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