Having Fun

After class yesterday one of my students thanked me and commented on how much fun it had been. Yes, fun!

Lots of people don’t expect yoga to be fun. Relaxing, calming, challenging, strong, difficult, serious, quiet, energizing and many other things yes, but fun – no. The image we have of things is often far from the reality and this is especially true of yoga. Lots of people tell me they can’t do yoga because they are not strong/flexible/focused enough, these are the gifts yoga brings slowly and with time and dedication to our practice. If we already had all that stuff we wouldn’t need to practice yoga!

My classes are light hearted and fun, we have a laugh at ourselves, at the world, at the challenges and the difficulties and what we struggle with. By seeing the funny side of these things we learn not to take it all to seriously and to have fun along the way as we improve (or sometimes not!) not just in yoga but in life.

I have just returned from a weekend away with my family to celebrate my  40th birthday which has been loads of fun. We spent time together walking, playing games, making (sometimes bad) jokes and laughing together. We stayed ay Clearview Retreat where the kookaburras laugh and laugh and the sound can’t help to bring a smile to me face. Unrestrained laughter at nothing in particular is a wonderful thing.

There is much value in a good laugh, it is a form of pranayama as the breath is involved, a form of asana as the belly gets in on it too when you laugh deeply and a form of meditation and relaxation as it serves to lift the spirit and release your joy into the world.

Finding the funny side of any situation always improves the outlook. I’ve used this practice a lot as we’ve renovated our house – often saying to myself, “One day I’ll look back on this and laugh.” It always helps me to see that the challenges are temporary and will pass and when they do I will wonder why I was so caught up in them to begin with.

So this week have a good laugh. With friends or on your own, watch a funny movie, see a comedian, find humour on the everyday, it doesn’t matter why you laugh and sometimes you don’t need a reason at all. Just laugh out loud and enjoy it!

To finish a little yoga humour for you…

What did the sign in the window of the yoga master searching for a new disciple say?

Inquire within!

 

Mahatma Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.” (When asked what he thought about Western civilization)

 

A young woman who was worried about her habit of biting her fingernails down to the quick was advised by a friend to take up yoga. She did and next time they met her fingernails were growing normally. Her friend asked if the yoga had cured her nervous habit and she replied, “No, but now I can reach my toenails so I bite them instead!”

 

Love and light and laughter,

Belinda

xxx

 

Gravity

I often mention gravity in my yoga classes and felt inspired today to write my post about this grounding energy that we work with, or against, all of the time.

Although we are constantly relying on gravity to keep us grounded we often think of it in a negative way, like a weight, pulling us down, creating heaviness, holding us back.

The truth is that gravity gives us our foundations and foundations are important. The process of building our second story extension has given me a greater awareness of just how important foundations are. Before we were able to build up we had to dig down, deep down into the earth to put in our foundations. Once those strong, stable foundations were in place we could begin the (lengthy) process of building upwards but if we had tried to go up without first putting in our foundations our house would have been weak, unstable and short lived.

So when does gravity help us in our yoga practice? Lets take a simple tadasana, mountain pose to begin with though what we will cover relates to every posture, standing, seated or lying. In tadasana our feet are our foundations and so we ground through them. Gravity draws the weight of our body through the soles of our feet and from that grounded support gravity gives up the ability to move in any way. With that connection to the earth we can lift one leg, raise our arms, jump up into the air. Any movement against gravity requires that downward connection first to support it.

So just like with my renovations, in yoga you have to go down before you can go up.

Of course as well as giving us the means to reach great heights gravity is also super lovely in helping us to relax, so at the end of our asana practice we can surrender to gravity’s downward pull and release into its support. Aaaaaah.

Stay grounded.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Looking forward to turning forty

My birthday is approaching and this year, as I will be turning 40, we are having a bigger celebration than usual.

My immediate family and I are spending a weekend away together at Clearview Retreat. We will have time to relax as the weekend is fully catered with delicious vegetarian food so there will be lots of time to do the things I love. Playing games, bushwalking, relaxing, getting back to nature and best of all doing all of these things with my family.

I’ve been planning this for quite some time and looking forward to it, as it nears the excitement builds and I have to resist the temptation to wish away the days between now and then. Time is a funny thing, some days can seem like weeks and weeks can pass in (seemingly) no time at all. Often when you are planning something for a long time it seems as though it will never actually arrive, then when it is over it seems to have flown past.

The fleeting and unpredictable nature of time serves well to remind us to appreciate what we have and stay present which is why I am resisting wishing away the days before my birthday celebration and knowing that it will be fond memories before I know it.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Autumn energy

Autumn is officially upon us with its cooler weather, shorter days and falling leaves.

My favorites seasons are Autumn and Spring, I’d find it very difficult to choose which I like best. The energy they have is very opposite but both provide important transitions in the cycle of the year.

Autumn leaves

Autumn asks us to slow down, take stock, conserve energy and let go of anything we no longer need. It is a great opportunity in these first weeks of Autumn to begin to tune in to where we are, where we are headed, what we are carrying with us and what we no longer need.

The falling leaves of Autumn with all of their beautiful colours and patterns are both fun to crunch through and inspiring to reflect on. As trees prepare for the colder months they let go of their leaves which require a lot of energy to maintain but cannot provide the energy back to the tree when the sun doesn’t shine as much over Winter. I like to follow their example by thinking about what in my life is taking up a lot of energy, where there is an imbalance in what I’m putting in to what I’m getting back. Sometimes I find that I just need to hang in there and keep going while other times I might decide that it is time to let go of whatever it is.

There was a time when I wasn’t aware of how much I was affected by the changes in seasons but over the years it has become clearer and clearer to me just how much influence they have on me, my moods, my energy levels and my state of mind. I have reveled in going with the energy of the seasons, following their lead rather than just keeping on and struggling against them.

Take some time this week to reflect on how Autumn makes you feel, what thoughts keep arising and how your body reacts to the seasonal changes.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx