I wanted to talk to you all about something that isn't always talked about that much by people in the yoga world - especially us teachers and people who have been practicing a long time. It's almost like a shameful secret no-one wants to admit to, in case we're seen as less of a yogi, or somehow lacking.
Let's face it - meditation is fantastic - when you can do it! There are HUGE benefits to meditation, even just 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference to your life. I suffer from IBS (part of my fibromyalgia joy!) and find meditation can even ease these symptoms. It helps stress, anxiety, sleep, your skin, your ability to not scream when someone cuts you off in traffic; and so much more!
And yet...meditation can be really hard. Even for people who have been meditating for years. When I first started meditation, many years ago, I borrowed a cassette tape from the library with various meditations on it. I have to admit I was fully prepared to make a copy of this tape at home if it was any good - the early 90s version of illegally downloading an mp3 for young people reading! The problem with this...I hated the tape and couldn't wait to return it.
I'm sure a lot of people would have loved that tape...but I just couldn't do it. I thought for years it was something wrong with me, that I was somehow lacking. I didn't try meditation again for...oh it must have been 15 years. When I did, I fully expecting to still be rubbish.
I found, instead, that it wasn't that I was rubbish at meditation, but that not all types of meditation suited me! That very first tape I borrowed was all full of visualisation meditations...and I find this extremely difficult. I have gotten better at it over time but it still is not one of my favourites and I still struggle. I am so much better with breath-based and body-based meditation.
You might find you are the complete opposite - you can visual until the cows come home but cannot focus on your breath or body to save yourself. The secret is this - that's ok! We are all different, with different preferences, talents, likes and dislikes. And we can all meditate!
If you have tried meditation and found it hard, or think you're rubbish at it...I urge you to try something else. If you have tried visualisation, try breath-based. If you have tried body-based try visualisation. Try something! Don't worry if you have an off-day either - we all do! The trick is just to try...you might even find you're good at it!
Hopefully the first entry didn't bore you too much and you're back for more :)
I wanted to share an insight from a book I've been reading, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. I do have to say - I'm not a millionaire yet but only half way through it so fingers crossed!
What I actually wanted to share wasn't about the money aspect of the book - well, not directly. One of the things Eker talks about is mindsets. As you might (or might not) already know, thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to action, action leads to results. This is known as TFAR - you can find out more about it here if you're interested: https://renewyourmind.co.nz/power-of-thoughts/
So Eker goes into detail about how the kind of thoughts you have, in the case of this book about money, will affect how you feel about money, your actions (spending, saving etc.) and therefore the end results - hopefully after reading this book being closer to a millionaire!
While this goes for a lot of things and not just money, one of the challenges Eker puts in his book is for the reader to not complain, at all, out loud or in your head for one whole week. I am more of a glass half full person and really try to see the positive in everything and thought this challenge would be easy.
It was not!
Well, to be fair it wasn't as easy as I thought but it also wasn't the most difficult thing I've ever done. That was abseiling off the top of the Europa hotel for charity when I'm afraid of heights so nowhere near that bad! What I found hard was complaining about things with others. You know how it goes, you're in work or having coffee with friends and someone start complaining about something or someone you all dislike and the next thing you know...you've been complaining right along with them.
However...I really made a conscious effort to stick with it and I found it so rewarding. In fact, I've kept it up since. In many ways I feel my life has completely changed! It is astounding to think that something so small can have such a large impact but it has absolutely changed me for the better!
I felt SO much more positive, more willing to see the good in everything, less likely to gossip, more willing to take responsibility for things instead of complaining about why I couldn't do something.
So...are you up for the challenge? I dare you all to try it, just for a week to start with. I hope you all have the same positive benefits from this small challenge that I did :)
I wanted my first blog post to be a bit on an introduction, so you can get to know me, my personality, the services I offer and all things Serenity!
I'm sure you have all diligently read the "About Me" section but just in case you haven't I'll refresh your memories :) I have been practising yoga for 22 years, since I was around 15. I attended classes in my local leisure centres, gyms, bought videos and DVDs before progressing to YouTube. This was a fantastic physical workout and I definitely did feel the benefits but it wasn't until I started my Teacher Training 5 years ago that I really started to delve deeper into the spiritual, emotional, psychological and societal aspects of yoga - and I can say it has totally transformed my life!
I was around half-way through my training when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis in my hands - I had been experiencing symptoms for long before that but in the 6 months leading up to my diagnosis, and after, I seemed to be going 'downhill'. Although in some ways the diagnosis was good - I now at least know what's wrong! - it was also distressing because I didn't know how it would affect my life, or my yoga teaching!
Obviously in the grand scheme of things my health, bills, husband etc. comes first, but for some reason the thought of not being able to teach absolutely devastated me. I saw all these fit, flexible, strong people on Instagram or YouTube doing crazy poses and thought "if I 'm too sick to do that, how am I going to teach other people?". After some thought, and discussion with my hugely supportive trainer, I decided to teach people like me. People who can't get to a regular class or needs more adjustment and variation than is offered in a normal class. People who want to get the mental and physical benefits of yoga but currently have limited mobility or pain.
What an eye-opener! I have been so blessed to be able to teach the students I have, to see how yoga, in their own home and to their exact needs, transforms their lives. Honestly - their lives! They gain the physical benefits obviously, but also reduction in stress, depression, anxiety, they gain confidence and pleasure in life as well as an increased ability to do certain daily activities! I have loved every minute of it and hope to have many more!
I'm going to leave it there for now - keep you wanting more haha! Feel free to comment, get in touch, share your stories and ask questions :)
I'm a yoga fanatic who been practising yoga for 22 years and teaching for almost 4. I'm quite spiritual, a bit of a hippy to be honest, and love discussing theoretical aspects of yoga as well as the practical elements. You'll find articles on how yoga benefits my life on both a physical, mental and emotional level, as well as how it can help you - as well as some non-yoga related articles just to keep you on your toes!