Changes and evolution

There have been a few changes in my life lately, some things winding up, others beginning to grow and spread. Change is sometimes welcomed and others resisted but always there in our lives. Whether it is a renovation development or set back, a relationship changing, a career related change or something else it is usual for something to be changing all of the time.

I find the best way to cope with change is by seeing it as a form of evolution. Even if it seems like we are sometimes going backwards changes help us to become more adaptable, more flexible, to learn from the tough times and enjoy the easy ones knowing that they may not last.

Change in our yoga practice is always interesting. Often the changes brought about by regular practice happen very slowly and they can be so subtle that we don’t even notice them at first. I remember very clearly the first time I noticed I was breathing easily through my sun salutations without having to think about it and the student next to me pointing out in class one day that my heels were comfortably resting on the floor in down dog. Neither of these changes had come about in those moments I became aware of them, they had been gradually evolving up to that point.

So the best way I’ve found to cope with change in life and yoga is to observe, be aware, tune in but don’t attach to whatever is happening. Noticing not only the changes but my responses to them. Surrender to the changes that occur, knowing that if I don’t like them they too will change one day.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Post retreat unwinding

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It is always a busy time for me before and after I teach a retreat. Organising myself, my families activities and transport to and from them while I’m away, my class plans, my packing beforehand and then afterwards allowing myself time to rest after the intensive teaching requirements, unpacking, catching up on what didn’t get done while I was away. All in the midst of busy life anyway of course, my regular classes, activities, renovations, housework and so on.

It is worth it all though, I love teaching retreats at Clearview for several reasons.

1. I get to focus on a particular theme and visit it through many different yogic practices, asana, pranayama, relaxation, meditation, chanting, philosophy, discussion. This uninterrupted focus over a whole weekend allows very deep understanding and exploration of the theme.

2. I get to work with a small group of students and our hosts, Jocelyn and Paul, take such great care of myself and the students that all we need to think about is yoga. Without any interruptions and distractions of cooking, cleaning or organising anything we are able to really immerse ourselves in our practice.

3. I love getting back to nature, it is so healing and invigorating. As a teacher on retreats I need to keep myself inspired and energised and my favorite way of doing this is to go for a quiet walk by myself when the opportunity arises. A short walk Friday afternoon, a longer one each morning before the first class begins and another long one during the free time on Saturday afternoon.

4. Mouna, or silence is something we practice at retreats and the results are always interesting. Though not speaking to anyone for hours at a time seems like a strange thing to do it is in fact very liberating. It allows students to focus on themselves and their needs, to let go of the distraction of obligations, small talk, interaction with others. To listen inwardly rather than externally. Often the students who are the most nervous and unsure about it at the beginning become its biggest fans by the end of the weekend.

5. A feast for the senses. The food at Clearview is delicious, home cooked, nourishing and catering to everyone, special diets included. As well as great tastes there is the opposite of silence, the sounds of the bush. Wind through trees, branches rubbing against each other, birds of all shapes and sizes making all sorts of sounds, the pounding of kangaroos hopping through the bush in the early morning light, the buzzing of bees, the rustling of grasses. The view is astounding and draws the eyes over rolling hills to distant horizons, eagles soaring in skies above as wombats and wallabies move about below. It is well worth closing your eyes to take in the beautiful smellscape, inhale deeply and take in the scent of eucalypts, tea tree, flowers and fresh air.

Hills and mountains rolling into the distance

View from Clearview retreat

I’m looking forward to returning to Clearview in February to teach my next retreat, Celebrating Women’s Wisdom. More details can be found on my Retreats and Workshops page.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Keep your head between your ears…

In my beginners class this week I made the above statement. “Keep your head between your ears”. That happens sometimes, my mind says one thing and my mouth says another. What I meant to say was to keep you head OR ears between your arms as we were in down facing dog at the time.

The result was a round of laughter enjoyed by myself as much as my students as we all replayed the instruction in our heads. I recovered gracefully enough, I think, saying that I hoped that all of their heads were located between their ears and we went on with the class.

On reflection though, it wasn’t as silly a thing to say as it first sounded. Where your head is might not really be between your ears at all much of the time. Assuming by head, we include mind which is often the way of it, sometimes it is not even on the same planet.

My mind is a time traveler, skipping off to the past or daydreaming about possible future events. Remembering good times and bad, obsessing over possible troublesome events which may never even happen or imagining possibilities which also, may or may not ever happen.

Even when my mind is in the moment it might not be between my ears, it might be wondering what is happening at my childs school athletics day or my friends doctors appointment or my neighbours job interview.

So I often catch my head being somewhere or sometime else from where I am. When I do so I bring it back, here and now and do my best to keep it there, or here. You know what I mean.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Transformation

I have just come in from painting the outside walls of my house. A big job but one I enjoy as the fruits of my labours are very visible and instant.

Sometimes during our renovations we work very hard and put in many hours with little  obvious tangible outcomes which can get frustrating as you feel like you are not getting very far despite all of that hard work.

It is a bit like that with yoga as well, sometimes you put in determined effort, focus and  practice but little seems to change while other times you walk out of a class or practice feeling dramatically different and improved compared to how you felt when you began.

One thing I have learned through my renovations is that there is work happening during those seemingly unproductive times. Each task is a step towards the goal and I have learned to measure progress in small increments, each tiny step something to celebrate, each job completed a step further towards our goal. Even if it takes longer than expected or needs to be redone or is very time consuming that is part of the process and it is all progress, all moving us further towards completion.

In yoga even when it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, you don’t seem to be finding calm or gaining flexibility or building strength or whatever goals you have set are not forthcoming it helps to take the time to reflect on that. Even the fact that you have set those goals is progress, beginning that journey which may lead you to those outcomes or may take you in a completely wonderful yet unexpected direction. The changes yoga brings are often subtle, they sneak up on you and you might not even be aware of them until you have a light bulb moment of realization that they have taken place.

Happy transformations!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Spring clean your life

If I have to pick a favorite season it would be Spring. I love the sense of awakening and emerging from the cold and dark winter. I feel the energy of Spring in my step, a quickening of pace, a lifting of spirits, an opening of my heart like a flower bursting forth into bloom.

I find myself feverishly cleaning, sorting, culling and polishing my house as the Spring energy takes hold. Those who know me well will be aware that this is quite unusual behavior. I am generally a bit laid back and comfortable, in a house undergoing major renovations with three kids, two cats and a dog I try to maintain a fairly tidy, relatively safe environment but it is definitely lived in and rarely clean and tidy for very long.

Spring invites us to clean more than just our houses however, that cleansing energy flows also through our selves. It is a great time to make positive changes to your habits and lifestyle. Take up a yoga class or begin a course of study in something you are interested in or assess your career/job/home and what you would like to change or improve or adapt. Spring is a time of new beginnings, exploring new horizons, expanding your knowledge and comfort zone. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never quite got around to? Why not now?

I like to think of sorting through my Self much the same way as I sort through my cupboards, those kitchen implements that hang around in the back of the drawers taking up space and never get used? Time to let them go. Those thoughts that linger in the back of my mind taking up space and not being in any way useful? Time to let them go. That jacket that I wore as a teenager but haven’t worn for years but kept hanging on to for sentimental reasons? Time to let it go. Those emotions that are from an entirely different time in my life and are no longer relevant but still linger? Time to let them go.

Spring gives us the opportunity to check in, to stocktake, to release and renew. After we clean out our cupboards we have space for new more useful kitchen gadgets and clothes that we will actually wear. After we clean out our Selves we have space for new thought patterns, emotions, knowledge and ways of being.

Happy cleaning!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx