5 tips for dealing with the current lockdown – especially if you’re getting triggered by the current situation
We all know how important it is to connect with your body and it’s wisdom, and how compassion helps us to be kinder to ourselves and others.
But in my experience we often struggle with how to do it in practical terms. This is why even though we know it is good for us but we don’t do it.
This is why somatic practice is everything. Otherwise it’s just a lovely sounding theory.
So here are 5 steps for managing current situation.
They can be life changing – I know because they keep me sane and safe on a daily basis. But don’t take my word for it – try them out for yourself and see how you feel after practicing them.
And remember – it’s a practice.
If you are new to this kind of practices it will feel strange. Be curious about it.
If it becomes too intense – stop and come back to it later.
Over time these practices will become more familiar and a place of inner refuge.
Slow down and reconnect within your body
Take time to slow down a little.
Take a pause to notice your body and breath.
Relax your belly and take a few slower breaths into your belly.
Or if this is difficult then move your body – in any way that feels right for you right now.
You can even make some noise out loud as you move.
Sit down or lie down and allow your body to relax into the support underneath you.
Allow the weight of your body to be physically supported feeling the stability of the ground underneath you.
Move your shoulders and neck around allowing yourself to experience all different sensations within your body.
Or roll around on the floor opening and curling your body.
Explore what your body needs right now – what is your body story in this moment?
Acknowledge your feelings and inner experience with curiosity
Ask yourself – what am I feeling right now?
Scan your torso from your neck to your pelvis and notice any feelings.
Acknowledge all your feelings by saying: ‘something in me is feeling … (angry, sad, worried, anxious, exhausted, etc) – instead of I’m angry, I’m sad.
Notice how feelings often come with sensations in your body. There might be tightness in your stomach – and also fear gripping your stomach. Or choking sensation in your throat and anger being present there.
Be open to what is present within your inner experience without having to change it, fix it or deny it.
Allow those feelings and sensations to be here and give them some space to tell you what is going on from their perspective. Can you listen without doing anything with them? Can you let them be here without jumping into fixing?
Notice what thoughts are present in your mind. What story is your mind telling you? Is it a familiar story? Can you observe it with curiosity?
Be kind and compassionate towards yourself and your inner experience
Can you shift into holding the whole of your experience – body sensations, feelings and thoughts – within your compassionate embodied self?
Can you hold all different parts of your experience within a safe container?
What do you need right now in order to be able to do it?
Connect with others for co-regulation
Reach out to somebody who you feel safe with and you know that can hold a safe and compassionate space for you.
And from your compassionate embodied self offer this safe and compassionate space to others.
And if you are a yoga teacher and want to learn about trauma-informed yoga with focus on resilience and embodiment check out the available CPD and 50-hour accredited trainings at YOGA SCHOOL page.
Ordinary Sacred Moments
I’ve been reflecting on the ordinary… all those little moments in life.
The stuff that life is really made of.
So how do I feel about ordinary?
When I was young I used to run away from it. I wanted big experiences, huge feelings, cathartic releases.
I wanted to achieve great things…
I wanted to be an enlightened yogini, a great writer, an amazing healer, a powerful witch.
But that was over 30 years ago…
And over the years as I learned more about life and psychology and slowly started embody my own body and being, getting grounded and mindfully within the moment – something shifted.
My relationship to ordinary changed.
I realised that those ordinary moments have become a real refuge for me – a moment to pause and check within what I’m really feeling and give myself space to honour it; a warm big hug with a person I love; a cup of my favourite earl grey tea early in the morning as I’m sitting in our little conservatory looking into the garden and listening to birds; a smile on a client’s face as they reconnect within and we sit in silence soaking up the moment; a walk by the sea with all those soothing sounds around.
Fully experienced within my body.
Moments of powerful connection inside out.
Powerfully healing for me.
How do you feel about ordinary?
Do you embrace it and make room for it or do you avoid it as much as you can?
I’d love to know.
And if you’d like to join a community of yoginis on #embodiedyoginipath – then come and join us in our free Facebook group: EMBODIED YOGINI Path, where at the moment I’m running a free challenge throughout the whole July.
FOR YOGA TEACHERS – Understanding how to work with trauma is more important then ever.
But understanding trauma – what it is, signs and symptoms, and theories – is only a first step.
What’s key here is to know HOW IT TRANSLATES INTO OUR WORK WITH STUDENTS AS YOGA TEACHERS.
