Hello

It has been a long time since I last posted here, the longest break I’ve had since starting my blog all those years ago.

This wasn’t a planned break – there have been some things going on in my life on many different levels which have brought about some personal development and, being a rather private person, I’ve been focusing on my own growth and the discoveries I’ve made about myself . There have been a few times that I’ve set myself up to write a post only to find that I just didn’t feel anything I wrote was coming out as intended so I’ve put it off.

Although I am still in many ways feeling like I am in a transition it seems to be taking a new turn with lots of opportunities opening up, others things winding down and me just going along for the ride. I tend to trust the universe and when I got a message saying I had a comment to moderate I logged on to my website to do so and find myself writing again…

So this post is just hello, checking in, letting you know I’m still here, teaching, learning, exploring and sharing. I haven’t forgotten about you all – I just needed some to to follow my own advice and connect to myself in a nurturing way.

I hope to post more regularly now – perhaps monthly to begin with but you never know what might evolve. Feel free to comment on anything you’d like me to post on – whatever it may be.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Acorns and Autumn

So we are in March, the first month of Autumn here in Melbourne. Although mother nature doesn’t always check the calendar so we are experiencing some lingering warm Summer days. Despite this the signs are afoot that Autumn is on its way. One of the first signs I have noticed is the acorns have begun falling form the oak trees in the park. Most people don’t notice this type of thing so much but we have two pet bunnies who absolutely love to nibble on acorns so I am always checking in on when they’re available.

Spring and Autumn are transitional seasons, times for changing, adjusting, adapting in preparation for the more extreme Summer and Winter weather. They offer us the opportunity to take stock, check in with where we are, what we are happy with, what we would like to change.  So I’ve decided to share a Autumn meditation on todays post, hope you enjoy it.

Autumn Meditation by Belinda Blackburn

Take some time to get comfortable, sitting with whatever support you need, spine elongated, shoulders relaxed and breath flowing freely. Bring your awareness to your breath and notice how it relates to this time of year, Autumn is a time for storing energy in preparation for Winter when there is less to be found. Many animals gather food stores at this time, we are working with that same method by taking in our breath and feeling the energy flowing in with it being stored away. Stored in the hands, the feet, the arms, the legs. Feel your torso filling with prana, the energy flowing with and beyond your breath, let it rise all the way up through your neck to you face and head, Now your whole body is full of energy, imagine absorbing that energy, storing it away in every cell. So that when a time comes that you need it you can find it here, waiting for you.

As well as storing energy at this time mother nature lets go of excess demands for that energy. Knowing that there will be less available in the shorter, colder, days of winter many trees release their leaves which require a lot of maintenance and can drain them of their energy reserves. In the same way our exhalation gives us the opportunity to reflect on how we are spending our energy, where it is going and whether there are some activities or commitments which are draining our resources. Become aware of what you could let go of, release – perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently. Think of that release with each exhalation, letting go of expectations and honouring where you are right now in your life and where your energy is best directed to.

Each breath helping us to take in and store energy and let go of the need to waste that energy, each breath helping us to become more efficient, more discerning about where our energy goes. Energy in the forms of physical activities, emotions and thoughts.

After some time allow yourself to gently withdraw from the practice and go into the rest of your day energised and more aware of where that energy is going.

To celebrate and explore these and other aspects of Autumn through yoga, breathwork and light discussion I am running an Autumn Workshop at Harvest Yoga on the 9th of April. We will take a leisurely three hours to practice yoga, meditation, discussion and relaxation as well as sharing a home made morning tea.

Investment only $60, $50 concession, spaces are limited, for bookings contact rick@harvestyoga.com.au

Enjoy the Autumn colours,

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Summer days

Loving spending time relaxing in the Summer heat, though when it gets too intense it’s not so much relaxing as sweating it out! We’ve got the gift of some less extreme Summer warmth this week which is lovely in the lead up to my Beat the Heat Summer workshop coming up on Sunday 15th January, 10am-1pm at Harvest Yoga in Kensington.

I love exploring the seasons and how they affect me mood, energy levels, yoga practice and outlook on life in general. Summer is a time of things coming to fruition and taking time to enjoy the fruits of your labours. Less busy than Spring with all of its planting and planning and new beginnings, a time of plenty and abundance.

Bee on Sunflower

Bee on Sunflower

We will be exploring these aspects of Summer as well as yoga practices and methods to help maintain equilibrium on those hot Summer days, meditation practices to revel in the abundance surrounding us and a shared morning tea of fresh fruits and yummy treats.

If you’d like to join us the cost is only $75, bookings can be made by emailing Rick at info@harvestyoga.com.au. Spaces are limited so book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

In the meantime, if you are unable to make it or would like a practice to tide you through until Sunday try the following simple cooling breath when you feel a bit hot and bothered…

You will need a drinking straw, I prefer the wider paper straws however if you only have plastic ones they work as well. Place the straw between your lips as you would to take a drink but instead of drinking, inhale slowly and deeply through the straw. Exhale through the nostrils, comfortably slowly and deeply as well.

This is an easy accessible variation of sitali pranayama, it works like evaporative cooling – by funnelling the air over your tongue slowly it is cooled through the moisture in your mouth and brings that coolness with it into your body. As the straw also slows the breath you also tend to slow down physically, mentally and emotionally leaving you feeling calmer all over.

Hope you enjoy the practice,

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

 

 

Welcome to 2017

Hello to all of my subscribers,

It has been a while between posts, I hope you haven’t been missing me too much. I can tell you that I’ve missed writing here. I find it very cathartic, healing and valuable for me as often I write posts relevasnt to what’s going on in my life – my students, teaching, family and personal life. I’m not very big on sharing personal stuff – I need to process this myself before I feel ready to share it with others and when the time comes that I’m ready to talk about it I prefer to do so with a friend or family member rather than a public forum like my blog or Facebook.

So lets just say the past few months have been busy personally leaving me not as much time as I’d like to post. These things are ongoing and though a part of me thought perhaps I should wait until I had more time and everything settled down, another part of me – the wiser part I think, reasoned that waiting for the perfect time might mean I never post again. There will always be something going on, changes to adjust to, people around me needing or offering support, kids growing and developing new needs.

In 2017 I might find myself with more time or I might not. Right here today I do have time so right here today I am posting…

Every New Year it is a good time to make resolutions, promises to yourself and others, positive changes to your lifestyle, attitude and habits. My golden rule when doing this is not to get carried away – it might feel great to write a long list of ideals about how your life in the year ahead will be but  I always need to remind myself to keep it reasonable and achievable. Otherwise I set myself up for not reaching those goals and feeling bad about myself.

So to finish my first post for the year I would like to wish all of my readers a year of growth, healing and evolution. Last year was definitely that for me, the term “Happy New Year” is most often wished upon us however happiness only teaches us so much, we actually learn and develop more through the challenges we face and the difficult times we get through. Whatever this new year has in store for us all – may we recognise the opportunities it offers when they come our way, may we enjoy the ride – both the ups and the downs, may we find happiness while also fully embracing sorrow, anger, fear and any other emotions that come our way, may we be healthy and accepting and content.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Recipe time and Spring Workshop reflection

I shared some wonderful yoga practices on the weekend in my Spring into Action workshop. It was a lovely group and we all really enjoyed being able to immerse ourselves in 3 hours of yoga rather than a shorter class which often goes by so quickly that it sometimes feels like you are just getting into the practice and it is over. Not that I have anything against classes, they are the best way to fit in a regular practice, it was just nice to be able to spend more time in everything we did and explore some practices that don’t often make it into classes such as meditation and chanting.

Spring was certainly in the air despite it being a rainy morning as we were visited by some lovely parrots, playing in the elm trees outside Harvest Yoga and squawking loudly. We paused in our practice to admire their colours and antics, hopping from branch to branch and swinging on the smaller twigs.

Something else we all enjoyed was morning tea together and the recipes were requested so I am sharing them here with a wider audience. I like making these sweet treats for workshops as they cater to a lot of the more common food allergies and intolerances as well as being very easy to make and absolutely delicious! Talk about ticking all of my boxes.

I hope you enjoy these and sharing them with friends as much as I do…

Julie’s Currant Cake

I got this recipe from a fellow Volunteer Breastfeeding Counsellor when I worked for  the Australian Breastfeeding Association, she used to bring it to our meetings and it was always popular. It is sugar free and vegan (unless you spread it with butter but you can use a vegan alternative or have it without, it is still delicious) and very easy though it does need overnight soaking so you need to plan ahead a little.

1 cup currants

1 teabag, plain black tea is fine but I like to use different herbal flavours as well, I used cranberry and pomegranate for the workshop cake

1 cup boiling water

1 cup self raising flour

Place the currants and teabag in a bowl, pour over the boiling water and leave overnight. The next day sift the flour over the top and stir it through. Pour into a non stick or greased loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes at 180C.

It’s that easy, it is a very moist and yummy on its own or spread with butter.

Chocolate Fudge Balls

This recipe came from a fellow yoga teacher, Anahata, whom I did my prenatal training with. It is gluten free, sugar free and easy though the rolling into balls can be time consuming.

45gm cocoa or raw cacao powder

120 gm raw cashews or other nuts – I often cheat and use ground hazelnuts or almonds to save time

260 gm dates, I chop them up first or my food processor struggles with their dense stickiness but if you have a more powerful food processor than me you might not need to. 

1 tsp coconut oil (this wasn’t in the recipe as given to me but I find it makes rolling them into balls a lot easier as the mixture is less crumbly)

Desiccated coconut (optional)

Grind cashews or other into fine powder using a nut grinder. Place the cashews, cocoa powder and dates into a food processor and blend well. The mixture will be very thick and dry – don’t add water or it will be too sticky. Roll into balls (small as these are rich) and roll in desiccated coconut. These are delicious!

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did at the workshop.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

To try something new…

Spring is bursting forth around me even though technically it is still winter. I feel the spring energy stirring deep within the earth and awakening the plants, the animals and the people. Days gradually lengthen, temperatures gradually rise and moods generally lift.

In my little corner of the world our blue tongue lizard has gone for a walk – the first since winter descended and sent him into semi-hibernation. The beginnings of leaves are forming on the branches of my goji berry bush and blossoms have broken out on the cherry trees up and down our little street.

I feel much like Ben, the blue tongue lizard, at this time of year, like I’ve been just managing to get things done with the slower, cooler winter energy and now I want to jump and run and stretch out all of the stagnation that has set in. Shake off those winter blues and playfully engage with the warmer springtime energy. Burst forth like the blossoms and new leaves, sing like the birds, engage with the new beginnings all around me.

Spring is a great time to try something new, to go along to your first yoga class, or if you are already regularly practicing to attend a different type of class, explore new practices, new ways of doing familiar poses, new places to practice.  You might like to book into a yoga retreat or workshop to immerse yourself in yoga for a longer time than a class offers. The possibilities are endless.

In my teaching things are getting busier as well…we are about to begin a new 5 week block of Mums & Bubs yoga, I am busily planning for my Spring into Action workshop on September 18th at Harvest Yoga and looking forward to my Release Stress, Embrace Rest retreat at the end of September.

I hope to see you in class or at one of these upcoming events, may your Springtime energy take you to amazing new places and experiences.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

 

Winding up and wind down

It’s that time of year, some things are finishing off like my beginners course which ended last week and my Braybrook classes which wind up this Thursday while other things get busy, busy, busy in the rush to prepare for Christmas or other festivities, go to all of the social gatherings and events and see all of the different people for Christmas and just get on with the day to day stuff.

I sometimes look at my calendar for the week ahead and feel a little alarmed when there are no empty days, not even empty afternoons or mornings. I feel the need to brace myself to get through all of the events. Not that I don’t enjoy all of the catching up and socialising, quite the opposite in fact – I love this time of year and the opportunities it presents to share time with family and friends.  It’s more that I also need some time to myself, time to slow down, reflect on events, time to be alone, particularly when life is busy.

It’s taken me a while to realise this, I used to feel bad about not wanting to go to every party, every dinner, every event. I’ve arrived at the realisation of why I sometimes dread these things after much soul searching and self observation. What I’ve learnt about myself is this:

  • I love spending time with those close to me
  • I don’t feel comfortable in large groups of people
  • I need time to myself in between time spent with others
  • If I don’t honour these things I end up feeling frail, exhausted and on edge
The good news is that now that I know all of the above I can manage my calendar and social gatherings to suit which makes this time of year much more enjoyable. I prefer small gatherings to large groups, so try to visit people individually or go out for a meal rather than going to big get togethers. When I do go to the occasional larger gatherings I make sure I am aware of how I’m going and move out for some space if things start getting overwhelming.
Other ways I avoid the rush is by getting all of the Christmas shopping done as early as possible. Shopping centres, particularly busy ones, count as large groups of people and leave me exhausted so I limit my visits to them, try to get there during quiet times and, where possible, do my shopping at markets and smaller local businesses.
I keep track of that calendar and if it starts looking too crowded I start saying no to events or seeing what can be left off or moved to a quieter time. With three kids it can fill up very quickly so this one is important.
Finally I keep my yoga tinted glasses nearby, taking every opportunity between the busyness for a few deep breaths, a brief meditation, a short practice or even some mindful awareness of where I am and what’s going on. Winding down after a crazy day with my legs up the wall and some three part breathing helps me to reenergise and arrive refreshed and renewed to the next event…
May your festive season be restful and include a good balance of winding up and winding down…
Love and light,
Belinda
xxx

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

Bring on Spring…

I love springtime, I know everything needs to be balanced and that all of the other seasons have their benefits but this is my favorite time of year. Hands down.

More daylight, flowers blooming and blossoming, birds singing and building nests, the warmth gradually sneaking back into the days (though here in Melbourne that’s always a two steps forward, one step back process!) and just the general energy of awakening after winter – its like coming out of a long relaxation.

Daffodil with lavender in background.

Spring is a time of new beginnings, new life , new opportunities, new and positive changes. To celebrate these qualities of the season I am offering two springtime promotions for my Thursday night Braybrook classes.

  1. For my existing students – bring a friend for free, absolutely free, no obligation. If they sign up for a term you get a 10% discount on your own next term payment.
  2. For new students two casual classes for the price of one – just $18 for two yoga classes.

These offers only apply to my Braybrook Classes, 6:30-8pm, Thursday evenings, Community Hall, Braybrook Community Hub, 107-136 Churchill Ave, Braybrook and are available for the next 8 weeks so you have plenty of time to spread the word and invite a few friends along (limit of 1 per class). Classes are suitable for beginners and those with yoga experience.

If you would love to get back to nature and really delve into the springtime yoga energy there are still a few places left on my next retreat 9th-11th October in the lovely King Parrot Valley just an hour and a half out of Melbourne. More details can be found at www.clearviewretreat.org.au.

Happy blooming,

Belinda

xxx

 

 

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