Blog

 RSS Feed

  1. Home is a place where we (should) feel safe & protected. These are our basic needs. But what if your home doesn’t have a space for your soul to sit?

    Your home, that you have furnished & decorated & that you love dearly may not offer you a place for the spiritual side you may wish to explore.

    For me, I adore bathrooms & I am a total “bath-lover” but I associate my bathroom with creams & potions, a place where I can ease my muscles in a deep bath but I know that the bath will cool off & I need get out to dry-off etc & I am without a doubt relaxing but my mind is still active.

    Creating a special place in a quiet room will transform your yoga/meditation practice & ultimately offer you a place for stillness, for you to come home to you. Stillness is essential & silence…

    silence is essential. We need silence, just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words & thoughts, there is no space for us”

    THICH NHAT HANH

     

    Unless you live off-grid & are really limiting screen-time, we are bombarded with more information in ONE DAY that our parents & grandparents were in their entire lifetimes (I have no statistics to actually prove this but we know it’s true!!). We, more than ever, need a place within our homes to retreat to.

    So.. where should you create your space?

    There are a few helpful rules or guidelines..

    For example, try a find a quiet room & if you can only spare a small amount of space within the quiet room then that’s perfect. I have included a wonderful little door banner inside the www.kulakarmabox.com , that sits on the door handle with a “Ssssh it’s yoga time” – a great little solution to ensure some peace & quiet.

    Organise the space – if you are staring at clutter it will only feel like another distraction & another job. Remove as much clutter as possible.

    Think about your comfort – it really matters – if you don’t like sitting on the floor then find a chair – cover it in a throw if you want it to have a different look & keep cushions close by for back support. It is worth having a light blanket nearby that will keep you warm if needed so you don’t have to disturb yourself by going off looking for these things.

    You could create a special shelf/alter or a box covered in a beautiful piece of material.

    You can place crystals, beach shells, affirmation cards that resonate with you, fresh flowers or a house plant, pictures of places or people/gods/angels that are special or inspiring to you & beautiful candles.

    The flickering flame whether it is from a fire, camp fire or a candle stirs something inside us. We light candles to celebrate life & birthdays, to remember loved ones, to create a relaxing or romantic vibe. Lighting a beautiful candle can signify the start of your meditation or yoga practice & become a beautiful symbol of light. You can silently whisper an affirmation as you light your candle & this is said to strengthen the intention, it can be something as simple but as deeply worthwhile as a few words of gratitude.

    Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle & the life of the candle is not shortened.

    Happiness never decreases by being shared

    Buddha

    Have you tried using a candle to decrease your stress-levels? Here is a lovely meditation, https://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/candle-ritual-for-stress

    Returning to your meditation space daily or when you have set some time aside, will begin to create a positive energetic vibe which will grow into beautiful sacred energy. Your mind will subconsciously “know” when you enter your space that it will find some relief. Your mind will instinctively associate your space with stillness, with calm & peace & those connections will help reconnect you back to your true self.

    Having a place for you just “be” is a gift  - the ultimate act of selfcare.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  2. This is me: I teach & practice yoga every day, I meditate every day. I was having a drink every day.

    Now…that wasn’t supposed to sound so dramatic & the actual amount I drink is genuinely not that much but we all have different constitutions/doshas & for me it was just something that had to give.

    A major factor in making this decision is my age & my hormones, whilst I love the majority of things about where I am in life & the wisdom that comes with life-experience  - there is no sugar coating this – hormones are the game changer. I was feeling so so low, my mojo only appeared after teaching a yoga class & my brain fog was frustrating as my words felt muddled.

     

    I have always become very tiddly very easily –  2 1/2 glasses of wine = room spin & bed & then in my 40’s losing the entire next day. A day?!

    At the time of writing this, we are in the midst of the Covid pandemic & during the early weeks I was “treating” myself to a tipple most nights & feeling very proud of myself if I had an evening without. I didn’t depend on my tipple but it was deeply imbedded in my 9pm wind-down.

    Pure habit. I considered my evening tipple as my “adult treat”.

    So, going back to perimenopausal hormones, I knew, intuitively that most of the symptoms I was experiencing were enhanced by alcohol as I was so sensitive to it. I had reached that point when that 9pm drink was affecting my moods & my wellbeing & energy the following day.

    So as 9pm drew closer I would start reminding myself of those small things that in fact, really affect you day:

    Lack of energy, headaches, irritability, low patience, dark circles around my eyes.

    So, I switched to a drink I really enjoyed – a lemon or a lemon & mint Sanpeligrino, with heaps of fresh lime (almost a mojito, right?)

    Almost immediately I felt awake & less groggy in the morning. The “meh” feeling lifted, depression felt less intense, dark circles were improving, the tetchiness went & my patience levels increased.

    I felt so damn good I do not plan on returning to that nightly habit.

