared. In addition to those everyday mountains we have to climb, my challenges continue to be trying to please everyone all the time and not being able to …
My life revolves around my children, my home and my work. Pilates is my passion and it also my livelihood.
My teaching has had to change. Zoom allowing us to connect every week and 1:1s giving me the privilege to work more closely with many of you. I have also enjoyed teaching on the *reformer more regularly and love seeing the progress clients are making with their confidence and good movement patterns.
I am helping many clients rehab and see the importance, now more than ever, of a healthy & strong mind and body.
Pre-hab- a term my colleagues in Health care are using to help people take steps to selfcare, injury prevention, delaying the need for operations/proceedures, and improving quality of life – all good, positive steps we should all be taking. One does not have to wait for an issue/injury to arise before taking up Pilates practice. By this I mean, you don’t need to wait until your back hurts, you become less flexible, your joints ache… start your Pilates practice now and condition your body and mind into good, safe movement practices.
I continue to Zoom and have welcomed the opportunity to teach small group classes at the beautiful Saltwater Studios.
I would like to recommend to all of you that either a course of 1:1s ( a 10% discount if you book 6 sessions) or a monthly ‘check in’ 1:1 to ensure your alignment is correct and to fine tune your practice – giving you more confidence to work in your own space in the Zoom environment.
I will be starting classes from 13th Sept and continuing (with a half term break ) until December.
TUESDAY 9.30-10.30 £10.00
Book in advance (t&cs apply)
(This class will also be zoomed to those who’d rather work from home). £10.00
Book in advance (t&cs apply)
Dreamy Christie of Bodywaves Yoga teaches every Thursday, as well as Reiki once a month, read Christies thoughts below:
This summer has been an odd one. Transitioning from making no plans and doing simple things, back to being out there, open, and organising and socialising. As a usually busy and social creature, re-emergence this summer after the strange year we had before has been surprisingly difficult and still taking me a while to warm up to. I am getting there and taking my time. I feel like this whole experience has been one of constant transitions and change although literally the only constant in life is hard for us humans! Adaptable as we are for some reason some of us fight these things. I know I do. So treading kindly, being compassionate with myself and my boundaries or limitations and witnessing them as they shift. Trying not to judge that! After all, that’s what yoga teachers us isn’t it?!
I’m a massively summer person, fire energy! However, even with the non starter I am looking forward to a late summer autumn 🍂 beauty that this time of year brings. Slowly, yielding, accepting what is and letting go. Or at least trying to do those things with grace and less kicking and screaming 🤪🥰 Classes every Thursday 7.30pm 75mins of Astanga Yin Breath & Meditation – Bodywaves Yoga
All bookable via my website www.bodywaves.co.uk £10 per class (class passes available)
Josephine of Echo Yoga is bringing a brand new class to the studios as of next Monday – read all about Transitions in her own words below:
This August, I granted myself “time off”, however, even when we rest and take time away from work lessons are still being learnt.
So many things floated to the surface once I had granted myself space and a slower pace. I would judge myself harshly for still being tired, a common symptom I’m realising a lot of us have after the last year and a half. I found my mind and thoughts would weave their way through moments of calm, rest, compassion and then a harsher voice of judgement, anxiety for not rallying quickly enough, and how can I take this time off when there is still stuff to do?!
Truth is, there will always be something to do, places to be, pressure to be busy… but this idea of earnt rest vibrates through my body and mind, and I am still dancing the dance with it.
But I’m moving into my days leaning into the space of EXPLORING and being INQUISITIVE instead of judgemental. Honour the need to rest, when you need to rest. And honour the need to move, when you need to move. Which leads me nicely onto…
This September in my yin yang class, we look at balance, at the magic of breath, that within an hour we can move with strength, focus, control, then release into softness, be still and let go.
I am over-joyed to be starting at Salt Water Studios. I can’t wait to greet familiar faces and meet many new ones!
FLOW: Yin Yang Yoga Expand, Space & Growth
Monday 6.00 – 7.00pm Running from September 6th To December 6th
Contact Josephine at Echo Yoga Info@echoyoga.com
Louise Windsor is a magical teacher who brings her wisdom to every Wednesday nights Yin Yoga class – here are Louises’ thoughts:
Late Summer, and in fact any time of transition, relates to the Earth element in Chinese medicine. It’s time to come home to yourself after the more outward energy of the Summer, time to check in with “how am I and what do I need?”. I love change, I also recognise the need to stay grounded and steady with in it. This is why I love Yin yoga, it’s a chance to press pause, create some space and soften around the edges.
My Yin Yoga class is on Wednesdays 7-8pm. £10 drop in or £48 for session. Link to book:https://yoga-with-louise-windsor.reservie.net/checkout/event/djEsMjUzLDY0NDAsMA==
Angelic Renee teaches QiGong every Sunday morning at the studios:
Transitioning into a new beginning is such an apt theme as we move from late summer to early autumn – from the slowness of holiday mode to the routine of going back to school or work. I am reminded that transitions are not always big or dramatic. They are also subtle and constantly happening in our day-to-day lives – from the minute we open our eyes and move from sleep to wakefulness; the ebb and flow of every breath cycle; the way our weight shifts from one foot to another as we walk. Every day, every moment, every breath is a gift to start over and be reborn. I was also reminded the other day that ‘reborn’ is what my name means.
There are so many things I have loved about this summer: the leisurely pace of the days; spending so much quality time by the sea with my family; taking my practice outside with my bare feet on the ground.
My practice, teaching style and offerings continue to develop and transform. My mind, body and spirit crave slow flowing movement practices that focus on energy balancing, self-care, meditation and connecting with the natural world.
As I make my way through the transitions in my journey, I wobble and make blunders. My practice gives me grace, grounding, encouragement and inspiration to keep going. These are qualities that I continue to cultivate and hope to share with others.
Class: Qigong with yoga | Sundays, 9:30–10:30am | £10 per class | £45 for a block booking of five classes (to be used within five weeks)
Emma brings her passion to the studio every Tuesday night:
Moving through old paths and into new opportunities. A shedding of what is no longer needed. And opening yourself up to new experiences. Sometimes these transitions require reflection and pause for thought, for contemplation on how far you’ve come, and what is to come next. Sometimes transition can be big and loud, shaking your very foundations. Most of the time it is a quite, gentle nudge in a different direction. A soft encouragement to let go and move on. A subtle change in your outlook and how you interact with your environment. A shift in your perspective. And a settling into new routines. We transition each day, when we wake, our bodies have regenerated. Each day is different. And sometimes we barely notice those changes. We just all of a sudden feel different. And in a good way. This is transition for me.
Tuesday 5.45pm Yang Yin Yoga – £10 or class pass £50/ 1st Monday of each month 8pm – Guide Yoga Nidra – Chillout Session – £10 per session. Next class Mon 6th Sept and Mon 4th Oct 2021.
Annette of I am Yoga Worthing is with us every Wednesday and brings kind eyes every time:
As we move into September, we start to merge from summer to autumn, which is my favourite time of the year. As we move into autumn, not only do the leaves start to turn in colour and fall from the trees, I also believe it’s a time for us to transition within. It’s an opportunity to shed what no longer serves us and leave behind what we don’t want to take with us in to the remainder of the year. As we make that transition within, we start to evolve in to what is meant to be, and leave behind what was.
The wonder that is Linzi returns to the studios on Sept 18th for her workshop Structure + Space:
What does transitioning into a new beginning mean to me?
I believe we are guided by our intuition more than we realise. The tiny veers onto a different course can be very subtle, and conversely catastrophic events in our lives can also force a transition beyond preparation and logic. But, both can set us on a path of spiritual rebirth. There will always be subconscious referencing of who we were before this shift. The event. The moment where life will never be the same again.
I believe our most powerful transitions can come about from distress, grief, shock and also repetition. Obviously we don’t want repeated exposure to negative scenarios, but stress is the litmus paper to change. And a little stress everyday is actually a good thing. In my opinion this stops our bodies and minds turning to mush.
This year for me has highlighted my flight/fight mode and a deeper enquiry into who I am without this reactive behaviour. I am a great warrior, but can I sit and simply be? I can now. To sit with grief has shown me this. In all it’s painful glory.
And here lies the new beginning, a deeper appreciation of just how precious our lives are and a determination as a parent/partner/daughter/friend/teacher/therapist to leave a legacy.
Freedom is there when we dig deep into our neural pathways and rewire old programs.
And remember this, the transition doesn’t necessarily happen immediately. Everything happens in divine timing.
See you soon I hope
My workshop Structure and Space is at SWS on Saturday 18th September from 8-9:30am
£25 – we will explore and extinguish old teachings of typical poses and you will also experience a deep mind reboot while in Savasana. Bookings via my website.
“There is no magic wand that can solve our problems. The solution rests with our work and discipline”
Can diet effect attitude/performance?
YES. Simply put, when you simplify and purify your diet, this expands to the rest of your life. As Bruce Lee saidI “t is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessential.” … when you can do this you will be left with the really special stuff, and this can extend to your diet of course!
What do we know about how the body works which can help us be better and more productive?
We are not made to survive on processed “food” – our bodies need all of the colours of the rainbow in abundance to get all of the nutrients we need. One thing I would like to touch on in relation to this is the current situation and the last 20 years or so – we have seen a rise in low-level-anxiety that is present for so many of us. We are stressed – and that depletes us of magnesium, a macro mineral that we need in abundance for so many important functions including sleep!!! Eating sugar, drinking caffeine and alcohol also deplete us of magnesium. So we are less able to sleep well and so many of us start the day tired, also with this low-level anxiety which can manifest as the inability to concentrate, heart palpitations, lack of motivation and feeling confused and overwhelmed. If you feel like this, then firstly know you are not alone and know that you can VERY simply make some positive changes that will affect your sleep and your feelings.
Eat Magnesium Rich Foods
Magnesium foods will also help – so some complex carbohydrates before bed like some brown rice, green leafy vegetables, legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds, avocado, banana with the addition of tryptophan foods (these help make seratonin with magnesium, and that converts to melatonin): spirulina, eggs, turkey, seeds and nuts.
Take a magnesium bath
Magnesium is described as “nature’s relaxant” and is vital for numerous functions within the body, particularly important for energy levels and generally making you feel good. Unfortunately due to the modern diet high in fat/sugar/salt most people are deficient in Magnesium as these things work to deplete the body of magnesium. Aside from eating more magnesium rich foods, the best way to absorb magnesium is through the skin and via an Epsom salt bath (Magnesium chloride or magnesium sulfate) before sleep to help relax the muscles and remove tension. Baths also help as you attempt to lower body temperature after the bath which simulates the process of going to sleep at a lower temperature.
Caffeine makes you tired: the reason people get hooked on drinking coffee (particularly in the morning) is because it makes them feel better, more energised and alert. Dr Peter Roberts a psychologist from Bristol University, wanted to find out if coffee actually increased energy and mental performance, or just relieved the symptoms of withdrawal. His research showed that coffee-drinkers just felt better than they did when they first woke up – in other words, drinking coffee just relieved their symptoms of withdrawal. It is addictive and reduces mental performance. Depending on how sensitive to it you are, you will metabolise it differently to your friend. So, some people seem “fine” on a few coffees, whilst others suffer the jitters and heart palpitations. Cutting it out for 2 weeks is a great way to kick the habit. Delicious alternatives include dandelion, caro, chicory, barley and matcha. I go through phases with coffee to be honest. I cut it out entirely a few years ago whilst on yoga teacher training and felt hugely better for it. Now, I will have one occasionally with a nut milk, or coconut cream and some coconut sugar. I also add a scoop of collagen and a few sprinkles of cinnamon a long-chain amino acid and the most abundant protein in the body, responsible for elastic skin, strong hair, and connective tissue.
Also with relation to this low level anxiety – we are actually feeding it with the sugar, the caffeine and the alcohol…your body is constantly “up” on the sugar etc so that when the effects wear off your body suddenly drops to its more natural state (which is calm, balanced) yet it is unable to cope here, and so you reach for the next biscuit, coffee or whatever it is. Believe me I know I have been there. It takes commitment to go trough the withdrawal phase of cutting out caffeine and sugar – for me I suffer intense headaches for 4-5 days as I come back to my equilibrium
STRIPPING BACK IS KEY. There is no magic formula but what does work is focusing on eating as nature intended. Simply put – soaking fruits and nuts and blending them for breakfast so that the digestive work is already “done”. Eating warmed salads for lunch, snacking on raw nuts and fruit and eating dinners that are nourishing. Cutting out caffeine had a huge impact on me as did cutting out sugar. I was no longer a “slave” to any food or drink. I felt empowered – because I had made these choices for myself.
Eat a Rainbow
Then, you consider that variety is the spice of life! Especially as we move into winter it is a good time to consider veggies and fruits of all colours and “eat a rainbow” as they all have different properties and antioxidants that help to boost your immunity:
Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.
PURPLE /BLUEThe plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Carotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid called Betacarotene is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Another carotenoid called lutein is stored in the eye and has been found to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.
Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate, needed in abundance during pregnancy.
White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are also a good source of potassium.
Are there any food groups which are proven to really help with clarity of thinking, positivity and to help us be the best we can be?
I honestly believe its not about adding more its about taking away and really assessing and being honest with yourself about what you eat and drink and how you treat your body
Fat is crucial – particularly Omega 3’s
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are one of the basic building blocks of the brain and unlike many nutrients, our bodies cannot produce it. They also enhance your mood: Healthy brains and nerve cells depend on omega-3s because the nervous system is made mostly of fat. The signals that travel through our flesh (feelings, thoughts, commands to our bodies) skip along cells and their arms sheathed in fat. Throughout both my pregnancies I took a high does of omega 3 for this reason – my son and daughter needed this in abundance and I have no doubt that this contributed to Rex being such a calm, happy, creative little soul. Gaining more fat from omega 3 sources will also help you obtain Vitamin A, D, E and K better and crucially enable you to absorb the important antioxidants as well.
Brilliant sources of omega 3 are Walnuts Flaxseeds Chia seeds Hemp seeds
Wild fish (mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, tuna); leafy greens
Our bodies are made of up to 60% water. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.
Therefore Dehydration will affect every function your body attempts to carry out. If you struggle to remember to drink water do these things:
- Take a pint of water to bed and drink it as soon as you wake up
- Get into the habit of carrying a bottle of water with you everywhere
- Leave a bottle of water in the car to sip whilst driving
- If you have an office job, keep a 1.5 litre bottle at your desk and aim to drink the entire thing every day
- Start your day with my health elixir of warm water, lemon, turmeric, ginger & honey
“Why am I so tired?”
I know many of you are feeling tired – me too. And one of the reasons for this is that our nervous systems simply did not evolve to handle the amount of stress we have felt collectively in the past 12 months.
A Normal stress cycle looks like this: STRESSOR -> Sympathetic nervous system is activated (fight/flight) -> Mobilisation -> Deactivation -> Parasympathetic nervous system is activated (ventral vagal dominance – rest/digest)
But for many we are now in this Chronic stress cycle: STRESSOR -> we experience increases in heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and a slowing of or decrease in digestion, immune system, sex hormones -> STRESSOR _> and the cycle repeats again we experience the increases and decreases of vital basic functions within the body…and over and over again
Being stuck in a chronic stress cycle makes us feel TIRED, experience FATIGUE, BRAIN FOG, have difficulty FOCUSING, even when we’re engaging in self care habits. Chronic stress can also cause TRAUMA SYMPTOMS, dissociation, numbness, hopelessness, and depression when we freeze or feel immobilised in response to stress.
So what can we do? First be kind to yourself and let yourself know it’s ok…. BUT KNOW IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BECOME YOUR NEW NORMAL!. If you can continue to be gentle with yourself and work with your body and mind to help release stress and calm your nervous system you will recover. We can stimulate our vagus nerve to counter the activation of fight/flight and sympathetic nervous system dominate through:
Yoga, chanting, singing, a cold shower or swim, meditation, movement, cuddling, laughter, massage, breath work, connection….
My Top Tips for Living Well
“There is a a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”
- Eat a rainbow: Aim for 5 servings of veg and 2 of fruit every day
- Aim for 2 days every week that are 100% meat free
- Stay well hydrated and go easy on stressors like dairy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol
- Move your body every day because it has an amazing endorphin effect – it makes you feel GOOD
- Go easy on yourself! No one is perfect, but it is our imperfections that make us who we are. Celebrate the things about yourself that are different, accept yourself for who you are and start focusing your energy on positive things
- Meditate and see how it affects any stomach troubles you have
- Say bye bye to the cows & soy milk
- Eat fats with every meal (the good ones)
- Prepare for success – stock up on healthy snacks
- Accept that sometime you are going to feel bad or under the weather; that is just the natural ebb and flow of life. But start checking your reactions to stressful situations or feelings that you don’t necessarily enjoy feeling, because it’s how we deal with the tough times that can affect how quickly we bounce back. And, also, its those lows that make the highs even sweeter 🙂
- Learn to be more understanding and forgiving of yourself, as research has shown that makes us more motivated to do what we need to to take care of ourselves – and that includes eating well
“You give a little love and it all comes back to you”
LOVE, KINDNESS & COOPERATION – what more is there?
You are reading this for a reason. It’s because the words above LOVE, KINDNESS and COOPERATION resonate with you. We are here in this very place because of these ways of being. We aspire to give out and create spaces where these feelings, ways of being and ways of working can flourish.
We are here to awaken from the illusion of separateness. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
2020….this is the year that we will all step forward together in great literal and more felt circles of love, kindness and cooperation. This is the year that we will build on the foundations we all worked so hard to lay in 2019….in even the last DECADE. Do you notice the cycles of life? If you look back, can you see all you have come through to get to where you are? Do you take the time even to appreciate where you have been, but at the same time, continually release yourself from where you have been so that you can keep moving onwards, yet all the time spiralling round and back around? Sounds a bit trippy and even a little dizzy doesn’t it? But that’s life. Whilst listening to our new fave podcast recently “Lightworkers Lounge” something stood out – “it’s not awakening that is tough – it is LIVING AWAKENED” because unless you are able to live off-grid, without the trappings of modern life you will have shit to do and shit to deal with. And actually I did have the thought recently that as much as I know my heart and soul yearn for that what is more rewarding for me is to live amongst and with all people so that I can be of service to all people. Daily life will continue to rumble on but and the trick is to continue to live an awakened life around and amongst all of this. We are here for a reason and you are here for a reason.
Salt Water Studios will very soon turn 2 years old and it feels as though we are all rising from the ashes. We have been refining our offering over the last 2 years and making it even simpler, making it even easier for people to join us – whether that is literally in classes and groups and workshops, or through the internet. We stand for Love, Kindness and Cooperation.
“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things with great love, and together we can do something wonderful”
Every day that passes more Love, more Kindness and more Cooperation is poured into soul of the studios and the magic grows. It comes from every single person who steps foot inside. It is tangible – we all feel it and we hope that just by reading this you can feel it too. If you are awakened, or if you are just starting to wake up – we feel you. We are here for you and we are listening. The challenge that lies ahead of us now is not one to be afraid of – it is to simply LIVE AWAKENED. And to do the hum-drum daily life stuff and try in all small and big ways to carve out time for the awakened you, the magical, wonderous, ascending you to flourish. Eyes open (all three ;-)) and reaching out hand after hand after hand after hand to every being around you.
We are here for you and Together We Will Rise.
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.
As we approach the end of this year thoughts can often turn to reflection – and looking back to see how far we have come and who we now are. Looking around the studios one evening I was struck at how many people were there, for 3 different styles of class (QiGong, hot yoga and Scaravelli inspired yoga), from all walks of life, and was suddenly overwhelmed at how many different personal journeys were unfolding under this one roof. All of the students and teachers on their own personal journey. Some just starting to walk the path and others further along the line. At this time I had also been reflecting a lot on my own personal journey because I had been writing a poem about our Women’s Circles and what they mean to me. And then, just like it was supposed to be, I came across this wonderful quote from Maya Angelou:
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
It made me realise that healing cannot take place if we are trying to get back to who we were before. And in actual fact, real freedom is
“what you do with what’s been done to you.”Jean Paul Sartre
I started to ponder this in great depth, thinking about it so deeply and it had a really grounding effect on me – a deep settling took place as I came to realise that a new me was being born. In times prior, when I had thought back to the “me” that lived in this body before I had children and before we moved and before the intensity of the last 2 years took place, I had got kind of stuck and thought that I should be returning to that Katie. But actually, I can see now that healing is not about stepping back into the old , it is about stepping into the new shoes and moving forward for the rebirth, but with compassion for all the previous versions of me – because they have all contributed to where I am today. Pretty potent thoughts at this time of year. This then took me back to my first encounter with the practise of Kindfulness, a practice by monk Ajahn Brahm ,which is what you get when you add Kindness to your Mindfulness practice. It was a major lightbulb moment for me when I first discovered it 4 years ago because for me Kindness is central to my life and the way we run our businesses. Being kind is also the most wonderful thing to add to your mindfulness or meditation practise – it give the practise extreme power because it means that I really do care about everything I feel and everything I experience – I don’t just feel it.
