Are you self aware?

This post again has been a long time in the making. I keep coming back to this question of self awareness. What does it mean? Does it matter? What impact can being self aware have on your daily ‘life’ actions?

Are you self aware? Are you able to look inside and be reflective? Can you question internally things that matter most, or even challenge your own actions and beliefs? Are you able to be honest enough to know when you’re not living a life that is full, open and a true representation of who you are (whatever that may be)?

Being self aware doesn’t necessarily mean being self-conscious. But more about knowing yourself. Knowing when things don’t feel quite right in your life, or knowing when life feels just as it should. I am learning through my yoga training that using different physical techniques such as asana practise, you are able to touch in with your body, your breath and begin to connect with how you are feeling. Is there any tension or stress in your body? Is your breathing tight and short, or is it long and shallow? Are you finding it hard to focus and find yourself easily distracted? Is finding balance a struggle and you find yourself wobbling?

Recently I have been thinking about what it means to be self aware in everyday life, not just in my yoga practise. I’ve always thought of myself as a reflective person. Someone who maybe painfully overthinks stuff, but then can also be inconsiderate or lack awareness of others. Never intentional let me just say. Sometimes I find that hard to admit to myself. This is what I mean by being self aware. Tuning into and being honest with who you are and not trying to hide things away. When you stumble upon something that troubles you or you don’t want to accept, then that’s when you need to stop, listen, accept and find a positive way of moving forward. I know I have a tendency to overshare and rattle on about things, not really picking up on conversational cues that tell me when I need to stop. Now, this is not me being self deprecating but rather about me accepting things about myself and knowing that, that’s okay. So when I catch myself rambling on, I pause and take a step back. It’s not about changing who you are but being aware of yourself in different situations.

Writing and yoga helps me do that. I am slowly taking an interest in meditative techniques to help me slow down and take care of my mind. Which I know can be on overdrive. A bit of self care is a great way to check in and see how things are going in your life. Are you holding onto negative thoughts? Are you not accepting something in your life that scares you? It could be anything, and taking the time to reflect and tune in is so important in a society that is so out there media wise.

Yoga teaches that we are so consumed with external dramas, we forget about the internal stuff. Focusing on the inner self; the self which is constant, we can begin to push aside all that confusing and messy stuff that holds so much influence on our lives. Where in your lives can you find time to stop, check in and reflect on your actions and thoughts? Maybe that can our next challenge. I know I will be continuing this journey of self awareness. Finding out more about myself, and how I can let that shine through without the negativity of self deprivation.

Finding a sense of my Self

Been a while I believe and whilst I am not trying to put limits and constraints on this blog, I don’t want to loose track of why I started this little space of mine.

So here we are. Another post. A brief one today. I am still processing all the information I received today on my yoga foundation course. However, I have decided that alongside my reflective life posts, I am going to post updates and reflections on my my training. What new insights I’m discovering or how my asana practice is developing whilst deepening my spiritual understanding of Yoga. 

Today really opened up my eyes as to how much yoga means to me. What it has given and continues to give me. You never stop learning and growing with yoga. There is always more to build upon. Today I gained an understanding of why I choose to practise. What motivates me to get on my mat. Listening to others stories helped me realise my own thoughts and beliefs about what yoga is. 

Initially it was to build strength in my body specifically my spine and core muscles. As time grew the philosophical aspects became of interest. Being naturally inclined to spiritual ideas and eastern philosophy more specifically, I have found that yoga helps me figure out who I am and who I want to be. More of that later I’m sure.

For now I am feeling lots of different things and need to time digest and mull over new ideas and concepts. I am certainly though more aware of how my body moves and the articulations of certain postures, which was extremely interesting to learn about. 

I feel very strongly that my decision to undertake a foundation course in yoga was the best decision I’ve made so far. Where its takes me over the next six months, we will find out!

X

P.s. if you want to know more about my course, head of to the British Wheel of Yoga to see what’s on offer. 

Balance? Well who has time for that?

Ironically, this post is about finding balance and this particular essay has been sat on my desktop for nearly a month. Not sure I’m best qualified to comment on this area, or am I? Maybe this is the perfect area to be exploring. So here we are, my, finally, thoughts on finding balance…

Finding balance is something we all aspire to achieve in our lives. Yet I do feel very few of us are truly able to acquire it (clearly me as I haven’t posted this essay or written in nearly a month). We may for fleeting moments find that even playing field but are then all too quickly thrown back into the ups and downs of day-day living.

It can be hard to find out what kind of balance we want or need in life. Is it the classic work / life balance? Or is it about more finding a balance with our digital selves? Taking time away and switching off from the sometimes-toxic world of social media. Is it about finding a balance with our bodies? Being more mindful of our eating habits, the way we treat our bodies from either over or under exercising.

Balance they say is key to staying grounded and focused.

To being content and happy.

Buddhist philosophy talks about the ‘Middle way’. A path that is neither too strict or too relaxed. A life that encompasses the things you want to put out into the world.

Love.

Compassion.

A commitment to improving your self from the inside out. Supporting your fellow man.

Speaking and acting out your Truth…whatever that may be.

Finding balance in life allows you the opportunity to focus on things that are important to you.

If we don’t have balance in our lives then we are not truly opening up to our full capabilities. How do we know when things are too one side? Too top heavy? We know the age old saying ‘feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders’. How do we go about readjusting our values and priorities so we can fall back into line?

I think we first have to figure out what our priorities are in life? Is it striving for a full-filling, busy, packed to the brim work life? A live to work mantra (if that’s what is important to you)? Or is it about making time for yourself? Giving into a bit of self-love. Tuning out from work and delving into more creative and inspiring outlets. Is it about prioritising time for others? Making a commitment to spending time with loved ones. For me meditating and journaling is great way to figure out these things. Writing stuff down no matter how trivial helps me sift through the messiness of my thoughts.

I know how easy it is to get caught up in the overwhelming demands and stresses of work (which for me is something I love and am passionate about). However, it is not the only thing that drives me. Sometimes I let it take over and begin to loose grip on things that I care about. Yoga, meditation, writing, photography and just being generally in my own little world.

When my balance is blurred and unsteady, I find myself feeling disjointed and disconnected from my environment. I get an itchy feeling to change and do something different to spark some inspiration in my life. I know I am working towards something greater. And I know, for me it’s about prioritizing my passions. Making that time to do things I enjoy rather than pushing them aside and not really doing much else instead.

I don’t want to suddenly get the feeling I’ve wasted moments of my life pushing things aside. I want to be more present and more in tune with the Now. Maybe that’s how I can find my balance. Accepting things as they are and making real commitments to doing things I enjoy as the feeling arises.

Truth

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Truth.

What does this mean?

What is my truth?

What does it mean to live truthfully? To act in a truthful way?

Is it about speaking honestly and simply not lying? Or is it more about realizing what matters most in life? Whether that’s actions and words directed to others, or even more importantly to yourself.

One of my last practices in this yoga revolution I talked about in my last post, was about finding your truth. Tapping into your breath, looking inside and finding out what you’re all about. What is my truth? And I struggled. Really struggled to figure out what my truth is. And the things I thought about, I really had to think about. Am I kind? I am good natured? Am I honest with myself, or do I hide things away? I couldn’t work out what it was.

This made me sad. I know I don’t always act in a way that is true to myself. Mostly because I find it hard to let people down. I hate not being able to make other people happy. I hate the feeling I’ve hurt someone. Usually it’s by trying to say yes to everything. I know I touched upon these ideas and feelings in a previous post. Check it out here.

However, I know there’s something going on inside right now that’s left me a little disjointed. A little unsettled. Not sure what is unsettled yet. But I’m struggling with myself. I feel I’ve lost my way a little.

I know deep inside I’m not speaking my truth. Through this regular practice and returning to my mat, to my breath, to my soul, I have realized some things need changing. Some things need to be reevaluated.

Through this ‘truth’ practice I found a lump in my throat. A tightening of the muscles. Now, anyone who knows me, knows chakras are a new interest of mine. And the throat chakra is probably one of the ones I am focusing on the most. I develop a tightening in my throat when I have conversations. I find it hard to get my words out clearly and concisely. And struggle to be understood in a way that I want people to understand me. I either offend someone unintentionally or just ramble through my words without saying much.

Over the past few weeks I have felt at odds with myself. I don’t know if it’s a natural thing to feel uneasy at this time of the year. It’s dreary, cold, damp. Lack of funds from the festive period always puts a downer on your social life. But those are all material things that can be fixed fairly easily. Wrap up warm, hot baths, comfort food, staying in with friends and watching films. Finding a little hygge in your life. How I’ve been feeling underneath that superficial stuff is what is causing my angst. My muddled thoughts. The tightening of my throat. I feel practising, or doing something regularly ultimately makes you think and feel differently. Whether it’s physical exercise or not. A constant regular ‘doing’ causes a change of events that trigger new ideas, lights a little fire and spark in your soul. Or if it doesn’t then that’s telling in itself.

I recently went to see La La Land. Twice may I just say and was lost in the film. It inspired me to figure out what matters to me. What my dreams are. The things that drive me. Having the courage to speak out even if it doesn’t sit well with others. Is this speaking our truth?

I know I have some more digging to do. I know something has shifted since beginning this regular, daily yoga practise. The language and ideas presented to me in each sequence has encouraged me to readdress key themes if our lives. I can tell this because the way I’m writing and connecting my thoughts together has changed.

Setting goals, or resolutions has never been my thing, but maybe this idea of speaking my ‘truth’ can be my inspiration. My inspired action for the year. To speak and act in a truthful and honest way. It may not be easy but life is too short to hide away who we are.

x

Thoughtful and fearless

 

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This may be a more rambled essay than usual. Still trying to make sense of it all. And by all, I mean ‘all’ of it. Whoa big concept there Emma, good job!

So, lets begin…What does it mean when one moves fearlessly through life? When one moves with thoughtfulness and care?

Through my 31 days of yoga (check it out over here on Youtube), each practice taps into a different idea or way of thinking. A different way of engaging with the world around us.

A different way of engaging with ourselves.

Two practices that stuck with me were firstly moving with care and with thought. Being aware of what is happening around us, and how we choose to interact with daily life.

Moving in a thoughtful way. The way we treat ourselves. Do we really stop and notice those small details? Do we tune into our own immediate environment and space? Are we careful in how we treat others? When moving through different physical asanas in 31 days of yoga, we are invited to slow down the process and move with this idea of ‘being connected’.

We are invited to move with thought about where we place our bodies in relation to the space that surrounds us. In conjunction with that we are invited to then notice our thoughts: are we being tough on ourselves?

Are we to eager to move quickly? Are we actually not aware of what s going at all? These can then be applied to your actions of the mat.

When you slow down, you have the space to connect to yourself and begin to be more considered in daily actions. Whether it’s going to make dinner, taking a bath, doing the washing up. Whatever it may be, it’s about becoming mindful of the way we interact with all that is in our lives.

Just being truly present.

Becoming mindful allows you to notice what’s really going on. Are you truly happy? Are you truly connected to others in your life? Are you committed to bringing about joy?

This brings me to the second practise that stuck with me. As we become thoughtful, we can soon become fearless. We can move in a way that does not hold us back. We can take those steps forward that we may not have felt able to before.

I don’t think being fearless is about jumping straight into something without thinking, and seeing what happens. I think it’s about knowing you can do something because you have faith in your capabilities that you have cultivated through careful, thoughtful actions.

You trust your path because you created it. You built your own foundations that hold you up. Foundations that keep you strong, if things don’t always work.

But how do we know we are being fearless? What does that feel like? For me it’s about knowing it’s okay to fall. If you take yoga for example, there’s always the possibility of falling, but that’s okay.

It’s taking the chance to challenge yourself. To meet your edge and push a little further. Not so far you will hurt yourself, but enough to see where this path may take you. Opening your mind a little more to what’s available.

To me that’s acting in a fearless way.

I have found over this past month, through cultivating a regular practice that I am tuning in more to myself. Through daily journaling and challenging myself to really look deep inside, I am becoming aware of what matters to me.

I am figuring out how to be truly mindful in the present moment.

Taking time to reflect for a brief second. Check in with my thoughts, feelings and mental faculties.What needs redirecting? What needs a bit of love and attention?

This is how we create a foundation that is solid, strong and capable. This is where we can become thoughtful and fearless in life.

I invite you to do the same.

x

 

 

Ring out the old. Ring in the new…

This time of year brings up a lot of feelings and questions for me. Always has done. And I find myself with a mixed bag of thoughts.

I suppose the key theme of this little essay is moving forward with the new and letting go of the old. How does one go about this? What is my dharma, my higher purpose, as I move into a new chapter of my life? I have a feeling this easy will contain a lot of “but how does one..?” questions.

As we move into a new cycle of living, how do we know we are moving towards the things we want? How do we know what it is we truly want in the first place? Or rather is the path we are currently on a path others have said we are good at, so merely continued on it without questioning its deeper meaning and connection to our truest desires. In fact how do we get to the root of our truest desires? Especially considering the responsibilities of day to day living. I want to be able to question more deeply the things that are important to me, without being bogged down by the general niggly  bits that keep us distracted.

One of my dearest, and oldest friends, recently said to me that our natural state is one of joy. If we find ourselves being deterred from that natural state then we need to find a means of bringing ourselves back to what we are naturally meant to be – in a state of joy. Such a simple concept. Such a wonderful concept, yet probably one of the hardest things to strive towards. Firstly, we’ve got to discover what brings us joy, true joy. And then we’ve got to figure out a way of incorporating those things into our lives.

I read somewhere that when it comes to making time to do the things we enjoy and love, it’s more about changing our mindsets. Most of the time we say “I don’t have time to do this/that”. However, what we should be saying is “I don’t view this as a priority right now”. Now, when you direct that towards wanting more time to read, practise yoga, see friends/loved ones etc and not feeling like you have enough time in the day/week/month, really what we are saying is “I don’t view seeing friends as a priority” “I don’t view working out a priority for my health”. We will always have enough time. Time is constant and unchanging. It’s about making things a priority and committing to that. We can’t blame ‘time’, we can only blame ourselves for choosing not top go to the gym that day, or not picking up your book to spend an hour reading. I feel it’s about being truly honest with yourself and taking responsibility for wanting something better.

Therefore as I “ring out the old” I’m going to “ring in the new” by ensuring things that are important to me are a priority. As the new year unfolds lets strive to enhance our lives for the better by doing things that bring about joy. No matter how small or how big those things may be. I’ve started journaling daily and thinking about where I am in that moment. More specifically developing my yoga practise, and unpicking how this will support me in cultivating a life that brings me joy. Tuning into the inner self and manifesting dreams hidden deep inside. Yes I went there! Get down with your inner self (if you follow Yoga with Adrienne you’ll get where I’m coming from). You may yet surprise yourself with what you will find hidden and buried away. I do believe strongly that it is about closing your eyes and ears, tuning out the white noise and looking at yourself in the present moment. Being honest enough to admit if where you are right now is not what you want your life to be. Respecting yourself enough to start making changes that have a positive impact on your overall well-being. And coincidently the coming about of a new year seems to fit in with this idea of a fresh start. A new beginning; a moment in time where you decide to do something positive for yourself. As a result the people around you will benefit from this. By focusing on supporting yourself, you are in a much better position to support and help another person.

For me, continuing with this little space is one such action I have committed to. This my way of grappling with difficult ideas that I need to explore and process in order to find a way forward. To question and discover new ways to improve and grow as a person. And I invite you all to the same as we progress through the new year.

x

Life’s simplicities…

Little moments where you can enjoy the calm and peacefulness of life.
This may be through enjoying and savouring a cup of tea. Not a hard earned end of day cuppa, but a lazy weekend morning of self love. Where all you do is take your time boiling the water, brewing the bag, and then quietly sipping and savouring each mouthful.

Maybe it’s sitting in your favourite part of the house. Soaking in the quiet. Whilst reading your favourite book, magazine, blogs etc. Or that perfect bath where you sit in quiet solotude, resting your mind and body from daily life.

It could be anything that brings you joy. This term is being bandied around a lot on social media at the moment. Maybe you’ve started taking an active interest in this concept of ‘hygge’. I know I have. I recently bought a book on the concept. I’m sucker for new ways of living. I’m a lifestyle advertisers dream. Ha!

I have yet to tuck into this small but intriguing little book, but from all that’s being said on social media it sounds like something I can get on board with. Little joys, and finding pleasure in what we have is not as hard as we make it out to be. We feel a constant need to seek joy outside of ourselves. When really we need to look internally and reassess what we have already.

My intention this weekend was to just enjoy small moments with my mum. Spend time just being in an environment that is familiar and comforting. As I head home today, I leave feeling more settled. It is easy to get swept up and stuck in the rut of day to day stuff.

So I leave you with a few quotes that I have found recently…

Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement; a sanded floor and whitewashed walls and the green trees, and flowery meads, and living waters outside.

William Morris

The key to finding a happy balance in modern life is simplicity

Sogyal Rinpoche

Having time off and spending time doing the things I enjoy, such as reading health mags or savouring that sweet cup of coffee (simple pleasures, I know) is all I need.  I think we forget about the small stuff and feel to be happy we have to make big sweeping gestures and make big choices in life.

I don’t think that’s always the case. Let’s find time to master those little moments in life. Let’s find time to invest in ourselves.

X