    Here are some tips that helped me.

    • Find an alternative that you really enjoy
    • Add fruit/ice & use a beautiful glass, the above both help with that crazy feeling of missing out
    • Remind yourself of your reasons, especially in the evening when you get closer to your weak point, write them down.
    • Recognise if it’s work-related stress you are trying to numb out & try 5/10 minutes of alternate nostril breathing (read my “work-related anxiety” blog for ways to help yourself in the day & at work)
    • Notice the little stuff – make a note in a beautiful journal of the subtle but positive changes you’re experiencing.
    • Reward yourself – with a kinder self-care ritual. Come in from work & run yourself an indulgent over-the-top-insta-worthy bath as soon as you can.
    • Have a huge glass of water as very often we drink the first glass of alcohol so fast as we are thirsty.
    • Treat yourself with flowers, book a facial, a yoga session with meeee

    www.deborahgreenyoga.co.uk

     

    To tell or not to tell?

    I’m all for being truthful & hopefully you have supportive family & friends that will respect your decision (believe me, when I told my husband I would be far less tetchy without drink he became VERY supportive )

  3.   Calm is infectious & empowering, Anxiety is infectious & destructiv

    Our energy, your energy, my energy impacts & affects others. When we watch people laugh, we laugh with them. I have cried & cried with laughter watching the famous clip from the legendary duo, Laurel & Hardy, when Stan cannot speak or sit up for laughing, it is totally infectious & such a fine example of another person’s energy affecting our energy. The other side of this is the “energy vampires”, when people have the ability to suck our enthusiasm, hope & happiness right out of us.

    Energy is felt, we are energy.

    We are 6/7 months into the Covid 19 global pandemic & the uncertainty lingers. Rules & guidance is constantly changing & this pro-longed exposure to feeling unsafe can take its toll on our emotional & mental health. I often feel overwhelmed.

    Our freedom has been really impacted, to meet family & friends, to talk (without a mask), to watch films, go to theatres, listen to bands, go to festivals & watch musicians play. To listen to music live, to be with like-mined people in these creative gatherings feeds our soul.

    We can accept that for now, there is a new version of our life?

    And, can we manage the fear differently?

    Can we find any calm in the midst of this & allow that to spread instead of fear?

    So, what is this calm thing? Can we help each other if we all feel calmer?

    I feel I could include a Brene Brown quote into everything I write or talk about & to quote her here, from her podcast Unlocking Us,

    https://brenebrown.com/unlockingus/

    Brene researches “calm” and describes a calm person as someone who “brings perspective into a complicated situations” & has “the ability to manage complex emotions”

    She always nails it.

    So how can we find our way to calm?

    Limit the News Feed

    I do this & have done for a few years now & it helps as I used to go to bed crying (seriously) as I struggled to remove distressing images from my head.

    Maybe scan the headlines online & only once a day? I believe that we cannot process the volume & distressing news content that we are presented with multiple times as day.

    Once you have limited your exposure…the next step is to….

    Meditate.

    I don’t think I will ever not urge you to start meditating.

    Let’s dispel some myths & stereotypes about meditation as it only adds a block between you & calm I hope you will find it to be such a powerful tool in your life.

    Ok, so your mind will wander – this is normal & this is why I recommend a Mantra – a tool for your mind to attach to instead of your thoughts.

    I meditate every day & do so in a chair, not on the floor, not crossed legged & only slightly levitating..

    I use a simple silent mantra & the majority of the time I dance from “thought to manta, mantra to thought” but…..& this is so important, the benefits are found outside of meditation.

    When you start to practice, try to cultivate a softer approach to meditating, by that I mean, avoid any expectations of the time you spend meditating.

    I often say the phrase “it is what it is” & it helps me to drop expectations or to look for an experience while meditating as these are all actions of our mind.

    We need to meditate now more than ever. And it is this that will be your ticket to calm-city.

    I use & the app, https://insighttimer.com/

    It has a time setting so you can do a 5 minute or 20/30 minute meditation without having to check your watch or phone for the time and I have mine set with a lovely chime to end the meditation & there are lots of beautiful free guided ones too.

     

    Breathing…

    Get into the habit of taking 1 slow breath into the belly before you respond in a stressful situation or if the person you are talking to is unloading a lot of fear. This 1 slow breath will allow you to respond & not react. This will give you a sense of control & interrupts the usual constriction & tightening of your muscles when facing anxious situations or people.

    This 1 breath is your gap. Your window of perspective.

    Now you have a precious moment, a precious moment to process & consider your response.

    Fear breeds fear, as we know. What is powerful here is that the fear could stop with you.

    You have to opportunity to bring perspective & respond. Your calm energy will be felt & apart from it helping you through your day, it may end up helping someone who could be emotionally on their edge.

    In yoga philosophy, it is said, we are here to serve. Your calm could be of service to anyone you meet throughout your day.

    If you feel your place of work or work colleagues perpetuate feelings of fear & anxiety, take a look at my other blog about Anxiety at Work.  

     So there are just 3 steps to helping you work towards calm.

    Limit the news, Meditate & Breath

     

    With love

     

  4. Please note, I have written this in context of the current Covid pandemic we are all facing.

    Covid-related anxiety and work anxiety are one of the same thing. Being exposed to anxiety & stress on a daily basis is so draining & debilitating & can begin to manifest itself in physical symptoms – headaches, digestive issues etc as you may know. I hope I can help you, to remind you of tools that can keep your anxiety at bay. You may be aware of most if not all of these tools but we can slip into old habits or sometimes just feel a bit stuck & yet many of us know what can help, especially if you practice yoga. So let's take our knowledge off the mat & to where we really need it. Maybe some of the tips below will be real lightbulb moment for you, especially if you don’t practice yoga. I hope that there is maybe one or two suggestions that help you to feel less anxious, to feel a little more safe & help when you feel anxiety creeping in.

    Work can be source of pleasure & inspiration or maybe not… We can meet friends & enjoy the most wonderful connections...aaannnd not so much. Work-related anxiety can show up & we need to bring the after-glow & blissed-out-yoga-vibes to where it's really needed.

    The anxiety you are experiencing may just reappear or even completely surprise you as a “new thing”,  it’s amazing what we can get used to, with many of us seeing less people as we have had to work from home. Many of us have had a long break away from work “situations” & we need to keep our calm. We don’t want to feel that niggling anxiety creeping back as we enter this new “normal”.

    It is all in your ability to stay in “tuned in” & aware.

    Many of us need to wear our “work armour” with certain colleagues but apart from feeling like you have to keep a barrier up (& that's ok as with some people it is needed) there are a few steps you can take to help you feel more in control of your emotions & increase your resilience.

    Morning Meditation

    I am completely biased here but I know how much this works. There is so much scientific research now that supports the benefits of a regular meditation practice.

    Try setting aside at least an extra 15 minutes in the morning, just for you. Before your house becomes noisy. This time is so precious, and if you are new to meditation try a guided meditation – sometimes you need to try a few, until you find a voice that resonates well with you (voices that are too soft or high-pitched don’t do it for me & I don’t like guided mediations that are REALLY woo-woo, just a bit of woo works for me). Try to keep a journal with you to acknowledge how you feel from this – go back to your journal notes to remind yourself of the benefits & subtle changes you are experiencing otherwise there can be a tendency to brush things off. Journal/notebooks are so helpful when you feel like you need to brain-dump information so it’s written down & out of your head, leaving you able to move forwards.

    The Alpha brainwaves that occur at the start of your meditation will calm your nervous system, helping you to feel more peaceful and grounded. That feeling & glow you have after a wonderful yoga class or a walk in nature are examples of your brain in this state too.

    It will help to decrease stress hormones & help with your “thinking” mind (the part where you replay past or imagine future conversations & scenarios) & increases Theta waves which in turn affect your creativity, sense of intuition & wholeness.

    There is a beautiful “ripple-effect” experienced by meditation as your practice will not just affect your day but continues to ripple out to others – your energy will meet others & your resilience to usually stressful situations will grow tremendously. You will find that you become less reactive as you begin to respond after taking just a breath before responding. 

    Give yourself a moment. Just a breath into your beautiful belly.

    Use your commute to work wisely.

    Play amazing music that uplifts you – create a HAPPY playlist or an inspiring Podcast.

    Avoid those “30 minute news updates” on the radio, protect yourself & be aware of what you pay attention to.

    Music has can have an amazing effect on our wellbeing and so can your voice so SING  - this isn’t a judgy talent contest, this is you and your voice, whether you’re pitch perfect or flat & tone deaf…just sing. The vibrations you create within your body have a wonderful effect on your Vagus Nerve – if you can’t think of a song to sing then go with the sound of the universe….. OM….AUM

    Grow tall

    Ease your shoulder back & drop the frown. Your body informs your brain, if it didn’t, we wouldn’t feel so amazing at the end of a yoga session, would we?

    When we feel low, we want to curl up and we round our shoulders & when we want to protect ourselves. Simply open up, be aware of your posture, your shoulders & your neck.

    Breathe from your belly.

    Be super-conscious of your belly and your breath when you’re faced with a challenging situation or conversation.

    Try getting into the habit of taking 1 slow breath BEFORE you answer or reply. Even then, consider whether you even need to respond.

    (I used to consider myself an expert in “silence filling” – and I know it comes from anxiety. It is something I’m still aware of)

     

    Silence is beautiful.

    That & your smile.

    Retreat  - use your lunch time wisely.

    If things are truly overwhelming, use your break/lunch to reconnect with YOU. Take yourself off & if you enjoy the guidance, find an APP or podcast that lights you up or the book that distracts you completely from the situation – sometimes we simply need to distract our minds with other things to break the ruminating loop in our heads.

    Use essential oils, the travel size rollerball ones are perfect or an aromatherapy based calming mist.

    Sit and take at least 5 minutes to tune in to your breathing, soften your belly & face.

    Try counting up to 4/5 on the inhale & a longer 6/8 on the exhale.

    In my classes, I often use the analogy of, inflating a balloon slowly & deflating slowly. Find a pace & rhythm that feels right for YOU.

    Compassion

    Finally, one last tool I use is to step back and try and be as compassionate as I can. We know very little about people’s history & home-life so the more compassionate we are, it makes us far less judgemental, maybe sometimes it not even about you.

    This shift in attitude allows you to look at life in a much more forgiving way that will take you to a much happier place both mentally & emotionally.

    After teaching yoga/breathwork for the past 16 years, I know without any doubt that your breath is your strongest & most loyal friend. Stay close to it. Pay attention to it when you notice your triggers & sooth yourself. Use that inner voice & find a phrase that soothes your anxiety. It doesn’t have to be anything spiritual or woo-woo, it can be something simple like; “I’m ok, I’m safe” or “inhale, exhale” – so you attune to your breath.

    I hope you have found this helpful – maybe you want to share it with someone you care about? Feel free to share. And let me know what mantra you find helpful.

    Take care of you.

    Deborah

     

     

  5. Humility… Is it needed as a Yoga Teacher?

     

    Let us look a little deeper at the word “humble”,

    Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance’

    Simple, gentle, unassuming, courteous, unpretentious,

    The Latin definition is ‘humus’…meaning the earth..I’ll come back to this

    Within Yogic texts such as The Bhagavad Gita, humility is referred to as an “absence of self-importance”.

    So why is this relevant to myself, as a yoga teacher and more importantly how does it help those that come to my class?

     I often open up to my class, I speak from the heart and I shared regarding a specific posture due to my fear of falling

    Now this isn’t, “in case I look daft kinda fear”, as I am waaay beyond that but a deep, panic, heart almost stops kinda fear. Having conversations with other people in my class, it seems to increase after having children. Maybe this is an innate sense of preservation?

    I digress…

    However, by opening up to my class I hopefully eased any similar worries they may have and…..i feel it bridges the gap between them and myself.

     I am them.  I’m not separate from them simply because I lead them through beautiful pranayama techniques or postures. There should be no sense of superiority simply because you guide & share the knowledge of yoga.

    I am only there to share the knowledge of yoga that my teachers have shared with me and from the books I have read & absorbed over the years.

    The way, I felt, to lead this was to discuss the posture and my struggles & go into the posture with care & to show modifications.

    As it turned out, a few had falling fears so I knew I could empathise and understand their reasoning whether to try or to leave it for another day.

     

    Even in writing this, I am battling against the inner voice reminding me that this blog may appear like as I am trying to cleverly suggest…

    “wow check me out, I teach this way, I am ammaaazzzing blah blah blah” which makes my insides cringe!  (I’m breathing through it ha ha)

    Yes I have to believe in myself and what I teach..which I do.

    There’s a level of confidence within and this is needed, as I know I can lead people with all varying levels of flexibility and old/existing injuries/ailments safely, respectfully and inclusively through a class.

    The class needs to trust the teacher.

    When the class is taught by a Peacock , it becomes about the teacher and the class should always be about you. The lovely human, that is you reading this.

    I have watched amazingly flexible teachers and at the same time, they haven’t noticed that many are left behind, with no guidance. I have heard the cringe-worthy stories from people being asked politely to leave the class as “yoga isn’t for them” or telling the instructor about their bad knee and being told “why are you here?” and being shown very advanced postures in beginners classes.

    I could go on and it saddens me sooo much as those people that made the effort to turn up may never try yoga again?!

    The class is about YOU, it’s your precious time, it’s your wonderful unique body that you are there to open and your busy mind that needs that time to detach.

    Humility is an understanding that “I do not know it all and I will always have more to learn.”

    Within Yogic texts such as The Hatha Yoga Pradipika reminds the spiritual aspirant to “remember their humble position in the mighty cosmic force”. “Humbleness means simplicity of character and lifestyle. The soul needs no lavish accessories, food or praises, and when you seek them they pull you away from your true identity.”

    Beautiful.

    So I’m returning to the Latin word “humus” - the Earth.  We should think of humility as staying grounded to our roots…we are from the earth & will return to it. We are not or ever greater than, we simply are.

    So is humility an important part of being a yoga teacher?

    I’m answering that with a passionate…yes.

    I found this…….

     70962_small

     

    Thank you:

     The Bhagavad Gita, Eknath Easwaran

    Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Muktibodhananda