Couples Pregnancy Yoga Workshop

I love teaching prenatal and mums & bubs yoga classes, sharing a part of that wonderful journey with women as babies grow within, arrive earthside, and then continue to grow and thrive is a very special privilege. It is an amazing journey, not just for the women but for their partners and support people as well.

A few years ago I trialed inviting partners along to one of my prenatal classes and it was wonderful! The opportunity to meet them, practice some partner yoga and support tips for the big day when baby arrives, connect with the whole family unit was great and the feedback from those who attended was all positive. I always fully intended to do it again more formally but with one thing and another that hasn’t happened. Until now that is…

Harvest Yoga & Yoga to Grow

are delighted to present
 
COUPLES PREGNANCY YOGA CLASS
Due to popular demand Harvest Yoga and Yoga to Grow are running a Couples Pregnancy Yoga Class
Sunday 8th November
1-2.30pm
with Belinda Blackburn
This will be a specialised class for prenatal students and their partners or support people.
Practices will include partner work, preparation for labour, massage and relaxation.
Open to couples at all stages of pregnancy
COST
$50 per couple for regular Harvest Yoga Pre Natal Yoga students
$60 per couple for others & for students who have attended classes casually
__________________________________________________________________
spaces strictly limited
book early to avoid missing out
please note
This will be the first in a regular series of these events
Because there is going to be more demand than supply for this
  • your payment confirms your place
  • no refunds (unless we are able to find a replacement for you – often difficult at the last moment)
__________________________________________________________________
PAYMENT OPTIONS AND BANK DETAILS
PLEASE NOTE
FUNDS TRANSFERS is our preference for payments
Please write your name onto transfer memo
AND let us know via RETURN email:
Ø  date of payment
Ø  amount paid
Ø  receipt number
Ø  what exactly you are booking
Your assistance in this is greatly appreciated.
ACCOUNT DETAILS
RICK HARVEST
Credit Union Australia
BSB 814 282
ACCOUNT NO 1016 9185 
So here I am, years after the initial seed was sown, excitedly planning for the first of what will become a regular event, Couples Yoga Classes at Harvest Yoga. I often have these marvelous plans and often feel a little discouraged when they don’t happen immediately. Life gets so busy and energy needs to be prioritised so these grand plans get put onto the back burner. As long as they are still there, bubbling away and popping up in my mind every now and then it is only a matter of time before the opportunity arises, as it has here and now for the Couples Classes, for them to surface and bloom.
Love and light,
Belinda
xxx

Mental Health

It is Mental Health week so my post today is about mental health, through yoga tinted glasses of course.

There is such stigma still associated with mental health conditions, I think things have improved but there is a long way still to go. I have a friend who was suffering depression and confided in me that she felt ashamed of having to take medication to manage it. I told her that I had no shame in using an inhaler when my asthma played up so why should she feel ashamed for treating a medical condition with medication? Yet she did, and I’m sure she was not alone.

Yoga gifts us with many tools to manage our mental health, from meditation, to slowing down, to tuning in or even losing yourself in the flow of surya namaskar for a while. My own mental health has been much more stable since I found yoga. It is not that I no longer have sad days or feel anxious, it is just that when these things happen I can pause, recognize, acknowledge and work through what is happening rather than getting caught up in the turmoil that comes from these situations. I feel so much more in control.

Here is a quick technique I use for anxiety which I find really helps me to stay calm. Hope you like it, please let me know if you have any feedback!

Step 1. Recognise – as soon as you notice thing getting slightly off balance recognize what’s happening. Say it to yourself, “I’m worried I’m going to be late.” Just putting that out there helps to put whatever’s happening and your reaction to it into perspective.

Step 2. Push the pause button – imagine, just for a while, pausing those thought processes, count to 30 or 100 or any other number that suits.

Step 3. Breathe – while you are counting let your breath slow down and deepen, when we are upset or anxious the breath speeds up, by doing the opposite you slow down those feelings and reactions.

Step 4. Acknowledge – give yourself a pat on the back for recognizing what was happening and acting to reduce the impact of it. The more you practice the above the sooner you’ll start to recognize the signs, the earlier you catch these reactions the less power they will have.

Step 5. Get on with your day – keep going where you were going or doing what you were doing, from a calmer, more in control place.

