When I experienced grief after my Fathers death, I felt lost. Nobody had ever told me what it would be like, how it would feel or how to care for myself during grieving. There was no plan to put in place. When you are pregnant and a life is entering your world you are encouraged to write a birth plan, to learn about the process and to be fully engaged. Everyone talks about it and celebrates the event. At the other end of lifes precious spectrum, as death is coming, nobody was there to explain what the process might be, how it might unfold or what I should do after the last breath to mark the passing. Perhaps things go differently in a hospice setting but I was totally unprepared when my Father died in Intensive Care after several weeks of illness. Read more
Posture is so important for your health and happiness. Slumped posture can be the result of feeling crappy, it’s reflected in your contracted deflated posture. Bad posture can also be habitual and then this in turn leads to feeling crappy … depression, headaches, asthma, inflammation, unexplained body pain, constipation, hormonal imbalances and the list goes on.
The good news is, that if you improve your posture and smile, whatever the original cause … you will feel a whole lot better both physically and emotionally. Happy posture releases happy hormones. Improved posture also reduces a huge amount of physical strain on your body and you’ll have more energy because of this, you’ll also have more energy because you’ll be able to breath properly. Breathing properly brings improved oxygen into your body for optimal function of your organs, systems and even a clearer mind.
Check your posture, you can do this by getting somebody to take a side view photograph, stand tall and smile. It takes times to rectify the changes that a bad posture has embedded in your body, so make small changes without forcing or straining.
As part of Shiatsu treatments or yoga I always include postural assessment and awareness because it’s one of the keystones of holistic health and happiness.
Take your rightful place on this Earth by standing tall, shining your heart out and being fully present in your expansive, beautiful, miraculous body.
If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, or if you wake up in the small hours and can’t get back to sleep try listening to this guided meditation to lull you back into a deep and refreshing slumber.
Getting a good nights sleep is really important for our health. Here are just a few of the health benefits ; Read more
Today I want to share with you a simple and enjoyable way to meditate outside. It was the lovely Fiona at Nourish & Flourish who first tweaked my interest in flower mandalas when she posted her own beautiful creations.
I found that creating a flower mandala was a lovely gentle way to bring myself into the present moment, tune into nature, switch a busy mind off and connect with my creative and spiritual side. I was surprised that the process of making a mandala was in itself a meditative practice. Read more
Would you like to have some me time, clear your head, quiet your mind and destress? All in the comfort of your own home? Join my new FREE Learn To Meditate 7 day ecourse delivered daily to your inbox. You’ll receive a 2 to 5 minute guided video meditation every day and there’s a ‘Learn to Meditate’ Facebook support group where you can share your journey and ask questions. Read more
If you’ve wanted to try out yoga for a while then why not give it a go this month? Join a class that suits your level on Wednesday evenings or Thursday mornings in Carrick on Shannon, Bridge Street.
Wednesday 6pm or 7.30pm
Thursday 10.15am or 11.30am
All classes are suitable for beginners/improvers except the 11.30am which is a strong yoga class.
I usually write about the benefits of yoga when I’m publishing class schedules but this time I asked my current students if anybody would like to write something that might inspire a beginner who may be feeling a little apprehensive about joining … so Ruth kindly posted this over on my Facebook page. I hope that if you’ve been considering trying yoga, that Ruths words will encourage you to pick up the phone to call me for a chat, text, email or message via Facebook.
I love attending Rebeccas Yoga Classes. I love the fact that she moderates the exercises so you have a choice of how far you go in a particular stretch from minimum to moderate to high. She always encourages you to listen to your body and to only go as far as is comfortable so there is no pressure to keep up. Everyone is so engrossed in what they are doing that I personally don’t be looking at anyone else which I find great. You do feel though that you have been stretched and that you have had a lovely relaxed workout which I love.
You don’t have to sweat and pant to tone your body with yoga. It’s amazing how quickly you adopt to yoga and how flexible you become, no matter what age you are, after only a few weeks. Everyone in Rebeccas classes love her classes and look forward to the relaxation time at the end when you snuggle up in your blanket/wrap etc. Nobody want to leave at this stage as we are all on this lovely relaxed cloud.
A good nights sleep is guaranteed after all of Rebeccas classes. I am a very bad sleeper but this is just the ticket for me and I always sleep so well afterwards. It is very relaxed and friendly especially for all newcomers.
The She Shed is a womens self care retreat, a concept that myself and my holistic health colleague Angela Chilton came up with over a cup of tea recently. Through my work as a yoga teacher and shiatsu massage therapist, and hers as a homeopath, we both acknowledged the need for busy women to carve out time for themselves for some self care. As mothers, carers and business women we often neglect our own needs, putting others first.
The She Shed is a day set aside just for you. From 10.30am – 2.30pm we will immerse ourselves in a range of activities to check in with ourselves, recharge our batteries and define our boundaries … so you can clearly define your own self care needs. We will eat excellent food, we will gently move our bodies with yoga, switch off our busy minds during meditation and tap into our inner oasis of peace, calm and clarity. We’ll find out how homeopathy can help women, we’ll break bread together and laugh at lunch. Last but not least we’ll sit together and sew something very simple but easy. A memento of the day to remind ourselves to take a few minutes each day to ourselves, longer when we need it.
Come and join us. No previous experience of yoga, sewing or meditation necessary.
To book your place call, message or text 086 8789546. €50 includes food and materials.
Find out more at The She Shed on Facebook.
I’ve mentioned before that yoga is not just a form of exercise. Yoga is a way of respectful conscious living. At it’s core, a yoga students aim is to quiet the constant chatter of the mind, to settle the thought waves. In ancient scripts, Patanjali describes yoga as Chitta Vritti Nirodha, translated it means “yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.”. By calming the chatter of the mind we have the potential to see reality. Reality is the present, without the application of our habitual self protective filters that we have developed, layer by layer, during our life.
The physical form of Yoga is in fact just one tool that we can use in order to help calm our mind and experience true reality. The Yoga Asana (postures) bring us fully into the present moment as we concentrate on what we are doing, right now. They show us the reality of our bodies, the tension we are holding and very often our bodies reflect what is happening or has happened in our lives, physically and emotionally. As we become aware, tensions can release, blockages held in the body can be let go, layer by layer. It’s a lifelong journey.
You can take this new awareness of the present moment off your mat and into your life, to every moment of your day, to every interaction people, animals and your environment.
Here’s a simple example of how to do this.
Take a walk and engage all of your senses … listen, smell, look, touch … now REALLY listen, smell, look and touch as if it’s your first time to experience grass, trees, flowers, sky. Don’t let your mind fill in the gaps with what you have grown to learn is there. See it. Hear it. Feel it. Keep your attention on soaking up the experience around you. If you find your mind wandering off and thinking about work, relationships, to do lists, shopping, plans … come back and be fully present now …. don’t disappear off into a story of the past or a possible future. You’ll find joy, peace and clarity right now, right here.
Scientifically this is bringing your brain into Alpha wave patterns rather than active problem solving/monkey brain Beta wave patterns. The sages didn’t need the science to know this, they trusted their instinct.
This is me doing Yoga in the bluebell woods. Yep. I’m doing yoga. Just standing there. Looking, smelling the flowers, seeing the vivid blues and green, listening to the birds, feeling the ground under my bare feet, admiring the shafts of sunbeams shining through the canopy onto the woodland floor. Looking at my friend whose taking the picture and thinking how lucky I am to have her in my life. Just being. That’s yoga too and it’s so very peaceful, calm, powerful, healing and energising. How do you do your yoga off the mat?
When clients call me to book a Shiatsu massage and ask me what it involves, I never feel like I’ve quite got the full picture across. I’ve come to accept that that’s ok! You can never fully explain in words what a Shiatsu massage feels like, you have to experience it. Even if I could explain what it’s like for me, your own experience will be different and unique to you.
Before I try to explain, and before I fall short of truly getting across verbally the deep sense of relaxation and arriving home that you may feel … I’ll let clients speak for themselves. Here are some comments people have said as they rise from the floor after their Shiatsu :
‘Wow, that was amazing, I know you tried to explain what it would be like but you really have to experience it to understand … like, wow, I haven’t felt this relaxed since … I really can’t remember how long it’s been’.
‘I didn’t realise how tense my shoulders were until you put your hands on them. I could feel them melting. I didn’t know I was holding them, until I let go of them.’
‘I could feel the tension around my head melt away.’
‘That’s the first massage I’ve ever had that didn’t hurt me and yet my hips feel released.’
‘I felt a release of a blockage, in my belly, I felt a warm glow moving down towards my feet’.
‘I was totally zoned out. I haven’t been that relaxed for a very long time.’
‘My body felt all wonky before I came in and now I feel like every things back to normal.’
Ok so what do I do? I gently use the palms of my hands to pulse pressure on and off your body, along the energy pathways called meridians. Scientifically, meridians have now been shown to flow along paths of least resistance to electro magnetic energy. Blockages or stagnations can occur, through physical injury of the body, emotional trauma which results in subconscious holding of muscles tightly or long term low levels of stress which cause muscles to tighten. I also use my fingertips or thumbs to hold acupressure points. Each acupressure point has a specific effect, so no two treatments will be the same. Each of the 12 meridians also have certain qualities and I choose which ones to work on depending on your symptoms or what I feel with my hands. I work along arms, legs, hands, feet, face, neck, torso and the back. It’s a holistic treatment so even if you come with sciatica or a painful right shoulder, I’ll focus on these areas but I’ll also work the rest of your body too.
You receive Shiatsu fully clothed on a special futon mattress at ground level.
Every outcome is different. The results can be physical and/or emotional. You may feel an immediate release of physical symptoms or you may experience a feeling of clarity which helps you to see what you need to change in your life in order to feel better, aid recovery or accept what is. This could be a change of circumstance, a job/career, more time with friends or family, an improvement in diet or exercise. Again, as a holistic treatment, the changes you feel, and the changes you implement as a result of Shiatsu will be unique to each individual.
What I can say is that Shiatsu invites your body to initiate it’s own healing. It invites you in a safe and nurturing way to see your body, to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Your body never lies. If we can just take the time to tune in, to listen, and to give an honest reply then this is a huge step.
So whether it’s a once off deep relaxation treat, a programme of treatments over a number of weeks or a regular part of your self care during the year, your experience will be unique, supported and positive.
Use this short and simple practice to relax and release the arms, shoulders, upper back and neck. Lovely to do first thing in the morning to bring some mobility and oxygen to the cells and muscles, wake them up. Link your movement with your breath to deeply calm your nervous system and to help anchor you fully in the present moment. It’s also a great practice to do at least every 40 minutes if you are working at a desk, get those limbs and joints moving to avoid stagnation and reduce pain or tension.
Move slowly, bringing your attention to how the movements feel. Contain your movement within a range that feels good and involves some effort but never pain or discomfort. If you encounter pain or discomfort make smaller movements until you find a pain free range. This is where your beneficial therapy is. Enjoy it.