In the original Kindfulness talk, Ajahn Brahm encourages us to DO SOMETHING about the things we are aware of, if we can, and if we can’t do something about them then at least change our attitude to what is happening. He answers some really important questions:
When is the most important time? NOW. It is the time your future is being made! So be peaceful, happy, forgiving, and kind NOW and you will be creating for yourself a wonderful future.
Who is the most important person? THE ONE IN FRONT OF YOU. Do one thing at a time – don’t try and get rid of things because a lot of life is trying to teach you something. Give everything value, even sleepiness in meditation (which I know for people just starting out in their practice is hard!) – let it be. That changes the attitude and whole experience of life.
What is the most important thing to do? TO CARE. You can’t cure everybody BUT you can care for everybody. You can never fail at this. It helps you to appreciate people exactly as they are, and give you a bit more wisdom in life.
And it 100% applies to you too. If you have scars (literal or not) it’s important to care for them because it’s our scars that make us who we are, real and natural. We don’t need to try to be perfect or cure everything, just care: and this is what kindfulness is. It really is much more potent than mindfulness because you are aware of your thoughts and feelings AND you show them warmth. Imagine opening the door of your heart to whatever you are, wherever you have been and to everything that has happened to you and welcoming it inside. What a huge relief, that instead of trying to solve the dark parts of you and your life you simply love them. Because not everything can be solved – sometimes things just happen to us, but we can choose to NOT be reduced by them, as Maya Angelou so beautifully once said. I continue to learn this every day. I thought that the parts of me I was kind of ashamed of I had “solved”, I sometimes think the darkness is now all light, but they resurface time and again and it has been SO healing and brought me so much peace to just welcome these feelings in and love them, rather than exhaust myself by trying to push them or shut them away, or work through them over and over. They are not me but they are a part of me still, it is just that now I know how to change my attitude towards them. I don’t let these feelings define me, because I have grown so much in the years that have passed, but I do show them compassion; I show young, insecure me love. And then I show depressed, dark me love. These two versions of me have taken up most of my teens and adult life – but now I am welcoming in a new dawn, and a new me, that is different in so many ways, yet still with that childlike essence and vulnerability – this will never change.
Treating every part of yourself with kindness really can transform you: it allows you to find peace and truly heal because there really is nothing to be done, nothing to try and change. Nothing to battle against. And so then you can become still, and get a real insight from that stillness, a really accurate reflection of what is happening in your mind. Only through Stillness can you see things as they truly are.
Only in quiet waters things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.Hans Margolius
Brahm believes that kindfulness will solve all of your problems, and I am inclined to agree!
You can also get to know where feelings manifest in the body. Every emotion generates a physical feeling and response, so if you feel anger or sadness get to know where you physically feel that and massage it. Show it some love and kindness!
Adding kindness compassion to your meditation practise is what it’s like when someone doesn’t try to change you and simply accepts you as being IMPERFECT, which is really one of the founding principles of us at SWS. So Kindfulness just feels so right to me. It is so perfect for all of us for the very fact that it is not about being perfect.
Next time you experience a hard time, or something from your past resurfaces that you thought you had “buried” or solved, try welcoming the feelings it creates and treating them with warmth and compassion, I feel sure it will help you and bring you some peace and free you to step forward into creating and manifesting your own destiny.
I hope this has been helpful for you and would like to thank Ajahn Brahm for bringing the practice of Kindfulness to my life.
This months blog is all about TRUSTING YOUR OWN INTUITION and listening to your own heart, written with love by me Katie
From almost the moment we are born other peoples ideals and ideas are thrust, maybe forced upon us. Some children grow up never having the chance to think for themselves because their parents want to control them and “do what they think is right for them”. School then steps in, rewarding children at such a young age for doing homework (errr….NO!!!); the media tells us what we should eat, how we should look and what are the “right” things to do. The society we live in also plays a huge part with cultural influences making us believe we should behave in certain ways, make certain choices and follow certain paths and rules. It’s so rare that we even have that pause point in modern life to actually even realise we are not listening to ourselves – maybe we don’t even realise it!
Yet…..we are human beings and we all have that in-built compass. There is really no need to continue to look elsewhere, to others, outside of yourself for the answers. Who could possibly know YOU as well as YOU?? No one. No one but you can feel that internal dialogue and internal barometer of whether you are feeling GOOD deep to your core and soul or not. And so shouldn’t you start to learn to really listen to your own gut and own instincts ?
I say YES YOU SHOULD, Because these are uncertain times for our Mother Earth. Look what has happened to the sacred Amazon Rainforest….She needs us now more than ever and so what needs to happen now on a very large scale is a waking up of humankind. Of you, of me, of your mother, your son, your neighbour, your friend. This is about all of us coming together as strong, knowing individuals with a deep realisation and full grasping of the fact that EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS INSIDE OF YOU. All power lies inside you. You are great, you are wise and you know your own truth. What I mean by that is – you will know what makes your heart beat loud and clear – what makes you feel alive deep down to the souls of your feet and deep down to core of the earth, as well as all the way up to the crown of your head and up to the cosmos and ether above. To everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. Living in your heart in this way will elevate your vibrations – and if the collective vibrations of the many rise then certain good will happen. What needs to happen will happen.
And the good news is that there are many of us who are here to help. Until very recently I had my unique role on planet earth all wrong. I thought that I was here to hold your hand and help you smile, help you feel safe and ok. But my job (like so many others we are lucky enough to have at Salt Water Studios) is actually to help you wake up to yourself and send you all the way UP….to fully realise yourself – to be completely aware of everything you can do and your full consciousness. I know this because I was confirmed to be through numerous signs on our recent yoga retreat to Ibiza, led by Pennie Pea and I. Via shooting stars, cicadas elevating their song as I spoke certain words, by the very wind and, most importantly, during a solitary moment meditating I felt it, I FELT EVERYTHING IN THE PALMS OF MY HANDS. I would say, I had a transformational experience and deep awakening, oh yes. I would also say my dear sister Pennie had something greater too. She helped me find the way, she can show the way, to so many. There is so much more I could write but I will leave it at that for now 😉
But for now, back to you. How can you start to listen to your own intuition? well, start by trying! Be creative and free in the way you move – this is something I encourage throughout every single yoga class I teach. Sit in silence and place your hands gently on yourself and really feel what is happening beneath both palms. Take yourself off into nature as much as you can. When you seek an answer to something, practice asking yourself and check in with your heart as to how this makes you feel. Dedicate some time really truly to you and allow yourself to start connecting your head and heart again. You need the whole body to work in harmony – and to start reaching for your Hearts desire you must start to actually FEEL EXACTLY WHAT IT MIGHT FEEL LIKE TO EXPERIENCE YOUR HEARTS DESIRE. You cannot be half-hearted about it. This is about expanding and connecting back to the source – which is YOU.
Join us on 28th September for a day like no other – we stepped it up about a million notches in Ibiza and are so excited to join forces once again for our UPLIFT AFTERNOON 🙂 to find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org
Choosing a new path
My name is Katie and I am the co-founder and owner, along with my husband Ross, of Salt Water Studios and Hotpod Yoga Worthing, and this is a blog from me.
I have been doing a lot of reflecting recently about the last 3 years and I have kept coming back to the word change, risk, and also choice. I have been pondering why we have done the things we have done; these things that have seemed natural and the obvious choice to us, whilst in reality I know that they are far from the norm. I can still remember the feelings I used to get, stuck behind a desk, doing something that did not feed my heart and soul in any way. I always hoped that one day things would be different but it wasn’t until Rex came along that we made the really big life changing move. We had already planned it and got the wheels in motion but having a child and having a glimpse at the life that so easily could still be us now was the final push we needed to make the change and take the first step. Together Ross and I have complementary characteristics that have made what we have done possible – the two of us together have chosen to keep stepping up and keep doing what needs to be done. And as we have gone on, the bigger things have almost felt easier as now we know for certain that we have work to do, and we need to be here in Worthing.
For me personally, I have come a long way in the last 3 years. I have taken huge leaps in my personal growth, in realising myself even more and my true true purpose in life and why I am here. Ross enables me to do what I need to do and without each other neither of us would be able to do what we are doing – we need to be in this together as the gate-keepers of this community in Worthing.
So this is a little blog about risk, change, showing up and doing what needs to be done and it is also about how we have done this, as my hope is that this will give YOU the push you need to go for the big dream 🙂
So conducting a little research online I came across some key traits/ points about risk takers and people who inspire change and have added some of my own:
- Refuse to accept the status quo
- Are in touch with a much greater purpose in life and trust
- Value talented people and surround themselves with these people
- Are able to effectively execute an innovative idea
- Are fearless
- Are creative and curious
- Are unafraid to be vulnerable
Does this sound like you? It’s so interesting to look back and think and also see that once you start identifying yourself in a certain way you attract people who share similar beliefs and life-motivations.
So, the FEAR FACTOR, or I guess you could say the absence of it. This takes me back to something one of my really close friends said when I told her how scared I was about moving away from London, about setting up a new life and bringing another child into the world – she said “all the best things are terrifying” – because it mattered to us so much and we had been dreaming about it for so long, that kind of made it more scary. We were also driven by the fact that the reality that could so easily have been our lives was more terrifying than trying and failing. In the beginning EVERYTHING was so scary that it kind of became normal for us to feel that way, which I don’t think was necessarily healthy, however it did mean that we became used to it and so as the barriers and hurdles and things going wrong continued to come really thick and fast in the earliest days we just got on with them. Only now (quite literally this last week or so) have we taken a step back and started to go back to being chill and more relaxed with an absence of huge scary feelings. Rex is now 3, Bonnie is 1.5, the pod is almost 2, SWS is almost 1.5 and the new studio space and plant shop are out of the new-born days 😉
Can you allow yourself to show your vulnerability?
This leads quite nicely onto VULNERABILITY. We have felt incredibly vulnerable over the last 2 years, but even so, we have showed up. Every. single. Day. Some days I wasn’t completely there as I felt so dark, but even then we HAD to continue striving forwards and doing what needed to be done – this reminds me of a line from one of my favourite poems The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer:
“It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.”
Yep – this was me in a big way. When Bonnie was a tiny baby I was teaching 11 classes per week in the pod, I was pumping at the pod in between classes and I basically felt like a cow. She was sleeping by me and was waking every night 3-4 times and honestly I was broken, completely broken, as was Ross. We were both so exhausted that nothing made sense – yet the Pod was struggling as we were struggling and so we had to keep trying. Every day.
I recently watched a TED talk by Brenee Brown on Vulnerability and so so much of it rang true for us.
“Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeing , to have the hard conversations.”
Brené harkened back to a speech that Teddy Roosevelt gave in 1910. In it, Roosevelt said:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Powerful isn’t it? Being in the arena for me means doing it – even though you are broken. Because you believe in what you are doing, you need to do it, and you must do your best, you must try your very best because then there is no real failure, cos you’ve given it all you have got. Brenee also speaks about “Perfect and bulletproof” being seductive but not existing in human experience…. and
This is also really important. When Ross and I were still living in London doing the daily hamster wheel existence and grind, I was DESPERATE for something more. Quite literally I was gagging for it, and I went to a talk by a group called Escape the City, it was when my idea for Imperfectly Pure was starting to take shape in my head and the one thing I remember and tell others to this day from that talk and workshop was “don’t wait until your idea is perfect, you can shape it along the way”. So much time is wasted on creating an idea of perfection, and this is one of my founding principles of Imperfectly Pure that also rings true for everything we do at Salt Water Studios and the Pod – and the community we are building in Worthing. We are not perfect – none of us are, yet it is our imperfections that make us who we are and make us unique, true and beautiful on the inside. If you have an idea, the best thing you can do is honour it – and get it out there, because also if you don’t then someone else guaranteed will do it. And the world most needs people whose intentions are honest and good and true, to do things that raise the collective vibrations of the planet. Ross said something beautiful to Rex earlier this week “Rexy Roo , if you do good things then more good things will happen”….and I just thought YES !! That is it!!! Do good to create more good – always.
With this in mind, creativity is quite crucial I think. As in, do you want to sit around and live someone else’s life, and watch (many people feel perfectly happy doing this and that is so cool) or do you want to be the one inspiring change and creating. Your brain will naturally be more dominant to one side or the other which will impact you, for example Right Side brain is the more artistic and creative side of the brain and its functions include insight, intuition, imagination and holistic thought. This makes me think of my dad who was the eternal child, and was a risk taker (to the detriment of himself in the end actually). In my head I am a child, as is Ross and the way we play with Rex and Bonnie is just like we are all kids together 🙂 I am always that mum in the soft play who is playing and running and being silly. Whilst the left side of the brain is the more logical and academic side. Ross certainly does switch easily between both side of his brain whereas I am more right-side focused. I definitely think that in our experiences you need both – you need the creativity but you also need the rationale to make the best decisions. But even then things go wrong!!! For us many things have happened to us, most have been out of our control, so having an ability to roll with the punches is important. Even if you feel like you are weak – you are not. How do I know this?? well, you are a human being right – and human beings are POWERFUL…yet most of us have not even realised this yet or even started to tap into our full power and potential. To start accessing it – you need to start doing yoga, meditation and listening. That’s the first step (ask me for the next steps when you are ready :-))
Are you CURIOUS? Do you WONDER at the world?
In her book “The Risk factor” Deborah Perry Piscione writes “Risk-takers are incredibly curious about why things are the way they are. Neuroscientists strongly associate curiosity with attention, motivation, memory, and learning. Based on experiences, uncertainties, and stimuli, curiosity is engaged and practiced throughout one’s lifetime. With its openness to foreign experiences, curiosity creates a sense of wonder and imagination and has been linked with cultivating happiness.”
This insight is highlighted in the incredible song BURGS by Mt Wolf:
“When you came here
You know, it’s like, what would it be like?
To be down there?
To be part of it?
And in your wondering about yourself, you forgot what you came here for, what you came to be a part of”
This place we are living is huge and wide and wonderful and it needs our help. We all need each others help to live a good life. And If you stay open to new experience then you are much more likely to find meaning in your life and something that makes your heart sing and go boom. People have said to me in the past that I am gullible because I believe lots of things that might seem silly – however I tell you what it makes life really interesting and I discover lots and learn lots just by talking to other people in my world. I am surrounded by some of the most incredible people who know so much and it is an honour. Am I lucky? You might say that but I also do believe that we create our own luck – it starts with a belief in yourself. Do you believe in yourself?
Surround yourself with people who lift you and inspire you
Lots of my friends have mentors and I wouldn’t necessarily say we have one mentor but AMAZING people have reached out to us and come to our aid. We have cried on these people and they have helped us see the way through – often its just some reassurance that is needed but in the case of a couple of our members of the Pod (like seriously – these people are amazing!!) They have actually helped us and taken their own time to support us. We also have friends around us who are also doing things in their lives that are “risky” and not normal…and this not only gives us strength because to a degree it normalises what we are doing, it also has provided us with like-minded people to talk to. We also have friends who guide us and keep us on the path by just doing what friends do! Encouraging us to keep believing in ourselves and reminding us that it would be hard because we (as Pennie always reminds me!) are doing 10 years of stuff in 2 years – basically 🙂
Believe that is anything is possible
Our passion for what we are trying to do here overrides so much – we are less hesitant now than we were at the start to get things done that need to be done. This is key for us, especially the female side of the brain and the yoga teacher in me who has trained myself and been through so much during the process of becoming a yoga teacher and also a mother – we CHOOSE to believe. And this became incredibly hard when the going got tough, so that I sought more guidance from friends and others. I remember one day picking a card from the deck we use at our women’s circles with Pennie. I was so terrified and afraid that we would fail and that we would have to go back to an old life, or even worse, continue to partially live the life that was so close to being ours but with constraints, limitations and one foot in the old way to pay the bills. I asked a big question, (Pennie was like “don’t ask if you’re not ready” and I said “i have to ask”) and I was physically shaking as I asked “is everything going to be ok” and the card I pulled was the wheel of fortune which said “there are an infinite number of possibilities in my life”…this actually happened, and that was the confirmation of my beliefs deep down in my core that I needed. For us also, we came to a point fairly early on where the only way out was through, on a daily basis we felt terror and fear but as there was nothing to fall back on and nowhere to hide we had to keep putting one foot in from of the other and striving ahead. We had two tiny little people banking on us, and the more time went on the greater responsibility we feel to all of the teachers and students who come to the pod and SWS.
Trust the process
TRUSTING is also crucial. A trust of the process and trust of yourself. This was literally drummed into me on yoga teacher training – that I must TRUST THE PROCESS WITH A HAPPY SMILING FACE 🙂 I learnt to let go of any need to control, any need to know what may happen next so that I was totally at the mercy of the process of unravelling myself and I knew deeply that I was giving myself over to a new way and becoming the real ME again. Just like going back to the very start of life. Also having that trust in a higher power that lives inside yourself is crucial I think – because really none of us know or are fully awakened to our full power and potential as human beings – it is really limitless. If your intention is good and true then you cannot go wrong.
So I could try to write down all of the things we have navigated and overcome across the last 3 years but I don’t think I will get them all – so here is a glimpse at some of the big ones – or the big ones as we saw them when they first materialised:
Rex was 8 months old when we discovered we were pregnant with Bonnie, we were one month away from leaving London and buying our bungalow and signing our lease for the studio spaces. Little Bon Bon was not planned as I saw it, but all I can say is that there is no way we could ever be without her.
We found out someone else was opening a hot yoga studio in the town – this led to a HUGE change in the plan and we came back to Hotpod Yoga
We found out I would not be allowed to teach in the Pod whilst pregnant
Our costs were too high and money worries became terrifying
But you know what? All of these things have become “good” – or have been worked out. These were all things within the first weeks and months – there is no real point even mentioning our mental health – but I especially was unstable. We struggled and we felt really bad for a long time. BUT we came through – and we are now through another phase. We have recently completed some work on our HOME so that we are no longer sleeping in the living room in a shit hole 🙂 we have a happy home to come home to that is clear and it feels so so great. Summer is here and that will definitely be hard for us but we are not newborns anymore. People told us time and again that the first 3-5 years are severely tough for new businesses and I know that now. But we are though a tough bit and now its onto the next…there are plans to be made and there is lots of work to be done down here. By the sea.
Will you Join us? Will you take the leap for yourself and for the collective vibrations of the planet?
Its a big question but maybe it’s your time to answer it and be unafraid.
~ Why children’s yoga is so much fun ~
Kindly written by Nicki of Yogabellies
The activities available for our children today are wide and varied. There is so much more choice & accessibility. It’s not just the traditional sports and activities which are available now but many more such as fencing, diving, computer science, cheerleading, crochet, the list goes on.
But, our children, like us, are getting busier. We fill their days with so many things because we want them to have as many opportunities as possible. It’s almost seen as lazy to not be doing something every day. Even when they’re not doing something, they are constantly stimulated by tablets, phones, TVs and computers, life is so fast paced and we rarely stop.
Because of this, there is a huge rise in stress, anxiety and depression.
- In 2017 12.8% of 5-19 year olds had a least one mental disorder. Emotional disorders being the most prevalent.
- Rates of these disorders increase with age. 5.5% of 2-4 year olds experienced a mental disorder compared to 16.9% of 17-19 year olds
- Rates also increased over time. The rate of 5-15 year olds with a mental disorder rose from 9.7% in 1999 to 12.8% in 2017
So how do we get that balance? We all want what is best for our children. We want them to grow up happy, healthy and kind. We want them to be excited for their futures but not to feel overwhelmed by what lays ahead. That’s why I love yoga for children. It allows them such a rare time to come along to a class where the focus isn’t on what they can and can’t do. The focus isn’t on the perfect posture. It’s not on how long they can balance for or how far they can bend. Yoga allows them to focus on themselves and how they are feeling. It also encourages them to explore how they treat others.
I love watching the children use the breathing activities. Children are given the green light to make lots of noise, to express their feelings and release their frustrations. Most children don’t connect with their breath, it’s an autonomous action that they rarely notice. But by teaching them how to use it, they find they feel calmer, can release pent up frustrations and improve their mood. It’s lovely to watch the children relax as they practise the exercises. Initially they can feel silly or unsure, especially those less, confident children who are used to being quiet in classes. But, over time, they become more confident and really embrace the movement & change in themselves. By finding fun ways to present the activities to children it becomes much more accessible and engaging for them and they are much more willing to try new things.
Having been a school teacher for 12 years, I have seen how hard it is for children to sit for periods of time. They are not designed to be static. Their bodies are growing, developing and changing all the time. It feels good to move and it helps with their physical development. Children’s yoga uses games and stories which help to build up both gross and fine motor skills. Children improve their balance, their flexibility and their strength. It stimulates their proprioceptors which wants pressure as they grow and their vestibular system which seeks out movement to regulate everything around them. Yoga gives children a chance to connect with their bodies, find new ways to use them and gain that grounding they need.
One of my favourite parts of children’s yoga classes are the opportunities to build their mental and emotional strength and the relaxation elements. We do activities where the children work together, they communicate and build trust with one another. The children learn positive touch, respect & communication skills through massage. We ask permission and respond to others’ requests. We say of positive affirmations, hold confidence postures, listen and respect each other through sharing thoughts and ideas.
At the end of each class, children are given the opportunity to relax. They can relax on their mats with a blanket and a weighted eye pillow. I will read a guided script which focuses on different things each week such as confidence, kindness, empathy and courage. It allows the children to switch off and fully relax both their bodies and minds. They leave the class feeling refreshed, confident and happy and it is a wonderful thing to see.
Quite often people think yoga isn’t suitable for their children. They think they aren’t calm enough; they don’t sit still or that yoga isn’t really their thing. But yoga is for everyone. The focus can be built around the interests of your child. Postures are named after familiar things such as animals and environmental features. We use familiar stories and stories often with underlying messages & relevant themes. As children get older, classes move away from stories and focus more on their other interests & activities they enjoy. Yoga for sport, yoga for strength, yoga around holiday themes, yoga around the World. They are fun, accessible and safe spaces for children to simply be their wonderful selves.
I have seen with my own children, the many benefits of yoga. They each have their own mat and I often see them practising their postures, a sun salute or their calming techniques. They regularly ask for a massage or a yoga story before bedtime to help them relax. When they get upset or overwhelmed we use different techniques to help calm them down. As a result they sleep better and are more confident to share how they are feeling.
I believe all children should be given the opportunity to try yoga. It is suitable for all ages and abilities and is something they can share with their family. Personal connection isn’t always easy in this busy World so finding something to do with those you love is an invaluable opportunity.
~ Never lose that childlike wonder at the world ~
It’s funny how the universe works, you might say, or you might say (as we discussed at our recent Women’s Circle), that the universe shows you exactly what you need exactly when you are ready to see it – like really see it, and understand it. Among our community at Salt Water Studios there has been lots of talk of Gratitude, and I have been “seeing” signs of it everywhere. This can mean only one thing. I need it! And I want to share it with you.
“Have gratitude for all that you have and you can be happy exactly as you are”
Gratitude practise is scientifically proven – you can actually rewire your brain to be happy in 21 days by recalling juts 3 things you are grateful for each day, for that 21 days. And these don’t have to be big things – the beauty with gratitude is that by allowing appreciation to flourish for all of the small things, you can actually be happy – Juts. As. You. Are. AND, you keep hold of those small day to day things, they don’t slip by you unnoticed. You can start just with this. And then, when something that really floors you , or almost breaks you happens, you can learn to be grateful for that too – because all of our experience are shaping us – they are teaching us about ourselves, about life – we get to see ourselves – the good, bad and the ugly!! I read this recently and it really struck a chord with me:
“I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.” Kristin Armstrong
Lots of people say that Gratitude is Superpower and from my own experiences of it (I used it last year to help me lift me out of the black hole of the baby blues) I strongly believe that. It is said to Strengthen immunity, enhance optimism , unlock happiness, tempers our need for “order”, sharpens our attention, takes us through tough times and unlocks our heart. When we focus on what were grateful for it makes us feel good because it widens our perspective. Often, when we’re caught in stress or despair we develop tunnel vision and are only able to focus on the negative. But with gratitude you teach yourself to see the bright side, even when times are tough, because you start to appreciate your circumstances and all that you have, rather than what you lack. It’s a choice you can make. Do you choose to remain unhappy and full of worry, OR do you think of things that you are thankful for, that help you experience wonder, and transform your mood to JOY? It reminds me of the lyric from a much loved and listened to song for us at home at SWS, Burgs by Mt. Wolf:
“The chance to be part of this happens briefly
The invitation is not to show how inventive and imaginative you are
But how much you can notice what you’re already part of
And appreciate it and share it, and care about those that are around who count for their welfare while you are looking out for your own, that’s it”
In other words…be grateful, and never lose that childlike wonder. (please please listen to this song!)
So, How can we strengthen our experience of gratitude? Well, it’s a habit that can be developed. The more it grows, the easier it becomes. Start by recalling just 3 things that you are grateful for, every day, and write them down. One of our lovely friends Toni has a jar that she puts these things into every day and she said she will open them all up at the end of the year! How bloody lovely is that! For me, I use the sound of plane passing over head to remind me to stop, be present and think about what I am grateful for. Another lovely practise I have used is to write a letter to a loved one, expressing to them why you are grateful for them – to someone who you rarely remember to thank, or who does a lot for you, this will make you feel really really good, as well as making them to feel good too.
So that’s it for this months blog. Today I am giving thanks for my beating heart, the fake Twix I ate from Lidl yesterday and the sweat that poured from my body this morning as I taught yoga. What are you grateful for?
More than Self Love
As we approach Valentines Day we are thinking a lot about love – in all its forms. Over the last few years there has been an overload of the term “self love”, relating to the fact that in this fast paced modern hectic lifestyle, people have been losing themselves. “I” has dropped down and down the priority list so that you are left somewhere between cat and the online food shop, and that is not a fun place to reside. Thankfully the world as a whole seems to have noted this, as it is happening to all of us, in a lot of places – and so there have been so many helpful hints and tips, showing us how to befriend and value ourselves again.
At Salt Water Studios we wholeheartedly believe that self-love is important, that goes without saying. But we also believe that indiscriminate love for all is where it’s at. We need big hearts to make a difference to the world as a whole. And this needn’t feel overwhelming. You may ask yourself “How can I help? What can I really do?” well, it can all start with a smile, in your own back garden (so to speak, or literally if you see your neighbour crying into the hedge).
“Use your smile to change the world; don’t let the world change your smile.”
– Chinese Proverb
Each time you smile your brain feels really happy. … When a smile flashes across your face; dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released into your bloodstream, making not only your body relax but also work to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. The effects of smiling on the nervous system and facial muscles are extreme – and they are contagious, not only helping to uplift those around us (as well as ourselves) but also take us into the part of our nervous system that is responsible for the rest and digest. Calming and bringing about balance.
Our modern-day lifestyle promotes our living in a chronic condition of stress and subject to an increasing array of environmental toxins. But through smiling, feeling positive and feeding yourself a diet of uplifting emotions such as love, appreciating and compassion you will signal your nervous system to relax and promote an internal environment of peace and harmony. If you also behave this way towards others then this will also feed their souls. We all have that choice – we can consciously choose to influence our mind and emotions with positive, happy, life-affirming messages.
And then you can choose the level to which you take this. It is reminding me of a topic that came up at our recent Women’s Circle – our Soothe Space -and it was the subject of servitude (I will not mention anything more about the circle other than that!) This subject of servitude and being of service to others touched me quite deeply as I kind of realised that this is how I feel most fulfilled. As a mum to 2 little ones and also 2 (soon to be 3!) healing/wellbeing spaces most of my day is filled with serving. I spent YEARS self-caring to the max (believe me!) And whilst this still is necessary for me to feel whole and recharge, when this lovely lady mentioned the word servitude it resonated very strongly. Because this is what we wish to do for you, our community. We wish to help you heal on all levels in all ways, and really devote our time to providing avenues for this to happen. We work hard every day to improve, shape experiences and do more. I guess it’s all about balance – and doing enough to keep yourself “You” but also doing your bit – and maybe then some when you have the time and energy. We are all on this earth together and so it will make it a much happier, kinder place to be if we start to really look out for one another and lift each other up – throwing out the little torches of light to guide each other through the darkness and back to the light.
And this feeling of wanting to devote to and serve others is growing pace in Worthing ~ one of lovely members described it to us recently as a “movement” – and that felt so powerful! That all of us TOGETHER are helping to raise the vibration in and around Worthing, uplift each other and connect to grow our community 🙂
“It’s not enough to have lived.
We should be determined to live for something.
May I suggest that it be creating joy for others,
sharing what we have for the betterment of person-kind,
bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”
― Leo Buscaglia
And you may wonder how else you can give back? Well, You can also start to think about projects that do multiple things. This is where our friends and neighbours at GreenUs come in! They are the not for-profit natural and organic lifestyle shop, and one of their founding principles is creating a service that helps YOU give back. They wanted to provide products at affordable prices that positively nourish and uplift lives, whilst AT THE SAME TIME doing this for others. They achieve this through directing all profits to deliver intervention projects that tackle isolation, loneliness and help those recovering from a long term condition. They have some really lovely products that are kind to the environment, animals as well as your life – check them out if you can www.greenus.org
So ~ that’s it from us! Help us to spread love to all this Valentine’s Day, and remember, it can all start with just a smile 🙂
January…a time to journey inward, rest and restore
So, here we are! 2019 has well and truly begun, and we are back with a bang into the first Monday of the year, and for many in an office 9-5, back at work (sob!). It is natural to think that January should be about some harsh fast, or detox, especially if you over-indulged at Christmas, however at Salt Water Studios we believe January should be a time to reconnect to your most heartfelt desires and heal. Ancient Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic traditions follow this principle, with the winter being a time to go inside the body, nourish and replenish.
So, If you are wanting to help yourself start 2019 in a way that nourishes and cares for your body, mind and soul, here are our Top Ten Tips!
“Only by letting go can we unlock ourselves from the past, be delivered into the future and prepare ourselves for our next evolutionary experience” David Bercelli
Create a Morning Ritual that works for you. Morning has it’s own special energy so is a good time to focus on yourself. A few things you can try are a mug of warm water with lemon, turmeric and ginger to fire up your digestion and alkalise the body; setting your intention for the day with a positive affirmation, something as simple as “My mind is clear, calm and focused and I feel content” can be incredibly effective; oil pulling, an Ayurvedic ritual that is a NATURAL way to cleanse and heal the body; or simply just a few minutes of sitting quietly on the train!
Take some time to think about what you really want in life. I don’t mean by writing a whole list of new years resolutions, as this can make us feel like we are putting pressure on ourselves and also be quite unattainable for most people! Instead, treat yourself to a new notebook and spend time alone with your thoughts to think and write. Maybe you have been putting off starting a project because you are worried you might fail…realise instead that the only way you can really fail is by ignoring yourself and not at least trying to follow your dream. If there is one thing we have learnt from starting Salt Water Studios it is really and TRULY that NOW is the best time to start, don’t wait until your idea is “perfect”…you can mould it along the way. Carry your notebook everywhere with you, you never know when inspiration may arise!
Eat nourishing, warming foods to support your liver. There are ways to delicately “cleanse” without a full on juice fast and depriving yourself of solid food! My personal liver cleanse recipes are not only packed with potassium for creating an alkaline environment and to help flush out the toxins from our cells, but also with fibre, soluble for stimulating the bile secretion and insoluble for promoting bowel movement and elimination of toxins. (I have written a couple of 3 Day Cleanses if you are interested please just get in touch.) Foods like bone broth soups, with sweet potato, carrots, onions, greens and healing spices like garlic, turmeric, black pepper, and sulphur containing eggs all work wonders.
Have Courage and Be Kind. Do things for others, just because, and practice Loving Kindness. This will impact almost every area of your Wellness and the really nice thing about loving-kindness meditation is that it has been shown to be effective in both immediate and small doses (i.e. instant gratification) and also has long-lasting and enduring effects, healing you physically, increasing emotional intelligence, building resiliency, connecting you to society and growing self-love. As well as helping you vibrate higher – by raising yourself up, through showing kindness, you will inevitably raise those up around you.
Cleanse your mind. Try a digital detox, (no phones! no computers!) this can have an impact in as little as 2 days in terms of clarity of mind and focus, and deliver you firmly into the present moment.
Think about caffeine alternatives. If you are a sensitive individual then you may metabolise caffeine differently to others. I definitely do and so will only from time to time have a coffee. But I love the ritual of making a hot drink when I arrive at work, so I have a wide selection of healthy alternatives! Dandelion Coffee, Matcha Vanilla Powder, Raw Cacao Powder- all can be blended with warm water and a tablespoon of coconut oil, or a nut milk of your choice. These will help protect your body, giving you a boost of antioxidants, will not dehydrate you AND give you a little natural high 🙂
Look after your skin naturally. Take regular Epsom Salt Baths to restore your magnesium levels and look to plant-based products. Skin and plants are alive and full of nature’s intelligence, or prana, so it makes sense that using vibrant, living ingredients on your skin will increase the life-force of your skin. Plants are full of life and naturally possess everything your skin needs to keep thriving, glowing, and vibrating with health.
Find a way of releasing trapped emotions that works for you. Not everyone finds talking helpful, for many it is too painful, and too hard. If this is you, I recommend reading this book “Trauma Releasing Exercises, by David Bercelli”. The concept of the exercises is based on the fact that humans have an in-built method of releasing trauma (which can be anything from death of a loved one to something that has happened in childhood, to witnessing someone else go through a harrowing time), which involves taking the body to a point (through exercises) of trembling to physically release the trapped emotions. It is a short yet insightful read!
Learn to respond differently to life by relaxing and expanding into every moment through daily meditation. New studies have proven meditation to work in as little as 8 weeks with just 12 mins per day!! Try it today and notice the effects immediately 🙂
Try an alternative therapy, like acupuncture. Anne-Marie of Taste of Space (who holds her community clinic every Monday and Wednesday) says:
Have acupuncture! – as well as any specific aches, pains and troubles, seasonal acupuncture treatments in winter serve to nurture and nourish our reserve energy, which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress, aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality. Schedule your seasonal tune up today!
Community acupuncture is available every Monday and Wednesday at Salt Water Studios in Worthing. Offered on a sliding scale of £15 – £40 (you choose what you pay) it’s intended that more people are able to access acupuncture more often in order to feel better faster, supporting the wellbeing of us individuals and our local community as a whole.
Acupuncture offers a safe and proven way to help with specific aches, pains and health conditions and influence overall wellbeing, so you can live life that little bit easier, whether that means a faster time on a marathon, moving more freely in yoga class, getting up the stairs pain free, more energy to look after the kids, easing the side effects on medication, better sleep or less anxiety. It can safely be used alongside other natural health practices and western medicine.
A session provides a peaceful space from the hustle and bustle of life, and a natural and chemical free way of promoting the body’s own remarkable self healing abilities while you are still and relaxed.
“Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop” Ovid
More info and book online http://www.tasteofspace.co.uk
We have lots coming up this month! With new classes and workshops from many wonderful teachers. I hope this has shown you that there are lot of ways to heal, many of them requiring just a tiny bit of time! If you are interested in taking your wellbeing further this year, please be with us and come and see us very soon. Know that by doing just something small for yourself, you are not only benefiting yourself but the world as a whole, by shining your light a little clearer and brighter you may help guide someone through their darkness into their light.
Katie and the whole team at SWS xxx