Love and light and good mental wellbeing,

Belinda

xxx

A yoga teachers reflection…

It seems to be something in the air at the moment, I have been asked a few times in recent months in different places and by different people about being a yoga teacher, about whether it is what I will do with the rest of my life. There are many who assume that yoga teaching is something of a hobby, something I do to keep myself occupied, as a temporary thing while my children are growing or in addition to other paid work. There are many teachers who do manage to juggle yoga teaching with other careers while others, myself included, teach full time. Yes folks, this is what I do for a living and what I hope to continue to do.

I consider myself very lucky to be able to do what I love, the actual teaching of yoga, sharing the ease that it has brought into my own life with others is wonderful. Seeing the changes in students from when they walk in to when they leave is very rewarding, hearing their positive feedback is also lovely. My favorite part I think is when my students are lying in savasana during relaxation at the end of the class and I look around the room and feel the sense of peace that fills the whole space. The calm and stillness and softness is almost tangible. Then I regretfully have to bring them back into the room and into their day which is very hard indeed!

It isn’t however, an easy path. My teacher training was a wonderful hurly burly experience involving unearthing emotions and aspects of myself that I didn’t know were there, and that process has continued since I graduated in 2008. Much of what I love about yoga is that the more you explore and uncover and discover, the less you think you know.  The layers and layers of rich wisdom and self exploration just keep revealing themselves. At first I was quite overwhelmed, all of my study up to this point had been a matter of learning the material, passing the exam or test and moving on. There, done, I know that now. Yoga was so completely different but what it taught me was that it is okay not to know it all, it is okay to keep exploring, graduating from teacher training was not the end of my learning but the beginning. I have a very vivid memory of the first class after I had passed my teaching exam when Leigh Blashki, one of my very inspiring teachers who had assessed my exam, saw me and said “Hello yoga teacher.” My reaction was very strong resistance, no, no, I am a trainee, I can’t call myself a yoga teacher yet, I had been calling myself a trainee for two years and the very idea that I was now a teacher had not entered my mind up to that point. I almost objected but I didn’t, not out loud anyway. Those voices in my head started a riotous argument about the fact that if Leigh called me a yoga teacher I was, whether I was ready or not but I wasn’t, there was still too much I didn’t know! That argument went on for a long time during which I felt very uncomfortable calling myself a yoga teacher, but I did it. After a while it began to be more comfortable, now I can say that that’s what I do without a single objection from those voices in my head.

I am a yoga teacher, it is what I do. Hope to see you in class someday!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Mums & Bubs Yoga

I am loving teaching mums & bubs classes once again. If anyone needs yoga it is new mothers.

I remember all too clearly my own early days of parenting with one, then two, then three babies and children. The constant awareness of your little ones wellbeing, being permanently “on call” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the steep learning curve associated with figuring out just what it was your baby needed, getting to know their different cries, body language, what works to settle them and what doesn’t only to have the rules change just as you thought you had it all sorted out finally. It is wonderful and amazing as well as challenging and exhausting!

mumsbubs

My Mums & Bubs classes offer mums a little time out for self care through gentle yoga and stretches along with breathwork and relaxation to reduce fatigue as well as incorporating some baby yoga and infant massage which can help with settling, easing baby’s tummy troubles, bonding and overall getting to know each other.

The opportunity to get together with other mums and share experiences, offer support and talk about all those mum things that other people don’t really want to hear about is another very real benefit.

Mums bubs

My Mums & Bubs classes run on Thursday mornings 10:30-11:30am at Harvest Yoga in Kensington. Cost is $110 for a five week block, next block runs from 28/05/15 – 25/06/15, or $25 casual. For further info or to book in please contact info@harvestyoga.com.au or call 0431 163 130.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Happy Mothers Day

I have three children, beautiful children, wonderful children, inspiring children. Of course just about every mother will tell you that about their children. Beneath the challenges mothering brings there is a deep connection between a mother and her children. Something that starts during pregnancy, an ongoing umbilical cord which stretches beyond birth through the generations, from each of us to our mother, their mother, their mother and so on. The mother love that passes through this connection is very real.

