Happy New Year

I have thoroughly enjoyed the end of 2012, the time spent with family and friends, the giving and receiving of gifts, love and wonderful food, the quiet days between Christmas and New Year which we have enjoyed as quiet time at home enjoying each others company without any rushing around.

Those days have now passed and I write this on New Years Eve, listening to my children playing, a lawn mower in the distance and other sounds of suburban summer. The weather is lovely, calm and warm without being too hot and we are preparing to welcome 2013 and all that it may bring. For my family New Years is not a huge party but an evening at home where the kids stay up until midnight and we celebrate what has been and it to come. Then we comfort our dog, Ebony when the fireworks go off!

All things must end and the year is no exception, I hope your 2012 has been peaceful, happy and fruitful and wish you more of the same as 2013 arrives.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Slowing down

Hectic is the word that comes to mind when I think of the last few weeks, even months, of my life. I have had much on and despite my best efforts to not over commit and my awareness of the need to take time out sometimes things seem to gather momentum and before you know it there is not a free weekend in sight and the to do list requires a scroll rather than a sheet of paper.

When things get out of hand like this it is great to have some yoga practices up your sleeve which don’t take up much time or add to that to do list but do give the the opportunity to have a break, reconnect with why you are doing all this stuff and recharge your energetic batteries. Today I am going to share one of my favorite practices for moments like these, Tibetan Yoga Breathing.

You do not need to warm up or prepare for this in any way, it doesn’t require a yoga mat or any special equipment and it brings you right into the moment in less than a minute (though longer is better if you can fit it in).

To begin take your feet wide apart but within your comfortable range – you don’t need to be feeling a stretch here. Bring your thumbs and index fingers together to make a triangle and let your arms relax in front of your body. Look down at your hands with a relaxed gaze and become aware of your breath. When you feel ready to move, on an inhalation let your left hand begin to travel out to the left side and reach up keeping your soft gaze on the left hand and raising the right heel so your whole body opens a little to the left. As you exhale take the return journey, heel, hand and gaze lowering. Then repeat to the right on your next inhalation and just keep flowing with it.

While you are practicing this keep noticing the flow and movement in your breath and body, watching each hand rise and fall as though it is the only thing in the world.

To finish complete the pair, ending with the right hand returning to centre, take a few breaths here looking down as you began and when you feel ready shake yourself out and go back to your day feeling more centered, calm and peaceful.

The reason I love this practice is that it brings together elements of movement to benefit the body, breath to increase energy levels and focus to quiet the mind.

Hope you love it as much as I do and try it out at this busy time in most of our lives!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Yoga and blokes

Last night in my final prenatal class for the year I tried an experiment – I invited the partners of my regular prenatal students along to the class. I wasn’t sure how this would go but it was great fun. The blokes had varying experience of yoga from a little to none at all but they all gave it a go, working through partner work from simple twists to warrior poses to simply breathing together while connecting with baby. At the beginning there were some nervous faces but by the end everyone was smiling and the feedback was very positive.

There are several reasons women dominate yoga classes in Australia – some men feel it is not challenging enough, others give it a go but are not comfortable being the only guy in a class full of women, some consider it a bit too alternative and every now and then some come along and become regulars.

The interesting thing is that in its beginnings yoga was secret men’s business, women were not allowed to practice yoga or learn about it at all. As it spread through the western world it became more female dominated but the truth is everyone can benefit from yoga. Some of my most influential teachers are male, others female, ultimately we all bring our own energy to our teaching no matter what our sex.

The word yoga means unity, to yoke together and bringing men and women together is part of that. There was a beautiful energy in the room with my expectant couples last night, a true sharing of the experience and connecting with each other and their growing baby. Hopefully the men in the room had a good enough time to consider exploring yoga further or at least practicing a little at home with their partners.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Back to Nature

The weekend at Clearview retreat was once again wonderful, a lovely group of students joined me to Release Stress and Embrace Rest surrounded by natures beauty as well as sharing in the delicious food and hospitality of our hosts Jocelyn and Paul.

Although it has only been five weeks since I was last there I was astounded by the changes that had occurred in the forests and land at Clearview. The tea tree forest was looking festive and prepared for Christmas decked out in glorious white flowers, the butterflies had arrived and fluttered everywhere I walked outside – it felt like I was in a fairy wonderland. The cicadas had also emerged and we saw a few of them with their beautiful wings and heard many more as they chorused in the trees. We were honoured to spot an echidna on our walk with Jocelyn on Saturday and were also graced by the presence of a snake basking by the dam who we left ín privacy.

On Sunday morning I rose early at 5am and went for a long walk, seeing many kangaroos, rosellas, rabbits and even a fox slinking back to it’s home. I watched the sun rise and was completely enchanted by the beauty of my surroundings. It was one of those experiences which will stay with me forever.

It is wonderful to get back to nature, whether it is by walking through the bush or even just sitting under a tree and looking up through the branches at the sky above you. Nature reminds us that we are in a permanent state of change, changing weather, life cycles, birth, death and everything in between. Going with rather than against the change can make it easier for us to adapt and accept what is and if we are dealing with challenging times to realise that they will pass just like the seasons.

I am looking forward to my next retreat, Base to Crown – Getting to Know your Chakras in February when I will see more changes and  explore anew this beautiful land.

Hope you can find some time with nature today.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx