Reset

Here we are in the middle of a British Summer. The weather has been glorious this week. Somewhere in the low thirties centigrade.

I used to love the sun. Actually I still do, but sometimes I find it a little too overwhelming.

I may have mentioned at some point in these blogs that I am experiencing some weird fatigue symptoms. I am pretty sure it’s linked to my adrenal glands but will find out for sure after next week when I start the process of getting the advice of an endocrinologist.

So this is what I do know. I am 45 years old. I have 4 year old twin boys. I am much more tired when they are around (go figure). I am experiencing lots of different symptoms which could be lots of different things. I also know that I’m not diabetic, low in Vitamin D, pregnant or depressed. I do know that I am unwell and that my health is in my hands.

Some of the things I have done that have improved my situation are:

Kinesiology
Shiatsu
Massage
Nutritional advice/support
Magnesium baths
Acupuncture

And they have all been amazing and helped hugely. In addition I have learned massive amounts about myself. Here are some of them:

I GIVE of myself way too much
I am not great at boundary setting
I can be a right moaning Minnie
My expectations of myself are unrealistic
I am good at scheduling in self-care time
My health is really high up in my list of priorities

And the one thing I have learned really recently is to weave a big dose of happiness into everyday. My diet is great now ( I am a cow dairy, gluten and sugar free vegetarian). I take good supportive supplements, set healthy boundaries, mediate and exercise daily. Now I have to learn to have lots more fun.

So there you have it. Just another fact of our modern life. Send me some good pom pom fuelled vibes for my journey and give yourselves some time to chill and have fun.

Big love xx

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The Land

Today is the beginning of a new month and I had the good fortune to meet up with a new friend. He showed me round an ancient barn in my local area. The barn was built in the 1300s and is steeped in layers of fascinating history.

My friend is a teacher of human geography and after the mini-tour we walked the land for a while. And amongst all the great stories of feudal systems, wars and loyalty to the King, there were discussion about the land. Which was great coz she’s a girl and doesn’t much care for feudal-this and warlord-that.

We talked about the land. How we interact with it, the beauty of it, the shape of it. We talked about magic in the mud, how animals know about what is special in our landscape. We talked of Sheela na Gig and the Green Man. There was talk of old ways of farming and new ways of educating our children about our land.

There was such beauty in our walk, in the stories my friend told and in forming new connections with people built on hope and passion for environmental change and a blossoming new consciousness.

There was also a bit of frustration in our chats about moving what seem like immovable mountains in order to affect positive change for the good of the human race.

So why do I write of the land? Well, I FEEL like it has the answers to so many of our woes. It is in the land that we can re-learn how to feed ourselves, heal ourselves, lead our communities, raise our children and co-exist with a little more dignity and honesty than we do now. The TRUTH is in the earth. Our brutality and insensitivity is scarred across our land.

I live in a beautiful part of South Gloucestershire and the land around me is so inviting. My daily walks between Frampton Cotterell and the edge of Iron Acton are made of pure magic for me. I grew up in big cities, Bangkok, Edinburgh and Glasgow. I love the vibrancy of the city. But, it is in the land that I find much of my practice now. I walk much more than I ever used to. I am learning things that I will never find in a book. I can see cycles of life unfolding before me and I KNOW that I am part of that.

It’s what I would like to teach my kids but know that I can’t. They will learn from the land themselves. By walking it, touching it, breathing it and being part of it. Wherever they may be.

So if you are feeling hopeless or disconnected in your life, I would urge you to get some mud in between your toes and relish it. Stomp around. Feel some moss between your fingers.

It is from the earth that we are sustained. Keep that with you my lovelies because it could save you and me in the end.

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A time for healing

It is coming into the fiery part of the day elementally when my body should be laying down to sleep and process all that has gone on. But it has been a fiery day and fire will often feed more fire. Then there is no space to burn out and die down.

We do need the heat though to cleanse us, warm us, help to get us “fired up”. And it was this need for heat in my bones to heal me that brings me to write again about my experience in Greece this year.

I found myself in Greece, sans family, with a dear teacher who had guided me so well in my early Yoga years. It was mid July and the heat was intense. I found myself sitting in the shade with the dogs and just staring at the plants.

I shared this week with a beautiful group of women who were so kind to me and I really enjoyed sharing stories, meals and experiences with them all. But I was there to rest. After an intense period of adrenal fatigue I had the blessed fortune of a supportive family and was then gifted enough wisdom to go on a retreat for a few days.

The colours of the land were glorious, the food was delicious and simple and the pace of life a real boon. Kerry who owns the retreat centre would make herbal breakfast tea with a carefully chosen blend of fresh herbs from his garden. Everything on your plate is homemade and mouthwatering. For the first two days I suffered from a really painful throat. Kerry treated me this one morning by administering a swift teaspoon sized dose of propolis down my gullet which was followed later that day by some shiatsu and reiki. And I bawled like a newborn baby. The tears fell onto the hot skin of my face and it was a huge release.

Despite the sore throat I did sing from the very first day. I found myself getting up before class and singing from the Yoga terrace. The outlook of the studio and its terrace is the ocean in all her glory. Her greeny-blue shining back at you in the hot morning sun. It would be about 7am and the sound just flooded out of me. Luckily it was accompanied by my trusty Shruti box, so as not to scare the animals! I sung mantra after mantra, song after song.

I sang in class, at dinner, whenever I could. And something started to happen to me. I became the sea. I became the land. I could hear the earth and the water calling to me. There were no fireworks, visions or visitations, no blackouts or “whizzy whizzy” stuff going on. It was like a whisper and a yearning. It was liked being called home.

So this was the beginning of a change. Of refining my work and sticking to my path. I knew that I should be working almost exclusively with women. That’s what brought me such joy. And of course I could and can express that through sound and prayer. Yoga is a vehicle to get me there and for that I’m so extremely grateful, but there is SO much more to explore.

And in this precious place I began to put aside my identities to allow the process of change to take its course.

A few months down the line I find that things are scarily stripped right back. I have withdrawn from many of the attachments in my life. But on the horizon there is Greece. I am returning there in June to teach a Women’s Wellbeing and Yoga retreat. Woohoo and furthermore whoop whoop! How blessed am I?!

So I would urge you to lighten the load. Lose the lists and rethink your life. Make your health, loved ones and happiness your priority.

So much love to you all this year.

Check in with yourself. And if you’re a woman, join me this year.

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Saraswotty

For some time now I have been going through the scary process of stripping down my teaching. Each “phase” of letting go has left me feeling exposed and worried about what’s next. The thing is I don’t know what is next. Every time I look behind me there is another skin I have shed. It is happening so rapidly. Truthfully, I am a bit lost.

Motherhood has been like that for me. I am totally bamboozled most of the time. And then there comes a beautiful moment and the boys and I find this harmony. We were crossing the road earlier in the week all singing the “Strictly” theme tune. Da da dada dadada, da da dadada, whooo! the Whooo at the end is essential. It was so joyful. And I was grateful for it.

So this state of befuddlement is not alien to me, but it is tough when it applies to what I do. You know, the grown up, worky part of yourself. I wasn’t expecting it to change so drastically so soon. But it is changing.

I have been a Yoga teacher for 6 years. My face nearly split with delight when I qualified. I truly love what I do but now it isn’t ALL that I do. There is some other magic that seems to happen. So it’s time to consolidate. The Yoga, the healing, singing, the stories, Yoga Nidra, the ritual and magick.

In fact I have felt pregnant for the last few months. I am waiting for something to be born.

So as I walk away from so much that has kept me feeling alive, I would like to take a moment to say a heartfelt thank you for supporting me for the last six years. And maybe I could ask you for the gift of your patience whilst I go to ground. I plan to study and reflect. Infact the process has already begun. There is much for me to learn. A small family of ideas to be birthed. And I can already feel the excitement of revealing them all to you.

But I need time. So I’ll be around. But a bit less present perhaps. I’ll hold you all in my heart until next time.

With my love….

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Body image

Ever since I can remember I have had major demons about the appearance of my physical body. Its size and shape mostly.

It may have started when I was eleven years of age and my house mistresses at boarding school paraded all of us, one by one, in front of them and they put a handful of us in a group. Those that were in this group were put on a diet. I was one of the girls in that group.

When I went back to Thailand on my Christmas holidays one of our family friends commented on how good I looked. There you have it. The die was cast.

So since the age of eleven, I have been on a diet. I am now forty four years of age and I am still on a diet. I am CONSTANTLY on diets.

I have juiced, calory counted, done fibre diets, Atkins (pre-veggie days), been to Slimming World, Weight Watchers and Scottish Slimmers. I took up running, stopped eating carbs for two years…. Infact I can’t really remember all the ridiculous things I did to lose weight and keep it off. And I’m boring myself now.

Some of these things worked and some didn’t. Who cares? Well I do, clearly.

I became a Yoga teacher almost six years ago. (By the way, I lost loads of weight when I did that!) And Yoga has made me feel better about my body, but not much.

When I had photographs taken for my website I didn’t have any full body shots done. I think you might know why!

I thought that everyone expected Yoga teachers to look a certain way and I didn’t look that way. I REALLY don’t look that way now.

The only time in my life that I have truly loved my body is when I was pregnant and interestingly when I was gigantic. I felt complete joy in the fact that my body was creating two babies. I was proud, strong and elated for alot of the time.

In actual fact, I felt real peace in my body when I did my teacher training too, but that’s because I looked at my body in a full-length once in five weeks. Absence of visual feedback makes the heart grow fonder.

I have recently put away my scales, because I can become so obsessed. An unfavourable number can wreck my entire day. And I could go on ad infinitum about this. Because it rules my life. Most people close to me, know this.

And as a consequence I am so passionate about encouraging others that they are beautiful just as they are. And I truly see that and believe it.

It is so sad that I can’t convince myself of the beauty of my own physical frame. But I’m working on it.

So please try and pull yourself out of this kind of existence if you are, like me, living in it every day. Teach your children, nieces and nephews, youngsters all around you to love their bodies and that body images in most kinds of media are false.

For your sake and mine, LOVE your perfect, beautiful and amazing body.

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Change

It would seem that there is an intense period of change going on. Anyone else feel it? It is not be resisted, that is for sure.

So for me, it feels like everything I know is dropping away. It’s a bit rebirthy, or that’s how it feels. There is also a sense of “come on people! Get your shizzle together here. There’s a storm coming!”

My practice has changed, my diet, my body, my relationship with myself and others. Stuff I believe in has changed. And change is constant. We know that.

So what to do? Well, for me, right now, I’m holding on. Watching the garden grow. Picking up dropped litter in the street. Teaching people Yoga through compassion and joy. Keeping it simple. Loving my kids and husband. Singing, stretching and praying.

Change is coming whether I like it or not. So hold on sistas and brothers it’s going to be windy.

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5 reasons to do Yoga at home

So here we go. I’m always reading things like this. Top 10 reasons why… Or 8 things you should never…

So as I was doing Yoga today I was inspired to write this:

5 reasons to do Yoga at home

1. It can be done in your pyjamas whilst cooking soup. On the kitchen floor.

2. It can be as long or as short a practice as you choose. 2.5 minutes is fine at home.

3. You can listen to your music during your practice. Brahms, Atom Seed or First Aid Kit? All fine.

4. You can cheat.

5. You can fart loudly whenever you need to. And even when you don’t

Here endeth the lesson. Enjoy.

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The kitchen is my new mat

Well hello there. It’s been a while since I’ve paid a visit to blogville.

All has been quiet and there has been a small change in my life and all of its comings and goings.

My practices have become simple and stripped down. I have done away with several rituals, altars, idols and symbols. Gone are fixed ideas of “must” and “should” on the mat, in my prayers and in all the daily routines it would seem.

I have come to a place where I can really listen to that small sweet voice inside. And where has she led me?

Into the kitchen! I am no great cook. My upbringing was in South East Asia where we had a beautiful and gifted cook and housekeeper called Boonsom to cook and care for us. She loved us dearly and I called her “Meh”, Thai for Mother. So at times I would help her make breadcrumbs for a dinner party dish. We would sit on her stone floor together and I would watch her carve the most exquisite watermelon in preparation for its display as a centrepiece for the table. These preparations would take all day and I was fascinated by them. I loved her so dearly, but she didn’t teach me to cook (more’s the pity). She made the most amazing dishes and we were spoilt rotten in her care.

My own mother doesn’t love cooking a great deal so although she taught me so much that I draw upon now, cooking wasn’t part of that tutelage.

So here I find myself. 43 years of age and a mother of twin toddlers in Bristol. My childhood meals involved rice and rice and rice. Of fishball noodle soup and fried rice. Oh and streetfood and tamarind sweets. Spectacular fruit too. Pomelo, papaya, mango…..oh the mango.  Anyhoo, I digress. I have embarked on a long journey of self-tuition. And slowly, slowly I am getting there.

I used to be a pretty good baker, but I have seem to have lost my mojo. Or maybe it was the time and pure devotion to cake that I had back then. I am learning what I can make quickly. What goes with what. There are many experiments with sugar replacements, gluten replacements. And the whole question of how to exist as the only vegetarian in the household.

So in place of the yoga mat, where I used to stretch and play and explore, there is a saucepan or two. Loads of coconut oil, some greens, pulses, boat loads of rice and a huge cupboard of ingredients I don’t really know what to do with.

So wish me well people. And fear not. The stretching, learning and exploring still happens. Along with the praying and chanting. But it happens on the loo, on the sofa, looking out of the window, in the car, in bed, whilst cleaning my teeth, in the kids’ bedroom and on it goes.

So toodlepip for now. I will continue to digest my first ever attempt at barley porridge. Not bad. May need some tweaking….a bit like everything else.

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5 years ago

I am often taken back to my teacher training and my first Yoga family during times of challenge. I remember what I was taught. Cherish the friendships I made. Smile at how happy those challenging weeks made me as the very best version of me was slowly revealed.

At the end of this month it will be 5 years since I returned home as a shiny new Yoga teacher. And I have felt blessed every single day that I took that big step.

So I bow my head in massive gratitude to all of the teachers in my life.  My mother and father. My brother Alex. My friends. My most beloved Andy (oh how I love you) and my beautiful god-sent boys, Finn and Connor.You have all changed my life for the better. God bless you all.

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Weddings

Wow! I haven’t blogged since May. And since May I have been married twice. To the same man.

I have been taught a whole lifetime of lessons during the build-up. Enjoyed the pure joy that a wedding can bring. And felt the deafening silence of day to day life once all the celebration finally comes to a close.

We did the spiritual wedding thing. There was colour and love and joy and true community spirit. It felt like a huge coming together of our community of friends. We were held, cherished and supported in this amazing blessing in a beautiful outdoor space. Everyone looked truly beautiful and that was simply down to the huge smiles on their faces.

We then did the whole Scottish wedding with kilts and big dresses (well I had a big dress but why not!) My husband Andy and I chose the venue as soon as we had a look round. It was the first place we looked at.

Charles Rennie MacIntosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald MacIntosh had designed this beautiful house for a European architectural competition in 1901 and the house was finally built in its entirity in 1994 in the beautiful grounds of Bellahouston Park in the South side of Glasgow.

So this stunning house and lanscaped gardens represented beauty, simplicity and true expression of creativity. It is in an area close to my parents home and made me feel so proud to be Scottish (even though I am also half English). I would sigh with appreciation at every panel and curve and detail within and without this building. So this wedding was beautiful and precious and so initmate. Our families joined us around an enormous oval table for the meal. We all cried buckets and laughed ourselves silly at the speeches. Andy swished about in his kilt (he looked so handsome) and I in my HUGE dress. And everybody again looked really happy. And this time around the staff at the venue cared for us like we were family.

So what am I left with as I reflect upon all of this?

I love my Andy up to the moon and stars and deep down into the earth. I love that our marriage had bound us all together as a precious and sacred family unit. I love it that my precious friends and our families were there and completely involved. I love it that we all opened our hearts.

And of course I love it that we had AMAZING food.

So get out and celebrate. Or stay in and celebrate. Embrace all that is good in your lives and multiply it if you can.

Love conquers all.

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