Because let’s be honest – yoga and mindfulness are sold these days as practices that are good for many things – physical health and fitness, stress reduction, mental health and wellbeing, embodiment, spiritual transformation. That’s a lot of high expectations.
These days people coming to our sessions can present with many different needs, and these can include trauma symptoms. How do you recognise when somebody gets triggered? And how do you support, guide and create safety for them in your sessions?
How all this knowledge and understanding of trauma translates in practical ways into working with YOUR client group?
Because teaching yoga to a group of teenagers, fit adults, older ladies or prison inmates will require you to approach it in different ways.
Join me for:
TRAUMA AND BEING SAFELY EMBODIED
4-hour CPD workshop: Practical ways to teach yoga with trauma awareness
Friday 5th June 2020 – 1pm to 5pm UK
Online via Zoom – This workshop is limited to 25 participants only to allow for interactive and safe learning.
Info and booking details are here: http://www.anetai.co.uk/cpd-yoga-teachers-training-trauma-…/
♥ Here are 3 of my favourite short practices to help you feel grounded and stable in an embodied way. Enjoy!
FOR YOGA TEACHERS – Do you ever get up in the morning and open your emails, see all those amazing things others are doing and feel your energy crash?
That’s what happened to me this morning. I woke up feeling slightly tired. Didn’t have a good night. My mind wouldn’t switch off and I was restless. I did too much yesterday and didn’t wind down in the evening.
And when I got up I made a mistake of checking my emails instead of doing my practice first. This rarely happens but when it does it usually has unpleasant consequences for me.
I saw all these wonderful people doing amazing work that I also long to do and my energy crashed. I heard a quiet voice within me: ‘Ohhhh I’ll never be able to do it’ and I felt my whole body loose vitality. It felt as if a plug was pulled out in a bathtub and all the water poured out into the ground.
If you are anything like me you want to show up for your community and clients and do your best work. You want to support others the best you can. You are willing to do the work and learn and grow for the benefit of all.
But here is the crunch – in order to be able to do it you have to take time to nourish YOU first.
Your morning yoga, meditation and pranayama practice that you know you should be doing daily is not just for you so you stay healthy, fit and grounded – it’s also to create a strong container within you so you can support others from this grounded and embodied space.
Your reflective practice of journalling or Focusing is not just for you to reconnect within and build inner self-trust – it’s also to be able to hold a safe space for your clients when they’re struggling or processing something.
Your time out to rest is important so you can nourish your energy and integrate in an embodied way all the learning and progress you’ve made.
This time for your own practices is the foundation of who you are as a yoga teacher.
It’s about your own deeper connection, integration and wholeness.
It’s about you walking your talk in an embodied way.
It’s about you teaching from a space of understanding, embodied experience and compassion for yourself and others.
Otherwise something within you will feel like a ‘fraud’, scared that it will be found out. It will remind you again and again that you are not walking your talk and it will sabotage your efforts of showing up fully. It will bring up doubts about your abilities to achieve your dreams.
So today just reflect on your ‘I don’t have time for my practice’ story. Your practice doesn’t have to be long – but it has to be consistent. Because showing up for yourself is the foundation of showing up for others.
I’d love to hear what you think.
And if you’d like to connect with me and other yoga teachers check out current further yoga teacher trainings with mentoring on trauma-informed yoga at YOGA SCHOOL page.
Autumn is happening all around us…
Last Saturday I was outside of Canterbury in a little village in the middle of the fields. It was raining and the hills looked misty. The leaves on the trees started turning red and yellow. It was a great Autumn day.
And I was with a group of lovely women in a cosy yurt, with a wood burner throwing a warm and soothing light, a soft music playing and a little altar with candles, gift pouches and healing cards in the middle of the room.
We were gathered for Sacred Pause Day Yoga Retreat. A second one I hosted at the same place. But last time it was summer time and very hot and sunny outside. A completely different experience.
> we created a circle with our mats and bolsters and got comfortable with blankets and many cushions
> we practiced gentle embodied mindful yoga in the morning and yin/restorative yoga in the afternoon
> we took time to meditate and breath deeply
> we took time to reconnect with our bodies and our inner experience
> we practiced listening deeply to our body’s wisdom
> we practiced with curiosity and kindness
> we connected with each other with compassion
> we did a yin ritual
> we had lots of warm Yogi and Pukka teas
> we had nutritious vegan lunch and chatted happily
And it was a perfect Autumn day – a day of Yin season.
Autumn is a perfect time to embrace more YIN
Following our Sacred Pause Day Retreat one of the participants send me this note:
‘Interesting Saturday made me connect with how tired I was, … then in the evening I felt really relaxed and revived! The last 2 nights I have slept really well and started the week refreshed rather than exhausted! So a good start, plus got up 10 mins earlier to do stretches!’
And that’s what Yin offers you when you embrace it..
… when you just let go of constant striving and doing….
… and you lean into the support of Mother Earth and support available around you.
- sinking into your favourite spot on your sofa or armchair, with a good book
- a warm nourishing cup of tea
- having a nourishing and healing Thai Yoga Massage
- going for a walk in a forest or woods and connecting with Autumn trees full of colour
- committing to a weekly nourishing yoga class
- taking little breaks during the day and resting more
- eating nourishing warm foods
- reflecting on how this year has been and letting go of whatever doesn’t work for you any more
Yin is a heart medicine
It’s a feminine soothing energy that heals deeply. Especially in our constantly busy society.
It allows us to re-connect deeply and find our own rhythm. And live in line with Natures’s rhythm. Just like we are build to do.
>> SO WHAT CAN YOU DO OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS TO EMBRACE YIN IN YOUR LIFE?
I’d love to know!
Do you know that VITALITY is another byproduct of responding skilfully to your needs?
…maybe we need to start with defining what vitality is.
What I see is that in our society vitality is being portrayed as jumping out of bed in the morning and welcoming your day with open arms and a big smile on your face, being ready to conquer the world!
In my eyes that’s a really bad way of looking at vitality.
Yes, sometimes you can wake up and jump out of bed full of joy and wonder.
But life is not like that all the time…
Sometimes you might struggle with your business/work, or be very tired from a busy period of work or looking after children, or have a disagreement with someone, or a loved one is ill or dying.
In those times I doubt that you will jump out of bed full of beans!
Does it mean that you have to loose your vitality and wellbeing? Does it mean we can only be ok when life is ‘rosy’?
If that’s your belief then I’m sorry to say but you’re screwed…
Because life is life and those challenges are part of it.
And there is another way…
A way that allows us to be real in our lives and the same time stay fully engaged.
A way to bring more pragmatic wisdom and skilful action into our lives. ☝️
A way that can help us stay connected and responsive to our needs within challenging circumstances.
It’s simply about showing up for yourself, acknowledging your feelings and responses, honouring your needs and above all responding to those needs with compassion.
It will look different for each one of us.
You might need:
> more time on your own
> more time with loved ones
> journal about your feelings and inner processes
> talk with others
> seek professional support
> move your body more
> seek more stillness
> change your job
> cut things out in your business
> shift your focus more into whatever nourishes your soul
It’s just so personal and individual. There is no cookie cutter approach. It’s just your inner wisdom guiding you to what you need.
And so vitality might mean eating well and taking rest so you don’t exhaust yourself and keep your energy levels steady.
It might mean going to your regular yoga sessions and have a movement practice that is right for you right now.
It might mean taking any other skilful action to nurture your vitality.
Because even in those challenging times we can still act with self-compassion and loving-kindness towards ourselves and relate to others and the world from this space. ❤️
>> SO WHAT DO YOU NEED TO NURTURE YOUR VITALITY?
And if you’d like to have some help to work it out – reach out and let’s chat. This is exactly what I help my clients with in Thrive with Body Wisdom – 3-month coaching programme. I offer FREE 30 mins consultation so let’s chat.
Going beyond old ways of looking at body
“Your body is not a machine,
rather a wonderfully intricate interaction with everything around you,
Which is why it ‘knows’ so much just in being.”
Over the past two decades I’ve done a lot of courses and read a lot of books. If you know me even a little then you know that I’ve been on a search for the truth. I’ve been searching for a way to practice that would allow me to be at ease with myself. I remember having therapy many years ago and my therapist saying that I was ‘tormented’, which reflected quite well my inner state at the time.
This is why I studied so many different approaches: psychology and counselling, social sciences, NLP, life coaching, Wellness Coaching, energy healing, Reiki, mindfulness, yoga, embodiment, somatic movement and now Focusing.
And in my search I learned so much. I discovered so much about who I am, my conditioning, my inner and outer processes and our shared human condition.
And I’ve worked with hundreds of clients in various settings – people who like me were on a search and I learned so much from them, for which I am so grateful.
3 ways of working with body
And what I realised is that there different ways of working with our body and our whole experience – leading to different levels of connection.
1. Traditional (old school) approach – where we treat body as a mechanical object.
We look at body’s alignment and the difference between right and left sides as well as top and bottom, analyse the posture and decide on how to correct it.
There is a real separation between body and mind – physical and mental/emotional issues and treatments.
Some of the best known corrective approaches to body are based on this principle: allopathic medicine, osteopathy, physio, fitness and exercise, fitness-focused yoga.
Many of us like this approach and find it useful – we want our body to be fixed and sorted, especially when in a lot of pain or discomfort. We want to feel stronger, more in control and fitter.
2. Newer somatic approach – where we treat body as a space containing passing sensations.
We recognise the power of impact of the Vagus Nerve and a healing power of deep abdominal breath. We acknowledge that body can self-regulate and heal with the right conditions.
We understand that body affects mind and mind affects body and we acknowledge power of emotions.
Some of the best known practices are:
Mindfulness practices especially body scan, somatic movement and Mindful Yoga, Yin Yoga and all breathing practices. Energetic healing touch practices such as Thai Yoga Massage.
3. This last approach is very new – it treats body as flowing and living sensation wanting life-forward movement.
We acknowledge and accept that body is one whole living system that communicates through felt-senses – meaningful body sensations.
The sense of wholeness and integration comes by itself from deep listening and acknowledging of those felt-senses. There is no separation between body and mind – just like the old wisdom of yoga teaches us.
Best known practices are:
Focusing and Wholebody Focusing, Somatic Experiencing (for trauma work) and Embodied Mindful breath-led Yoga.
This last approach for me comes under SACRED PAUSE practice – taking a pause to notice, acknowledge and be with our body, our whole experience – with kindness and curiosity. Allowing yourself to rest within. Understanding that integration comes from creating harmony and inclusion within (no ‘show it who’s the boss’ BS).
This is what I teach my clients – especially in private sessions as they allow us to explore the individual needs.
I’ve spend the last year learning Focusing practice for myself and to hold in Presence my body with its felt-senses. And I have to say this way of being completely changed how I am with myself, other people and the world. This practice allowed me to go beyond mindfulness and awareness into a real inner dialog and a sense of deep integration and wholeness.
All of the above approaches to body are valuable and useful but you will get different results from each one.
Why does it matter?
Because understanding the distinctions is helpful in helping you achieve your goals.
Because if you want to create a deeper sense of wholeness, integration, self-trust and ease then learning to be with your felt-senses is the way forward.
This September I have last 3 spaces available in my private practice schedule for my signature programme Thrive with Ease – 3-month Body Wisdom Coaching Programme, which is designed for you to learn those life-changing practices.
I offer 30 mins free consultation call and you can book it directly on the website or you can simply send me a message and we can arrange the call.
Building your self-trust
I woke up today at 2am. Second night in a row.
But today I was unable to go back to sleep.
Something was pulling on my attention. Something that I could not name yet but very distinct nevertheless. Demanding attention and acknowledgement.
So I got up, made some tea and settled down under my orange blanket. I love that blanket, its colour and warmth brings me so much comfort.
And I started journaling – just writing all the thoughts and stories my mind has been bringing up over the past few days. And there’s been a lot going on. So much change and growth.
I started from the level of my mind to clear some space and to settle down. Too many things pulling on my attention at the same time.
And once I wrote many pages in my journal (and had another cup of tea) I felt more settled, like all those parts within me felt more heard.
This allowed me to drop within my body and notice what else needed my attention.
And here it was… the thing yet unknown and vague but clearly present. A felt-sense.
A heaviness in my chest, like a heavy stone.
I said hello to it.
There was an emotional quality to it.
And a image came with it too.
Yes, it’s clearly related to a current life situation.
I sat with it, listened to it, felt it in my body, with curiosity and kindness. It had a lot to say.
But a different thing to the story my mind said earlier. And I acknowledged it with kindness and compassion.
Ohhhh… that’s what’s it’s really about.
I asked it what it needed. And listened again.
And then I felt a distinct shift in my body, like a relief and release. It felt heard.
The beauty of showing up for yourself regularly is that you build a sense of inner trust.
How does it translate to your daily life?
You notice what’s really going on for you and you start making decisions and choices from this more grounded and present space.
You stop sacrificing your peace of mind and integrity just so you can be accepted by others and belong.
Because you realise that this kind of belonging has a very high price.
And you end the war within.
This is what made a huge difference in my life.
And that’s what I teach my clients.
If you’d like to know more about my Yoga + Coaching programme check: http://www.anetai.co.uk/body-wisdom-coaching/