My beautiful children

It is easy to go all lovey dovey, perfect world, soppy when talking about this strong maternal connection. Truth is life is far from perfect and most mums I know (myself included) don’t realise how wonderful a job they are doing, we tend to focus on what we would like to do but don’t have time for or the skills for of the ability to offer. We tend to compare ourselves with others not knowing that often those others we admire so much are comparing themselves with us in exactly the same way.

My children are some of my biggest teachers and conversations with them about what they remember from the years gone by have taught me to give myself credit for all of these little things. They remember fondly everyday things we did together that I didn’t even consider and they have no memory whatsoever of things I went out of my way to do in order to give them happy childhood memories!

When my daughter was a baby it was a tough time for me, I didn’t think I was doing a great job at all. She was born prematurely at 32 weeks gestation, spent a month in the special care nursery during which I juggled expressing milk, visiting her as often as I could and making time for her two year old brother so he wouldn’t feel neglected. When she came home it was easier but became clear that she wanted to make up for our time apart by being with me all of the time. She cried a lot, I often couldn’t console her or stop the crying so I spent hours just being with her while she cried, holding her while my heart broke as I told myself what a terrible mother I was not being able to make it better. Family and friends offered support but Kelsea cried even more when she was separated from me and if they tried to give me a break by taking her away she would scream even louder. I felt like at least I was doing something by being with her. It was all I could do.

I was given advice from everyone, family, friends, strangers who heard her crying and felt compelled to”help” by telling me what to do. While mostly their intentions were good more often than not their advice went against my mothering instincts and I felt judged, seeds of doubt about what I was doing were sown in my mind. I questioned myself and thought I was weak for not being able to leave my daughter to cry alone, to make her tough it out, could that be what she needed as so many people told me? I just didn’t have it in me to do that. I felt I was not qualified to mother this baby, it was too hard, I didn’t have what it took.

Then one ordinary day my mum was over and she said something that really made a difference for me. I am sure that at the time she was doing her best to care for me, a mothers job has no end date. She may not even remember this but for me it was one of those moments that I will always remember as it made such a difference for me and I often thought about it when things got tough. She told me that she believed Kelsea had been born to me because there were very few others who would have the strength and patience to hold her, to keep being there for her, to not walk away or give up or break down over the months and months of crying and tears, both mine and hers. This recognition of what I was doing and that I was doing it well and doing the right thing for my daughter meant more to me that anything else she could possibly have said or done. It got me through those endless nights, those lonely days, those times I doubted myself and my parenting choices. A beautiful example of Mother love going through the generations and helping and healing as it did so.

I don’t think I ever really thanked Mum for those words, so here it is, thank you Mum, you helped me get through a really tough time and Kelsea and I both appreciate it very much.

I should say that Kelsea is now 13 years old and one of the most well adjusted, secure, confident people I know. We got though those tough times together and now have a wonderful bond and are very close. I honestly believe some of this is due to the fact that I was there for her all those years ago, I didn’t give up, I held her and I cried with her and we slowly healed together.

To all of the mothers reading this, give yourselves a pat on the back and a cup of tea or coffee or a soak in the bath or whatever it is that gives you some time out. You are doing a great and very important job.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Yoga for Nepal fundraiser

On May 17, 2015 , Yoga & Meditation classes will be conducted from some of the leading Yoga studios in Australia to raise money for the Emergency Earthquake Appeal.

Yoga for Nepal

One of the studios taking part is the beautiful Harvest Yoga in Kensington with a special two hour Sunday class from 10am-12noon. The class will be taught by a team of wonderful, dedicated teachers, I am very honoured to be able to be a part of this.

The class will be open to everyone from complete beginners to experienced students and will be a unique opportunity to be look after yourself, be nurtured and explore different teaching styles for only $25 with larger donations welcomed and all funds raised going to help those in need.

More information on the charities that will receive the money raised and the other studios where classes will be running can be found here. If you are unable to attend any classes but would like to donate then of course that would be wonderful.

It can be overwhelming to see the devastation happening when natural disasters such as this occur. I personally find myself feeling helpless and deeply saddened by my inability to do anything to ease the suffering of those affected. This is a very real way that we can all work together to offer much needed support to those affected, I would love to see you there!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Packing up my Women’s Wisdom

I’m heading off to the King Parrot Valley today for my Celebrating Women’s Wisdom yoga retreat.

Planning this retreat has been a journey in itself, connecting with my own feelings about being a woman and what it means to me and reflecting on how that has changed over the course of my life so far. I am very much looking forward to sharing the wisdom I have gathered through my research and receiving some new insights from the women at the retreat.

Teaching retreats offers a wonderful opportunity to work very intensely without distractions, though I put a lot of my energy into planning and presenting my classes I do very much enjoy the process, the exploration and growth for myself personally and my students. If you have not been able to attend a retreat yet I highly recommend making the time, it takes your yoga to a whole new level.

Packing for a weekend away is an interesting insight into what you really need, over the years I have managed to narrow down my packing, reducing it to what I know I’ll need rather than a heap of “Just in case” items. I like the freedom of living sparsely, no dilemma about what to wear as there is only one outfit for each day. No unpacking half a suitcase full of unworn clothes at the end of the trip.

So as I put the final touches on my packing and prepare to head off I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

It has been a busy few months and coordination is still going on for some of my yoga classes, regular weekly-fortnightly blog posts will be resuming as of this one.  Apologies to regular readers who may have been missing me!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Family Yoga

I am very excited to be offering Family Yoga classes at Williamstown Yoga and Meditation, I love sharing the joys of yoga with my own children and am looking forward to teaching parents and children together.

Family life is so important but often so very busy, rushing from place to place, dropping children off here and there to their activities, getting them to school, home from school, parents working both in and out of the home. All of these factors make it difficult to just spend time together doing something you both enjoy. That is what these classes will offer.

I know there will be challenges and distractions but that is what happens in life and we will work with the kids and parents to celebrate being together and all of the fun and health benefits yoga offers. Staying lighthearted and not being afraid to have a laugh and some fun are what life and my style of yoga is all about.

Classes will be run in a six week block with longer Sunday workshops also being planned. For details please go to my Yoga Classes page and for bookings or enquiries please contact me at Belinda@yogatogrow.com.au.

Hope you and your family are enjoying this last few days of school holidays and hope to see you in class soon.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Snuggle Up for Scleroderma

A few years ago I had no idea what Scleroderma was. This is fairly common as there is not much awareness out there about this illness, what it is, what it does or how it is treated.

Then one day Nia came to my yoga class and I have taught her on and off over the past five years or so. As that time has passed I have learnt more about scleroderma both through research and through working with Nia.

For those of you who might not know about scleroderma here is a simplified explanation of the illness and how it affects those who suffer from it.

Scleroderma is an auto-immune disorder, along with type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and many others. The immune systems job is to protect us by  eliminating threats, attacking viruses and bacteria with special defence cells and chemicals. Auto-immune disorders occur when our body wrongly misreads our own cells as enemies and so attacks them. 

In scleroderma the connective tissue is affected, excess collagen being deposited into it so that it thickens and hardens. Connective tissue makes up much of our bodies- our skin, joints, organs are all made up of or contain connective tissue. It is like the mesh that holds us all together, fills the spaces in between organs, joints and skin. Scleroderma can therefore affect the whole body, multiple organs and joints.

It is an illness which can manifest in many different ways and at it’s own pace so different people will have different symptoms and rates of progression. Most commonly the skin and joints are affected becoming swollen and thickened. This is the most visible sign of the condition but less visible are the internal organs which also may be affected.

One of the symptoms of scleroderma is feeling the cold, particularly in the extremities so as an awareness and fundraising campaign this World Sclerodrema Day, June 29th you are invited to Snuggle Up for Scleroderma. Have a sleep in, stay in bed all day if you like, tell your friends and ask for sponsorship.

This brings me back to Nia, who is snuggling up herself, to sponsor her all day sleep in or arrange your own just click here.

I am supporting Nia both through sponsoring her and writing this post for so many reasons. Over the time I have known her she has taught me so much about this illness and about how people deal with lifes challenges. She is a wonderful person, sincere, honest and down to earth. There have been good times and bad times, ups and downs. Nia has struggled, she has fought, she has suffered, she has surrendered, she has been on a very difficult journey which continues to this day. Most of all for me Nia has inspired. We have had some wonderful conversations both in person and through writing about yoga, meditation and life. 

I hope you now have a little more awareness about scleroderma, a little inspiration from the lovely Nia and an excuse for a nice snuggly sleep in on a cold wintery morning.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx